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Old 12-10-2013, 02:27 PM   #41
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I have been out of touch with RIT for 5 years, but it was the best decision for one young CS - oriented child.
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Old 12-10-2013, 04:00 PM   #42
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My son is in his first semester of programming. He says that roughly 2/3 of the class - most of whom were CS majors - have dropped the class...
I've recently noticed a lot of news articles about booming enrollment in CS classes at various universities. I usually see that they are talking about freshman-level courses. My first thought is always, "interesting, but let's wait and see if there is a boom in CS graduates a few years from now." When I was a freshman CS major in 2004, my professors talked about a similar effect in late 1990s which promptly disappeared when the tech bubble burst. It makes me wonder if we are in the midst of another tech bubble with the recent Facebook and Twitter IPOs; Apple, Google, and Microsoft being three of the four most valuable public companies in America; Yahoo acquiring Tumblr for $1B... I don't doubt that parents are pushing a lot of kids into CS classes.

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Old 12-10-2013, 04:34 PM   #43
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Being a EE myself I agree with most here either at least a four year CS or engineering degree with some management will serve him best.
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Old 12-10-2013, 04:46 PM   #44
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I would not try to push too hard for the big state school if he is uncomfortable with that environment. Some kids get lost in such places, while others flourish. My DS went to big state schools, while DD went to a small private. Both turned out to be the right environments for them.
I agree- I was one of those that may have had a better first year had a gone to a smaller college. Definitely depends on the person.

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My son is in his first semester of programming. He says that roughly 2/3 of the class - most of whom were CS majors - have dropped the class. They either didn't like it or were failing. DS doesn't understand since he thinks the class is very easy and he is enthralled by it. As badly as people are doing in his class, his professor mentioned that section is doing better than the other sections. They teach about 8 sections of first semester programming in the fall. In the spring, they teach only 2 sections of second semester programming. My son says some people in the class were never really interested in CS. Their parents were interested in them majoring in it. Other people thought it would be easy, but don't have the kind of thought processes that lend themselves to doing programming. So they do first semester programming and promptly switch majors.

My is one of those who went through several other majors to end up with CS (he had planned to major in CS when he was starting college but didn't take programming his first semester. He did take English and decided to be an English major. He also tried Business Administration and Psychology, before going back to CS).
Makes sense about the drop out rate if the kids haven't really decided that's their thing... that's a high rate though!

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Being a EE myself I agree with most here either at least a four year CS or engineering degree with some management will serve him best.
For those who mentioned adding some management, are you suggesting this as a double major, a minor, an emphasis or simply some elective courses?
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Old 12-10-2013, 05:01 PM   #45
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I've recently noticed a lot of news articles about booming enrollment in CS classes at various universities. I usually see that they are talking about freshman-level courses. My first thought is always, "interesting, but let's wait and see if there is a boom in CS graduates a few years from now." When I was a freshman CS major in 2004, my professors talked about a similar effect in late 1990s which promptly disappeared when the tech bubble burst. It makes me wonder if we are in the midst of another tech bubble with the recent Facebook and Twitter IPOs; Apple, Google, and Microsoft being three of the four most valuable public companies in America; Yahoo acquiring Tumblr for $1B... I don't doubt that parents are pushing a lot of kids into CS classes.

Tim
That happened in the early 80s too. Mine was the first class where they had to go to a lecture hall for the freshman courses. A lot of people dropped out when they found out how hard it was. Back then we had to find a free terminal to login to the mainframe from, which meant a lot of late nights or early mornings. At least now kids can use their own laptops. Sounds like a lot of kids still think it's fun to be on the computer a lot and make web pages and stuff, then find out how hard it really is to truly learn programming, not to mention the other aspects of computer science.
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Old 12-10-2013, 06:15 PM   #46
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Good computer science and software development program is all he needs as an undergraduate IMO. If the program is strong, he should be able to find electives to take as a junior and senior that would give him a leg up.

He can also try to get a summer or intern job as a programmer in the type of company he's interested in. That will give serious leg up on the competition after graduation.

Where are the graduates going in that in-state program that lacks a well-known reputation? Certain companies tend to recruit/hire at certain schools. You could always go to the school and see who is hiring there.
The advice above is profound, I echo the above comments.
I am an alum of Kettering University, formerly GMI, and a few points above resonate:

1) Use co-op experience to specialize, a computer engineering or computer science degree would work.

2) If he wants to specialize at the degree level, use a Masters degree in gaming, not a Bachelors.

3) Kettering students co-op at a who's who of fortune 500 companies, as would MIT, Stanford and many larger schools. If you find a smaller (good) school, it will be regional- for example I know many schools in Detroit area which could help me get automotive, or RIT could help me with Xerox, Kodak, Delphi and Bausch and Lomb in western NY. Or Boston U could help with companies more out east. I am sure Georgia Tech would have southeast covered, and Texas A&M the south etc... He should go to school where he knows more than one large gaming company exists in a 200 mile radius.

4) Most schools will have entrepreneur clubs and gaming clubs, he should ask about those during campus visits.

5) Make sure he understands computer programming could mean 40-50 hour weeks tucked behind a computer- that is not everyone's passion even if that is what they are good at. Computer engineering integrates software with electo mechanical assemblies, computer programming is creating computer codes. I know people which do both, PM me for referrals.

Good luck.
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Old 12-10-2013, 06:23 PM   #47
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I agree on the distinction of designer vs. programmer. I've heard that some good programmer/gamer types are pretty disappointed to find out that a somewhat non-techie designs the games and they are just cranking out code. With that in mind, a general CS degree might be enough, perhaps with some of the advanced courses in graphics in the elective degree courses.

I don't really know what the game companies are looking for, but the job that was posted was not for an entry level job. Within 4-5 years those companies may get more picky about who they can hire when more grads have specific degrees for gaming. Right now they probably can't be because of supply. However, I also agree with the point that technology is changing and learning the basics and being adaptable is really important. Co-oping or just having a part time or summer job doing programming will help a lot.

School rep does make a difference in that first job. At my last company we barely looked at the school of professional hires (my small group even hired 2 guys with no degrees, but with the right skills), but for college grads they only recruited a handful of top schools. My first company wasn't as picky but I had a high GPA and some practical experience so they gave me an interview and job even though they didn't recruit on my campus. However, if he has a much stronger comfort level at one place over another, I would strongly lean towards that. It's kind of like buying a house. One may look perfect on paper, but if it doesn't feel like home when you first see it, you'll probably never be comfortable in it.

Sorry I can't give a black or white response.
I will echo school reputation for first job, and that reputation will be regional too (see my other post). Once a person has 3 years experience, the interview will focus on experience more than school. In last 20 years half the interviews didn't even ask me where I went to school (I have 18 years experience in my field).
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Old 12-10-2013, 07:19 PM   #48
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...... a bunch of good points that don't need repeated. .......................................

5) Make sure he understands computer programming could mean 40-50 hour weeks tucked behind a computer- that is not everyone's passion even if that is what they are good at. Computer engineering integrates software with electo mechanical assemblies, computer programming is creating computer codes. I know people which do both, PM me for referrals.

Good luck.
On hours, if he gets a development career that only requires 40-50 hours, that great. Many companies that are using US resources expect much, much more. On many high visibility development projects the expectations were higher, especially on the newbies. If he's never puts in a 80-100 hour 'week', he's found a great place.

If he gets into advanced support, the expectations get larger. If he enjoys working 40 hours straight(be back in 12), thats the place to be.

I don't want to discourage him, just set expectations.
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Old 12-11-2013, 05:36 AM   #49
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For those who mentioned adding some management, are you suggesting this as a double major, a minor, an emphasis or simply some elective courses?
There's no need for a double major or even a minor in management. He can take graduate courses later if he desires. However, Project Management courses will provide him valuable skills in managing small or large projects that he'll be able to apply early in his career. Sadly, many managers don't even have good project management skills. There is a project management certification he can get after he gets some work experience to go along with it, and is useful no matter what direction his career takes.
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Old 12-11-2013, 10:57 AM   #50
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There's no need for a double major or even a minor in management. He can take graduate courses later if he desires. However, Project Management courses will provide him valuable skills in managing small or large projects that he'll be able to apply early in his career. Sadly, many managers don't even have good project management skills. There is a project management certification he can get after he gets some work experience to go along with it, and is useful no matter what direction his career takes.
+1, PM will do way more good than diverting attention to other business management type courses. I'd also vote for getting an engineering economics type course which should help give him some appreciation for the business side of things. Also, management perse may not be the best fit for someone that is more introverted. Many companies make the mistake of promoting strong technical individual contributors into management roles where they fail miserably.
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Old 12-11-2013, 02:55 PM   #51
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There's no need for a double major or even a minor in management. He can take graduate courses later if he desires. However, Project Management courses will provide him valuable skills in managing small or large projects that he'll be able to apply early in his career. Sadly, many managers don't even have good project management skills. There is a project management certification he can get after he gets some work experience to go along with it, and is useful no matter what direction his career takes.
My experience is that good engineers get promoted to project management based on the projects they do.

Good engineers also get promoted to manage people if they were successful on the projects they worked on.

Of the 35 engineers in my fraternity, only 7 are still doing only pure engineering work, the rest are managing people or projects. 15-20 years later. 5 of those which are still doing project work have a programming flavor to their background.
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Old 12-12-2013, 05:48 PM   #52
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Also, management perse may not be the best fit for someone that is more introverted. Many companies make the mistake of promoting strong technical individual contributors into management roles where they fail miserably.
One thing I recommend to the OP (and to others) is for the OP's son to do aptitude testing with Johnson O'Connor if it has a location reasonably nearby.

We did this last spring with our son (19) and our daughter (16) and it really made a big difference with both of them. There was a lot of really valuable information, but one of the things addressed was this issue.

My son was strongly advised to do STEM type fields, but in particular he was recommended to develop his technical expertise and then be the person with technical knowledge who manages other people. (He has some interest in management, was even a business major for awhile so took a few business related courses).

On the other hand, my daughter was steered away from those types of management roles. She tested as being more the type to be the "expert" and to work on her own rather than managing others.

In both cases, we felt the advice was very accurate.
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Old 12-12-2013, 07:21 PM   #53
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One thing I recommend to the OP (and to others) is for the OP's son to do aptitude testing with Johnson O'Connor if it has a location reasonably nearby.

We did this last spring with our son (19) and our daughter (16) and it really made a big difference with both of them. There was a lot of really valuable information, but one of the things addressed was this issue.

My son was strongly advised to do STEM type fields, but in particular he was recommended to develop his technical expertise and then be the person with technical knowledge who manages other people. (He has some interest in management, was even a business major for awhile so took a few business related courses).

On the other hand, my daughter was steered away from those types of management roles. She tested as being more the type to be the "expert" and to work on her own rather than managing others.

In both cases, we felt the advice was very accurate.
That's very interesting. Looks like the closest location to us is a couple of hours away. I wonder if there's another company that's provides this same kind of service.
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Old 12-12-2013, 08:14 PM   #54
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That's very interesting. Looks like the closest location to us is a couple of hours away. I wonder if there's another company that's provides this same kind of service.
A lot of the companies that do "aptitude testing" really don't do aptitude testing. They do questionnaires about people's interests. That is entirely different from doing aptitude testing which tests what your actual aptitudes are. The philosophy of Johnson O'Connor is that far too many people just consider their interests and don't consider what they are good at. These position is that people are unlikely to be happy doing work that they aren't good at.

There is a nice brochure on the Johnson O'Connor website talking about it.
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Old 12-14-2013, 12:05 AM   #55
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Show me an engineer who isn't an introvert and I'll show you a pink elephant.


If he has the brains to be an engineer but he rather be a CS major you better let him make his own decision because he has to make his own bed and do what he has passion for. BUT - He'll be trading lots more income in a field starved for qualified graduates for a field that's flooded with gaming geek wannabes. Look on the bright side, you will probably finally get to know him while he spends another decade in your basement.

That's the exact path and choice my nephew took. He's almost 30 and still living with mom in a low paying code writing job. Not to mention he missed out on the satisfaction of solving real problems and creating stuff that matters to people, which is what engineering is all about. But hey, If he can design a better world of Warcraft soon, I'm all for it!

While in some Engineering Colleges the CS program is administered under the school of engineering, the CS program is a lot different than a program designed for programming or writing code for video games. Video game design is also different and is now often offered by the college of Journalism. Just keep in mind, getting a BS in CS even while sometimes as a school Administered by the engineering college does not yield an accredited BS in engineering. One with a CS degree as such will not be an engineer nor will be able to sit for his / her professional engineers exam or call themselves an engineer.

I highly recommend the "engineer for a day" HS program if you have one locally and then trying to experience something similar on the video game developers side too.
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Old 12-14-2013, 12:38 AM   #56
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In the engineering world, no worthwhile internships are ever "unpaid." I think most engineers look at the whole "unpaid intership spectacle" and wonder why anyone would do these. If they don't think you are worth paying, why would they give you something worthwhile to do?
Ditto Engineers are too smart to ever work at an unpaid internship. That's just crazy talk. I have never heard of an unpaid internship in the US in the engineering field.

Another piece of advice is to have DS take a math/ science PSAT. Good engineering candidates will have PSAT or SAT scores in both math and science between 600-700 or higher or ACTs in math AND science in the range of 28 and higher. Hitting 30 or better in science would be a plus.
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Old 12-16-2013, 03:38 AM   #57
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Show me an engineer who isn't an introvert and I'll show you a pink elephant.


If he has the brains to be an engineer but he rather be a CS major you better let him make his own decision because he has to make his own bed and do what he has passion for. BUT - He'll be trading lots more income in a field starved for qualified graduates for a field that's flooded with gaming geek wannabes. Look on the bright side, you will probably finally get to know him while he spends another decade in your basement.
These seem like contradictory positions. That is, what if someone has the ability to be an engineer but is an extrovert? My son is a prime example. He has the ability to be an engineer. In fact, when he did Johnson O'Connor aptitude testing it was the top on his list because of his strong structural visualization score (Johnson O'Connor is of the opinion that even if you are good at math and science you will struggle as an engineer if you lack good structural visualization which is the ability to think in three dimensions).

But, my son didn't have a strong interest in engineering, but did have a strong interest in CS (he actually viewed engineering as his fallback if he found that he didn't actually like CS once he started the program).
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Old 12-16-2013, 06:06 AM   #58
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These seem like contradictory positions. That is, what if someone has the ability to be an engineer but is an extrovert? My son is a prime example. He has the ability to be an engineer. In fact, when he did Johnson O'Connor aptitude testing it was the top on his list because of his strong structural visualization score (Johnson O'Connor is of the opinion that even if you are good at math and science you will struggle as an engineer if you lack good structural visualization which is the ability to think in three dimensions). But, my son didn't have a strong interest in engineering, but did have a strong interest in CS (he actually viewed engineering as his fallback if he found that he didn't actually like CS once he started the program).
There are too many different specialties in engineering to make generalizations. Outstanding math skill is the common thread among the engineering professions. A degree in Electrical Engineering or Computer Engineering would give him more flexibility to make career changes than a degree in Computer Science. Most software engineers (programmers) that I've worked with over the years get tired of programming after a while and look for a major change.
I don't think there are any more introverts or extroverts in engineering than in the normal population, but engineers do think differently than most people and may lack some social skills other folks have.
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Old 12-16-2013, 06:29 AM   #59
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If he has the brains to be an engineer but he rather be a CS major you better let him make his own decision because he has to make his own bed and do what he has passion for. BUT - He'll be trading lots more income in a field starved for qualified graduates for a field that's flooded with gaming geek wannabes. Look on the bright side, you will probably finally get to know him while he spends another decade in your basement.
The College Degrees With The Highest Starting Salaries - Forbes

CS degrees are right up there with engineering. There are tons of well paid software engineers.
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Old 12-16-2013, 07:18 AM   #60
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If he has the brains to be an engineer but he rather be a CS major you better let him make his own decision because he has to make his own bed and do what he has passion for. BUT - He'll be trading lots more income in a field starved for qualified graduates for a field that's flooded with gaming geek wannabes. Look on the bright side, you will probably finally get to know him while he spends another decade in your basement.
Wow, this outlook is certainly at odds with everything I've seen/heard elsewhere. When did things change? My graduating CS class was tiny (the program was hardly "flooded") and everyone lined up full-time employment or at least a paid internship before the end of our senior year. It seems that every list of "highest paid undergraduate majors" ranks CS among the top five (all the others being engineering, with petroleum engineering on top).

Sorry your nephew has had such a tough time, but I also know a kid with a mechanical engineering degree in a similar situation four years after college. Individual mileage may vary, I guess.

Tim
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