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Best Computer Science degree? - conexp - 01-19-2020

Hi all. This is a great forum, I've learned a bunch by browsing some older threads.

I'm looking to do a CS degree online. I'm not interested in the fastest/easiest route, but a solid education in the fundamentals of CS.  I'm already in the industry with a great job. I want to do the degree for myself and my own personal development.

So I'm just looking for any and all opinions on the topic.  I've looked at Coursera/Uni London's Bachelor of Computer Science as well as WGU, and I just learned about the "Big 3" tonight so I've been reviewing their curriculum as well.   The Coursera program looks decent to me and I actually like their platform, which is a bonus I suppose.

Thanks!


RE: Best Computer Science degree? - LevelUP - 01-19-2020

Of the big 3, only TESU offers a computer science degree. You can take computer science courses on study.com that will apply to the TESU degree.

If you want to learn skills that apply to a job, Udemy courses probably your best bet.


RE: Best Computer Science degree? - armstrongsubero - 01-19-2020

I actually have a CS degree from TESU. It's great if you have a lot of knowledge and want to test out fast. But for solid learning and building fundamentals, unless you are probably taking the courses from TESU then it's lacking.

You can make up for this though, probably add a little Linear Algebra, Calc I an Calc II into the mix, take 2 or 3 courses from TESU, however I think if you want a solid CS degree without breaking the bank then I would recommend the University of London program from Cousera:

https://www.coursera.org/degrees/bachelor-of-science-computer-science-london

It's actually very competitively priced.

If cost isn't a factor, Old Dominion University has an excellent program as well.

What's your budget?

If its SOLEY for personal development, then I cannot recommend university of the people enough. I took a few courses from their CS program, you will gain solid knowledge. You will take your time and earn your degree and you will get an Education without breaking the bank. I actually think this program is the better fit for you if you don't want to do the University of London program:

https://www.uopeople.edu/programs/cs/

@LevelUP TESU isn't the only big three to offer a CS degree. COSC offers a Computer Science degree as well. I spoke to admissions and you can list it as a BS in CS on your resume, even though the degree is a "Bachelor of Science in General Studies with a concentration in Computer Science Studies", I don't think COSC lists general studies anywhere and before they removed the syllabus listing from their website I had a look at it, it's actually quite good.


RE: Best Computer Science degree? - nyvrem - 01-19-2020

'Best' in terms of having a strong foundation in CS, I would say Auburn and University of Florida's BS in CS programs.

https://csonline.eng.auburn.edu/

https://ufonline.ufl.edu/degrees/undergraduate/computer-science/

Both are also in the top 100 of university rankings in the US i think

and if you're a Florida resident, UF's CS program is very cheap. like $130/credit hour.

Penn State and ASU have a BS in Software Engineering if you're interested in the area of SE.

https://www.worldcampus.psu.edu/degrees-and-certificates/penn-state-online-software-engineering-bachelors-degree/courses

https://asuonline.asu.edu/online-degree-programs/undergraduate/bachelor-science-software-engineering/


RE: Best Computer Science degree? - bluebooger - 01-19-2020

(01-19-2020, 06:08 PM)conexp Wrote: ..

but a solid education in the fundamentals of CS.  ... I want to do the degree for myself and my own personal development.

...

does it have to be a computer science degree ?

Charter Oak offers a bachelors in General Studies with concentration in Computer Science Studies 
https://www.charteroak.edu/catalog/current/undergraduate-degree-requirements/bacc_concentration_plan_study.php

you work with an Academic Counselor to develop your own plan of study so you can take whatever courses you want and interests you (of course your plan has to be approved and look reasonable for computer science)

you can start by taking this edx course from MIT which gives 3 credits at charter oak 
https://www.edx.org/course/introduction-to-computer-science-and-programming-7

then go to study.com and take computer science courses that interest you            
https://study.com/academy/goal/transferable-credit/online-college-credit.html

Computer Science 306: Computer Architecture
https://study.com/academy/course/computer-science-306-computer-architecture.html

Computer Science 201: Data Structures & Algorithms
https://study.com/academy/course/computer-science-201-data-structures.html

Computer Science 323: Wireless & Mobile Networking
https://study.com/academy/course/computer-science-323-wireless-mobile-networking.html

study.com has lots of other courses on C, C++, Java, database programming, Artificial Intelligence, Discrete Math

other math courses can be done through westcott  (they're all self study non-semester)
https://westcottcourses.com/courses.html


RE: Best Computer Science degree? - Merlin - 01-19-2020

(01-19-2020, 06:08 PM)conexp Wrote: Hi all. This is a great forum, I've learned a bunch by browsing some older threads.

I'm looking to do a CS degree online. I'm not interested in the fastest/easiest route, but a solid education in the fundamentals of CS.  I'm already in the industry with a great job. I want to do the degree for myself and my own personal development.

So I'm just looking for any and all opinions on the topic.  I've looked at Coursera/Uni London's Bachelor of Computer Science as well as WGU, and I just learned about the "Big 3" tonight so I've been reviewing their curriculum as well.   The Coursera program looks decent to me and I actually like their platform, which is a bonus I suppose.

Thanks!

If you're already an experienced software engineer you probably won't learn much that you don't already know from a bachelor's CS or SD program. If you only want the degree for your own personal development, I recommend that you focus on getting a degree that allows you to build on what you already know to complete it quickly. Look at schools like WGU or TESU to complete something quickly. If you want to learn something new, you can look at MOOC's (like Coursera, EdX, Class Central, etc.) or other training providers (Google, Udacity, Udemy, LinkedIn Learning, etc.) to pick up new skills you are missing or interested in learning.

I've got more than 20 years of experience in software development as a programmer, architect, and manager. IMO a bachelor's degree is just a checkbox degree and you shouldn't waste too much time on it. Get it done quickly and then your options are open. If you want to continue in academics, you can then consider CS-focused master's degrees or doctoral programs that will allow you to specialize in topics that are new and interesting to you.


RE: Best Computer Science degree? - armstrongsubero - 01-19-2020

@Merlin what if he is a web dev who never had exposure to the academic side of DSA, computer architecture, computer graphics, artificial intelligence, discrete math or networking? What if on the job he encountered situations where he found his basic CS knowledge lacking?

Programming is just one aspect of computer science. I know a lot of awesome web developers who really lack basic CS knowledge, they can carry on good discussions relating to frameworks and what not but lack very basic knowledge. I mean throw them a copy of "Automata, Computability and Complexity" and try to discuss it with them, then you'll realize some of he fundamentals they lack.

Jumping into a masters program without that knowledge is a bad idea, you can't expand on what you don't know which is why may Graduate CS programs deliberately state "experience programming will not substitute x course".

A bachelors in CS is necessary to really do any serious graduate work, else you will have an necessarily unplesent experience.

I respect @Merlin's experience and knowledge but I must say OP take as much time as you need on the fundamentals, who knows? You might even discover a field you never knew you were good at and have interest in. For me I realized my strong point is computer architecture. I mean when I do my PhD in CS I am bound to choose something closer to that domain. Who knows you might discover you like algorithm analysis or computer graphics and are good at it.

A solid grasp of the fundamentals goes a long lonnnnggg way. It's better to take your time and understand everything in undergrad than to be thrown into a MS in CS program and you struggle through with stuff you really don't understand.

In fact my second book was written just for guys like you! You want a solid grasp of basic CS knowledge. Well take up my second book. I cover DSA, computer architecture, computer memory, ramdom numbers, OS basics, algorithm design and a heap of other stuff while you are learning DSA. Did I mention its programming language agnostic!? It separates Computer Science basics from programming which is something many books fail to address except the very math heavy titles. You can pre-order a copy from Apress (Springer), the book is done, just basically waiting for it to be printed:

https://www.apress.com/gp/book/9781484257241


RE: Best Computer Science degree? - Merlin - 01-19-2020

(01-19-2020, 11:40 PM)armstrongsubero Wrote: @Merlin what if he is a web dev who never had exposure to the academic side of DSA, computer architecture, computer graphics, artificial intelligence, discrete math or networking? What if on the job he encountered situations where he found his basic CS knowledge lacking?

I didn't say the OP should ignore the CS degree, but to focus on a degree that can be finished quickly... particularly given they are already working in the field and don't need the degree for job hunting. If they have areas of weakness in the fundamentals, those can be developed while pursuing the CS degree. As you mention, it is also a good place to learn about aspects of CS that might be lacking for someone whose programming experience is less broad.

Then again it really depends on what they want. We have had this argument before, but it is my opinion that for 99% of the people who are just looking to be programmers, the more esoteric aspects of computer science are unnecessary and a waste of time. In fact, I've always found that my best software engineers are those who taught themselves. Yes, many of them don't have higher math skills or knowledge of some of the other aspects of CS, but most will never need those skills on the job. Most of the roles that need those types of skills necessitate SME's who are brought in for a specific job. Often these are contractors and don't stick around after the product ships anyway.

In any case, my point is that once they get their CS degree, they are free to study anything else that interests them. If they discover that they're interested in deeper aspects of CS theory then that is when moving towards a master's or PhD in those areas makes sense. Most of the CS programs that we're looking at on this forum aren't going to offer a lot more than CS fundamentals anyway, so I am just suggesting that they not spent a lot of time on that aspect when there are so many better ways to pick up deeper knowledge in CS.


RE: Best Computer Science degree? - armstrongsubero - 01-20-2020

@Merlin my mistake then its just when you say "IMO a bachelors degree is just a checkbox degree" , I got the impression that led to my statements.

Not just "programming experience" not being broad but CS knowledge not being broad. We can talk about finite state automata or OS scheduling algorithms which are common CS topics which has nothing to do with a "broad programming experience".

Programming and CS are not interchangeable. Programming is a subset of CS used for implementation of ideas. Nothing more. A guy can be a good programmer and bad at CS and vice versa. Some CS profs with patents and extensive CS publications may not be able to build an ecommerce app as well as a guy doing it for a living for example. Talking from experience here.

It may be a waste of time. Until you need it. And with AI, Data Analytics, Robotics and IoT being the current forefront. I would say its better to know about those things and not need it than need it and not know.

Case and point I recently rewrote firmware for an 'IoT' device that was running on an STM32 with some bloated RTOS, the guy was a web developer and his company wanted to build a prototype of a product. The code was terrible to look at! The guy clearly had no knowledge of hardware. I was able to fit his entire program on a much much smaller micro with a simple cyclic execution system. With the recent IoT hype I witnessed this many, many times.

You are right. I am usually such a contractor in my free time these days cause it seems like everyone wants to build some thingamabob to connect ot the internet or some 'AI' thingy. You'll be surprised how far a little math and esoteric CS knowledge can carry you way ahead of the pack.

I can speak for my industry. Though I am sure when a serious wwb dev or business app company has to design something its the guys with the esoteric knowledge carrying home the chedder after the smoke clears.

99%, I would like to see a source for that figure. Software now is so complex, distributed and integrated I think it will be less than that.

Then again I guess it would be based on industry as well. I won't debate that. I know a lot of "rockstar" web "coders" that can feed their family without knowing Rice's theorem or what at FFT is. Some of them dont even know what is time complexity, they just know this sort from that library works better than that one.

I get your point though. Honeslty I dont mind. My recent business endeavours is focued soley on correcting the mess self poorly taught guys made. I say poorly self taught cause anyone worth their salt is self taught. The guys who are really good do this stuff way before they went to college or Facebook and Google and the 'anyone can code' ideologies made 'coding cool'.

Many of these 'engineers' are closer to the equivalent of electricans if it were EE than electrical engineers. I think many people use that term to loosely.

Its funny you mention MOOCs though. Cause many MOOCs are based on college courses. Go figure...wont it be better to take your time and learn from the course you are spending money to take in college from the get go rather than half ass it to pass, then pay money to do it again in a MOOC which is a collegs course? Waste not want not?

The truth is software is now so complex that "esoteric knowledge" isnt so esoteric anymore. I mean few people knew what "linear regression" or "artificial neural network" was, but with AI becoming so common use, these are now very common terms and people have had to become proficent in statistics overnight. Its very hard to do anything innovative in that space without some 'esoteric' CS knowledge other than use a library of two.

I get your point and I think you get mines.


RE: Best Computer Science degree? - bluebooger - 01-20-2020

[quote pid='302080' dateline='1579480404']

@LevelUP TESU isn't the only big three to offer a CS degree. COSC offers a Computer Science degree as well. I spoke to admissions and you can list it as a BS in CS on your resume, even though the degree is a "Bachelor of Science in General Studies with a concentration in Computer Science Studies", I don't think COSC lists general studies anywhere and before they removed the syllabus listing from their website I had a look at it, it's actually quite good.
[/quote]

did search of there web site and foudn this            
https://www.charteroak.edu/catalog/current/subject_area_concentrations/computer_science_studies.php

they also have                     
https://www.charteroak.edu/catalog/current/subject_area_concentrations/information_systems_studies.php