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#1 Posted by Deranged (1837 posts) -

I know it doesn't sound like a big deal but to be truthful, my marks were consistently shit in high school, never payed any attention and people have always told me I wouldn't stand a chance in University, let alone a program almost entirely dedicated to math in the first year. Everyone told me just to give up and try something else and it really bummed me out. I worked my ass off the past few months learning Uni courses, programming and the such to be simply be eligible to apply.

Today was my birthday, not a big deal, woke up like any other morning expecting nothing different. My parents both approach me with huge smiles on their face and asked if I was ready for my birthday present. I open a gift from my parents, some assorted pieces of clothes and beneath it all, an acceptance letter to my University of choice and the program I've dreamed of since I was a child. After two wasted years in College right out of high school, I felt like I finally accomplished something in my life and I have never been happier.

Thanks for reading! :D

#2 Posted by Phatmac (5721 posts) -

Congrats! Hope you have continued success in your future endeavors!

#3 Posted by Lunar_Aura (2779 posts) -

Happy birthday and give higher education some serious cost/value analysis before committing. Good luck!

#4 Posted by Deranged (1837 posts) -

@Phatmac: @Lunar_Aura: Thanks! :)

#5 Posted by white_sox (182 posts) -

That's awesome man! Congrats and work hard, it will pay off in the future.

#6 Posted by believer258 (11633 posts) -

Awesome! Congratulations, have fun, and let me leave you with a bit of advice:

#7 Posted by thatpinguino (717 posts) -

woot

Online
#8 Posted by Deranged (1837 posts) -

@white_sox: Thanks mate!

@believer258: Haha! I'll keep that in mind, thanks!

#9 Edited by Tru3_Blu3 (3184 posts) -

You obtained my dreams, man. I hope to be like you and you to achieve great things.

#10 Posted by Toxeia (728 posts) -

@believer258 said:

Awesome! Congratulations, have fun, and let me leave you with a bit of advice:

God damn it Carson, we needed CUBES, not SPHERES. You're fired!

#11 Posted by Tru3_Blu3 (3184 posts) -

@Toxeia said:

@believer258 said:

Awesome! Congratulations, have fun, and let me leave you with a bit of advice:

God damn it Carson, we needed CUBES, not SPHERES. You're fired!

qft

#12 Posted by Deranged (1837 posts) -

@Tru3_Blu3 said:

You obtained my dreams, man. I hope to be like you and you to achieve great things.

Thanks man! And best of luck to you as well!

#13 Edited by believer258 (11633 posts) -

@Toxeia said:

@believer258 said:

Awesome! Congratulations, have fun, and let me leave you with a bit of advice:

God damn it Carson, we needed CUBES, not SPHERES. You're fired!

I know it's on purpose, but still...

#14 Posted by MooseyMcMan (10472 posts) -

Good luck man. Computer science ain't easy. I switched out of it after a couple semesters. But that was my fault for not doing enough research into comp sci and not realizing what it was really about.

#15 Posted by Shivoa (607 posts) -
#16 Posted by Deranged (1837 posts) -

@MooseyMcMan: Thanks man! Hope whatever you're doing now is more to your liking!

@Shivoa: O_O Haha, thanks!

#17 Posted by kashif1 (1428 posts) -

@MooseyMcMan said:

Good luck man. Computer science ain't easy. I switched out of it after a couple semesters. But that was my fault for not doing enough research into comp sci and not realizing what it was really about.

I'm going into it too so I'm wondering, what was your reason for switching?

#18 Posted by Deranged (1837 posts) -

@kashif1 said:

@MooseyMcMan said:

Good luck man. Computer science ain't easy. I switched out of it after a couple semesters. But that was my fault for not doing enough research into comp sci and not realizing what it was really about.

I'm going into it too so I'm wondering, what was your reason for switching?

I'm only basing this off personal experience and feedback from a few friends, but the math is extremely hard from what I've hard.

#19 Posted by kashif1 (1428 posts) -

@mcderby4 said:

@kashif1 said:

@MooseyMcMan said:

Good luck man. Computer science ain't easy. I switched out of it after a couple semesters. But that was my fault for not doing enough research into comp sci and not realizing what it was really about.

I'm going into it too so I'm wondering, what was your reason for switching?

I'm only basing this off personal experience and feedback from a few friends, but the math is extremely hard from what I've hard.

probably, there is three semesters of calc in my full schedule.

#20 Posted by Canteu (2821 posts) -

This is a great opportunity, good luck and don't fuck up!

#21 Edited by super2j (1653 posts) -

nice, i will potentially be joining u next year after i finish off my bachelors in science.

Good luck, work hard and make sure you have fun, some classes can suck but overall if u are having fun, then you truly are in the right place.

@MooseyMcMan: what do u mean, "what its about". because i havent dont too much research, im just doing it because i had such a great time in my highschool programming classes.

#22 Posted by bushpusherr (762 posts) -

Congratulations! What school will you be attending if you don't mind? Specifically for the game development side of things is what has me curious, or are you just using your programming experience as a base to eventually try to get into game development?

Also, most of the difficult math you'll likely take will be Calculus courses. Most of the actual math involved won't be directly incorporated into your programming, they just use it as a parallel to get you in the right form of mind to adapt to things like functions and variables. Towards the end, if you get into Discrete Mathematics and Theory of Computation, those are much more enjoyable math/logic based classes, where everything feels more like puzzles instead of equations.

#23 Posted by SexyToad (2760 posts) -

Happy birthday and congrats!

#24 Posted by SathingtonWaltz (2053 posts) -

Good luck finding a job and competing with Indian and Chinese slave labor! Seriously though, congratulations. Don't feel too bad about doing badly in High School, I graduated with a GPA of 1.6. Five years later I was teaching High School Social Studies.

#25 Posted by Deranged (1837 posts) -

@Canteu said:

This is a great opportunity, good luck and don't fuck up!

Haha! I won't fuck this up trust me! Thanks!

#26 Posted by Deranged (1837 posts) -

@bushpusherr: UOIT in Oshawa, Ontario(Canada). And thank you!

@SexyToad: @SathingtonWaltz: Thanks guys!

#27 Posted by Jimbo (9772 posts) -

Well done. Don't listen to people who tell you that you can't do something.

#28 Posted by SSully (4125 posts) -

As a comp sci major who is going into his third year, my best advice is to never give up. It sounds cheesy and cliche, but it's the only reason I made it this far. I came into college with math being my worst subject. I was horrible, and because of that I struggled with every single math class I took. I easily had to put an extra 2 to 3 hours into my homework assignments and seek outside help constantly. Congrats on the acceptance duder.

#29 Edited by Bollard (5253 posts) -

@mcderby4: I'm shitting myself for my results day this month, applying for a similar course in England, best of luck with it!

@SSully said:

As a comp sci major who is going into his third year, my best advice is to never give up. It sounds cheesy and cliche, but it's the only reason I made it this far. I came into college with math being my worst subject. I was horrible, and because of that I struggled with every single math class I took. I easily had to put an extra 2 to 3 hours into my homework assignments and seek outside help constantly. Congrats on the acceptance duder.

I'm surprised at the number of people here talking about doing Comp Sci but not having good maths skills. Thankfully maths is totally my thing, but it's cool to hear you can succeed if you persevere without being naturally good at it!

#30 Posted by Deranged (1837 posts) -

@Jimbo: Thanks mate.

@SSully: The problem for me was simply that I was lazy. I never tried and when I finally put my mind to it and worked my ass off, I pulled off the grades I needed. But I'm glad everything is working out great for you!

@Chavtheworld: And to you too bro!

#31 Edited by Chaser324 (6325 posts) -

I know was joking, but you really can do yourself a big favor by doing some reading / experimenting / learning on your own.

One of the depressing things that I've noticed is increasingly more people coming out of comp sci programs with very limited capabilities and almost no practical software development knowledge. I don't really blame them though. I think in a lot of ways it's the schools having poor curriculums and misguided priorities, but it gives you the opportunity to put yourself head and shoulders above these people if you take the initiative to fill in the gaps.

Here's some recommended reading materials and other learning opportunities that I think you could benefit from. Don't feel like you need to do it all now, spread out this stuff over the course of your time at college:

  • If you have very limited coding experience, it might be worth it to mess around with something like Code Academy right now, just to get your feet wet.
  • Joel on Software and Coding Horror are both somewhat legendary blogs among the software dev community. There's a ton of wisdom in there. Also, xkcd.
  • Podcasts worth trying out: StackOverflow Podcast, This Developer's Life, many of the 5by5 podcasts, Herding Code, 37Signals, The Pragmatic Podcast
  • Development Books: Code Complete, Clean Code, and The Pragmatic Programmer are all in my opinion essential reads for every software engineer. Also, I've taken a lot of inspiration from books by Seth Godin, but I'm not sure if someone that hasn't experienced a few years in a soul-crushing job would be able to get much from that sort of stuff yet.
  • Learn modern source/version control. Very few people learn it in school, but it's absolutely essential for anyone that writes code. Sign up on GitHub and/or BitBucket and start learning to use Git. Start keeping all of the code you work on at the very least in a local Git repository. I can't even tell you how many times I had an assignment in school functional, and then would continue to program and get into a completely broken state. If I'd been smart enough to use source control, I could've rolled back to the functional code and saved myself a lot of headaches and sleepless nights.
  • Sign up on StackExchange and start perusing it. Specifically, StackOverflow and Programmers.SE. By far one of the most active communities of developers on the internet.
  • If you get really adventurous, try getting into "code golf" and programming challenges like those on Google Code Jam, Top Coder, and Code Golf. I personally don't think it's worth pouring much energy into these, but it can be interesting to take a look at occasionally.
  • Don't get locked into one language. I see a lot of comp sci programs out there becoming more and more purely Java focused, and a lot of those people end up struggling when they get into the workforce and they're being asked to constantly move around to different languages/technologies and quickly become effective with them. If all you're learning is Java, try out some C and C++ or vice-versa. If you aren't getting a taste of any scripting languages, take Python or Ruby for a spin. Whatever it is, just try to broaden your horizon from time to time.
  • Learn the basics of SCRUM, agile development, and test-driven development (unit tests!). They're increasingly the most popular and most proven methods for efficiently making software (and again this is a subject that is almost never covered in any amount of depth in school).
  • Take on a few pet projects or maybe contribute to some open source projects. Maybe learn PHP and jQuery and make a personal website, or create a game with a few friends using C# / XNA, or a cool mobile app using Objective C, etc. Whatever it is, just find something that can help fuel the passion for software and drive you to constantly be learning and doing.
  • Have some fun. You're young and in college.
Moderator
#32 Posted by IceColdGamer (604 posts) -

@mcderby4: Much congratulations! I wish you extreme success.

#33 Posted by Shivoa (607 posts) -

@Chaser324: Half joking. I'd actually say Sommerville is great for an overview of 'real' Software Engineering for Comp Sci students to enter University with (tad dry, but you'll likely read far worse during your time at Uni) and Design Patterns Explained will ensure you know a bit more about OOP, the power of patterns, and some application that illustrate it before you get told to read Gang of Four. The Big White Book is probably going a bit far before you've even started, I bet most people who graduate haven't even read it.

That's definitely a great list of resources and advice you've put together. I think the education you get will vary from institution to institution (for example, my Uni had a focus on group projects and so we did a lot of team work using the official version control server - or at least we were meant to and many rebelled to Git or Hg as the Uni was only offering SVN) and even if they try to cover all the broad strokes you'll probably get a flavour for their research focus in the well-taught modules you can pick.

I probably wouldn't play around with PHP unless you have to. That said, I did play around with it for many years so when you're starting to get a feel for languages and how they all fit together (before you decide you hate them all and build your own CFG and compiler) then maybe it's good to immerse yourself in PHP so you know how it feels to use. You can build great stuff with PHP, but if you're planning to build great stuff why not pick better building materials to start with and save yourself some potential pain. Also, you can make plenty of jokes about several languages for being a bit 'iffy' in places. I don't think there are any major languages that are unusable, and your preference will guide your hand a lot (Don't make me go near the Lisp-like again, I promise to keep my parenthesis under control, just don't force me to read the language where parenthesis are 50% of the keystrokes!) but maybe read that link about PHP for a heads up as to why some people don't think it's really up to snuff.

#34 Posted by Deranged (1837 posts) -

@Chaser324: Wow, I can't thank you enough for putting all that together! Luckily for me, I learned some Java earlier in high school and my friend who is in his third year of Comp Science is teaching me C, C++. Luckily enough, we set up into groups and start to create our own games in third semester.

@IceColdGamer: Thanks mate.

#35 Posted by MooseyMcMan (10472 posts) -

@kashif1: It was the programming. I took one programming class in high school, but it turned out that collegiate level programming is way harder, and after a few semesters I realized that I just didn't like it. I didn't fail out, I just determined that I didn't like it. Well, I almost failed out of it, but I probably could have graduated if I really wanted to. But yeah, the math did get really hard too.

@mcderby4: Yeah, I switched into political science, which is (to a certain extent), almost completely opposite of computer science. More than anything else, I like poli-sci more because while in comp-sci you pretty much need to get everything right in order for your assignments to work, I've been able to "b-s" my way to straight A's in poli-sci. Of course, finding a job with a poli-sci degree is going to be tough, but at least I'm good at it.

#36 Edited by Chaser324 (6325 posts) -

@Shivoa: Jeff Atwood wrote a supporting response to that PHP article you linked to. I'd tend to agree from my time spent with the language. Python and Ruby seem to be much more in fashion these days anyway, so that's where to put the focus if you're starting out (if that's even the sort of development you want to do, otherwise go with whatever the in vogue language is for the sort of dev you want to do).

Moderator
#37 Posted by Deranged (1837 posts) -

@MooseyMcMan: I had poli-science is my first two years of College out of high school. It was interesting, but I couldn't stand it and the program wasn't for me. I'm extremely excited to have gotten accepted now. I wish you the best of luck out there though!

#38 Posted by mnzy (2911 posts) -

That's great man. Not many people really get to do what they want. Give it your best!

#39 Posted by MooseyMcMan (10472 posts) -

@mcderby4: Thanks, and I think it's funny that we basically have the opposite collegiate experiences. You're probably going about it the right way though, there will always be jobs for people with computer science degrees.

#40 Posted by Mr_Skeleton (5137 posts) -

Finishing my degree in CS this semester, that shit is hard.

#41 Posted by Omega (829 posts) -

@believer258 said:

Awesome! Congratulations, have fun, and let me leave you with a bit of advice:

So what you're saying is I should be cutting corners?

#42 Posted by Hunter5024 (5541 posts) -

mcderby4 has levelled up!

#43 Posted by AlianthaBerries (142 posts) -

@mcderby4: Congrats duder! Work hard!

#44 Posted by iam3green (14390 posts) -

well congrats on getting accepted to college.

happy birthday.

#45 Posted by Deranged (1837 posts) -

@Hunter5024: :D

@AlianthaBerries: @iam3green: Thank you very much!

#46 Posted by FlarePhoenix (420 posts) -

Congratulations, now you get to work your ass off for 3-4 years only to discover you'll never actually work in the games industry since it's pretty much based entirely on who you know rather than what you know. err... I mean, congratulations, everything will work out perfectly. (Seriously though, congratulations, just don't get disappointed if things don't go exactly to plan - a lot of people who do computer/game-based degrees wind up never actually working in those fields. One thing I would strongly recommend is to start creating a portfolio as soon as you can. That's going to be pretty essential if you want anyone to even take a look at you).

#47 Posted by ch3burashka (5009 posts) -

@Lunar_Aura said:

Happy birthday and give higher education some serious cost/value analysis before committing. Good luck!

Fucking amen.

#48 Posted by Jimi (1126 posts) -

Congratulations! Programming/CS can be hard but stick with it. The first year is often the hardest for most as most IT/Computing courses pre-university are terrible at really preparing you for it. Check out codeacademy.com even if you have some programming experience for a refresher on all the basics.

Projecteuler is extremely good for getting to grips with new languages, they are small programming challenges.

thenewboston.org is also great for video tutorials on many programming languages. I used their Java and PHP videos, very helpful.

#49 Posted by spartanlolz92 (511 posts) -

@Omega said:

@believer258 said:

Awesome! Congratulations, have fun, and let me leave you with a bit of advice:

So what you're saying is I should be cutting corners?

LMAO ^^^^^^^^

#50 Posted by Redsox44 (481 posts) -

@Jimi: Hey, I'm also interested in programming, thanks for the cool resources.