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Is Computer Science major hard?

Viết bởi: Miles Fidelman and ChonLe, 19 07 2022

This answer is on Quora.com

Caveat: I graduated from MIT, started out in EE & CS, moved on to an Interdisciplinary program that added Cognitive Psych to the mix (can you say “AI”).


First off, ANY field is hard, if you push yourself to the state of the art & practice, the more so if you set out to advance the state of the art (Science) and/or practice (Technology, Engineering).

My observation is, that at top schools, folks are pre-qualified before ever getting to university - they’re ready, willing, and eager for hard work - and most succeed. (Though many might change their major multiple times, before finding their specific interests and path.)

For lower tier schools, several things would seem to be involved:

  • Computer Science, if approached as an actual Science, is all about Math and Logic (theory of computation, grammars, calculi of various sorts) - few students are prepared, much less capable of it.
  • If approached as an Engineering discipline (i.e, Software Engineering), then it’s about problem solving, USING computers. One has to learn to solve hard problems, across multiple disciplines. Again, somewhat Math intensive, as well as involving quite a bit of application domain knowledge, and Engineering skills & discipline. Again, not easy stuff, particularly for those who are ill-prepared, and/or lacking in innate ability.

But the hard parts does not stop there. While working, engineers in CS keep learning at the workplace as at Google:

Learning isn’t an option at Google; it is required for the job. You’ll have to learn about the build system, the test system, the internals of the codebase you’re working on, the internals of the codebase of some peripheral teams related to your project, etc. 

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