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Applying undecided and then transferring to engineering (NC State)?


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DS's dream school is NC State.  I think he can get into state but not into the engineering program.  He wants to major in computer science.  At NCSU you have to apply to the school of engineering to be a computer science major.  Just thinking through the options.  

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Ask at the school specifically if it is easy or hard to transfer between colleges or majors.

 

At the school my son is going to, it is very easy - just fill out a form and it's done (though you have to have a minimal gpa in math/science to get into engineering). At another school we looked at, you had to "apply" again to get into a new major and if it was competitive you could get turned down again.

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I think if he is too weak to get into the Engineering school by applying as a C.S. Major, from the start, he may have a tough road ahead of him.  Is his weakness in Math? What is he lacking? Please provide more details.   What would he Major in, if he cannot switch to C.S.?

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I know at our state flagship, you have to be admitted as pre-engineering to even get into the prereq classes you need to apply for engineering majors. There's no easy way to "sneak in" to engineering.

 

You might look at guaranteed transfer programs from the community college perhaps?

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I think if he is too weak to get into the Engineering school by applying as a C.S. Major, from the start, he may have a tough road ahead of him.  Is his weakness in Math? What is he lacking? Please provide more details.   What would he Major in, if he cannot switch to C.S.?

 

 

He isn't bad at math, he just fell behind in sequence when he got really sick/diagnosed with a long-term illness.  Math is not his shining strength either but he isn't "bad" at it.  I have heard the you basically have no hope of getting into engineering if you haven't had AP math.

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He isn't bad at math, he just fell behind in sequence when he got really sick/diagnosed with a long-term illness.  Math is not his shining strength either but he isn't "bad" at it.  I have heard the you basically have no hope of getting into engineering if you haven't had AP math.

 

I bolded your words of his math strength  No comment on AP Math being a requirement, I doubt that, but I believe he will have VERY VERY tough sledding ahead, in the College/School of Engineering, if he tries to switch to a Major in C.S., after being admitted to the university as undecided.  He will probably drown in Math if I understand his situation.  I think if he comes out of all of his High School Math courses (through Pre Calc) with grades in the 90s he will be OK.  Less than that, it will be very rough...   It is very rough, for students who are well prepared, when they enter Engineering school as Freshmen.

 

Several years ago, I spent some time on the web site of the College of Engineering of Tech:    http://www.depts.ttu.edu/coe/

They make it very clear that Engineering school is tough and that if the student does not hack it, they will help the student transfer to another college, within the university.  That is directed at students who are admitted as Freshmen, to the College of Engineering.

 

There are, I believe, some threads on WTM about people who were weak in  Math or Science, and ended up as successful Engineers, and you might want to search for those, for another opinion on this.  I do not believe that is impossible, but I do believe that it is not common.

 

If he is not extremely good with Math and Science, this will not work for him. C.S.would be easier for him than say, Electronic Engineering, but C.S.is no walk in the park either.   

 

How is he with Physics? 

 

I would try to encourage your DS look at Majors he is better prepared for.  That require less Math and less Science.

 

I would, if he can become very strong in Math, possibly suggest that he consider a B.S. in Math, instead of a B.S. in C.S.   A lot of Math Majors are working as Engineers. 

 

This is from an email I received,, yesterday, about a Contract position in Melbourne, FL for a Test Engineer:

Requirements

  • Bachelors in Science, Technology, Engineering or Math (STEM Degree).

This one is from another email I received yesterday, about a Contract position in St. Louis MO for a Systems Test & Evaluation Engineer

Bachelor's and 9 or more years' experience, Master's with 7 or more years' experience or PhD with 4 or more years' experience. Bachelor, Master or Doctorate of Science degree from an accredited course of study, in engineering, computer science, mathematics, physics or chemistry.

 

And this last one is for a Contract for a Software Engineer in Oklahoma City OK

Requirements: Bachelor's degree and typically 5 or more years' experience in an engineering classification or a Master's degree with typically 3 or more years' experience in an engineering classification or a PhD degree with experience in an engineering classification.

 

All of them would happily consider someone with a B.S. in Math from a good university.   I worked with many people who had a B.S. or M.S. in Math.

 

Good luck to him!

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I bolded your words of his math strength  No comment on AP Math being a requirement, I doubt that, but I believe he will have VERY VERY tough sledding ahead, in the College/School of Engineering, if he tries to switch to a Major in C.S., after being admitted to the university as undecided.  He will probably drown in Math if I understand his situation.  I think if he comes out of all of his High School Math courses (through Pre Calc) with grades in the 90s he will be OK.  Less than that, it will be very rough...   It is very rough, for students who are well prepared, when they enter Engineering school as Freshmen.

 

Several years ago, I spent some time on the web site of the College of Engineering of Tech:    http://www.depts.ttu.edu/coe/

They make it very clear that Engineering school is tough and that if the student does not hack it, they will help the student transfer to another college, within the university.  That is directed at students who are admitted as Freshmen, to the College of Engineering.

 

There are, I believe, some threads on WTM about people who were weak in  Math or Science, and ended up as successful Engineers, and you might want to search for those, for another opinion on this.  I do not believe that is impossible, but I do believe that it is not common.

 

If he is not extremely good with Math and Science, this will not work for him. C.S.would be easier for him than say, Electronic Engineering, but C.S.is no walk in the park either.   

 

How is he with Physics? 

 

I would try to encourage your DS look at Majors he is better prepared for.  That require less Math and less Science.

 

I would, if he can become very strong in Math, possibly suggest that he consider a B.S. in Math, instead of a B.S. in C.S.   A lot of Math Majors are working as Engineers. 

 

This is from an email I received,, yesterday, about a Contract position in Melbourne, FL for a Test Engineer:

Requirements

  • Bachelors in Science, Technology, Engineering or Math (STEM Degree).

This one is from another email I received yesterday, about a Contract position in St. Louis MO for a Systems Test & Evaluation Engineer

Bachelor's and 9 or more years' experience, Master's with 7 or more years' experience or PhD with 4 or more years' experience. Bachelor, Master or Doctorate of Science degree from an accredited course of study, in engineering, computer science, mathematics, physics or chemistry.

 

And this last one is for a Contract for a Software Engineer in Oklahoma City OK

Requirements: Bachelor's degree and typically 5 or more years' experience in an engineering classification or a Master's degree with typically 3 or more years' experience in an engineering classification or a PhD degree with experience in an engineering classification.

 

All of them would happily consider someone with a B.S. in Math from a good university.   I worked with many people who had a B.S. or M.S. in Math.

 

Good luck to him!

 

 

Thank you for your thoughts.  He is interested in CS, not engineering.  Many schools don't even couple these together but NCSU does.  I know that there is a good bit of math required in CS but not in the field itself.  He doesn't want to go into computer engineering.  So maybe he is better just striking NCSU from his list and focus on schools that don't couple CS with an engineering pathway?

 

He is very interested in physics but hasn't taken it yet.  He is mostly a B student in Math.  His grades and test scores always make him look like an english kid (super high test scores english/reading) but he has no desire to go into an english or communications field.

Edited by Attolia
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I bolded your words of his math strength  No comment on AP Math being a requirement, I doubt that, but I believe he will have VERY VERY tough sledding ahead, in the College/School of Engineering, if he tries to switch to a Major in C.S., after being admitted to the university as undecided.  He will probably drown in Math if I understand his situation.  I think if he comes out of all of his High School Math courses (through Pre Calc) with grades in the 90s he will be OK.  Less than that, it will be very rough...   It is very rough, for students who are well prepared, when they enter Engineering school as Freshmen.

 

 

Actually I disagree with this statement ^

 

I have not looked at the actual NC state program but in general C.S. majors have to have very good logical reasoning skills - usually they take a little different math than the Engineering majors such as Discrete Math

 

the big assumption is will your student be able to take the courses he needs the in his first year to pursue CS - otherwise it may take longer 

 

here it is:

https://www.csc.ncsu.edu/academics/undergrad/semester.php

typical CS degree except they require Calc based Physics and Chemistry that many other CS programs do not require

 

====================================

My background

undergrad -  BS Math (mostly applied) with minor in CS (and an unofficial minor in EE)

MS in Computer Eng

Edited by MarkT
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Actually I disagree with this statement ^

 

I have not looked at the actual NC state program but in general C.S. majors have to have very good logical reasoning skills - usually they take a little different math than the Engineering majors such as Discrete Math

 

the big assumption is will your student be able to take the courses he needs the in his first year to pursue CS - otherwise it may take longer

 

====================================

My background

undergrad - BS Math (mostly applied) with minor in CS (and an unofficial minor in EE)

MS in Computer Eng

I agree with Mark. CS is more logic than math. It's just that math is used to teach that logic.

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MarkT Okay I agree with you that it would probably not be doable in 4 years but could be done. You sound like you are a Hardware guy now with an M.S. in Computer Engineering and some EE background. I wonder how he is with Physics because I was a Software guy who worked closely with Hardware. I believe that if he follows the circuitous route to Engineering school it's not going to be easy for him to graduate with a good GPA

 

Sent from my SM-G355M using Tapatalk

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MarkT Okay I agree with you that it would probably not be doable in 4 years but could be done. You sound like you are a Hardware guy now with an M.S. in Computer Engineering and some EE background. I wonder how he is with Physics because I was a Software guy who worked closely with Hardware. I believe that if he follows the circuitous route to Engineering school it's not going to be easy for him to graduate with a good GPA

 

Sent from my SM-G355M using Tapatalk

I am also a SW guy who works closely with HW (embedded SW)

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Thank you for your thoughts.  He is interested in CS, not engineering.  Many schools don't even couple these together but NCSU does.  I know that there is a good bit of math required in CS but not in the field itself.  He doesn't want to go into computer engineering.  So maybe he is better just striking NCSU from his list and focus on schools that don't couple CS with an engineering pathway?

 

He is very interested in physics but hasn't taken it yet.  He is mostly a B student in Math.  His grades and test scores always make him look like an english kid (super high test scores english/reading) but he has no desire to go into an english or communications field.

Have him try some discrete math stuff this summer to see if that floats his boat for example Mathematical induction and some Set stuff

find something online

 

=====================================

NC State course 

"CSC 226: Discrete Mathematics for Computer Scientists

Units: 3

Propositional logic and the predicate calculus. Logic gates and circuits. Methods of proof. Elementary set theory. Mathematical induction. Recursive definitions and algorithms. Solving recurrences. The analysis of algorithms and asymptotic growth of functions. Elementary combinatorics. Introduction to graph theory. Ordered sets, including posets and equivalence relations. Introduction to formal languages and automata.

Prerequisite: MA 101 Intermediate Algebra or equivalent completed in high school ; CSC,CSU Majors and minors;CPE,CPU Majors

"

I am curious what textbook they use.

=====================================

 

I also noticed NC State has a Minor in Computer Science:

https://www.csc.ncsu.edu/academics/undergrad/minor.php

along with a science, or business degree would probably land him a job in the NC triangle area

 

don't strike it yet!

Edited by MarkT
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Thank you for your thoughts.  He is interested in CS, not engineering.  Many schools don't even couple these together but NCSU does.  I know that there is a good bit of math required in CS but not in the field itself.  He doesn't want to go into computer engineering.  So maybe he is better just striking NCSU from his list and focus on schools that don't couple CS with an engineering pathway?

 

He is very interested in physics but hasn't taken it yet.  He is mostly a B student in Math.  His grades and test scores always make him look like an english kid (super high test scores english/reading) but he has no desire to go into an english or communications field.

 

OK. I come from the  Engineering world,  so I assumed Engineering. Sorry. Yes, many universities that grant C.S. degrees do that from the college of engineering.

 

Question:   If he gets a C.S. degree, what kind of work would he like to be involved in? Computer Security or something else?

 

If you can give us an idea of his career goals, maybe we can give you some better ideas about the education that will help him get there

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I have heard the you basically have no hope of getting into engineering if you haven't had AP math.

It is always hard to say with college applications. However just looking at the NC State CS requirements and ignoring acceptance rate,

 

NC State computer science sequence https://oucc.dasa.ncsu.edu/coe-14cscbs-nosubplan-2167/

the first math class is MA 141 Calculus I and the prerequisites are a 550 for SAT Math 2 or a 2 for AP Calculus. So a pass in AP Calculus isn't required.

"MA 141 Calculus I

Prerequisite: MA 111 or MA 108 with grade of C- or better, or 550 or better on the SAT Subject Test in Mathematics Level 2 or the NCSU Math Skills Test, or 2 or better on an AP Calculus exam. Credit is not allowed for both MA 141 and MA 121 or MA 131..

 

First of three semesters in a calculus sequence for science and engineering majors. Functions, graphs, limits, derivatives, rules of differentiation, definite integrals, fundamental theorem of calculus, applications of derivatives and integrals. Use of computation tools. Credit is not allowed for more than one of MA 141, 131, 121." http://catalog.ncsu.edu/undergraduate/coursedescriptions/ma/

 

CH 101 Chemistry – A Molecular Science is first term and PY 205 Physics for Engineers & Scientist is 2nd term.

 

If you look at the transfer page, they did list preferred NC State courses.

 

"If NC State courses are taken, the overall NC State GPA must be at least 2.0. Core courses (chemistry, calculus and physics), also known as C-wall courses, require at least a C.

 

1. 30 credit hours or more of transferable college-level courses

2. 3.0 or higher cumulative GPA†

3. Minimum 4 credit hours of English composition, 4 credits (ENG 101) (One or more English composition (ENG 1**) courses may be combined to fulfill the requirement (total > 4 credits).)

4. College chemistry course with lab, 4 credits (CH 101 and CH 102)

5. Calculus I, 4 credits (MA 141)

6. Calculus II, 4 credits (MA 241)

7. Minimum 2.5 math GPA on last two math courses at MA 141 level or higher

8. Calculus-based Physics I with lab, 4 credits (PY 205 and PY 206)

 

†Please note that the requirements above are minimums for eligibility to transfer into the College of Engineering. Due to high demand, some programs are much more competitive and preference is given to higher GPAs. In some cases, applicants with 3.0 ≤ GPA < 3.5 may increase their competitiveness with strong performances in additional, technical coursework (e.g., Calculus III, Physics II, Engineering Statics, Chemistry II, Organic Chemistry, etc.). To select the appropriate courses, refer to your intended NC State engineering degree requirements." https://www.engr.ncsu.edu/admissions/transfer-admissions/

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He isn't bad at math, he just fell behind in sequence when he got really sick/diagnosed with a long-term illness. Math is not his shining strength either but he isn't "bad" at it. I have heard the you basically have no hope of getting into engineering if you haven't had AP math.

That rumor flies here too, as well as the one about needing 8 APs to get in to higher ranking engineering schools such as Georgia Tech. Ha ha, my district doesn't even offer 6 APs and students do get in to Ga Tech and Columbia in engineering. They usually have sticker shock and go elsewhere, but what they learn is that achievement showing a good chance of succeeding in Calc 1 and Physics 1 matters. As Arcadia noted, they show that with SAT scores. Some will complement with ecs.

 

One thing students do is take geo and alg2 the same year if they need to in order to take calc senior year.

 

Students also have success with going to community college or prep school, then applying to a 4 yr.

 

Is his dream school picked for his major and what it can do for his goals?

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"If NC State courses are taken, the overall NC State GPA must be at least 2.0. Core courses (chemistry, calculus and physics), also known as C-wall courses, require at least a C.

 

 

if you can't get at least a C you have no reason to be in the program IMHO - not a high hurdle

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I think there are lots of reasons why a student may not have a stellar high school record, but that does not automatically make them a bad fit for engineering or computer science. 

 

Sift through the thoughts above. It's absolute that students must be able to make it through calculus and physics and then generally be able to continue to apply the principles through the years.

 

Some schools make it difficult to get into pre-engineering courses, and therefore difficult to change into engineering.

Some schools make it difficult for anyone to change into engineering no matter their grades and courses. Other schools make it easy as long as you can pass calculus, etc. I agree that if you can't get at least a C in classes that are fundamental to engineering, then you don't belong in it.

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My degrees are in math and computer science, and I teach web design at the college level. I went to a small technical university that didn't have separate schools, but my graduate degree was from a large university that put computer science into the engineering school.

 

Computer science is a very math-intensive degree. He probably will have to go through differential equations, higher-level statistics, and combinatorics. When I got my undergraduate, it was just three courses more for me to get double degrees. Because I went into scientific research and focused on theoretical computer science in graduate school, that combination served me well.

 

Certainly some kids mature later mathematically or have challenges in high school, and then do beautifully with all of the math required for computer science.

 

I would certainly give it a try but consider other options. A B.S. in Information Technology is a similar, but more application-oriented degree that still requires math but not as much and not much of the theoretical side. The 4-year that my son is attending has one track that has more applied math, and other that is more business-focused. Both have excellent employment prospects. 

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OK. I come from the  Engineering world,  so I assumed Engineering. Sorry. Yes, many universities that grant C.S. degrees do that from the college of engineering.

 

Question:   If he gets a C.S. degree, what kind of work would he like to be involved in? Computer Security or something else?

 

If you can give us an idea of his career goals, maybe we can give you some better ideas about the education that will help him get there

 

 

He actually has done mostly IT work.  He has interned in the IT office at his school for two years and will graduate with a total of 4 years of internship.  He likes networking, troubleshooting, etc.  Everyone tells him to get a CS degree rather than an IT degree because of job opportunities and pay??  I know nothing about any of it.

Edited by Attolia
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Everyone tells him to get a CS degree rather than an IT degree because of job opportunities and pay?? I know nothing about any of it.

Either you and/or your son can look up undergrads internships listings in the NC triangle. See what discipline they are getting their interns from. Job opportunities tend to be about networking so look hard at how helpful the NC state's student services is. Is the student service active in getting companies to offer internships to their students?

 

Pay is very subjective and company culture dependent. The first company I worked for is a household name and paid according to whether the person has a degree, masters or PhD and a bonus for each relevant IT certification exam passed. The second company paid BEng (computer engineering) higher than BSc (CS or IT). They give a pay promotion to engineers for MBA, EMBA (executive MBA) or MEng. Another pay promotion for PhD. So an engineer with a PhD and a MBA/EMBA would have the highest basic pay. Bonuses are separate issues and highly negotiable.

 

However my cousin is working in network security with a BSc Computer Science and the hierarchy is flat in that department regardless of which Fortune 500 company she worked for. They are mostly same in rank with a reporting manager to report to. So there are no ranks to climb so to speak and my cousin has already reach maximum basic pay. She can only look forward to big bonuses on a good year.

Edited by Arcadia
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He actually has done mostly IT work.  He has interned in the IT office at his school for two years and will graduate with a total of 4 years of internship.  He likes networking, troubleshooting, etc.  Everyone tells him to get a CS degree rather than an IT degree because of job opportunities and pay??  I know nothing about any of it.

I think that is a probably true statement but you need to be happy with what you do for work and also motivated in college to do well. A low GPA will not get you many job offers.

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Computer science is a very math-intensive degree. He probably will have to go through differential equations, higher-level statistics, and combinatorics.

 

 

I want to second this (more or less). My wife spent some time majoring in CS at UTD, and while they didn't require differential equations for CS, iirc, she did have to take Calc I, Calc II, Multivariable Calc, Discrete Math I, and Discrete Math II - she passed all of those with okay grades... and then completely fell down on the required upper division Probability and Statistics for CS course (I think she went and failed that one twice before dropping out). 

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I want to second this (more or less). My wife spent some time majoring in CS at UTD, and while they didn't require differential equations for CS, iirc, she did have to take Calc I, Calc II, Multivariable Calc, Discrete Math I, and Discrete Math II - she passed all of those with okay grades... and then completely fell down on the required upper division Probability and Statistics for CS course (I think she went and failed that one twice before dropping out). 

 

 

I am sorry for her, but thanks for sharing.  This is good to know.  What did she end up with as a major?

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He actually has done mostly IT work.  He has interned in the IT office at his school for two years and will graduate with a total of 4 years of internship.  He likes networking, troubleshooting, etc.  Everyone tells him to get a CS degree rather than an IT degree because of job opportunities and pay??  I know nothing about any of it.

 

OK that is very important, regarding what he might Major in.  IMO a C.S. degree might be overkill for someone who wants to work in Networking, possibly do Server Administration (Systems Administration or "Sys Admin") on Servers or something like that?  

 

There are so many different types of degrees offered now, that IMO he should spend a lot of time, looking at the different degrees and at which ones are pointed at what he would like to d,o 8 to 12 hours a day, when he is working.

 

If for example, he wanted to be a Systems Administrator for servers, I think him having a lot of "on the job training" and Red Hat Linux certifications would serve him more than a C.S. Degree.  How that might (or might not) affect the salary, I don't know.

 

Networking is something I would think is a constantly growing field. Network Security and Security in general are things I believe are going to be in demand.

 

There was a link, I think here on WTM, some months ago, to a page at  UC Davis, about different things one could do with different types of degrees (C.S., etc.) and the number of projected job openings. It was extremely surprising to me, for example, the low number they projected for Network Security. One might assume there will be tens of thousands of openings in areas like Security, but, apparently, the actual number is much lower.

 

I think him going for a C.S. degree would be quite difficult for him, but not impossible. My concern is that if he gets a C.S. degree, what he studies may not be applicable to the type of work he would like to do.

 

I believe he should major in whatever is closest to the type of work he thinks he wants to do.

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NC State is extremely competitive.  I know several who didn't make it in to the program at all and had to pick a plan B.  Western Carolina (or is it UNC Asheville?  I get those two mixed up), UNCC, or out of state.

 

I don't know the answer to your question, I do know that things are tougher now than they have been in the past, and you would need to reapply to the Engineering school.  However, I do know a few who got in after 2 years at CC.  

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I am sorry for her, but thanks for sharing.  This is good to know.  What did she end up with as a major?

 

 

She didn't - she dropped out. She then spent five years doing a variety of low-paid unrelated jobs (think delivering pizza and the like), before being discovered because of work she did on an open source email program (she had about 25 years of hobby programming experience at the time, but never had a job in the field). IOW, not a path I'd recommend. She's had that job for almost five years now with excellent performance reviews, so, all's well that ends well?

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I went to Texas A&M and majored in Civil Engineering (graduated in 2003). A&M has a nationally ranked engineering school and was difficult to get into but I did and with only Calculus I (no AP course).

 

I hesitate to mention this in this world of smart people but math was never my strong subject. I could do it and do it better than many but was never GOOD at it. I got B's in high school math but struggled to get them. I struggled in college to get through three Calculus courses and Differential Equations. It was tough. I went to a lot of tutoring. I took the classes at a time when I knew there was a good instructor and when I would be attentive. I worked my bum off to get through them by doing more studying than everyone else. It can be done. I'm very proud of every C I got in a college math class. 

 

I was worried about the higher level engineering courses but applying the math was never as difficult as just doing the straight math and my specialty wasn't as math heavy as some. There's a lot less high level math in Traffic Engineering than say Structural Engineering.

 

It can be done. In fact I had an easier time than some because I was used to working hard in math classes in high school so when I had to work hard in college it wasn't a shock. Some kids were really surprised when then just didn't waltz through college the way they did high school math.

Edited by aggieamy
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One of the problems iirc is that there aren't many tutors at the tutoring center who can tutor upper division cs/engineering stats and prob compared to tutors who can tutor calc. I once went to the tutoring center with a calc 2 question and there was only one tutor there who was advanced enough to help with that... they were mostly there to help people get through college algebra. For higher courses study groups and office hours are probably likelier bets (or finding a tutor yourself and paying them). 

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He actually has done mostly IT work.  He has interned in the IT office at his school for two years and will graduate with a total of 4 years of internship.  He likes networking, troubleshooting, etc.  Everyone tells him to get a CS degree rather than an IT degree because of job opportunities and pay??  I know nothing about any of it.

 

Does he want to run/maintain a network or write/modify network software?

 

If he wants the run/maintain part, an I.T. degree would be fine, at least in my metropolitan area. Here C.S. degrees are primarily in demand for those writing software. Certainly C.S. is a more flexible degree because you can indeed do more things with it because it provides the underpinnings for all of that field. I.T. degrees are more "tool" degrees. Certainly employable though. For a time, I.T. degrees were actually doing better here than C.S. degrees because they already had expertise in the software that employers want, but of late I've heard it's pretty even.

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Does he want to run/maintain a network or write/modify network software?

 

If he wants the run/maintain part, an I.T. degree would be fine, at least in my metropolitan area. Here C.S. degrees are primarily in demand for those writing software. Certainly C.S. is a more flexible degree because you can indeed do more things with it because it provides the underpinnings for all of that field. I.T. degrees are more "tool" degrees. Certainly employable though. For a time, I.T. degrees were actually doing better here than C.S. degrees because they already had expertise in the software that employers want, but of late I've heard it's pretty even.

 

 

so here is the reality...I have no knowledge of these fields.  He has had limited work in them.  How is he supposed to know exactly what he wants to do?  He is 16  :confused1:

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so here is the reality...I have no knowledge of these fields.  He has had limited work in them.  How is he supposed to know exactly what he wants to do?  He is 16  :confused1:

 

One thing I wish someone had made me think about more when I was a teen, or even in college, was what the reality of jobs are day to day.

 

As far as these two jobs go, would he be more interested in sitting in front of a computer all day typing lines of code (lots of logic and thinking) and then debugging (trying to find why the heck it doesn't work - error in logic, or you just forgot an asterisk somewhere...).  You could be writing code for software or robotics or lots of different things, but most of your time is still sitting and typing into a computer and figuring out logic, algorithms, and debugging.  That's what a lot of CS jobs lead to.

 

Or would he prefer being up and around putting out fires, being on call, network is down, something doesn't work, you fix it.  Could include installing and upgrading computers, wiring things together, making sure that the tech infrastructure of the company is always up and running and reliable for everyone.  Can sometimes require being on call even at night if things go down. At the higher level, could involve deciding what kind of computers and software the company buys. That's more the IT area.

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If at all possible, it'd be good if he could shadow a few different people working in various different computer-related jobs. Also, if he can go to a university that has both CS and IT degrees, he could probably take a bunch of classes before having to decide which way to go. 

 

My wife migrates emails (like, when a company you might use for your email decides that there's a cheaper provider of servers for those emails or w/e, and they need to move all of those email accounts). The vast majority of her job is sitting at a desk writing code and debugging - she says she's been trying to automate herself out of her job for the entire time she's been working there. Some time is spent in meetings with clients or other people on the email team (lots of which can be done by just calling in to the meeting - she can work from home almost whenever, though the company wants her to show up at work on a regular basis, but afaik, for the most part, there isn't any real need for that, just something the company wants (plus, it's good for her to show her face)). She does get called in the middle of the night at times if something doesn't go the way it's supposed to, especially if they're actively migrating emails. It can get stressful with having to work overtime just before a migration if things aren't running completely on schedule or some bug is found or w/e, but a lot of the time things are pretty chill. Plus, companies like to do migrations overnight, so there's late evening hours involved in that. 

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One thing I wish someone had made me think about more when I was a teen, or even in college, was what the reality of jobs are day to day.

 

As far as these two jobs go, would he be more interested in sitting in front of a computer all day typing lines of code (lots of logic and thinking) and then debugging (trying to find why the heck it doesn't work - error in logic, or you just forgot an asterisk somewhere...).  You could be writing code for software or robotics or lots of different things, but most of your time is still sitting and typing into a computer and figuring out logic, algorithms, and debugging.  That's what a lot of CS jobs lead to.

 

Or would he prefer being up and around putting out fires, being on call, network is down, something doesn't work, you fix it.  Could include installing and upgrading computers, wiring things together, making sure that the tech infrastructure of the company is always up and running and reliable for everyone.  Can sometimes require being on call even at night if things go down. At the higher level, could involve deciding what kind of computers and software the company buys. That's more the IT area.

 

 

Ok, this he does know!  He would rather die than have his life be option #1.  He likes to be moving around, helping people with their problems, etc.

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Ok, this he does know!  He would rather die than have his life be option #1.  He likes to be moving around, helping people with their problems, etc.

 

I got that feeling from how you'd described what he did so far.  I don't think he should feel bad for wanting to stick with IT if it fits his interests better.  And, less math!

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Ok, this he does know! He would rather die than have his life be option #1. He likes to be moving around, helping people with their problems, etc.

A lot of those help desk/customer service jobs are handled by Infosys, Tata Consultancy Services, Wipro here. That was how a friend of ours managed to get a H1B to come here. So if I were him, I would aim to be higher up that "food chain". The last few companies (all household names) my husband worked for has IT outsourced. So none of the IT staff are direct employees which means they didn't get to benefit from the generous HSA or stock options or sabbatical.

 

Below quoted was one of the jobs I used to do. It is a computer science job but the higher ranks at the high performance computing dept where I used to worked were dominated by computer/electrical engineering. I copied the description off Intel.

 

"What You'll Bring

Successful performance optimization engineers typically have a bachelors in Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, Computer Engineering or a related technical degree. We’re looking for individuals that know specific software stacks inside and out. Excelling in performance characterization, extensive knowledge of analysis methodologies, and expertise in hardware architecture and performance tools are powerful advantages. And we value candidates who have experience with the latest Intel architectures and instruction sets, knowledge of software/hardware interaction and the software development lifecycle, and experience with performance tools, languages and libraries.

 

If you have a passion for squeezing every ounce of performance out of the latest software versions, we want to talk to you. Our system software performance engineers should have extensive hardware architectural knowledge including pipelines, cache hierarchies, TLBs, interconnects and memory address translations, storage protocols, performance and virtualization performance tuning, and benchmarking with SQLServer, Oracle, ESX, Hyper-V, XEN, NTTCP and IOmeter, as well as software development with C, C++, assembly and scripting languages." https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/jobs/careers/software/performance-optimization-engineer.html

 

My husband as an electrical engineering undergrad learned more assembly and C programming than the computer science undergrads in the same college. Civil engineering which was what I took as an undergrad was another programming/optimization powerhouse in the college I attended.

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I got that feeling from how you'd described what he did so far.  I don't think he should feel bad for wanting to stick with IT if it fits his interests better.  And, less math!

 

 

A lot of those help desk/customer service jobs are handled by Infosys, Tata Consultancy Services, Wipro here. That was how a friend of ours managed to get a H1B to come here. So if I were him, I would aim to be higher up that "food chain". The last few companies (all household names) my husband worked for has IT outsourced. So none of the IT staff are direct employees which means they didn't get to benefit from the generous HSA or stock options or sabbatical.

 

Below quoted was one of the jobs I used to do. It is a computer science job but the higher ranks at the high performance computing dept where I used to worked were dominated by computer/electrical engineering. I copied the description off Intel.

 

"What You'll Bring

Successful performance optimization engineers typically have a bachelors in Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, Computer Engineering or a related technical degree. We’re looking for individuals that know specific software stacks inside and out. Excelling in performance characterization, extensive knowledge of analysis methodologies, and expertise in hardware architecture and performance tools are powerful advantages. And we value candidates who have experience with the latest Intel architectures and instruction sets, knowledge of software/hardware interaction and the software development lifecycle, and experience with performance tools, languages and libraries.

 

If you have a passion for squeezing every ounce of performance out of the latest software versions, we want to talk to you. Our system software performance engineers should have extensive hardware architectural knowledge including pipelines, cache hierarchies, TLBs, interconnects and memory address translations, storage protocols, performance and virtualization performance tuning, and benchmarking with SQLServer, Oracle, ESX, Hyper-V, XEN, NTTCP and IOmeter, as well as software development with C, C++, assembly and scripting languages." https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/jobs/careers/software/performance-optimization-engineer.html

 

My husband as an electrical engineering undergrad learned more assembly and C programming than the computer science undergrads in the same college. Civil engineering which was what I took as an undergrad was another programming/optimization powerhouse in the college I attended.

 

 

 

 

And THIS is why he doesn't want an IT degree.  In the research we've done, someone with a CS can do IT work but usually will have a nicer job and pay.  Someone with an IT degree is pigeon holed and taking lower end jobs.

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@Attolia  The thread title and post #1 asks about transferring into the College/School of Engineering, so that's what I thought you were looking for, but the more I know about your student, the less I think he wants to go into Engineering, or try for a C.S. degree if it is in the College/School of Engineering.  MarkT does and I did Embedded Software. That means working, very closely, with the Hardware. The Hardware does not work without the Software that makes it work.  That means sometimes spending very long hours reading technical manuals about the Hardware and trying to figure out how to make it do what you need it to do.. Doing that, I learned, for example, that an ARINC 429 Receiver can also Transmit a few characters.  That discovery saved the client corporation I was under contract to a lot of money, because they did not need to buy additional Hardware, for me to test what I was testing, and they saved $ by not needing to pay me for that "learning curve".  In post #38, Arcadia explains what Intel was looking for.  I have spent many hours, reading thick Intel manuals, for a microprocessor that I was working with and needed to write Assembly Language code for. Arcadia pointed out at the top of post #38 that many of the Support tasks are farmed out to people on H1B Visas, or to people who are Contractors (Job Shoppers) who are paid on an hourly basis.  Sometimes working with Hardware means that you are in a lab with a bunch of Hardware and trying to get the "Black Box" you are working with to work, or to work properly, or, to play well with the other Hardware.  And, these things do need to be supported and the Engineers do need to work with "the customer", who might be a corporate employee or a government employee, to make sure everyone is on the same page.   I do not think that your DS would be happy, for example, being a Security Analyst, for a government agency with 3 letters, or a corporation involved in that, where he is staring at boring stuff all day long. Day in and day out. He should probably look for something above what he is currently contemplating, but not  C.S., and not C.S. from a College/School of Engineering. Possibly some kind of Network Engineering or IT Major would be something he will enjoy.  One last memory:  With one exception, all of the Hardware Engineers I worked with were extremely good. One, at a major Aerospace company, was not...  He was responsible for the "Black Box" I was working on. The project was Simulation. Please read this carefully:  I was a member of the "Software" group. We were 8 or 10 people, including 1 or 2 women.  The "Software" group ended up redesigning the Hardware, which did not work...   That's what people with an Electronic Engineering degree can do. They can do Software and they can do Hardware.  If your DS wanted to work in Engineering, I would encourage him to consider an Electronic Engineering degree, instead of a Computer Science degree, but I do not believe that would have anything to do with the kind of work he thinks (at this very early stage in his life) that he would like to do.    It would give him paper credentials, but not the preparation for what he thinks he wants to do on the job as a professional for 40 or 50 years.  

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And THIS is why he doesn't want an IT degree.  In the research we've done, someone with a CS can do IT work but usually will have a nicer job and pay.  Someone with an IT degree is pigeon holed and taking lower end jobs.

 

This isn't true in my metro area as long as you have a degree from one of the three 4-year state schools that have a national reputation in that field. In other words, an IT degree from University of Phoenix or Strayer is indeed a dead end if you aren't already working in the field. But an IT degree from one of the three state schools pays just as well as CS and leads to promotions just as quickly. CS is more flexible, but IT graduates do well.

 

Here, even students with two year degrees in IT with a focus on networking start at $50,000+ a year. Getting promoted requires a 4-year, but that's not bad at all for a 2-year degree.

 

In another metro area, I have brother-in-law who makes nearly six figures in networking with on-call and weekend bonuses and no college. He can't advance without a degree, but he's got all of the industry certifications. He'd have a tough time making that here.

 

So there's a lot of variability.

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This isn't true in my metro area as long as you have a degree from one of the three 4-year state schools that have a national reputation in that field. In other words, an IT degree from University of Phoenix or Strayer is indeed a dead end if you aren't already working in the field. But an IT degree from one of the three state schools pays just as well as CS and leads to promotions just as quickly. CS is more flexible, but IT graduates do well.

 

Here, even students with two year degrees in IT with a focus on networking start at $50,000+ a year. Getting promoted requires a 4-year, but that's not bad at all for a 2-year degree.

 

In another metro area, I have brother-in-law who makes nearly six figures in networking with on-call and weekend bonuses and no college. He can't advance without a degree, but he's got all of the industry certifications. He'd have a tough time making that here.

 

So there's a lot of variability.

We do not outsource our IT either.  I can't imagine someone trying to fix our complicated network issues from India.  Maybe they are more open to that on the "coasts".  

 

I agree , make sure the degree is from a reasonably "name-brand"  college (avoid University of Phoenix etc) and make sure you have a 3.xx GPA. Typically if the CS dept has a good rep then the Information Science type degree from that same college would also have a good reputation.

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One thing I would suggest to the DS of the OP (and to anyone else) is what my Mentor told me, many years ago. "I think you should do the most difficult work you are capable of doing".  Possibly that helps keep one from getting senile?  If I understand, the DS of the OP is working in a Support role in the High School IT Dept. and he likes that work. That is great. However, it does not seem to require much additional experience or education, for him to continue in that work.  He should "reach for the stars".  I don't have the correct words, but I think he should look to the future and study as much as he can and then apply as much of what he has learned in university to the work he does, every day.  And then keep learning, because the technology changes and there are always new things one can learn. 

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Thank you for your thoughts.  He is interested in CS, not engineering.  Many schools don't even couple these together but NCSU does.  I know that there is a good bit of math required in CS but not in the field itself.  He doesn't want to go into computer engineering.  So maybe he is better just striking NCSU from his list and focus on schools that don't couple CS with an engineering pathway?

 

He is very interested in physics but hasn't taken it yet.  He is mostly a B student in Math.  His grades and test scores always make him look like an english kid (super high test scores english/reading) but he has no desire to go into an english or communications field.

If he goes into CS programming (Software) and not hardware (engineering) many programs will only require Calculus 1 maybe Calc2 but not beyond. If he is a strong enough math student to do well in pre-calculus his senior year and his SAT math score is 650 or above, likely a mid-range (not top ranked) program would take him as a freshman into CS software/Programming.

 

I know some schools are no longer accepting the AP Calc because they find the quality and depth of teaching of the topic at the high school level still isn't up to snuff with their college. DE from a reputable school would be a good way to go. If you put together a short list of college options, you could contact those schools and find out what they recommend. DE for pre-calc from a school on their list of transfer options might be a great way to go, and if he did well the first semester of his senior year, he could try Calc 1 in the winter/spring semester.

 

Will he be ready for pre-calc his senior year? or was he sick enough that he'll be in Algebra 2? If the latter, a gap year given that illness really just takes a round out of kids, would not be a bad thing, or simply delaying graduation for another year to give him some space to recover and catch up. Given that kids run that gamut of being 17-19 when they enter college, that extra year would not likely make any admission department bat an eye especially with a homeschool transcript because you would just record his last four years of school anyway.

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Will he be ready for pre-calc his senior year? or was he sick enough that he'll be in Algebra 2? If the latter, a gap year given that illness really just takes a round out of kids, would not be a bad thing, or simply delaying graduation for another year to give him some space to recover and catch up. Given that kids run that gamut of being 17-19 when they enter college, that extra year would not likely make any admission department bat an eye especially with a homeschool transcript because you would just record his last four years of school anyway.

 

 

He will be in pre-cal his senior year.  The biggest hang up is that he is not my homeschooled kid.  He is in private school.  A very competitive school where only getting through pre-cal senior year means you are in a small percentage of lower achieving kids.

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He will be in pre-cal his senior year.  The biggest hang up is that he is not my homeschooled kid.  He is in private school.  A very competitive school where only getting through pre-cal senior year means you are in a small percentage of lower achieving kids.

 

Some of the Math hot shots in High School may not do so well in Engineering school.  It is better to have a very solid foundation, than to have taken courses and gotten good grades in them and then not being able to apply the material.  Yes, it would be nice to take Calc in High School, if it was an extremely solid course. That would give one a preview  into what is about to come...  Probably all of them, high achieving kids and low achieving kids, will need to take a Math Placement exam, given by the Engineering College/School or by the university, to see which Math class they can enroll in, when they arrive as Freshmen.

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You might remind him that if he becomes a programmer, he has a good chance of sitting still staring at a screen all day long. I loved the work because I was either making something or solving mysteries/puzzles/problems and very little else all day, but physically, the not moving much part was bad for me. Easy for me to do once I was absorbed (and programming or debugging sucked me right in) but not good for my body. What was so absorbing for me struck other people I know as mind numbingly boring. I know a someone who likes the being-the-hero, problem solving, people interaction of IT work much better, but when he did it remotely, from home, he became depressed. I know someone who is writing a novel who found programming deadly boring (despite being good at it) - same sitting staring at a screen making something and problem solving but making a different thing. The EE-with-lots-of-programming-classes idea might be a good one.

 

Nan

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You might remind him that if he becomes a programmer, he has a good chance of sitting still staring at a screen all day long. I loved the work because I was either making something or solving mysteries/puzzles/problems and very little else all day, but physically, the not moving much part was bad for me. Easy for me to do once I was absorbed (and programming or debugging sucked me right in) but not good for my body. What was so absorbing for me struck other people I know as mind numbingly boring. I know a someone who likes the being-the-hero, problem solving, people interaction of IT work much better, but when he did it remotely, from home, he became depressed. I know someone who is writing a novel who found programming deadly boring (despite being good at it) - same sitting staring at a screen making something and problem solving but making a different thing. The EE-with-lots-of-programming-classes idea might be a good one.

 

Nan

 

I was another one who hated solely programming once I got into it. I was programming 8-10 hours a day and then working on a graduate degree in computer science, and it became pretty clear to me that I wasn't cut out for programming all day every day. Thankfully I moved into management after a year, and just had graduate school and bits-and-pieces of programming after that. I was much happier. My sibling has been a programmer for 30+ years now, and they are perfectly happy with that. 

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My friends who are programmers since the 90s are still frequent flyers. It really depends on the company. For example a programmer friend (middle school classmate) flew a few times to San Francisco, Bellevue and Las Vegas on business trips.

 

It also depends on the job within the company. The people handling the kernel code dumps (Unix/mainframe) were working round the clock. But everyone with security clearance into the lab "ignores" the beer/soda, chips and kids on weekends. So you have dads with kids and sometimes babies in tow. The ladies bring their kids too on weekends. It is very gender neutral. The core dumps don't make sense to most kids so no privacy infringement and those were not Federal projects or any other high security project.

 

Make sure social media accounts are "clean" though for future security clearance.

 

When I started working as an undergraduate in the early 90s, there was already VPN, and RSA securID. It was already possible to manage a server in another continent remotely, BTDT. My husband was troubleshooting the embedded Gemplus chip in credit cards in the late 90s at home on weekends. Asia and Europe rolled out the chips much earlier and he was working for Gemplus. So he was debugging at the smart chip level almost twenty years ago as was my friends working on cellphone GSM SIM cards.

 

Programming has come a long way from being a desk bound job during my school days in the 80s. By the time in the 90s, my laptop was good enough to run C programming projects. So I could do college class work while on family vacation in Thailand in the early 90s for example. Now my kids can run C programming projects off their raspberry PI which is pocket size.

 

My traffic engineering modules for BEng (Civil) was actually high in discrete math. It was heavy on optimization of traffic lights to reduce jams, as well as optimization of flight paths and airport runways. It really is college and department dependent.

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Arcadia, in post #49, touched upon something that is quite important, if one wants to have the widest world of job openings available to them. That has to do with having a very "clean" background, so you can get a Security Clearance from the U.S. Government. (DoD, etc.).  I am still receiving emails about temporary contract assignments. Almost all of them require a current DoD "Secret" clearance. Mine expired, because of break-in service. That makes someone *very* marketable to a potential employer or client corporation.  Several days ago, I received 3 of those emails, the same day, about assignments in 3 different states, on 3 different projects. 
 

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