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Hello, everyone!

For the past few days, I've been looking at different colleges that offer computer science programs and I was wondering if any of the Cemetech members would be able to recommend a university. Colleges that are in the US would be preferred! Very Happy

I was also wondering what sort of courses would be best for a cybersecurity major as well as what level of math/calculus I would need to have in order to provide a good foundation for it.

Any recommendations would be very much appreciated!
I'm not super qualified to say much about this since I'm only a freshman but the University of Minnesota has a moderately high ranked CS program. There are two options to take for majoring in computer science here: through College of Liberal Arts (CLA) or College of Science and Engineering (CSE). From my understanding, it's not too common for colleges to have a CSE and even more uncommon to have CS in it. I don't know too much about the CLA classes, but in CSE we are required to take CSE 1001 which essentially helps give you a feel for the various other majors in CSE to help you understand the options and what is a best fit. You also don't need to declare your major until your spring semester sophomore year which gives you more time to decide what works best for you. One nice benefit of taking it through CSE is that it is significantly easier than most other colleges to switch to a different major because you don't need to change your college to, say, major in Computer Engineering.

Looking at the Computer Science Four-Year Plan, the highest math class is Calculus II (and many people have this already completed through AP testing).

Also, the upper level undergraduate tracks for CS can be found here.

Hope this helps! I'm kinda bragging a lot about my university but hey, what else was I supposed to do. I'm going for (probably) Mechanical Engineering and was thinking of minoring in either Computer Science or Electrical Engineering.
Though I am not in college yet, I have done some research into this sort of subject (even though I'm only a sophomore in high school), and some colleges with important computer science/technical fields include: MIT (duh) for computer science, University of Nebraska at Omaha has a remarkable engineering program, and Carnegie Mellon is really great for most technical fields.

These are just from my research, and I'm probably missing out on some great ones.
It doesn't matter. You can go to some fancy-pants school and still program like crap. All that matters is the amount of time you are willing to devote on your own to learning everything you are interested in. College will teach you the basics and bare minimum, it is up to you to practice and improve your own skills.

Don't go to some school and go horribly into debt, especially for an undergraduate degree. A lot of state schools are perfectly fine. If you are interested in computer security, many colleges offer cryptography courses.

Anyway, that's just my two cents. Best of luck with your decision!
Take a look at Universities in the Washington DC area. There's a lot of need for Cybersecurity folks there, and a lot of expertise. If you want to work for the Govt, you'll need a clearance and so don't do anything stupid that will get you arrested.
Thanks for all the advice!

I've looked at several colleges and, like matkeller said, not too many of them have a College of Science and Engineering. Most of them have the Computer Science under the College of Sciences or under the College of Arts and Sciences. I've heard that the math courses for CS are better taken from the engineering department rather than the math department because the engineers focus on practical applications rather than theory.

In that case, I think the University of Nebraska Omaha might be a good school to consider. Thanks for pointing out that college, bdoggamer!

I agree with what Mateo said. Universities are designed to cover the core curriculum in order to provide students with a foundation to build on so that when they graduate they can continue to build on that foundation. And I agree about the debt part, too. Wink

I also think that rfdave made a very good point about the demand for cybersecurity workers and the expertise in the D.C. area.
It's kind of irrelevant what part of the university Computer Science is taught in, as long as it's an accredited program. ABET is the organization that checks on universities to make sure they're teaching an appropriate program of study, and you'll want to make sure that any university you go to is ABET accredited. There's a list here that you can search

http://main.abet.org/aps/accreditedprogramsearch.aspx
While I'd agree that accreditation is the most generally important item to look at, name recognition of a school does tend to have an effect.

In particular, a school with name recognition (offhand; places like Stanford, MIT, Carnegie Mellon) does tend to bias initial candidate screenings, especially for "technology" companies (Google &c, compared to traditional "non-technology" companies that happen to (often extensively) use software). Those companies might claim that they try to eliminate bias, but initial screening of candidates is still extremely subjective. I doubt those kinds of biases are going to go away anytime soon, and they may in fact be meaningful predictors of future success (but I'm skeptical of that).

Anecdotally, I got more traction with a MS from a university that has well-known history in the development of the field of computer science than I ever did with a BS from a more regional school, even if I don't feel like there was a significant step in rigor between the two. Admittedly as a subjective assessment you should take this with a large grain of salt.
@tari has a good point. I'm looking at college recruitment at my day job, and there's a list of colleges that we target, so we have people show up on campus at career events, set up on campus interviews, etc. If you're not at one of those campuses, I suspect the chances of getting interviewed is lower.

Internships can serve as an extended interview, so intern are useful, but not mandatory.
Echoing Tari and others in this thread, the questions of "which computer science school has the best name recognition for CS" and "where will I best learn CS" are two very different ones. Carnegie Mellon, Stanford, and MIT are among the perennially most lauded programs in the US, to varying degrees for their undergraduate and graduate programs. At the graduate level, different schools tend to be known for specific research groups and specialties (e.g. programming languages, OS, networking, formal methods), so it depends a lot on what professor and research group you might be joining. I share the thoughts of others here that the best favor you can do for yourself is to pick a good school you'll be able to afford and where you'll be able to actually add a formal computer science education on top of your self-taught intuition and give you the foundation to go further, than to go to the best school.
Thank you for all of the advice!

I agree with rfdave that an accredited school would be the better school to attend. It would have a much better impact on a resume than a program that does not have the official stamp of approval. Wink I also think that Tari made a very good point. Getting the a bachelor's degree from a low-key college for the foundational CS knowledge and then getting a master's degree from a more prestigious school to add a shine to a resume would definitely be better than going to a top-class college for four years and accruing ten years of debt payments.

KermMartian wrote:
I share the thoughts of others here that the best favor you can do for yourself is to pick a good school you'll be able to afford and where you'll be able to actually add a formal computer science education on top of your self-taught intuition and give you the foundation to go further, than to go to the best school.


Thanks, Kerm! I believe that would be the best course to pursue. Smile
  
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