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 Post subject: What should I plan for becoming a computer programmer?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2008 3:54 pm 
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I'm a Junior in high school (today was the first day) and I've decided that I wanna go into computer engineering and help design cpus and gpus.
I have almost zero background so far in it, I'm taking a class on computer programming/web design (just to see if I like it), and I'm taking a class on CAD this semester. I'm open to any suggestions you guys have. also, I'd like to know any colleges that have good computer engineering programs in or close to pennsylvania.

Edit: I've decided that I would like to become a computer programmer. More money+more jobs= happy me.


Last edited by avanish11 on Sat Oct 18, 2008 3:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2008 5:30 pm 
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Concentrate on math and physics, and when you get into college study Electrical Engineering and look into minoring in Embedded Programming.

Some schools combine Electrical and Computer Engineering into one program.

To get to the point where you're designing CPUs, you'll need a Masters degree just to get an internship at AMD (last time I checked), and if you want to work at a place like IBM, a PhD.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 11:54 am 
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I plan on getting a masters degree right off the bat, while working part time anyways so no worries there. Phd, I might do later on down the road.
Should I take the A+ exam or any other tests?


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 12:26 pm 
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It wouldn't hurt.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 3:10 pm 
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Yeah I know it won't hurt, but if I take a bunch of tests that are worthless, then there's no point and money is tight right now. A couple of months ago, my dad bought a new business, so we're about 700,000 bucks in the hole right now.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 4:35 pm 
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avanish11 wrote:
Yeah I know it won't hurt, but if I take a bunch of tests that are worthless, then there's no point and money is tight right now. A couple of months ago, my dad bought a new business, so we're about 700,000 bucks in the hole right now.


You do not need an A+ cert for engineering. It will teach you absolutely nothing of value for engineering.

It might be useful to land that part-time job.

Oh ... and you won't be working and doing graduate work. The two don't mix. I know a handful of people able to pull that off ... and the work that they were doing on the side was more profitable than most 'real' jobs.

Start with getting into college .. THEN worry about whether you are going to do graduate work.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 28, 2008 11:45 am 
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Alright, so other than getting a part time job, the A+ cert is worthless? I might take it after I get into college. Thanks.

Anyone know any good computer engineering schools in the pennsylvania area?


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 29, 2008 12:38 pm 
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It is worthless for a computer engineer. It is not worthless in obtaining a job. :)

Can't help you with US schools, though ... sorry. :


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 29, 2008 3:21 pm 
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Haha thanks man. You canuckers are awesome :P


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2008 12:22 am 
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avanish11 wrote:
I plan on getting a masters degree right off the bat, while working part time anyways so no worries there. Phd, I might do later on down the road.


Put at least a couple of years between undergrad and grad for experience.

Also, plan to have very few women in any of your upper classes.

You can't go wrong at PSU if PA is a hard requirement. Multiple branch campuses throughout the state if you want to start off the early classes near home and get to State College for jr/sr.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2008 7:17 am 
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Well PA isn't solid. Like if all the schools sucked in pennsylvania, I'd be willing to go to a better school in the general area (maryland, ohio, new jersey, new york, virginia, delaware.) I'd even be willing to go to new england. I just don't wanna be shipped off to the other side of the country where I know very few people :P.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2008 9:10 am 
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mobiledude wrote:
avanish11 wrote:
I plan on getting a masters degree right off the bat, while working part time anyways so no worries there. Phd, I might do later on down the road.


Put at least a couple of years between undergrad and grad for experience.


Why? Most grad students go straight into grad school from undergrad. The ones who get industry experience first are in the minority.

Quote:
Also, plan to have very few women in any of your upper classes.


So what? You don't plan your life around the availability of women in the workplace. Get a social hobby.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 08, 2008 1:43 pm 
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Take your first semester and get acclimated to your classes and the general difference between college and high school classes ie a job is something you should worry about after you know how hard the classes are. Engineering is tough. I've had my share of struggles and im only a sophomore CS/CpE at WVU. And, final advice, go to WVU lol.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2008 4:23 pm 
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haha yeah I don't expect it to be a walk in the park, so I'll see what happens. Thanks for the advice


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2008 8:54 am 
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I felt the same way as you when I was a junior. I am now a freshman at the University of Pittsburgh. I applied to Cornell and Carnegie Mellon (one of the top engineering schools in the country), I chose Pittsburgh because I felt their program was strong and I fit in better than the other two :). I have no background with that type of stuff either but your freshman year its all basic courses, physics, calculus, chemistry, etc...but with all integrated engineering aspects. I also have an Engineering Analysis Course where we learn how to design web pages, use unix, minor coding, and excel :D. There is a lot of work (I study/do homework about 5 hours a night, but thats my personal choice). Here at Pitt you don't have to actually choose which type of engineering you go into until your sophmore year, so you get an idea of whether or not its right for you.

Hope I could help.

Oh and runner we'll see you the day after thanksgiving :D


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2008 11:23 am 
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Which college has a better engineering program? Pittsburgh or Penn state? How about Penn Tech?


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2008 3:50 pm 
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RPI.


Beatdown...mwhahah.



AJ


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 21, 2008 11:59 am 
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honestly im not exactly sure. I know Penn State Behrend has one of the best engineering programs around, and Im sure that means that main campus has a good program as well. Im bot too sure about Penn tech though, Ive never heard of that school.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 3:28 pm 
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The full name is pennsylvania school of technology. My cousin's going there to become an architect. from the sound of what he says, it's not very good.

Anyways, I was talking to my dad yesterday about my future career. He's telling me to go into computer programming instead of hardware. He says that there's more money involved (70k from a masters in comp engineering vs around 120k with a masters in comp programming) and there are alot more jobs around with programming. Anyone have any ideas? I was thinking that if that's the case, do both. One of them major, and have the other be hte minor.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2008 1:08 pm 
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I hope this thread is still on your radar Avanish11. Honestly, when I was in 7th grade I was much more interested in beating the crap out of Mike Tyson on the Nintendo...but to each his own. There's a lot of good advise in here already and its pretty clear that you'll need to first focus on High School. I'm going to assume that you're a decent math student. If not then you've got a little under 2 years to figure it out. Get a tutor if necessary but get those fundamentals down and eventually you'll be doing Game theory in your head. Hey, if you do well enough in High School you might get a scholarship. But don't count on it. Work and save but heed Jipstyle's warning. Grad School is mutually exclusive to a full time job unless you don't plan to sleep. Either way it sucks.

The high school district in my area has a program that allows 16 year old students to take courses at the community college for High School credit. In 2 years when you get into High School keep it in mind. If by then you're still interested then please, please ask your guidance counselor if there's a similar program at your school because it will be your foot in the door and its the best, and underused program a public school could ever hope to have. College courses are worth double and sometimes triple high school units.

Naturally, you don't have to wait for college to begin dabbling. I think it was the great Gordon Mah Ung that mentioned that a PC is a much better gift for a teenager than a game console. So you're taking a class in web design. If you enjoy it and are catching on to the fundamentals then you can always play around with JavaScript.

My sister in law went to Penn State. They have some pretty cool research going in the Computer Science & Engineering school. They're probably responsible for part of SkyNet. I "officially" began Grad school at the University of Illinois but soon ran out of time & money. At the time were in the top 10 Computer Science universities.

In the real world, people with work experience and a college degree (any degree) are worth more than those with certificates. Nothing against the folks with the certs, but the programs are costly and often too specific [Example: MCSE or CCNA] to be applied to the very diversified industry.


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