Why I Chose the General CS Program

I recently graduated from the University of Guelph with a bachelors degree in Computer Science and unlike the majority of students, my study only lasted three years. This wasn’t because I fast tracked two semesters worth of credits studying 18 hours a day, or because I have a super high IQ.  Instead it was because I made the decision to only complete a general Computer Science degree.

You might right away assume that I’m lazy or maybe that I didn’t have the grades to pursue an honors degree, but neither is the reason for my decision making. When I made the decision to switch into the three year Computer Science program my work-ethic and GPA were at an all time high.

So why did I make the decision to chose to graduate with what most people consider a less prestigious degree? There’s more than one reason, the main one being that I did not see school as the best way to learn what I intended to. Many of the required Computer Science courses were nearly useless and taught poorly. Furthermore, I was required to pick an area of applications or a minor where this problem arose once again.

A three year general computer science degree allowed me to only acquire a minimum amount of non-major course credits and was less strict in terms of what courses were required. To a lot of people this presents itself as an easy option, giving less than average performing students the ability to graduate. You simply take the required courses and as your elective credits you pick the easiest courses possible to boost your GPA and allow yourself to get by with the minimum amount of work.

The plan of action described above is great, and for someone that wants to acquire an easy degree it works.  Once again though, easy was not what I was after. I wanted a faster way to get to where I wanted to be. I decided that I could take the required courses and as my electives choose courses which I knew to be useful. The general degree requires that you acquire a small amount of art credits, which I did not value much and dreaded completing. Luckily, my guidance councilor allowed me to replace them with math credits which I considered a much better option.

The road wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be, as a matter of fact it was much more difficult than when I was enrolled as a “Honors Software Engineer”. The courses I was enrolled in were pretty much all challenging and as a result caused me to learn at a much faster pace than before.  Furthermore I was able to graduate a year early and begin my career while still having the option to come back for further studying if I felt like it.

I do question this decision sometimes and wonder whether further education would’ve provided me with a better future. So far it doesn’t seem so given that not one employer took interest in how long my degree lasted or whether it was labeled an honors. I also feel I’m learning at a much faster pace on my own, working on and reading material that I believe is closely tied to what I’m after. I guess the question will answer itself with time as I attempt to achieve different things. If you have an opinion on this matter or advice feel free to leave a comment or send an email.

 

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Karol Zdebel

Recent Computer Science graduate, and current Android developer.

3 thoughts on “Why I Chose the General CS Program”

  1. You say that a big reason as to why you switched over to a 3 year program is because you felt like the courses were being taught poorly. Do you think that this is because of the school you went to? If you went to a more technological school, that also had the 3 and 4 year degree options, you would do the extra year?

    1. The specific school I went to definitely played a role in the teaching style. The CS program was relatively new and the faculty/program structure was and is still being figured out. At a more “technological” school as you called it, I believe there’s a much higher chance that I’d stay the 4 years given that the teaching methods and program structure is probably far superior. Unfortunately I didn’t really take my studies or life in general very seriously until the start of my second year of University, so I lost the opportunity to go to such a school. That being said I’m not implying that all professors were poor at teaching, not even close, a lot of them were excellent.

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