# Math And The Computer Science Major

#### timothy posted more than 10 years ago | from the single-digits-are-best dept.

1203
An anonymous reader writes *"What sort of math are CS majors expected to take? Why are these classes useful? Does programming really have that much to do with math? Lineman.Net has published an article that answers these questions and more. If you are considering a CS degree, be sure to give it a look and make sure you are taking steps to prepare for your college career."*

## Certain types of programming... (5, Informative)

## tcopeland (32225) | more than 10 years ago | (#9063013)

And what the article said about game programming is right on... trying writing even a simple Brickout clone without knowing basic trigonometry and you'll run into problems.

## Re:Certain types of programming... (5, Insightful)

## XMyth (266414) | more than 10 years ago | (#9063130)

## A Warning (5, Interesting)

## ziondreams (760588) | more than 10 years ago | (#9063015)

If you truly love programming and want to code for a living, do NOT attend such Universities as DeVry, many State Universities, or other small "tech" schools. This may sound like common sense to some, and outright madness to others, but trust me on this one. I personally am about to graduate from DeVry, and, although it's surprising reputation, they in no way prepare a student to enter the world of programming. The majority (I'd say 70%) of the skills I've obtained have been acquired by means of self-teaching and learning from friends.

More and more, I've been seeing that "programming" degrees focus much more on the management side of things, instead of the developer role. Perhaps this is because of the apparent problem of off shoring IT jobs? The main problem is not that the Universities have changed to this approach, it lies in the fact that the said schools teach in such a manner, WITHOUT advertising so. It brings about a sense of deceit and trickery...but perhaps that's what they were going for?

## Since when... (0, Flamebait)

## heyitsme (472683) | more than 10 years ago | (#9063121)

I thought everyone knows that vocational tech schools suck.

## Re:A Warning (4, Insightful)

## NixterAg (198468) | more than 10 years ago | (#9063140)

The majority (I'd say 70%) of the skills I've obtained have been acquired by means of self-teaching and learning from friends.This is pretty much the case no matter where you go to school. A good school will only give you the tools and understanding to be more efficient at acquiring and utilizing the skills. A good school will not be teaching you those skills.

## Re:A Warning (1)

## Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9063141)

## College (4, Interesting)

## duffbeer703 (177751) | more than 10 years ago | (#9063169)

College is supposed to teach you how to think & learn... it's become a necessity since US secondary schools are so malfunctional. Your college classes should give you a base of knowledge about whatever you are studying, and the rest is up to you.

The reason that top schools like MIT are top schools is that they force their students to explore and learn new things. If you are a serious student, you can come away with a good education from almost any school.

## Good School (0)

## millahtime (710421) | more than 10 years ago | (#9063188)

## oh good lord yes (3, Insightful)

## 74nova (737399) | more than 10 years ago | (#9063019)

## Re:oh good lord yes (1)

## ad9798 (712590) | more than 10 years ago | (#9063123)

## Re:oh good lord yes (5, Insightful)

## ponxx (193567) | more than 10 years ago | (#9063148)

Conversely this is the very reason why physicists and mathematicians have good job opportunities in IT, consulting or banking. In many cases it's easier to teach a physicist programming (or economics) than to teach a programmer the relevant understanding of mathematics.

Of course it depends on what you're progrogramming and of course a programmer who is good at the kind of maths required for the job will have the edge anyway...

## What is worse (-1, Flamebait)

## Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9063022)

or

(b) sex with a mare

## CowboyNeal confirms - Apple is dying (-1, Offtopic)

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## HS math question. (5, Interesting)

## grub (11606) | more than 10 years ago | (#9063032)

Not entirely unrelated question about high school math: A couple of weeks ago I was out with my little brother who recently turned 18 for a beer and to shoot pool. He was having trouble making shots so I said "Imagine the table is a large sheet of graph paper when you plan your angles and shots." he said "I've never used graph paper."

He's graduating from Grade 12 this year, am I just a relic[0]? What do schools use now to teach geometry? I hope it's not all done on a computer, the practical hands-on stuff is invaluable.

[0] I'm 38; mom died in '82, dad remarried and could still get wood.## I graduated two years ago (1)

## metalhed77 (250273) | more than 10 years ago | (#9063118)

## Re:HS math question. (-1)

## Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9063120)

I'm 38; mom died in '82, dad remarried and could still get wood.There's a certain amount of detail that suffices for a post of this type - I would say you crossed the line with evertyhing past that semicolon, although I'm very happy that your father has a functional penis.

## Re:HS math question. (1)

## Xiaotou (695728) | more than 10 years ago | (#9063168)

Silly me! I read that as

"my father was still able to obtain fuel for the fireplace."## Re:HS math question. (1)

## JM_the_Great (70802) | more than 10 years ago | (#9063156)

## Nail on the Head (5, Informative)

## millahtime (710421) | more than 10 years ago | (#9063035)

## Re:Nail on the Head (1)

## 74nova (737399) | more than 10 years ago | (#9063074)

## Re:Nail on the Head (5, Interesting)

## AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 10 years ago | (#9063186)

My best suggestion would be to shy away from any school that skips over the theory and math behind computational sciences. I myself ended up skipping the degree all together and picked up the various textbooks and papers necessary to educate myself in the field. That's not the path for everyone (especially if you're not very self-motivated), but for me it was better than trying to sort through which school was teaching the real thing and which one was dumbing it down to improve attendance.

## Math is fun! (0)

## Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9063039)

## Math requirements? (1)

## rworne (538610) | more than 10 years ago | (#9063040)

## Computer Science != Programming (5, Insightful)

## Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9063043)

## Re:Computer Science != Programming (5, Insightful)

## Gumshoe (191490) | more than 10 years ago | (#9063177)

## Re:Computer Science != Programming (5, Interesting)

## UTPinky (472296) | more than 10 years ago | (#9063190)

## Re:Computer Science != Programming (3, Insightful)

## jshaft (739159) | more than 10 years ago | (#9063197)

## Math and CS (3, Interesting)

## MarkPNeyer (729607) | more than 10 years ago | (#9063045)

## Why is maths useful for computer scientists? (5, Insightful)

## sweet cunny muffin (771671) | more than 10 years ago | (#9063050)

Only a Mickey Mouse comp sci course would not require maths to quite a high standard.

## Re:Why is maths useful for computer scientists? (2, Funny)

## appelflapje (655855) | more than 10 years ago | (#9063174)

## True! (1)

## BradySama (755082) | more than 10 years ago | (#9063176)

## Re:Why is maths useful for computer scientists? (2, Insightful)

## elwell642 (754833) | more than 10 years ago | (#9063200)

Well, I for one have designed, written, and implemented several large software solutions & websites for a number of growing ($1M+) small businesses, and I've never needed a single bit of the matrix algebra or trig stuff I was often forced to digest in college. But maybe I'm the minority here.

*puts on a pair of huge round black ears*

## MAth is fun!! (1)

## justkarl (775856) | more than 10 years ago | (#9063051)

## is math important? (1, Informative)

## Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9063052)

## supposedly it helps, I never saw it. (0)

## Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9063054)

I can see the need for the discrete math but the Calculus was unnecessary as far as I could see.

## lots of math (2, Insightful)

## genner (694963) | more than 10 years ago | (#9063057)

## Heh. Try Neural Networks without linear algebra (3, Insightful)

## Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9063058)

## These are required most places. (1)

## AlexanderYoshi (750291) | more than 10 years ago | (#9063062)

## A few suggestions (1)

## Brackney (257949) | more than 10 years ago | (#9063066)

Digital Signal Processing (for Audio) - Complex Math

## fp! (-1, Offtopic)

## Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9063067)

## /.ed (-1, Offtopic)

## Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9063068)

## Of course you need math... (3, Funny)

## OEJack (648266) | more than 10 years ago | (#9063069)

## All you can get (1, Insightful)

## Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9063070)

## SLASHDOTTED!!!! (-1, Redundant)

## Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9063071)

The proxy server received an invalid response from an upstream server.

The proxy server could not handle the request GET http://lineman.net/node/view/251.

Reason: Could not connect to remote machine: Connection refused

## VT's CS program (1, Informative)

## Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9063073)

Was it helpful, was it worth it? I'd like to think so, I didn't sleep through discreet math for nothing!

## wrong assumption (2, Informative)

## Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9063075)

if you think programming is all there's to computer science, then don't study computer science.

## Here it comes ... (1)

## Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 10 years ago | (#9063077)

## Different applications (1, Insightful)

## Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9063081)

I however write more applicatons/user interface type stuff, and use the libraries that CS guys create (STL to just name an example), thus I rarely ever write anything myself that I need advanced math skills.

Programming in and of itself doesnt require math, but when you start writing advanced data structures, thats where you will need calculus/algebra and some others. It all depends what kind of programming you plan on doing.

## co-workers without a good math base... (3, Insightful)

## hornrimsylvia (696514) | more than 10 years ago | (#9063083)

## Statistics also important (4, Insightful)

## GGardner (97375) | more than 10 years ago | (#9063089)

## CS has very little to do with math (-1, Interesting)

## ObviousGuy (578567) | more than 10 years ago | (#9063092)

CS is about finding algorithms, which has more in common with cooking than calculating. Most math classes that CS majors are required to take a pure esoteric fluff that is meant to jack off the math majors while the CS students snooze in the back of the room.

Even the 'mathy' part of CS, the Big O notation, is little more than saying "well, this one takes a long time so let's just say it's O(n^2), this one is fast so it's O(n), and this one is really fast so it's O(1). And this one we can't figure out? O(log n)." It's really no wonder that computer programs suck as much as they do when the entire concept of algorithm performance is measured in such a slipshod manner.

If math majors could get away with estimating their way through to graduation, we'd all be much worse off. But CS majors certainly don't need all that extra crap.

## Re:CS has very little to do with math (2, Insightful)

## nathansu (777156) | more than 10 years ago | (#9063166)

## From a current CS/Math major (1)

## heyitsme (472683) | more than 10 years ago | (#9063093)

Calculus I, II and III

Discrete Structures (graphs, trees, etc.)

Linear Algebra

Numerical Analysis

Algorithms

Abstract Algebra I

Also you have to take one or two math electives.. I opted for a course on Game Theory.

This is just a snapshot of my school career... YMMV, however one can see that CS and Math degrees are still heavily linked.

## Double Major (5, Insightful)

## ePhil_One (634771) | more than 10 years ago | (#9063094)

I usually thought of it as the difference between learning

howto program vs memorizing a bunch of useful code snippets and how to translate them to different languages.## Firssssssssst Posssssssssst (-1, Offtopic)

## Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9063095)

## I recommend (4, Informative)

## NixterAg (198468) | more than 10 years ago | (#9063098)

Discrete Mathematics (some call it Applied Mathematics)

Calculus

Number Theory (Cryptography)

Linear Algebra

I have a CS degree with a math minor and have been completely surprised at how often I've used the math portion of my education in the workplace. I'd recommend taking a good mathematical modeling course as well, as it typically offers a great mix of math, engineering, and CS.

## Not hard to calculate 2xEbay items @$10.00 (1)

## nmoog (701216) | more than 10 years ago | (#9063099)

## Programs are math (4, Interesting)

## aim2future (773846) | more than 10 years ago | (#9063100)

## Computer Science isn't programming. (1)

## Mikesch (31341) | more than 10 years ago | (#9063102)

Programming is the same to CS as learning how to use lab equipment is to chemistry. Helpful in studying fundamentals, but far from the point.

## I did both (1)

## Xiaotou (695728) | more than 10 years ago | (#9063103)

Of course, someone doing Financial stuff, for instance, would probably really need some DiffyQ and more calculus. Since all of these are mentioned in the article, I'd have to agree with the author.

Oh, and knowing more math than my boss is terribly handy for getting out of those long, boring hallway conversations. After a certain point, I just start bringing up quaternions and rotaion matrices, and voila! Meeting's over!

## Well for my Undergrad (1)

## ajiva (156759) | more than 10 years ago | (#9063105)

## CS != programming (1)

## bigox (158657) | more than 10 years ago | (#9063106)

## You don't need much maths to program (0)

## Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9063111)

## Computer Science is More Than Programming (1)

## william_lorenz (703263) | more than 10 years ago | (#9063112)

## Recollections of an Old Fart (0)

## Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9063113)

- Calculus, calculus and more calculus

- Linear algebra

- Discreet Structures (which was basically advanced trig)

Calc I was the ball-breaker ; I seem to recall taking 5 pages of notes on my first day of class - even before the syllibus was handed out. Only "D+" I ever got in college. Bell curve was such that if you could pull a 50 on a take-home test, you passed with a 'C'. However, this made Calc II and III easier. Go figure.

## The reason we take math... (3, Insightful)

## baudilus (665036) | more than 10 years ago | (#9063115)

## Pretty much everything for EE.... (1)

## nathansu (777156) | more than 10 years ago | (#9063117)

## 18 credits (3, Interesting)

## mjh (57755) | more than 10 years ago | (#9063119)

Calculus 1: 5 credits

Calculus 2: 5 credits

Calculus 3: 5 credits

Matrix Algebra: 3 credits

Although the University offered minors, my college (the college of letters & sciences) did not. If they had, I would have taken the remaining two credits in order to get the minor in math.

IMHO, the assistance that math has provided me has been invaluable in my career. NOT because I use calculus on a day to day basis, but because it forced me to develop critical and systematic thinking skills. And THAT has been invaluable. At the time I hated it, but in retrospect it was really good.

$.02.

## DSP (1)

## bsd4me (759597) | more than 10 years ago | (#9063125)

I have a degree in CMPEN. I took three semesters of calculus, one semester of differential equations, and one semester of linear algebra. Several CS classes could classify as math, such as discrete math and some of the more theoretical ones (automata, lamba calculus, etc). Some optional courses can include numerical programming and numerical analysis.

I did DSP and digital communications simulation for a long time. Without a very firm grasp of math, you are not an effective programmer in this field. Most people who don't really understand DSP and digicomm, both theory and implementation, can trace their problems down to the math.

## math list for CS around here (1)

## deuce868 (673251) | more than 10 years ago | (#9063126)

Calc 1-3

Probability and Statistics

Diffy Screw

That was what I had to take I think.

## CS != Programming (1)

## Peyna (14792) | more than 10 years ago | (#9063127)

## This article is for PHD students (0)

## Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9063128)

I would be hapy if they had added Logical Skills

Besides

## Math and CS are different things (1)

## superpulpsicle (533373) | more than 10 years ago | (#9063131)

For some reason people think CS needs calculus and differential equations and a whole lot more to get by. Listen to me.... you use calculus to find the derivitives of a curve. If you're a CS major you don't need freaking calculus, your typical windows box can solve it for you. And if you can't figure how to calculate numbers with a computer, you shouldn't even be a CS in the first place. Go ahead gimme the -5 troll for being upfront and honest with my 4 year experience.

## Philosophy also good (2, Interesting)

## catherder_finleyd (322974) | more than 10 years ago | (#9063132)

## CS = Math (3, Insightful)

## Dana P'Simer (530866) | more than 10 years ago | (#9063133)

## Calculus Required But Unnecessary (1)

## XopherMV (575514) | more than 10 years ago | (#9063136)

neverused it. Algebra was the highest math most classes required. The closest I got to higher-level math was in 3D graphics working with vectors and matrices.Requiring calculus for CS majors is unnecessary. I think the schools use that to only weed out candidates. Considering this, I imagine schools will now remove this requirement since less students overall are entering as CS majors.

Before everyone says the sky is falling, I don't necessarily think this is a bad thing. I certainly haven't used any calculus while doing professional development. So, why we require it of undergrads is beyond me.

## Re:Calculus Required But Unnecessary (1)

## mrtroy (640746) | more than 10 years ago | (#9063208)

My school required calculus just to get into CSYou never took calculus in post-secondary?

That might be your first sign that your program is not top notch.

The second is that you think calculus for CS majors is unnecessary, because you need it for a variety of things.

## CS != Programming (0)

## Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9063138)

People complained about it. They thought that computer science meant PHP programming and a bit of Java. Hence the very high (almost 50%) drop-out rate after first year!

Programming is easy, computing is a challenge.

## Some math is Useful (1)

## xTMFWahoo (470364) | more than 10 years ago | (#9063142)

I'd say Calc 1,2 and 3, Differential Equations are of no real use.

## Bah... (1)

## D-Cypell (446534) | more than 10 years ago | (#9063143)

requireat least an A-Level (Im not sure of the US equivilant) in Maths.A-Level maths covers subjects like calculus and imaginary numbers.

After 5 years of professional software development, I cant remember one time where I have needed this level of mathematics.

Now a business course, that would have been useful, some kind of analyst training would have been ideal, but advanced maths.... definatly not.

Im sure there are exceptions in the development world, I figure those doing 3D simulation would require a basic grasp of newtonian physics, and there are obviously scientific systems that would require a bit more knowledge, but even for the fairly advanced finacial systems I have worked on, the most that was required was some floating point aritmatic and percentage calculation... and thats what the computer is for anyway!

## as a recent cs major... (1)

## miseryinmotion (615385) | more than 10 years ago | (#9063145)

I've found that the mathematics courses required are a bit more than what I expected. The article certainly states the current situation with most colleges and universities requiring more math courses, something I wish I had a better idea of when signing up and scheduling my first year. The idea that programming doesn't require math is sadly prominent in most of the mindsets of students around here.

Yeah, I just did my scheduling for next semester, with Calc II set up for an 8 am course...

"calculus III is slightly harder than calculus I but not nearly as hard as calculus II"## Logics (1)

## condensate (739026) | more than 10 years ago | (#9063146)

So I would suggest some basic knowledge in algebra (the part of maths that deals with collections of mathematical items, fields, groups, equations...) which lies at the very heart of maths. Then, some calculus to round it off (just in case someone wants you to calculate an integral...) and a little statistics (suppose you want to write analytical software). The real geeks might want to learn about number theory, too, but mainly for academic purposes (i.e. for fun). If you know your basic math, you can easily develop into other parts.

This is the programming part. I agree that if you just want to do web development, then the above seems questionable.

Anyway, where I studied, the department of computer science teaches the above subjects to students who want to obtain the bachelor. But as they grow, I observed that they do not really know much about maths...

## Think!!! (2, Insightful)

## jmac880n (659699) | more than 10 years ago | (#9063147)

More than anything else, higher math teaches you how to solve problems.

How to approach complexity step by step and break it down into manageable pieces.

How to deal with abstraction.

How to

THINK.Anyone who is an accomplished programmer will appreciate these skills.

It is by no means the only way to learn this, it just seems to work. If you can master higher math, you can usually pick up programming.

## Well it all depends (2, Informative)

## mrtroy (640746) | more than 10 years ago | (#9063151)

Now for math, personally I was required to take a fair number of courses during my first and second year. While I didnt find it all relevant to CS, there definately are reasons to take math courses to help you in CS. Proving runtimes is mainly math, encryption is mainly math, etc.

Also, I just want to make a note that CS != programming. You take a 4 month course to "learn to program", and you take a 4 year program to begin learning computer science.

## Math/Comp (1)

## JosKarith (757063) | more than 10 years ago | (#9063157)

Course this meant I ended up doing 4/3 of a degree. Which didn't sit well with my plans of having a social life so something had to give.

My point is that there is always going to be a level of overlap - maths goes a lot easier if you know how to get a machine to crunch the numbers for you, and computing studies need a certain level of numeracy.

Oh, and set theory is just bloody essential if you end up anywhere near databases.

## Computer Science AND (3, Insightful)

## NotWallaceStevens (701541) | more than 10 years ago | (#9063159)

## Dual Major! (1)

## bondjamesbond (99019) | more than 10 years ago | (#9063160)

## Short answer: NO (1, Interesting)

## aardwolf204 (630780) | more than 10 years ago | (#9063162)

I've never been one for math, specifically algebra. You see, before I had the opportunity to take algebra in middle school I had been programming with QBASIC. Having no formal training in Basic I ended up coming up with mathematical solutions using crude loops, variables, and goto statements. Not kosher programming now that I look back but so what, I was 12. When teachers tried to "teach" me algebra I felt like I was being unlearned. Most of the times I just scripted up some basic to help me with the homework.

Years later my high school offered a C++ class so being the geek I am I tried to get in it. Unfortunately the pre-requisites for the class were kind of high including algebra 1, 2, geometry and calculus. Like I said, I was never one for math, but programming i could handle. This was the teachers first year teaching C++, prior to that he was teaching QBASIC. When he rejected me based on my lack of pre-requisites I threw together some quick basic using RND, some colors, circles, and a few system commands to make it look pretty. The teacher let me stay and I got an A in the class. I may not have used the same formulas as the other kids in the class

(They were Nerds, I was a Geek ;-)but that was no problem once I found nested while loops.Ok, so I may have actually stunted my growth in mathematics and developed bad programming habits (I dont need no stinkin XOR, I'll do it the hard way) but today I'm working as a web developer and use PHP all the time without problems

(and yes I turned globals off, use sessions, and actually think the security through when doing DB stuff).Just my $0.02

## "Single-digits-are-best"??? (1)

## Vexler (127353) | more than 10 years ago | (#9063163)

## linalg and physics a must for graphics (2, Informative)

## zer0mass (678722) | more than 10 years ago | (#9063165)

3D Math Primer for Graphics and Game Developmentby Fletcher Dunn.## No Duh! (0)

## Prince Vegeta SSJ4 (718736) | more than 10 years ago | (#9063170)

## no math necessary (1)

## avandesande (143899) | more than 10 years ago | (#9063173)

If you want to use your head get involved with actuarial science or with bioinformatics. I am sure that there are other fields I have missed.

## Chemistry? (1)

## fudgefactor7 (581449) | more than 10 years ago | (#9063178)

chemistry? Can anyone explain why that's in there? Physics, Calc, those make sense...but chemistry?## UCSB requires... (0)

## Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9063185)

## Combinatorics (1)

## Safiiru (24501) | more than 10 years ago | (#9063187)

whycertain problems in CS get approached the way they do.## Speaking as a Math and Comp Sci double major (5, Insightful)

## nebaz (453974) | more than 10 years ago | (#9063193)

On the one end of the spectrum is pure theory, and proof, and on the other hand, we have complete practice, and "get it done now".

Math is a great theoretical background for computing, and made some of the algorithmic courses a breeze.

Ironically, I found the proofs in algorithms classes an attempt by computer scientists to say "see, we are a real discipline, we do proofs too", but I found that I wanted the CS courses to be a counter to all of the proofs and theory I got in my math courses. I wanted some "hands on" learning.

Once I got out in the real world, especially with languages like Java, even the CS theory/practice (this is a hash table, now write one), I found that most of the data structures/algorithmic stuff had been written and I just filled in pieces.

Where am I going with this? I guess basically that math is useful for comprehension in CS classes, but depending on the programming you do, you may not even use the CS you learn in the real world, let alone the math. But understanding is good.

## Computer Science is Applied Mathematics... (1)

## SocietyoftheFist (316444) | more than 10 years ago | (#9063195)

## At the U of Iowa in 2001... (1)

## PoderOmega (677170) | more than 10 years ago | (#9063198)

## Only one problem with that article: (4, Insightful)

## Otto (17870) | more than 10 years ago | (#9063205)

If you have the chance to take calculus in high school, I may surprise you with my advice. I would not automatically jump at the opportunity for a couple reasons. Please forgive me as I climb onto my soapbox, but keep in mind that I am a math teacher and I know a lot of this from experience.

First, high school calculus teachers tend to be the teachers in the math department the longest. The problem with this is that while these teachers are more experienced, they have been away from calculus longer than the other math teachers in most cases. Besides that, these teachers are often near retirement and may not be as motivated as younger teachers.

Second, calculus is the upper-crust of high school math. In college, it's one of the lowest math classes offered. This results in a completely different teacher mentality. A college calculus teacher will be used to working with struggling students because for many of them, that is the toughest class they will ever have to take. But high school calculus teachers will be more used to working with the top students in the school. If you aren't especially gifted in math, you may find that you don't get what you need from these teachers.

Here's the problem with those ideas:

1) In Calc I in HS, you're looking at a class of 30 people. 50, max. In Calc I in college, you'll likely be in a class with something on the order of 100-200 people. See, *everybody* takes Calc I their first year, not just the comp. sci's. All engineering majors, all the math geeks.. Hell, even English majors probably have basic math as a requirement... So most of the time, it's a big class, usually a seminar type of deal. If you're having a hard time with it in there, then you'll also likely need to take another not-for-credit class where they can give individual instruction or take some extra tutoring on the side. Whereas in high school, you've not only got a smaller class, you've got an experienced math teacher, who likely knows his stuff, and you've got a year to learn it as opposed to 1 semester only. Okay, so the HS teacher may be less motivated, but you've got a longer time period, a smaller class, and you're in that class with the top students in the school (who can probably help you out somewhat) instead of in there with everybody in the whole school (who likely need just as much help as you do).

2) Yes, calculus is the upper crust of high school math. It's also a heck of a lot easier than a college level math class. But here's a thought: The high school class doesn't usually count towards your college GPA, while the college level one does. What's so bad about taking it twice? Take the high school calc if you can swing it, then take it again in college. You may still have a hard time in the college calculus, but it'll be somewhat easier because you've got at least some background to it already.

## Wrong question (2, Insightful)

## acidblood (247709) | more than 10 years ago | (#9063206)

I think the question that should be asked instead is `Does computer science really have that much to do with programming'? I mean, I'm graduating in EE this year and I sure didn't choose this major because I wanted to learn how to solder -- that's the technician's job, you know.

I repeatedly question the reasoning of others in becoming a CS major if all they want to be is a code monkey.