Which of these CS courses should I take?
October 31, 2012 9:28 PM Subscribe
Which introductory computer science course should I take? (I am a very special snowflake.)
posted by lemonadeheretic to Education (13 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I'm going to graduate college in Fall '13, and have a hole in my schedule. I would like to get hired to work in recruiting for a start-up in the Bay Area in about a year. To that end, I think it would be really beneficial for me to get some background in programming so that I can at least tell a good programmer from a bad one. I also just want some CS background so that I don't become a 30 year-old with no understanding of how modern society works.
My college doesn't offer CS courses, but we're in a consortium with schools that do. (Those schools are very clear on the point that they don't want prospective cross-enrollment students emailing professors about classes they might want to take, hence why I'm asking here. Also, my academic adviser is a Roman poetry scholar and not very helpful with this issue.)
My options for an intro programming course next semester are:
- 4-credit Java-based Intro to Computer Science for majors at a nearby highly-ranked university that isn't even remotely known for CS.
- 2-credit Python-based course targeted toward "non-majors and majors who want to learn a new language in a structured environment" at the same school. It won't fulfill any prereqs if I want to take more CS courses. If I took this, it'd be on top of a full courseload; otherwise I'd have trouble graduating on time.
- 3-credit Intro to Computing, which doesn't really have much of a description, but is offered at a top engineering school, so it's probably reasonably rigorous/modern. (Also, it might impress people a little if I did well here.) Getting there and back would be a strain compared to the other university, though. I guess this is intended for majors, but it's not very clear.
I don't really have much background in programming, though I've gotten slightly past the "Hello, World" level with both Java and Python before, and I'm trying to carve out a little time to work on it again. I tend to get a little intimidated by programming, I guess. I want to learn a fair amount of theory because it's interesting to me, and I don't think there's much of that in the Python course. However, I would like to be able to play with certain open-source projects eventually, and most of the ones that interest me are Python-based.
Other considerations: I want to go to law school 3-5 years from now, so I do care a little about whether this course will be a GPA killer. I might eventually want to take the patent bar, and I'm not a hard science or engineering major, so I'll need about 20 more credits than I currently have in hard sciences/engineering/CS in order to qualify. It's my understanding that the Python course probably wouldn't count toward those credits.
So, which course should I take? Thanks for any help!