You can’t swim upstream

From Slashdot | Best Grad Program For a Computer Science Major?

Re:Business or Accounting (Score:5, Informative)

by linhares (1241614) <{linhares} {at} {clubofrome.org.br}> on Sunday March 29, @12:47PM (#27379921)
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Business or accounting? Hell no!

Listen, kid. I’m a professor of business and management science. My masters and PhD are in Computer Science. There is a hidden rule in academic life: you cannot swim upstream. It is easy for a mathematician or a physicist to become an engineer. It is easy for an engineer to become an economist or work in any business field. But it is close to impossible for a marketing type to become a physicist. After your mid-twenties, you can still have some room for maneuver if you don’t have kids. After 35 (like I am), people have a very, very low probability of change. Doesn’t happen. When it happens it’s a miracle, like a disney movie.

You can always be a business type if you know math and logic and programming. Remember, information is power. Study, for example, data mining. Checkout project weka in your IDE and study the code, submit modifications, get an interesting thing done or two.

My advice to you? First, read freakonomics. The guy’s an economist that works with data mining. He may very likely get the Nobel some day. Then you’ll see how easy it is for a computer scientist to play business roles.

Finally, go to the most hardcore, most academically rigorous career first. Learn assembly language. Find a professor that’s good and say these words to him/her: “I’m here because I want to do top-notch research during my undergraduate degree. Now go on and tell me what to do. I’m up for anything.” At first, the professor will look you with some giant eyes. Months later, you will be on your way to writing REAL papers and understanding how real science is made. Fuck grades. Even if you graduate with loads of C’s, one or two papers in academic journals will really set you apart. Tell your employers later on that you couldn’t care less about grades because “they are made to be fair in a world that’s not fair, and you wanted to do REAL work while on university, not the little clean academic assignments”. That is hardcore maturity and courage. And if things go wrong and you want a change later on, all disciplines nowadays are needing data mining, from accounting to marketing to finance to operations management, etc. Weka is the new Excel.

I wish you good luck, brother.

Re:Business or Accounting (Score:5, Insightful)

by wagadog (545179) on Sunday March 29, @01:31PM (#27380255)
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That’s just a small sample of the outright age, class, gender and race bigotry you get to experience in academic environments. Remember, the responder is a professor. Consider the source.

He was right about how much easier it is to drop down into easy areas like business after doing a degree in something rigorous — that actually trains you to think logically — like engineering.

Remember, the responder is a business professor after having trained in CS. Case in point.

To the poster: remember that your academic advisors got where they are by being white, male, privileged-class blowhards — and smarter than average, and specializing in “generating new knowledge” in some field.

Figure out who you have the most to learn from in the direction you want to go, and get what little you can out of them: some exposure to a new field, some experience doing original research, a recommendation and a piece of paper.

Good people are scattered across programs, and they are few and far between. It’s your job to find someone you can work with, and who will further YOUR goals.

Your advisor will have a far greater influence on the outcome of your graduate studies than the choice of program. There are plenty of paint-by-numbers physicists who are basically doing the same work over and over, and will turn you into a lab rat who spends most of his time dickering with equipment suppliers, and there are psychology professors in cognitive who design truly inspired studies with a great deal of rigor to them. You can’t even go by field as to where the really interesting and innovative work is being done.

Some things to watch out for: someone who doesn’t have tenure yet will work you like an animal on their own projects and not care one bit about your goals or interests. The recently tenured will be focused on academic empire-building and may or may not care about your goals or interests. People in extremely prestigious programs may spend all of their time preening and winning awards and only needs students to supply them with narcissistic supply: if you can’t stand kissing A, stay away from the most lauded people at the most prestigious programs.

Re:Business or Accounting (Score:5, Interesting)

by serviscope_minor (664417) on Sunday March 29, @01:32PM (#27380267)

Listen, kid. I’m a professor of business and management science. My masters and PhD are in Computer Science. There is a hidden rule in academic life: you cannot swim upstream. It is easy for a mathematician or a physicist to become an engineer. It is easy for an engineer to become an economist or work in any business field. But it is close to impossible for a marketing type to become a physicist.

Sure, for some values of upstream. I’ve yet to see a mathemetician become a good experimental pyhsicist. They can/often do become excellent theoretical physicists. Likewise with engineers. Mathematicians and physicists can become excellent engineers in some areas, not so much in others. But your main point stands that the flow is mostly one-way, though there is a bit of overlap between physics and engineering especially on the semiconductors and nano stuff.

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