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Old 09-03-2015, 06:37 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Hello Everyone

Hello to all techist users! My name is Justin and I am currently an aspiring Computer Science Student. I stumbled across this site today and I am glad I will be able to network myself with people who are clearly much more experienced than I am. Before I begin school in February 2016, I plan to utilize numerous websites online to teach myself how to code.

I did have a question if someone could help me out: as far as the CompTIA and Cisco certifications such as Net+, CCNA, Sec+, etc, are those certifications worth obtaining and maintaining while studying computer science or will my future knowledge in programming and the degree be a better option.

Secondly, I have a $3000 dollar budget for a new laptop. I have done some research and I have found the Touchpad T440/450/450S are all great versatile machines. Others tell me a MacBook Air or MacBook Pro being able to utilize unix and running a VMware and running the Microsoft OS when needed. If you all could give me your opinions on which route you would decide for your school/work computer.

Thank you!
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Old 09-03-2015, 06:46 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Hello Everyone

Welcome! Good to see another person pursuing a CS degree. I finished my BS in CS in 2013.

As for the certs...depends on what you plan on doing after you get the degree. You won't have much use for those certs in a software development field - those will mainly be geared towards network administration and such.

As for the laptop... get a nice i7 laptop with plenty of RAM so that your development environments are smooth and compiling is fast. A Mac will be more expensive for the hardware IMO and not really necessary. I'd recommend just a regular PC, with 2 HDD bays so that you can add additional storage - you can also either dual boot Windows/Linux, or run one in a VM.
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Old 09-03-2015, 08:30 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Hello Everyone

Very nice. If I may ask, where did you receive your degree and what position do you hold? Honestly, I am doing a ton of research as far as what career specialty i want to do and I have narrowed it down to a programmer, network architect, data scientist, security analyst, thinga of this nature. All of them appeal to me but I truly haven't done all that much of any if those. I have a great starting point as far as knowledge and understanding so I may wait for certs or simply just do them all or none at all. What I absolutely love about the Lenovo Thinkpads is they are hands down one of the easiest machines to upgrade and hardware you may need. I was going to purchase one with 8GB of RAM and simply upgrade later since memory sticks are so cheap. They're also built great while I was in the Marine Corps I used the same one for three and a half years and never had a single problem with it. I really appreciate such a fast response I expected me being a noob I would have to wait for awhile haha.
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Old 09-03-2015, 08:40 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Hello Everyone

I went to SDSU, and was offered a software engineering position with the local government about 6 months prior to graduating - so I had a job lined up right away.

The good thing about a CS degree is that it opens up a lot of doors for various positions. It's primary focus is programming / software engineering, but there's several other different areas it covers since it's also a "science" so there's a lot of theory-based courses. Not so much dedicated IT courses (unless your school offers such classes as electives and such).

What I would suggest doing, is if your school offers them...take some of the electives that branch into the other areas of technology to see which one you like more. You may find out that you end up not liking programming as much as you thought and you'd prefer to stick with the networking side...or vice versa. Definitely do that early on in your college career though, as it's harder to switch later on.
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Old 09-07-2015, 06:10 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Hello Everyone

I will definitely take all of this into consideration. I just finished four years in the Marine Corps and was a field radio operator. Luckily, I was able to utilize a system heavily based on networking. As for the programming aide of the house I am enrolling on MOOCs on edx, coursera, and udacity that has anything to do programming. I am sure time will tell in which route I will want to pursue and I want to thank you very much for the help. The classes you took at SDSU, they were more theory based? And as for the computer labs, what were the machines like and which OS did you use most?
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Old 09-07-2015, 07:25 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I'd say maybe 1/4 to 1/3 were theory classes, and the rest was application.

The labs were just basic computer labs...nothing special unfortunately. Just basic Windows 7i boxes, and later on they replaced them with Macs running Win8. Though I never used the labs, since I had a laptop throughout college to use. There was a server with some nice GPU's in it for the distributed computing / CUDA dev course (though I never took it).

I started using just Win7 early on, and then dual-booted my laptop with Ubuntu since we had to make sure our programs compiled under Linux (for our early / core classes we had to do C++ and either develop them under Linux or upload them onto the Linux server via SSH and compile/run them there). After we were allowed to use whatever language we wanted, I switched back to Windows and started using C# under .NET Framework and Visual Studio. This is currently what I develop in at work, as well as front-end web stuff.
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