Best Computer Science School in Utah

Michael L Torrie torriem at chem.byu.edu
Mon Sep 24 21:51:50 MDT 2007


John Anderson wrote:

> 
> Yeah, I was hoping people would give their reasons for why they think its
> the best,
> everyone has their opinion on whats more important.
> 
> So, to clear things up, I want to add "And why?" =)

I only went to one school, so I can't give you a reason why my school
would be better or worse than any other school, but I can provide a few
observations about BYU's CS program, as of say 5 years ago.

The focus was heavily on theory, with labs that were more theoretical
than practical.  Computer Science is really discrete mathematics and
data structures, and the BYU program reflected that way early in the
program.

Early classes were so difficult that many would-be CS majors flunk out
by their second year, which causes heartburn for the advisement people.
 It would be better to help would-be majors get a better idea of what CS
is all about before they reach this burn-out point.  A person seeking a
Chemistry major, for example, knows basically what it's all about:
chemistry.  A hard science.  CS tends to be more vague.

Seems like BYU CS program is pretty good preparation for a CS graduate
program.  It's probably not as good of preparation for general industry
stuff, except that I felt I was taught the algorithms and techniques
necessary to be successful in any programming paradigms I was placed in,
rather than being trained in just one language-de-jour.  One thing in
regards to this that really killed a lot of my associates who had little
computer background was that the BYU CS program expected that you
already knew how to program, and could do so in any language with
minimal language-specific training.  I personally felt, and still think,
that this is a good thing, but it all depends on your needs and where
you plan to go in the future.

If you're planning to get a BS and then just go be a software developer
in the industry, you probably don't want the BYU program.  But if a
masters is in your future, maybe consider it.

Michael




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