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How do other careers handle personal research?
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The Chubu
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Default How do other careers handle personal research? - 01-05-2013, 05:04 | posts: 2,542 | Location: Look out!

Sup gurus?

I have been wondering a few things. See, I'm studying for a Computer Science degree and from what I've seen seen/read, there is a lot of emphasis on how much you do besides the actual degree related to your career path.

Often the advice is never settle for what you learn in university, rather, study more in your spare time, finish side projects, elaborate your portfolio from them, research the branches in CS that you're interested in. It seems like there is so much to learn to actually get capable enough for developing software that uni stuff isn't even 1/4 of what you should know 4 years from now on when you get your degree and start looking for a job.

What you get from uni is put on 2nd place against what you should learn by your own basically.

I'm wondering if it is the same in other career paths, like law, chemistry, biology, mathematics, physics, etc. If there emphasis on personal research rather than emphasis on learning first all you can from uni courses.
   
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Speed Weed
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Default 01-05-2013, 06:09 | posts: 950 | Location: Somewhere in Scotland

Just be very careful, The Chubu!
Your current employer would be more than likely to see the results of any research as belonging to that company.
Remember ( as was stated in Antitrust!), a great idea can make you millions, but a brilliant one can get you killed.
Paranoid, moi??
   
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getsuga12
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Default 01-05-2013, 08:46 | posts: 4,385

I suppose it depends; for other fields that involve a lot of application and "science" to it, it's always great to have such things on the side as it really bolsters your selling point, but for fields such as engineering and sciences, even without these things you can still get on by rather well.

Currently doing a Computer Science degree myself and having a thesis recently published, I suppose personal research and such become such an emphasis because there's a high supply of graduates in the field, but many lacking in quality (despite how some have a perfect 4.0 CGPA). So the only way to really filter out the quality graduates is to see what they have on the side. I plan to do another thesis or at least another grant before I graduate in September, so yea, I say go for it and get as much as you can under your portfolio
   
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Default 01-05-2013, 19:23 | posts: 11,196 | Location: Finland

Well, in here some people also judge you based on how you look, few extra kg doesnt meant anything but if you really start to look badly overweight it's hard to get a job. So do some sports also and stay heatly, it's likely that person with heathly lifestyle is less on the sick leave than overweight person who eats some crap food. And really, if you cant take care of yourself, how would you be able to take care of the work you are applying to ?

In Finland question I have got often (about every time) when applying for a job is "have you completed your military service?"

As you are fellow programmer few tips I have found out, instaed of knowing bit of everything at first pay attention to code you write, doesnt matter what language. Naming of things, come up with names so you know what the hell stuff does. Instead of making comments on every line, try to make code simple enough that it explains itself (still few lines on comments to functions doesnt hurt). When you have completed something, take a look at stuff you have done, are classes fine, should there be more of those or less ? Some functions doing stuff those should not do and so, it's this point when you see what you should have done differently and so. Thats where the learning happens, it's great if you can get someone read your code and comment on it.


Knowing about work related stuff and having some projects on spare time surely helps, but you have to get the basics right before that. Also point your free time interests to direction based on on what kind of work you want to do next.

Last edited by Tat3; 01-05-2013 at 19:26.
   
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nm+
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Default 01-06-2013, 00:38 | posts: 10,338 | Location: Not Minneapolis

You learn basically nothing about the law from law school (US). So yeah, need to do stuff outside of law school.
   
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The Chubu
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Default 01-06-2013, 01:46 | posts: 2,542 | Location: Look out!

@Speed Weed, I have read some stories about contracts with software companies that basically say "Everything you do is ours, even stuff you do on your spare time". Scary stuff.

@getsuga12, I was thinking that since there may be more emphasis on acquired experience in some fields (say, Civil Engineer) than others where the more broad your knowledge the better.

@Tat2, Ah, the joys of mandatory military service.

Luckily I'm not fat (I say "luckily" because I eat a lot of chocolate and stuff lol) but yeah, I try to pay attention to my code since I know I need to practice the more "architecture" oriented stuff as my programs get more complicated. I very guilty of not commenting my stuff though.

I feel that I lack experience on bigger stuff (my longest program is some 2500 lines of code in Java, which is quite verbose sometimes with getters/setters) so its kinda hard for me to plan ahead how the structure will be.

I like the idea of "self review" my projects once they're finished, I have yet to do a complete rewrite of something. It would be a good learning experience I guess.

@nm+, I see. And there are high expectancies about how much do you know about law when you get out of school (coming from both your personal and formal studies) ? Or you're supposed to catch up after you get a job?
   
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Default 01-06-2013, 02:14 | posts: 9,499 | Location: Ireland

As a software developer( 14 years ) having done a Computer Science degree, its pointless learning anything outside of the course because anything you learn or study honestly isint worth crap in the real world. Yes at uni you learn how to code( but not properly ), yes you learn how to design( again not properly ).

The reason is uni is a simulated environment, when you work in a team with different dynamics, with a deadline and a companies processes its just a completely different ball game, 6 months real world experience is worth 2 years worth of study( presuming youre a good coder/developer ).

You could read up on a load of stuff but youre better off just having the general gist of different API's/technologies, pros/cons of different technologies than knowing it inside out.
   
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Default 01-06-2013, 04:44 | posts: 4,385

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Chubu View Post
@getsuga12, I was thinking that since there may be more emphasis on acquired experience in some fields (say, Civil Engineer) than others where the more broad your knowledge the better.
Indeed, though I must also add that it also depends on what kind of experience you garner, as lmimmfn points out. If you can, try to freelance or get contractual jobs through your university to work on systems for/or consult clients. You'll get a taste of what it'll be like to be working in the field besides strengthening your portfolio. A published thesis is great, but in terms of practical experience it just doesn't help all that much once you get in

I must also agree that you should never get comfortable with a single API/language too
   
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nm+
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Default 01-06-2013, 11:34 | posts: 10,338 | Location: Not Minneapolis

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Chubu View Post

@nm+, I see. And there are high expectancies about how much do you know about law when you get out of school (coming from both your personal and formal studies) ? Or you're supposed to catch up after you get a job?
You need to know a lot to pass the bar (we have a ~50% pass rate), but basically none of what you learn to pass the bar applies to the practice of law.
As for relevant knowledge and skills, that depends on the employer, but generally the training is on the job as law school teaches you little beyond how to read a case.
   
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