Confusion within a Major!

Even though it has been a few weeks since I have been here at UCSD, I feel like I am getting more and more confused about my major in Computer Science after finding out more surprising things. For one, there are multiple technical clusters within Computer Science that just makes it hard to decide what to do! Right now, I am a Computer Engineer looking to possibly switch into Bioinformatics or Computer Science, but it’s just too hard to choose! Here are some of the surprises I encountered when I came here for Computer Science;

  1. The many majors that the CSE department offers that are very different in terms of curriculum.
  2. The many different types of disciplines within the BS Computer Science major.
  3. Computer Science is not about computers at all!

Although these are some basic things that are expected to be known, the amount of different branches to take in the CSE tree definitely overwhelmed me. (Excuse my cheesiness.)

One simple question I have is: What is the difference between all the different majors?: BS Computer Science, BA Computer Science, BS Computer Engineering, and BS Computer Science with Bioinformatics.

First of all, each major has a different set of curricula because each are very different career-wise. I see a major in computer science to be a person who would deal more with software in industry and basically delves into the world of programming. But within this major, there are also different disciplines: Artificial Intelligence, Bioinformatics, Computer Vision, Networked Systems, Security and Cryptography, and Software Engineering. To me, these all sound very interesting. If you would like to learn more visit the UCSD site!

http://cse.ucsd.edu/node/37

Personally, I’m thinking of taking on the Bioinformatics cluster since I am interested in more of the research and biology side of computing.

Now Computer Engineering takes on more of the hardware for computers, meaning that these majors would be dealing more with the research of system hardware like GPU, or CPU, or even memory drives. Electrical Engineering and more math courses are something to be expected in this major.

Bioinformatics is very different from Computer Science in my opinion. A bioinformatician would be taking more biology and chemistry courses to take on more research within a biology lab. This may mean that a person taking on this major will most likely be here for more than 4 years because of the rigorous course load! Although this is very vague, I’ve provided some articles talking more about Bioinformatics for a Computer Science major.

http://www.ploscompbiol.org/home.action

http://www.biomedcentral.com/bmcbioinformatics/

Even a paper published just for Computer Scientists interested in Bioinformatics.

http://cse.spsu.edu/mmurphy/BIOINFORMATICS/SurveyArticleACM.pdf

Now the question arises, which major would be best for me? What major would be best for you? These are questions that need not only research on the internet, but a little self-knowledge ourselves.

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