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Comment Perhaps a college diploma instead? (Score 1) 918

If your goal is to be a programmer, you may find that only a fraction of the courses that you take are relevant to your career aspirations. CS degree requirements are usually more than just learning how to program. A lot of places will require that you take breadth credits from the humanities or social sciences. Besides that, you'll probably be required to take a number of courses within the CS department that are theory related. Although the material you'll be exposed to in these courses is incredibly interesting (IMHO), you may find yourself becoming cynical about why you have to learn material that doesn't really help you become a professional programmer. You'll also have to take a number of math courses (calculus, linear algebra). This stuff is important, since a lot of areas in CS (e.g., AI, graphics), require that you have a solid math foundation.

Depending on where you want to land a job, and what type of software you want to program, you may or may not need a degree. For example, if you want to land a job as a software developer at IBM, you'll probably need a degree. (The work itself doesn't necessarily require a degree, but IBM tends to hire degreed people.) You'll also need a degree if you want to do any hard-core graphics programming.

However, there are a lot of other types of programming jobs out there for which a college diploma will suffice. A college diploma will also cost a lot less money, and you'll be able to complete it in a lot less time.

Your best bet is probably to look at what kind of jobs are out there now and identify which ones appeal to you the most. Once you've identified this, look at the requirements that these jobs list. Do they want a degree? Will they settle for a diploma? Job ads sometimes say "degree or equivalent experience", which usually means that as long as you can demonstrate you'll be able to do the job competently, they don't care whether you have a "B.Sc" after your name.

Good luck, whatever you decide to do.
The Courts

RIAA's Oppenheim Tries To Protect MediaSentry 216

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "The RIAA's 'Prince of Darkness,' Washington DC lawyer Matthew Jan Oppenheim of The Oppenheim Group, who controls and supervises all of the RIAA litigations against ordinary folks, has requested permission to intervene in the 'probable cause' hearing scheduled next week in Raleigh, North Carolina, against MediaSentry. The hearing was convened by North Carolina's Private Protective Services Board, after complaints were filed by a law firm representing a number of North Carolina State University students who had been targeted by the RIAA based on the unlicensed 'investigation' conducted by SafeNet (the new name for MediaSentry). I guess the RIAA is worried. They should be."
Operating Systems

Submission + - Historical Look At First Linux Kernel (

LinuxFan writes: KernelTrap has a fascinating article about the first Linux kernel, version 0.01, complete with source code and photos of Linus Torvalds as a young man attending the University of Helsinki. Torvalds originally planned to call the kernel "Freax", and in his first announcement noted, "I'm doing a (free) operating system (just a hobby, won't be big and professional like gnu) for 386(486) AT clones." He also stressed that the kernel was very much tied to the i386 processor, "simply, I'd say that porting is impossible." Humble beginnings.
Hardware Hacking

Submission + - Trapped atoms could lead to quantum computing brea (

An anonymous reader writes: Research being carried out at the National Institute of Standards and Technology could led to massive advances in quantum computing. According to this report by IT Pro, scientists have managed to construct a lattice of rubidium atom pairs that swap spins states. This swapping creates a logical operations such as an if/then statement. If two atoms or quantum bits have opposing states then they should exchange values. The scientists reckon this type of computing could solve problems in hours that today's supercomputers would take years to crack.

Submission + - Deep packet inspection meets Net neutrality, CALEA (

EncryptKeeper writes: Ars Technica has a in-depth (an disturbing) feature on deep packet inspection. ISPs are starting to turn to deep packet inspection to monitor their network, and more troubling, look at how they can use it to shape, block, monitor, and prioritize traffic. 'The "deep" in deep packet inspection refers to the fact that these boxes don't simply look at the header information as packets pass through them. Rather, they move beyond the IP and TCP header information to look at the payload of the packet. The goal is to identify the applications being used on the network, but some of these devices can go much further; those from a company like Narus, for instance, can look inside all traffic from a specific IP address, pick out the HTTP traffic, then drill even further down to capture only traffic headed to and from Gmail, and can even reassemble emails as they are typed out by the user.'

Submission + - Americans Clueless About Cancer Risks (

Invisible Pink Unicorn writes: "A study conducted by the American Cancer Society found that a surprising number of Americans believe scientifically dubious claims concerning cancer, and that the groups with the greatest burden of cancer are the most likely to be misinformed. For example, the majority of survey respondents didn't think smoking was more likely to cause lung cancer than pollution — despite 87% of lung cancer cases being due to smoking. The most interesting finding was that people who described themselves as knowing the most about cancer were more likely to have false beliefs. Participants who labeled themselves as "very informed" about cancer were more likely to believe underwire bras cause breast cancer, or that quitting smoking did nothing to reduce cancer risks. The article abstract is availabe from the journal Cancer."

Submission + - Obesity is socially contagious (

gubachwa writes: U.S. researchers have found that obesity can spread through a network of friends, just like the common cold or a penchant for a new style of jeans. So even if you are trying to diet, laying off that Twinkie might not be enough. If your best buddy is still reaching for a bag of chips, his weight gain may eventually be your weight gain as well.

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