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Old 18th October 2008
ocicat ocicat is offline
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 3,301

Originally Posted by bsdsys_x86 View Post
Any advise is welcome.
Be careful about what you ask...

When stating that you are considering "majoring in computers", realize that there are different directions one can take towards this goal. Given that the entire computer industry arose from mathematics & electrical engineering, you will find different programs which come at computers from different directions.

As a quick summary of 4-year programs:
  • Computer Science programs usually attempt to approach the topic from a balanced standpoint, but will stress the mathematical underpinnings to algorithms & graph theory. Understanding theory is considered important.
  • Computer Engineering programs attempt to approach the topic from more of a hardware, electrical engineering viewpoint. It is common in these programs to require students to implement hardware projects typically in their junior & senior years. Pure electrical engineering students will not typically take the number of programming courses that Computer Science students will complete. However, CE & EE students might get into device drivers where CS students typically don't.
  • Information Management (IM) or Management of Information Systems (MIS) programs typically focus on project management issues. These programs do not typically stress theory or hardware.
There are 2-year programs which will focus more on systems administration issues. While this route may be attractive, the preparation one goes through is less rigorous than 4-year programs. Maybe this matters, maybe it doesn't, but in this economy, flexibility & depth is important to getting a good job & keeping it. Being truly valuable to an organization will help buffer the up's & down's of a challenging economic environment. Value comes from experience, drive, & the ability to understand underlying factors.

As for the running commentary you will read here about about the dominance of Microsoft in academia. It's a reality. Get used to it. If your goal is to be a sysadmin, avoiding Microsoft means you will be limiting yourself to less than 10% of what jobs are available. Even if you can find (& get...) a non-Windows sysadmin gig, you will still need to contend with Windows within the organization. CEO's, marketing types, payroll people all use Windows. Rarely can they use anything else. Sometimes they don't have a choice because the applications they use in their jobs are Windows-specific.

Yes, there are Unix gigs, but they aren't as common, & pure Unix gigs are even more rare. Usually the people in these roles have a significant amount of experience. As someone coming into the industry, you may not be able to land your dream job from the beginning. Having knowledge of Microsoft can only help your perspective & worth to prospective employers.
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