Is my Computer Science minor even worth it?


I’m interested in computer programming and have learned a couple languages on my own through reading/MIT open courseware. I’ve enjoyed learning computer science so much that I decided to add it as a minor. Whereas I enjoy coding, I see it as more of a hobby right now than an actual interest that I wish to pursue. I am definitely more into architecture than computer science, but I added the minor to add a sense of authenticity to my skills in computer science. Now i’m wondering if I should just drop the minor while I still can and graduate a semester early instead. In short, I’m wondering if I should keep my computer science minor as it looks better than simply saying I can code, or if I should just drop the minor, continue to self-study comp-sci, and graduate a semester early. 

Sep 22, 19 11:25 pm

Unless you make use of what you learned in a career benefiting way.... it is probably not worth it because spending the time and money to learn this without doing something meaningful with it is kind of pointless like going to college without ever intending to use the knowledge and skills. College education is an investment and as with investing,,,, you should make your return at the very least sometime in your working life.

Generally, minors are worthless. However, there are exceptions but I doubt in the computer field that you'll get employment by most. 

There is rarely enough in a curriculum of a minor to get you to the minimum level of employability in the computer science field.

Sep 23, 19 2:25 am

Generally speaking, a college minor isn't worth much as "authentication" of anything. Minors don't usually have enough depth/intensity to prepare students for much professionally, and sometimes even listing a minor is viewed negatively, as a frivolous distraction that took your full focus away from your major.  The value of a minor is mostly to the student, as a way of organizing studies around a secondary important interest/focus, or of testing whether that's an area you might want to study at the graduate level.  But very few prospective employers are even going to take note of your minor, let alone use it in any sort of comparison of qualified applicants or in judging the strength of your computer programming skills.  By the time you have a few years of professional experience, your undergrad minor is the sort of content you'll probably be cutting from your resume for space anyway, as your "Experience" and "Professional Certifications" categories begin to feature more prominently than your "Education" category. 

If this extra semester will be valuable to you for your own interests and education, and if you'll still feel engaged with the academic subject matter, then that might be a good reason to stick it out.  But if you're just doing it in order to look more "legitimate" on paper then its value doesn't justify the tuition and the loss of your potential earnings in the work world for that extra semester.

Sep 23, 19 12:40 pm
If you intend to stay in architecture and aren’t a trust funder do the thing that saves you $$$ which would be graduating early. If you ever want to afford a middle class life, drop the architecture fantasy taught in schools and major in comp sci. You can retire early and pursue architecture as a hobby later. You’ll never afford a decent retirement as an architect. The industry is dying. Consider yourself blessed if you have the mental bandwidth to enjoy coding at all because few do.
Sep 23, 19 3:17 pm

Agreed. Go comp science. Earn bank, save, build investment properties as a side gig. Hire architects, take a heavy design hand with them, be sure to remind them you were once an arch major, then laugh. Sell property for bigger bank, giggle inside knowing you just made more than they will in a decade and still get to design buildings (why you wanted to be an architect in the first place)… repeat.


I know you're being silly but there is an element of truth beneath the sarcasm. The reality is that buildings are prohibitively expensive. The only select few of truly get to "play" in this career are ones that are commissioned to do projects backed by enormous sums of money. Design is a luxury that most people cannot afford to play. The irony is architects spend their entire career/lives striving to achieve that dream but the guy/girl with money are the ones that truly get to live out their dream. Unless you eat ramen day in and day you for the rest of your life, you may stand a chance to make it into the big leagues like Zaha, Foster, Koolhaas. etc. etc. etc.


hah, an "element" of truth, you say as I drink my morning coffee and review emails from 5 different clients, all developers with less than 4 years of architectural schooling, all who have their personal tweaks on the grand designs before sending out to companies like JLL types to run feasibility/leasing studies. Oh, and btw, make sure our sketches/designs showing the umpteenth new schematic layout meet all code and construction requirements and respond (tomorrow preferably) with any limitations.

( o Y o )

neither are real-world skills and neither are going to be useful after the crash

Sep 23, 19 3:27 pm

Short answer, keep the minor. Especially if the program is reputable. Review your school salary surveys for recent grads by major. Architecture in industry is very different from school.

I know people who switched from Architecture and now code. They took coding workshops and used projects as their portfolio to get in on ability. Why not do it while in school? 

Sep 23, 19 6:12 pm

Big question is, is the amount of coding enough to be competitive in the computer science field and related IT/Video game field. Probably not. In the video game field, the minor won't impress anyone but your portfolio of works of video games you create solo or in small groups would say a lot more. In other IT / CS field, it would be the portfolio of apps and whatever else you can show that communicates your knowledge and skills for the position. I am concern that it would be insufficient because it would be like a community college level 1-year certificate if not a little less.


If I were to work in a field that requires coding it would be User Experience design.


That's what my two former co-workers did. Last I checked each are much happier with their lives. Do some research and critical thinking. What kind of bias did you expect to find on a forum where architects and designers complain about their career?


Generally speaking, a person needs to do more than earning a minor in computer science. An Associates of Applied Science in computer science or programming tends to cover more education and training in computer science than what a minor covers. We are talking what is it.... less than 20 credits or about five 4 credit classes or 6 courses (4 of them being 3 credits and 2 of them being 4 credits) or maybe 7 courses for about 21 credits because 24 or more and it may not be a minor anymore.

Anyway, as for UX jobs..... that can be competitive and while some of the early courses in architecture that is more art basic design kind of education would be more likely to translate over quickly. Then we generally in the field want people that does BOTH UI and UX design since it is often ONE position that does both types of activities.


Well, now i’m even more confused than I was when I posted this.

Sep 23, 19 11:19 pm
Non Sequitur

Good. Except for the following advice, you should not seek advise for adult decisions on online forums.


There are lots of sweeping generalities and stereotypings in this thread, so here's one person's anecdotal experience: I have 20+ years of experience and make about 30% more as an architect than the average computer programmer at the same level in their career makes in my location, which has been the case since around the mid-point of my career-so-far.  This is almost certainly not the case for most entry-level architects - and that does obviously have an impact on young architects' abilities to save and invest.  From a financial standpoint I'm not going to end up eating pet food in an RV park in Arkansas.  I minored in a vaguely related field, and nobody ever cared one way or the other and it affected nothing, including how long it took me to graduate.  If it's going to make you pay for another semester then drop it.
Most of the computer programmers I know work far longer hours than I do - one of them keeps most of his clothes in a bin under his desk at work because he sleeps and showers there more days per week than at home.  I have a sanitation worker friend who makes more money than I do and usually works far fewer hours.  You can have a decent work-life balance in any of these careers - or you can work crazy hours in any of them - it's not really as career-specific as many on this forum would have you believe, it's worker- and employer-specific. 
Your minor is unimportant and hardly anybody will ever care if you had one or what it was. 
Which career you pick is more important, but not forever fixed and unchangeable.
Do whichever feels more right for you now, and rethink if/when necessary.

Sep 24, 19 2:06 pm

I minored in compsci. In some cases it was a plus, other cases it didn't hurt. I don't see how this hurts you unless it is a big financial burden.

You never know when this stuff will come up. Might help you get your foot in the door at a startup or something. At giant corporate companies, sometimes it does matter if you have this stuff listed in your HR profile.

As for comments about whether you will be competitive in CS/IT jobs -- there are a whole range of CS and IT jobs and not all of them require top-tier skills... Sure, you won't be qualified to jump into hardcore backend development but that isn't what you're trying to do anyway, right?

Sep 30, 19 10:04 am

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