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Best colleges for computer programming?

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#computer-science #computer-programming #computers #major #college #college-major #programming

Things you can consider for this specific question...

What colleges are highly ranked for their computer programming track?
Where did you earn your computer science/programming degree?

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5 answers

Jonathan’s Answer

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You ask 100 different people and you might get 100 different answers depending where they are and how strongly a person feels about their Alma Mater. In the end "Best" is subjective and personal. You should think about what you want to do with a CS Degree and where you would like to work (market segment, companies, etc.). Let's say you would like to work for Microsoft or Amazon in Seattle then UW might be a great school for you. You want to work in Bio-Informatics segment then John's Hopkins would be an awesome choice.

Another thing to consider; I know plenty of examples of students who went to seemingly lower ranked CS programs who ended up with superior 1st job than those who went to name brand programs. Often time internships will be just as important as where you went to school. It demonstrates to the employers that you are proactive and know how to seek out opportunities.

Jonathan recommends the following next steps:

  • Do your research on prospective schools
  • Always be mindful of your ability to pay. If you got in to your flagship State school's CS program and also got accepted to a highly rated private program think really hard if the 2x costs is worth it. Often time its not.
  • Be proactive about seeking out internship opportunities, including research projects within your university.
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William’s Answer

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Keep in mind that most schools have computer science programs or engineering departments. While there are certainly "better" opportunities at some schools than others, I'd try to determine what is "better for you." Just because a university is highly ranked, doesn't mean that you will get the most out of it for yourself. The best advice that I received was to go to a small liberal arts school, where you can learn directly and closely with professors instead of TAs and get a well-rounded education. That's helped me succeed as an engineer and then ultimately transition into my next career path as a product manager.

I'd focus on what you want and how you can best learn personally. Don't worry about what Princeton Review thinks is the best.

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Tomer’s Answer

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It's been a while since I was in University, so I'd probably answer this question more directly with a web search to see opinions and ratings, such as https://www.niche.com/colleges/search/best-colleges-for-computer-science/ (as one of many examples). 

Personally, I went to UCLA for Computer Science in the mid 90's, and it was a pretty solid program. UCLA is listed as #19 on the list above from 2019 (but it looks like every school on that list would be great regarding studying CS). 

One thing to consider in regards to choosing a university is also the exposure to other curriculum, cultures, and opportunities. Yes, you are choosing the best school, but "best" really gets defined about you and what YOU need. I think it is important to be happy to sustain the level of dedicated work that University demands. And to surround yourself with opportunities that may show various ways to get involved in a variety of fields, or areas in between different fields of study.

For example, UCLA is in the sprawling metropolis of Los Angeles, which is glorious in the amount of things you can find there. You are not in the heart of silicon valley or anything, but you are surrounded by movie studios, with many employees of Pixar and Dreamworks and other computer centric companies in various fields around finance and movies.

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Leon’s Answer

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I graduated from Syracuse University some years ago with a BS in MIS (Management Information Systems). This degree taught me computer programming and how computer programs are used in a business.

As with most mixed major BS degrees you can select the number of computer programming courses and other courses to round out your understanding on how computer a used in this ever changing business world.


Just to show you how different the computer industry is different from a month ago. Microsoft paid $7.5 billion for the Open Source repository GitHub. Microsoft said that if you can't beat them join them. I have been programming with open source languages and applications for many years and never thought Microsoft with join the Open Source world.


Also, a University's major focus regarding computers can be very different. Syracuse University now specializes in Big Data and how it is used in industry to solve problems, etc. Other Universities specialize in other areas--Artificial Intelligence, Computer Systems, Human-Computer Interfaces, Computer Architecture, Algorithms and Data Structures, Machine Learning and Data Mining, Cryptography, 3D Digital Modeling, Computer Game Programming, Object-Oriented Programming and Design . You have to understand what area of the computer industry excites you.


And last, you have to look at the expense of obtaining a BS degree from these Universities. The costs can be quite different and with interest payments that could be a problem with you life style after graduation.


Good luck on you selection!

Leon recommends the following next steps:

  • Learn a programming language on the Internet that is currently used in industry--Java, Python, C+
  • Improve you skills on the language you selected from beginner, to intermediate, to advanced.
  • Learn another language.
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Ria’s Answer

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Niche has great listings of colleges by major! https://www.niche.com/colleges/search/best-colleges-for-computer-science/ - according to this, Stanford, MIT, and Carnegie Mellon have the top three computer science programs.

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