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Life as a software engineer.

post #1 of 15
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I'm planning to go to a computer science program for university and i'm wondering how work its like as a software engineer.

What is the work environment like? What salaries would I expect? Any bonuses/royalties or profit-sharing? Any benefits? Are the conditions similar to working as a game programmer?

Feel free to add any other info that you think would give me a heads up.
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post #2 of 15
It really depends of what you like... From the course you'll have an overview of what Computer Science is and not what you can get out of it. It has such a wide range of areas and possibilitys to work on that you can't predict your future. On one hand you have the standard engineers that only work on web coding and things like that and have a standar paycheck and 9h to 17h work hours. In the other hand you have the computer graphics field (not modeling with Maya and that kind of stuff, that's for designers) that, if you're good at it, you can get higher salaries, although you'll most likely have to work alot (and I mean alot). And there is tons of different areas between, you just have to pick one that you like!

I've taken Computer Engineering course in Portugal (Minho University) and I wanted more, so I'm now in Msc. I had to chose 2 specializations and they're Computer Graphics and Parallel Distributed Computation (high performance computing) and I'm loving it! In the latter one I have to work alot but I get to work with Physicists and other Scientists from different areas which is challenging, I get to work with the latest technologies, as Tesla GPUs and FPGAs on a cluster that we have, and I enjoy it so much. Other of my collegues chose Database Management and Conception and Analysis of Software which has more work oportunities and it's not as exhausting as the ones I chose.

What I'm trying to show is not that there is areas better than others, it just depends of what YOU want to do and most important what you like as it's such a wide area!

And btw there's alot of math involved (linear algebra, numerical methods, mathematical analysis and so on) tongue.gif
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post #3 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by lambecrikas View Post

linear algebra

Taking this now. It is the weirdest math course I've had. Coming from 2 years of nothing but Calculus (Calc 1, 2, and 3; Calc based Physics, and Calc based Stats), the transition to Linear was definitely abrupt.

I would think about picking up a math minor (maybe even a major). One of my friends is working on a Computer Science/Math double major. Surprisingly, most of the courses line up with each other, so he learns the math and theory behind his code.
Quote:
Originally Posted by lambecrikas View Post

...I have to work alot but I get to work with Physicists and other Scientists from different areas which is challenging

Off topic, but as a Physics undergrad, you have to bribe us with toys. We become much more hospitable when you do.
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post #4 of 15
Good luck. You can get paid a very hefty salary and have good benefits even if you write horrible code. Apply at Microsucks if you can't get a job anywhere else .wink.gif
post #5 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by rdfloyd View Post

Taking this now. It is the weirdest math course I've had. Coming from 2 years of nothing but Calculus (Calc 1, 2, and 3; Calc based Physics, and Calc based Stats), the transition to Linear was definitely abrupt.
I would think about picking up a math minor (maybe even a major). One of my friends is working on a Computer Science/Math double major. Surprisingly, most of the courses line up with each other, so he learns the math and theory behind his code.
Off topic, but as a Physics undergrad, you have to bribe us with toys. We become much more hospitable when you do.

1. Math is fun tongue.gif

2. Toys? We have a 500.000€ cluster that we work on the University tongue.gif And I'm currently working with 2 experimental physicists. They have a partnership with CERN and have a software (sequential) that analyses the data collected from the ATLAS experiment. What I'm doing is parallelize their software to take advantage from all the resources possible (only the critical part of the program) in a Multiprocessor and a message passing environment, and implementing that part in GPU, with CUDA, to see how much speed up we can get from those 3 versions and chose the better for them to use.
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post #6 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by lambecrikas View Post

1. Math is fun tongue.gif
2. Toys? We have a 500.000€ cluster that we work on the University tongue.gif And I'm currently working with 2 experimental physicists. They have a partnership with CERN and have a software (sequential) that analyses the data collected from the ATLAS experiment. What I'm doing is parallelize their software to take advantage from all the resources possible (only the critical part of the program) in a Multiprocessor and a message passing environment, and implementing that part in GPU, with CUDA, to see how much speed up we can get from those 3 versions and chose the better for them to use.

1. Heck yeah! Math is awesome!

2. I meant little gizmos to keep them occupied. My personal favorite is my Hex Bug. No lie, when I got it I set it on a desk and watched it bump into things for at least an hour.

We have a computer cluster here that runs simulations for our Marine Science department. Unfortunately, the IT department won't touch the cluster because they are too lazy to deal with it. So we have to pay companies to come in and set everything up and keep it operating. We could use someone like you here...thinking.gif
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post #7 of 15
One of my friends is a "Software Engineer" for IBM. He wants to be an Architect which he basically oversees a team of engineers who write a lot of Java programs for whatever a client needs.
He makes HUGE money. Tons of work though, but very interesting if you are highly career motivated. (and good at yelling at people tongue.gif)
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post #8 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by AMD4ME View Post

Good luck. You can get paid a very hefty salary and have good benefits even if you write horrible code. Apply at Microsucks if you can't get a job anywhere else .wink.gif
I'm sorry to break it to you, but MS writes good code. They don't hire just anyone.
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post #9 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Coma View Post

I'm sorry to break it to you, but MS writes good code. They don't hire just anyone.

Yeah, we see alot of haters everywhere... The truth is that if they even dreamed to work in MS it would be highly unlikely that they had the skills...
Quote:
Originally Posted by rdfloyd View Post

1. Heck yeah! Math is awesome!
2. I meant little gizmos to keep them occupied. My personal favorite is my Hex Bug. No lie, when I got it I set it on a desk and watched it bump into things for at least an hour.
We have a computer cluster here that runs simulations for our Marine Science department. Unfortunately, the IT department won't touch the cluster because they are too lazy to deal with it. So we have to pay companies to come in and set everything up and keep it operating. We could use someone like you here...thinking.gif

I don't manage the cluster, we have a team of a technician and a Phd student to do that tongue.gif What I do is squeeze every bit of performance of it tongue.gif There are very few people working in this area, specially in this multi-discipline environment... The up side is that I love astro physics tongue.gif
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post #10 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by lambecrikas View Post

Yeah, we see alot of haters everywhere... The truth is that if they even dreamed to work in MS it would be highly unlikely that they had the skills...
I don't manage the cluster, we have a team of a technician and a Phd student to do that tongue.gif What I do is squeeze every bit of performance of it tongue.gif There are very few people working in this area, specially in this multi-discipline environment... The up side is that I love astro physics tongue.gif

You would fit in quite well. We have an astrophysicist here who's work is with gravitational waves and binary stars.
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