Harvard Extension School Student Forum

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CS Math

Hey everybody, nice looking forum here.

After aimlessly taking a melange of classes over the past few years, I've decided to buckle down on CS, and push to graduate within a few years. I'm currently in an ALB program with a concentration in sciences, and have a GPA of about 3.9. I haven't declared a field of study yet. Your announcement about a CS path was very helpful.

I'm a vocational software developer: I learned to code through self-practice and about a decade of working in IT-type jobs where simple coding in Perl, Shell Scripts, and PHP became a well-practiced skill. Over the past 5 years, I've worked as a web developer, using Python, JavaScript, Elixir, and a handful of other languages. Though I can hack my way through making something in lower-level languages like Java and C, they aren't really my forté... though I'm not particularly worried about picking them up quickly if I need to.

So I've clearly got practical coding skills and experience up the wazoo, but I've got very little of the math/theory knowledge taught in a good Computer Science program. Unfortunately, when I was in high school 20 years ago, I didn't even complete Algebra 2 before being booted from school, (ironically because I spent all of my time in the computer lab instead of going to class.)

Wanting to be sure I have good, fresh math skills to move forward, I've started essentially taking math from scratch. I took MATH E-3 and am currently taking MATH E-8 (which is probably where I should have started TBH,) and I'm assuming that I will have to take MATH E-10 (Precalculus) and MATH E-15. Should I take MATH E-16? Would there be a significant advantage for an aspiring computer scientist to take Linear Algebra rather than going straight CSCI E-20? I'm not interested in taking shortcuts, but I'm also not interested in taking far more classes than I need to, considering I work full time can can't take more than 2 or so classes at once.

Comments

  • GratGrat Posts: 264
    The course description for CSCI E-20 says that calculus (Math E-20) is a sort of “soft” prerequisite. I took CSCI E-20 and was glad I knew calculus, having taken it about 20 years ago. You could probably get by ok without it, but it might feel like flailing in the dark on occasion. The CSCI 20 syllabus also says to read the class pdf notes to see how comfortable you feel - this is great advice. Don’t take CSCI 20 until you feel at least mildly comfortable understanding a decent chunk of those notes. CSCI 20 is a hard course, but a good one for computer science. Welcome to the forum, and thanks for the compliment!
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