Follow-up on college engineering thread (computational v CS v Berkeley IEOR)

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physiorol
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Re: Follow-up on college engineering thread (computational v CS v Berkeley IEOR)

Post by physiorol » Sat Apr 06, 2019 1:35 pm

entropy2017 wrote:
Sat Apr 06, 2019 2:36 am
I received an undergraduate engineering degree from Berkeley and I can confirm that it is an intensely competitive experience, especially when compared to other majors. I never really used my degree so not sure I would do it again. So i would make sure that is what your son really wants. Also high grades are more difficult to achieve in engineering - something to think about if he wants to go to grad school.
I guess I am a bit confused on the grad school thing. On one hand I hear going to Berkeley will help you with grad school admission but on the other hand I hear Berkeley makes it tough to get good grades so it makes grad school admission harder.

Should I assume that the grad schools are not very good at weighting the difficulty of undergrad classes when comparing GPA across applicants from different undergrad schools/majors?

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Re: Follow-up on college engineering thread (computational v CS v Berkeley IEOR)

Post by physiorol » Sat Apr 06, 2019 1:39 pm

il0kin wrote:
Fri Apr 05, 2019 8:52 pm
Hard to say if a minor in CS would develop strong technical/programming skills without seeing a course list, to be honest. If it covers both back end and front end languages in a minor, then it will give the fundamentals but probably not deep dive like a major would. That said, I don't have a CS degree... but if I could start it all over knowing what I know now, I'd get a CS degree with a minor in business like I mentioned before.

Can't emphasize enough that soft skills are so important in the tech world, though! Being able to sit down with an end user and really spend time understanding their requirements for a project, asking "why" until you unravel the project requirements, and understanding what makes them tick is what separates the good from the great.
Thanks again.

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Re: Follow-up on college engineering thread (computational v CS v Berkeley IEOR)

Post by physiorol » Sat Apr 06, 2019 1:44 pm

Stormbringer wrote:
Sat Apr 06, 2019 6:04 am
physiorol wrote:
Wed Apr 03, 2019 12:00 pm
Although things in life change rapidly, he is currently leaning towards working in the business/people side of high tech, eg business analytics/management consulting. And therefore the coursework in the Berkeley and Waterloo programs seem to excite him more than straight CS.
I have a BS in Computer Science and an MBA, which seems to work well for this sort of thing. My opinion is that if you are going to manage or sell high tech, you will be more effective if you have some hands-on experience with it.
OK makes sense. So even-though, at this stage, he is not planning on a long-term career writing code getting a CS degree and doing technical work early in his career will be beneficial to working in the business/people side of tech later?

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Re: Follow-up on college engineering thread (computational v CS v Berkeley IEOR)

Post by FireProof » Sat Apr 06, 2019 2:39 pm

Note that Berkeley has a computer science degree in Letters and Science (which I would think might be easier to get into if you think switching into EECS would be difficult). Certainly for programming jobs, that's equivalent to EECS (and grad school destinations look good too). https://career.berkeley.edu/sites/defau ... cience.pdf
My sister started out in the College of Environmental Design, switched into L&S to to Chemistry, and ended up graduating in CS

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Re: Follow-up on college engineering thread (computational v CS v Berkeley IEOR)

Post by DrGoogle2017 » Sat Apr 06, 2019 3:05 pm

My kid’s lab physics partner went to UCB for EECS, it took her 5 years to graduate. She had stellar grades her freshman year even. She’s now working for an old tech, has been around for years. I think knowing hardware might not be as good as just pure CS.

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Re: Follow-up on college engineering thread (computational v CS v Berkeley IEOR)

Post by matto » Sat Apr 06, 2019 4:13 pm

Tdubs wrote:
Fri Apr 05, 2019 9:17 pm
Choose Berkeley, because there is no place else like it. He will live an interesting life.
I was affiliated with Berkeley and know several professors in both the CS and OR department. I have worked on hiring in Bay Area high tech, and I agree with this.

Berkeley is a magical place. There is a tangible scale to people's ambitions that isn't as present at Irvine/Davis/Austin. Furthermore Austin is a great city but Davis/Irvine are not that interesting in my humble opinion.

However, the scale of people's ambitions around you will most likely be more heavily determined by your micro environment, who you choose to surround yourself first. So you can make your experience what you want to make of it.

Berkeley IEOR can be very floofy, it can be the least rigorous of any of the engineering options at Berkeley.

However, it can also be very rigorous if you choose to make it so.

Furthermore, the weight of Berkeley's name shouldn't be underestimated.

If the student is ambitious and wants to leave open as many doors as possible down the line, it's an easy decision, Berkeley. Even Berkeley is right on the cusp of schools that elite high tech companies will consider. McKinsey for example won't even recruit at Berkeley. I've been at yuppie parties where my Harvard/Princeton friends get confused looks when they introduce our Berkeley friend. I agree it's crazy pretentious but I'm just reporting the truth, there are a lot of circles like that.

If ambition is the most important thing, he/she can't go wrong with Berkeley. Especially if he/she wants to work in Bay Area tech. Then again, I know several people who did Davis -> Stanford Masters, which is another route to getting name recognition. Masters programs are much easier to get into because top tier students don't bother with them and they generate a lot of cash for universities.

If life happiness is the most important thing, go where he/she feels he/she will be happiest. This has the side benefit that you will probably be most successful wherever you are happiest (contradicts earlier point). The other semi contradiction is that some people will only be happiest if they're on the most ambitious path for themselves.

I won't sugar coat it, Berkeley does have a suffering culture and is quite stressful. Premed is especially bad, but so is CS. If he/she were premed I would actually recommend Irvine or Davis because they're considerably easier and GPA is very important for med school apps.

Another thing not to sugar coat, Berkeley in-state students are generally less qualified compared to out-of-state students, *on average*. As a result, it is the in-state students who suffer the most from the rigor because (again, on average), they are less qualified.

The flip side of Berkeley's toughness is that Davis and Irvine are incredibly plain compared to Berkeley, so pick your poison. What I wanted most in my life was to improve and test myself, so I chose the most difficult path. It hasn't always been fun but I don't think I would look back on College as fondly if I had taken an easier choice (this is personal and shouldn't be construed as a value judgement, one has to have their own values).

Sorry for the mess of writing above, I don't have time to edit it into a clear point, but I hope there's something there that helps. Feel free to PM me if you want more in depth details, like I said I was affiliated with Berkeley and know the engineering programs there well.

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Re: Follow-up on college engineering thread (computational v CS v Berkeley IEOR)

Post by physiorol » Sat Apr 06, 2019 4:47 pm

FireProof wrote:
Sat Apr 06, 2019 2:39 pm
Note that Berkeley has a computer science degree in Letters and Science (which I would think might be easier to get into if you think switching into EECS would be difficult). Certainly for programming jobs, that's equivalent to EECS (and grad school destinations look good too). https://career.berkeley.edu/sites/defau ... cience.pdf
My sister started out in the College of Environmental Design, switched into L&S to to Chemistry, and ended up graduating in CS
Very cool link, I will try and find one for IEOR. I think the problem with CS in letters and Sciences is that you have to hit a 3.3 GPA in three intro CS courses to declare a major in CS, which seems doable but the mean GPA of all students in those three courses is less than 3.3. This increases stress and workload for those trying to declare CS major and it is not guaranteed that you will even graduate with CS Major (but if you do as per the link above you will have some great options).

So I think kids are weighing up 1) going to another UC where they have been admitted directly to the CS major is guaranteed versus 2) going to Berkeley and grinding to hit the 3.3 GPA minimum to declare CS and if you miss it then graduate with a different major.

I think those that choose 1) are stress adverse and are more worried about what major they graduate with. And those that choose 2) are more worried about the school ranking and/or are very confident in their ability to be in the upper third of a very competitive group of students.

Edit here is the career survey for IEOR.
https://career.berkeley.edu/sites/defau ... search.pdf

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Re: Follow-up on college engineering thread (computational v CS v Berkeley IEOR)

Post by physiorol » Sat Apr 06, 2019 5:15 pm

matto wrote:
Sat Apr 06, 2019 4:13 pm
Tdubs wrote:
Fri Apr 05, 2019 9:17 pm
Choose Berkeley, because there is no place else like it. He will live an interesting life.
Berkeley is a magical place. There is a tangible scale to people's ambitions that isn't as present at Irvine/Davis/Austin. Furthermore Austin is a great city but Davis/Irvine are not that interesting in my humble opinion.

However, the scale of people's ambitions around you will most likely be more heavily determined by your micro environment, who you choose to surround yourself first. So you can make your experience what you want to make of it.

Berkeley IEOR can be very floofy, it can be the least rigorous of any of the engineering options at Berkeley.
Thanks. Also very helpful. My kid has to choose between
1) Berkeley for IEOR + CS or EECS minor (with small possibility he could major in CS in L&S)
2) CS Major at Davis/Irvine/Northeastern.

If he was accepted into EECS at Berkeley then it would be a much easier decision to choose Berkeley over the other three. But currently he is stuck trying to decide between the likely preferred major (CS) and the better ranked school (Berkeley). Other factors are being considered eg stress, geography, quality of life, distance to home etc

PS: Not that salary is a great measure of the value of an education but it is interesting that https://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/ ... lumni-work shows that the median earnings of graduates of two of the options he is considering are pretty similar*:
Berkeley IEOR graduate is $74k at 2 years and $123K at 10 years
Davis CS graduate is $74K at 2 years and $116K at 10 years

* Past performance is no guarantee of future results

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Re: Follow-up on college engineering thread (computational v CS v Berkeley IEOR)

Post by Cartographer » Sat Apr 06, 2019 8:09 pm

physiorol wrote:
Sat Apr 06, 2019 4:47 pm
Very cool link, I will try and find one for IEOR. I think the problem with CS in letters and Sciences is that you have to hit a 3.3 GPA in three intro CS courses to declare a major in CS, which seems doable but the mean GPA of all students in those three courses is less than 3.3. This increases stress and workload for those trying to declare CS major and it is not guaranteed that you will even graduate with CS Major (but if you do as per the link above you will have some great options).
Remember that these days everyone is taking CS classes. The intro classes are full of people who have no intent on majoring in CS and/or are weaker at the technical subjects than a typical engineering major. So the average GPA is naturally going to be lower.

That said, you definitely shouldn’t count on being able to make the switch. If it is critical to do CS and nothing else, then Berkeley probably isn’t a good choice. However if your son is unsure or is happy to do something else if CS doesn’t work out, I still think Berkeley is the obvious first choice.

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Re: Follow-up on college engineering thread (computational v CS v Berkeley IEOR)

Post by Cartographer » Sat Apr 06, 2019 8:21 pm

physiorol wrote:
Sat Apr 06, 2019 1:35 pm
I guess I am a bit confused on the grad school thing. On one hand I hear going to Berkeley will help you with grad school admission but on the other hand I hear Berkeley makes it tough to get good grades so it makes grad school admission harder.

Should I assume that the grad schools are not very good at weighting the difficulty of undergrad classes when comparing GPA across applicants from different undergrad schools/majors?
It really depends on the program. Law school and many masters programs are much more focused on the numbers and less on the school name. Top MBAs care a lot about pedigree, and less the exact GPA (though still important). Top PhDs care about both - you’ll need a great GPA from a top-name school else your chances are low.

Large programs will see a lot of applicants from Berkeley. The ones that are more wholistic and look beyond just the raw numbers will be calibrated to Berkeley’s somewhat lower GPAs, and factor that into the decision.

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Re: Follow-up on college engineering thread (computational v CS v Berkeley IEOR)

Post by HawkeyePierce » Sat Apr 06, 2019 9:01 pm

matto wrote:
Sat Apr 06, 2019 4:13 pm
Tdubs wrote:
Fri Apr 05, 2019 9:17 pm
Choose Berkeley, because there is no place else like it. He will live an interesting life.
I was affiliated with Berkeley and know several professors in both the CS and OR department. I have worked on hiring in Bay Area high tech, and I agree with this.

Berkeley is a magical place. There is a tangible scale to people's ambitions that isn't as present at Irvine/Davis/Austin. Furthermore Austin is a great city but Davis/Irvine are not that interesting in my humble opinion.

However, the scale of people's ambitions around you will most likely be more heavily determined by your micro environment, who you choose to surround yourself first. So you can make your experience what you want to make of it.

Berkeley IEOR can be very floofy, it can be the least rigorous of any of the engineering options at Berkeley.

However, it can also be very rigorous if you choose to make it so.

Furthermore, the weight of Berkeley's name shouldn't be underestimated.

If the student is ambitious and wants to leave open as many doors as possible down the line, it's an easy decision, Berkeley. Even Berkeley is right on the cusp of schools that elite high tech companies will consider. McKinsey for example won't even recruit at Berkeley. I've been at yuppie parties where my Harvard/Princeton friends get confused looks when they introduce our Berkeley friend. I agree it's crazy pretentious but I'm just reporting the truth, there are a lot of circles like that.

If ambition is the most important thing, he/she can't go wrong with Berkeley. Especially if he/she wants to work in Bay Area tech. Then again, I know several people who did Davis -> Stanford Masters, which is another route to getting name recognition. Masters programs are much easier to get into because top tier students don't bother with them and they generate a lot of cash for universities.

If life happiness is the most important thing, go where he/she feels he/she will be happiest. This has the side benefit that you will probably be most successful wherever you are happiest (contradicts earlier point). The other semi contradiction is that some people will only be happiest if they're on the most ambitious path for themselves.

I won't sugar coat it, Berkeley does have a suffering culture and is quite stressful. Premed is especially bad, but so is CS. If he/she were premed I would actually recommend Irvine or Davis because they're considerably easier and GPA is very important for med school apps.

Another thing not to sugar coat, Berkeley in-state students are generally less qualified compared to out-of-state students, *on average*. As a result, it is the in-state students who suffer the most from the rigor because (again, on average), they are less qualified.

The flip side of Berkeley's toughness is that Davis and Irvine are incredibly plain compared to Berkeley, so pick your poison. What I wanted most in my life was to improve and test myself, so I chose the most difficult path. It hasn't always been fun but I don't think I would look back on College as fondly if I had taken an easier choice (this is personal and shouldn't be construed as a value judgement, one has to have their own values).

Sorry for the mess of writing above, I don't have time to edit it into a clear point, but I hope there's something there that helps. Feel free to PM me if you want more in depth details, like I said I was affiliated with Berkeley and know the engineering programs there well.
I'm certainly not going to knock UC Berkeley, great school, but as someone who works for a major Silicon Valley tech company I think you are seriously overestimating the weight given to someone's college. Some of the most impressive people I've worked with came out of no-name schools. Yeah, if you want to go to McKinsey it matters. If you want to go to Google it doesn't.

The Bay Area tech companies have significantly expanded their recruiting beyond their usual schools. My alma mater is a small liberal arts school in Texas and now Google, Uber, Intel and Amazon are all recruiting from their CS department because they need every software engineer they can find—and this is a department that only graduates 15 people a year. There's no need to attend a top-flight school to open those doors in tech.

I agree regarding your points about one's micro environment. Who you surround yourself with and their ambitiousness will have far more impact than whatever university you put on your resume.

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Re: Follow-up on college engineering thread (computational v CS v Berkeley IEOR)

Post by physiorol » Sat Apr 06, 2019 9:05 pm

Cartographer wrote:
Sat Apr 06, 2019 8:09 pm
Remember that these days everyone is taking CS classes. The intro classes are full of people who have no intent on majoring in CS and/or are weaker at the technical subjects than a typical engineering major. So the average GPA is naturally going to be lower.

That said, you definitely shouldn’t count on being able to make the switch. If it is critical to do CS and nothing else, then Berkeley probably isn’t a good choice. However if your son is unsure or is happy to do something else if CS doesn’t work out, I still think Berkeley is the obvious first choice.
Good point thanks.

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Re: Follow-up on college engineering thread (computational v CS v Berkeley IEOR)

Post by physiorol » Sat Apr 06, 2019 9:15 pm

HawkeyePierce wrote:
Sat Apr 06, 2019 9:01 pm
The Bay Area tech companies have significantly expanded their recruiting beyond their usual schools. My alma mater is a small liberal arts school in Texas and now Google, Uber, Intel and Amazon are all recruiting from their CS department because they need every software engineer they can find—and this is a department that only graduates 15 people a year. There's no need to attend a top-flight school to open those doors in tech.
Thanks for that.

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Re: Follow-up on college engineering thread (computational v CS v Berkeley IEOR)

Post by Dialectical Investor » Sat Apr 06, 2019 9:17 pm

HawkeyePierce wrote:
Sat Apr 06, 2019 9:01 pm

I'm certainly not going to knock UC Berkeley, great school, but as someone who works for a major Silicon Valley tech company I think you are seriously overestimating the weight given to someone's college.
This is very common for this forum. You see it especially in the MBA threads. Of course there are companies that target/exclude specific schools in their recruiting efforts, where a top school isn't even good enough, it has to be the "right" top school, and there are narrow paths to certain specific career goals, but I often think I'm not living at the same time or in the same country as the posters who respond to some of these college-related threads, because the comments are so out of this world.

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Re: Follow-up on college engineering thread (computational v CS v Berkeley IEOR)

Post by Cartographer » Sat Apr 06, 2019 9:40 pm

HawkeyePierce wrote:
Sat Apr 06, 2019 9:01 pm
I'm certainly not going to knock UC Berkeley, great school, but as someone who works for a major Silicon Valley tech company I think you are seriously overestimating the weight given to someone's college. Some of the most impressive people I've worked with came out of no-name schools. Yeah, if you want to go to McKinsey it matters. If you want to go to Google it doesn't.

The Bay Area tech companies have significantly expanded their recruiting beyond their usual schools. My alma mater is a small liberal arts school in Texas and now Google, Uber, Intel and Amazon are all recruiting from their CS department because they need every software engineer they can find—and this is a department that only graduates 15 people a year. There's no need to attend a top-flight school to open those doors in tech.
Just because they recruit at many schools does not mean they hold the students in equal regards. Yes, there will be brilliant people from any school, and anyone has a chance of succeeding no matter what school they go to. But it’s all about probabilities. In general, the better the school, the better the student is assumed to be, and therefore the higher the probability (though there will be exceptions).

Also, there’s no way smaller employers have robust recruiting operations at more than a couple schools. While Google may recruit everywhere, you’ll have the widest range of choices coming from a great school that’s close to where the jobs are.

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Re: Follow-up on college engineering thread (computational v CS v Berkeley IEOR)

Post by matto » Sat Apr 06, 2019 9:47 pm

HawkeyePierce wrote:
Sat Apr 06, 2019 9:01 pm
I'm certainly not going to knock UC Berkeley, great school, but as someone who works for a major Silicon Valley tech company I think you are seriously overestimating the weight given to someone's college. Some of the most impressive people I've worked with came out of no-name schools. Yeah, if you want to go to McKinsey it matters. If you want to go to Google it doesn't.

The Bay Area tech companies have significantly expanded their recruiting beyond their usual schools. My alma mater is a small liberal arts school in Texas and now Google, Uber, Intel and Amazon are all recruiting from their CS department because they need every software engineer they can find—and this is a department that only graduates 15 people a year. There's no need to attend a top-flight school to open those doors in tech.

I agree regarding your points about one's micro environment. Who you surround yourself with and their ambitiousness will have far more impact than whatever university you put on your resume.
It's good to get someone else's perspective, I wrote the above in a hurry.

If you want to go to the companies on that list, that's certainly doable from a lot of schools. There's such a demand for new grad software engineers those big companies will hire from everywhere. They also have the resources to put into recruiting.

At the tip top of selectivity though, I do believe it does make a difference. In my experience the most selective companies I've seen for software engineers are elite startups, highly desired teams at Google/FB (usually the ML groups these days), and engineers in finance. These options can be off limits for someone depending on their school.

I would say that Berkeley vs those other schools only makes a few % difference. That being said, to a lot of people in the world, they will want to optimize for that few percent, and I think in that case the decision is easy.

To resummarize how I feel: #1 priority is to go where the person feels they'll be happiest. For some people, happiest would involve taking the hardest option. Or in this case, Berkeley I believe is also the more exciting option (Davis and Irvine are not as exciting to me).

I think more important by far will be the major/classes taken and internships. And of course, micro environment is huge.

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Re: Follow-up on college engineering thread (computational v CS v Berkeley IEOR)

Post by matto » Sat Apr 06, 2019 9:55 pm

Dialectical Investor wrote:
Sat Apr 06, 2019 9:17 pm
HawkeyePierce wrote:
Sat Apr 06, 2019 9:01 pm

I'm certainly not going to knock UC Berkeley, great school, but as someone who works for a major Silicon Valley tech company I think you are seriously overestimating the weight given to someone's college.
This is very common for this forum. You see it especially in the MBA threads. Of course there are companies that target/exclude specific schools in their recruiting efforts, where a top school isn't even good enough, it has to be the "right" top school, and there are narrow paths to certain specific career goals, but I often think I'm not living at the same time or in the same country as the posters who respond to some of these college-related threads, because the comments are so out of this world.
For what it's worth I have fought with recruiting at my company and they refuse to even interview Berkeley new graduates (experienced hires are different). So Davis or Irvine is completely out of the question.

Companies like mine exist.

I've said above that for getting into medical schools, less 'elite' colleges can be better. For STEM I haven't found this to be the case.

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Re: Follow-up on college engineering thread (computational v CS v Berkeley IEOR)

Post by Dialectical Investor » Sat Apr 06, 2019 10:11 pm

matto wrote:
Sat Apr 06, 2019 9:55 pm

Companies like mine exist.
Thankfully, this screening mechanism can work both ways. Win-Win. (Or is that Lose-Lose?)

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Re: Follow-up on college engineering thread (computational v CS v Berkeley IEOR)

Post by matto » Sat Apr 06, 2019 10:12 pm

physiorol wrote:
Sat Apr 06, 2019 5:15 pm
matto wrote:
Sat Apr 06, 2019 4:13 pm
Tdubs wrote:
Fri Apr 05, 2019 9:17 pm
Choose Berkeley, because there is no place else like it. He will live an interesting life.
Berkeley is a magical place. There is a tangible scale to people's ambitions that isn't as present at Irvine/Davis/Austin. Furthermore Austin is a great city but Davis/Irvine are not that interesting in my humble opinion.

However, the scale of people's ambitions around you will most likely be more heavily determined by your micro environment, who you choose to surround yourself first. So you can make your experience what you want to make of it.

Berkeley IEOR can be very floofy, it can be the least rigorous of any of the engineering options at Berkeley.
Thanks. Also very helpful. My kid has to choose between
1) Berkeley for IEOR + CS or EECS minor (with small possibility he could major in CS in L&S)
2) CS Major at Davis/Irvine/Northeastern.

If he was accepted into EECS at Berkeley then it would be a much easier decision to choose Berkeley over the other three. But currently he is stuck trying to decide between the likely preferred major (CS) and the better ranked school (Berkeley). Other factors are being considered eg stress, geography, quality of life, distance to home etc

PS: Not that salary is a great measure of the value of an education but it is interesting that https://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/ ... lumni-work shows that the median earnings of graduates of two of the options he is considering are pretty similar*:
Berkeley IEOR graduate is $74k at 2 years and $123K at 10 years
Davis CS graduate is $74K at 2 years and $116K at 10 years

* Past performance is no guarantee of future results
On one hand, I believe the surveys and every data point I've seen indicates that school choice doesn't make a huge difference to salary. Driven people find a way to make money no matter where they go. Less driven people find a way to make less money. And so forth.

On the other hand, for a solid CS graduate, they should be far above the numbers you posted if they stay in Silicon Valley and work as software engineers.

It's been a while since I've talked to the CS department at Berkeley but last I heard they were crushed under the popularity, so if a requirement to major in CS is there, it might be difficult. That being said, if he is confident in his work ethic, I'm sure they'd let him double major if he can maintain a high GPA in CS. My experience with Berkeley has been that you can do almost anything, but you have to a) be driven enough to make it happen and b) execute well. That is, if he can study hard and keep up a GPA, find the right engineering school admins/advisors to bug about it, he can almost surely get the double major. But it will require him to seek it out, nobody is going to offer it.

In fact now that I mention it, that would be my best summary of Berkeley. Very high upper limit on what you can achieve but you will get drowned out by the masses so you need to work very hard and be driven to get it done yourself. This is a really useful life skill for what it's worth.

Other majors to look into are Engineering Math at Berkeley. Take that, throw in some software classes as electives, and it will create a very impressive resume. Even operations research + software engineering electives will look great. I have a slight bias in that I work as a researcher in a hedge fund and before that worked as a research engineer in silicon valley. That combo of math background + engineering skills are in high demand.

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Re: Follow-up on college engineering thread (computational v CS v Berkeley IEOR)

Post by matto » Sat Apr 06, 2019 10:15 pm

Dialectical Investor wrote:
Sat Apr 06, 2019 10:11 pm
matto wrote:
Sat Apr 06, 2019 9:55 pm

Companies like mine exist.
Thankfully, this screening mechanism can work both ways. Win-Win. (Or is that Lose-Lose?)
As long as one knows what it takes to make them happy, and can work towards that, I am happy for whatever paths other people choose.

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Re: Follow-up on college engineering thread (computational v CS v Berkeley IEOR)

Post by HawkeyePierce » Sat Apr 06, 2019 10:21 pm

Dialectical Investor wrote:
Sat Apr 06, 2019 9:17 pm
HawkeyePierce wrote:
Sat Apr 06, 2019 9:01 pm

I'm certainly not going to knock UC Berkeley, great school, but as someone who works for a major Silicon Valley tech company I think you are seriously overestimating the weight given to someone's college.
This is very common for this forum. You see it especially in the MBA threads. Of course there are companies that target/exclude specific schools in their recruiting efforts, where a top school isn't even good enough, it has to be the "right" top school, and there are narrow paths to certain specific career goals, but I often think I'm not living at the same time or in the same country as the posters who respond to some of these college-related threads, because the comments are so out of this world.
Exactly. There are certain narrow career paths that may require a stamp of approval from an elite institution. If you want to work for a top quant firm or hedge fund or lead an ML group at Google, you're going to need top-flight credentials (though I'd submit that the engineers in the Valley pushing ML forward need graduate degrees or even postdoc work, so the choice of undergrad isn't as relevant).

While those narrow paths exist, there's also a much larger route to an extremely lucrative career in Silicon Valley open to anyone. The staff engineer track at any Silicon Valley firm pays >$400k and is far more about drive and soft skills than one's resume. Similarly for the management track. The engineering director of our business unit went to a state school in West Virginia and now oversees a huge eng team working on an immensely profitable product line. Nobody cares what school he went to.

My point to the OP is not to lose the forest for the trees. Don't worry too much about narrowly focusing on a single path at this point. In OP's kid's shoes, I would rule out Northeastern and Waterloo due to cost (student loans are miserable even if you're a high earner after college). After that, I wouldn't feel bad picking Davis if that's where he'd rather spend the next four years. The flipside is true if he thinks he'd be happier at Berkeley.

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physiorol
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Re: Follow-up on college engineering thread (computational v CS v Berkeley IEOR)

Post by physiorol » Sat Apr 06, 2019 11:58 pm

matto wrote:
Sat Apr 06, 2019 10:12 pm
In fact now that I mention it, that would be my best summary of Berkeley. Very high upper limit on what you can achieve but you will get drowned out by the masses so you need to work very hard and be driven to get it done yourself. This is a really useful life skill for what it's worth.
I imagine it requires a certain type of personality to get the most out of such an environment.

Edited: grammar
Last edited by physiorol on Sun Apr 07, 2019 12:04 am, edited 1 time in total.

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physiorol
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Re: Follow-up on college engineering thread (computational v CS v Berkeley IEOR)

Post by physiorol » Sun Apr 07, 2019 12:03 am

HawkeyePierce wrote:
Sat Apr 06, 2019 10:21 pm
My point to the OP is not to lose the forest for the trees. Don't worry too much about narrowly focusing on a single path at this point. In OP's kid's shoes, I would rule out Northeastern and Waterloo due to cost (student loans are miserable even if you're a high earner after college). After that, I wouldn't feel bad picking Davis if that's where he'd rather spend the next four years. The flipside is true if he thinks he'd be happier at Berkeley.
Yeah good reminder. There are so many variables that determine where our careers go, some we can control and other we cannot. And doing better at work/school is not always better for our well-being.

He did get a scholarship at northeastern so it will only be about 5-10K + travel more than a UC. And the private school benefits of northeastern (eg more support, honors college and smaller class sizes) appeal to him very much.

SC Anteater
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Re: Follow-up on college engineering thread (computational v CS v Berkeley IEOR)

Post by SC Anteater » Sun Apr 07, 2019 12:25 am

Make sure that NEU scholarship is valid for all 4 years. There is often some degree of bait and switch happening where freshmen get a decent amount of aid, and then less and less each year.

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physiorol
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Re: Follow-up on college engineering thread (computational v CS v Berkeley IEOR)

Post by physiorol » Sun Apr 07, 2019 11:09 am

SC Anteater wrote:
Sun Apr 07, 2019 12:25 am
Make sure that NEU scholarship is valid for all 4 years. There is often some degree of bait and switch happening where freshmen get a decent amount of aid, and then less and less each year.
Will do. Thanks

stoptothink
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Re: Follow-up on college engineering thread (computational v CS v Berkeley IEOR)

Post by stoptothink » Sun Apr 07, 2019 11:31 am

Dialectical Investor wrote:
Sat Apr 06, 2019 9:17 pm
HawkeyePierce wrote:
Sat Apr 06, 2019 9:01 pm

I'm certainly not going to knock UC Berkeley, great school, but as someone who works for a major Silicon Valley tech company I think you are seriously overestimating the weight given to someone's college.
This is very common for this forum. You see it especially in the MBA threads. Of course there are companies that target/exclude specific schools in their recruiting efforts, where a top school isn't even good enough, it has to be the "right" top school, and there are narrow paths to certain specific career goals, but I often think I'm not living at the same time or in the same country as the posters who respond to some of these college-related threads, because the comments are so out of this world.
+1.

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Re: Follow-up on college engineering thread (computational v CS v Berkeley IEOR)

Post by GreenGrowTheDollars » Sun Apr 07, 2019 11:47 am

With respect to Canadian universities:
- Be careful when evaluating costs and consider the impact when the Canadian $ rises vs. the US dollar. This happened when my sister was at McGill, and it stretched my parents much more than was comfortable. Might want to run a few scenarios on that.
- Unless your son has Canadian citizenship, be sure to look at the charges for provincial health coverage that international students need to obtain.
- There can be significant work restrictions for international students. It might be different for on-campus jobs, but checking into that before making assumptions on earning opportunities would be good. My sister ended up with a job at Dorval Airport working for US Customs, but that was a pretty rare opportunity.
- What is the housing situation after the first year at Waterloo? I've had several students attend UBC, and they only guarantee housing for international students for their first year, and Vancouver apartments are wicked expensive. So is food.

Does your son have a sense of where he'd like to eventually settle? If on the west coast, one of the UC schools may make that easier, though I do love Northeastern's coop program.

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physiorol
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Re: Follow-up on college engineering thread (computational v CS v Berkeley IEOR)

Post by physiorol » Sun Apr 07, 2019 2:42 pm

GreenGrowTheDollars wrote:
Sun Apr 07, 2019 11:47 am
With respect to Canadian universities:
- Be careful when evaluating costs and consider the impact when the Canadian $ rises vs. the US dollar. This happened when my sister was at McGill, and it stretched my parents much more than was comfortable. Might want to run a few scenarios on that.
- Unless your son has Canadian citizenship, be sure to look at the charges for provincial health coverage that international students need to obtain.
- There can be significant work restrictions for international students. It might be different for on-campus jobs, but checking into that before making assumptions on earning opportunities would be good. My sister ended up with a job at Dorval Airport working for US Customs, but that was a pretty rare opportunity.
- What is the housing situation after the first year at Waterloo? I've had several students attend UBC, and they only guarantee housing for international students for their first year, and Vancouver apartments are wicked expensive. So is food.

Does your son have a sense of where he'd like to eventually settle? If on the west coast, one of the UC schools may make that easier, though I do love Northeastern's coop program.
Yeah, good point on the exchange rate, and we did not look into the provincial health coverage or housing prices after freshman year, so good tip

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