Take the 2-minute tour ×
Programmers Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for professional programmers interested in conceptual questions about software development. It's 100% free.

Currently in the 4th semester of engineering in an Indian university. The thing is - is it better to do as many short-lived projects/research work on diverse topics of computer science or stick to one/two projects consistently throughout my undergraduate years?

Case in point: currently working on an image-processing project that promises to carry on for a year or so (as per the prof). Does this seem like being over-specialized at too early a level? Although taking on too many things will spread me out thin and in all probability not end up getting any meaningful work done. Especially as I hope to apply for grad school in the US.

Would really appreciate any views and suggestions on this.

share

migration rejected from stackoverflow.com Apr 10 at 15:15

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers. Votes, comments, and answers are locked due to the question being closed here, but it may be eligible for editing and reopening on the site where it originated.

closed as off-topic by MichaelT, amon, durron597, ratchet freak, GlenH7 Apr 10 at 15:15

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Questions seeking career or education advice are off topic on Programmers. They are only meaningful to the asker and do not generate lasting value for the broader programming community. Furthermore, in most cases, any answer is going to be a subjective opinion that may not take into account all the nuances of a (your) particular circumstance." – MichaelT, amon, durron597, ratchet freak, GlenH7
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

2 Answers 2

up vote 1 down vote accepted

I think it depends (to some extent) on what you plan to do later on. In academic/research fields specialization is the norm. One is encouraged (one could less euphemistically say pressured) to specialize at an early stage. As a professor once wrote to me, your employer the university wants to be able to sell you as an expert in fill in the blank. In more practical fields I imagine there is less pressure to specialize. Clearly, if you are working on big corporate software projects at Google or similar places, you'd need to know a bit about a lot of different things in order to get your work done.

share
    
nice one from the professor for sure. Currently focusing on grad school and academic research rather than entering the industry right after graduation. –  AruniRC Mar 22 '11 at 12:56

Pretty much any project you undertake as an undergraduate student is likely to be microscopic when compared the scale of any real industry project. There may be some outlying cases, of course.

For the purposes of your education, you have to decide if you are interested enough in a particular topic to devote your time and energy to that topic at the expense of other ones. Do you care about image processing, for example?

Personally, when I'm hiring, I like to see that a candidate has the capacity for deep understanding of a topic (or better, several), but it's also good to see that he or she has learned at least a little bit about a lot of topics in the field. That is to say, the best candidates are those who have good breadth of understanding overall and also have good depth in at least a few areas of expertise.

share
    
alright i gotta ask is the overall understanding bit covered in the subjects that are part of an engineering curriculum? then (hopefully) the depth part will be done in the research projects undertaken. –  AruniRC Mar 22 '11 at 12:54
    
@AruniRC, in my experience, about 10% of any given graduating class is worth hiring. I suppose that means it's possible for students to learn what they need to in school, but that only very few of them actually do it. –  Carl Norum Mar 22 '11 at 16:30
    
now thats a relief. :) –  AruniRC Mar 23 '11 at 1:38

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.