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University Choice Help! - Comm/Compsci UNSW vs IT/Actuarial MacQ (1 Viewer)

UNSW Comm/Compsci or MACQ IT/Actl

  • UNSW Comm/CompSci

    Votes: 5 83.3%
  • MACQ IT/Actl

    Votes: 1 16.7%

  • Total voters
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hey yall

im having a lot of trouble atm deciding what course i wanna do at uni :// and i would really appreciate advice from current students and/or grads that could share some of their experiences when they chose their courses

im tossing up a double degree at unsw of Commerce and Computer Science, vs a Macq Information Technology/Actuarial double degree

for starters, after ATARs come out I will be able to get into the UNSW deg, but i am almost certain i will not achieve what it takes for Actuarial at either Universities, I gained an unconditional offer for IT/Actl for macq through their Leaders and Achievers Scheme.

My interests are tech, a lot of tech, Business and i do also like maths, and tbh i see myself in a few years time working perhaps an analyst role at a tech company (i like cybersecurity a lot), or a tech role at a finance company perhaps, and I dont know which degree will benefit me further.

both degrees are four years long, and to be fair im concerned as to the actuarial/IT degree at Macq being too much for me.
I don't know if ill last that long in actuarial, as currently after externals for hsc im barely scraping an e4 for 4u if all things go well, and ive heard that most actl students are 97/98/99 in 4u at HS.

Would an Actl degree be useful without the accreditation? because i dont know if i see myself as an "actuary" in the future, but more so tech, and will the IT part of the double degree have the same amount of impact of UNSWs CompSci from an employers perspective?

i dont want to give up a good computer science degree for an IT degree+"actuary" flexibility if it means that it'll negatively impact my job prospects for computer science in the future, and i want to make sure ill actually be able to last the 4 years at macq actuary too

thanks for taking the time to read this yall, and any input is appreciated 😁
 

BLIT2014

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1. Visit the campuses
2. Consider travel time
3. Consider whether you'd prefer Trimesters (UNSW) or Semesters (Macquarie)

From what you have said here, it does not sound that getting an actuarial degree will be useful for your future. However, you can always start in Actuarial at Macquarie, and do an external transfer to UNSW if you find that it is not to your liking.
 

Drdusk

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Well if you don't see yourself doing anything with actuary then I recommend comm/comp sci at unsw. You can major there in cyber security which is actually what I'm majoring in as well.

Ranking wise I think iirc Macquarie is the best for actuary specifically but for tech you really want to go to unsw.
 

sida1049

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It sounds like the main thing you're interested in is comp sci or IT, and that you're only considering combined commerce or actuarial studies as a "foot in the door" for employment prospects. I think you're better off just going straight for comp sci/IT, as chances are commerce or actuarial studies will not be very useful to you. With a single degree in comp sci/IT, you should be able to take a second major or minor in mathematics, which complements comp sci quite well, or whatever you're interested in. (Note that the maths in actuarial studies does not complement comp sci very well.) If you focus on strengthening your comp sci/IT skills and experience throughout your degree, you will be guaranteed to find a job, which I think is much more preferable than splitting your attention with a completely separate discipline that will probs not be very relevant to you in the end.

Apart from that, I echo BLIT2014's considerations. USYD is also decent for comp sci, however I don't believe we have a "cybersecurity" specialisation for undergrad, apart from a senior unit on cybersecurity (and a masters in cybersecurity). Nevertheless, we do have good cybersecurity researchers, and doing an honours with them prepares you for cybersecurity roles much more than a cybersecurity major without an honours year. In fact, wherever you end up, I would strongly suggest you to do an honours project in cybersecurity if you are serious about getting into it.
 

akkjen

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It sounds like the main thing you're interested in is comp sci or IT, and that you're only considering combined commerce or actuarial studies as a "foot in the door" for employment prospects. I think you're better off just going straight for comp sci/IT, as chances are commerce or actuarial studies will not be very useful to you. With a single degree in comp sci/IT, you should be able to take a second major or minor in mathematics, which complements comp sci quite well, or whatever you're interested in. (Note that the maths in actuarial studies does not complement comp sci very well.) If you focus on strengthening your comp sci/IT skills and experience throughout your degree, you will be guaranteed to find a job, which I think is much more preferable than splitting your attention with a completely separate discipline that will probs not be very relevant to you in the end.

Apart from that, I echo BLIT2014's considerations. USYD is also decent for comp sci, however I don't believe we have a "cybersecurity" specialisation for undergrad, apart from a senior unit on cybersecurity (and a masters in cybersecurity). Nevertheless, we do have good cybersecurity researchers, and doing an honours with them prepares you for cybersecurity roles much more than a cybersecurity major without an honours year. In fact, wherever you end up, I would strongly suggest you to do an honours project in cybersecurity if you are serious about getting into it.
do you recommend doing a double degree with computer science or is the single degree enough to land you a job in the competitive job market?
 

sida1049

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do you recommend doing a double degree with computer science or is the single degree enough to land you a job in the competitive job market?
If you put enough effort into your single comp sci degree, it is definitely enough to land you a job. From what I've seen, the comp sci people I know are the most likely to (a) land job experience during their degree (e.g. part-time roles at start-ups, internships at big companies), and (b) land a graduate job offer (I personally know people with graduate full-time roles in Amazon, Google, Microsoft, trading companies and so forth, and most of them did single degrees [B. Science at USYD with comp sci major]). Of course, this hinges on you putting in the effort at uni and actively looking for opportunities. But if you're serious about this, then I'm very confident you'll find a job no problem.

Contrary to what most students believe, a combined degree doesn't generally put you at a significant advantage in the job market. This is because most students tend to think that getting a double degree in disjoint disciplines spreads your skills, so you have a larger pool of jobs to search for. But this will prove to be fruitless for most students, because what you will find is that when your potential employer looks over your resume, and compares you to someone who has dedicated their entire focus on the respective field, there is no reason to hire you over your competitor because they are stronger than you for that role, and the additional skills from your second degree are largely irrelevant. The only exception for when I would recommend a combined degree is when the degrees complement each other. For comp sci, the most useful complementary majors are mathematics and statistics, but they all fall under a science degree, so there is little argument to go for a double degree if comp sci is what attracts you. (Oh, and also if you're generally interested in that second degree and have the time and money for it, then sure.)
 

akkjen

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If you put enough effort into your single comp sci degree, it is definitely enough to land you a job. From what I've seen, the comp sci people I know are the most likely to (a) land job experience during their degree (e.g. part-time roles at start-ups, internships at big companies), and (b) land a graduate job offer (I personally know people with graduate full-time roles in Amazon, Google, Microsoft, trading companies and so forth, and most of them did single degrees [B. Science at USYD with comp sci major]). Of course, this hinges on you putting in the effort at uni and actively looking for opportunities. But if you're serious about this, then I'm very confident you'll find a job no problem.

Contrary to what most students believe, a combined degree doesn't generally put you at a significant advantage in the job market. This is because most students tend to think that getting a double degree in disjoint disciplines spreads your skills, so you have a larger pool of jobs to search for. But this will prove to be fruitless for most students, because what you will find is that when your potential employer looks over your resume, and compares you to someone who has dedicated their entire focus on the respective field, there is no reason to hire you over your competitor because they are stronger than you for that role, and the additional skills from your second degree are largely irrelevant. The only exception for when I would recommend a combined degree is when the degrees complement each other. For comp sci, the most useful complementary majors are mathematics and statistics, but they all fall under a science degree, so there is little argument to go for a double degree if comp sci is what attracts you. (Oh, and also if you're generally interested in that second degree and have the time and money for it, then sure.)
i was originally planning on going to usyd for comp sci, although i heard they are changing up their comp sci degree so it's not a good idea to go there. is this true?
 
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computer sicence is best in USYD in sydney, maths best in UNSW. But being an actuary earn the biggest money.
 

sida1049

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i was originally planning on going to usyd for comp sci, although i heard they are changing up their comp sci degree so it's not a good idea to go there. is this true?
First of all, USYD and UNSW are both great choices, and there are a number of non-academic reasons to choose one over the other (some of which BLIT2014 has pointed out). As for UTS and Macquarie, I'm sure they're not bad either. I would recommend USYD/UNSW purely on the quality of research that happens there.

Since I go to USYD, I can only give specific details for my uni. A key advice for people interested in comp sci/IT/programming is to simply go for a comp sci major under B. Science (instead of an engineering degree, e.g. IT). The reasons for this are:
  • Flexible: you can get a second major or minor(s) from the science faculty, the popular choices being mathematics and statistics. Physics is also surprisingly popular. In comparison, engineering degrees are very rigid, and leave little wriggle room for personalisation.
  • Theoretical: comp sci major requires COMP units, which are more theoretical than INFO, ISYS and SOFT units. This means more formal, more maths, and more legit. Definitely way more interesting for some students.
  • Can still take IT units: yes, so go for INFO, ISYS and SOFT units to your heart's content (including INFO3616 Principles of Security, which is right up your alley)
  • No BS: you don't have to take those compulsory professional development units that engineering students are forced to do. They're boring, has a lot of bs groupwork, and you learn essentially nothing relevant from them. Commerce students also go through this shit.
For these reasons, I know many students who transfer out of Bachelor of IT and into Bachelor of Science.

You're right, there are changes to USYD's degrees, and not all of them we like. The main changes for the single B. Science are as follows:
  • They used to have compulsory 24 junior credit points from different areas, so you get a taste of different disciplines in first year to get a variety. Now they've gotten rid of that, and instead you are required to take 12 credit points of "open learning environment" units, which are very small units (2cp vs the standard 6cp) with no exams. Here is the list you can choose from. Tbh they don't look too bad, since there are some maths, stats, programming, economics, physics ones in there. This is a good and bad in my opinion. The good is that compared to the old degree, you actually have 12 extra credit points (i.e. 2 courses) freed up that you can use on something that actually interests you, and OLE units look super easy and can be interested. The bad is that you have to do like 6 different OLE courses, and I personally have no experience with them to decide whether they are worthless or not.
  • In the new B. Science degree, you have to either two majors or one major and at least one minor. I see this as a very good thing, as minors used to not be a thing in USYD.
  • Every science major now has a major project in the senior year. For comp sci, this isn't too bad, since the additional experience in programming and research is useful to both employment and future research. For other disciplines, I strongly oppose this requirement: (a) it replaces a senior unit, meaning you learn less content/theory in your degree, and (b) major projects are often very messy. I just finished one for stats and I absolutely hated it (group member problems...).
  • Dalyell Scholars: So B. Sci (Dalyell Scholars) replaces the old B. Sci (Advanced) and Talented Students Program. In the old Advanced degree, the only difference with regular B. Sci is that you are required to take 24 credit points of senior units in the advanced stream (e.g. COMP3927 Algorithm Design (Advanced) rather than COMP3027 Algorithm Design). Note that you can choose to take advanced units in regular B. Science, so tbh the whole "(Advanced)" title isn't important and is just a flex. Now the new Dalyell Scholars program is kind of an advanced variant of the regular degree, but instead you are required to take additonal "Dalyell" project units. This sounds complicated and pointless, and a ploy for the uni to attract students with high ATARs. So I would recommend against taking up Dalyell Scholars (even if you have 98+ ATAR) to avoid the unnecessary complications. I would very much love to see this program disappear so future students don't get confused and regret the experience.
Hopefully I've summarised the changes to USYD's B. Science degree with my own commentary on the good and bad. In summary, while I think there are bad changes, I think that the end result is a small net positive as the degree is more flexible, particularly for comp sci. If they could get rid of compulsory project units and Dalyell Scholars bs then I would be very happy.

While I'm at it, I might as well as give you more good and bad, which you might not get from anywhere else, so you can make an informed decision. My experiences of comp sci are from my IT minor. I've only taken very theoretical and maths-heavy comp sci units, but I hear things here and there about the rest of the faculty.

Comp sci at USYD can sometimes be brutal. Some courses can sometimes get unnecessarily difficult. As a result, you can get conflicting accounts of the comp sci experience at USYD; the students who are very good at comp sci will enjoy the challenge, end up learning a lot and love it here. The rest of the students who get destroyed will tell you it sucks. To give an example, I took COMP3027 Algorithm Design last semester, which had 200+ students. It was the lecturer's first time teaching. He was very good in my opinion, but he set the assessments to be way more mathematical and theoretically challenging than previous years' assessments. As a result, your average IT student with little maths background got absolutely owned. In contrast, I had an alright time. This semester, the natural progression for algorithms people is to take COMP3530 Discrete Optimisation. Only the bravest from COMP3027 enrolled, so only 40 people enrolled at the start. In the first two weeks it was clear that the course was going to be way more mathematical and hardcore than COMP3027, and enrolments dropped down to 27! Even for a maths person, this course has been quite challenging. Sometimes, courses are just naturally challenging, like COMP2017 Systems Programming, which has an infamous reputation for being the most stressful course for a lot of students. Other times, courses can be messy due to administrative reasons, e.g. markers for assignments get busy during the semester, and so assignments might get handed back super late.

Regardless, keep in mind that this isn't always the case. At every uni and every discipline, there are courses that are stressful for one reason or another. Comp sci has definitely been stressful at times for me, but I'm very glad I did it.

Research opportunities at USYD are fantastic. In undergrad, you can take Special Studies Program to enter into projects with lecturers/academics. You get to know them personally, and get decent experience from working with them. Honours in USYD is even better; lecturers and academics want to have honours students, so all you gotta do is to simply talk to them, and they're very happy to tell you about their work and offer you an honours project. They're nice people and it's one of the reasons why if I'm doing postgrad, I'm doing it here.

Most of your experience here (and anywhere) depends on you. Two students can (and often will) have very different experiences here depending on their choices. There is absolutely no general rule of thumb "Comp sci? Go to UNSW. Maths? Go to USYD." I know a guy who transferred from IT in UNSW to IT in Macquarie. It's their personal decision and they're happier where they are now. But as long as you make the most of where you are, you are guaranteed to be better off and have a great time.

Good luck.
 

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i was originally planning on going to usyd for comp sci, although i heard they are changing up their comp sci degree so it's not a good idea to go there. is this true?
For the love of god do not go USYD for Comp sci. I can speak from a friend I know who went there. Please if you want to do Comp sci go UNSW, it'll save you a lot of pain.
 

sida1049

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For the love of god do not go USYD for Comp sci. I can speak from a friend I know who went there. Please if you want to do Comp sci go UNSW, it'll save you a lot of pain.
Like I said, there is nuance. I know people who don't like it here, and I know people who love it here. Major decisions such as this should be left to the finer details, and not simplified accounts.

Edit: That said OP, if you're already set on UNSW then go for it. If you think you'll have a much better time at UNSW then that will become true by the "grass-is-greener-on-the-other-side" principle
 
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Drdusk

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These rankings are all also from QS and The University ranking stats. I didn't make it up!
Rankings don't always give an accurate description when two unis are so close together. Sure if your comparing a uni ranked top 50 vs top 150 then yes the rankings will be influential. However for Engineering as a broad Unsw ranks much higher(CS falls under engineering) than Usyd, and yes even though by QS rankings Unsw is ranked higher, Usyd is still better and much more well known for Mathematics. To be honest I'm actually not that much of a fan of how Maths is taught here at Unsw, but maybe that's because I'm not taking the higher level classes that Pure math majors will take. Like for example I'm doing just Complex Analysis whereas Pure math majors do Higher Complex analysis.
 

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From what you said I think computer science/commerce will be the best choice since it covers your interests of computers, maths and business pretty well. Personally I did actuarial studies and science (major in stats) at mq for a year then decided to change out as it wasn't really fun. A lot of people pick actuarial because they like maths but actuarial doesn't have a lot of maths similar to high school maths, it's mainly applied maths. And later on in the degree the amount of maths reduces and in the job you move to computers (using programs like Excel). I'm doing data science at UNSW now and definitely like coding now, and from the jobs you described that you want, it sounds like unsw comp sci and commerce will be the best.
 

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