Transferring, adding, and removing parts of your degree is completely normal while you study at uni. Many students have found that CSE is not for them after studying for a period of time and that's perfectly fine! Many students will also transfer into CSE or add Computer Science onto their degree after getting a taste of programming from a course like COMP1511.
If you're reading this and you're one of those people on the fence about whether or not you should transfer into CSE, well you're in luck! We got Rosanna Liu (4th year Civil Engineering, but only 2nd year Computer Science student) to answer some tough questions about what the process was like adding Computer Science onto her Civil Engineering degree and dropping Commerce while in her third year.
Check out the article below!
From Commerce to Computer Science
What degree did you study before?
I did a double degree of Civil Engineering and Commerce. I now study Civil Engineering and Computer Science. I started uni back in 2018.
What motivated your decision to transfer into CSE?
During my second year of university I was starting to look at potential industry and career options other than being a civil engineer. I realised that I was super interested in the tech industry and so I started researching more about ways to get in, and potential roles such as Software Engineer, UI/UX Designer, Product Manager, and Solutions Architect.
The main reasons behind why I chose CSE:
- I really enjoyed the rapid dynamic of the industry - it is always changing, becoming more and more advanced in groundbreaking technology, with challenges you meet that allow you to learn new things all the time.
- I'm really interested in the way of thinking software engineers use to approach problems, as well as their problem solving skills. The algorithms used to solve complex problems and the different methods of making solutions more efficient I find fascinating. I found this problem solving skill really intriguing to me and the logic is different to how civil engineers approach problems. I really enjoyed learning about another side of problem solving even though they're both STEM and engineering degrees. Having both of them together at the same time gives me a much more holistic and well rounded way of approaching problems. I really wanted to develop that problem solving mindset and skillset for myself.
- The different career paths CSE can open up for me, with its problem solving skills, soft skills, and the hard technical skills of being able to code! Studying STEM does not completely close our options into the industry itself - and I believe my new degree combination gives me an even wider range of industries I am interested in, and that I can put my foot into! Apart from working in tech as a SWE or in engineering as a civil engineer, I'm also interested in management/tech consulting, banking, management, and advisory. I believe my degree combination provides me an unique skillset for these industries!
"I'm really interested in the way of thinking software engineers use to approach problems, as well as their problem solving skills. The algorithms used to solve complex problems and the different methods of making solutions more efficient I find fascinating."
What were your preconceptions about studying a CSE degree? Were many of them accurate?
My main preconception was that I thought I would fall behind in class and not do well. That I wouldn’t get a job in software development because there are so many amazing and top students in CSE as well as students who started coding when they were 12. Of course there are also students who just naturally pick up coding well too. Essentially I believed I wouldn’t stand a chance against any of these types of people.
Is this accurate? Yes, in the sense that in COMP1511 there are a large spectrum of people with different experience levels. However my assumptions of not being able to get a job or internship in the tech industry as a developer was incorrect. I managed to get an internship at a big tech company after applying and passing all the tech interviews. What I’m trying to say is that you don’t have to be a coding prodigy to excel in this industry!
What do you like about your degree right now?
It lets me study about industries and fields I'm interested in, and it teaches me two different problem solving approaches, giving me a wider and more holistic way of solving problems! This degree opens up a huge array of opportunities and open doors: I can go into civil or software engeering, tech, consulting, banking, and many more other roles/industries. This combination is honestly very interesting to me.
Any advice for those thinking about transferring?
Talk to people who have transferred and talk to people in the industry to explore if this is something you want to do! Researching and googling helps, but talking to others who can give you their experience and knowledge is incredibly insightful!
Remember, as CSE students, we’re not limited to just the role of being a software developer. There are so many other career avenues - PM, UI/UX, consultancy, advisory, data analytics, research, and fields outside of technology too! The skills you learn are not just on how to code, but also the problem solving that comes with it.
If you're thinking about transferring, think about why you want to transfer, weigh out the pros and cons of transferring and your immediate next steps!
Heaps of people when they’re feeling skeptical about what they are studying and when they have their degree crisis often are afraid of making the leap to transfer often because of the reason that they think they're too far in, and that everything they’ve done will be a waste. Here's some advice I got given when I was thinking like this:
- If you didn’t transfer and make the leap, would this choice be something you regret in the future? Envision yourself in 2, 5 or 10 years time, having continued your current degree. Would you have regretted the decision? Would you be finding what you’re doing mundane and not interesting, and just grinding through it? And would you be happy?
- Some people follow their passion and they do not want to have a job they're not passionate about. Some people are okay with treating a job as a job. Everyone is different.
- Weigh up the option of transnferring, and potentially losing out on 1/2/3 years of university for a degree you enjoy. This may lead to you finding the career you are happy with. Otherwise, you can stay in the degree and potentially work in a field you’re not interested in. If you think you’ll regret not transferring when you're older, and working in a field you're not interested in, then maybe this is a hint!
I transferred into computer science in my 3rd year of university, and looking back, I have 0 regrets! (even though during the time, making the choice was very difficult, and even clicking on the transfer button was scary. I 100% can relate).
Did you get much involved with CSESoc after you transferred?
In my "first year" of CSE, I went to the first year camp and joined the CSESoc Media subcom! I became friends with some really amazing people and had a great time with them despite the challenges of COVID-19. Joining Media subcom also gave me a new insight into the creative field, something I've never really dipped my feet in before. I got to be on a set filming helping to produce videos, wrote articles for the Media website, and also produced a podcast episode!
"This degree opens up a huge array of opportunities and open doors: I can go into civil or software engeering, tech, consulting, banking, and many more other roles/industries. This combination is honestly very interesting to me."
Choose your own adventure!
Did this article spark something in you to study a degree in CSE? Understand how Rosanna was able to add Computer Science to her existing degree in this double degree explainer.
Or have you decided to transfer not just into CSE, but into an entirely new university? Learn from the experiences of 2nd Year student Sunny Chen!
And to get even more excited about where CSE can take you, hear from first-hand experiences of interning and working at Google and Canva.
Don't like these options? Check out the full roadmap below!