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I'm working on my bachelors degree in computer science and the school I'm attending offers various "options" such as networking, graphics and gaming, bioinformatics and psychology. I wasn't planning on taking any of these as none of them particularly interests me but a friend was recommending I do so because a computer science degree is so broad it would be easier for an employer to know what it is I'm into if I chose one of these options. Is this true? Would it help me get a job if chose one of these options? It's not the I don't like these topics but I'm ambivalent towards them.

closed as off-topic by Jim G., enderland, jcmeloni, CincinnatiProgrammer, Monica Cellio Sep 30 '13 at 17:08

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    If you aren't particularly interested in making one of those options your career, then why would you specialize in it? – HLGEM Sep 27 '13 at 12:55
  • Specialization is much more important at the graduate level. An Undergraduate degree is supposed to be at least somewhat broad. – James Adam Sep 27 '13 at 13:09
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    I'd find out if any have the reputation for being easy and pursue one of those to pad my GPA. Then you have a 'specialization' which might impress some people regardless of what it actually is, and you boost your GPA(hopefully). Just a thought – jmorc Sep 27 '13 at 15:41
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One way to find out if these help is to ask the placement office at the university. They may know what companies or government agencies are hiring which options.

If none of the options appeal to you, ask the department if you can create your own minor/specialty. Some schools allow this. Also some schools require some majors to declare a specialty or concentration.

These options can help if you know what you want to do after graduation. It can also hurt if HR can't see past the words on the paper. They are looking for a degree in A with a specialty in Y, and you have a degree in A with a specialty in ~Y, since it isn't an exact match they reject you.

After a few years these options aren't nearly as important. Employers are more interested in what you have done on the job, not in a class room.

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If you want your first job out of school to be with a company in one of these sectors, it wouldn't hurt and it could help. If I'm recruiting someone for a position in a games company, all things being equal, I'm going to prefer a candidate with the extra coursework in graphics than someone with a more general degree. On the other hand, candidates are rarely equal and I certainly wouldn't hesitate to hire the candidate with the general degree if they were the better candidate. If you are applying for a job that isn't in one of these specific areas, it's unlikely to matter either way.

Looking down the road, these specializations get less and less beneficial the further you are from school. Once you've got a couple of years of practical experience, companies are going to be far more concerned with what you have experience with than what you have coursework in.

  • If I were hiring for a position in a games company, I would be much quicker to hire the person who actually created a game or contributed to creating one over someone who has an 'option' in graphics. The goal is to show ability and motivation toward the field you want to get in to, no? If an option helps do that, then great! – jmac Sep 27 '13 at 5:19

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