So I‘m in my fifth semester studying Computer Science at a German university, so I‘ve only scratched the surface of Theoretical Computer Science, namely Logic, Formal Languages, Automata Theory, Computability and Complexity.
I know some people doing physics and engineering, and I always get this funny feeling that what they learn is so much more important and so much more useful, than theoretical computer science.
Don’t get me wrong. There are many very very interesting topics in TCS and it seems to answer a lot of questions. And frankly, I really like it.
I recently saw a video of Richard Feynman (the famous physicist), in which he explains a bunch of physical phenomena. It’s on youtube, it‘s a famous one, and it completely blew my mind and it just got me so giddy and excited. And in that moment, I reflected on what I was learning on the theoretical side of my CS degree and I secretly thought to myself, it‘s all very elegant, but this is really just a bunch of abstract, fancy notation, for something, which in comparison to stuff like calculus, mechanics, quantum physics, is not really that impressive in what it‘s saying.
Of course, some famous consequences and implications of Theoretical Computer Science, like the halting problem, are completely mind blowing; it just doesn‘t seem to me, to happen as often, as in other subjects.
So when I think of topics like classical mechanics and analysis and the little I know about some of the more advanced topics, I can always think of so many ways to apply them to the real world, and their connection to problem-solving seems so much more mature, clever and intricate than what I‘m learning on the theoretical side of my CS Bachelors.
This is probably some weird form of imposter syndrome. Or maybe I‘m simply studying the wrong thing. Maybe the teaching at my university is bad, or maybe I’m just not studying enough. And I probably just wrote a bunch of nonsense, and simply don‘t know enough yet (obviously, I don‘t).
But do other undergrads have this feeling, too? It really feels like I‘m completely missing the big picture. Or is this really just a me problem?