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Ask Slashdot - Careers In Computer Science That Keep You Physically Active? 220

First time accepted submitter ozzyoli writes "I love computer science (IT not so much) but I despise the thought of being stuck behind a desk for the rest of my life. Are there any career paths that would suit a computer scientist who likes to be physically active and on his feet a lot?"
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Ask Slashdot - Careers In Computer Science That Keep You Physically Active?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 26, 2012 @04:07AM (#40774251)

    I keep my computer running 24 hours a day.

  • geek squad (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Work for the geek squad and instead of the vw bug jog to the clients house :)

    • They asked for something in computer science, though. Geek Squad involves very little computer or science.
      • I don't see where you're going to find a "Computer-Science-not-IT" job anywhere, desk or not. I work for one of the largest software companies in the world and there isn't anything here that's much more computer-sciencey than Geek Squad.

        To the article submitter: Your cubicle awaits. Get used to it.
  • Microsoft (Score:5, Funny)

    by qbast ( 1265706 ) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @04:11AM (#40774273)
    Work for Microsoft and advance up to CEO position. Then throwing chairs will be one of your more important job responsibilities.
  • by acidfast7 ( 551610 ) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @04:11AM (#40774279)

    Bicycle commuting to work can burn 400-700 kcal/day.

    I have a colleague that refuses to schedule a meeting between 11a-noon and he runs a 10k and showers during that time.

    After work hobbies can be useful too, you may even meet other people also.

    You don't need to be "on your feet" at work ... just at some point during the day.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 26, 2012 @04:54AM (#40774525)

      >> You don't need to be "on your feet" at work ... just at some point during the day.

      Actually, that's not correct in the general health risk sense. Long sitting hours are a major health risk regardless of other exercise. Exercise definitely helps, but only independently.

      "During 621 695 person-years of follow-up (mean follow-up, 2.8 years), 5405 deaths were registered. All-cause mortality hazard ratios were 1.02 (95% CI, 0.95-1.09), 1.15 (1.06-1.25), and 1.40 (1.27-1.55) for 4 to less than 8, 8 to less than 11, and 11 or more h/d of sitting, respectively, compared with less than 4 h/d, adjusting for physical activity and other confounders. The population-attributable fraction for sitting was 6.9%. The association between sitting and all-cause mortality appeared consistent across the sexes, age groups, body mass index categories, and physical activity levels and across healthy participants compared with participants with preexisting cardiovascular disease or diabetes mellitus."

      The post is a great question (would love an 'active' coding job). I used to ask my co-workers whether they were interested in having meetings while walking and couple of my very best meetings were on bike rides. However, we certainly weren't coding, just design discussions and strategy. Cycling new routes seemed to have remarkable effects while brainstorming though. Would love to see the riot if I swapped dev team workstations with treadmill powered versions :) How about an IDE something like a combination of Eclipse with Wii-Fit or Dance Nation? Maybe augmented HMDs & neural interfaces will make somethings easier too. Any other more accessible and direct answers much appreciated!

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Or indeed, get any office job in a building, get out of the lift 4 floors too short and walk up the stairs for the last four floors. Do that a few times a day and you'll easily burn the same.

      It's not difficult to find ways to keep fit. It's a state of mind not a job limitation.

      • by mwvdlee ( 775178 ) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @07:05AM (#40775031) Homepage

        I used to work in a 15-floor building and exclusively used the stairs. Mostly this meant a few dozen 2-3 floor trips and a couple of ~10 floor trips. These days I work in a building where all my co-workers are on the same floor... and it shows (despite going to the gym ~4 times a week).
        It's remarkable how little excersice you actually need, it's just that you have to do it all through the day. The hours at the gym don't match up to walking a few stairs every hour.

        • If you're going to the gym four times per week and you're having problems keeping fat off (not gonna say weight, most guys at the gym want to gain weight, just not fat weight) then I'd suggest you check what you're eating.

          One "trick" to avoid overeating is to make sure you're getting enough protein, aim for 2 grams per kg of bodyweight. Throw in some fiber and chances are you're going to feel a lot more full.

          Then there's meal scheduling, I used to try following the typical "bodybuilder diet" that was all th

          • Never eat till you are full, eat until you are not hungry anymore. Full stretches your stomach, never do that.

    • Bicycle commuting to work can burn 400-700 kcal/day.

      Way more than that. I currently commute ~23k one-way, with a lot of uphill. My Polar bike computer says about 1300 kcal/day

      • Those are notoriously over generous with kcal burned. I do "only" 25k/day round-trip and personally (on a knobby-tired MTB at 25km/h), I'd be surprised if it was more than 500kcal total.
        • Actually, I have found Polar gear to be very tight-fisted when it comes to calorie counting. Other bike computers or sports applications show a much higher value for the same route (more than 2000 kcal for the roundtrip).

          Also MTB here, but modified for commuting (slick tyres, fenders, hub dynamo, lights and a heavy lock). Then again I weigh 100 kg, so cycling uphill burns energy like there's no tomorrow.

          • by acidfast7 ( 551610 ) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @06:02AM (#40774789)
            to be honest, if you weight100kg, it's probably quite accurate. I weigh roughly 72-75kg, which accounts for the difference.
            • by acidfast7 ( 551610 ) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @07:48AM (#40775263)
              it's not funny, the amount of kcal burned is proportional to the weight of the cyclist (assuming that the cyclist weight >>> bike weight). of course, i'll burn less calories when i'm moving 25kg less weight (and good "kcal burnt" calculators take this into account.)
              • All of which suggests that the continuous quest for the lightest bikes has an adverse effect on fitness. What's more, unless you already have a low BMI, it's always a lot cheaper (if more difficult, granted) to lose a pound from your body than from your bike. Unless you have a flat ride with few stops, a heavier bike will cause you to burn more calories. So for racing, fine, go for that stiff see-through carbon fiber frame with stressed-skin wheels, but on other days, ride the more comfortable (elastic) ste
                • I'm in reasonable shape ... i did a 50-mile ride the other day at a reasonable speed and I ride a mountain-bike with the all-terrain tires on the street because i'm not changing them until i get my money's worth out of them (i.e. no tread left).
            • by chrb ( 1083577 )
              This table [] suggests that, at your speed and weight and 1 hour journey, you will use somewhere in the region of 750 calories depending on your exertion level (your speed would match vigorous, but I suspect that with a mtb and knobbly tyres you are exerting more than a similar commuter who is more likely to be on a hybrid with skinny tyres). This calculator [] also suggests around 750.

              I'd be surprised if it was more than 500kcal total.

              People often underestimate the effects of just one hour of exercise - an hour of running, for many people, will exceed 1000 calor []

      • Way more than that. I currently commute ~23k one-way

        I find I can't do that. I tried once and was the fittest I've ever been. It was great. I looked great, I felt great, I would eat huge, hearty meals 3 times per day and I was happy. And I would happily sit at my desk zoned out. I find after a tipping point, too much energy goes into the exercise and productivity starts to drop too much.

        That seems to hit most people sooner or later, but you may be one of the lucky ones where it hits later rather than earlier

        • The productivity does drop a bit indeed, but not too much. Maybe the meals were too large? I don't eat much, since I am on a weight loss program (lost 55 kg already) and I stay quite sharp.

          • Maybe the meals were too large?

            Hard to tell. I lost a bit of weight even with putting on a lot of muscle. I stabilised at a very good weight, so I was getting the right calorie intake.

            Sadly I can't say the same now.

            • I just meant that the size of the single meal was too large, not the entire calorie intake. Personally, if I eat too much in a single session, I become sleepy, too, so splitting the same amount of food to 5 smaller meals instead of three large might help.

          • I find that kills my energy more than anything, not the exercising, but an overly large meal break. The days where I just eat a sammich and keep on trucking I generally do alright, but the once or twice a week we go out to lunch somewhere like Chili's or Olive Garden all I want to do is go to sleep when I get back to work.

            I do ~15 miles a day on a recumbent bike that varies resistance levels over the course of the ride and I generally feel more tired after the large meal than I do the ride.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by zerobeat ( 628744 )
        Sure, its 1300 kcal/day when you are lucky enough to have to ride uphill, both to and from work. Some of us aren't so lucky.
        • Once you're a grandparent, you'll always have routes like that available. And it will snow a lot more and the distance will increase. At least that's what the grandkids will hear.
    • He wasn't asking how to burn calories, he was asking for an active job. Does it not occur to you that some people just do not like being stuck inside an office (especially a modern over-crowded one with no privacy) all the working day?

      I have a colleague that refuses to schedule a meeting between 11a-noon and he runs a 10k and showers during that time.

      He has a very tolerant boss then.

    • You don't need to be "on your feet" at work ... just at some point during the day.

      I've wondered in the past about how practical it would be to have a "stand up" office workstation, with no chair, everything at standing height.

      Of course, no idea is new on the internet []. (Lots of useful links branch off that one)

  • Standing desk (Score:5, Interesting)

    by greg_barton ( 5551 ) < minus herbivore> on Thursday July 26, 2012 @04:20AM (#40774319) Homepage Journal

    You want to stay on your feet? Use a standing desk. I've had one for the past year and a half and it is awesome.

    • Replace you chair with a gym ball - advantage: no moment your muscles will totally relax (even back and core muscles), no blood stagnating because of standing for long times.
    • Use some 20 lb wrist weights [] - for a while you'll feel awkward trying to type, but then... you will start spending more time thinking than writing spaghetti code (re-usability of your code/design will suddenly get a very physical meaning).

      (yeah, I know, I know... reusable code and design pertain rather to software engineering than to computer science, but anyway)

      • Wouldn't typing with these things on induce wrist and elbow problems? Have you done some research on that?
        • by c0lo ( 1497653 )

          Wouldn't typing with these things on induce wrist and elbow problems?

          All depends how much you use them while typing... another think to remember "code is not an asset, is a liability" (cost to write, maintenance costs, etc) - thus you have a strong incentive to... be as little liable as possible.

          Have you done some research on that?

          I used 2 lb wrist weights for a while - while not coding (but doing anything else, including drawing on white-board and such) it was quite fine and kept going fine until the stage of the project in which my clueless managers insisted in the creation of a good amount of liability in t

    • Interesting.

      I've heard about treadmill desks.

      How much does your standing desk cost? Where did you get it?
      How difficult was it to get your job to buy it and or let you have it?

      • How much does your standing desk cost? Where did you get it?
        How difficult was it to get your job to buy it and or let you have it?

        It was cheap: iKEA adjustable table. Also I work from home, so employer approval wasn't a problem. :)

        However, were I working in a cubefarm it wouldn't be too difficult. Most cube setups I've worked in (except for the horrible waist high ones) accomodate adjustable height shelving. So you could have teo shelves, one for monitors and one for keyboard/mouse.

  • by oldhack ( 1037484 ) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @04:22AM (#40774333)

    You end up climbing/crawling into some weird-ass places with backpacks.

    Oh, my bad. Comp-sci, the wimpy nerds. Sorry, you have to be a real engineer to do this sorta things.

  • Make the time (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FBeans ( 2201802 ) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @04:27AM (#40774359)
    I woke up this morning, did 80 press-ups and 80 situps (the first time I've done this in years and years) and later I will go for a 5k run. Don't change career, just make a little time for exercise. You may be surprised how energetic and awake you feel in the morning after some light exercise. Keep your body healthy and the mind will follow!
  • Teledildonics (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Write and then test the software (or hardware) for

  • by kolbe ( 320366 ) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @04:31AM (#40774395) Homepage

    While positions like these are not common, there are several fields out there that require "field" engineers that I can think of:

    Power - For seven years I fielded calls for the Power Industry where 60% of my time was spent on the road or in the air traveling to remote locales around the world to fix the problems the "Homer Simpsons" of the power industry had created. Without internet I used just my know-how of various hardware types, operating systems such as AIX, Solaris & Windows and troubleshooting experience to solve problems. It was fun to travel and a daily challenge to solve what ever issue it might be, but I ultimately gave it up to have a family and be closer to home. The only thing that really sucked however is the remaining 30% of time I had in an office was usually spent in front of a desk writing ANSI, ISO, NEMA and OSHA compliant documentation about my journey's.

    Networking Specialist - These people design, install, maintain and troubleshoot computer networks for all whom will employ them to do such. Some companies specialize in contracting guys with CCIE's etc out to companies who do not want to pay to have one full time. They generally travel on short notice and are prone to 60% or greater travel time.

    Deployment Specialist - These people are usually certified in some specific product within the company they work for and make a job out of traveling around to "deploy" said product. Everyone from A to Z in Software and OEM Hardware employs these people to do the dirty work of installing and troubleshooting a product on a customer's site after it has been sold. Expect lots of long hours and a lot of travel to go along with these kinds of jobs.

    Sales Engineer - Otherwise known as Systems Integrators in some companies, these people help potential (pre-sales) customers understand, compare, and contrast the solutions that are available for buying from the company they are employed for. Companies such as NetApp, EMC, Dell, HP and others use SE's to accompany sales guys to meetings about a potential sale. These people are generally hardware techs who moved their way up in the ranks from within the company or moved from another company doing something similar. As such, it would be best to start as a deployment engineer or similar first if this sounds interesting.

    Technical Trainer - Just about every Tech company employs these guys to travel and host various classes, lectures and seminars. It's not overly "brainy" work, but the job does travel... A LOT.

    While I am sure there are more, this was an "off the hip" list that I could come up with. Perhaps others can add to it. Good luck in your ventures... It will not be easy and there is no avoiding at least some "office based desk work".

    • Don't want to sound harsh but basically apart from the first few, everything you named involves traveling to a client (which normally involves car/bus/train/plane aka sitting on your butt for hours) followed by sitting in an office talking to the client (on your butt) then sitting traveling home (on your butt).

      Most clients will NOT be happy if a hot sweaty engineer turns up on a bike (even if he did then do an excellent job because he wasn't scared of climbing through a few ducts to find issues).

      How I'd do

      • by Zarhan ( 415465 )

        Most clients will NOT be happy if a hot sweaty engineer turns up on a bike (even if he did then do an excellent job because he wasn't scared of climbing through a few ducts to find issues).

        Depends, if the hot sweaty engineer knows what he is doing. A bit off topic, but kind of fits...

        My colleague in sales told of an engineer he used to work with in his previous company - the engineer took a vacation - went basically off the grid for 5 days, surviving by hunting and fishing in the wilderness. Afterwards, he

        • Look after that sales guy, if only they all knew so much.


    • This. This this this and then THIS. I've been working as a field engineer for a cisco partner since last september and i just *love* the kind of interaction and diverse working experience i'm picking up.

      I got my CCNA in May and there is just no end to the amount of fuckeduppery you get to meet on a daily basis. If you like puzzles and you feel a hint of pride when you solve a high pressure situation, its the job for you. (I recently got back online a leased line that , when offline, halted 400 industrial wo

  • High Frequency Trading - our pub crawls go for hours!
  • The military? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Zocalo ( 252965 ) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @05:00AM (#40774549) Homepage
    What about the military, or something connected with it? Plenty of IT and similar equipment in the modern armed forces, all of which needs setting up, maintaining, and decomissioning just like any it does everywhere else, and that will often entail getting the out into the field. Even if you are stuck behind a desk for much of the time, you'll still need to do some physical activity as part of the daily routine since the military wants all of their staff to be physically fit for obvious reasons. If the prospect of potentially having to go on the front line doesn't appeal, then there are plenty of similar roles with defence contractors providing specialist support to the military, often on (much) higher pay - especially if you are prepared to go into places that might get a little heated.
    • by chrb ( 1083577 )

      From what I've been told, the military isn't usually that fun for geeks, I have a few friends who tried it... One told me he "didn't want to be stuck behind a desk" with his computing degree and joined the army. It wasn't all roses and he left after 2 years. He did enjoy some of the physical aspects of it, like the 24 hour non-stop endurance mountain hiking tasks etc. but he didn't enjoy the less pleasant physical activities, like walking wet through marshland in the driving rain for days on end. Exercise i

  • get into something that overlaps cs and building things.

    sales etc will be drinking and spending a lot of time sitting and writing.

  • I bet those guys are getting a good work out while they're on the run from the religious police for letting stuxnet have a encore!

  • ...start writing the next "Dance, Dance, Revolution" in your off hours, but if that doesn't float your boat practice keyboarding standing up. C'mon, give it try! Get up out your chair and start typing "Shake it to the left, shake it to the right, come on baby you know what I like!"

  • ... where your office is at one end, and your lab at the other.
    • by Ksevio ( 865461 )
      I've done that (well across the building, not campus). It did give me a lot of walking, but was really a pain when I left my usb stick in the lab or had to keep running back and forth to test a new build
      • but was really a pain when I left my usb stick in the lab or had to keep running back and forth to test a new build

        But that's the point: even more walking...

  • by JLangbridge ( 1613103 ) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @05:30AM (#40774667) Homepage
    Working in industry is great for that. In my previous job, I used to work on industrial tightening systems, and I was sent abroad to a client based on the fact that I was one who could actually lift and install the system (50kg). When testing the system, you have to lift it, use it, install it, abuse it, etc. Getting back to the desk actually feels good! Right now I'm doing geoexploration systems, I'm a little less active, but when the systems are deployed onto 20km x 30km sites, you have to have a minimal test site to imitate what the end client will do, so I get to walk a lot between the different systems and test beds. All of this being a C/ASM developer.
  • I've worked out a balance where I work (self employed) in software engineering most of the year and then take of 6-8 weeks during the summer to work on the UK festival circuit (doing allsorts but generally stage-management and production). This is great as you actually get to do something totally different and re-focus for a bit. Not to mention that it's actually *sociable* - yes, I'm a bit socially retarded but I do actually like interacting with other people! Plus there's lots of music. I still try to do

  • Windows Admin. ;-) But I believe they do have remote admin tools today, too. :-P
  • by MichaelSmith ( 789609 ) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @06:09AM (#40774815) Homepage Journal

    ...but the work is not very good and you wouldn't want to do it all your life. Personally I ride a bike to work. I let that requirement guide my choice of where to live and where to work.

  • Instrumentation (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dargaud ( 518470 ) <> on Thursday July 26, 2012 @06:23AM (#40774863) Homepage
    I build scientific instruments, actually I write the software for them, but since I end up being the only one who knows how to use them (unless they RTFM), I often go on the field to install them. I worked for 15 years in atmospheric science and spent 3 years running around Antarctica [] setting up and running various instruments. Now I do cosmology and nuclear physics, but it's the same and I end up installing cosminc ray or neutrino detectors on some nice mountains [].

    But like others have already suggested, the best way to stay active is probably to bike to work. I have my own tricks for that...: live high, work low, ride dirt in the morning and, err, take the bus back home in the evening...
    • If you can, walk to work instead of driving, etc. Walking at a brisk pace over a fair distance is a good way to keep in shape.
    • If you get a bus / subway / tube, then consider getting off a few stops early and walking the rest of the way.
    • As others have said, do some exercise before going to work, or even when coming back. You can knock out 120 sit ups or push ups in quite a timely manner by doing them in sets. Do 15, then rest. 15, then rest. 15, then rest.
    • Avoid the lifts / elevators, and take the stairs.
  • ...a not so serious one: delivering rack solutions without the aid of a forklift. ...and a slightly more serious one: if you're tied to a desk, switch out your chair for an exercise ball. Trust me, it's uber comfy and you get to exercise your calves and thighs as well as keeping your back balanced. I'm using one now.

  • by GNUALMAFUERTE ( 697061 ) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <etreufamla>> on Thursday July 26, 2012 @06:51AM (#40774993)

    My associate and me started our company back in 2007, and the first product we developed was a hybrid DVR/NVR. During the dev process, we had to run around for the cameras testing our motion detection algorithms, and some other more complex stuff such as direction detection, object tracking, etc.

    The real fun started when we started selling a few as a kind of public beta, and realized that a) we didn't have any kind of infrastructure to handle major installs b) companies that did this sucked at it, so our attempt at outsourcing the task ended fairly quickly. We went quicker than you can say 75-ohm-impedance from developers to running around town, installing cameras 10 meters above our heads, running hundreds of meters of cable a day, and crawling through service floors.

    Sure, the startup quickly grew into a profitable company, the product matured, we hired technicians, got a distribution network, and started working on other products. But even now, 5 years later, I train new technicians myself, and supervise myself any major installation (and I can't just stand there while others work, so every time I go out with the techs, I work just like one of them)

    Also, you are required in the company, everywhere, at the same fucking time, so you go from your office, to the lab, to the coder's room, then out to the bank, then to visit customers, then to oversee some installation, then back to the office ...

    And that's not taking into account our basketball-brakes (we've got a small court at the company's backyard).

    Overall, I do more exercise than I ever did before.

    The result: I'm still fucking fat, because that's more related to what you eat than how much you exercise. The amount of workout you would need in order to offset eating like a fucking whale would be gargantuan.

    But, hey, at least I'm not sitting at the desk all the time, and I have a lot of fun!

    Talking about that, time to walk the dog and go to the office ...

  • by hugetoon ( 766694 ) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @07:20AM (#40775119)

    And play golf

  • I just got a job with a social network that promotes active lifestyles. As a result, they want us to be active as employees. Although it's a very small office, they had a shower installed so employees could take a break to go work out, come back, and clean up. If we work out 6 times a month, we get paid an extra $40 at the end of the month (enough to pay for most gym memberships here). While the actual job has unavoidable periods of sitting, at least the company encourages us to get moving when we're able.
  • 1. Hi-tech Attrition Enhancement specialist, ala George Clooney in "Up in the Air". Hope you know martial arts & can run fast. 2. Auctioning off assets of failed technology companies. Lots of moving-stuff-around there. 3. Factory job at Foxcon. 4. One of Larry Ellisons sherpas.
  • The simple answer to your question is yes, there are IT jobs that keep you active. That's probably not going to be much use to you, though, since you won't find an entry-level IT job that keeps you on the move and has any real career progression.

    The reason is skill development. Keeping moving is almost completely antithetical to developing solid IT skills. Becoming good at anything involving computers or IT involves spending years working with them and developing for them, and that inevitably means remainin

  • The campus of my company literally abuts Acadia National Park. I can be out my office door and hiking or running on park trails in 10 minutes. There are plenty of cities with awesome outdoor recreation opportunities. Your job might not keep you active, but that doesn't mean you have to sit on the couch and play video games when you get home either.
  • Did this for 11 years: you walk decades of miles every day over broken terrain during show-setup. Then, during teardown, you're hustling (almost a jog) over somewhat shorter distances, to gather up gear. Remember, you'll be carrying tools through all this. 2 laptops, in rare occasions, but never less than about 10lbs of "insurance." (Stuff you don't want to have to walk back for.) Add a hotel or two, and a day with only 5 miles walked is a nap.

    The above applies when you work "for the house" either on

  • by luis_a_espinal ( 1810296 ) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @09:22AM (#40776101) Homepage
    You haven't thought this through. It is your responsibility, not your career's, to keep you physically active.

    I love computer science (IT not so much) but I despise the thought of being stuck behind a desk for the rest of my life.

    Why would you have to be stuck behind a desk for the rest of your life? Can't you, like, I dunno, put a timer that makes you get up off your desk every 30 minutes, to stretch your hips or take a walk? Go to the gym during lunch (specially if there is one on or near your work premises)?

    At my desk I keep a tennis ball, rubber bands and two CoC grippers #1 and #2 [] for grip training, and several resistance bands, including for a variety of exercises, which I do throughout my work day. I had a co-worker who kept a pair of dumbbells under his desk for lunges, standing up presses and stuff like that. Myself, every other day I drive to the gym in the middle of lunch, and when I don't have time to go to the gym, I simply walk up and down the stairs (6 floors in total), or take a 15 minute walk. There is nothing in a professional career (not just CS) that requires you to be stuck on a chair. []

    Life choices man, life choices. You are making this too complicated, a badly thought of solution looking for a non-existing problem.

    Are there any career paths that would suit a computer scientist who likes to be physically active and on his feet a lot?"

    Physical labor. You can be a computer scientist by education who chooses a physical labor career path instead.

    If your concern is about physical activities while working as a computer scientist, all you have to do is plan your work day, and your work week so that it integrates physical activity of some kind (possibly in addition to an after-hours physically active lifestyle). This is not rocket science.

    Now, if your concern is that being a computer scientist will deprive you from enjoying the outside world, dude, you are on the wrong career path. At the end of the day, being in career like computer science requires dedication to tackle problems that, many times, require undivided attention. When you do work, when you get paid to do work, that's what you do, and if that means that sometimes you'll be sitting on a desk, solving problems that you are getting paid to solve, then, that's what you do.

    You inter-mix (sp?) physical activity during your work day, and after hours, but you do not expect your CS career to keep you physically active. You should expect yourself to do that, not your CS career. If you want your career to keep you physically active then you need to look at a different career.

    • "It is your responsibility, not your career's to keep you physically active."

      Isn't choosing a career that aligns with her/his goals a way of taking responsibility? You spend more time working than ANYTHING ELSE EVER. If it's not basically pleasant, and you have an option to change that, then do it.

  • As a lot of big research universities are incorporating high performance computing into pretty well every scientific discipline imaginable, the CSci depts are working pretty hard to keep staff that can meet and consult with people from these other departments. You'll be walking - and thinking - on your feet quite a bit but its a lot more interesting than just some desk IT job.
  • You should enlist in the Armed Services, preferably in the infantry. I promise you all of the exercise you could ever want there.
  • .. but, here it is.

    Work in IT or at a NOC position for a small to medium size company doing a lot of cutting edge stuff. I work for a small independent cable company in their NOC, and while (after 20+ years in the field) it's a little underutilizing my skills, I'm often doing a lot of physical activity. Yeah, I spend about 60% of my time sitting at a desk, but the remaining 40% keeps me moving.

  • You'll be running around constantly to the offices of people screaming "I've been pressing the Help key for half an hour and nobody showed up!!!" You'll also be crawling under people's desks to make sure the computers are plugged in. You'll be moving computers from one cubicle to another. You may even be crawling through duct work to run cabling.

  • you can run when your getting me coffee, getting me lunch , or run when your getting me a water. You can lift these heavy servers for me , or install all the hard drives in this SAN. How about minimum wage, will that work for you?
  • Get into something involving large datacenters: building them out, hosting/colo, cloud, companies like Google/Apple/Akimai. Those guys often spend much of their time out on the floor, doing physical things, and there's flat out a lot of walking done in a million square foot DC.
  • When computers move around, it's called robotics. Plenty of programming to be done.

Doubt isn't the opposite of faith; it is an element of faith. - Paul Tillich, German theologian and historian