Here are a list of tips, that I’ve created, as I approach my senior year as an Undergraduate Computer Science Major. It would have been nice to read these before my first year at college. I hope you find these helpful and relatable!
1. Inescapable Proofs:
A few computer science courses will involve the proving of theorems. You won’t have to face as much as a Math major would, but there will be some proofs introduced in courses like, Combinatorics, Languages and Automata, and Data Structures.
2. Coding is Tedious:
Programming is a loop of testing and debugging. It will get repetitive and you may want to rip your hair out at times, but nothing compares to the satisfaction of compiling and having no errors. 🙂
3. Books are Your Friends:
This may come as a shock to many people, but there is a ton of reading involved in computer science. There aren’t many textbooks on Computer Science, so the ones your professors suggest, are likely to be of the best. Take this as an advantage, what’s assigned, and prepare questions for lecture. This is an easy way to earn participation in class!
4. Be (and Stay) Organized:
In high school you may have gotten by with procrastination, (I sure did) and many students procrastinate in college. But when assigned a coding project it is in your best interest of your sanity, to organize your time and make progress everydaydone each day. Do not leave it to the last night. Even if you pull and all-nighter, you’ll be less likely to finish before it’s due. As mentioned in #2, coding takes time mostly because of testing. The worst thing to do is underestimate how much time you need to finish a project, so use your time wisely!
5. Glamour Matters:
Every computer scientist has their own coding style, similar to the concept of handwriting. But it is important to know which aspects are pushed for, and which are cringe worthy. I wrote more about this in another post:The Do’s and Don’ts of Writing Code ❤
6. Help at Your Fingertips:
It literally is! Much of the shallow surface of computer science, can easily be accessed/learned online. If you have a curiosity or question, there’s a 99.9% chance someone else has asked the same question. Guidance on deeper topics is easy to find, if you know what your looking for. YouTube has hundreds of coding videos, tutorials, and lessons on various programming languages. I use these videos when I need to brush up on some technical vocab, search for a more efficient algorithm, or conjure up some inspiration. Comment if you’d like to know which YouTube channels/websites I’d recommend 🙂
7. Showcase Your Work:
You will work hard on your projects. The labor will seem endless and at times pointless, but it always pays off. Future employers will want to see your work and witness what your capable of. There is a great website to not only display your code, but store it. Bitbucket is what my professors recommend to store code. With Bitbucket, it’s easy to share/update code with project partners. A bonus is the professional profile capability to showcase your work.
8. Endless Possibilities:
After reading all the above, you may be thinking “Why would I ever want to become a Computer Scientist!?” Well, what I’d say in response is, nothing worthwhile, comes easily. The applications of computer science are endless. This field of study can be incorporated into anything: medicine, music, YouTube, art, media, physics, engineering… the list goes on and on.
9. Know One, Know ALL:
One of the fascinating things about computer science, is that once you are comfortable coding in one language, it’s easy to learn additional ones, all the commonly used programming languages are alike, so it’s not time-consuming nor intimidating to learn a new programming language.
To clarify, had I known these tidbits before I applied for college, I’m pretty sure I would have still chosen to study Computer Science. This field is in huge demand in the real world, and you can apply it to any hobby you love. I would have loved to major in Graphic Design, and minor in Computer Science and Journalism. Take this point of view from beloved Steve Jobs,
“Part of what made the Macintosh great was that the people working on it were musicians, poets, and artists, and zoologists, and historians. They also happened to be the best computer scientists in the world. But if it hadn’t been computer science, these people would have been doing amazing things in other fields.”-Steve Jobs
A hobby that (you wish you could have majored in but) seemed unrealistic, can be incorporated into any profession if you pursue Computer Science.
Have any other tips or comments? Leave a reply!