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Some tips for aspiring CS Majors

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  • College
Last response: in Work & Education
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June 18, 2012 3:25:00 PM

I am currently enrolled as a Computer Science major at a 4-year university in the US, and I see a lot of people asking what a CS major can do with his/her degree, and what it encompasses. So I'd like to give a little insight into what I, myself, have experienced in my first and second year.

So first off, a little background about me, I excelled in high school in the sciences, mathematics, and technology courses (Hardware, Software, Networking) but never did anything more than simple HTML and bash/shell scripts. College changed that. I love my computers, building them and playing games.

Now going to a college where the Android source code was created, Umass Lowell (Rich Miner, can google that), the Professors are very knowledgable, interactive, and very entertaining. My first two years was all programming, starting with C for two semesters, then going into Java and C++ for the next two semesters. Knowing that I have never programmed before in my life, it was very difficult to get a hang of, but it became one of my favorite things to do.

Some tips for those of you going into CS majors:
-Learn C first!!!! Knowing the language that everything else is based off of helps later on. I can honestly say it took me just a semester to learn the language basics, and then another to use it to create applications.
-Take every bit of advice from your professor's. They have been there, and done that for years, they know what they are talking about.
-Apply yourself. Read your books and practice. If you're not busy just sitting around at home, or in your dorm take out your laptop and do some work.
-DON'T BE A SMARTASS TO YOUR PROFESSOR EVEN IF YOU ARE RIGHT! I made this mistake... multiple times and got thrown out of my calculus class. If you are going to correct your professor, make it after he is done the problem, or after class. Not in the middle of their lecture.

The last one is kinda semi-applicable depending on financial status, but for most it will apply:
-Get the most out of your education. For me, I am paying for my own college. For some of you, it will be you too, or your parents. Don't make it be a regretful experience, or something you wasted money on. And I'm not saying don't go out and have fun, I'm just saying don't go out and be stupid about it. Don't be the person that gets caught their first night at school.

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June 19, 2012 3:00:00 AM

This is a very insightful post.
July 6, 2012 12:13:19 PM

The first step towards preparing for a CS degree is to mentally toughen yourself up for complex and intensive coursework. It’s going to take four or more years of sheer hard work to complete a computer science degree, but once you do that, the world will be at your feet!

What may help prepare you for a CS degree program is high school courses in math, science and computers. You may also want to dabble in a bit of programming as that’s an essential part of a CS degree.
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