What to Expect When Pursuing a Degree in Computer Science?

Computer science is a very popular degree these days, and a lot of people are interested in pursuing it.

What to Expect When Pursuing a Degree in Computer Science

If you too are willing to pursue this degree, here’s what you can expect from your academic life.

One programming language is never enough

Computer science majors are expected to know more than one programming language, and the colleges are well aware of that. Hence, while designing the degree program, colleges try to incorporate at least two to three different types of languages in the curriculum.

However, there are a few colleges that tend to keep the number of languages limited, and instead, ask their students to work on their logical and analytical skills. After all, programming languages differ only in terms of syntax; the logic is always the same.

Some of the most common languages that you’ll be introduced to in college may include JAVA, C/C++, Python, HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Each language also has many different frameworks, which you probably have to learn on your own.

This, however, is not as difficult as learning an entire language, and won’t take you much time if you’re already familiar with the core language and syntax. 

Students are also introduced to different types of algorithms. They first understand the theory behind these algorithms and then go on to use them practically.

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Just knowing how to code won’t do you any good

Colleges and universities won’t just teach you how to code and be done with it. They’ll show you how to optimize your code for speed (time complexity), space (space complexity), and efficiency.

There are specific courses that will teach you different data structures and algorithms that can be used to optimize your code, and take it to an industry standard. 

You still have to do mathematics courses

Maths is a very important subject for CS majors, especially if they’re interested in working with machine learning and artificial intelligence.

Some of the most common mathematics courses that you’re likely to encounter during your program include differential and integral calculus, linear algebra, complex variables, discrete mathematics, etc. Besides maths, you’ll also have to deal with statistics as well. 

There will be a lot of homework, assignments, and projects

Like high school, you have to deal with a lot of homework in your college life as well. As computer science majors, college students are usually tasked with different programming assignments, as well as regular theoretical ones. Besides, you also need to work on different projects for different courses. 

While the homework and assignments may seem difficult, you can always get help from different sources. There are many online forums and platforms that offer homework help and answers with a variety of categories for CS subjects.

These websites can help you develop step-by-step solutions for all your problems. And since there are a lot of active users on these platforms, you’ll get to see a wide range of answers and opinions.

That way, you can explore the different possible ways of answering a particular question.

You’re expected to learn a lot of things on your own

From different frameworks to entire languages, CS majors are expected to learn a lot of things on their own. Your college or university, no matter how good it is, will never teach you everything you need to develop your skills or land a good job.

Hence, you must manage time to work on your personal skill development. You can do this quite easily by watching YouTube tutorials or enrolling in various online courses or MOOC programs.

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The idea that the “degree doesn’t matter”

If you go through a bunch of job posts looking for an IT professional or developer, you’ll often find that at the bottom of the job requirements section, there’s a line that states, “a college/professional degree is not mandatory if the candidate has the necessary skills.”

This is indeed the reality of the IT industry; if you have the right skills, a degree won’t matter. However, even with a degree in computer science, if you don’t have the right skills, you might not get a job.

Hence, always try your best to work on your programming and analytical skills. Make sure you have a portfolio to showcase your work. It’s best if you can take all your projects and put them on GitHub or your website. 

Besides, you should also try to take part in programming contests. Competitive programming is a great way to build your coding skills, and your global or local rank as a competitive programmer is often used as a metric to determine how good you are at programming.

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