Did you know that the computer and information technology field is expected to grow faster than average in the coming years? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), over half a million new jobs will be added in the field through 2026, which makes computer science degrees a good option to land a computer science career.
You may be asking yourself, “Is computer science for me?” And, how would you know the right answer?
Let’s take a deeper look…
Some people think only those who are really good at math and science are the right fit to pursue a computer science degree, but there’s more to it than just that. Computer science degrees are different than Software Engineering, but there are many things you can do with a computer science degree. There’s no denying that it’s a challenging course load, but it’s definitely worth it because of the job opportunities, salary expectations, and the fact that you can change the world for the better.
Do you like problem-solving? Do you have an analytical and rational thought process?
There are a lot of skills that can help you achieve a computer science degree.
Here’s some advice on how to manage and succeed at majoring in computer science and computer science careers.
Step 1: Be Scientifically-Inclined, and If Not, Be Curious
Computer Science revolves around problem-solving.
Those majoring in Com Sci should wonder how things work, make speculations and be comfortable testing those speculations to find conclusions. This is something you can train your mind to do in everyday life. Whether you want to start problem-solving by learning how to complete a Rubix Cube or by playing Sudoko, the skills you need to master computer science can be learned by performing consistent mind training tricks day in and day out.
And, computer science isn’t just about the technical skills. It’s important to work on your communication and teamwork abilities because the degree calls for a lot of intrapersonal communication. You have to understand a problem and then consider solutions before getting to work. It helps to bounce ideas off of teammates and understand the objective for these reasons.
Computer science is really about people and problems – there is a large amount of interaction involved in understanding needed to grasp a problem and then, create a solution.
Step 2: Don’t Let Math Scare You
Depending on the program you choose, the level and quantity of math will fluctuate, but don’t let it scare you off. Even if you’re average at math, you can still succeed in Computer Science.
The good news is, once you enter the computer science job market, it may not be that common (besides the basics like multiplication, addition, subtraction and division) in the field. It’s important to realize that computer science is more dependent on mathematical thinking, meaning that software is a form of applied math. Sure, you may need to know some calculus or algebra to do some work, but it’s more necessary to be able to think mathematically, or in a problem-solution framework.
Plus, even if the math is hard for you to master, there’s always assistance like office hours, teacher’s assistants, tutoring groups, peer study groups, online videos, etc.
Step 3: Don’t Procrastinate and Be Resilient
Study often. It’s necessary to keep working through the material because it continues to build. When learning coding and programming, you should stay up-to-date on the information because you don’t want to fall behind. As with learning anything new, there’s going to be a learning curve, so it’s a good idea to remember that failure is bound to happen, but it’s how you react that matters.
By building a resilient mindset, you’re going to know how to better deal with stressful situations, and like everything in computer science, it comes down to the ability of being able to solve problems. There are likely to be various ways to solve a problem, so by studying often and trying new methods, you can find out what’s the most efficient solution when you come across issues.
Step 4: Remember, You’re Not Alone
Just like the work culture will prove, you don’t have to do it alone. Find a good study group and continue to work as a team. Whether in person or online, there are a lot of resources available to help you with programming. Be consistent in your learning and studying. You can even try to create your own schedule to learn every day for a certain amount of time so that you are progressing over time.
Here are a few online resources to try out:
- CodeAcademy – a good place to start learning code
- Codewars – a game-like way to learn coding through challenges
- Free Code Camp – learn in a community and build coding to help the non-profit community
- MIT OpenCourseWare – it’s like attending MIT, without having the competition of getting accepted
Step 5: Enjoy the Journey
The more you enjoy coding, the more you will love it and want to stay committed to it. Everything can feel hard if you find no joy or fun in it, so especially with Computer Science, it’s a good idea to try it out before you commit to earning a degree in the field.
You can start for free by watching YouTube videos, reading books about the topic, following blogs, or even trying coding from some of the free online resources mentioned above.
Should You Earn A Computer Science Degree?
Ultimately, it comes down to knowing yourself. If you believe that you are a problem-solver, have an analytical mind, enjoy learning, can take challenges head on, and are not afraid of making mistakes and correcting them, Computer Science may be a great fit for you. If you feel like none of these characteristics sound like you, maybe consider something else that you like to do. Despite the large opportunity to get jobs in the field, you have to love what you do if it’s going to become your living.
But, if you do need just one more piece of inspiration and reasoning on why Computer Science is a fulfilling degree, remember that you will be shaping the future of technology and can, in theory, affect any industry with progression in the field.