Learning to code—is it challenging? Computer science frightens you, do you? You’re hesitant to declare a computer science major, right?
In this essay, I’ll describe my own experience as a computer science major studying at Stanford. How I overcame my anxieties to pursue a career as a computer programmer.
I’ll also explain why studying computer science is a wonderful way to earn money in addition to being enjoyable. And finally, I’ll outline just how to begin programming.
Let’s start off by defining computer science.
What is Computer Science?
The study of computers, how software is created (computer science), and how they are utilized together make up computer science. It covers topics including software engineering, artificial intelligence, robotics, networking, data structures, algorithms, and more.
The use of computers to solve issues is the domain of the computer scientist. Computer programs are created, and their operation is researched. Innovating technology is another thing they do.
Learning how to design, create, test, and maintain software systems is a key component of the computer science curriculum. Other topics that computer scientists research include networking, databases, operating systems, compilers, and computer architecture.
Focus areas for computer scientists include artificial intelligence, distributed computing, web development, and cryptography.
Although a bachelor’s degree is typically required for entry-level positions, some firms will consider hiring someone with less formal education if they are skilled in particular technologies.
- Related article: Computer Science vs Computer Engineering
Is Computer Science Hard?
It’s challenging to major in computer science. Students must be prepared to study about a wide range of topics, including web programming, databases, operating systems, networking, and cryptography.
It’s common for students who want to major in computer science to need to know more than one programming language and have analytical thinking skills. As they attempt to resolve issues in the real world, they might have to invest a lot of time and deal with numerous issues.
How challenging is it to learn computers? It might be challenging to determine exactly what you need to know despite the abundance of information available about what to study and how to get started.
You’ll have to enroll in a variety of computer science courses, each of which will teach you something new about the subject. Some concentrate on theory, while others concentrate on how things actually function.
Why is Computer Science a Hard Major?
There are six main reasons why students think Computer Science (CS) is a hard major. These are the reasons why many students will drop out of the CS degree program:
- Math Intensive Courses
- Steep Learning Curve
- Computer Science Knowledge is Cumulative
- Not Detail-Oriented
- Abstract Thinking and Problem Solving
- Lack of Perseverance and Hard Work
1. Many Math Intensive Courses
Contrary to popular belief, computer science and math are closely related. Calculus, statistics, linear algebra, discrete mathematics, probability, and graph theory are frequently required courses for students pursuing degrees in computer science.
One reason why many students alter their major in their first year is due to how frequently math is used in computer science coursework. You don’t need to be a math pro, though.
Students must be prepared to put in the necessary effort if they want to succeed in these courses. Formulas and equations must be fully understood in order to be correctly applied; they cannot just be memorized.
2. Steep Learning Curve
Learning computer science is a labor-intensive process. Because you have to master new languages and methods of thinking, computer science is challenging. Variables, loops, functions, arrays, classes, objects, inheritance, polymorphism, recursion, and a host of other concepts are among the things you must be familiar with.
You might think there isn’t enough time in the day to study everything you should. That is reasonable.
It is considerably more challenging to learn because there are various programming languages. While some languages are simpler to learn than others, it takes time and effort to become fluent in any language.
Since CS is a profession that is always evolving, you will need to continue your education after graduation. You’ll have to learn a ton of fresh concepts, methods, and techniques every year. Lack of knowledge of current trends could cause you to swiftly lag behind in your field.
It could seem impossible at first, but when you overcome the initial difficulty, you’ll probably begin to relish the task.
3. Computer Science Knowledge is Cumulative
In computer science, you build off of your prior knowledge. This implies that everything you study and every ability you acquire is required for the lessons at the next level.
It will be challenging for you to advance to the next level if you don’t master the fundamentals and establish a strong foundation.
Comparing computer science to most other majors is unusual. It won’t be possible for you to sail through your first-semester coursework without paying attention and performing well. Every class builds on the one before it. You won’t be able to go on to the next lesson if you can’t comprehend what you’re learning in the current one.
Although you might be able to pass later classes in other majors even if you didn’t fully comprehend prior ones, CS isn’t as forgiving.
Do not be embarrassed to ask for assistance if you are struggling in your first class. Do everything you can to prevent falling behind while seeking assistance.
4. Students are Not Detail-Oriented
You frequently make minor, simple-to-miss mistakes when writing code. The application won’t function properly if there are even a few of these errors, which could lead to defects.
The use of incorrect punctuation, missing parentheses, or misspelled words are examples of mistakes. Fixing flaws in your code could take hours if you’re not careful.
The ability to grasp programming is quite sophisticated and requires a lot of practice. You will take a lot of time attempting to understand your code before you even begin creating it.
As a result, a lot of students experience frustration because they feel as though they will never complete any meaningful work. The good news is that it gets easier with practice, as we’ve already stated.
Programming will appear lot simpler once you are familiar with the language and the procedure.
5. Abstract Thinking and Problem Solving
Computer science is challenging because it requires creative problem-solving. Even though you don’t always have the perfect response, you should test out every possibility before making a choice. The majority of the time, there is more than one correct response, so you shouldn’t always go with your first instinct.
You must develop a variety of problem-solving skills if you want to be a successful programmer. It’s crucial to have the capacity for abstract thought when creating software.
You should also be able to analyze a circumstance and identify alternatives that aren’t always obvious. This calls for the ability to identify issues with your product and propose solutions.
You must consider this when creating software. You must possess the ability to analyze a situation and find a workable solution.
Writing code is difficult. Really, it’s difficult. When you do something, you must consider each step you take. You have to start over if you make a mistake. And if you’re anything like me, you’ll probably take a long time to try and determine why something isn’t functioning before you make an attempt to fix it.
Programming requires a lot of effort, perseverance, and practice. However, once you learn how to think creatively and unconventionally, it becomes much simpler.
You start to truly like what you’re doing at this point. You’re beginning to understand the potential of your own ideas, and you’re seeing that there are numerous approaches to problem-solving.
6. Lack of Perseverance and Hard Work
Students in college should plan to spend two to three hours each week studying outside of class. But compared to other students, computer science students typically require more additional study time.
Why? You will most likely need to put in roughly two hours of extra work for each credit hour of any topic you take. To complete programming assignments and labs, you could additionally need an additional ten to twenty hours each week.
The additional time on the project will be utilized to experiment with new concepts and create computer programs, write computer code, and address issues. These activities may take up a lot of your time, but they are crucial to studying computer science.
You won’t be prepared for the challenges ahead if you don’t study diligently enough. Sometimes you’ll think you’re going to drop out of school. I’ve experienced that feeling many times before.
To complete the task, you must persevere and work arduously. Continue to try!
Can You Learn Computer Science Without a Programming Background?
Yes. Even those who have never programmed before can acquire computer science and become programmers in most cases.
Doing it yourself is the greatest method to learn how to code. Starting from beginning, create projects To create a program from scratch, you would rely solely on the language.
Having mastered the fundamentals of programming, you’ll be prepared to advance to more intricate concepts.
How to Choose a Computer Science Program and Learn CS
Computer science is one of those subjects that you can learn by yourself and not need to go to a four-year college. You can learn computer science online, at a community college, or in a bootcamp.
The “how to” plan and strategy to learn computer science and programming depends on where you live, what kind of career you want, and how much money you have to spend on tuition.
Make sure the four-year college you choose offers a bachelor’s degree in computer science if you intend to enroll there. By doing this, you can get a Bachelor of Science (B.S.).
You can also browse for institutions that provide certificate programs in computer science. Generally speaking, bachelor’s degree programs last longer than certificate programs. They typically only persist for a few months.
The typical requirement for employment following graduation is a bachelor’s degree. A bachelor’s degree is preferred by some companies because they believe it demonstrates a better level of education.
Additionally, the majority of firms seek out candidates with master’s degrees. Master’s degrees are often awarded by universities.
You might be able to locate classes that suit your needs if you want to attend college for two years. Community colleges frequently offer introductory computer science courses.
Find out if you can transfer credits to a four-year institution if you wish to attend a community college. In many states, you need to earn a particular number of transferable credits before you can submit an application to a 4-year institution.
Additionally, there are numerous methods to study computer science online. A well-known website where people can take free classes is Coursera. Udemy is another option. It allows you to pay for lessons individually.
Additionally, there are websites that provide courses and videos to aid in the learning of programming. For instance, interactive Java and Python tutorials are available on Codecademy.
Should You Get an Online Computer Science Degree?
Computer science degrees are increasingly available online. For a variety of reasons, people opt to earn their degrees online.
It is simple, which is one reason. Getting your degree online might be a fantastic idea if you don’t like having to commute to campus each day.
Another factor is cost. There are numerous affordable online universities. In fact, the majority of them have lower tuition costs than traditional institutions.
And finally, doing both online can make it simpler to work and study at the same time. You can continue working full-time and earn your degree online without taking any time off.
Compared to attending a typical university, you’ll be able to complete your education significantly faster. Additionally, you may fit online courses into your already packed calendar to avoid having to spend more time away from your loved ones.
If you want to study computer science but need a convenient and flexible means to do so, look into online CS degree choices.
Computer Science Bootcamps
You might choose to go to a computer science bootcamp instead of college for a number of reasons.
- Computer science degrees are increasingly available online. For a variety of reasons, people opt to earn their degrees online.
- It is simple, which is one reason. Getting your degree online might be a fantastic idea if you don’t like having to commute to campus each day.
- Another factor is cost. There are numerous affordable online universities. In fact, the majority of them have lower tuition costs than traditional institutions.
- And finally, doing both online can make it simpler to work and study at the same time. You can continue working full-time and earn your degree online without taking any time off.
- Compared to attending a typical university, you’ll be able to complete your education significantly faster. Additionally, you may fit online courses into your already packed calendar to avoid having to spend more time away from your loved ones.
- If you want to study computer science but need a convenient and flexible means to do so, look into online CS degree choices.
Why is Computer Science Popular?
The field of computer science is exciting and growing quickly. There are many job openings, especially in software development and information technology (IT). When they graduate, people with degrees in computer science can get jobs that pay well right away.
Many companies hire college graduates right after they graduate. Different experience levels and places pay different amounts. A recent college graduate who works at Google, for example, makes $150,000 per year.
Is it Worth Studying Computer Science?
You can find employment immediately out of college if you have a degree in computer science. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a software developer makes an average yearly pay of $109,020. Additionally, there are 25% additional jobs each year.
Other careers are available to computer scientists, too. You might create websites, manage databases, or even conduct research.
Do You Need a Degree to Break Into the Field?
No. Many people get jobs without having any formal training in computer science. But if you have a degree, your chances of getting a job will go up for sure.
The work in computer science is hard and requires a lot of technical skill. Employers will know that you’ve had the chance to learn the special skills you need to do well as a software developer or software engineer if you have a degree.
To become experts in their fields, computer scientists need to get more education. Some areas of specialization require a master’s degree or higher. Usually, you need at least a bachelor’s degree to work as a software developer, quality assurance analyst, network architect, or database administrator.
Is Computer Science a lot of Math?
Yes, a big portion of computer science is math. In reality, some courses also cover discrete mathematics, probability theory, linear algebra, statistics, and more. Related to it is the logical way of thinking when solving math problems.
Additionally, you will study data structures, algorithms, and object-oriented design. These topics all call for mathematical thinking.
Is Computer Graphics a Hard Major?
Embarking on a major in computer graphics is akin to setting foot into a vibrant intersection where art meets technology and mathematics. It’s a field that’s as exhilarating as it is demanding, with a growing need for adept professionals across various industries.
Whether you’re conjuring up the next blockbuster animation, designing immersive video games, or shaping virtual reality experiences, the role of computer graphics cannot be overstated.
As you dive into this major, you’ll grapple with the principles of color theory, composition, and visual storytelling. These foundational elements are crucial as they influence how audiences perceive and interact with your work. Here’s what else you’ll be mastering:
- 2D and 3D Modeling: Crafting the digital skeletons of your creations.
- Texturing and Lighting: Breathing life into models by simulating realistic surfaces and illuminating them appropriately.
- Animation and Motion Graphics: Infusing movement that tells a story or conveys information seamlessly.
However, it’s not just about letting your creativity run wild. You’ll often find yourself wrestling with the constraints imposed by software and hardware. It’s a dance of pushing boundaries while acknowledging limits, striving for a harmony between aesthetics and functionality.
The learning curve can be steep as you acquaint yourself with complex software and tools. Patience is your ally here. With each project, your fluency in these digital environments will grow, transforming initial hurdles into second nature.
By persistently honing your skills and embracing both the technical and artistic sides of computer graphics, you’ll not only navigate the challenges but also emerge as a sought-after professional in this dynamic field.
Is Computer Science Hard? Final Thoughts
Computer science is a hard major, but it can also be very rewarding. To be successful, you have to work hard and put in a lot of time and effor. If you’re ready for this challenge, you might want to think about studying CS.
For other majors, check out these posts: