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Open Collection of Student Writing (OCSW)

Preparing for a Computing Major

To the average college student, majoring in anything that has to do with computers can be intimidating because of the continuously evolving industry of technology. How does one prepare for such a daunting task? After enrolling in CSIS 1030 – Foundations of Computer Science, I quickly realized that there is a lot to learn in order to become a master in this field. With the internet at our disposal, we essentially have everything that we need in order to be best prepared for anything. I’ve researched the topic of preparing for a computing major and have come up with a few ideas that may be helpful to those who are not sure where to start.

One of the most important things that you can do to prepare for a computing major is to gain a strong foundation of computer science before you specialize (UCLan). There is an old story of two men who sought to build a house. One decided to build his house upon a sandy foundation, while the other decided to build his house upon a rock solid foundation. When the first storm came, the man whose house was built upon a sandy foundation suddenly found himself homeless. The man who decided to build upon a solid foundation was able to withstand any storm that was thrown at him. This is because of the fact that his house had a strong foundation. The most important thing that we can do to prepare ourselves for anything in life is to build a strong foundation. This can be achieved in a computing sense by taking a Computer Science Foundation course. By taking a course that teaches the foundations of Computer Science, you will be better prepared when the time comes to choose exactly what it is that you would like to do in the broad world of computing. Build a solid foundation, and the storms of life will never catch you off-guard.

Another way that you can prepare yourself to take on a computing major is to have a solid understanding of mathematics. When it comes to computers and programming, math is used regardless of what path you choose and what it is that you decide to specialize in.

Algorithms play a big role in Computer Science, and they are heavily relied upon (Jabban). When I first decided to major in Computer Science, I was confused as why I had to enroll in an enormous amount of math classes. As I have learned since then, you simply can’t do computer science without math. I have already experienced ways in which math is implemented into Computer Science, such as binary digits, as well as hexadecimals. Math is a necessity as well as a foundation of computer science.

The third suggestion that I have found to be practical when preparing for a computing major is to make sure that you have a curiosity for technology (Zhao). Having a curiosity for anything in life is what drives us to want to learn more about that subject. The same remains true for Computer Science. If you have a desire and a willingness to learn more, that is what will push you through the rough patches on your way to earning your degree in Computer Science. Often times you will be faced with issues when you are writing codes and building programs from scratch. If you have no desire to figure out why your codes aren’t compiling, or what you can do to make it compile, then you will not make it very far in the world of computers.

The final suggestion that I would make to anyone preparing for a Computing major is to know yourself. Because Computer Science is such a broad major, you need to figure out exactly what specialty it is that you would be able to thrive in. Think of questions such as “Do I work better as a member of a team or am I more efficient working alone?” These kind of questions will help to steer you in the right direction when the time comes to figure out what exactly it is that you want to specialize in. If you go into a computing major without pondering what your strengths and weaknesses are, you will soon find yourself in a career that is not satisfying or fulfilling to you.

In conclusion, I would like to share my experiences of CSIS 1030 – Foundations of Computer Science. Even though I’ve been enrolled in the four-week course, I feel as if the material learned in such a short amount of time has allowed me to have a solid foundation that I can build upon with more knowledge of the computing world. Whether you are on fence about Computer Science or know in your heart that you love everything about computers, you can never go wrong with enrolling in a course that teaches the Foundations of any given major.

Works Cited

UCLan. “7 Ways to Prepare for Computer Science Careers.” Top Universities, UCLan, 11 Apr. 2016, www.topuniversities.com/student-info/careers-advice/7-ways-prepare-computer-sciencecareers.

Jabban, Tamim. “Mathematics in Computer Sciences.” Carnegie Mellon, 2010, www.contrib.andrew.cmu.edu/~tjabban/mathincs.html. Zhao, Ben. “How Should Students Who Want to Study Computer Science Prepare for College?”

Slate Magazine, Slate, 5 Aug. 2016, www.slate.com/blogs/quora/2016/08/05/how_should_students_who_want_to_study_computer_s cience_prepare_for_college.html.

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