4 Helpful Tips for First Year Computer Science Majors

In computer science, there are various strategies that will not only help you learn more but apply the concepts in more effective ways. It is a highly technical subject. Any uncertainty can, therefore, throw you off course; it is very easy to fall behind, but extremely difficult to catch up in a subject like computer science. If you’re not careful from the very beginning, you risk jeopardizing your major and having to find another subject to earn your degree. Here are four tips to consider before you start your first year as a computer science major.

1. Focus on Your Math

Almost as soon as you enter the class, mathematical concepts will be literally thrown at you, whether the goal is to become a computer builder or video game programmer. Budding software engineers must understand how to work out math problems and complex algorithms. Study up on graph theory, statistics, and recursion. Even if hardware is your focus, mathematical concepts will be used to design logical circuits. They’re also applied to automata theory, in the case of designing finite state machines.

2. Learn How to communicate

Communication is a very important trait for a computer engineer. In addition to writing code, you will have to write test plans, specifications, and other materials that explain what you do. The better you are able to communicate from the start, the easier it is to apply that skill as you learn highly technical subjects. Consider taking business writing classes to build your communicative skills. You may need these later for research papers, for example.

4 Helpful Tips for First Year Computer Science Majors

3. Build Your Engineering Mindset

Engineering concepts such as linear algebra, electromagnetism, and probability will come into question at some point. Statistics, calculus, and more bridge the gap between computer science and engineering. Any engineer you work with later will need to know how what you are doing relates to concepts they know and use every day.

4. Learn as Many Programming Languages as Possible

You cannot predict exactly what computer programming language will be in style at the moment. Knowing C, C++, JavaScript, Racket, Scala, Haskell, and more will boost your chances of having a solid career. The ability to teach yourself new programming languages is as important as truly understanding them. You should know the advantages of each and the problems it is best at solving, depending on the application and project.

The advice for CS majors provided here will help to get the most out of the experience. Whether you study online or go to Sarah Lawrence College, you’ll need the same mindset to conquer your computer science classes. Everything you learn will go towards your career, so these four tips should be taken seriously with every lesson and assignment.

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