4 Tips for Getting a Good Computer Science Education


Preparing for Computer Science Careers: Getting a Proper Education 

Careers in computer science can be quite interesting, and quite lucrative. Many computer science programs also boast high levels of employment among their graduates. If you’re interested in pursuing a career in computer science, getting a proper education can be a huge advantage. 


Knowing where to start however, can be a bit daunting, but don't let it be. Consider these simple and straightforward tips on getting a proper education in computer science.



Tip 1: Start your computer science education in high school

If you’re still a high school student and you’re interested in computer science careers, consider taking a few computer science courses, if available. If you’re an IB or AP student, your courses may count towards transferrable university credits if you receive high enough grades in the course.


Although taking computer science courses in high school is recommended, it is not necessary to succeed in computer science careers, or even to get into a university computer science program.



Tip 2: Computer science degrees: know what you'll be learning

Having an idea of what a computer science degree can teach you is the first step towards deciding if a university education in this field is right for you.


Usually, the first two years of undergraduate computer science programs involve learning the fundamentals of various mathematical and computer science concepts, as well as practical techniques. During this time, you are also introduced to the core areas of computer science:


• Software engineering

• Graphics

• Multimedia

• Networks

• Databases

• Artificial intelligence


During the final years of study, you’ll take upper level courses that build on these concepts and techniques, allowing you to explore more advanced concepts and further develop your technical skills. During this time, you may also choose an area of specialization within the field of computer science; depending on which areas you’re interested in.


Many undergraduate computer science degree programs involve hands-on experience, where you’re taught practical skills such as the appropriate use of equipment.


Major projects may also be a requirement of these programs. These projects may or may not involve the supervision of a Computer Science department faculty member. These projects allow students to directly apply the knowledge and skill set they gain through coursework and hands-on work.





Tip 3: Choose an appropriate computer science degree program

When considering what computer science degree programs to apply for, it’s best to obtain as much information as possible from potential schools. Find out how highly these programs are rated, and why. Also, be sure to ask if you can combine computer science with other areas of study.


Be sure to visit the computer science department websites for schools you are interested in, as there ought to be plenty of information on which courses they offer towards a computer science degree, and what the research interests of faculty are.


Consider class sizes, and frequency of hands-on learning opportunities within the program versus lecture and seminar-based learning. You will benefit greatly from entering a program that compliments your learning style.





Tip 4: Gain career experience as a student

Pursuing an internship (also known as field experience, practicum or co-op opportunities) in career fields related to your degree is a great way to gain relevant experience for a career while you’re still in school. This allows you to gain professional competencies, while simultaneously offering an employer a valuable temporary team member.


An internship position can also result in being hired by the sponsoring organization upon graduation. If you’ve done quality work and made a good impression, chances are that organization will want to retain you on a full-time basis once you’ve graduated. They will already be familiar with you and your work ethic, and they will save a great deal of time and expense trying to recruit someone else.



How do I find a computer science internship?

If working an internship is an academic requirement, you will likely have the opportunity arranged for you, or at least a variety of potential options presented to you. If it is not a requirement, speak with your professors, other computer science department staff as well as your school’s guidance and career counselors to help you find a suitable opportunity.


Please Note: Be aware of external non-paid internships (internships not arranged by your school in exchange for school credit) as in most cases, these are illegal.







What Can You Do With Your Degree in Computer Science

You may not be fully aware of the exciting opportunities that await once you’ve graduated. Our Computer Science Careers Guide offers information on careers you can pursue, what kind of money you might make as a new graduate, and we even have job postings related to your degree!



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