Being a computer science major is a daunting four years of study. It encompasses a wide range of skills and subjects that will all come together to prepare you for what is hopefully a very lucrative and satisfying future. If you’re accepted to a program but aren’t sure what to expect, check out these five tips for incoming freshmen.
1. Be Certain This is What You Want to Do
Computer science is not easy, so if you’re attracted to this major, really think about what you want to do with it. If you want to be a programmer of some kind, then you’re definitely in the right place. But if you’re taking on this major because you simply like the tech industry, there are many, many jobs available in that industry that don’t require this kind of study. You could be a graphic designer, a business manager or even a dramatic writer (if video games are your passion). There are many other doors open to people interested in tech, so make sure computer science is the one you want to walk through.
2. Flowcharts are Your Friends
For any future job, you should plan on having to map out every project you begin from start to finish. Get in the habit of doing it now so you’ll be able to perfect your methods in school rather than on the job. Planning out your projects well will offer you the ability to anticipate areas of difficulty and prioritize your time accordingly.
3. Build Up Your Math Skills
There’s no way around it, you’ll use a lot of math in your career as a programmer or an engineer. If your math skills aren’t totally up to snuff, but you’re committed to this course of study, you must absolutely do whatever you can to improve them. Your work will be considerably slowed down if you’re held up on the mounds of necessary mathematics you’ll need to tackle each project. You’ll probably start falling behind sooner rather than later.
4. Keep Yourself Updated
If you’re going to be in the tech world, you need to keep yourself apprised of current trends. Follow tech blogs, dive into appropriate subedits and keep up with figures in the field you admire. The more knowledgeable you are about your own field and where it’s going, the better. This kind of awareness will keep you from graduating with just a computer science major. You’ll also walk out school with an education in what’s going on in your industry.
5. Use Your Other Resources
If you feel like you’re falling behind in a certain class or on a certain project, remember there are more resources out there to help you than just your professor. If you’re at Hofstra University, odds are your professors are incredibly busy. While they’re there to help you, you should also cultivate a few helpful websites or even upperclassmen that are willing to give you some assistance. These contacts will probably even be able to help you if you have questions unrelated to your major, like what you might like to pursue after graduation.