Like most college students, computer science majors can suffer from the notion that they know everything and don’t need advice from their elders. Given the speed at which the field evolves this can be a beneficial attribute in some cases; however – like many professions – there are still a ton of hidden aspects of the job that many people would have benefitted from finding out before they graduated. Here is some advice that can help computer science majors make sure they get the most out of their undergraduate education.
Math is Important
Math is a lot more ingrained in computer science than you may think. For example, software engineers use it to develop algorithms and it is vital in designing the circuits needed to power hardware – and the list goes on and on from there. The point is, make sure you study the relevant mathematical concepts for what you want to do as you will be relying on that information throughout your career.
Writing is Also Important
This goes beyond just writing code – and even there you will need to include some commentary to help others understand your thought process and intentions. So it’s important that you can explain your thoughts and relevant concepts clearly and concisely. Additionally, you may be called upon to write test plans, specifications, etc. depending on your job, and if you ever need to write a research paper you will want to make sure you’re a proficient enough writer to be able to present it to your peers for review. This is why it’s important to hone your technical writing skills early and be sure to practice enough to keep them sharp.
Be Proactive and Ask Questions
Procrastination is not a habit you want to pick up in programming. Reviewing assignments and getting to work as soon as possible gives you the best odds of navigating each class successfully and minimizing stress. By starting each project promptly, you allow time to ask questions and consult any available resources if you hit a roadblock, and then figure out a solution well in advance of any deadlines.
Develop Interpersonal Skills
It’s important to do your best work and impress your professors, however remember that no one likes a brown-noser. Showing interest and trying to advance the collective learning of the class through your questions is a good thing, but there can be a fine line between genuine curiosity and annoying others or nakedly flaunting your intelligence. Impressing people with your insightfulness without crossing that line will help you build professional relationships and advance throughout your career.
Learn Business Concepts
Investing some time in learning basic business and economic concepts can really help you advance in your career. Understanding these fundamentals of modern commerce will help keep your thought process in line with the realities of capitalism and better able to contribute to the economic success of a company, making you more valuable to potential employers. If your school or program is designed in such a way that it’s difficult to include basic classes in other disciplines to your workload, look into eLearning opportunities at other schools, such as UAB Online, that will allow you to study remotely on your own time.