Computer science sounds like a good subject to study, or aim for with your career – right? However, you’re not sure whether you are a good fit for such a role, or whether you’ll like it in a few years time once you’ve graduated. You don’t want to spend your university years studying a subject you’ve grown to dislike, then have to start from scratch when your friends are beginning to get jobs.
Yet you still want to consider computer science as a career option. You like working with computers, coding and programming fascinates you, and you want to be at the forefront of the technology industry at an exciting time for it. These are just some of the skills you may need to go far in that world – so see if they sound like you, and think about whether it might be the choice to make.
How do I get into computer science?
One of the ways in which you can start learning about this field and progress with a career in computer science is to study for a degree in the subject. Using data scientists as an example job role, they’re highly educated: many will have at least a master’s degree, or even a PhD, so a strong educational background is usually needed to get the depth of knowledge necessary to work within this particular area.
There are many universities and colleges that will provide you with undergraduate and postgraduate programmes – so have a look into these and see what suits you best. You could also complete an online computer science degree, so you can study while being able to stay at home.
If you have the skills and know-how to work in the industry, then computer science may be the career path that you wish to follow. It’s an exciting time for technology, and it’s sure to only get more interesting in the future. So why not be a part of it?
You need to be logical
If you like to know the facts about something, and using your problem-solving skills for figuring out an issue, then you might already have a great skill you’ll need for coding. Working out what the problem may be on a project you’re working on is partly intuitive, but you’ll also have to apply logic. To boost your logical skills, look for programs with challenges and problems that will let you develop your ability.
You can also start using conditional thinking – which is essentially: if you perform this task, then this is the result. This type of thinking in programming will be used for testing variables and values, plus action orders based on conditions.
Pay attention to detail
Being aware and precise are important skills to have when coding. One way you could do this is by being organized – such as having a plan for your work so you can assess, review and improve it. Or it can be just re-reading information at different times of the day. It depends on what works best for you.
Yet improving your attention to detail is also about knowing what to look for. You may wish to write down items for a to-do list, or a schedule, or even when you learn about something that will be useful to refer to again.
It might feel frustrating when you’re working on something and you can’t figure out why it isn’t making more sense to you, what you’ve done wrong, or how to fix it. Yet if you believe in your skills, find a new way to do it, or even start again and improve the work you’ve already done, then you should be able to overcome problems.
You’ll need maths
Computers run on data. This is a fairly pure form of mathematics, so you will need pretty good maths skills. If you’re looking to specialize in computer engineering, for example, then you will need maths for constructing hardware and for programming software. So make sure you improve in this area if you think you need to.
You’ll need to be able to communicate
Technical communication will come in handy for you, because you’ll need to make sure that other people will be able to understand your technical information. You’ll have complex details that will need to be understood by people who aren’t in your field. You may need to use skills such as organization and persuasion, so people will comprehend what you’re saying – which may be critical in presentations when you start working. Being able to explain complex technical ideas to people who think differently to you will also be good if you have an idea to talk to them about.
Computer science also involves business, so knowing a bit about microeconomics – such as supply and demand, plus competitive advantage will help. Taking microeconomics may mean you’re more likely to excel. Having this kind of understanding should help you see the difference between a project that succeeds and one that doesn’t, with items such as user-friendliness helping to determine that success. Being able to have this skill may then, for example, affect your earning potential, the likelihood of being promoted and other items once you start working.
Learn computing languages
Programming is a basic building block for computer science. However, learning just one programming language isn’t enough – that’s because learning several is the most productive way of doing so. You should also find out about the paradigms that go with these languages, as well as how to implement them.
The more you use these programming languages, the easier it will be for you to show off your skills when looking for future employment. Learning multiple languages will also make you more versatile. You should however, also take into account that you will need to be continually learning all the way throughout your career. This is especially true as the technology sector evolves all the time, and new technologies that emerge in the following years will depend on various programming languages to work.