6 Things Every Computer Science Major Should Know Before Graduating

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Computer scientists are the people who shape the future. They are the ones who will solve problems by using technology, make computers do amazing things by writing code and create the apps and webpages we use every day. It’s a field that’s developing at an astonishing rate, and you get to by a part of it as a computer science major.

But it’s also a tough world out there, and companies are looking for computer scientists with a unique and versatile set of skills. While you’re probably full of individual talent, there are a few things every computer science student should know before they’re out in the working world. Read on to see if you need to check anything off your list.

1. Core Engineering Information

Computer science isn’t necessarily engineering, but it’s a close relative. As a computer scientist, you’ll be working side-by-side with engineers on a regular basis — and it will be necessary to speak a mathematical language they can understand.

To do this, you’ll need to work your way through multiple calculus courses. In addition, physics courses, especially electromagnetism, are a solid support. You’ll likely benefit from taking probability and linear algebra courses, too.

2. Writing Proofs

Writing proofs is essential if you want to learn programming. Mastering that skill makes programming flow more naturally.

Take a course in real analysis or algebra — and not the course you took in high school! Proofs require such things as abstract algebra and group theory.

3. Necessary Programming Languages

Programming is one of the most basic building blocks of computer science, and without it, all our computers would be toast.

Don’t just learn one programming language, though. The most productive way to learn programming languages is to learn several, as well as the paradigms that accompany them. Some common programming languages you should familiarize yourself with are:

  • Racket
  • C
  • JavaScript
  • Java
  • C++
  • Assembly

Of course, it isn’t enough to just know these languages. You must implement them as well. Use your programming on an interpreter, and make sure to take compiling classes, too.

graduate from computer science

4. Experiment With Fields

Writing all that code sure is fun, but what exactly do you want to do with it? If you’re just starting college, you might not have to worry about this yet. But as your college years wind down, it’s wise to start thinking about what field of computer science you’ll want to enter.

Like most professions, computer science has many subdivisions. You could choose artificial intelligence and robotics. You could design webpages or apps. You could become a software engineer or even concentrate your knowledge in the art of computer graphics. The possibilities are endless!

Choose something that matches your interests — early on in your schooling is probably better. If you know what field you want to go into, you’ll be more productive and focused on your long-term goals.

5. Technical Communication

What’s the use of all your programming mumbo-jumbo if the masses don’t understand it? That’s where technical communication comes in handy. It specializes in the clear communication of complex information to people who aren’t in your field.

You’ll implement techniques such as persuasion and organization, so anyone can understand computer science. This is critical in situations such as oral presentations in company meetings — after all, if you can’t illustrate your ideas to your management, they’ll find someone who can.

6. Microeconomics

Computer science is largely about business, and microeconomics is the foundation for every business theory that’s important.

Supply and demand, competitive advantage, NPVs — these are necessary to know if you want to understand business. A computer scientist who understands the fundamentals of business is worth more to a company than one who doesn’t. You may have an amazing idea in your programming, but it would never fly in our capitalist society. So by taking microeconomics, you’re more likely to excel in your field.

You may think you’re a computer science hotshot, but you should make sure you know these basics before you catapult yourself into the real world. Once you know them, you’ll be on your way to a successful computer science career.

 

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Kayla Matthews is the editor of Productivity Bytes and a regular contributor to VentureBeat, Motherboard, MakeUseOf and Inc.com. Follow her on Twitter to read her latest posts.

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