Things you should know about a Computer Science degree

Computer Science is a much demanded field with great scope in today’s scenario. Every major technology being developed uses the basics of Computer Science. A career in Computer Science can be a great option for you if you are interested in computers and technology. It can open up new possibilities for you. You can work as a developer, scientist, technical consultant and much more.

But there are some things you should know before joining a computer science degree. Most people often don’t know about these things and opt for a CS degree just because they like gaming, using software, etc. on their computers. But a computer science degree is much more than that. So, knowing these things will help you decide whether you want to pursue CS or not. Doesn’t matter what the degree is, be it BCA, B.Tech or B.Sc. in Computer Science, knowing these things will help you greatly. This post is going to be a long one. So let’s get started.

1.Important Subjects of Computer Science

Introduction to Programming:

This is the introductory subject which is taught in almost every course. The motive of this subject is to introduce you to basic programming concepts like loops, functions, variables, data types, etc. People with previous programming background and experience often find this subject easier. You will develop your basic programming skills in this subject.

Most colleges uses C programming language for this subject, but the choice may vary according to college, for example, some might use python for this. But in most cases, C is used. Also, sometimes, C++ is used without it’s object oriented part. The concept of object oriented programming is introduced later. You will also learn to represent program flow using flowcharts.

Digital Logic Design:

This subject is a hardware specific subject. It teaches you about logic gates and it’s physical implementation using transistors. Some colleges, especially engineering colleges have practical labs where students implement various logic gates and see the logic working practically. Practicals with logic design using breadboards are taught. This subject act as the foundation for the subject Computer Architecture and Organisation which is taught at a later stage.

People do have a little concept of logic gates prior to this as digital circuits is taught in Physics of 12th.

Introduction to Object Oriented Programming:

Here, the concept of object oriented programming is taught. Using the programming knowledge you gained from the introductory course as the base, this course builds the concept of object oriented programming and comparisons and benefits of this approach as compared to the procedural approach. You will be introduced to a OOP language like C++ or Java.

You will be introduced to core concepts of OOP like inheritance, polymorphism and abstraction and it’s practical implementation using a OOP language. You will use classes and methods to implement tasks in your program.

Data Structures and Algorithms:

This is perhaps the most important subject from the point of view of job prospects. Almost every tech company that you will want to work in the future will definitely ask questions on DSA in their interviews. Having a strong concept in this subject will not only help you in finding jobs, but also enable you to implement complex software projects as they require the implementation of efficient data structures and algorithms.

You will learn about different algorithms like various searching algorithms ( linear search, binary search, etc.), sorting algorithms, etc. To implement these algorithms, you will use various data structures like arrays, linked lists, stacks, etc. All these are taught in this subject.

Computer Architecture and Organization:

This subjects succeeds Digital Logic Design. Here, you will learn about registers and their working to make a computer system work. You will learn about various computer architecture, the most important being the Von-Neumann architecture. Also you will learn concepts on memory of a computer system like primary memory, secondary memory, virtual memory, etc. You will learn about the ALU and Control Unit in detail.

Automata Theory

This is also a very important subject. You will be introduced to the concept of automata. The concepts include NFA,DFA,PDA etc. You learn about context-free grammar and how it is used to understand Automata. You will learn about Turing Machine and it’s construction and also check language acceptance by the Turing Machine.

Database Management System

This is the second most important subject after DSA if we keep job perspective in mind. Almost every system uses some form of database and knowing the various concepts of Database Management is important. Though there are document based databases also, but in colleges, traditionally they have been teaching the relational database systems.

You will be taught the Structured Query Language, the language used to write queries in a SQL supported database like MySQL. There are many concepts here also like relational algebra, concurrency control, Entity-relationship model, etc. Basically, this subject teaches you all the important concepts you will require to build efficient relational database systems and managing it.

Operating System

This is a theoretical subject which teaches the concept of Operating System in detail. You will be familiarized with processes and how they are scheduled, what decides which process to run first, etc. Important algorithms include but not limited to the FCFS, SJF, Round-Robin, etc.

Apart from these, you will get to know how the operating system interacts with the memory and various I/O devices. There are many concepts if we look in detail. But it’s not possible to discuss these in this single blog post.

Computer Networking

This subject is often taught at a later part of the degree. This subject deals with concepts regarding computer networking and communication. Here, we are concerned with the creation of networks across various machines and be able to communicate between them. Types of networks, OSI reference model, TCP/IP model, layers like physical layer, network layer, data link layer, types of communication and data transmission, etc. are some of the concepts that you will learn.

Apart from these, there are many subjects like Web Design, Software Engineering, Scientific Computing, etc. which you will also learn. But I am not writing these in detail as then the post will be too long. Let us move to the next point.

2. Mathematics, yes it’s important

Mathematics hold a very high level of importance in a computer science degree. It is not that you need to be a mathematical prodigy like Ramanujan to be able to learn computer science, but a general liking of mathematics will surely help you in pursuing your computer science degree smoothly.

In almost every semester, there will be a mathematics subject. Some might be directly mentioned as mathematics 1 or mathematics 2, but in some cases the subjects may have a different name but it is mathematics in disguise ( e.g. Numerical Analysis).

3. It is not always about programming

People often confuses computer science with computer programming. Computer programming is not equivalent to computer science. In fact, computer programming is just a part of computer science, and computer science involves much more than just programming. It requires one to understand the complete computer system which, in addition to practical applications, also involves the proper understanding of theoretical concepts. There are some concepts which are hard to visualize, but they form the basis on which practical applications are developed.

4. You won’t be job ready without extra efforts

Let’s admit it. Colleges don’t teach everything, and they can’t. Because every student’s ambitions are different. Some want to become app developers, some others might want to become full-stack developers. So there is no course that fits all.

College curriculum teaches the basics of computer science, which every computer science student must know. It’s your responsibility to decide your area of specialization and work on your skills accordingly.

You can join various coding clubs that your college provides so that like minded people can come together and involve in peer learning. Also, there are numerous certification programs which validates your expertise in a particular area. After developing your skills, you can take those certification examinations to earn a certificate from a reputed organization. Companies like Google and Microsoft provide various such certification programs.

5.Soft skills matter

Many assume a techie to be someone who spends all time coding, without caring for the outside world. At least this is what movies depict. But in real life things are not like that.

Imagine yourself as a software developer in a company, will the only thing you do is coding? No. You will be building things in a team. Your project will be supervised by a product manager or any senior level manager. You will have to communicate with your fellow team members for project discussion and also with your manager to effectively complete a project. Here, soft skills will matter.

Even before you get a job, interviewers will evaluate your communication skills. So working on them is always beneficial. Remember, techies are humans first.

Wrapping Up

So here’s some information that will help you in deciding whether you want to pursue a career a computer science or not. Decide accordingly. Best of luck to you!

Some Resources

Android Associate Developer Certification Program

Microsoft Certifications and Exams

Oracle Certifications

Google Cloud Certification

Also Read: Getting Started With Android Development

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