For the longest time, there has been a widely accepted perception that STEM subjects such as Computer Science are extremely difficult and are a reserve of a few highly talented individuals. Honestly, STEM subjects are more challenging compared to subjects from other fields, which discourages most learners from pursuing them. The technical aspects as well as the extensive computational problems are not something that most college and university students want to dedicate their academic life to.
Nevertheless, pursuing a course in the computer science field shouldn’t be as scary as it sounds. Based on numerous students’ accounts who veered off computer science though it was their dream course, discouragement from individuals close to them made them abandon their dreams. Lack of adequate information is one of the main reasons that individuals will always argue that studying computer science is stressful and almost impossible for some people.
Interestingly, learners opted to pursue other interests from their teachers as they felt they weren’t good enough based on teachers’ comments and treatment. For instance, in one testimonial, a student who is currently pursuing a course in a different field admitted that teachers had preferential treatment to learners who were perceived to be top performers in the STEM subject. The learner admits that it wasn’t easy to access help from peers and teachers who felt they were poor in science and math subjects.
If you want to pursue a course in computer science and you are wondering, how hard is computer science? Don’t worry. In this article, I will provide you with detailed information that will help you understand the course and its fundamentals, real challenges, debunk myths and misinformation, and offer you effective strategies to successfully study the course and achieve your career goals.
Why is it important to research and understand what computer science is before you enroll?
- Determine whether it is the right course for you: Obviously, you are reading this article because you are passionate and you want to pursue Computer Science. Researching the discipline is necessary before you commit to ensuring it aligns with your career goals. As we have stated earlier, the course isn’t that easy and besides, it isn’t that cheap either. Understanding the demands and the principles will affirm your commitment to pursuing the course and realizing your long-term vision.
- Assess your academic strength and capabilities: While we confidently say that with dedication, focus, and passion nothing is impossible, your academic strength is a great determiner of your success while pursuing comp science. You might be extremely passionate about the subject but without a strong foundation, it wouldn’t be easy to succeed. For instance, you should have a strong foundation in subjects such as science and math. A strong foundation will not only make it easier for you to learn but will also make your learning process enjoyable.
- Help you to choose the mode of study or institution: Once you understand what computer science entails, you will be able to determine the most appropriate mode of study for you as well as the right institution. For instance, you will decide whether you need to enroll in a full-time, part-time, or online program. Some institutions are more reputable than others in offering specific courses. Moreover, you might be interested in joining an institution that guarantees internships or job openings after graduation.
- Determine the affordability of the course: Another important aspect that determines the course affordability. You need to understand what computer science entails in terms of course contents and materials required for effective learning. Besides the tuition fees, you need to understand whether there are other costs and if you are capable of meeting them. Comparing the costs of different institutions allows you to select the most suitable to make your learning smooth and comfortable.
- The time you need to complete the course: One of the popular questions among computer science students is how long does it take to get a computer science degree? Seeking adequate information about the discipline will help you discover the time it will take you to complete the course. Understanding the course duration is essential as it helps you to plan adequately, especially on the required resources. That way, you will enroll in the course if it suits your long-term plans. It would be irrational to enroll in a program that doesn’t align with your vision, desires, or willingness to commit.
What is Computer Science? Understanding features and unique aspects
Before enrolling it is important to ask yourself “What is computer science?” In simple terms, the subject is the study of computers and computing, entailing hardware and software. It covers a wide range of specializations that include the study of data structures, algorithms, and computer systems, including design and analysis among others. Once you pursue the course you will become better placed in understanding how computers work and they are applied by experts to solve complicated problems.
For instance, you will gain the knowledge of developing algorithms, which are a set of rules that aims at accomplishing specific tasks. If your passion is designing applications, computer science would be the best course for you since you will learn programming, which will enable you to create diverse software and applications. If you are passionate about computer hardware, you will gain in-depth knowledge and strong skills to design as well as analyze essential computer components that include hard drives, processors, and other related devices.
What is more interesting about computer science is that it embraces new technologies, which will help you gain significant knowledge that cuts across other disciplines. For instance, you will be able to explore innovative technologies such as machine learning and Artificial Intelligence, which will arm you with vital skills as you transition to the workplace. As you see, the subject is dynamic and requires specific skill sets, such as strong computational and problem-solving skills to effectively learn and understand its principles and concepts.
What are the main reasons computer science is considered hard?
Since we have established that computer science is more challenging compared to other disciplines and requires more dedication and focus, let us evaluate the essential aspects that make the subject complicated and more demanding to learners.
- Steep learning curve: Undeniably, students face unprecedented challenges at the initial stages of learning computer science. Since the subject heavily relies on computer programming, beginning the course without a programming background exposes students to enormous challenges. You will have to study programming languages that you have never experienced before, which might be extremely challenging for you. Some computer science students abandoned the course as they struggled to master the programming languages.
- It requires a lot of time: Unarguably, computer science is one of the time-intensive subjects you will come across. Most students find it challenging to pursue the course due to difficulties in time management. For instance, learners who want to balance work and education find it difficult with computer science compared to those pursuing other courses. Moreover, some students are forced to choose between giving up some other commitments such as social life and leisure activities to dedicate adequate time to complete projects and practice.
- It provides constructive knowledge: Like most science subjects, computer science knowledge is constructive, which means the knowledge is built on previous topics. Therefore, you must fully conceptualize every unit you study since it forms the basis of the succeeding topics. Failing to understand a topic may expose you to numerous challenges as you proceed with your studies, which may consequently hinder your success. Most learners find this challenging since it seems impossible to grasp everything you learn along the way. In other fields, you might be able to learn complex and advanced concepts even with a poor foundation. However, for comp sci, you have to build a strong foundation.
- Be ready to solve problems: One important skill in how to succeed in computer science is being extremely creative. In some cases, you might run into a problem that requires you to be extremely creative to overcome. Since computer programs and systems are designed to solve specific problems or complete specific tasks, there might not be a correct or a wrong answer, which demands high creativity levels. Most learners admit that overcoming challenges is a significant setback in their learning process.
- CS is extremely dynamic: Another notable feature that makes computer science challenging is that it is extremely dynamic, which means you have to remain up-to-date. Therefore, you are expected to keep learning beyond the classroom to track new trends impacting computer science fields. This makes the learning process even more complicated. For instance, the emergence of new technologies and artificial intelligence means you have to learn and understand, whether they are or are not included in your program. Failing to align yourself with emerging demands means you might not fit in the job market.
Tips to Overcome the challenges faced by computer science students
Having acknowledged that computer science is challenging and identifying the specific setbacks you might experience, you may be wondering, is computer science a good degree? The answer is yes. Here is a list of effective strategies you could utilize to overcome the challenges and become a proficient computer science student.
- Create adequate time for study beyond the classroom: Depending on your preferred mode of study, ensure you create enough time for personal study. Due to the complexity of the concepts and theories learned in class, you should set aside adequate time for revision. At the initial stages of your studies, ensure you pay attention to every principle and fundamental you study as you will build on your knowledge from the strong foundation you lay.
- Work with experts: One of the tips that has proved effective is working with professionals in the field. In the modern educational environment, you can access online companies that are dedicated to supporting learners achieve their academic goals through professional assistance. You can seek computer science assignments help from such professionals to overcome the case you are struggling with your projects. Due to their qualifications and experience, they will offer you personalized assistance, which will make your learning process easy and enjoyable. You will also have more time to spare to focus on other complicated concepts.
- Join a community: Another effective tip you could utilize is joining a community of computer science enthusiasts who will act as your support system. Currently, it is easy to connect with people you share passion and interest through social media platforms. It will provide you with a platform for interactions, solutions to problems, encouragement as well as networking for internship and job opportunities. Moreover, you will harness your social networks by connecting with individuals who share your hobbies, such as video games or even skating.
- Practice routinely: Don’t forget to practice routinely. Honestly, the best way to ensure something sticks in your mind is to practice. Ensure you have enough time to practice what you learn in class. With the continued technological advancement, there are numerous resources to help you in practice. Moreover, you can watch video tutorials to have a better understanding of the challenging concepts you learn in class. In addition, you could utilize AI tools to develop personalized revision materials that would help you become better in your studies.
Computer science is a hard discipline that most students would avoid at all costs. If the reputation of the subject makes you question yourself why study computer science when I could pursue a less challenging course? Just know you can make it like any other student provided you remain committed and focused. Before you enroll in the program, research extensively to ensure you completely understand what to expect and whether you are ready for the challenge. Utilize the tips discussed above to ensure you don’t throw away your dream of becoming a computer scientist. A positive mindset would go a long way to supporting your vision and desire. In case you face difficulties as you pursue the course, seek assistance from peers and professionals from the field before you consider quitting.