June 15, 2021

How to Prepare for a University Degree in Computer Science

Credit: Soumil Kumar Via Pexels

From a young age, you knew you loved computers. All of that excitement, information, and world-building potential condensed into a slim piece of hardware – what’s not to love? As you grew up, you became intrigued with all the algorithms, computation, and information that went into this humble, ubiquitous piece of tech. And as grade 12 loomed, there was only one degree you knew you wanted to pursue after high school: computer science.

If you have your heart set on a computer science degree, it pays to be prepared. Whether you’re months away from graduating or you still have a couple of years before high school ends, you can get a head start on preparing with these tips.

Make Sure You Have the Relevant Prerequisites

Prerequisites may vary according to your preferred post-secondary institution, but, in general, computer science degrees require a solid foundation in math and science.

Let’s take the real-world example of Ryerson University in Canada. They require either Calculus and Vectors (MCV4U) or Mathematics of Data Management (MDM4U). They also require Advanced Functions, English, and one of three science credits (physics, chemistry or biology).

If you don’t have these courses (or their equivalent in your locale), don’t worry. Just enroll in an online school to complete the credits. For instance, you can take MDM4U online any time of the year, summer included. The courses are self-paced and flexible, so you can do them alongside your regular schooling.

Credit: Julia M Cameron Via Pexels

Load Up on eBooks

In a post-secondary degree, you will be required to buy and read several textbooks. When you’re at university, you will be juggling several other tasks: projects, exam preparation, and papers, to name a few. With all this on your plate, you may find it challenging to get the requisite reading done.

Luckily, you can find several textbooks and seminal computer science resources like eBooks, which tend to be more affordable than their paper counterparts. Get a head start reading a few months before the semester begins and acquaint yourself with some foundational computer science concepts.

In Computers as in Life, Networks Are Key

Just as computers have network protocols established for efficient communication, humans also need networks to exchange ideas. Before you start your computer science degree, find like-minded individuals with whom you can share your passion.

Find a Meetup group for coders, a Facebook group for computer lovers or a subreddit on computer science. You may even find alumni from the very program you’re about to start and can ask them questions about their experiences.

Join a Hackathon

Hackathons are quick events where computer programmers and software developers get together to collaborate on a software project. They are often fun, community-spirited and welcoming. If you’re interested in the programming side of computer science, a hackathon can be a great way to dip your toes in the water.

You have a fun four years ahead of you, but it’s also a lot of work. To prepare, follow the straightforward tips above, and always remain curious.

About the author 

Peter Hatch

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