If you are thinking of choosing a computer science major you might be wondering how hard it will be.
This post will show you how hard a computer science major is and what you can do to make your time in the major go much more smoothly.
So, is computer science a hard major? While it can be difficult at times, computer science is not generally considered as hard when compared to other STEM majors.
How hard a computer science degree will be for you will depend largely on a number of factors and there are a number of things that you can do to make things much easier for yourself.
How hard a computer science degree is
It will depend on the college that you go to
The difficulty of the major can depend a lot on the college that you go to.
Generally, universities that have lower acceptance rates will include more math and math-heavy classes and the classes will get through more material. A computer science major, at these colleges, will generally, be much more challenging.
Whereas, a computer science major at a university with open admissions will generally include less math and the computer science classes will generally be manageable. However, they will still almost always include calculus, linear algebra and a class on logic. So, if you don’t like math then there will still be some math classes that you will have to take.
It also depends on what you want to do upon graduating
How difficult a computer science major will be for you will also depend on what you want to do when you graduate.
If your goal is to get a job in computer science then it would be best for you to take as many computer science classes as you can especially those related to algorithms. In this case, the major shouldn’t be too hard for you overall you’ll want to be taking more applicable classes to the job market.
Whereas, if your goal is to get into graduate school then you will want to make sure to maximize your GPA, to do research when possible and to take some of the more challenging classes. This will make the major more challenging for you overall.
It will also depend on how well prepared you are for it
If you are interested in the subject and you have already taken a number of computer science-related classes in high school then the major will likely be relatively easy for you.
Whereas, if you have not had much exposure to computer science then it will be slightly more challenging for you. However, many students take computer science every year without any prior knowledge and are able to do well in it so there is no reason that you can’t either.
You will need to study outside of class
If you are hoping for a major that won’t require much work outside of class then computer science would not be a very good major for you. In most computer science classes there will be assignments that you will be set on a weekly basis that you will have to complete in your own time. This means that computer science is a major where you will have to study a lot outside of class time.
Ways to make computer science easier
There are a number of things that you can do to make your time in the major much easier that I will mention below.
Don’t take multiple difficult classes at the same time
While it might not always be possible to do in your junior and senior years, it would help to avoid taking multiple difficult classes during the same semester. If you take multiple difficult classes during the same semester then it will be necessary for you to put a lot of time into studying, you might struggle to keep up with the work and it could hurt your GPA.
It would help to plan out the class schedule of the degree as soon as you can with someone that is knowledgeable in the field. A good person to do this with would be an academic advisor from the computer science department.
Consider the professor
The difficulty of a class will depend a lot on the professor. The professor will generally dictate the pace of the class, the scope of the exams and the amount of homework that you have to do. Some will give you a study guide ahead of exams and some will tell you that anything goes.
Before selecting a professor it would help to see what other students have said on ratemyprofessors.com. Make sure to schedule your classes early since the professors that are highly rated will have their classes fill up quickly.
In your junior and senior years you will find that many of your classes will only be offered at one time wih one professor. In this case, you can either take a different class, take it anyway or take it at a later semester.
Plan the schedule of classes out in advance
When the semester starts it would help to plan your schedule out as soon as you get the syllabus. By doing so you will be able to spot any potentially hectic weeks before they come, avoid missing out on assignment and exam due dates and know what is coming up in the class.
Make sure to always do well on the assignments
You will often find that the assignments and homework will have high weightings in computer science classes. This means that it is important to make sure that you do well on them. By doing so you will be able to make up for any bad exam results and to get a higher grade in the class. Often, you will find that students do not take the assignments as seriously as they should.
Read the chapter before getting started on the problems
Often, students will skip straight to the homework assignments before reading the relevant chapter from the textbook. While it is not recommended, In some classes, you can get away with doing so if the textbook is supplementary to the class.
However, usually the assignments will be based on what is in the textbook and there will likely be parts of the textbook that the professor skipped over in class that could help with the homework. You will likely find that it will be much easier to do and to understand the assignments if you read the relevant chapter before trying them.
Get help when you need it
It is important to get help when you really get stuck. By doing so you’ll be able to show the professor that you are putting an effort into the class, avoid having gaps in your knowledge before the exam and you will be able to have a higher homework grade.
Despite that, while it is important to get help when you get stuck it is also important to try to figure out the solution yourself beforehand. This means that you should read the relevant chapter, look at tutorials on Youtube and look at any lecture notes that you might have first.
Prepare for a class before taking it
If you think that a class will be difficult then one option you have is to study the class before you actually take it. By doing so you will find that it will be much easier to understand what the professor is teaching and it will be easier for you to understand why they are teaching it.
You can do this by looking for courses on Youtube, Coursera or Edx. Alternatively, you can look for highly-rated books on Amazon or Ebay to work through as well.