My first computer science course was CSC212 –Principles of Programming with Professor Early. For me, as a beginner, I found that this course was reasonably demanding, but a fun challenge. The information about the most standard concepts (such as algorithms and data structures) were broken down and lucidly explained. Even as the concepts grew more intricate, the learning became systematic. When I was stuck in a rut or thought that trying to figure out computer programming was going to “shorten my life-span” (as my friend Trevor would say), I looked to my resources. For example, I took full advantage of the computer lab portion of the course. That is the time slot that is allocated to you for help and progress. Also, the Computer Science Association (CSA) offers weekly help sessions throughout the year. Their knowledgeable members helped me to find my way through assignments by asking appropriate questions and offering explanations that kept me focused and pointed in the right direction. At times they were more like a support system of friends who were there to meet me with enthusiasm and pull me out of any discouragement I may have been feeling. Since then I’ve learned about a certain outlook towards educating computer science to others which aims to make it less esoteric and stresses the importance of the KISS Principle. As Ted Nelson (pioneer of information technology) notably stated, “Any system which cannot be well taught to a laymen in ten minutes, by a tutor in the presence of a responding setup, is too complicated.” Keep it simple, stupid. Perhaps knowing this will help you breathe easier if ever you choose to join the major.
When did I fall in love with it you ask? Well...love is such a strong word. Haha, okay no really, I learned to love the rewards in the accomplishment of tedious, detail-oriented tasks and felt proud of the progress and strides I made, one step at a time. It feels good to break through, or crack the code, if you will.
My advice for computer science courses, as should go for any course, is to stay on top of the subject matter from day one, because everything builds and branches off from the basics. Oh, and it’s always a good idea to save your notes!