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Thread: Potential Computer Science Major?!

  1. #1 Potential Computer Science Major?! 
    New Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    I currently am a freshman at small, private, liberal arts school. I initially entered the college as a potential physics major and after taking my first computer science class on a whim, I really enjoy it. I am now considering double majoring in both computer science and physics.

    Being brand new to the computer science world, I honestly don't know where to start outside of class. A lot of the other freshman CS majors seem very in tune and up to date on everything relating to computer science while I'm learning everything as we go. I want the opportunity to both be accepted and taken seriously in this field and amongst my peers. As a blonde, college cheerleader, sorority girl, I'm not sure I am always taken seriously despite my dedication and desire to learn more about CS and physics.

    So I have basically have a few questions:
    How can get myself more informed on the rapidly changing CS world? Magazines? Websites? Networking? Job Opportunities?
    How can I boost my confidence in this often male dominated subject and be taken seriously as a potential CS major?

    Any feedback is great! I'm completely new to all of this and am very excited about the world of CS and physics.

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  3. #2  
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    I think it's excellent that you've joined our little world.

    First, there's a couple of things. Computer Science is the fundamentals and theoretical behind industry - not necessarily the implementation. Like, you'll very likely take a course on relational databases, but in "the real world" of private business, you'll need to know SQL server or Oracle. Having that class is very beneficial, but there's implementation details beyond what you will learn in class.

    Second, get used to writing code. Comp Sci using programming to implement each algorithm you come across.

    Another great thing - while industry is always changing with new software, new updates, etc the field of Comp Sci doesn't change as rapidly. The stuff you learn in there is the same stuff that people 15-20 years ago were learning.

    As for how to stay up to date with industry - a couple of things. First, as a student, join the ACM (Association of Computing Machinery). It's the largest organization for the computing sciences in the world. It's cheap for students - and you get access to a huge library of free books, dissertations, etc. You also get the latest news every couple of days delivered to your inbox.

    To get a feel for what is "big" in industry, go on the job boards and search for "Programmer" or "Developer" or "Software Engineer" or "Network Engineer" etc etc. Look at the names of the software mentioned in the requirements. Then go to the almighty google and start learning them. Take what you read to your professors and ask them about it.

    And come here and post about it - someone is sure to know the answer.

    I don't know about your experiences, but most guys I know think it's great when a woman enters the field and would do anything they could to help her out.

    Good luck!

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