Vlog: What to expect in a Computer Science course

Occasionally I will hear of some fears and
worries of computer science courses, and that is quite understandable because a lot of people
going into computer science are quite fresh to the concept so naturally doing a degree
in that particular area would be quite a daunting idea. Well, I happen to be a computer science student
– In fact, I’m nearly done with getting my degree. I have done three and a half years of work
and I’m going towards my final semester. So I thought I’d talk a little bit about the
experience as a computer science student. I’ll try to answer some common questions FAQ
style – Hopefully this would be a good chance for me to reflect on my own experiences and
if it helps you, then all the better. You’re watching another random Wednesday episode
on 0612TV. Hello and welcome back to another random Wednesday
episode. Let’s set the scene – As mentioned earlier,
I am a fourth year computer science student and about to graduate. I study in the National University of Singapore
and I’m working towards getting a Bachelor’s with Honours in Computer Science. My focus areas are Visual Computing and Interactive
Media. So what this means is I spend a lot of my
time in graphics and media related areas but as a computer science student. So what that means – We’ll get into that later. Now I think I should preface this with a note
that I didn’t actually take on a lot of the opportunities provided by the school – That
is, I didn’t actually go for any exchange programs, I didn’t do an internship, I didn’t
even join any events or any clubs. I have performed some teaching duties as a
student TA before, but that’s about it – That’s about all the extra stuff I’ve done. While I’d like to say that the reason for
doing this is because I want to focus entirely on my studies, you know, all that theoretical
stuff is what I do best, really the truth is just I’m kinda the awkward nerd type so
I don’t really hang around with people a lot. I prefer to stick around with my devices,
and really, I think that’s okay. At any rate, the point is, it is important
to note that I am really talking mostly in the context of the lessons. Anyway with that said, let us begin – Let
us tackle this in a question and answer style. First – What do you do? Good question – What do I do as a computer
science student? In our university, we are allowed to pick
whatever modules we liked, of course with certain restrictions, but the point being
that the order in which things happen is not very well defined. They depend on how you decide to schedule
your timetable. But there is still a general order there,
which of course makes sense. We start by learning how to write code, and
that is of course a crash course in both coding skills as well as the concept of algorithms,
so that serves as the very fundamental of our course. After that we begin to branch out – We begin
to look at individual areas of computer science like security, like networking, operating
systems, algorithms, hardware, that kind of stuff. At the same time, we also have focus on software
engineering, that is of course giving us exposure to working on projects in the real world. The emphasis there is actually in good coding
practices. So that eclipses the basic “learning how to
code” part of things very quickly. You’ll find that the emphasis shifts very
quickly away from writing a program that works towards writing a program that is readable,
writing a program that is maintainable. These are the things you’ll have to do as
a computer scientist in the future. Past this stage, we go ahead and specialize
in a particular area. As mentioned, my specialization would be towards
graphics and media, so yeah, I did a lot of that in the later years. Question two – Is there a lot of math in computer
science? This was actually one of my burning questions
as well, right before I actually entered Computer Science, and the reason is of course that
I’m terrible at math. You should see my math grades – They are easily
the worst looking grades that I’ve gotten in my entire uni life. Anyway that’s not the point – I know a lot
of people are concerned about this probably for a similar reason. And the answer to this question is – it depends. If this question was “Is there math in computer
science”, then the answer is a resounding yes. You cannot escape from basic math in general
computer science, but the good news is, most of it isn’t difficult. For example, to be able to properly analyze
how long an algorithm runs, you will need some math knowledge to do so. Luckily, this is generally very simple math. At the end of the day, you are a computer
science student, not a math student, so basically the math stuff isn’t there to kill you. The math is just a tool in doing computer
science. Of course, the answer to the question is “it
depends”, and the reason for that is, depending on what you specialize in, you may actually
set yourself up for a lot of complex math. For example, I know people who are doing artificial
intelligence – All that machine learning stuff is all math. In fact, a lot of it advanced statistics. That is the reason why I didn’t pick that
area of specialization – it’s just over my head. Graphics has its fair share of math as well
but I don’t think it’s complex, in the sense that a lot of it is just matrix manipulations,
so I’m still not in a very bad place. It’s a different story when I did computer
vision – There was a lot of math and very little intuition so I did struggle and I did
end up with not a very good grade. So yeah, the bottom line is, it depends. If you want to get into a particular specialization,
ask around and make sure you know what you’re signing up for. Question 3 – Do I need to have a good programming
background? of course this is a concern for a lot of people who are going fresh into computer
science. If your university is anything like mine,
you don’t have anything to worry about because that is what they’re prepared for. For many people, this is their first exposure
to computer science, so the university knows to start from scratch and build up from there. Of course having said that, having a background
is great. If you haven’t started your degree just yet
and you want to be well prepared for it, then start learning about some basic concepts. I’m not saying you need to know how to program
but what is most important in computer science is to get your mindset correct. I guess to understand how computers and algorithms
work, you have to think in a particular way so once you grab on to that intuition, you
have something to move on with. of course, having said that, I must mention
the other side of the story as well. Having some background might be detrimental. I’ve been programming for many years before
I started doing any formal education in computer science and what I find is that I’ve built
up a lot of bad practices that I then I had to learn to break. But yeah it’s a double edged sword. You might find yourself having to unlearn
some things. of course then again in computer science there
is a lot of unlearning involved, so be prepared for that as well. Questions 4 naturally follows from question
3, and that is if I don’t have a background, how can I cope? I think I should preface this by giving you
a bit of mental preparation for what’s to come – Chances are your first semester will
be quite intense. After all, you do have a limited time to learn
the ropes in the sense that not only do you have to learn to program, you also have to
learn to think in the correct way and at the same time you’re also bombarded by the other
modules you are taking. of course, don’t let that discourage you,
like I said you are in the same boat with a lot of other people and resources are always
available when you need them. Go to your professors, go to your tutors – Don’t
be afraid to ask for help. As a tutor myself I’ve told them that I’m
paid to do this, so ask for help, don’t suffer in silence. What we have in our school are also student
unions and clubs that actually organize more events to help you. So if you’re in need of help, sign up for
these events. Basically just get as much help as you can
from the people around you. of course another thing you could do is what
I mentioned just now for the previous question. if you haven’t started on your degree just
yet and you’d like to get a headstart, now’s the time to start picking up things – Start
picking up concepts, maybe start doing a simple programming language. Question 5 – I’m not good at programming or
I dislike programming – Would this be a problem? Once again the answer to this is “it depends”. Programming is a huge part of a computer science
degree so it’s not going to be something you can avoid. if you really dislike it or if you have huge
problems wrapping your head around it, then unfortunately maybe a computer science degree
is not for you. if you’re still interested in computing in
general, then consider other courses. Consider looking at courses that are computing
related but perhaps they put a business spin on it, so that would basically reduce the
amount of programming you have to do. Once again you can’t avoid it entirely but
if you take a course like that, chances are the emphasis is elsewhere, so you’ll have
a better time. Of course, don’t judge too early. Chances are, over time, you’ll get better. Sometimes, it’s not that something is hard,
it’s just you need more time to get used to it. So it’ll probably be a good idea to hang around
for a while and if you decide to go elsewhere, make sure that it is a justified decision. Oh and don’t be discouraged if self study
doesn’t quite work out for you – Computer science is a very huge field. It’s not easy to self learn things and do
it very well. School’s much better for this because after
all you are surrounded by experts, and they would try to present things in a way that
is easier to understand. Question 6 – Why are topics like graphics
and media part of a computer science course? Surely they would be more appropriate under,
say arts? This is a common misconception that comes
up from time to time. What we’re doing is not using graphics software,
instead we’re learning the algorithms that drive them. I did do a filmmaking course that was probably
the least computer sciency of computer science courses I’ve taken, but even that actually
went into some technical subjects – Things like compression, things like color spaces. So yeah, basically if you take a course under
the computer science faculty, chances are you will be doing some amount of computer
science in there. Question 7 – Why am I made to do X thing when
it has already been implemented by other people? This comes up a lot especially when we’re
doing basic data structures and algorithms – Why do we need to implement say, a stack,
when Java already has a stack data structure? The reason for this is to exercise your understanding
of a subject. Chances are many of the things you’ve learnt
are already available, so if all you need to do is to use what is already available,
you don’t learn very much so that’s the reason why. In fact I understand sometimes it gets really
daunting because you’re trying to implement this thing that makes no sense, but the good
thing about this is that if it is a known data structure, then chances are you can find
more help online. of course, I’m not asking you to copy code
you find online. Even though you can find code online and you
can copy it if you really want to, but don’t, because it defeats the purpose of the exercise. Question 8 – How do I do well in computer
science? That is not an easy question to answer, but
at the same time, it’s not impossible, so I’ll try and do what I can. First of all I think what makes things the
most easy to understand is the fact that I can get an intuitive understand of things. The unfortunate truth is that a professor
isn’t always going to present the most intuitive thing to you first. This depends entirely on their teaching style,
but I think knowing what to focus on, at least at the beginning, is helpful. For example, some things may be presented
to you as both a concept as well as supporting code at the same time. The best thing to do would be to focus on
the concept first. What I like to do is to be able to paint a
picture first. In fact, try this acid test – Basically pick
an algorithm or pick a concept, and explain it in plain English. Do not make reference to the code, in fact,
try to shy away from implementation-specific details. Just talk about things at a high level. Describe what happens. If you are able to do that, then you have
a good understanding of the concept at hand. You’ll be surprised how hard that can be. Sometimes you are just so used to thinking
about things in terms of the code that you don’t actually really know what the algorithm
is doing. If you put too much emphasis on the code,
you run the risk of just memorizing the code. The emphasis is on painting a picture. You have to understand a concept as a concept,
not as code. When it comes to programming, how do you do
well in programming? Well I think what a lot of people are grappling
with is the concept that failure is okay. Of course we hate it when the compiler gives
us some error and refuses to run our code, but that is not a failure – That is a learning
experience. I know it sounds corny but it’s true, because
a lot of the time, the compiler is telling you something meaningful. While it might be frustrating at first, I
think it is very important to learn how to listen to your compiler and learn from the
error it’s giving you. After all, at the end of the day, what you’re
taking away from writing code is how you adapt your thinking to match that of a computer’s,
and that is naturally a slow process, but the more code you write, the better you’ll
get at it. in fact what I do is I do a lot of coding
for fun on the side. The best thing that can happen is that you’re
passionate about computers. you want to actually write code just to see
how things work or to solve particular problems and in doing that, you actually give yourself
an opportunity to code more. The more you code, the more you are exposed
to interactions with a computer and interactions with a compiler, and that of course is more
opportunities to learn. Don’t be afraid to do some programming on
the side for fun. While I found that assignments issued by the
school are generally useful and enough most of the time, that might not be the case for
you. If you find that that isn’t enough and you
want to be able to do more, then seek out your own opportunities for practice. What you’ll find is that over time, you’ll
be able to get more used to it. You’ll be able to write things that work correctly
on the first time, so that’s where you learn. And that, ladies and gentlemen, are eight
questions I hear asked very often, now answered. At least, those were my perspectives on them. If you talked to someone else, you may get
somewhat different answers. however, based on my observations, what I’ve
discussed here works generally well for a lot of people, so don’t be afraid to try that. if you’re a new computer science student,
or prospective computer science student and I haven’t addressed your query today, please
leave a comment below and I’ll do my best to help you. That’s all there is for this episode, thank
you very much for watching, and until next time, you’re watching 0612 TV!

100 thoughts on “Vlog: What to expect in a Computer Science course

  1. Im in my year 9 now, and I'm deciding which stream to choose for me to continue for my year 10. Can I know the specific subjects that I need to focus on? Chemistry? Physics? Maths? Add maths? Those subjects that I need to focus if I want to study CS or software engineering. And also what's the difference between them? Pls let me know as soon as possible thx:)

  2. If i dont take any of the sciences in school, can i still be accepted to a computer science college??? the reason i want to do CS is cuz i acctually want to be a game designer, but if i dont find a job in game design i want to have a plan B

  3. Hello great vid and I have a question that is really bugging me so I want to become a software engineer and I think I need a cs degree I just wanted to ask that I'm 17 and I don't have any experience with any with any kind of computer stuff like coding and stuff like I'm fresh out of high school with no knowledge idk if I will like cs or know anything I'm in Canada here and I have to pick my program know and I'm just so confused sorry if this was confusing I just don't know how to explain lol

  4. Hello I was wondering what area of specialization is software engineering, Networking, Security, coding, Algorithms and data structures under?

  5. I'm really worried I really enjoy technology, however I have never ever done computing. My college doesn't offer a computing course but only ICT, I'm worried that there will be complicated maths, my maths isn't good but not too bad. Can you please give your experience about this. Thanks

  6. Thanks, it helped a lot. 😍 Im planning to take up Computer Science but since I don't have any idea about programming, I feel scared and I think I would be having a hard time to cope it.

  7. I absolutely love computers and I am ok… Not great with math. I have no programming or coding background. I am also 31 and haven't been in school for a while. I am very strong with mental math. I am still contemplating doing CS. Please offer me some input on this.

  8. Thank you for information, I am very glad I hear some about Computer science but I am so curious because as a grade 12 student I am planning to take Computer science in college. In my case, In university we have, they offer BS Mathematics specialized in Computer Science, you''ve said earlier that there are "specialized", I eagerly want to know, what are the differences between BS Mathematics specialized in Computer Science and Computer Science?

    I fully expect your answer, it will help my questions. Thank you 🙂

  9. i would like to study artificial intelligence.  i have no computer background….how difficult is this study?  and do i have to study software Engineering at 1st or???is there such a course as a Bachelors in Artificial intelligence?

  10. Hello, I am currently 14 and have an interest in computer science. What do you think about the future of CS and what should you think I should do to prepare for it? Hopefully you could reply. Love your vids
    From Singapore

  11. Hi bro
    First of all, great video👍👍… Learnt alot from it.I wanted to ask u something.
    I have a huge interest in finance and business. Currently I'm in class 12 studying science, maths and CS(C++). I'm enjoying CS but I hate science. I want to become a IT business analyst in the future. I'm about to apply to a large number of universities in UK, Australia and Canada. However I'm unsure what subject to take. Plz guide me sir…

  12. I’m kinda worried that as I did gcse computer science but didn’t get to do it for Alevels so when I apply for it at university It will be a huge jump

  13. Should I choose computing science or computing studies to learn. As far as I know, computing studies will be more practical than the rest. right? Thanks for your help!

  14. your video shows the best explanation by far but i am afraid of studying cs because many people are saying coding will all be done by artificial intelligence. what's your point of view

  15. I disagreed with you on how you approach the questions. The area that I encourage you to think and respond is about character, self esteem and job satisfaction, i.e. EQ. Computer industry requires people who keep leaning, as well has creative in solving problem. People who are lazy to learn new skill are doom to fail. There are even IT workers who get into depression due to poor EQ. I agreed that they can find a job easy initially, but within 10 yr, you can see whether they ended up in depression.

    For anyone who is going to take Computer Science, you must try out computer programming before you enrol. After you learned the basic of the language, then pick a problem to solve, such as sorting. Try at least 3 different way to write the program, i.e. algorithm. In this journey, asks yourself whether you like solving it, as well as algorithm. If you dislike learning programming/algorithm, or not able to solve it after a month, then most likely Computer Science is not for you. You can try to solve a couple more problems as well as learn a few algorithm to proof yourself.

    My theory is that everyone has their role in the society. Some people identified it in advance, and enjoy their job and life. Those who don't will struggle a bit (or a lot), some will find it in their life. Some reluctant to accept it, especially their salary is way above average after worked for 10 yr in IT. Give it a taste to see whether it fits your character, skill, EQ, living style. If you understand yourself, then you will know the answer.

    The advance studies of computer imaging, AI, quantum computers are for 5% (or less) of the CS graduate. So it relies on strong algorithm and problem solving skill. You don't need to think about that when you not even start the course. Most of the time, you will consider whether the prof is able to teach the course rather than you want to learn it.

  16. Hey, great video.
    I'm doing my class 12 in India and I'm a Singapore citizen. How much percentage will I need to get into NUS computer science course? Is having extremely good marks in just computer science and maths in 12th enough?

  17. Hello i am an undergrad student will it be wise to study computer science in Malaysia? Or where else it would be better in Asia? I currently live in Bangladesh

  18. Hey! i would like to ask how the school works. If i pick computer science can i later on switch to other departments like buisness analytics or information security?

  19. Thank you very much for sharing this video. All my questions and fears were answered about majoring in computer science. I feel more confident and I’m pretty sure I want to major in computer science. Thanks!

  20. So I want to be a mobile app developer, do I have to do alot of math? Also should I major in computer science?

  21. 0612 – I haven't studied in many years , dropped out in the very early stages of a Programming & Web Design Degree when I was younger. A lot of the Question i had you answered in VID.

    My question – how do I prepare for a Computer Science course as if I know nothing prior to entering the course.

  22. I am right now going to a programming school(14-19Years) with a higher school certificate/A levels. Should I do a CS degree afterwards?

  23. i have a question is it possible to get a masters in software engineer after a degree in computer science.?

  24. I know nothing and have NO experience of coding and programming but I want to learn Computer science. So what Should I do? Should I graduate in CS? Please help

  25. I do suck at math and I dont even know what coding is. Will it affect my course?
    Incoming freshmen CS btw

  26. Hello there.I never studied computer in my school & high school.But I want to study IT in my bachelors.Will I be able to study it properly or not? please respond to it.

  27. This is the best and the most to the point video. 89k views but only 1.8k likes. This guy deserves more likes guys

  28. Hello Bhaiya, I am an Indian and I have recently completed my 12 standard and I am planning to go to canada for b.tech computer science. I want to ask that do Canadian universities have b.tech computer science or they offer only bsc computer science

  29. i am looking to major in CS and you're very encouraging and making me less stressed and more optimistic thanks!!

  30. Do you think it's a good idea for me to go into comp sci if I'm planning to do arts stuff on the side? I just want my major to be something stable, but I'm scared I won't have enough time or energy to do other unrelated stuff.

  31. I am thinking about attaining a second bachelors degree in cs, but again I’ve heard of the large attrition rate in the cs major, especially in the first year of the major. I have a degree in general biology and I’ve completed intro calculus classes and intro physics, but I know math will still be a problem for me in cs. For example, I took math 10a 10 b and 10 c instead of the math 20 series for engineers and cs majors, and same with physics. My question is do I have the background to succeed in cs even tho I have no programming experience and a weak mathematical background? Thanks

  32. May I ask how much is your grade average in math please? Did you fail to get the passing average? If so, what did the proffesor do? Please reply ASAP

  33. It really does matter what concentration you are in the Computer Science major when it comes to math.

    I am a Computer Science major with a concentration in Computer Science.
    The difference between someone concentrating in CS versus someone concentrating in Information Systems is that:

    Information Systems usually is:
    – Required math: Stats or Calc 1

    Computer Science concentration:
    – required math: Calc 1, Calc 2, Numerical Analysis, Discete Math, Linear Algebra

  34. Can someone please tell me if this “career” is very helpful for me

    I’m very good at editing, use of technology, programming, so I’m just a freshman, and I’m not decided, if this career very beneficial for me since I only work with computers?

  35. Im a senior in highschool but i have no experience in coding whatsoever but i love computers. I work hard in school and get good grades (mostly A's and some B's). If i work hard, pay attention and ask questions, do yo think i can make it through?

  36. I'm currently in university and finding my degree quite difficult (getting mid to high passes and a few fails). Will marks be an issue when getting a full time job? I've also heard it's better to do coding competitions and internships, both of which I haven't done. But in my spare time I create video games using the unity game engine with the main aim to keep doing programming and have a portfolio. Is this a good way to show programming skills when getting a software developer job or is it an issue as its programming video games? Also, what is the best way to showcase a portfolio (is a blog page a good idea)?

  37. If you study computer science in the US or Asia then you don't have to work hard in uni, especially in Asia where they hand out degrees like candy. But in Scandinavia and Germany standards are much higher and the drop out rate is 70-80% first year, despite only accepting hard working high school students with good grades………it's crazy and sometimes I envy people born in Asia because they don't have to study in uni, meanwhile us people in Sweden need to study 10-12 hours/day in computer science programs just to pass the classes……….

  38. Thanks for your video. My CS course starts next week at Murdoch Uni in Australia. After watching your video, I am a bit nervous but also excited meantime! Fingers crossed!! Thanks, mate, again! p.s.Subscribed!

  39. I've been admitted into every school I applied to for computer science and I'm very excited. I'm already doing AP CS in high school and I like it a lot… But I'm in a pickle cuz one of these colleges (the one I really want to go to) told me that I am going to use math and work with other engineers like aerospace and electrical engineers since their CS is in the engineering college. That sounds overwhelming. Should I try it out and see if I like it or should I just go to the other colleges where CS is it's own college and math won't be so heavy?

  40. It seems that you emphasized a lot about programming. But in my opinion, Computer Science is not about programming.

  41. I'm on my Grade 11 this year. I took up ICT class. Thanks for your vlog I lessen my frustration. Love from the Philippines!💜

  42. Nice video and that helped me lot. I was thinking of doing it not because I like it but because I find it has a lot of opportunities and it’s interesting. I was also scared about the maths issue because I always hated math since I was in high school.

  43. Thank you very much for great video! I was thinking about CS several days so I think I found answer here. I am going to apply for CS at the age of 36, how do you think? I want to get the second new bachelor. Thank you in advance!

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