Computer Science Degree Starter Pack
Despite mostly having posted about recipes, self-care and everything else as far from academics as possible up to now, I am (surprisingly) also a Computer Science student! This means, when I’m not out with friends, making ungodly amounts of food or rewatching Mean Girls for the 789 time, I enjoy writing short programs and projects – currently I’m developing(lol) an interest in Web Development and pursuing a couple of small projects related to this, this summer.
If you are a new student yet to begin their Computer Science degree here, you can be sure you will be in for a challenging but ultimately rewarding first year – regardless of your current knowledge of the subject! This means there is no need to worry about whether you ‘know enough’ or are ‘smart enough’ to begin the course; I can confirm your very first module (CS118) assumes you know absolutely 0 about programming and algorithms so allows you to build a solid foundation which latter modules start off from.
However, if you find yourself with some free time this Summer – and have consumed the entire Netflix catalogue – it can’t hurt to begin some general Computer Science preparation for September. But what to do?
Below, I have compiled a list of resources and tips to help you learn and brush up on some skills that should benefit you going into your first couple of modules as a first year (no need to thank me 😊).
- Text Editors
- A text editor is the program you use to write and edit your code in, they support multiple programming languages, so it makes sense use the same editor regardless of the language you are coding in.
- There are a large number of free text editors available for you to download and use – but their features can vary widely – which is why it is important to find a text editor suited to your needs (eg for me, I needed an editor which highlighted key words in different colours to make the code easier to read).
- Text editors I would recommend for beginners include Atom, Sublime Text (unlimited free trial version) and Visual Studio Code (more of a ‘glorified’ text editor in comparison to the others).
- Maths (we all knew this was coming up – so let’s get it over with)
- As you would have guessed from the Maths qualification prerequisite to taking this course – there is quite a bit of Maths in first year – so it can’t do any harm to brush up on some Maths skills.
- As I am a UK student – I can only speak in terms of A Level knowledge. Although the Maths is taught from first principles – it was assumed that concepts covered in A Level Maths were already familiar to students and so less time would be taken to explain these. Although not essential, A Level Further Maths content can also be useful (eg complex numbers, series and matrices).
- If you have a Further Maths Core Pure textbook or know someone who does, it may help keeping this handy during first year.
- Basic Programming Concepts
- If you want a small taster of what’s to come – and have never programmed before, it is a good idea to read through or take part in a small online programming course for beginners.
- Although (again) not essential, it can help you ease into the first couple of weeks at university a bit better as you will be able to recognise the content and feel more comfortable with using it.
- If you want to get started with the basics (eg conditionals, loops and variables – nothing too crazy) you can check out websites such as FreeCodeCamp, Codeacademy and Khan Academy which have multiple free courses you can start at any time.
Hopefully these tips prove to be useful for you – and if you’d like any others please don’t hesitate to ask me. But also, try not to feel overwhelmed by this post – I understand starting university is a big thing in itself and it’s also 100% valid to take this Summer off as a full break before starting university – these suggestions are only here if you feel like preparing, they are by no means compulsory. 😊
See you soon! xx