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  • Anesha Santhanam

How to Get Started in Computer Science

Getting started in computer science may seem daunting due to the misconceptions centered around the subject. Computer science, especially for girls, seems intimidating for a plethora of reasons. But like all myths, these fallacies can be decoded. Let’s look at some of the myths surrounding getting into computer science.

Myth #1: Only select individuals are good at computer science, and if you don’t start early, it will be too late to learn computer technology.

#Decoded: You’re probably intimidated by computer science when you hear your friends or other coders use jargon like “Java, C++, Raspberry Pi, Arduino, Blender,” and much more. These words sound so complex that you’re probably thinking to yourself, “how could any regular person like me get into this?” You may believe that there’s so much to learn that if you don’t get started from a young age, you’ll be outdated when trying to learn computer technology. However, it’s never too late to start learning computer science. The fact that there are so many courses online and answers available at your fingertips means that you can start learning anytime you want to!

Myth #2: All computer scientists do is sit and code. If I were to get a career in computer science, I would be BORED to death!

#Decoded: Computer science is not just coding. It’s about using software to solve a problem or create a solution. Computer science is also one of the most diverse fields out there. Computer knowledge can be applied to anything and everything, be it marketing, advertising, movies, and even sports! In fact, your favorite social media apps, like Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter were all made and are maintained by computer scientists. Who do you think designs the layouts of websites or the sequences of special effects in the movies? You guessed it—computer scientists! And computer science is FAR from boring. If you apply your knowledge of computers to your passion, you can make a career for yourself. Remember that hit song you were listening to on the radio? Totally awesome, right? Well, did you know that a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) was used to create the background music and overlay the vocals? These are just some examples of how computer science is used in phenomenal ways. So if you’re interested, don’t be fearful of boredom! Computer knowledge can be applied literally everywhere, and THAT is truly exciting.

Myth #3: You have to be a math genius or a nerd to be successful at coding.

#Decoded: Even though you need to know a little bit of math for computer science, you don’t need to know a superfluity of calculus formulas or algebraic expressions to be good at coding. In fact, you need more reasoning and problem solving for learning computer science. Instead of thinking, “How can I write code to factor the formula for velocity,” you’ll be thinking: “How can I write code to make option C happen when the player chooses choice A, or if the player chooses choice B, how do I make option D happen?” Coding deals with more logic than math. In fact, if you’re getting started in coding, you basically only need to know simple math operations like addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and remainders. Moreover, you don’t need to be a nerd to be successful at computer science. If you want to learn computers but you imagine yourself sitting with frazzled hair in an old sweatshirt chugging coffee and trying to code for hours, you’re definitely wrong! I’m a computer scientist, and I’m clearly not a nerd. I go to parties, I’m super outgoing, and I love to socialize. Anyone can be a computer scientist—don’t pay attention to the stereotypes!

So now that you've officially decoded all of the myths encompassing computer science, how do you get started?

To dive into computer science, start with the basics. Recognize computer technology all around you, like in your cell phones, when you search something up, and in your social media. Then, start learning basic applications, like Google Docs, Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Prezi, etc. You might already know how to use some of these already! When you’re ready to grasp even more knowledge, start learning basic programming languages. If you like visuals, try drag and drop features. If you want to learn hard-core programming, try typing up code!

So now you want to learn about computer science, but you don’t know where you can learn from. Don’t panic, because you’re not alone! Likeable STEM is here to teach you everything you need to know! Our YouTube channel, Likeable Computing, posts videos about what computer science is, the history of computer science, and educational videos teaching programming languages, applications, and softwares. So go subscribe to Likeable Computing to start learning today. Your newfound knowledge will open the doors to being comfortable with computer science, and then you can slowly move on to other courses that satisfy your interests. 😊

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