About to Begin First Semester Majoring in Computer Science, Advice?

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19 Replies - 2687 Views - Last Post: 18 December 2013 - 08:08 AM

#16 Tiger Stripes  Icon User is offline

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Re: About to Begin First Semester Majoring in Computer Science, Advice?

Posted 11 December 2013 - 10:54 PM

Look, the whole competition thing came from a speech that a past professor told me, and it inspired me. Competition is not even my main focus here, all it does is motivates me to be the best that I can be. If anyone honestly thinks that competition motivating me to be the best I can be is going to hinder me, then so be it. There is absolutely no reason to be negative and to criticize something that motivates me.

I wish I could just edit and delete the whole competition thing out of my original post. Because all I really want to do is prepare myself for my first semester.
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#17 Tiger Stripes  Icon User is offline

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Re: About to Begin First Semester Majoring in Computer Science, Advice?

Posted 11 December 2013 - 11:03 PM

View Postjon.kiparsky, on 11 December 2013 - 10:49 PM, said:

It's possible I've got more experience in the real world than your professors - I'm pretty sure I've got more experience than you do, in any case, and my experience tells me that your idea of what life is like is a fantasy.


My goodness, your arrogance is making my stomach hurt. How exactly is my idea of life a fantasy? You don't even know my idea of life!

So wise one, do explain how competition is not an integral part of society. Enlighten me.

This is so sad, I was very excited to see a forum dedicated to something I love. Instead, I get off topic arguments, arrogance, and negativity.

Thanks, but no thanks.
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#18 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is offline

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Re: About to Begin First Semester Majoring in Computer Science, Advice?

Posted 11 December 2013 - 11:03 PM

Fine, we'll let it go.

Quote

Because all I really want to do is prepare myself for my first semester.

Study C++ syntax, write lots of small programs in C++ that exercise that syntax (that is, don't worry about writing useful programs, write programs that explore the language), and learn to use git.

For bonus points, if you're not working in a posix-compliant OS today, install linux on a partition or on a spare laptop and start getting familiar with it. It's the native OS for the programmer. Learn one or both of emacs and vim well enough to know if you find them comfortable. Learn to compile from the command line - you might end up using an IDE, but don't assume that's the only way or the best way to learn to work with C++.

Get a notebook, and clearly label it "Ignorance". When you come across a concept that you don't grok, write it down in that notebook. Periodically, when you have some spare time, pull a concept from the book and do some study. When you feel you have the hang of it, cross it out. As you do this, you will find that you're adding more to this book than you're crossing out. This is a good thing: it means your horizons are expanding.

Be aware that CS is a mathematical art. Be ready to add a lot of math to your tool kit.
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#19 Tiger Stripes  Icon User is offline

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Re: About to Begin First Semester Majoring in Computer Science, Advice?

Posted 11 December 2013 - 11:13 PM

View Postjon.kiparsky, on 11 December 2013 - 11:03 PM, said:

Fine, we'll let it go.

Quote

Because all I really want to do is prepare myself for my first semester.

Study C++ syntax, write lots of small programs in C++ that exercise that syntax (that is, don't worry about writing useful programs, write programs that explore the language), and learn to use git.

For bonus points, if you're not working in a posix-compliant OS today, install linux on a partition or on a spare laptop and start getting familiar with it. It's the native OS for the programmer. Learn one or both of emacs and vim well enough to know if you find them comfortable. Learn to compile from the command line - you might end up using an IDE, but don't assume that's the only way or the best way to learn to work with C++.

Get a notebook, and clearly label it "Ignorance". When you come across a concept that you don't grok, write it down in that notebook. Periodically, when you have some spare time, pull a concept from the book and do some study. When you feel you have the hang of it, cross it out. As you do this, you will find that you're adding more to this book than you're crossing out. This is a good thing: it means your horizons are expanding.

Be aware that CS is a mathematical art. Be ready to add a lot of math to your tool kit.


Thank you. That is exactly what I came here looking for.
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#20 stuie382  Icon User is offline

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Re: About to Begin First Semester Majoring in Computer Science, Advice?

Posted 18 December 2013 - 08:08 AM

Having completed my CS degree recently, I would say not to worry too much about the programming side of it. As long as you do the homework and assignments, including the optional ones, you will be fine. Computer Science is more than just programming. There is a wealth of abstract concepts, deep thinking, and deeper maths you will need to understand. The programming language is just the tool you will need to learn, interpret, and understand the concepts you are being taught.

That said, while you have the time and are playing and learning C++, have a read about design patterns, database theory (and SQL), basically any decent book you can get your hands on. You appear to have a good attitude toward wanting to learn, back that up with a solid work ethic and you will do fine on your degree.

Cheers,
S
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