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#1 3p1cd3m0n   User is offline

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How can one determine one's potential in computer science?

Posted 27 December 2014 - 02:43 PM

I'd like to know how much potential I have to be skilled in computer science before going to college for it. Can I estimate my potential by comparing what I've learned and accomplished so far with what's reasonable for someone with potential in CS to have accomplished? If so, I've been learning about computer science for roughly two years and have spent a considerable amount of my free time doing so. What would be a reasonable set of accomplishments for me by this time?

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#2 macosxnerd101   User is online

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Re: How can one determine one's potential in computer science?

Posted 27 December 2014 - 02:49 PM

Moved to Student Campus.

You're not even in college yet. A lot of whether or not you will succeed in a CS major depends on how much you enjoy it and how hard you work. Aptitude is only a part of the equation. When you get to college, take some CS classes, but branch out as well. There is no quantification for whether or not you will succeed. Though some good indicators are:
-How good you are in math
-Your ability to program (if you have attempted to learn)

I did a lot of college level CS material in high school, and I switched from CS to math when I got to college. It was one of the best decisions I made. You may find yourself in another related (or even unrelated) field when you hit college.
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#3 no2pencil   User is online

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Re: How can one determine one's potential in computer science?

Posted 27 December 2014 - 03:29 PM

It could be said that one can accomplish anything that they set out to do.

Somewhere along the way we crossed an ocean, created watches that keep accurate time, created engines, industries, science, medicine, went into space & then to the moon, & the list goes on. I'm sure if you really wanted to, you could go to a college & get good grades.
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#4 jon.kiparsky   User is offline

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Re: How can one determine one's potential in computer science?

Posted 27 December 2014 - 10:36 PM

The main thing is, can you find things you enjoy in computer science? If so, then you can probably find things you're good at in the field. If not, then you probably don't want to find things you're good at in the field.

If you enjoy writing code, that's a good thing. If you enjoy debugging code, that's also a good thing. If you like testing code, and writing up use cases, and thinking about how code ought to work before you start writing it - then you're really on to something. If writing really clean, solid code gives you a sort of warm fuzzy feeling, you're on the right track. How do you feel about math? If I tell you that there are exactly as many even positive integers as there are positive integers, does that pique your interest, or is it a sort of a "ho-hum" thing? How about this old one: there are three utilities, (gas, water, and electric) and three houses (Smith, Jones, and Fernandez). Your job is to hook up each house to each of the utilities - but none of the connections are allowed to cross each other. Can you do it? More important, does it seem like an interesting puzzle to try to solve? What if I tell you that on the island of knights and knaves, where knights always tell the truth and knaves always lie, I met two men, and one of them said to me "Both of us are knaves". What do you know about these two?

This might seem like a weird assortment of things, but that's sort of the point - there's a lot to like in CS, and there's a lot to like in programming, so if you can find that there's stuff that turns your crank there, then it's worth pursuing that - what the hell, see where it leads. Worst that happens, you end up doing something else and knowing a lot about programming as well, which can't hurt.
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#5 modi123_1   User is offline

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Re: How can one determine one's potential in computer science?

Posted 27 December 2014 - 10:57 PM

As they say - an empty glass is full of potential.

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#6 myexplodingcat   User is offline

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Re: How can one determine one's potential in computer science?

Posted 02 January 2015 - 05:59 PM

If you've been studying on your own for two years and have enjoyed it and haven't given up on it, a college degree would most likely be a safe investment. Even if you decide programming isn't what you want to do day in, day out, a degree in CS will be a bonus on your resume when you apply for other jobs. Everyone needs someone who knows what to do with a computer.

What have you done so far? Have you learned a programming language? More importantly, are you familiar with programming concepts such as looping or decision structures? Knowing those things will give you a leg up, but you'd learn quickly anyway. My college dedicated an entire mandatory course to them.

Intelligence is a good thing to have in this field, but it isn't as important as dedication and a good memory. But even if you don't have all of those traits, you can cultivate them if you're motivated to do so.

If you haven't learned a programming language, learn Python first. It's a high-level language that won't teach you bad habits, and you can start learning on codecademy.com or right here: http://learnpythonthehardway.org/book/ <<Don't be put off by the name, it isn't actually difficult.

Computers aren't a mystical thing. People think they are; they think programmers are wizards and working with computers is eldritch purple magic science that only the elite can learn. That's just not true. If you take the time to learn and haven't convinced yourself that you'll be unable to learn, you can learn.
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