Hi! I came across your blog when I was googling some things about programmers. I'm really interested in it and might be starting classes this fall, but it all seems really overwhelming! Is it okay if I ask how your education went and how your classes were? You can answer privately if you'd like. Thank you!
Beginning to program can be incredibly overwhelming, but that’s okay! It can seem like there is so much you don’t know and so much much you need to learn, but remember that everyone started where you are now. At first Bill Gates knew nothing about computers. Steve Wozniak didn’t always know how to program. Everyone starts from the same point.
Another thing to remember is that there is so many aspects to Computer Science and you - along with every other programmer - will never know them all. There is web development, software development, game design, mathematical computing, and so so much more. No one knows everything.
I’m not sure exactly what you’re curious abut so I’ll just tell you about my experience with learning to program so far. I started programming in high school, so I’ve been programming for about 7 years now. A lot of my friends started programming in university, some started programming in middle school, and i know people who started programming when they were 30 for jobs. There’s no right time to start.
Classes in high school and university are both geared towards people who have no programming experience. In university, I started with 4 years of programming experience and my best friend Daniel had never programmed before. It was easier for me, but he and the rest of the beginners got through just fine. I’m not sure if you’re taking classes is a university setting, but classes in high school are even more geared towards beginners and so are many classes outside of a strict year uni setting - like coding camps, community colleges, etc.
Programming is a very unique skill to learn - it teaches you to problem solve and think in a way you never have before. But, it’s like learning any other skill set, it just takes time and effort. One great thing I’ve found with computer science is that there is a plethora of online resources that can help you - much more than math or physics. There are hundreds of threads on online forums dedicated to one very specific problem. There are so many videos and articles and blogs where concepts are explained. There is example code everywhere.
Also, programmers are incredibly passionate. Ask for help and almost anyone will be willing to sit down with you an explain a concept or help you find a bug in your code. They can talk for hours about programming with out taking a breath. I love learning new CS concepts and I love helping other people learn new CS concepts. And i think this is the view most programmers have.
My classes so far have been amazing. Classes can vary widely from professor to professor, but I’ve been fortunate to have professors which i really connect with. Not every CS topic will necessarily be your cup of tea. I LOVED web development, but I HATED application security classes, so don’t let one class or one professor turn you away from the whole field.
1. Befriend your professors and TAs. More so than in other classes CS professors are very helpful to work with outside of class. Sometimes you really need someone to explain a topic again or to help you with code, and already knowing your professor will make everything easier and more enjoyable. Also, CS professors are awesome and have very cool experience and stories to share. You can learn so much from them outside of the classroom and they are great contacts to have for recommendations, future jobs, etc. My uni does a “take your prof to lunch week” to encourage students to better know their profs. I went to lunch with my first CS professor freshman year. It was awesome to get to know him and I felt much more comfortable asking for help and even in a class of 150 it felt like he knew me.
2. Make friends in your class. Sometimes I have bugs in my code that I still can’t find after 3 hours. My roommate will look at my code and will find it in 5 minutes. Another set of eyes or someone to bounce ideas off of is important.
3. Never be afraid to try knew things. I’ve taken a ton of CS classes I wasn’t sure if I would like and I’ve loved. I’ve also gone to a lot of CS club meetings or events even as a complete novice, and they have been amazing experiences.
I have absolutely no idea if that was helpful or at all what you were asking! I can tell you so much more about my academic experience, so ask away. I’m happy to help with anything i can! Good luck with classes!