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Entire Computer Science Degree

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Entire Computer Science Degree

I actually kind of suck at coding turning back the clock I didn’t start coding as a child I didn’t take coding classes in high school and I only considered majoring in CS in college.

I knew that video games were made with code and once I did finally write my first line of code at the age of 18 during my freshman year of college coding was never something that came easily to me the first coding class I ever took was an intro to python class during my fall semester my freshman year at New York University .

while python is basically English and English is my native language I was impressively bad at it I’ll never forget the first thing our professor told us during our first class write an algorithm for how you got to class like seriously he explained that algorithms are just a series of instructions .

so with pen and paper we all wrote down the steps that we took to get to class that day that was the first and last thing that we did on paper in that class and therefore it was the first and last thing that I fully understood throughout the rest of the semester.

I learned about procedural programming variables for Loops conditionals and how to use some weird drawing framework I remember there was a senior in our class and he sat next to me for an easy egg wait no he happened to sit next to me he was taking the class for an easy a sitting next to me definitely did not help in that department one of the first assignments .

we had to do was to use the drawing framework to create a flower and so naturally I spent the rest of the week bumbling through code to basically make the worst flower you’ve ever seen but my senior friend took 20 minutes before the class .

where the assignment was due and created not one flower but an entire bouquet of flowers oh yeah and then during that class my professor praised his project and ran the 45 magic lines of code that created the Masterpiece in front of everyone.

I don’t really know why that part was important but it kind of scarred me so I had to share my trauma this class taught me my first lesson in my computer science degree which is to just start looking back now me just starting the code no matter how bad I was at it has made all the difference today anyways eventually the intro class ended and it was time for me to take my next computer science class intro to object-oriented programming during my spring semester.

I was actually worried about this class because during it I’d be learning a new language Java and I feel like I hadn’t even fully understood python yet luckily for me we did approximately Zero review of all the underlying topics and jumped straight into the fundamentals of object oriented programming we learned about topics like objects methods inheritance encapsulation and polymorphism and while it took me a while to get up to speed .

I was slowly able to relearn all my first semester of coding and squeak by my insured object-oriented class with something around a b is a great tons of other students in the class could pick up things way faster than I could process them most of them already knew how to code and could therefore skip the python class.

that I was required to take the previous semester and from this class I learned my second lesson which was that I liked programming but I really wasn’t very good at it but if I wanted to be good at it I was gonna have to work hard and working hard is okay freshman year came to a close and I wrote exactly zero lines of code before my fall semester of my sophomore year just kidding I actually did not write a single line of code until my spring semester sophomore year .

the next class I had to take for my CS major was actually a data structures class and it was offered during the fall semester of my sophomore year but I didn’t take the course then for two reasons one that’s way too logical and two I’m an idiot instead I took a nice year-long break from programming and let all the information that I somewhat learned during my first year of college literally melt out of my brain .

this was my third lesson that I’ve learned about programming Concepts and topics build on one another so take your required classes as fast as possible and back to back brakes will break you and that’s exactly what data structures did to me armed with effectively zero Knowledge from the information that .

I should have retained from the previous year of coding I brave data structures once again I struggled during the class and could not for the life of me create a linked list stack queue tree or any other useful data structure while it had trouble the previous two classes data structures was an entirely different world I had never struggled this much in an academic pursuit in my entire life while I attended classes went to the lectures did all the homework went to office hours and did more outside of the class on my own .

I seriously struggled to grock any of the information I was supposed to learn and this led me to probably my lowest point during all of college I remember vividly for one of my data structures assignments .

I actually slept in the library two back-to-back days I know you’re thinking I probably started the assignment late but I actually didn’t I started every data structures assignment the day it was released my problem was that I just couldn’t write the code I’m not sure if you’ve ever had the pleasure of sleeping in the library to finish an assignment but man it fracking sucks .

when I studied in nyu’s library boast I always studied on the west side of the fifth floor or as we called it five West boats has this fun thing actually where at midnight if you’re still unlucky enough to be in the library a security guard comes and makes everyone move to lower levels one and two so you go underground .

when the sun is down and then you come back above ground when the Sun is up around 6 a.m and man oh man does that with you and if data structure doesn’t sound terrible enough on its own it was perfectly paired with discreet math .

which I was also taking that semester in discreet math I learned about combinatorics graph Theory induction permutations Chinese remainder theorem eulerian paths and more but by far the most important thing I learned during that class was how to set an alarm because even though the class was an 8 AM class my teacher swore that .

if you attended each and every lecture he would not fail you and therefore I dragged my zombie self to each and every lecture to give you just an example of how hard this class was our teacher actually praised us after our midterm saying that we all did really well the highest grade on that midterm was a 36. a 36 out of 100. I think I got a 24 if I remember correctly and I’m pretty sure I got about 15 points for just writing my name while this semester definitely sucked.

it really taught me a lot most notably two things first work smarter not harder just because I was sleeping in the library and putting in tons of hours that doesn’t mean I was working efficiently second master the basics most of the problems I ran into in discrete math and data structures were because I didn’t understand enough about lower level Concepts don’t move forward unless you understand something fully especially if you’re going to need that something to learn more things later which spoiler alert is basically always the case in math and computer science .

I was super worried about the grades I was going to receive that semester and I needed at least to see in data structures and discrete math for that credit to count towards my major now if I didn’t get at least to see in both those classes I would have to retake those classes unless I changed my major I remember right before finals that semester I was reconsidering my major entirely I vividly remember sitting outside one of the lecture halls in Crohn’s the mathematical Sciences building and literally going through every single major that NYU offered and after exhausting .

the entire list and only being interested in one topic computer science I decided I had no choice but to sort of just stick with it this pushed me extra hard to study and by the skin of my teeth literally I was able to get a c in both data structures and discrete math I weirdly look back at this time and wonder what would have happened .

if I did end up changing my major or if I didn’t get a final average of 73.12 in my data structures class that’s right I’m not being dramatic I really was that close to having to retake that class it’s crazy to think that seemingly small moments can totally change our trajectories of life and I remember at the end of that semester being one for me while it’s not a time I would gladly relive in my life it definitely taught me a really valuable lesson things worth having don’t come easily and this was definitely the case for me with computer science .,

But that’s okay and even though tons of my peers were having no trouble getting their CS degree comparing yourself to others isn’t very helpful everyone makes mistakes and learns at their own pace what’s important is that when you make mistakes you learn from them that’s exactly what I didn’t do.

when I decided to take another year-long break from coding classes and run away to London to study abroad I was now in my fall semester in my junior year all the way in London and while I technically took a class of linear algebra that did count as a computer science elective it did not help me at all with my coding abilities Looking Back Now and knowing that everything worked out I don’t regret going abroad but taking long gaps between coding classes specifically is definitely not ideal while abroad studying linear.

I learned about matrix multiplication reduced row Echelon form eigenvalues and vectors and most importantly that British people call math maths and that they refer to zero as not when I wasn’t in class I traveled to a ton of different places like Edinburgh Glasgow Copenhagen Venice Florence Rome Prague and Munich and more it was a great semester and I really appreciated that I was able to go live somewhere else in the world and learn about other cultures and ideas the lesson.

I learned here is to travel if you’re lucky enough to be able to the world is an incredible place and it’d be a shame to only see a sliver of it semester was over before I knew it and I headed back to the United States with my b-plus and linear algebra and my new vocabulary and I prepared to take my next two coding classes during my spring semester in my junior year CSO computer systems organization and basic algorithms .

these were two of the hardest classes for the computer science major at NYU people always said that CSO is the class where people would decide to continue with their degree or just bail out with a minor add basic algorithms a class where you solve strange riddles and mathematically prove their run times using widely researched techniques and a teacher who likes to assign his grad students homework to his undergrad students .

I was all but sure I was destined to fail but to my surprise I didn’t and even stranger I was actually really enjoying learning about lower level topics like bits pointers memory caching concurrent programming and More in CSO and solving weird puzzles and algorithms and while these classes were hard .

I was able to do them and I was shocked and this taught me maybe my most important lesson yet most of the things I found hard were because people or Society made me think I was supposed to people would tell me that computer science was hard and therefore I would think it was regardless if I actually felt about the specific material I was learning at the time don’t do this and instead come to your own conclusions if something is hard rise to the challenge and have confidence in yourself you can figure out almost any problem with enough time and effort the semester flew by and I received B’s in both my classes and I was that much closer to finishing my CS major all that was left was one core class operating systems and three computer science selectives.

that I was allowed to choose over my next and final year at NYU I took operating systems intro to machine learning applied internet technology and algorithmic problem solving I learned about so many different Topics in each of these classes like processes and threads perceptrons and boltzmann machines full stack web development and how to pass coding interviews respectively this was probably my favorite semester and it was crazy to think .

that college was coming to a close throughout the entire semester on top of my course load I could not stop thinking about finding a full-time job lots of people I knew actually had internships and computer science throughout their years of college and a lot of them had already decided to sign full-time offers from the companies they worked at prior to their senior year luckily for me algorithmic problem solving was a perfect class because .

It prepares you for the kinds of questions that are asked during coding interviews a class consisted of two components lectures is where we’d learn about algorithms and how to write code to apply them to real world problems and coding competitions for every Friday live we would compete against one another to solve a problem set of five coding questions our midterm and final were also live coding competitions .

if you didn’t think failing a test was stressful enough imagine being able to actually look at the leaderboard displayed at the front of the class where you can see everyone’s name and actually confirm that you are in fact in dead last the class is basically an intro to competitive programming class.

I really loved it the class taught me a ton and one of my most important lessons today doing especially when it comes to coding is the best way to learn this class made me realize that just how much I needed to sharpen my coding abilities this is exemplified by the fact that during lectures .

\I can understand and even conceptually propose solutions to problems but could not for the life of me code their Solutions and let’s face it the ability to translate thoughts into code is essential for any job related to programming I finished the semester with a couple bees in a c and I was officially a computer science major coincidentally I actually received my first full-time offer the night before I graduated the road to me getting a computer science degree was definitely long one but it was well worth it it’s amazing how something.

so simple like me led me down a four-year journey and has now launched me into an entire career of being a software engineer if you enjoyed this article and found it helpful drop a like subscribe to the channel for more and I’ll see you guys next time.

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