Before I studied Computer Science, I would have loved for someone to tell me all the tiny bits of information in relation to the course, so let me share a few tips that may help you:
1. Time management
From waking up, going to lectures, to keeping up with social life and not missing out on many career opportunities – university life can be hard for unprepared people. Many students, including me, have questioned themselves “where is the balance between work and social life”. Many still try to find it. Taking the time and trying to figure out what best works for you in terms of time management is a good way to start. It might be a “hit or miss” in the beginning but do not get discouraged. Set your goals upfront and try to stick to them as much as possible. Keeping a to-do list in a pocket-size notebook and keeping the progress throughout the day always keeps me accountable and makes me finish my work faster. This way, I can enjoy being part of the many societies that King’s has or enjoy a night out with friends at Guy’s Bar.
2. Practice daily and read books
As much as you would wonder what kind of a degree Computer Science is – practical or theoretical one, I would say it is the balance of the two. Because of that, it might be a good approach to read theoretical books to get used to the notation and documentation and also practice learned concepts via working on individual projects throughout the summer or academic year.
3. Being part of a team
One of the reasons why I love computer science so much is that it allows you to work both in individual and collaborative spaces. It gradually starts with individual projects to help you build the skillset and confidence of writing code and thinking abstractly. Then, you begin to participate in projects with other people, being part of teams of two, four, five, and nine. You will be challenged to work with other people from different backgrounds, with different expertise and knowledge to produce software that solves a daily problem. I find this opportunity really insightful and empowering as it teaches you many valuable skills but also prepares you to be a great team worker for your future job.
4. Facing uncertainty – be cool with it
Maybe one of the most valuable skills I believe studying computer science teaches you, is being patient in situations when you do not know the immediate solution to a problem. Sometimes I didn’t understand abstract concepts in a module. Luckily, I was able to meet with an academic during their office hours, and they helped to clarify theories and problems which I didn’t understand. Everyone may describe or envision a problem differently, but communicating the uncertainty with someone else – a professor, a classmate, or a friend of yours, is so helpful.
5. There is lots of maths
The fundamental mathematics that you will see throughout your course are the foundations of computing which include discrete mathematics. If you would like to make use of mathematical concepts more in Computer Science, then taking additional modules in this area might be a good thing to do.