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You Want to be a Computer Scientist, Now What? by Jennifer Greenberg

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Are you looking to become a Computer Scientist? Jennifer Greenberg talks about how you can learn and the different concepts. Happy learning! 


system.out.println("Become a Computer Scientist");

When we were all born, none of us knew how to speak. Now we can sit and talk about our ideas without thinking about each word that we are saying and its definition. Speaking to us has become second nature.


Learning to Program

The process of learning to program is a familiar one. One day you learn how to create a variable, the next day you are learning about loops and how to make your program recursive.

You learn everything bit by bit — not all at once.

After you learn the different aspects of what to put into a program, and have written a couple dozen yourself, putting all of the pieces together will become second nature. For instance adding items to a list in Java looks like this:

List<String> myList = new LinkedList<String>();

I naturally put the “.” in between myList and add, but I often forget to think about what that “.” is doing. This is because adding to my lists has started to become second nature to me.

This is a reason why part of computer science is self teaching. Think about breathing. We just kind of do it. Okay, now thinking about trying to describe to someone how to breathe. It’s rather difficult to describe to someone how to do something that is second nature to you. Your teachers trying to describe concepts to you can feel like this. That’s why finding online resources and practice is key to learning how to program.


Concepts in Computer Science

Part of becoming a computer scientist is learning the different concepts within the field.

For instance, I currently do not think that in my post grad life I will be using artificial intelligence(AI). That said, I should still be able to discuss those topics. If I was working on a project with someone and they suggested we approach the problem using AI, I should be able to say why or why not I think it’s a good idea.

This concept is similar to being a baker. Say I am a professional baker, but I only ever want to bake brownies. Don’t you think it’s still important that I know how a cupcake is made, especially if I am going to consider myself a professional baker? Maybe I should even know how to make a basic cupcake.

This concept of being versed in multiple areas of the discipline is especially important when you’re dealing with a field like computer science. Computer science is not like engineering where you need to be licensed to practice. In computer science you can be completely self taught and still be successful in the field. Being well versed in your options is necessary when making important decisions that computer scientist have to make.'


This article was written by Jennifer Greenberg and originally posted on