Are artificial intelligence, programming, and cloud solutions your thing? Then studying computer science is a hot tip for you. As a STEM subject and a course of study with a future, computer science is in high demand. But before you embark on a stellar career in the IT world, you’ll have to study computer science. And one thing is clear: the path to becoming a well-trained computer scientist is not an easy one. It’s not for nothing that the dropout rates in computer science are higher than in other courses of study. But that shouldn’t stop you from living your dream. We’ll help you get off to the perfect start in your computer science studies and give you important tips on how to get to your bachelor’s or master’s degree with fewer hurdles.
Even though studying computer science is considered demanding: With the right preparation and motivation, everything is possible. Take the following tips to heart and think about how you can implement them.
Most universities and universities of applied sciences offer computer science as a degree program. The admission requirements are quite different at universities. However, the structure and focus of each degree program can vary. Bachelor’s degree programs usually provide a broad basic knowledge. You can then specialize more in depth in a master’s program. The courses on offer range from the classic full-time study program with classroom attendance to distance learning with flexible scheduling. Depending on your lifestyle there are various options for studying computer science.
People with an IT education are in high demand on the job market: they are recruited in business networks and quickly find a job when they are looking for a new challenge. The good job opportunities are an incentive to go through with the difficult studies. However, the range of jobs in computer science is so wide that you should take a closer look. Are you aiming for a PhD and scientific career? Or do you want to work in business? You may already have answers to these questions, which could influence your choice of degree program.
In computer science, a general distinction is made between theoretical computer science and applied computer science. The latter is popular with students who value practical application. Some students decide on a specific direction of computer science already in the bachelor’s program. This includes, for example, business informatics, software engineering or bioinformatics. Since computer science is an in-demand, future-relevant field, you’ll have a wide selection of degree programs to choose from that is constantly expanding. Don’t compare solely the universities, but also the study programs in greater detail.
Are you interested in computer science, but you’re not familiar with the subject yet? No problem! You are at the beginning and will learn the most important topics during your studies anyway. But use the time before you start your studies and read up on the topics. There are countless tutorials and blogs on the Internet. This way you can acquire basic knowledge about programming terms and other theoretical basics of computer science for free. The background: Many people begin their computer science studies with solid prior knowledge – often because they deal with it in their free time or took computer science as a subject at school. By studying computer science, of course, you get the necessary expertise from the ground up. However, for many students without prior knowledge, it is difficult to keep up with the pace of learning at the university. Therefore, you’ll do yourself a big favor if you already know your way around a bit.
A basic understanding of mathematics is an absolute must for studying computer science. A lack of knowledge has led to many students dropping out in the first two semesters. Even if no one expects you to be a born math genius, you should have an interest in logical relationships. Another prerequisite for studying computer science: You must be willing to improve your math skills, even if the subject is a necessary evil for you. Do you still need to catch up? Then find out whether there is a preparatory course in mathematics at your university. This will make it easier for you to start studying. Another advantage is that you can meet other students and make friends. It is not uncommon for this to result in study groups for exam preparation. And the most important thing: Don’t get discouraged and don’t put off your math lectures unnecessarily! Once you have overcome this hurdle and passed the exams, it will get easier in the following semesters.
Do you know what is behind the terms API, overlay or TCP? What is normal for higher semesters can be confusing for first semester students. As in every special field, computer science has its own words that you will have to deal with confidently at some point. Unfortunately, the technical jargon doesn’t necessarily help to simplify things. But you can make it easier on yourself by familiarizing yourself with computer science lingo early on. If you follow our third tip in the list, this will happen automatically. If you still find it difficult to use foreign words, find a way to learn the terms little by little. Again, the Internet is a free resource.
In computer science many texts are written in English. So, take every opportunity to improve your language skills – whether it’s watching a movie in the evening or working through the bibliography for your studies. The sooner you start, the easier it will be for you to get started with your studies and the material in the lectures. With a little practice, you will find your way around the IT world in English. In addition, fluency in English is a prerequisite for a job in business.
Get a good laptop that meets your needs. This way you will be well equipped for seminars, group exercises and study meetings with other students. In addition, computers and laptops are your tools of the trade in computer science. Take the opportunity to familiarize yourself with the latest technology and suitable hardware. In this way, you will learn more about the subject and be able to have a say in it.
Do you know someone who has already graduated from a computer science program? Then take the chance, ask for a meeting and exchange ideas. Contacting students in higher semesters is also a great help at the beginning of your studies. This way, organizational questions about the start can be answered quickly and you can benefit from the honest experience of others. Learning material, old exams and insider tips will save you tedious experience. Your student council or student representative is also available to give you advice and support.
You should start making contacts during your studies. But the right network is not only essential for professional success. Choose students who are likeable and motivated. If you must work hard to make progress in your studies, a dynamic and interested environment is worth its weight in gold. Don’t be discouraged by others. Look for like-minded people who are ambitious and with whom you can work well. This is important in a challenging degree program like computer science.
No matter whether it’s computer science or any other degree program: Every start of studies is associated with challenges and new circumstances. Many students find a place to live, find their way around a new city and take care of everything on their own. Running your own household, remembering different deadlines and being responsible for your own finances is a big adjustment. It’s easy to overlook things in the process. We’ve prepared a checklist for the start of the semester where you can find out everything you need to know about housing, student financing and semester planning. But with all the requirements, one thing should not be neglected in the first semester: Enjoying student life to the fullest with its parties, events and offers for students. After all, life isn’t just about working and studying. Make sure you have a healthy balance during stressful periods.
Every beginning is hard. But don’t be discouraged by setbacks and failures. After all, that’s part of life and part of studying. But as you can see, with the right preparation, you can provide a tailwind. Our tried-and-tested tips for freshers will help you get off to an even easier start in the new phase of your life as a student: from looking for an apartment to preparing for exams, you’ll find out all kinds of interesting facts about student life.