Thinking about studying computer science? We spoke with Alex, a curriculum developer here at Codecademy, to find out more about the types of things you can do with a computer science degree.
“A computer science degree gives you a solid foundation in computational thinking that you can then take into any domain. You can apply it to web development, database engineering, artificial intelligence or machine learning, operating systems, and much more,” Alex tells us.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at how studying computer science helps you think like a programmer. And we’ll explore some of the paths you can take with a computer science degree. If you’re interested in learning more about computer science, our Computer Science Path is designed as a good entry point for someone interested in the field. It is great for CS majors as it covers many of the required courses found in a traditional CS degree. It also works well for anyone who wants to gain confidence for technical interviews and screenings.
What skills can you learn with a computer science degree?
A computer science degree gives you the foundational knowledge you need to work with computers, starting with a way of thinking.
“Computational thinking is about understanding how computers solve real-world problems. There are things we do every day that use computational thinking. If I’m meeting a friend at a restaurant, and I know where the restaurant is, I’ll naturally find the shortest or most efficient path there. Being able to recognize how we think computationally and translating that to programming is a big part of gaining that foundational computer science knowledge,” Alex says.
A computer science degree also exposes you to the fundamental building blocks of computing, from data structures and algorithms, to the math and hardware concepts that help you write efficient code.
Coding allows you to translate your computer science knowledge into instructions that a computer can carry out.
“You can teach computer science in any programming language, or you can teach it in multiple languages. At Codecademy, we teach our Computer Science Path mostly in Python. But the things you learn can be translated to any programming language. So if you need to learn Java, or you need to learn C++ for your job, it becomes really easy to make that switch,” Alex shares with us.
What can you do with a computer science degree?
There’s really no limit to what you can do with a computer science degree. Here are just a few of the routes you can go with:
- Get a job in tech: Many computer science graduates pursue a career in technology. Before landing an entry-level job, students typically complete an internship that allows them to gain practical experience and build upon the foundational knowledge they’ve learned in their classes. Tech professionals can focus on front-end engineering, back-end engineering, full-stack engineering, data science, and more.
- Continue in academia: Many computer science graduates continue in academia to pursue a master’s degree or PhD. This is a good option if you enjoy the theoretical side of computer science, or if you want to study a computer science subject in more detail, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, robotics, computational biology, human-computer interaction, and much more.
- Launch a startup: If you’re passionate about solving a specific problem, you can apply the computer science skills you’ve learned to tackle a problem at scale with a startup.
- Teach computer science: Share your knowledge by teaching at a school, bootcamp, or other educational setting. Many companies look for educators who can explain foundational computer science skills to folks.
- Pursue a side project: Many people find creative ways to apply their computer science knowledge to personal projects and interests, whether that’s creating technology-based artwork or building applications that automate routine everyday tasks.
Advice on studying computer science
Alex shares two approaches you can take when getting started in computer science:
“You can come into computer science to appreciate a new way of thinking, and to shape how you think about problems in the world. You’ll start to see how this way of thinking relates to things that you’re excited about, and things that you want to build.”
“Or you can come into computer science with something you’re really excited to build. And in the process of building that, you’ll learn all of these foundational skills.”
If you’re interested in learning more, our Computer Science Path takes you through the fundamentals of computer science, starting with an introduction to programming. You’ll also grow your mindset and learn to think like a programmer.
If you’re completely new to programming, the Code Foundations course introduces the basic principles of computer science, perfect for complementing your first CS course ever.