Why You Should Major in Computer Science

Having studied computer science at university and now working as a software developer, I wanted to write down my thoughts on studying computer science at university (or even just for self-learning).

Here are 8 reasons why you should major in computer science:

1. It changes the way you think

If you’re so over pure memorisation and learning content for the sake of an exam, computer science is your subject! It’s not about learning content, it’s teaching you how to solve problems in a logical way. You will leave uni with a skill rather than purely knowledge.

I definitely think that coding has impacted the way I see life more generally and the way I approach problems. There’s a great book called ‘Algorithms to Live By’ by Kyoko Tazawa which goes through a heap of algorithms and how they’re applicable to everyday life (bit of a tangent, but I’d highly recommend that book).

2. It’s great for lost souls

It’s so difficult to choose a career path when you’re fresh out of high school! You are so young and know nothing about how society works, how are you expected to make such a huge decision that will impact what your job will be in the future? It’s 1000x harder with pressure from parents, teachers and peers to choose the career they want for you (or you think they want for you).

Computer science is a great degree to do if you don’t know what you want to do. Learning to code basically opens you up to working in any industry. So to all the lost souls out there, this is the degree for you.

3. It’s applicable to all careers

Even if you end up working in a completely different field, these skills will come into use. Whether you can use your coding skills directly to help automate your everyday tasks or it’s just the logical way of problem solving that you can apply to any field, your computer science degree will help you, I’m sure of it!

4. It’s creative

If you love building and creating stuff, this is the course for you. While your friends might be cramming their endless law readings or memorising a whole textbook’s worth of content, you’ll be building games and writing code to solve interesting problems. Tell me that’s not enough to convince you.

5. It’s challenging

Now I’m not going to sugar coat it, computer science isn’t easy, but why go to uni to do something easy? It’s challenging in a way that isn’t boring. It’s not challenging because there’s just too much to read and memorise. It’s challenging because you really need to think. An assignment might be only worth 3% and 1000 lines of code, but it’s the thinking you’re tested on, not how many journal articles (which you haven’t even read properly) you can reference. It will challenge you in the most interesting way possible!

6. It’s harder to memory dump

By studying computer science, you’re learning a way of thinking and all your subjects are building on each other, it’s harder to just completely forget what you learned like in other degrees. Personally, I’ve already forgotten so much of what I learned in commerce and finance, simply because I just memorised the content for the exams whereas with computer science, even though I may have forgotten some details or some topics, I’ve retained the way of thinking and everything new I learn now easily builds on what I already know.

7. Paid for thinking

As a coder, you’re not getting paid for how much work you manually churn out, you’re getting paid for your thinking. You don’t actually write that many lines of code, but it’s the thinking behind it. It’s all about quality not quantity. You’re paid for your technical expertise and if you’re good, it’s a skill that isn’t easily replaceable. It’s not as simple as teaching someone else what the process is to do something and getting them to do the same thing everyday. Software developers who have a deep technical understanding as well as high level business context are hard to train and find!

8. Always stays interesting

Every day, month, year is different. All the problems that you encounter are different. Being in technology means you’re in a culture of constant innovation and learning. There’s no other way. If you don’t keep up to date with the latest technologies, you’ll fall behind. Now, I used to think this was a downside of pursuing a career in technology but now that I’ve started working in it, I’ve realised it’s definitely what I was looking for. To be in a career where things are constantly changing and you’re forced to keep on learning is what keeps my job exciting.

So, even after graduating from uni, I always reflect on my choice in degree and whether I’m finding fulfilment in my job and I’m 100% happy I chose computer science. It’s highly logical, changes the way you think and is constantly evolving, encouraging continuously learning. I hope these points helped if you’re trying to decide what you want to study!

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