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Sunday, December 20, 2015

Why Computer Science

When I was first deciding to attend college I was not certain my major would be computer science.  During a meeting with my guidance counselor, we spoke about my grades, interests and which schools I favored.  I had fairly good grades in math and science courses at that time so she felt that should be my focus as I went forward.  Then I went home to start researching careers and what I thought I would like to be doing years in the future from that point.  Though I had grades in those courses, computer science and programming were completely new concepts to me.  Having that fresh, creative and innovative aspect to it really made me feel positive about college and being a full-time student for another four years.  It eventually took me much longer than that to get my first degree but I can tell parts of that story another time.  Honestly I just seen it as a really intriguing challenge to go to college for something I did not have any prior experience with.  Though I was up to the highest level of math courses available to us as calculus and took nearly every entry level version of science offered to me, I was not sure I wanted to make a commitment wholeheartedly to that path moving forward.  And I hope I am not offending everyone reading this with that last statement.  Computer science and programming was seen as college to me because I did not try it at any other point.  I was happy with computer science and still find it fun to some degree today.

              One of the main obstacles I had to overcome was the learning curve.  I have been taught C, C++, Java, HTML, PHP, XML, SQL, MASM, Visual Basic and COBOL as coding languages.  There was also the concepts of numbering systems, digital logic, pseudo coding, search and sort algorithms, network architectures, operating systems, multimedia applications and internet suites.  All of that was during the pursuit of my Bachelor’s degree and there may be some things I forgot to include.  Each course was different and presented a new form of coding to learn.  I leaned on sites like for tutoring away from the classroom.  The speed of the courses was my main obstacle in addition to the balancing of all my credits each semester was another core issue overall.  It is quite difficult to explain but I knew what I was attempting to do however the completion and execution remained problematic.  The theories were in my mind but convincing the computer did not always go so well.  Programming took the bulk of my time for adjusting to the major and it negatively affected other assignments like tests.  Being a graduate student now, I look back on those times with wisdom about what it took to get to this point.  To gain a Master’s degree would simply mean I was better than I thought I was as a student.  It would always confirm that this discipline is within the range of programs I am capable of.  

The Internet's Effect

The internet has helped my education immensely through the years.  Whether is it for research for assignments or finding assistance with something I cannot figure out, the World Wide Web always provides options to support your efforts.  Doing searches for homework and projects with sites like Google can produce very helpful results.  Google’s search engine will give excellent results for just about anything you can type into it.  Also with sites like Wikipedia and Research Gate, for example, I can find references for any topic I have chosen to cover.  References come in handy to verify your own assertions and make them credible when discussing topics.  Nearly every topic you will write about during the education process has had previous research done on it.  If you are going to reintroduce an idea or add to your own original thesis, citing previously published work will always be useful.  These are just some of the available resources to use as an encyclopedia or document database.  Though there are more sites I could name, those are usually the first I run to when needed. 
The internet has changed the way we communication in a variety of ways.  Personally it began with instant messenger and e-mail for me.  Using America Online’s aim service was the best way to chat with friends over the internet when I was growing up.  It became a popular third option to meeting in person and using the phone during those years.  Sometimes we were so infatuated with it that we would talk on the phone and aim at the same time.  Nerdy, I know.  When I became older, e-mail was the best way to send resumes and apply for jobs other than directly through a corporation’s website or in person. Finding the e-mail addresses to human resource departments was just as important as having the number to the business.  In those days, you could simply send a well-crafted resume and cover letter through e-mail instead asking if the company was hiring.  Occasionally employees were able to review information from candidates that they were not even seeking which lead to employment. 

The next phase of the internet revolution will be with the social media sites like Google Plus, Facebook and Twitter for hiring practices.  Having an online persona that fits the corporate culture will be as important as whatever is printed on your resume in coming years in my opinion.  Having a credible reputation will include how you present yourself to others and what you associate yourself with.  As you complete applications, your perspective employer may see who you claim to be online, one way or the other, before they speak with you in person for an interview.  Now this does not mean to change the way you are but it does mean to expect people to believe in what you say and do at all times.  It may be best to have a uniform identity but it will be up to you to have all points of the spectrum covered as long as the shoe fits.  Just know that people may make the decision on whether to move forward or not based on what they see with images in addition to what they are reading on paper.