By Mustafa Abdulrahman, Numerade Intern
Choosing courses for high school has never been easy, and by the time you’re past your sophomore year, it feels like you should have your entire career path already decided. As a recent high school graduate, I felt the same pressure, but what I’m here to tell you is that it isn’t true. I find the best way to navigate through high school and decide what you want to do post-secondary is to explore as many different disciplines as you can before you graduate. And I’m here to tell you that there is no better elective that opens as many doors as computer science. Here are 5 reasons you should take computer science this school year.
1. Learning to compute will help you regardless of what field you enter
If you don’t know what computer science is, the basic definition is the “science” of computers. In general, it means learning to communicate with the computer and how it works with code. As technology becomes more and more advanced our society will become even more dependent on all sorts of technology. In every field, there is no doubt that technology is being used and computer science is needed. Having the ability to compute will only serve to aid in whatever field you eventually go into.
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2. Computer science is a high-demand, emerging field
There is a high demand for computer scientists. If there is one thing that will convince you to give this subject a chance, then it is its security in the job market. Computer scientists will be needed in almost every industry. For example, even in manufacturing, a big portion of the manual labour within factories has been switched over to automation and we’re not far from the day when most of them will be run by robots. If you are looking to boost your resume, having programming skills will allow you to grasp these quickly opening opportunities.
3. Coding is an incredibly versatile skill that allows you to combine passions from other areas
Learning how to program is half the experience when taking this course in high school. The other fifty percent is your creative input. The reason why I fell in love with computer science and programming was that I was able to learn concepts and then apply those concepts to my own personal hobbies. For example, after learning java in school, I wanted to build a Discord bot that would give me anime data from an anime website directly to my server—primarily for convenience and for the personal challenge. As someone who is an avid anime fan, learning computer science allowed me to explore my hobbies at a unique level and gain valuable experience at the same time. The possibilities within computer science are endless and your passions may guide you towards your next project.
4. Computer science is not as academically heavy as other STEM courses
The biggest drawback for people who are still unsure about taking computer science, especially if it’s for the first time, is the difficulty. But according to Bill Gates, “coding is not difficult”—it’s basic arithmetic and, at its core, simple if, then statements. If I’m being honest, I would compare it more to learning a language for the first time. But unlike French or Spanish, it’s the language of computers. I would say it is hard to wrap your head around in the beginning, but after a while once the basics have been hammered down, it becomes much easier. It is not a heavy course like other STEM courses that require a lot of studying and memorization. The computer science process is mostly about trial and run.
5. You can learn to solve complex problems with code
Humans are natural problem solvers, but we also know that sometimes we need tools to solve our problems. If you have ever thought of ways to solve the world’s complex issues or the ways humans could improve our systems, you can probably imagine that technology would be a key factor to tackling those issues. For example, learning how to tackle climate change could be done from advances in technology and thus advances in computer science. Dialing it down to high school, solving problem sets trains you to think about these complex issues and work through them. It may initially be annoying, but trust me, the satisfaction you get from finally solving a problem that took you a while makes it all worth it.
Computer science is a gateway to a fascinating and ever-evolving field. I hope you see now how taking an elective in computer science might just be the best move you can make. As a student myself, I understand how stressful choosing courses (and thinking about your future) can be—but remember, there are a lot of resources out there to help you and guide you towards your future. I hope this has been one of them!
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