In my University years I observed two groups of students.
The first group was ultra-focused on their studies. They attended all their lectures, turned in assingments on time and fraternized exclusively with smart or smarter students.
The second group paid attention to their studies. In addition, they had part-time jobs and projects working for local companies. They cared more about how their studies impacted their world and not just the academia. Sometimes, they were at the top of their class and sometimes they weren’t.
This brings me to my point. While in college studying computer science, programming languages and software development, do you want to focus exclusively on your course work or do you want to learn how the real world works as well?
If you are interested in learning how the real world works, do a few or all of the following:
- Get a part-time programming job. Get a job writing software code for a company. Get used to the pressures, challenges and requirements of commercial software development.
- Become an expert at a programming language and database software. Don’t just use a language because it’s recommended by your professor. Find a programming language that is aligned with your career goals and then master it. Remember that as a programmer you are only as good as your skills.
- Put your learning into action. Whenever you write code, observe how your computer science learning affects you ability to write better code or not.
- Begin early to be an entrepreneur. If you want to own your own software or contract programming business one day while wait till you graduate? While not start designing, developing and selling your idea while you are still in university or college?
That way by the time you graduate, you will know what works and what doesn’t. For example, If you want to be a computer game developer, write software games in college and sell your games online.
- Study what you love. Computer Science Students don’t be generalists. If you want to be a computer game programmer, why don’t you take a lot of classes on Artificial Intelligence, Mathematics and Algorithms? Why take more general computer science courses when you know what you want to be?
- Study ahead of your class. Don’t go to college or university because it will make your parents happy. Go for yourself by digging deep into your studies. Find a branch of computer science that truly fascinates you, then study and develop yourself to the limit of your mental powers.
- Know yourself before you graduate. By the time you graduate, there will be a lot of pressure, expectations and opportunities waiting for you. Wait, just don’t go with the path of least resistance, follow your heart instead.
If you don’t know yourself enough to say why you are choosing one job over another you have have learnt little. On the other hand, if you were able to discover your talents and yourself while at university (college) then you have gained the whole world.
I advocate that you discover your own unique gifts, skills, talents and innate abilities while in college or university studying computer science.
Use your time in college as an opportunity to learn how computer software works and how life works as well.
That way when you graduate you are better prepared for the rat race or human race – your choice :-).
To Your Career,