Recently, we discussed what computer science is, why computer science is so important, and why it’s a great field to consider getting into. Here, we’ll explore all the reasons why people think computer science is hard.
As part of the explanation, we’ll also explain why it’s so important to get your degree before attempting to launch a career and why you should think about enrolling in an online degree program instead of an on-campus program.
After reviewing this information, fill out our information request form to receive additional details about our 100% online Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. If you’re ready to get started, submit your application today.
Why Do People Think Computer Science is Difficult?
There are multiple reasons why people think that computer science is a hard degree, but the most common reasons for the conception that computer science is a difficult study seem to be:
- There’s a steep initial learning curve - many students start their CS degree without any knowledge of programming, and learning a new language from scratch is never easy.
- CS is time-intensive - computer science majors find that they have to spend a great deal of time studying the material to succeed, and the studying requirements for CS may be higher than other majors.
- Computer science is a constructive discipline - everything that you learn in CS courses requires that you’ve already mastered all previous coursework; anything that you don’t understand, skip, etc., can cause major problems down the line.
- CS requires a great deal of attention to detail - when doing computer programming work, tiny mistakes can cause major problems, so anyone who isn’t detail-oriented may have trouble studying computer science.
- Computer science requires creativity - CS is similar to math in that it requires a great deal of logical thinking, but it’s also a bit like art since computer programs can be written to accomplish the same thing in very different ways.
Let’s look at each of these elements in additional detail to get a better perspective on what makes computer science seem so difficult.
The Steep Initial Learning Curve
Many students new to the field find computer science to be a difficult study because they don’t have any background in computer programming, one of the most important elements and most difficult processes in computer science.
Because programming requires learning a new language, and a language that’s unlike any other you’ve used in your life before, this can be incredibly difficult, at least initially.
Some students simply give up before they’ve overcome that steep initial learning curve, which is likely to last around 4-5 courses, walking away from the subject thinking it’s too difficult to complete a degree, but this just isn’t true.
Tenacious students who keep pushing through that initial learning curve end up developing the ability to program and end up finding that the steep initial learning curve gets much easier down the line.
Should you choose to study computer science, keep in mind that while it may seem incredibly difficult at first, once you’ve become proficient in using programming languages, you’ll almost certainly feel the pressure start to ease up.
It’s a Time-Intensive Subject to Study
Students studying any higher education topic should plan to budget a significant amount of their time outside of class studying and doing homework, but these demands tend to be higher for those studying computer science.
Why? While you should expect to spend around 2 hours of work outside of class for each credit hour you’re taking in any subject, for computer programming, you may also need to spend something like 10-20 hours per week working on programming projects and labs.
This extra time for projects and labs will be spent doing things like designing computer programs, writing code, removing syntax errors, and debugging the programs you’re writing, all of which are critical components to learning computer science, but which are likely to take up quite a bit of your time.
Fortunately, the time you’ll need to spend on studying and working outside of class tends to get less intensive as you become more familiar with programming languages and the programming process.
Once again, one of the reasons why so many people think that computer science is so difficult is that they don’t make it through that initial difficult period, and they simply give up before they’ve overcome the steep initial learning curve.
Computer Science Knowledge is Constructive
Like mathematics, computer science is a constructive field, meaning that the knowledge, skills, and abilities you develop while studying it all require previous knowledge.
In fact, with computer science, virtually everything you learn requires mastery of the previous topics, so should you miss a concept, fail to understand a topic, or simply not entirely get a process, you may run into trouble down the line since you don’t have the initial foundation needed to succeed.
Other majors tend to have more leeway, where you may still be able to get by in advanced courses even if you didn’t quite fully comprehend everything explained during the introductory courses, but computer science doesn’t work that way at all.
When studying computer science, it’s critical that you focus and study hard during your initial courses, as all the information that you might think wouldn’t matter down the line is building the foundation you’ll need to become an effective programmer.
As a result, getting it right from the get-go becomes incredibly important to CS majors, so if you’re struggling in your initial courses, makes sure to ask for help, seek out resources, and do everything you can to make sure that you won’t get left behind.
The Devil Is In The Details
Computer science is a relatively unforgiving field; especially when it comes to programming.
As you’re creating a program, you’ll need to pay extremely close attention to detail, because any little mistakes you make can cause the program to fail.
Tiny little issues like spelling errors, missed parentheses, punctuation, etc., may end up leading to major frustrations since it can be difficult to notice these issues when you’re first getting used to working in new programming languages.
As a result, some students end up feeling frustrated and abandoning CS altogether because they think it’s always going to be a struggle to get programming work done efficiently.
Fortunately, like we’ve mentioned several times now, the more you work with programming languages, the easier they tend to get.
Learning the languages and learning the programming process may be difficult at first, but once you’ve grown comfortable with that process, you’ll find it tends to feel much easier.
Creativity is Required
One of the most difficult things about computer science, and primarily computer programming, is that creativity is often required to succeed in overcoming the complex challenges that computer scientists face daily.
Computer programs can be designed to accomplish the same task in very different ways, meaning that there typically isn’t a single “right” answer, or “correct” way to get things done, which can be a challenge for students used to seeking the “right” answer.
This makes things especially difficult for new programmers who aren’t yet familiar with programming languages and the programming process, but as we’ve mentioned above, the more experience you get working with programming, the easier this becomes.
At some point, you’ll develop mastery of the process and be able to hold multiple concepts in your mind at the same time, visualize the route you need to take to accomplish whatever it is that you’re seeking to achieve and come up with not just an effective, but also an efficient way of going about it.
This is the point that the difficulties of computer science begin to dwindle, and it becomes fun to work through the many challenges faced by computer science problems.
Prepare to Face Serious Challenges
Anyone looking to study computer science should prepare to face some significant struggles during their studies, especially early on, while they’re still getting used to computer programming languages and the computer programming process itself.
However, keep in mind that should you stick with the process, focus on your studies, and keep up with your coursework, you’ll find that computer science is one of the most rewarding and fulfilling majors possible, even if it does initially seem to be quite difficult.
As you get used to the process, you’ll develop the ability to overcome the complex problems that this field generates and you’ll begin to develop your own unique solutions to those problems, allowing you to provide real value to nearly any organization that chooses to employ you.
If you’re worried that computer science might be too difficult, rest assured, and focus on picking the right program.
Choosing to study computer science means choosing to overcome a difficult task, but should you choose to study with CSU Global, our accredited Bachelor’s Degree program in Computer Science will provide you with a whole host of resources to help support you on your journey.
Do You Need a Degree to Break Into the Field?
You don’t necessarily have to earn a degree in computer science to work in the industry, but getting your degree could help you land your first job, and prepare you to succeed in that role.
Because computer science work is complex and difficult, getting your degree is simply the best way to ensure that you’ll be able to develop the unique skills and abilities you need to succeed in this challenging industry.
Completing a degree is also the best way to earn the trust of potential hiring managers looking to fill available CS positions, so if you’re serious about getting into the field, you should certainly think about getting your degree in CS first.
Should You Get Your Degree in Computer Science Online?
Yes, you should think about getting your degree in CS online, especially if you already have a busy schedule that you’ll need to maintain along with your studying requirements.
Choosing to study online will let you get your degree much more efficiently, which is particularly important for a difficult major like computer science.
CSU Global’s 100% online CS program was designed to be completed entirely online, and it offers much more flexibility and freedom than traditional in-person programs.
Studying online with us means you’ll get to enjoy benefits like:
- No set class times or physical locations.
- Monthly class starts.
- Accelerated eight-week courses.
If you’re serious about developing the skills needed to become a computer science professional, but you’re worried about fitting courses and studies into an already busy schedule, then you should think about studying online with us.
Why Should You Choose to Study Computer Science at CSU Global?
You should choose CSU Global because our online B.S. in Computer Science is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, which is the most respected accreditation organization in the country.
This program was designed to provide you with the skills and knowledge you need to launch a successful lifelong career in computer science, and you can be sure that your degree will be widely respected by employers since we recently earned a #1 ranking for Best Computer Networks Degree Programs in 2021 by Best Value Schools.
CSU Global itself was also recently awarded with several important rankings, including:
- A #10 ranking for Best Online Colleges for ROI from OnlineU.
- A #1 ranking for Best Online Colleges & Schools in Colorado from Best Accredited Colleges.
- A #1 ranking for Best Online Colleges in Colorado from Best Colleges.
To make sure that our program delivers the skills and abilities you’ll need for a successful career in computer science, all of our faculty have recent experience in the field, and our curriculum is aligned with criteria for industry-leading certifications, including the Oracle Certified Associate, Java SE 8 Programmer, and the C++ Certified Associate Programmer from the C++ Institute.
Finally, to help save you money on the cost of your degree, we offer competitive tuition rates and a Tuition Guarantee which ensures that your affordable tuition rate can’t increase between enrollment and graduation.
Ready to get started today? Apply now!