R15: MajorPrep's take on Computer Science

  • Due Nov 7, 2018 at 2:39pm
  • Points 3
  • Questions 3
  • Available until Dec 10, 2018 at 10am
  • Time Limit None


This class is called Introduction to Programming, but it is also the first Computer Science class for many of you. We've already talked about how coding and programming are not the same thing, even if they have a large overlap. It turns out that computer programming and computer science are not the same thing, even if you most often hear about where they overlap.

If computer science is something different than programming, why do universities so often place learning to program at the very doorstep of computer science programs?

Watch this 15 minute video offering one take on how programming relates to CS. If your major has “Computer” in the name (or even if you are just curious), seriously consider also watching the 7-minute Part 2 of that video as well.

In your remaining time here at UC Santa Cruz, you are likely to encounter computer science classes that *don't* involve and programming and non-CS classes that *do* involve programming. Meanwhile, if you can program, you'll be in a good position to do interesting and original research projects in advanced classes in non-STEM disciplines like art, history, politics, and literature.

I hope that only about 50% of you meet success as you step deeper into computer science (and the rest step deeper into a non-CS discipline where you can apply programming). Meanwhile, I hope that 95% of you find a meaningful use for programming in your life (even if the concepts and skills lie dormant until you need to bust out some computational geometry and computer-aided manufacturing to 3D print something of your own procedural design). For the other 5% who decide that programming is not a fit for your life, I hope you can still appreciate it as a form of literacy while you find some other medium of expression that you can learn about in the company of friends. Your time at the university will likely be the easiest time to do this. Don't start too late on that *other* thing.

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