A computer science major is academically challenging, and students need as many resources as possible so that they can do their nest to succeed. Computer science professionals also need industry resources so they can stay on top of new developments and products.
Today’s internet is chock full of information that anyone can access and use; it’s no different for computer science majors. Some of the information you’ll need can be found here; such as certifications, study materials, open access journals, and associations. However, searching on your own can be time consuming and just a general hassle. Instead, take a look here, where we’ve gathered a number of easy-to-use resources for every stage of your career: student, job seeker, and professional.
Resources for Computer Science Students
Accreditation is vital to your future success—and it’s more than a notation on a school’s website. When a school receives program accreditation for computer science, students planning to major in this field know that the programs educational standards are high. Accreditation means that the faculty and teaching materials have been examined, as has the school’s entire computer science program.
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) fields are becoming more and more important in the 21st century. When any of these fields receives a critical program accreditation, the school and program possess the ability to provide the educational foundation students need as they learn within their chosen field.
If students choose a program that has not been accredited, they won’t be able to show employers they have received the highest quality education. They may not be able to receive licensure in their field if they did not attend an accredited institution. If they seek certification that leads to licensure, the certification program must also be accredited.
Programmatic accreditation may be offered by:
Questions About Financial Aid
About 65% of college students in 2017 accrued student loan debt. While student loans can help students to gain an education, they do so at a significant cost. Federal and state grants, along with scholarships, are sometimes called free money. That is, students don’t have to repay them after graduation; they do have to repay student loans. Work-study is another viable option for students who are willing to work a few hours each week; they will be paid just like a regular employee is paid (though usually less) and they can apply anything they make directly to their loans if they have any. Their working hours are also capped each week, so they will have time to go to school and study.
Grants are usually based on financial need. When students fill out a FAFSA form and submit it online, the Department of Education determines how much an individual student will receive. The funds provided to the student go straight to tuition and fees. If there is anything remaining, the student receives a paper check; they are free to use this money for school-related expenses.
Computer science scholarships are usually merit-based. That is, students have to show proof of academic achievement and extracurricular pursuits to receive these funds. Institutional scholarships come from the university or college the student attends. Professional organizations award scholarships to students who meet eligibility requirements, such as majoring in computer science or belonging to the organization granting the scholarship. While the award amounts usually won’t cover every penny of tuition, they do help to pay for books, supplies, and other school-related expenses.
Students who look can also find scholarships that are based on non-computer science interests. If the student has other skills, such as robotics, they may qualify for a scholarship based on that.
Associations for Students
Computer science students are busy in class, the computer lab, and with class assignments. How will they have time to participate in a professional association? Honestly, joining an association doesn’t require much of your time, it simply offers you access to networking, journals, and online resources if you decide you need them. Students who do become part of an organization like this benefit from enhancement of their studies and access to extra resources, whether the association you join is an on-campus group or a national one.
In looking for the right professional computer science associations to join, students need to consider where the association is located. Those that are specialized to their university may be a good choice, but national associations can continue to serve long after you leave your school and start your career.
- International Association of Computer Science and Information (IACSIT):
IACSIT functions internationally, hosting distinguished scholars who specialize in computer science and information technology. Students benefit from the accumulated knowledge that professional members possess.
- Association for Computing Machinery (ACM):
This organization students, professionals, researchers, and educators to discuss computer science-related topics and learn from one another. Here, students benefit from the effort to advance computing as a science.
- Association for Women in Computing (AWC):
Female computer science majors benefit from mentoring and professional networking with women who work in the field. AWC offers professional growth opportunities via programs and networking.
- Society for Information Management (SMIS):
SMIS offers professionals and students the opportunity to network via its SIMposium Regional Leadership Forums and Advanced Practice Council. Online tools and publications are also available for students.
- Computing Research Association (CRA):
CRA includes more than 200 North American organizations related to computing, which provides students with even more benefits.
Student or Open Access Journals
I know. Why would you want to read even more in school? College students are often responsible for reading large amounts of material assigned by their professors, but it’s not how much you’re reading, it’s what. Spending at least some of your down time reading scholarly topics is a great way to bring something different to your next class. Academic journals or open access journals are credible, give clarity, provide research options, and have evidence to back up claims made in each article.
When a student begins regularly reading an open access journal, they gain exposure to material that they will fall back on during their time in school and beyond. Real-life case studies allow them to relate the theoretical to actual events.
Computer Science Study Resources
Learning online has become popular enough that several websites completely devoted to Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCS) have been established. In an online environment, students are more responsible for their level of learning than in a traditional classroom. They are able to control the pace of their studies and learning; working at their own speed, they can slow down to focus on an area giving them trouble.
According to some studies, students may retain more when they study and learn online. Compared to offline learning, retention rates for online learners can increase anywhere from 25-60%. The greater engagement of multimedia content may be responsible for this.
Udemy is one of the best-known MOOC providers in the world. It offers computer science courses that, if taken individually, help a student gain more knowledge in their major. The price per course is very low.
Like Udemy, Skillshare offers thousands of courses in hundreds of topic areas. Computer science courses are featured here as well.
Coursera is another well-known MOOC provider. When a student searches for computer science or computer science-related courses, they will find a range of topics they need.
Founded by Harvard and MIT, Edx partners with many of the best-known universities: Harvard, Princeton, and MIT. Students can sign up for full-length courses and request academic credit from the partner institution.
- Class Central:
Class Central partners with universities in the US and around the world. Students who need to pick up a few computer science credits are easily able to do so here.
Udacity functions much like Udemy: it offers special prices for many of its classes as a way of attracting students who want to take a class without paying full price.
Apps can allow students to maximize their time in school. Whether they have iPhones or Android devices, computer science students can seek out the apps they need, such as a Microsoft Office Suite app or even an app that limits their time on social media.
If a computer science student is looking specifically for apps that enable them to work on a programming language or web development, they should be able to do so with some searching. Some of these apps will allow students to explore a topic by using their smartphone or tablet—if they find an app that allows them to practice, they get even more value and learning time.
If the student downloads an app where they can work on a programming language, they should also check to see if it includes a virtual code editor.
This iPhone app allows students to work on software. As a software developer, it guides students to write better code by directing projects.
This app is geared for teens who want to learn to code. It is free, so it does contain ads. However, it also has built-in code learning content, from beginner to pro and peer support is also available.
- CSS Pro Quick Guide:
While this app is available for both iPhone and Android, the Apple app is listed here. It offers introductions, syntax, applications, and box models. Students get an easy introduction to the basics.
Available as a browser extension on Firefox and Chrome, this app allows students to track their time. Data syncs easily from phone to tablet and back again. It detects idle time, gives reminders, and has a Pomodoro timer.
From their phone to their laptop or tablet, students can take notes and share them with other students. Copying web pages and meeting notes is easy because Evernotes goes with the student and their devices.
This Chrome extension allows students to focus on their work. It’s designed to make sure students stay productive. Every time they plant a seed in the Forest app, they see it grow while they work. If they leave the app to do something else, the plant dies.
Internships are vital for computer science majors. Depending on where students intern, they should learn how to connect theory to practice. Whether they plan to begin working after earning bachelor’s degrees or going to graduate school, students will benefit from spending a few months working on programming or coding internships.
While they are working, they can also begin to build relationships with industry professionals and network within the company. In addition, that time spent on an internship looks highly attractive to future employers.
Companies offering internships should have established plans that allow them to introduce young interns to developing their programming skills. Students need to be careful to find out just what they will be doing during their intern hours—will they simply shadow an employee? Or will they be given responsibility for a programming or coding project? If it’s the first, this may not offer much value for the time they spend onsite.
Resources for Students and Professionals
Computer Science Certification Options
Computer science certifications are a necessity if students or professionals plan to move into management or earn a high salary. Certifications listed on their resumes will show that they possess skills that are in high demand and have taken the initiative to improve their skillset over time.
The exams for such certifications are often demanding. However, once you’ve passed the exam, you’ll have the in-demand skills needed to earn the higher-level position you’re looking for. These certifications are valuable enough that a professional may see a salary increase of 8-16% when they earn a new one.
Information technology is ever-changing. That’s why professionals need to keep expanding their skill sets. While useful skills are learned in school, new products, apps, and processes demand new knowledge. Professionals and students who are looking for the best certifications to earn should understand that it greatly depends on what position you are looking to enter. You may want to ask those in your network, a mentor, or even your current employer to find out which certifications you should focus on.
Certification Study Resources
What does a computer professional need to know for an upcoming certification exam? Each exam has its own requirements, which you will be able to find online or from the vendor offering the certification. Most exams are offered by associations or vendors and these groups make sure that study resources are available, either in the form of a study guide or as practice tests so you can see just where your strengths and weaknesses lie in relation to the material you will be tested on. Make sure to find some resource for study before taking the test, no matter how familiar you think you are with the material.
- Certified ScrumMaster:
This resource teaches Certified ScrumMasters how to keep their scrum team focused.
- Project Management Professional:
Course offers instruction in planning, implementation, project leadership, and working with team members.
- Project Administrator:
The project administrator is responsible for administration and support as they keep a tech team coordinated.
- Advanced Information Security:
A network IT or security professional needs certification in computer security as they help to prevent security breaches.
Temp agencies are a good way for a computer science major nearing graduation to begin accumulating professional work experience. While they may not continue to work at the same company, unless their temporary status is converted to permanent, they will be able to add this to their resume and this can enable them to move up and into a permanent position elsewhere.
In today’s business world, temp agencies have been able to show their value to companies who don’t want to hire traditional employees or only need extra help for a limited period of time. Temp agencies offer a model that provides temporary workers in a wide range of professions, including tech positions.
Resources for Computer Science Professionals
A professional IT expert can benefit greatly from professional associations geared toward the IT and computer science worlds. While they are busy at work and want to relax in their off-hours, spending some time during the week or month engaged in a professional association meeting will give them benefits they may not realize at first.
One of these benefits includes asserting control over their careers by making use of online job listings or open access journals. Professional associations for the IT specialist also enable them to take courses or seminars where they will learn something new in their field. Adding a professional association membership to their resume will show employers you are interested on keeping on top of new information in your field. Associations also sometimes hold workshops on how to spruce up your resume.
Computer science and IT professionals can also benefit from reading professional computer science journals. While they have mostly finished their academic pursuits, IT personnel need to keep up with fast-changing developments in the IT field.
These professionals have many options: they can go online and read open access journals, they can download eBooks that usually cost $10 or less, or they can sign up to receive a journal published by a company or their own professional association. Online magazines or industry news websites are easily accessible, allowing computer professionals to read up on something that may have only been lightly discussed in the nightly news.
Industry Conferences for Computer Science Professionals
Attending and taking part in professional IT conferences provides these professionals many opportunities. If they are writing and presenting a paper, it’s another way for them to get their research recognized. Even if they aren’t presenting any research, they can discuss issues they are facing and receive valuable feedback. They can meet with other professionals from across the nation, or even the world, greatly expanding their network and possibly even providing them with their next exciting work opportunity.
- 21st Annual International Conference on Intelligent User Interfaces:
This conference brings together members of the intelligent interfaces community. It is also one of the foremost international forums that highlights outstanding research into intelligent user interfaces.
- Consumer Electronics Show (CES):
The CES is one of the best-known electronics shows for those in the development of consumer technologies. Innovators and new technologies have made their names known for the past 50 years, making consumers aware of what will soon be in stores.
- International Conference on Computational Science (ICCS):
This conference, taking place in Amsterdam in 2020, allows computer science professionals, researchers, mathematicians, and scientists to discuss new or upcoming computing breakthroughs. Researchers and professionals from other fields also discuss problems and solutions in the tech arena.
- IEEE Infocom:
This is a major conference, highly valued by researchers who present significant contributions and ideas in the networking field and those that are closely related.