This past weekend, we hosted the Viterbi Expo for students thinking about applying to USC. I got to talk to a lot of amazing students, and a lot of them wanted to know how I got into Computer Science. It’s not easy to know what you want to major in before you have taken a single class in that major. However, if you want to get some experience writing some code, you can try it out now!
One of my favorite resources is www.codeacademy.com. Basically, it’s a website with extremely approachable tutorials to coding, designed for people that have never programmed before (but are also useful to an experienced coder looking to learn a new language). You write code in your web browser, which CodeAcademy will run for you and let you know if something needs to be fixed. You don’t have to install anything but the web browser!
If this sounds like something you’re interested in, head on over to the website. Although there are a lot of web languages like HTML and CSS, I’d recommend giving Python a shot for a better representation of powerful programming languages.
Even though I now have four years of experience coding, CodeAcademy is my go-to for picking up a new language (so long as they have it). Another thing about programming languages is that even though you may be concerned about getting a jump on the languages you will be using in college classes, a computer scientist generally can pick up a language quickly once she already has a language or two under her belt. So don’t worry if you learn a language and that’s not what your freshmen classes use- you will be all the better for just understanding any language at all.
learned Ruby over the past couple days on @Codecademy – definitely my favorite way to pick up a new language!
— Robert Puncel (@rpuncel) November 25, 2013
One thing to remember is that coding is not computer science- it is an integral tool that is used for programming robots, networks, apps, and much more. However, trying out a little bit might just inform your decision in terms of your initial major in college. Give it a shot!