Is Computer Science a Hard Major?

27/03/202315 minute read
Is Computer Science a Hard Major?

Computer science is a field that encompasses a wide range of topics related to computing, including programming, algorithms, data structures, software engineering, artificial intelligence, computer architecture, and more. Whether or not computer science is a hard major largely depends on your background, experience, learning style, and the specific program you choose.

Computer science requires a strong foundation in mathematics, logic, and problem-solving skills. You will learn to write code, develop algorithms, and build software systems. This requires a lot of practice and persistence and can sometimes be challenging. However, if you have a passion for programming and are willing to put in the effort, you can succeed in computer science. The difficulty of a computer science major also depends on the program you choose. Some programs may have more difficult coursework or more rigorous requirements than others. Additionally, the level of support and resources available to you, such as tutors, study groups, and academic advisors, can also affect the major's challenge.

In this blog, we will discuss the difficulties students face when pursuing a computer science degree, as well as give an insight on job prospects in the future.

What Is Computer Science?

At its core, computer science is concerned with understanding how computers work, designing and implementing software and systems, and using computational techniques to solve complex problems. It’s a broad and interdisciplinary field that draws on knowledge from mathematics, engineering, and other disciplines.

Computer science plays a critical role in the development of modern technology, including computers, smartphones, software applications, and the internet. It has applications in various fields, including healthcare, finance, education, entertainment, and more.

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How Hard Is Computer Science?

Computer science can be challenging, but the difficulty level can vary depending on various factors. Here are some factors that can influence how hard computer science is:

  • Prior Knowledge: If you have prior experience with coding or computer systems, you may find Computer science easier to understand and pick up. On the other hand, if you are new to the field, you may find it more challenging.
  • Math Skills: Computer science involves a lot of math, such as calculus, discrete math, and linear algebra. If you have strong math skills, you may find Computer science  easier.
  • Program Difficulty: The level of difficulty of a computer science program can vary depending on the curriculum, the level of coursework, and the school.
  • Study Habits: If you are disciplined and can focus on your studies, you may find Computer science easier. You may find it more challenging if you have trouble focusing or procrastinating.
  • Passion: If you are passionate about computer science and have a genuine interest in the subject, you may find it easier to stay motivated and succeed.

What does a typical computer science curriculum look like?

The curriculum for a computer science degree can vary depending on the program and degree level. However, here are some typical courses you might be expected to take:

  • Introduction to Computer Science: A course that provides an overview of the field, including programming, algorithms, and data structures.
  • Discrete Mathematics: A course that covers topics in logic, set theory, and combinatorics that are important in Computer science.
  • Data Structures and Algorithms: A course that covers data structures such as linked lists, trees, and graphs, as well as algorithms for searching, sorting, and optimization.
  • Computer Organization and Architecture: A course that covers the design and function of computer hardware, including processors, memory, and input/output devices.
  • Programming Languages: A course that covers different programming languages and their syntax, semantics, and paradigms.
  • Operating Systems: A course that covers the design and function of operating systems, including processes, threads, memory management, and file systems.
  • Software Engineering: A course that covers the principles and practices of software development, including requirements gathering, design, testing, and maintenance.
  • Database Systems: A course that covers the design and implementation of databases, including data modeling, normalization, and SQL.
  • Artificial Intelligence: A course that covers the principles and techniques of artificial intelligence, including machine learning, natural language processing, and robotics.
  • Capstone Project: A course that allows students to apply the knowledge and skills they have learned to a real-world project or problem.

There are a few other course options you may need to take, depending on what type of career path you’re looking to go into with a computer science degree.

Career Prospects with Computer Science
JobMedian SalaryProjected Job Growth by 2031
Software Engineer$120,73026%
Data Scientist$100,91035.8%
Cybersecurity Analyst$116,00013%
Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning Engineer$131,49021%
Database Administrator$96,7108.1%
Web Developer$77,03030.3%
Network Architect$120,5204.3%
IT Manager$159,01016.2%
Computer Systems Analyst$99,2709.4%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

What is the expected demand growth for computer science degrees?

The demand for computer science degrees is expected to remain strong in the coming years as technology continues to play an increasingly important role in our lives.

The computer and information technology field is projected to grow 11% from 2019 to 2029, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. The development of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and big data analytics is driving demand for skilled computer science professionals. Many industries are undergoing digital transformation, which is increasing the demand for computer science professionals who can develop and implement new technologies and systems.

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the trend toward remote work, and many computer science jobs can be done remotely, expanding the pool of available job opportunities. Computer science offers many career paths, from software development to cybersecurity to artificial intelligence. This means many opportunities for job growth and career advancement within the field exist.

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How long does it take to get a computer science degree?

The time it takes to get a computer science degree can vary depending on the program, the level of the degree, and whether you attend school full-time or part-time. An associate's degree in computer science usually takes two years to complete if you attend full-time. A bachelor's degree in computer science typically takes four years to complete if you attend full-time.

It's worth noting that these timelines are general estimates, and the actual time it takes to complete a degree can vary depending on a variety of factors, such as the program's curriculum, the student's individual pace, and whether they take breaks or switch programs along the way.

Do you need to be good at math to succeed in computer science?

Math is an important component of computer science, and having a solid foundation in math can help students understand the theoretical concepts and algorithms used in the field. However, you do not necessarily need to be a math genius to succeed in computer science.

Basic math skills such as algebra, geometry, and trigonometry are important in programming and problem-solving, but you do not typically need to use advanced math such as calculus in most computer science  courses.

That being said, some areas of computer science, such as data analysis, artificial intelligence, and cryptography, do require advanced math skills. If you plan to specialize in these areas, having a strong background in math may be necessary.

Is computer science a good career?

There is a growing demand for computer science professionals across many different industries. As technology plays an increasingly important role in our lives, the demand for skilled computer scientists will continue to rise. Computer science is a rewarding and fulfilling career choice that offers many opportunities for growth, job security, and financial stability. If you have a passion for technology and problem-solving, a career in computer science could be a great fit for you.

Final Thoughts

Succeeding in computer science requires dedication, hard work, and a love for learning. Developing a strong foundation in math and logic is important and honing your programming skills through practice and persistence. Critical thinking skills are an essential component of success in computer science. If a student struggles with critical thinking skills, it’s likely they will struggle to earn their computer science degree.

To succeed in computer science, it's also important to stay up-to-date with the latest technologies and programming languages and to actively seek out opportunities for hands-on experience through internships or personal projects. Building a network of mentors, peers, and professionals in the field can provide valuable support and guidance as you pursue your studies and career. With the right mindset, skills, and network, you can achieve your goals and make a meaningful impact in the field.

If you are applying to study computer science at a top university, it is important to showcase your technical skills and interests by participating in coding clubs, hackathons as well as summer coding activities. Crimson Careers offers internships while Summer Apply can help you find the right computer science summer program. Crimson Code is an excellent way for you to take the first steps towards studying computer science. Book a free consultation today to learn about how Crimson can increase your chances of getting into a top computer science program.