Friday, December 7, 2012

The Life of a Computer Science Major

Studying can be fun!!
Growing up I never thought I would actually be a Computer Science major.  I'm a very artsy person and always participated in theater, or doing crafts, or was very athletic.  I'm still all of these things (athletics has gotten put on the back burner lately but I want to start again!) plus now I get too add in another cool piece to my identity:  Computer Science.  To give you a little insight to how this adds into my life I figured I would interview myself:

Maura:  Why did you decide Computer Science (CS)?
Maura:  Well, I grew up with a knack for computers.  I participated in a computer club when I was in 7th and 8th grade but never thought much of it.  I do think of the moderator all the time and give him credit to mostly inspiring me.  When I was in high school, a teacher said I may be very good in a computer field.  In addition to this my grandfather was one of the first generation computer scientists.  I started to talk to him a bit more and was like: why not try it?  And so I did.

Cool!  Why did you pick St. Mike's for CS?
I wasn't 100% sure I wanted to go into CS so I wasn't to keen on technical schools.  I felt like if I don't like CS, I will have to transfer schools.  When I looked at St. Mike's I liked how everyone got a strong liberal arts background along with their major.  Talking to one of the CS professors during a visit, I felt like I could fit into their curriculum.  I remember the feeling I got when the professor talked to me directly and not my dad who was also in the same room.

Poor dad feeling all left out.
Well, I wouldn't say he felt left out but rather he was proud his daughter was being respected as an actual person rather than the professor trying to please the "parent."

Nice point.  What kind of courses have you taken since you've started?
My first year I took two semesters worth of learning Java and basic programming techniques.  Sophomore year I took courses about data structures and machine language.  These two courses taught C++ and a bit of C.  I also took a database management course which taught mySQL.  This semester I'm finishing up a course in programming languages and another in operating systems.  I learned more C, some prolog, some COBOL, some Perl, and some Pascal.

Wow, such a variety.  Which of these is your favorite? and why?
I would have to say database management has been my favorite.  It was probably the first time I could really picture myself doing this in the real world.  I thought about it a lot but this time I could see myself actually doing it.

I heard you have a minor.  How does it fit in?
I have a mathematics minor.  Being a CS major, it is basically a shoe-in.  You have to take Calculus I and II, Theory of Computation, Discrete Mathematics, and Probability and Statistics for the major.  To complete the minor I just needed to take Linear Algebra and Calculus III.  I will have officially finished my minor this semester.

Congratulations on the minor.  So, what is your typical week like for work?
Gigabyte helping me out
I don't really have a typical week.  It all depends on how much we've learned.  This semester I've basically have a programming assignment due one every 2-3 weeks.  It is manageable if you keep up with the work.  In between I have simple assignments, almost daily which don't take too much time.  There are some late nights when I find I procrastinate or both classes assign two assignments due the same day.  But I generally get it done and the professors are very helpful.

Any insights you have for others?
Read the news!! Keep up with what is popular in society.  I struggle with this but it is going to be my new years resolution that I start when finals end!  It will help you relate your learning to real world situations.

Well, Maura, thank you so much for your time.  I look forward to hearing more from you soon.
No problem, Maura.  I'm glad I could share some of my insights with you.  Any other questions about a CS major let me know and I'll be happy to answer them!!

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