CollegeAdvisor.com presents its majors series webinars on Computer Science in a 60-minute webinar and Q&A with college students and alumni. Our CollegeAdvisor panel will share their insider perspectives on how they chose their majors, how they applied successfully to colleges, and how they pursued their majors in college. Come ready to learn and bring your questions!
2021-02-21 Computer Science
hi everyone. Welcome to CollegeAdvisor’s webinar in computer science to orient everyone with the webinar timing, we’ll start off with the presentation and then we’ll answer your questions in the live Q and a. You can download our slides in the handout tab or through the link that I’m sending into the public chat right now.
And you can go ahead and start submitting questions in the Q and a tab to start off. Let’s meet our panelists. You guys, my name is Amanda. I am a graduate from MIT class of 2020, my major in electrical engineering and computer science. And I’m really excited to tell you about sort of my experience in the computer science industry [00:01:00] today.
Awesome. Um, Hey guys, I’m is Shawnee. I am going to graduate in the spring. So class of 2021 at brown university and at brown, I studied computational biology. So
mostly yes. And also come bio today.
Okay. To start off what led you to your major? So for me, it was definitely my first robotics experience in high school that was, you know, such an amazing organization. I would encourage you all to join first robotics if you’re interested in learning more about computer science, but just the collaborative community and the.
Code on a computer screen could make a physical robot move. Like that was pretty cool for me. So, um, that’s kinda what led me to explore more in computer science. I took a couple of classes in high school, and then ultimately I took an [00:02:00] embedded systems class in freshman year at MIT, which is where we basically wired up these breadboards and put a bunch of sensors on the breadboards and played with, um, IOT stuff, which stands for the internet of things.
And it was a lot of fun. And ultimately that’s why I decided to major in both electrical engineering and computer sciences. I’ve just computer science. I’m starting in my freshman year at MIT. Yeah. And so in high school, I was pretty interested in the sciences. Like I love science, I love math, but I can actually get exposed to computer science formerly until I took AP classes.
And Peter’s going to take that. I definitely recommend it. I feel like I learned so much just about the basics of programming. And I actually liked that class so much as a junior that my high school had this opportunity to TA classes as a senior. So I ended up teaching AP computer science as a senior in high school.
And so before that I knew I was interested in, you know, I was considering medicine and [00:03:00] pre-med, but now I kind of realized like, Hey, I love computer science. I thought it was such a fun class. And I loved it so much. So I was kind of asking myself, how can I combine these two interests that I have? And I was very excited to find out that there’s actually a major called computation
handful of schools that offer it as an undergraduate degree. And brown was one of those schools. So I ended up applying to brown and a few other schools that offered comp file. I also applied to a few schools as a biomedical engineer that also a few schools as just straight up. And I was really excited to get into Brown’s comp bio program.
So that’s where I ended up going.
All right. Next question. What extracurriculars did you do in high school? So for me, like I mentioned, first robotics was a big part of my life. I was in two different high school leagues FRC, which is like the varsity league of [00:04:00] robotics, then FTC at my high school, which was like the G the JV league, uh, robotics.
And I was captain for both teams. And then I was also mentoring FLL and junior FLL, which is first Lego league and junior first Lego league designed for middle school and elementary school students respect them like. First robotics was my life. And I was, that’s not a joke when I said that. Um, and then I was also involved in the science full team, which is like a jeopardy based science competition that high school students and middle school students can do.
Um, and I was the treasurer one year, then I was the vice president the next year, and then the president ultimately it, my junior year. Um, I also did, uh, played piano my whole life since I was age four. And did these Christmas or performances, which is orphan, is like xylophones and the telephones glockenspiels named after Carl, or if a famous composer.
And we would play alongside the Albany symphony orchestra. I’m from the city of Albany, New York. Um, so, uh, music was a big part of my life. And then I ultimately skipped my senior year of high school and enrolled in college [00:05:00] early at Clarkson university through their program called the Clarkson school.
I’d encourage you guys to check it out if you’re interested. And there, when I was in my early college program, um, I ended up creating a club called ignite CS, which is sponsored by Google, where we basically went out and mentored these high school students. And I tried to get them inspired, uh, for computer science.
So that was a really good experience. And then I also was involved in student council during my early college program year as well.
Yeah. So, and then for me, um, so like I said, some of the big stuff I did in high school was teaching AP computer science. Um, my high school also had a women in stem kind of club. And I also had a leadership role in that club. And then outside of class, I also did some other fun stuff. Like, um, I was a varsity fencer, so that was one of the sports you had in my high school fencing.
And then just like Amanda and music was.
So he also, I [00:06:00] was in my high school’s jazz band and orchestra as a basis. And then, um, to kind of run that out with like some volunteering experiences. I also volunteered at a local assisted living facility and did a little bit of biomedical research the summer after my junior year.
So no after high school. So what was your college application process like? Yeah. So, um, as I mentioned on the last slide, I was actually already at college. I was at Clarkson university just one year early. Um, we were doing the exact same thing. The only things we could not do were we couldn’t participate in Greek life and we could not play division one hockey, everything else we could do like a normal college student meal plan.
Classes clubs, everything like that. Um, so I was already in college, but I was using it sort of as a stepping stone to get into more competitive schools because I wasn’t being challenged, um, at the private school that I went to. Um, but during my year at Clarkson, I applied to [00:07:00] nine different. Um, and I applied for a very, a variety of different majors, depending on the school.
Some were computer science, some were computer engineering. There were also a couple of schools that I applied for cybersecurity, which is what I’m doing in grad school right now. Um, and ultimately I think that, you know, being in college early helped me help give me a really big advantage when applying to college, because it showed the colleges that, you know, I’d already taken all the different AP schools, uh, AP classes offered at my school and I wasn’t just going to sit there and do nothing.
I was like, okay, well, if this private school can’t really offer me anything, I’ll go to college and be challenged. Right. And the grades that I got really gave me a good advantage, um, in the applications that I submitted to these nine colleges. And, you know, if, if I were to go back in time and kind of tell my, the high school freshmen version of me, something, it would be, don’t wait for the opportunities to come.
Because a limited amount of them will come to you, seek out opportunities on [00:08:00] your own, figure out what you’re passionate in. And it’s okay if you don’t know what you’re passionate and there’s times to figure that out, but your goal should be, try to figure out what you like and what you don’t like and seek out those opportunities on your own.
Don’t wait for them to come to you.
Yeah. Um, so for me, the college application process, I feel like, um, I applied to a decent number of school was a 10 plus schools. Um, and I, like I said before, I kind of tended to apply to schools as either, um, biomedical
lending, to be very honest with you in like Mike, the hardest parts. I knew that I really wanted to go somewhere as a I major the most. That’s what I was most interested in, but to kind of play it safe and hedge my bets. I also applied to other schools as, you know, CS major and to biomed engineering. Um, also something was probably not too common to CS majors, but because of my interest in medicine and pre-med, I also applied to some combined what are [00:09:00] called like eight year programs.
You kind of have like a conditional acceptance into med school as a bachelor, like as an undergrad and actually go I’m in, um, Brown’s eight year program.
So I’m looking back. I think something I needed to really think about and wish I had thought about it a little bit more was the schools that I’ve applied to do. I really need to apply to them. Um, cause it kind of looking back, I feel like a little bit over applied and of course it’s really important to have really great targets and safeties and reaches in, you know, your school list, but you should make sure whether it’s a target or safety or reach that all the schools you’re applying to or schools, you genuinely envision yourself.
So for me, for example, I applied to one school that was, um, a women’s only college and kind of looking
about it, but what I really wanted to go there and kind of looking back, like, I don’t think I would have, [00:10:00] so I could kind of save myself the time and the effort by really thinking about each school that I was applying to.
Okay. So now what extracurriculars did you do in college? So for me, it was a lot about finding out who I am in college and really figuring out what I like, what I don’t like. Um, and, you know, I, I found my passion in cybersecurity by doing cybersecurity research for a couple of different groups. Um, and right now I’m pursuing my masters, working on.
The defensive side of cyber security. So it’s trying to stop the hackers, which is pretty cool. Um, I was also a TA for that embedded systems class that I told you guys about that really, you know, hooked me on the electrical engineering side as well. Um, so that was really cool to be able to help people, you know, wire up Fred supports for the first time and, you know, not, not necessarily electric keep themselves right.
Be safe with, with breadboards. Um, I also did two different leadership programs at [00:11:00] MIT, which was the Gordon engineering leadership program that teaches you that, you know, the, the engineering behind everything is only 25% of the fixture. It’s being able to communicate. It’s being able to advocate, it’s being able to negotiate, um, do conflict resolution, all those other soft skills that really matter.
And then also the community catalyst leadership program, which provided me with one-on-one. From an MIT alumni, which is kind of cool. I was also a peer career advisor and freshmen associate advisor, helping underclassmen out with, you know, finding internships, um, doing, you know, figuring out which classes they wanted to take.
So it was really, um, a, a great experience giving back to, um, underclassmen. And so the passing on the advice that I’ve received from upperclassmen when I was in freshmen and sophomore year, um, I also participated in a bunch of women’s organizations like society of women, engineers, and women in ECS. And then finally, I was also, um, holding a bunch of leadership positions and the sorority that I was involved in, as well as a leadership position [00:12:00] in a Panhellenic executive board, which is kind of the executive governing body for all sororities at MIT, not just my sorority.
Yeah. And so what I do in college is as a combined student, I’m involved in some reasons. Um, so at brown center for computational molecular biology, I also really enjoy, um, teaching some bio TA.
And, um, one thing that I’ve found really exciting is in kind of a fun way to explore my passions outside of just my major is I’m still involved with jazz combo brown, which I absolutely love. And then I also edit and write for some scientific and medical publications on campus.
Um, so now what are some common college classes for a computer science major? Yeah, so some, it really [00:13:00] varies what year you’re in. Typically in the first couple of years, started off doing fairly fundamental classes that are standard across all curriculums at all colleges. But then eventually once you get into your upper class years, you can take more electives.
So in the first couple of years, you’ll be taking intro to programming classes, you’ll be taking, um, intro to ECS via something like via in that systems or via medical technical. LG or via robotics. Right. So something like that. Um, and then in sophomore year, typically you’ll be taking a discrete math class to understand some of the math behind computer science, um, data structures and algorithms, which is really critical to understanding all the ways you can kind of code up reality per se, in a, in a coding program, um, programming fundamentals, software engineering, as well as computational structures assembly, which is what, how do you go from code to what your computer actually does you learn about registers and, you know, storing and loading variables and how your [00:14:00] CA your computer kind of works under, uh, under the table, per se?
Yeah. And, uh, so as junior and senior class, I feel like in my experience, that’s been a lot of the elective classes. So like Amanda was saying, you know,
Two years on the junior and senior classes tend to be okay, I’m going to focus on my area of interest. And even within brown, for example, um, within our CS department, there’s like different tracks, right? So there’s some students who focus on like the cybersecurity track and some focus more on like the AI deep learning kind of tracks, that’s where you specialize.
So for me personally, as a computational biology student, um, the classes that I’ve been kind of taking are artificial intelligence in biomedicine classes, in classes where I’ve learned about this district, statistical methodologies, that and computational methodologies that are especially applied to genomic and proteomic data.
So that’s kind of [00:15:00] what varies from student to student. And then one thing that’s kind of cool to keep in mind is, um, these different tracks, those are kind of different for different schools. So for example, maybe one school doesn’t have a cybersecurity track in other school. Does. If you’re thinking we really like CS.
And if you think you already know, like, I really like the specific area of CS, it’s maybe a good thing to look into now to see, okay. All these schools I’m applying to, which one has that track in that area I’m especially interested in.
Okay, great. So now, what was your favorite class related to your major? So for me it was definitely security classes. Um, basically my favorite class was out of all of those were, uh, computer systems and security. It’s basically the first class that teaches you. How do systems of computers work together? Um, but it [00:16:00] took a basic dive into operating systems, computer networks, like how computers talk to each other distributed systems, which is not a whole bigger scale of.
Um, and also security and that’s kind of what captured my interest of security, which was one, the professor was kind of like, you know, a plot twist guys. The internet is very poorly designed and can be easily hacked, so we need to defend it. And here’s how, um, she had a very satirical kind of, um, kind of point of view.
And it was a very funny lecture that she always would do. Um, but the, it kind of got me interested in security and here I am today working on security, um, as a grad student.
And then, so for me, um, I really liked my very first cause when my, my first elective class is just like machine learning class at like the most basic level. And I feel like you kind of hear a lot about like, oh, AI, this and then the news. And I, I had heard about it, but I don’t really know much about it.
So I think taking this first machine learning class and kind of seeing [00:17:00] all the different algorithms that you could use. Functionally the theory behind, like, why does this cause a lot of, it’s just like a bunch of like matrix algebra and how that works and how that creates this programs that can, you know, pull out important pieces of information from these huge datasets.
I thought that was super cool. And it’s also super cool to know that, Hey, for datasets like this, you know, these algorithms might be better for other datasets. These ones might be better. So gave me a really good theoretical and kind of general overview of machine learning, which I really appreciated.
Okay, great. Um, what are some career options that are available for a computer science major? Yeah, so really as a computer science major, let me just say you will probably have the most job options out there of any major in college period. The, in this digital world that we live in, every company, every [00:18:00] sector, every home, every country needs technology.
Right. Um, so, uh, some of the common places where you sort of see people going are in software engineering roles, which is where you’re coding, um, it might not, it might be for a big tech company slash slash a fortune 500 company like Boeing or GE. It could also be at startups where they’re trying to make something new and patent the new checkbox.
Um, or it could be for medium-sized companies that just need an it department to run their networks so that people can get access to their email. Right. Um, as far as cybersecurity, um, there are defensive positions, what we call blue teams, which try to defend against the hackers. And there are also offensive teams slash pen testing teams, which we call red teams that whose job it is to hack their product before the bad guys hack their product so that they, we can tell the developers, Hey, you need to patch up this vulnerability to knock it.
Um, they do it with good intention, of course. And there are a [00:19:00] lot of opportunities in cybersecurity, especially with the government. Um, clearance positions are really, you know, clean cream of the crop as far as getting access to. You know, the, the state of the art cybersecurity technology. Um, there are also some other tracks that you could find yourself on, which is, um, program manager, which is where I’m going into after grad school.
Um, which is where you’re doing, you know, you’re designing the architecture behind different technologies and then working with software engineers who code them up for you. Um, you could also find yourself going into consulting for the big consulting firms, like Kinsey or, uh, center. Um, and then grad school and academia is also a path that people like to take to.
Yeah. So, uh, kind of going off that, I feel like Amanda had a very, very good overview, like, you know, all the amazing opportunity to do.
Skewed comp bio, um, view on [00:20:00] it. So as a comp bio major, in addition to all these CS stuff, you can also, um, you know, go into life sciences consulting, and then also computational biologist is like a it’s own kind of position. So you can work for a lot of pharma companies, biotech companies, you know, think like Genentech, Novartis, Roche, you can also apply those same skills and more of an academic institution, like the broad Institute or Memorial Sloan Kettering.
And, um, so there’s lots of options there. There’s also lots of private companies, you know, like think about all these new, like,
um, you can also kind of go into more like, you know, the digital kind of part of things. So not just genomic stuff, but how can we make like healthcare, lid apps and stuff like that. And then for me personally, I’m going into medical school. More of a, like a me thing. I don’t think all computational biologists go that direction.
But as a comp, a patient biologist, that’s also an option. And [00:21:00] I have heard of CS people with CS backgrounds going into medicine or law. So it’s definitely not unheard of. There’s so much you can do with the CS degree. And just what, just one thing to say, when you graduate with a computer science degree, you will have a job, right?
There is no doubt that you will have a job with a computer science major. There is some company out there who needs someone to code up stuff. All right. Regardless of what that stuff is. So it’s a really good, a good major to choose for if you’re thinking about career and job prospects.
Okay. So that’s the end of the presentation part of the webinar. I hope you found this information helpful and remember that you can download the sides and the handouts tab or from the link in the public. Moving on to the live Q and a of it through the questions that you submitted in the Q and a tab, I’ll paste them into the public chat so everyone can see it.
And then I’ll read them out loud. The, [00:22:00] our panelists can give an answer. You can direct your question to just one panelist or both well answered. And as a heads up, if your Q and a tab, isn’t letting you submit questions, just double check that you joined the webinar through the custom link in your email and not from the webinar landing page.
Okay. So the first question I see, what is the difference between computer science and engineering? I can take this question. So the primary difference comes in typically the prerequisites that you need to take. Um, most often computer science majors are in the school of arts and sciences at the university.
So they have different general education requirements than engineering majors. Engineering majors typically need to take chemistry, physics, calculus, right versus arts and science majors might need to take a little, a couple more humanities classes and not necessarily do chemistry and physics, um, per se.[00:23:00]
Um, and then also as far as the curriculum goes and what you do with a computer engineering versus computer science degree, computer engineering is typically known as, um, the field that combines hardware and software together, um, versus computer science. Predominantly software. Um, but that can vary from college to college.
So when you go visiting your colleges, I’d recommend talking to their CS or, um, computer engineering department to find out what the differences for that specific college.
Okay. Next up, did you feel supported as a female stem student? And did you have this supported group supportive group of women, professors and mentors?
Um, I think I’ll start off with this one then Amanda, if you want to add some more, please feel free. So, um, I
did I have a student. Um, so I think in most of my [00:24:00] classes with the CS department and I think brown CS, and I also think CS departments across the country are really making an active effort to have a women in. Um, feel more supported in stem cause they kind of recognize that, Hey, that there’s a little bit of a gender discrepancy and the representation in this field.
So for example, um, even in these really big CS classes, I haven’t felt super in the minority as a woman. I think brown does a decent job to have it, at least at, I want to say at least like 40 to 60. So it’s not like
additionally they have groups like there’s a women in computer science group at Browns. That’s private an additional community for women in CS. And then also I personally have been super lucky that, um, my research mentors actually a woman and a woman of color just like me, which has been, um, something that’s made me feel even more supported.
So that’s been really nice experience for me. [00:25:00] Yeah, I, and I just also want to highlight, you know, the society of women engineers, right? The women in computer science, women in stem types of clubs at those universities can make a really big difference because where I got all my inspiration from was from upperclassmen and where I was inspired myself was also to give that inspiration to the next generation of female, computer scientists and software engineers and computer engineers and electrical engineers.
Um, so, you know, as, as females in computer science, you know, we kind of have a responsibility to pass down the inspiration and you can often get that from interacting with other people. And also, um, networking, if you end up getting internships or, you know, meeting people at career fairs who are, uh, females and computer scientists, don’t feel like you’re just restricted to talking to them for, oh, uh, how do I get an internship at your company?
If they inspire you. Email them right. Set up a time to talk and figure, uh, ask them like what their career [00:26:00] journey was about. Um, I know, you know, when eventually when I get that experience, I’m going to love talking to people about my career journey. So most women love doing it. And if you can get inspiration from that, the more inspiration, the better
next question. Do you know any programs that combined both computer science and laws?
So now not particularly at my school, but I do know that a very common area that people like to concentrate on is digital. So, um, the fact is that, you know, governments are usually very, at least in the United States are very, very high, uh, as far as like, they do not keep up with digital technology in this digital revolution very well.
So the laws are always like a solid 10 to 15 years behind the technology. Um, so there’s definitely a lot of work to be done as far as creating policy and, you know, protecting privacy and, you [00:27:00] know, the ethics and legal implications of like selling your data to other companies. You know, there’s a lot of work in that area.
Um, and potentially one school. If they do have a pre-law track, you might be able to combine your pre-law track with your computer science major, if that’s what you want to concentrate on. Um, but I’d say that’s something you might want to ask your school when you go into business. Yeah, kind of on that. I actually have a.
So I know from high school who I think did some kind of foam, which some kind of engineering as an undergrad, and now she’s at Cornell’s law school. And her specific interest like Amanda was saying, is this kind of intersection
it’s, I don’t know of any programs in particular, but I do know it’s a very viable and also very exciting career. So it’s cool that you’re thinking about that already. The next question I’m seeing is, was there any moment in your life where you got bored of your major and had no idea if you wanted to continue with it or not?[00:28:00]
Okay. So I would, I, I’m kind of going to rephrase that question and put it, uh, answer it from the perspective of was, are there. Is it easy to be a computer science major? Not at all. It’s a hard field. Right. Um, so don’t get discouraged if you, if you don’t find yourself, you know, um, the first time you code, if you don’t find it easy, that’s okay.
Cause it sure wasn’t for me just being completely, completely honest. Um, but as far as this, this aspect of, of keeping things interesting, I think that’s one of the, it’s a blessing in disguise, right? That’s one of the best things about computer science is that you can apply computer science anywhere.
Like, if you, if you’re interested in interested in manufacturing, you can apply computer science to robots, automating manufacturing for you. If you’re interested in law, you can look up digital technology. Um, and you know, the, the laws with that, if you’re interested in, you know, neuro like brain surgery, you can work on, you know, robots doing brain surgery, [00:29:00] right.
And computational, uh, neuro biology. I would imagine there’s, there’s something out there like that. So you can really combine computer science with anything. So if your passion changes, usually computer science can kind of come along with you during your journey. Yeah. I totally agree with everything that Amanda said.
and there are moments where not like computer science, isn’t easy. It’s tough there. Challenge. Sometimes you’re working on your code and it’s just not working and you have an assignment due the next day and it can be pretty stressful, but I feel like there’s been moments where I’ve been, you know, stressed and maybe a little bit like, oh, like this is a drag and felt that about my major, but I’ve never, ever been bored of it.
I feel like it’s just like Amanda was saying, there’s so many exciting applications, so many different ways you can apply it. You know, you could apply it to basically any field. So I’ve never felt bored of it. But I have been like, oh, I’ve been challenged by it before, but never bored. [00:30:00] So now how much math is used in computer science?
I think that, that depends on what area of computer science you’re going into. I know from a, from a cybersecurity point of view, there isn’t that much math involved in it, but for something like artificial intelligence and machine learning, there is a lot of. Involved in it. So, um, typically computer science programs require you to take discrete math, which is, um, basically proofs, um, with you proving all these different things like proof by induction proof, by contradiction, all these different methods, um, to prove things.
But whether you actually ended up using that or not, um, depends on what area you end up doing things in first standard coding job as a software engineer, you probably not going to have a lot of math, but if you end up going to grad school at the end up doing something with new machine learning algorithms, math might generally come in handy.
Yeah. Kind of basically, [00:31:00] same thing. Yeah. Math is definitely a requirement. So don’t think, oh, I’m doing CS. There’s going to be no math. You definitely gonna have to do your handful of math classes. It’s, you know, part of your major. Um, but if you, you can still like, if you’re like, oh, I don’t love this mathy stuff.
You can still have a very successful career in CS. And, you know, pick one that maybe has a little bit less math.
It’s a green CS without a little bit of math. Yeah. Um, no I’m seeing in the chat. Do I need to take all three types of science at least one year in high school,
at least from my perspective, that depends on the college you’re applying to. I think that’s more of like an admissions requirement for a university or for a school within a university that you’re applying to. So there’s, isn’t necessarily a standard answer per se. Um, but I would check, I would go to info sessions at the colleges that you’re [00:32:00] interested in to check and see if they require a certain high school classes or not.
So now the next question is more about applying for jobs after college. Well, smaller jobs that need coders call for you, or is it your job to find them like, what if they’re not? Well, no. I can definitely comment on this because I’ve had a lot of experience helping people in the kind of the career sector.
Um, there it’s a mix, right? Um, if you had a good presence on LinkedIn, recruiters will message you like every single. Asking you, if you want to come and work with that, right. Um, if you don’t necessarily have a good presence on LinkedIn, you might have to reach out to some alumni at your school, ask them if they’re looking for a job, reach out to a local business in your neighborhood.
Um, but the, the best advice that I would give is utilize your network. Your network can be huge, right? If you’re trying to get to, you know, those big companies like Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, Netflix, right? [00:33:00] Um, like those companies could be. To get into, and usually you need referrals for that. So ask your parents, did they know anybody that works at, you know, a software company?
Do they know anybody who knows anybody who works at a software company? Right? You can, you can go however many degrees of connection. You need to go to eventually be able to, to find somebody that could help you get into those big companies. Um, but if it just comes to small companies, the moment you say you majored in computer science, they’ll probably interview you.
And I always break getting a job up into two categories. First is you get the interview. Second is you pass the interview. Once you both, you get the offer.
Um, now I’m him. What can I do to make myself stand out to colleges?
Um, this is definitely a tricky one and it’s probably like a whole, it could be a whole webinar by itself. So I’ll try answering it as briefly as I can.[00:34:00]
The colleges are looking for is like a genuine, just like this back. Just really show that you’re the kind of student who kind of like Amanda was saying before actually is actively seeking out opportunities. Um, so kind of, you want to show that you’re the kind of person, no matter where you go, you’ll be successful because you want to grow and you want to seek out opportunities.
And that also having that quality, like the perspective, getting into colleges and not that quality is always an important quality to have. Like whether you go to, you know, a state school or, you know, like your college close to home, or you go,
oh, two as called with any, want to like grow and seek opportunities that will always make you successful where you go. Because at the end of the day, my personal opinion is it’s not about where specifically you go, but it’s about what you do, where you are. So whether that be. [00:35:00] College is close to home or that’s called it’s far away.
Yeah. Um, I think that was, that was a really great piece of advice there. Um, I would also add on to that and say kind of, like I was saying in the beginning, like, don’t wait for opportunities to come to you. Right. Um, a lot of people think, you know, particularly people who are in like, um, lower income areas, right.
They typically, you know, I talked to a lot of students who are like, but I don’t have a robotics club, but I don’t have this, but I don’t have that. Um, like not only is it admissions, you know, holistic look at that and they’ll look at that price bile and they’ll see, you know, where you grew up with type of environment, a school district you went to.
Um, but it’ll be way more impressive in what resources you do have you kind of create an opportunity for yourself, right? Um, I know [00:36:00] somebody who, you know, in this class offered at their school and they went to the library every single afternoon, learn on their own. That’s what Paul’s seeking out your, an opportunity to say, okay, I’m not going to do computer science because my school doesn’t offer it.
What’s the next thing my school does offer. They wanted to learn computer science. So they found a way to do it. Right. It’s kind of problem-solving at its core. So seek out your own opportunities. Don’t necessarily wait for them to.
Is there any of this next question is directed to you, how close or different is biomedical engineering and computational biology, what interests correlate with each?
Yeah. So that’s a really, really great question. There’s actually something that I haven’t really think about much when I was in high school. I found supplied. That’s good that you’re thinking about it now. So I’m talking to my [00:37:00] friends who are biomedical engineers are like kind of shorthanded BMEs. So for backing to those people, I’ve kind of realized that, um, biomedical engineering tends to be a little bit more about like, you know, building physical things.
So if you can imagine, like, kind of like Amanda was talking about, you know, like a robotic arm of like robotic, but she, that
maybe some pleasuring device, it’s a lot more about physical. Well, computational biology. My experience is a lot more based in computer science. So the kind of way I like to think about it, um, is, you know, I, and the, my first few years of school, I took you on this foundational CS classes. You know, those kinds of CS 1 0 1, we learned about data structures and algorithms and object oriented programming.
That’s what it is a comp bio major as a biomedical engineer, your foundational classes, won’t be CS classes, there’ll be engineering classes. So it’ll be classes where you learn about like, you know, structures and I’ll be probably a little bit [00:38:00] more,
Hey, do I want to go the BME route? Do I wants to go the kumbaya route? One thing that I kind of realized about myself is I really love CS, but when it came to physically building things, I was always like, fuck, I don’t, I don’t find that super interesting. In the middle school we had like, you know, toothpick building, like bridge buildings up.
I never really liked that stuff. So I like building stuff was never building physical stuff was never that fun for me. So I kind of thought about it. And I was like, I don’t really know, like a pure BME program is for me. Um, that being said, some schools that don’t offer con
mutational engineering, there are different tracks and sometimes comp bio is a track within biomedical engineering, but you’ll still have to do that, you know, foundational engineering 1 0 1 and then kind of, you know, specifically go into the bioinformatics or comp [00:39:00] BioTrack within the engineering major.
So that’s also something to think about. So when I was applying, I had the option, you know, to go to schools that were BME and I could go on that CS comp BioTrack, but I was never super interested in that like foundational engineering stuff. So I thought those were maybe slightly worse than the fit for me.
Okay, next question. I’m seeing if I wanted to go into the government for cyber security, are there specific colleges that recruit for government jobs? So I wouldn’t necessarily say specific colleges per se, the government programs that are out there. Um, if you are a us citizen, you can check out programs that are, um, with the NSA, with the CIA, with the SBA GI.
Um, they have like, you know, I’ve heard from some of my friends per se, like they have like the top of the top, you know, uh, like technology that they’re working on, um, for that reason. Um, but I would say, [00:40:00] you know, the, the biggest thing that I’ve heard from my friends going into government is, um, you should be past.
About helping out, you know, your country, whatever country you are from, um, you should be loyal to that country, right? They, because in order to like go into that field with government orgs, you will need to get like clearances and stuff. So they’ll need to see that you’re not a threat to that government per se.
Um, so I wouldn’t necessarily say there are specific colleges that they recruit at, but rather there are applications that, um, you will be submitting and that will kind of give you, um, access to. Being considered for those internships and full-time jobs. But again, one thing, again, I don’t necessarily have experience with that, but one thing that I know helped me out get jobs just in regular industry was connections to people that were at the companies that I wanted to go to Microsoft, apple, Facebook, stuff like that.
And they helped me get interviews. And then when it comes to the interviews, it’s just being able to [00:41:00] pass the interviews, which are usually, you know, technical interviews, which would be like, uh, coding, uh, a coding question, like, um, reverse a link list for me or something like that. Um, or if it’s in the cybersecurity domain, they might ask you questions about networking.
They might ask you questions about assembly. And I was talking about earlier, um, anything sort of, depending on what area of cybersecurity you’d be getting into. So I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s specific colleges that recruit for government jobs, but rather represent that you’re loyal to your country, um, network with people that, you know, and then prepare for the.
Okay. So we’re part way through the Q and a as a quick break, I wanted to let you know what you want to do, what you could do after this webinar. If you wanted to get help on your college applications from our panelists or any of our other advisors from CollegeAdvisor, we have two monthly advising plans, the startup plan and the sky plan.
They’re both monthly subscriptions where you [00:42:00] get matched with an advisor of your choice and you got one or two hours of one-on-one advising each month. We also have larger packages that come with a set number of hours and an extended relationship with your advisor. As advisors, we will work with you on your college essays, two things, schools, interviews, and more, and sending everyone at this panel, a link to get started.
Um, this offer links to our page to sign up. I students at CollegeAdvisor, I’ve had a ton of success. This past admissions season. We had caused it by their clients, get into all the IDs and every top 25 school in the country, our clients rate us 9.8 out of 10. And that’s because advisors put a ton of parents are working with you.
One-on-one through every step of your application. If you want to discuss one-on-one with me or any of our advisors, this is a great chance to work with us. Okay. Well continue with the Q and a. [00:43:00] Now, um, the next question is how much do you actually code as a computer science major?
I would say it, it depends, right? It depends what, what you’re focusing. You could be, if you were in the robotics field, you’d be coding a little bit. Um, and building a lot. If you were in the software engineering field, you’d be coding a lot. So get comfortable with whatever languages you’d be coding it. Um, if you’re in machine learning, you’ll, you’ll probably be, you know, coding a little bit, but using a lot of libraries where the code kind of already exists for you.
Um, and for cybersecurity, it’s a lot more of, of reading the code rather than writing the code. Um, at least on the offensive side. And then on the defensive side, it’s fixing code that already exists. So,
so now, um, how much [00:44:00] experience in computer science do you recommend for our high school? Didn’t aspire to be a computer science major in college. Yeah,
I would say, um, if you, if you are interested in computer science, the first language I would recommend checking out would be Python. So the most English language of the mall, um, it has the least syntax things that will make your code not run, um, which is a big thing in computer science that can be annoying sometimes like forgiving for getting a semi-colon or a curly brace or something like that.
Um, so I, I recommend with Python, but in, in almost like at MIT at, I would imagine most of the Ivies too, like there are people that come to MIT with no coding experience at all and major in computer science. So I, if there’s a university that’s like, oh, that person doesn’t have any computer science experience, uh, experience.
[00:45:00] We’re not going to end up them. Right. I wouldn’t, I don’t know if I want to attend that school cause it probably speaks to their culture. Um, which sounds a little bit toxic as far as like the experienced people, not experienced people. Like I would want to be there myself, but um, if you’re interested in it, you can learn Python, learn, learn a couple of languages.
Um, try some things out, do your own projects, but you definitely don’t need to know how to code in order to get admitted to computer science. Yeah, I’d totally agree with that. Um, I think what I mentioned also about the culture is also very important. Um, so for example, I go to brown, um, and at brown you can kind of, because the thing about brown is, um, this maybe like a breath is everything.
There’s no like the whole idea of like, oh, there’s a school of engineering, which is schoolwork.
The front it’s kind of just all the same. So it’s actually relatively easy to transfer in transfer out of majors. Um, so I, for example, I have some friends who like decided that he wanted to major in computer science. Um, second [00:46:00] semester of sophomore year, which first see, I can just kind of fun to be like a credit heavy major, kind of late in the game, but he still made it work.
He, he took one class and was like, Hey, I actually kind of really liked this. And he really liked it. And he had no coding experience. He wasn’t even planning on being a CS major originally and he kind of fell in love with it a little bit. Um, so definitely don’t feel like you have to know and do all these projects and do all these things to become a CS major.
Okay. Now, moving on, um, what colleges did you apply to and what helped you make your decision? So for me, my rich schools were MIT and Cornell school of engineering. Um, but both of which I got into, um, and then my target schools were Northeastern and WPI. Both which I got into my safety schools were RPI RIT.[00:47:00]
I was already at Clarkson university. So I was, I was already a student there. Um, and then university of Rochester too, was a target school. Um, but I think what, in the end I was between Cornell MIT and Northeastern. Um, I knew I wanted to focus a lot on my career and Northeastern’s co-op program stood out to me a lot for that.
Um, I had already been at Carson university, which was literally in the middle of nowhere. Potsdam has like a population of 4,000 people turtle. So actual little and over here, 25 minutes away from the Canadian border. And I knew I wanted to be at a city, so that kind of ruled Cornell out for me. Um, but then when I came back, came down to MIT and Northeastern, I was really torn because both had tons of career opportunities for me.
Um, and they were both in a city there in Boston, which I loved, um, right across the river from one another. But for me it was the community, uh, on campus at MIT that really sold the deal for me. When I met people during the admitted students weekend, I was sold in a nutshell, my parents told me not to make the decision until I was off campus.
I did wait [00:48:00] until I was off campus, but still I was sold at that point. So,
yeah. And so for me personally, um, I think the schools out there deciding between like the toughest night to make was the T between brown, which had a bio program. And Penn, the university of Pennsylvania, um, which also had a combined program. So like I was saying, you know, I applied to some schools as BME or CS
really we’re at brown and Penn. So deciding between the two schools was pretty tough, but I think what really solidified it for me was the fact that I got into the eight year med program at brown. So while I love CS, I know that I want to apply it to medicine. I know that I really want to get an MD and kind of combined my clinical and computational backgrounds to medicine.
And so kind of having that guaranteed seat and Brown’s med school really sweetened the deal and kind of sold me on brown in all honesty, I [00:49:00] think from kind of the, you know, what you hear and stuff. I think when it comes to pre-professional,
I have heard that Penn can be maybe a better place for that kind of stuff. So had it not been for the eight year program, maybe it’d be at Penn. Who knows.
So now next question. Did you have free time in college or did computer science classes consume your Daz? For me, it depends on what class you’re talking about. Um, there, there are those classes that are known to have, you know, like 30 hours a week, right? The software engineering class at MIT in particular, um, takes like 40 hours a week of your time.
So it basically is like a full-time job. Um, but then there were semesters where I did also have a lot of free time. Um, and I was taking more elective classes, which are kind of. Um, the, the recommendation that I would have on that is look on the course [00:50:00] catalog or the course surveys slash evaluations that your university has.
And I, my team, we can see how many times, um, like from the students who took it, the previous semester is offered on average, how much time did they spend per week to that class? Um, so even if the professor ranks it as like a 12 unit class, which is supposed to be 12 hours a week, one unit for every hour, you spend each week, um, at the professor’s discretion, maybe students only spend seven hours a week, or maybe students spend 40 hours a week on a 12 unit software engineering class like they do at MIT.
Um, so you use those previous course surveys to really assess and talk, talk to upperclassmen, get the advice from them to really assess which classes are difficult, which classes are easier, which ones are fun, which one is scoring, which has a good professor, which has a bad.
Yeah. Um, kind of totally agree. Amanda said, so it really depends on the class. Like I’m at brown weep and famously have, um, somebody called like CS 33, which is like the software [00:51:00] engineering class. And the running joke is it’s 33 because it takes like 33 hours per
we kind of, to be honest with you guys as a computational biology major, I’ve been able to, you know, cause I’m not really interested to see the full software engineering track. I’ve been kind of able to like, you know, go around the software engineering classes and kind of take classes in a more computational biology classes, which tend to be a little bit less time depending on the school, but it found that’s the case.
So it it’s really smart to be mindful about what class you’re taking. Then also, if you’re taking a really intense software engineering class, don’t put like, you know what, I’m going to take a super hard bio class and the superintendents math class and this stack stuff. So you kind of be strategic about when you pick your class.
It’s like us, because it’ll just be a very, not fun semester for you. And you’ll kind of, you’ll kind of hate it. It’s like they should be learning a lot in the kind of end up being like, oh, I’m like, why did I do this to myself? So [00:52:00] definitely be mindful of that.
Um, now this question is to both penalize, did you ever consider a major outside of, um,
um, I did not personally. What I did consider was double majoring in political science, but at that time I was kind of already like three-quarters of the way through my computer science curriculum. And I determined that if I wanted to go to grad school, like right after undergrad, I didn’t necessarily have time to double major.
Otherwise I’ll start would have been more semesters for me. Um, but I particularly was kind of sold on stem once I got involved in first year.
Yeah, I was actually in the same boat. Um, I was always kind of, you know, like a math science kind of person. And while I liked my English classes, I kind of liked like I still, of course, as, even as like an important thing to also mention is as a CS major, like [00:53:00] I don’t wanna take exclusively stem and CS classes.
I also taking out the case
location, which is really important. It kind of, you know, grocery as a person and it’s super important to include your education, but I never, I took those more as like elective classes. I never considered majoring, um, in a major of those stem.
Um, now the student wants to design computers. Um, should I major in computer engineering? Yes, computer engineering will probably have one of those classes where you actually take apart a computer. Look at the motherboard, look at the Ram, look at the CPU, like look at all these different hardware components.
Um, I’d say computer engineering is, is definitely the right fit because it teaches you both the hardware and the software. Um, if you’re interested in just here, like soldering and hardware components and only the hardware, not like [00:54:00] particularly computer hardware, electrical engineering might be more suited, but then you get into things like power systems and grids and you know, more, um, bigger than just computers.
Um, so I’d say computer engineering is the right major. Okay. Next question. What are some recommended activities or programs that will support my admission?
I would say there’s, there’s not necessarily like a golden for. For admissions. I think that, you know, what admissions officers want to see is that you are figuring out what you’re passionate. Right. And if you find something you’re passionate in, seek out an opportunity to exercise that passion, don’t wait for it to come to you.
Right. Um, I think that there isn’t necessarily one activity that gets everybody admitted who does this one activity. Right. Um, [00:55:00] so as far as I’m not necessarily sure that I could comment on that, cause I’m not sure what, uh, the student who asked that question in particular is interested in. Um, but talk to your teachers, talk to, you know, your, your parents, if your parents know anybody who, um, is a software engineer out in industry, or is a hardware engineer or, you know, does machine learning, or does security, or, you know, is in the computer science field per se, just talking with them and seeing what they do and getting their advice can kind of give you sort of a compass heading.
What you might want to try out like a, like a project or a course or something like that. Also go on edx.org. They have tons of classes you can take for free, um, including the computer science domain.
Yeah. I’m kind of like, man, who was saying, there’s no one right thing one right way to do it. But I think really, if you’re interested in computer science, like, you know, look into some computer science related opportunities, you know, see if you can learn some stuff on edX, [00:56:00] see if you can, you know, teach yourself a little bit of Python and also whether or not, I think it’s also important to you in mind, like maybe you’ll do this stuff and you
like, well, so having these experiences to try new things, it’s also experiences to grow.
Um, now the next question is what, uh, what are the colleges you’re looking at? How’s computer science, but doesn’t have the minor. You want to go along with computer science. So do you still apply there or look elsewhere?
I would say that it, it depends, um, you know, college, uh, just like colleges use a holistic approach, a holistic admissions process. Wouldn’t consider you for their university. You should probably use a holistic process when considering them to, [00:57:00] uh, maybe they have a fabulous career program that can line you up with internships galore.
Um, maybe they have, you know, division one sports and just the rowdiest crowd of students on Friday nights at that hot. Like, you know, um, they, there’s a lot of things that go into the college experience. So I wouldn’t necessarily just say, oh, if they don’t have money or I’m looking for, I’m not going to apply to it, but you should probably make like a ranked list of things that you value in a college and sort of score each college.
If you’re looking for like a numerical approach perhaps, um, or you should just like consider them and write down how you feel about that college after visiting. Um, cause eventually I that’s another thing I wish I would have done writing down how I felt after visiting colleges is kind of hard to decide.
Um, cause I knew something when I was on the campus, but after that I kind of forgot about it. Um, but you know, sort of go with your gut, go with your instinct, right? Write down things that you remember and try to evaluate it on a [00:58:00] holistic process.
Um, no next question. Do you recommend going to grad school for computers?
I guess I could kind of answer this too, since I am in grad school right now, it depends on what you want to do. And it depends on what types of jobs and what types of companies are out there. If you want to be a software engineer and ended up working at Google, you do not need to go to grad school. You can start off making a six figure salary living in California, Seattle, New York, Boston.
Like you can start making tons of money, honestly, without a master’s degree without a PhD. Right. Um, but if you want to go into, you know, um, artificial intelligence, right. Something that’s more theoretical grad school might be very well aligned for that. If you want to go into a field that isn’t necessarily, you know, it, as, you know, popular or common grad school might be an option [00:59:00] because it will give you the resources to kind of explore a new field per se.
Um, it really depends.
Well, where in the end of the webinar, I think this will be our last question. Are there any classes slash careers that blend art and computer science,
uh, gather actually a lot I’m at brown, for example, and they’re actually, I think that whole field is something that’s very new and emerging and a lot of people are feeling the same way as you. So for example, at brown Wesleyan called steam, so it’s like stem with an a in there and that a stands for the arts.
So there’s a lot of cool ways that people are thinking about how we can apply, you know, the arts to computer science and also vice versa. So I know a lot of people there’s like, you know, digital art, and also I think Brandy,
he would have a class. There are definitely [01:00:00] a lot of exciting ways that, you know, computer science and the arts can be blended. And that also kind of goes back to that point that we were talking about in the video. That computer science is a very exciting field, but also in an, in like a certain way, it’s kind of like a tool that can be applied to almost any field.
So that includes of course art. Yeah. And I also add on there. Um, typically what I see, um, I have a couple of friends who are really into like art as well and also music, um, a very common field for people who are interested in sort of the combination of art and CS is human computer interfaces or human graphical interfaces, um, where they kind of studied the graphical design of a lot of technology and how that, you know, there’s all these psychologists studies.
You know how people look at screens and look at designs. And how can you tell when something is a great app or when it’s totally a trash app or like where there’s that website that clearly is from like 2001 versus [01:01:00] a 2020 website. Um, you know, there’s a lot of stuff that goes into that and that’s typically, you know, a very good intersection of art and computer science to.
Okay, great. So this is the end of a QA. Thank you for all the questions from the audience. Here’s the information again about our pedal eyes. If you miss that at the beginning, and thank you to you, both for answering all these questions, um, we had a great time telling you about computer science. I hope that this well, this webinar was helpful to everyone and here is our February webinar series.
If you are interested in any other major, you can come to one of these. Um, thank you a lot for coming out tonight. I’m going to go ahead and fill webinars now. .