Summer Opportunities: Computer Science and Technology
CollegeAdvisor.com presents its summer opportunity series webinars on Computer Science and Technology in a 60-minute webinar and Q&A with college students and alumni. Our CollegeAdvisor panelist will share their insider perspectives on specific summer opportunities, how these opportunities impacted their college application, and how these experiences shaped their interests. Come ready to learn and bring your questions!
2021-04-26 Summer Opportunities Computer Science and Technology
Hi, everyone. Welcome to college advisors webinar on summer opportunities in computer science and technology. To orient everyone with the webinars timing, we’ll start off with a presentation. Then answer your questions in the live Q and a on the sidebar. You can download our slides and you can start submitting questions in the Q and a tab.
Now let’s meet our panelists.
Sorry. Hi my name is Austin Bennett and I am a gap year student from Stanford university where I plan to major in mathematics specific mathematics on a discrete sub plan and computer science. I needed the systems or theory track and basically just like really nerdy see us as nerdy as you can take it.
But it’s yeah, it’s pleasure to be here. I currently work as a software engineer full time and I’m an advisor group bullseye college advisor. So yeah, let’s get right into it. So I’m going to start off with the summer programs I did in high school and also just a little bit some activities from our school year, but I did do work in the summer.
So I’m gonna mention those as well. In computer science. So I computed the, probably the major one was I competed in what’s called the atheist cell or American computer science league where I was mass state champion and I attend to nationals. It’s a really good platform for doing it.
It’s a high actually even middle-school level, they have a league. But it’s mostly towards high schoolers. Basically it’s a mix of math with CS and CS. So it’s 50% like in class tests that are just math, CS problems, and then 50% is programs on. And from there you can qualify for nationals, which follows a similar structure.
You might’ve heard of what’s called the Bussaco which I believe is the us. A competing Olympiad. I think that’s, what’s called which is basically a lot of problems that are just online, similar style, but this is more it’s a little bit more team-based. As I say, it’s more of a. Less, so of a, everyone comes to it and more like a team thing, like with your high school.
If you don’t have a high school team, highly recommend you talk to whoever at your school organized a CS or math about creating one. Cause it’s really fun. I loved it. I also competed as a trivia team main and computer sciences, one of my topics. Cause that does come up quite often. Surprisingly I was captain senior year.
I held computer science internships at both my school it office, where I did some programming and also just work with some hardware and at the MIT Whitehead Institute, which is their biology research. One of the biology research centers I’ve worked in, what’s called the bark lab or bio informatics and research computing lab.
And I got to develop some tools for scientists to analyze gene data. So I was pretty. I also just throughout the year, but actually primarily in the summer, just because I had some downtime, did some programming problems on two pretty popular platforms HackerRank, which kinda is like somewhat like a LinkedIn for programmers, but it also, it has a lot of certifications and CS skills.
So if you’re trying to become a better programmer or you just want some challenges or you want exposure to a new language or opportunity hacker, it can be really good. Cause they also have some job fairs it’s nice. And project Oilers is probably my favorite site. It’s like a CS and math website.
The problems here are really tough. I would say, but they’re really fun. Like the first few are definitely manageable, but once you get Protocols like 20 or so it’s gets pretty difficult. And it’s nice because you can break down problems into math. They’re all based on mathematical phenomena.
So like prime numbers show up a lot. And you can model that after that. So if you really like math, I highly recommend you have project earlier account. Very fun. And I also took a full-stack course from treehouse.com, which is an online learning platform which was fine. I got to learn a lot of front-end web development.
I’m actually on pause right now from, towards the end of it, which is more on backend, but it’s, I highly recommend them as well. So on the academic side I served, I attended Carnegie Mellon university’s pre college program. Back when I was there as not as ADEA, I don’t know if any of you did that now it’s called summer session.
Basically they’re classes that you can take that yield undergraduate credit, which is really good. And so the actual full undergraduate courses, but they’re just compressed from 15 weeks to six weeks. And in them you can pick from a lot. So I chose CS both times. So obviously for both summers, I just mentioned that and there’s a little bit of summer work with this.
So I mentioned this as well, but again, it was mostly school year thing. I served as a teacher’s assistant for introduction to programming at my school. So how did I find out about these opportunities? So ACSO was a school sponsored activity. I simply signed up, but I had done some prep work in the summer.
The ITI office internship was like a small established program at my school for juniors and seniors. I did have to interview and they decided to put me on a website because I was fresh out of that Treehouse. I found Carnegie Mellon summer program with a Google search. I’m not kidding.
I literally looked up like CS, summer programs and I was like one of the first ones that came up, highly recommend another program. I’ll talk more on that later. Teacher’s assistant, I also did a little bit of prep work in the summer for this. I actually just asked my department head cause we haven’t really had teachers at my school before, but like the TA’s were really helpful during my summer program and I thought it’d be like, Hey, like I’m I do a lot of volunteer and private tutoring in my free time and I was a future at school.
So I was like, Hey, why can I be a teacher’s assistant? And they were really receptive because we also have a lot of people taking programming that year. So yeah, like I was one of the inaugural TA’s there as me and two of my friends and project oiler and HackerRank kind of word of mouth project or others like a buzz in the CS and math departments at my school.
That was one department. And hacker rank is something that you just hear as a programmer. A lot of people use and they’re just, they have great CS challenges. Yeah. And Treehouse just looking up online CS courses, Google search again, it’s your best friend. So how can I find these opportunities?
Give a little bit of advice here. Attend club fairs, talk to your teachers or start your own. I actually have a friend who started the CSL program at his school. I also recommend that you attend club fairs if they have them at your school, just because a lot of the times you might see like a really interesting opportunity for computer science.
Even if there isn’t a programming class per se or club per se. Like a robotics club, for example, often has programming. So I do know some schools have programming clubs and talk to your teachers. Your teachers are really good resource for computer science, if you don’t have a computer science department math teachers can often be really good.
There’s a lot of math teachers also program, not all of them, but pretty much, most of them at my school did they weren’t CS teachers just for fun. So they might know some things as well. And I’d also say, think outside your immediate community, like your school, maybe your town and Google and look up online organizations.
Computer science is a highly democratized field in terms of information. And so there’s a choking computer science that like we’re often professional Googlers because we often will look up solutions on Google and that’s because there’s just so much information out there. So like their online classes through MIT, OpenCourseWare, it’s a really good resource.
And our Carnegie Mellon posts their classes to to some degree. And there are other really good platforms, like a web three schools. And as I mentioned Treehouse and so you can just look at online organizations as well, highly recommend doing that. So describe a normal day in these programs.
So the Carnegie-Mellon pre college is the only established CS program I did. So I’ll just talk on that briefly, other than the job, but it’s pretty standard internships, so it wasn’t really much to it. So it was a six week program for both summers. I did it. And I took two undergraduate classes on an accelerated schedule.
So they did, instead of doing in a typical semester system, you do five classes and 15 weeks. But instead they made it at three times, sorry, two and a half times speed and put two classes at six weeks. So I had two to three lectures a day and recitations a day. So there’s like probably five hours of lecture.
And then in addition, I had four to five hours of homework. The classes it depended on the year, probably my first year I had three of my second year. I took more difficult classes for probably five, six. But about that and then there were occasional program sponsored events.
So at the program I went to, they actually took them all to see a movie one night, which was fun. And it was a Marvel movie. So of course we had to wait until after the credits, it’s fun. There was a local amusement park we went to sometimes there were like events sponsored within the actual like dorms that we stayed in, which was interesting.
And yeah, they had a lot of just good fostering community events there. Sometimes within a specific program, like I went to a for like my class at the time. And I guess you could also say office hours would count as this highly recommend going to office hours, if you do one of these programs, just because it can really help you understand the material.
And yeah, so that’s that. How did participating in these programs affect my college application? So again, I’m just going to mention Carnegie Mellon pre college. Cause I feel like that was the major one. But I can mention the internships briefly. I think that probably they gave me like, Hey, it’s nice to have work experience, but yeah, they were both pretty short.
They’re about four weeks each. It was cool to have the experience, but I feel like this was more significant because I got to take undergraduate courses that helped me prove myself academically. Carnegie Mellon has a notoriously difficult school of computer science. And so taking courses that are really, he helped me distinguish myself.
And also the scale sales learned in the courses helped me with the American computer science league as well with getting jobs and AC ESL, not for the first, there’s normally in regular season, you have to do three programs. The fourth one sometimes. And at nationals, they have different, very difficult programs that use algorithms that you probably won’t see in high school, unless you do some outside research or you go to a school with a really robust CS program.
Like a recursive backtracking, for example, or just like any kind of advanced recursion. And so learning how to do these kinds of algorithms along with using data structures really helped me with the American computer science league, as well as with getting jobs because in fish efficiency is very important in both.
Cause you have to have your solutions run into. And so getting to put those on my resume just was like, Hey, like I have some like university experience with computer science. And so that’s how I was able to get my white head job as well as the job that I currently have. So pretty cool.
And one professor who I had a really good relationship with actually wrote me a recommendation for Carnegie Mellon. I definitely think it helped my application cause that was like somewhat known there. But also it was just like, shoot, like we totally clicked and I thought it was a good recommendation, probably I hadn’t read it.
But hopefully it was good. And so that was for that it made me want to have more of a math slash theory specialization for computer science. So I went into it kind of guns, a blazing looking at like human computer interaction and AI. And while I still kept the AI focus I realized that in taking kind of the more advanced CS classes and math that I wanted to study a theory route.
Cause I really liked that like complexity theory and algorithms as well as a little bit of systems, just how computers connect and how we can optimize make things faster. So that’s the route I wanted to take and it led me to that route and then helped me confirm that computer science is what I wanted to study.
Of course the classes were very difficult. And at times it was a little bit overbearing, but it was something where I never disliked the work I was doing. I always really liked doing it. So it was something where I, this is Hey, like maybe tough, but this is really what I want to do later in life.
So it was nice for me to be able to confirm that computer science was what I wanted to study through these programs. What summer programs did I do in college? So I did, I actually took a gap year, as I mentioned before. So I’m just going to speak on the programs I did after high school to this coming year, just with that time.
So I figure it’s probably quite similar in terms of Like actual opportunities. For my senior project, which at my school you get like the last four weeks off of school to go do something. I got to work at the Whitehead Institute. MIT creating tools on Python for researchers is really fun.
I got to attend a lot of conferences and calls about PhD papers that did go over my head at times, but it was really cool to have like little scripts that I had written and a week or so, like they use for like compiling tons of genetic data. And so it was really cool to make like an impact of that.
And I had a good amount of experience at the time, but it was like still, it was cool to see my work finally make a really big difference in something. I also took a certificate course in cryptocurrency from MIT and participated in various. Computer science challenge platforms.
So the certificate course was offers you an online platform for the media lab, MIT media lab. Super interesting to learn about that technology and actually kinda makes me want to study economics now, too, and even more so systems cause that’s all based on distributed systems. And there were some, I just also cranked out a ton of problems on computer science challenge platforms like HackerRank and project Euler.
I got some certain certifications from HackerRank and I did a ton of project Euler problems. Really fun. Cause as you get past like 20, those things can take you like probably like hour or two, so you can probably block out some time. And so it’s a nice thing to do if you’re looking for a CS challenge.
I also worked as a private mathematics and computer science teacher. So started out mathematics just because there’s a lot of need. And then actually it was some of my clients once I got them back on track and I was like, Hey, you want me to teach you a computer science as well? And they were like, yeah.
And so now I do both it’s really interesting, highly recommend if you love teaching and you love mathematics and you love computer science definitely become a tutor. It’s really nice to make that difference. And also I just really think it’s fun. To teach people math and CS.
Cause it’s what I love and I want to share that with others. I also held a summer intern. So during the summer I held an internship with a FinTech company. And they’ve rehired me for the full year, which is actually why I took a gap year because they liked my work and I really liked working there.
Then with them, I’m still with them and we’ll be up until I go to college. So that was fun. I got to work in natural language processing. And I had a ton of creative control over a project actually a few projects. So it’s been really interesting for me because a lot of the times at the internship you’re editing code and doing tasks, but I actually get to write it.
So it was really nice. Of course it’d be verified by the developers, but it was really fun. It has been fun. And yeah, definitely about natural language processing. So I actually spent like the first two weeks. Researching linguistics and how that can be applied to sentence structure for what I was doing.
That’s super interesting. And I’ll say on this note if you can get a job in computer science, I highly recommend taking it. Real-world experience is invaluable when learning CS just because. There’s so much that you can learn in theory and writing it out. But when it’s like pedal to the metal, like there’s a lot of stuff where you actually have to figure things out okay, maybe this isn’t a perfect solution, but it works 95% of the time, something like that because there isn’t really always a magic answer.
And and breaking down those real world problems and to like these empirical solutions is really interesting and seeing the process of okay, how do we go from big, a morphous problem to smaller tasks and smaller tasks, small task, smaller test, smaller tasks. And finally, how do I implement that into the code?
And even with that kind of getting to do this outside and research on a really niche area can be really fun if you like research. Like I do. So highly recommend taking a job especially because a lot of the CS jobs that are available to high schoolers are the kind of level where you might be writing scripts and also occasionally research for CS.
But it’s more like applied CS as opposed to writing. Software, but still it’s very fun and very interesting. I’d also recommend it if you’re really interested in like computer engineering and how things connect, this can be really helpful. Cause you get to learn okay, like how do I diagnose problems on the computer?
Like how do I set up different computer things? And so I would like help set up all the computers in like the school as well as some extracurricular programs. So I think it can also be really interesting and it’s probably more available for high schoolers. So definitely recommend taking a job if you can get one there.
So how did these programs impact your interest in education? As I mentioned with Carnegie Mellon and also the summer programs it’s really confirmed to me that math and computer science is what I wanted to study. When I was making my college decision, I did choose Stanford. Even though it was pretty torn between that and a few other schools, just because it really did have everything.
And I didn’t really know what I wanted to study at the time. Like I was fairly certain, it was math CS, but I really wanted to like, explore it. And the decisive. But this year has really helped me confirm that’s definitely what I want to study, just cause I’ve really liked my job.
And I am just really excited to study more about it. And it’s allowed me to focus, narrow my focus towards systems theory and cryptography. So I’m really interested in cybersecurity. And how do we implement that with mathematics and that’s largely for cryptography. So that’s a lot of discreet structures and that’s actually why Stanford offers a discreet math major for computer science people.
That’s what I’m going to probably be majoring in. And also systems just, I’ve always been fascinated in how networks of computers work and stuff like taking the cryptocurrency courses really made me want to study systems more just cause it’s so interesting. And also the cryptocurrency course made me consider economics as well.
It was actually a field kind of a dark horse. I didn’t really expect to be interested in it, but it really made me interested in the field after I took the course. My job has also made me really interested in linguistics and NLP. So I don’t necessarily see myself being an AI major. But I thought about taking that track just because I’ve really liked my work with NLP and linguistics.
I just think it’s so cool. You can got to throw this thing into this model and it happens to come up with most of the time a correct answer, even though the problem is a morphous. I just think that’s really interesting. And aggregate like the programs have led me to consider either a, my track at Stanford, majoring in CS or majoring in math with the discrete sub plan.
And at Stanford you’re allowed to take what’s called a coterminal master’s, which you have to apply. But it’s an increased admissions rate, I believe. And you can kind of tack on a fifth year to get a master’s. So I thought about either just doing CS master’s in CS or math and then a master’s in CS, if I can.
That’s my current plan from what these programs have taught me. I don’t really know if that’s what’s going to happen. Cause you never really know in four years, but we’re going to try and make it work. All right. So what do I think summer programs might look like because of COVID-19?
Very tough to say this is the first thing I I don’t really have a crystal ball. But I would guess that online class forms would probably be the way they would do it. For most of them like the summer program I went to, which was pre college. I think that there is, I think actually Harvard summer school I, it might’ve been them.
I saw one of them was actually planning to be in person as, but they were mandating vaccines. Or there were still considering being in person. No one can really say right now just cause we don’t know how the pandemic is going to continue to unfold. But either way it’s probably, if the classes are still online, I still recommend taking them.
Like it’s a good opportunity, nonetheless. I do think that virtual slash work opportunities in CS will probably be virtual. My job has been virtual all year and there’s hasn’t been a lot of talk about coming back and just cause like it’s not for computer science, it’s not as necessary as other fields just cause you really can do it from anywhere.
But I do think in person opportunities will certainly become more available later in the summer, especially for it. Cause it is hands-on a lot of the time cause you’re working with like computer hardware and systems. So you do need to be in-person for that. I guess that’s the us internships are probably pretty similar since it’s not hard to do virtually I’d imagine they’d probably just keep that because it’s easier just for this year and probably will be in full-time next year.
But I think in-person is probably just difficult this year. And I would say on this if you can’t find a program that you like either. You don’t want to do online classes. Cause it just doesn’t work with you or like you don’t really find any jobs because it’s really hard to get a job. And I, as in high school, they’re out there, but they’re difficult to find.
I would just say, do something you like on your own I was lucky enough to find jobs and some of the summers, but in the downs I didn’t have it for the whole summer. So in the downtime I just did project oiler and hacker and just because I really liked those platforms I really liked just solving computer science challenges cause it makes me a better programmer.
And. Just with something fun. It’s just a fun pastime for me. It became somewhat of a hobby. And I’d recommend you do something that you like on your own. Remember, colleges really care about showing your passion for the subject. So if there’s an area in computer science, you want to study absolutely go for it.
If there’s a project you want to build, absolutely go for it. Because a lot of schools notably without cutting on this, not but other schools will offer you to submit a portfolio. It’s by no means necessary, but if you. Want to build like some game or something you want to submit it, like by all means, go ahead and submit it.
This is your time for innovations during the summer. This is when you really get to explore it. So I highly recommend kind of creating your own path if you can’t find them, just be inventive, think outside the box. So what is my advice to someone who wants to apply to these programs? So for jobs and volunteer opportunities, pretty standard advice, make sure to have a resume or a curriculum vetay and a cover letter.
I would say keep it to one page. You probably shouldn’t have a seven page resume if you’re in high school. And a cover letter is always nice or an email describing what you want to do. And when you’re applying, definitely think small there are big companies that have internships, but not really for high schoolers, except for Google for high school seniors.
They have a pretty established from which you can apply for, but for. There typically, if the program isn’t offered, I went to go for it, except if it’s a small company. So small companies are always looking for help in the area that can be with it, or it can be not even a CS place. So you can think of Hey, like maybe they’re looking for things.
For example, I wouldn’t have assumed my school’s it office needed help unless I heard about that opportunity. But there’s nothing stopping you from reaching out to maybe like research labs, especially those in data science, because Python if you have a proficiency in Python, that’s really helpful a lot of the times.
And so yeah, this look kind of thing, small, I would say for that and also volunteer opportunities. You can create your own if you haven’t found them. So my advice there and for summer pre college programs is similar advice I give to college applications. So take your time to write the essays.
The essays are probably the single most important piece of your application in this objective, Measures that’s the most, I would say it’s probably the most important, obviously transcript scores are important as well, but of the things you really have control over going into the process that this is what you should be prioritizing.
Essays are where admissions officers get like a window into you. They get to see your personality beyond the numbers. They get to see the person writing the application. And so you want to show off your personality and make sure you’re giving the best reflection of yourself.
Talk about what you genuinely liked. Don’t necessarily try to fit yourself into this box that like you think that they, like you like really take your time to write the essays and really make them personal and make them yet. And also say a lot of them require a letter of recommendation. I would say that you should either do one, a teacher who knows you well and, or two in the subject you apply for ideally both and third, even better.
If you can get them in your junior year of high school. Sophomore is okay too, but you should probably have, or sorry. Let’s actually for college applications the current year or the year before, I would say it’s probably good advice for, cause I understand we probably have some sophomores and freshmen I’d say current year or year before.
And preferably high school, if you can get recommended letters. And yeah, don’t forget to be yourself. Again, just rehashing that point. You got to show off your personality on the application, so make it, you with the essays and make sure that. Do you want to try to squeeze yourself into this box?
Because guess what? So are so many other applications. So you want to make yourself stand out. Absolutely be yourself. You are probably way more interesting than any version of yourself that you could pretend to be. So definitely be yourself in the application. Sounds trite. But trust me is probably the best advice I can get.
Now we have a, oh actually, Hannah, it’ll probably be about the same thing, but I want to let everyone know about the summer opportunity database that college advisor has. So this database has opportunities that were compiled from a variety of advisors across all kinds of fields that are remote in-person paid and unpaid in order to boost students’ resumes and involvement in the careers that they’re interested in.
It’s a jumping off point for all high school students to start to familiarize themselves with the opportunities that are out there and the requirements to apply. Unfortunately at this peer point in time, the database is available only to college advisor.com clients through their advisor. So if you’re interested in this is a great chance to work with us.
All right. So yeah. Now we’re going to head into the Q and a so any questions you want answered on, feel free to ask them in the Q and a and also I’ll be flipping back to the summer opportunities. So that’s anything that can be anything about computer science as about what it’s like to work in the industry.
Kind of like how I found internships and stuff. That’s also, that’s completely fair game or a little bit about my process too, if you want. I’m totally fine with that. So I’m going to start off with a question from Andrew on the Q and a about how I started to learn to code. So I actually, in eighth grade attended a summer program called the ID tech camp.
It was like a one week program and they did C plus, which I actually don’t recommend as a forgetter language. But it was nice. I had to build like a little game out of it. And it just, it taught me like the very fundamentals. And I was like, oh cool. And so my freshman year of high school, it took a law from it.
My freshman year of high school, I actually started to really get into it, started to self-teach a lot just through documentation and just like online platform. There’s a lot. There’s just there’s a lot out there when I say Google is your best. Google is absolutely your best friend.
Like computer science is inherently source. Like so much code you work with is literally free to use and open source. I was just how the community spelt. So that includes all languages. So documentation just and reading about little structures and stuff. Online classes is really good. They often have like full diagrams and stuff for free, like w three schools, probably my favorite resource.
So highly recommend that. And so after that I took courses at my school to course at Carnegie Mellon. I took courses online. And yeah, just after that, I just over time combined with that. And also my a lot of problem solving is kinda how I learned to code. And I’d say like probably balance it like 50% in class and 50% experience, like really try to do these tough programming challenges on your own, because that’s when you, it.
Get to go beyond the theory and really get to see okay, how do I actually use this toolbox of stuff that I’ve learned? Just makes you a much better program to just being able to write stuff like binary search with nobody’s business. It’s really nice. When you actually get to see us. So the flip to the pre-questions, which are, you guys did a really good job with love it.
How do I get an internship in computer science and tech? I would say word of mouth is probably the best way for a high school student. Check with your teachers, check with your guidance counselor. A lot of people don’t do that, but your guidance counselor often has a lot of resources in terms of what programs do kids at the school typically do.
So they might have an opportunity. Also, your teachers, probably like they’ve had so many past students, they probably know of some opportunities that they have done and can probably reach out to something or maybe give you a contact. So recommend on that. I know I did that person. I reached out my teachers all the time.
I’d also say to some degree online. But I will say a lot of the times in like more big name internships, they’re looking for undergraduates. So unless you have that, it can be quite difficult, but an it internship or occasionally a data science internship is not super bad to get, especially if it’s a research one.
Just because they’re happy to have people who so yeah. So this one is from Matthew. So I have finally decided I wanted to go far and computer sciences, Dan as a master, thank you. But I feel like I’m a little late since I’m a junior in high school. Do you have any recommendations as to maybe how I can spend the rest of my time wisely or programs to further my knowledge?
Okay. So I like to joke I am by no means a master in computer. Like the line I was uses. I know enough to know how much, I don’t know about computer science. So like, whenever you explore a field, it can feel daunting at first. But this is stuff you accumulate here and there, just from knowledge, there’s so much, I don’t know about computer science and I effectively started my sophomore year really really starting to get into it.
So like it was by no means like a lag time or anything. And don’t worry about feeling behind going into computer science, like literally at Stanford where CS is like the big thing there. Like a lot of the CS majors I know have taken like one CS class, like not everyone is an expert and they’re not expecting you to be like, I’m definitely not an expert.
There are definitely people who are more qualified, more experienced than I am. And so I would not worry too much about that. So if you’re looking for recommendations to spend your time if your school has a computer science course, definitely take it. I would say, if you have the choice between AP computer science and AP computer science principles, please take AP computer science, unless you’re just looking for a cursory knowledge of it, like CSP really doesn’t give you any
fundamentals that you need. For programming APC in the more programming heavy one is oh, okay. I don’t know. I just gotta, I don’t know if you guys can hear me. I just got a weird notification about it having trouble. So I apologize if that’s the case. My Firewise I would just say in terms of that online resources classes don’t neglect the fundamentals, somebody of computer science, like people who are just starting out, want to go to AI immediately.
And yeah, you can import stuff like TensorFlow with Python. It is much better for you to learn the fundamentals of good code. Like how do I write good code out or organized code, how to write code that other people can read and understand with ease because that’s actually the mark of a good computer scientist is being able to logically and efficiently write out code that people can read.
So don’t neglect the fundamentals and you’ll get that through classes. Try to take classes that they are offered them at your school. Online platforms can be really good. I really Treehouse w three schools is also really good. It’s tougher to find ones from my lower level languages, but a lot of the structures and the same like loops functions pointers, but that’s only in low level languages.
And low-level meaning more like machine code. And yeah. And just time wisely, I don’t know. I would just say follow your interests. It’s not like a race against time. Colleges are interested in your passion, so follow your passions, follow what you are interested in. Every CS journey is unique and make sure to just follow what you like.
Yeah. Flipping back to the pre Q and X and when I alternate between them. Okay. What kind of summer opera? The most bene official for me applying to college, what opportunities can make my college application stronger. I love this question because people always think there’s like a golden rule and the answer is whatever program you are most interested in my opinion passion is the most important thing in the college process.
So whatever you think you would be really interested in. So let’s say it’s CS and ethics take a CS and ethics course, that’s going to be better than like a data science internship. If you don’t want to do data science and vice versa, data science internship is better. If you want to study data science, because you can write about these experiences on an application and it brings it to life.
And also like you’re going to be better at something inherently just by liking it. So I would say the opportunities that are best for you or the opportunities that you feel best with. So definitely follow what you are interested in more than anything else that being said If you have to choose between summer programs pick the ones with undergraduate courses.
A lot of these programs have high school courses, like of course, is designed for high school at universities. I would say I recommend actually taking the one med for university students, like during a summer quarter, for example, just because you get credit that transfers. And also if a job is more familiar with it they might actually that’s why I’m my job was they knew the courses I taught.
So be helpful. So let’s see. Oh so what do we do for the, to the Q and a what do we do for the summer? If most programs are already done accepting people yet, we want to go far and see us. Yes. Make your own program, do study your own thing. Like you don’t have to go to one of these programs.
Like I did just cause I heard about it, but I know like most of the people I know, did their own thing. A lot of the times you can make a huge impact through volunteering. I personally love to volunteer tutor, highly recommend. If you like see us, you do the same. And mathematics self studying is another really good resource.
That’s overlooked. Take some time to really get interested in area. Like you can write about that on the college application, take some classes, MIT OpenCourseWare is completely free, highly recommend you check them out. You can build apps, you can build games. Like I built a Sudoku game over the weekend cause I was bored one time.
Just do stuff like that. And I think if you’re trying to get better in CS, if that’s your question project Euler, hacker rank solving problems will make you a much better solver or more creative solver. Cause you really have to think outside the box, especially for project Euler and a better researcher, because a lot of the times it involves mathematical concepts.
And yeah, if you can’t get an internship those somewhat are still hiring probably an it just cause it always needs people there’s way too few people in it. That’s what I would say. But yeah, I do think most, not all of them though. But a lot of them, I think some are at brown is still taking applications.
And thank you, Chicago might be taking applications still. I would say if similar clothes. Yeah. Not really anything you do about it, but just I would just say focus on yourself, focus on what you are doing. And that will definitely lead to some good opportunities. Yes. Okay. Yeah. It’s another really good one.
I talked about this earlier, but I definitely want to rehash this cause it’s a common misconception. So do me need to be a pro in computer science and technology. I go to college for computer science. What skills do we need to have and what is the basics to understand it? No. Can you do not need to be a pro?
You actually can basically have no knowledge. As it started, people think it’s like you have to be mega qualified to go to a computer science in law. Yeah, it definitely helps. And the application interest is really important too. So people are going to have different access to resources and colleges know that.
And like you can find your passion late. Like I know people who found CS way earlier than I didn’t had way more access to resources than I did. They were like, wait, there are better admittedly, better firms than I did. Then I was like at the time, so as I started a little bit, I started compared to some of my peers a little bit late.
But you definitely there’s no light, at least I felt like it was like, but there really isn’t the late, if that makes sense. And so you do not have to be a pro by any means. That being said, if you do want to study computer science, some of the skills I’d recommend learning are basic data structures.
So that would be like res dictionary sets, linked lists trees like binary trees, hash hashing, just all that stuff. You can just look up data structures, work your way down. Arrays and sets and dictionaries are probably the three most important. Definitely those. And I would say also just learn how to write good code style convention.
So follow a style guide comment in your code. People don’t do that. Please comment your code. It’s a really good habit to get into, not only for yourself, but also for just future programmers. And yeah, in terms of skill, I would just say that a lot of people have the misconception that learning programming is learning like French or Spanish and a programming language, but it’s really more like math.
It’s more like learning a way of thinking. And that’s common to all the languages. So I would say work on those underlying skills as opposed to I’m going to learn PHP C plus C objective C, C sharp. You should learn what are the fundamental underlying fundamentals and how can I get better for that?
So I would just say the only skills you really need to have are probably learning how to. Be a clear organized thinker writing, like clean code and yeah, that’s kinda it just a passion for it as well, if that counts. So how did I get in touch with the MIT Whitehead Institute? So this is actually a word of mouth opportunities.
While you talk to your teachers. I had a teacher who had previously done a sabbatical there and he recommended me to a is they’re looking for people at the time he had heard to the guy I interviewed her, they wanted me for it. And yeah, it was nice. It was a great internship on, but this is why you talk to your teachers.
Cause this is not like an opportunity posted on a board like, and your school they’re not going to have, unless you go to, I don’t know, maybe a school that does have those opportunities minded. But. I would just recommend Hey, talk to your teachers. They oftentimes really do know things like an opportunity, so you can follow.
So my recommendation there, I’m flipping back to the Q and a oh, yes. I love this question. What are some extracurricular activities that we can do in computer science? If we want to have an application that can stand out? Yes, there are a few, so I love competitions. I’m a competitive person. So project oiler is an awesome one.
A pretty good amount of those programs. Know it like at least I believe so it’s pretty, pretty vulnerable website for CS people. And I would say AC ESL is huge. I definitely think that’s probably my best extracurricular slash award if there was one HUSA co is also really huge. That’s like a six, it starts up in December every year.
But that’s like more online. It’s less like studying for it and stuff. That’s more just tough program. HackerRank obviously just show up. I would say things that develop you as a program or a really good kind of like extracurriculars that you can participate in. Also classes I would consider online classes extracurriculars.
It shows your interest in the subject too. So I definitely recommend that. And I would say, yeah, jobs sometimes helping out with the field that’s like tertiary early related to CS, like robotics. If you have a robotics team at your school, they probably need someone who knows C plus or are, do we know C so definitely look at that.
Think a little bit outside the box because a lot of CS has application. So don’t forget to use your CS as well as learning. And let’s see. And I’ll just answer this one quickly from RESA. So which language do you recommend? I learned first. Yes. So I actually am very biased on this.
At my school, they actually taught C plus first, which I don’t necessarily like the C plus is a weird complex language with a lot of just strange quirks. I really liked Python for beginners. It’s a double-edged sword. There’s a disadvantage of Python, which I’ll mention, but Python is really nice because it’s really quick.
That’s actually what I currently work in. It’s really quick to write. So it’s really easy. Like it’s very intuitive. Like some of them are literally just English words and the key, or like the reserved words, like the word, and is literally a fun thing in Python. And same with the word or, and the word not which is funny.
It’s also just, it’s really short. There’s a lot of really nice like features in Python. And I also like to joke that even if you don’t want to do CS, but like you want to exposure to it, this is the best language to have exposure to. Because if you want to keep going and see CS, that’s great.
Learn more about things, but if you don’t want to go in to see us on, it’s a good skill to have, because there’s so many libraries that are built on Python. So if you do data science knowing Python is huge. It’s it’s not like replacing art and stuff, which are like statistics, languages.
There’s definitely giving it a run for its money. Just knowing Python can be instrumental and stuff like then just areas like, not even in CS, like not even related, but like doing that. You’ll probably get the most bang for your buck by learning Python if I had to guess. So yeah do you want to say something?
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Alrighty, I’m back to the queue. That’s a Q and a all right. So I’m going to return a little bit to pre Q and a gab. What are some helpful sites or apps to learn more about computer science and the technologies. Okay. So both what careers can I pursue in computer science? What fields does technology cover? Technology is a pretty broad umbrella term, so that can be engineering technically. I think we could here, we’re focusing it more on CS and robotics.
I’m speaking more to the CS because that’s just what I know. I do have a little bit of experience with robotics. I can somewhat speak on, but but as far as cruising computer science, like pretty much any field there’s a common expression that software, an industry that’s like basically computer scientists, like for example, the automotive industry is largely taken over by CS nowadays.
And so I would say in terms of the standard ones Like besides like professor, obviously for CS software engineers which come in a lot of flavors. So like you could be a web developer, so that can sometimes be like graphic design work on the web, making things look pretty. That can be like a lot of like interactive tools, like stuff that you interact with on the web, or you can work on what’s called the backend, just what I do which is more like calculation and like systems and like connecting all these things, like basically all the behind the scenes stuff.
Work in game development. You can work in like finance, you can work in financial technology like FinTech, like I do. You could work in like modeling prediction on computer science is really just used everywhere nowadays. So there’s so many opportunities and oh, app development as well. There’s really just so many opportunities, I would say as a computer scientist also sometimes in consulting and finance, just because they look for kind of that experience as well.
At least I’ve heard just being a programmer and being able to speak to some stuff can be helpful. So some helpful sites and apps to learn more about computer science. I really liked W3C schools so free. I really like w the three schools. That’s one of the best whenever you use like a library in Python, whatever the documentation is really helpful.
And paid. I really Treehouse is really good. Highly recommend them. I’d also say you could probably learn from MIT. OpenCourseWare they’re really good. I took, I had a class there once. It’s more just like a set of video lectures, but still yeah, I would say.
And also if your school offers a class, definitely that yeah I would say probably those over coding boot camps. I’m not really a fan of boot camps just because they tend to teach really bad style habits. Oh, that’s sorry. I forgot to mention that one downside of Python is it teaches you bad style habits because the variables are type lists with the exception of strings, I believe.
And it’s just, it’s weird that can lead to some really bad style habits down the line. Just from other things and boot camps tend to give you bad style habits. So style is really important in CS and just writing clean good code. So I recommend you take more of a dedicated course, like through something like w three schools is really.
That’s just like you just read like articles online, it’s kinda like a, it’s like a massive presentation, but like just side-by-side links. It’s really nice. They do a really good job, but they’re focused on web stuff. So w three I think is like for HTML, CSS and Java script, which is really good for high schoolers to learn just because you won’t really see as much of that in college.
And it’s just it’s good to have that exposure because that’s actually where a lot of work is. So yeah I’ll these two together. So where should you go to learn CS languages yourself and where can we get certification of CS courses? So obviously if you attend an undergraduate college, they’ll give you that kind of like I got a transcript from Carnegie Mellon after our two other courses paid programs will normally give you a certification hacker rank.
They actually have free courses. They, I got a few certifications there, but actually, I don’t think there are for courses there for just like problem solving. One’s a challenge. I would say, and to learn so certifications. Yeah. There are also some like history level certifications. You can gap. It’s pretty difficult.
So I wouldn’t recommend them for high schoolers necessarily, unless you’re very experienced in the field. And where should I learn to learn CS languages? That’s just document. So like I said, computer science is more, it’s not like learning French, Spanish, German, whatever. It’s more like a learning an idea, like how you, so it’s like how you learned to solve math problems.
It’s how you learn to like, there’s a lot of ways to solve a math problem. There’s a lot of ways to solve a CS problem. And so you and these underlying structures and how I actually do it is I literally have just okay do I say this in whatever language? For example, let’s say I’m using conditional logic.
So an, if this condition do this if otherwise do this I would just look up if statements, blank, language. Come up. Normally, cause it’s all open-source software, so it’s all like you can read the documentation. They’ll just have it right there for you. It’s very nice. So now jumping back to the pre queue, Hey
I answered this. It’s are there available bootcamps for learning to code on? I learned how to tweak this and be like, are there established programs that I know just because boot camps can give you really bad style habits. So I’d just say a word of caution with a five day bootcamp. Just because computer science is takes time.
It’s very in-depth. I just recommend it’s better to just go through rigorously through an online course or something. Like a long one. That being said a Treehouse does a wonderful job with a lot of things they’re like, they’re pretty expensive, but they’re just phenomenal, highly recommended them.
I would also say self-directed through courses. So MIT OpenCourseWare and Carnegie Mellon published some CS curricula that you can just work through, so that can include problems. Like it’s not like a computer science, it’s definitely a learned by doing field. It’s not really a, you just watch the lectures and you’re suddenly a CS master, like so much of your time spent, has to be on these programs.
Other than that, I would say go into one of these summer programs, often a bootcamp in and of itself. I did talk to him, actually did a pretty good job, like looking back on the fundamentals. So maybe that but I think that’s more geared towards early high school, maybe late middle school. I don’t know for sure though.
Top of my head, those are probably the best. And there are some certifications you can study for. I’d say like CS is a very self-directed field in terms of knowledge. So the research resources are all the way out there and normally there. So I would recommend just doing that kind of over boot camps or going to an established program, but not like a week long one.
Normally you’re not going to see the results that you might want. So just my advice. Oh, do I know what I love you to me? Yes. If you do what is your opinion on it since it’s self-learning core course online? Yeah. If it’s a long one, that’s great. If it’s one that covers structures, that’s great.
Especially self-learning can be like how most of the stuff I learned to self-learning it’s just a question of how much time do you spend on it? Because if it’s something we just briefly go over the concept that you’re not going to learn it, but if it’s something where you’re actively doing challenges with the concept, you’re going to learn it.
So if you pace yourself through it and look up challenges for each respective area, then you will make a lot out of it. So the course is what you put into it. So I, that it’s good. You, to me, Coursera is they’re often good resources. There are some certificate courses, like I know Harvard extension school, but that’s really expensive.
Has CS 50, which is an undergraduate course might actually be, I know they were doing some earlier promotions. It’s already closed, but Stanford has one called code in place. , which is their opening course as well. MIT OpenCourseWare was always free, highly recommend them. The, a self learning like coding online course probably will get you where you need to go.
I’d just be aware of boot camps that are like three days, like when you fall in, because you’ve just will not need to, you won’t learn everything you need to know. Only thing too though, is also check your style habits. Make a good concerted effort to write clean code when you take those courses, because otherwise you will definitely fall behind.
So make please try to write good code. Yeah. What internships are there for a spiraling computer scientist in high school? You’re actually probably gonna have more luck of not looking at computer science. So fields related to computer science, like it, or maybe research like data science probably a lot more available just because with software engineering high school internships, I suppose they’re a mixed bag.
You have no idea if you’re getting a really good developer or a really bad developer. It style is a lot of it. So going to university, you get that standard training with computer science and how to write good style and stuff like that. So I would say, probably look actually outside and more at applied CS, like data science, like pandas in database, like pandas and numb PI database, like my SQL and stuff like that.
Python is really, that’s a really good, like that’ll get you way more opportunities and like trying to learn like AI and ML. High school or plus you probably won’t get a great understanding of it. This is my opinion. I wouldn’t do that. So how many hours a week did you dedicate yourself to coding in high school?
Yeah I took coding is like my hobby. Like I just love it. It’s just something I genuinely love to do. And so probably a lot of my free time was spent doing it. So in school, if you’re including all the extracurriculars in school, I would spend, cause I had class a day, so it’s like an hour.
So that’s five hours a week. Plus on top of that, I probably spend an hour or two on one of the CS platforms and I, so I don’t know, aggregate, let’s call that one of the hospital, the difference. Plus like another three on the weekends that gets you to 21 hours a week, including the fire from school.
Some of the times, like when I was doing Treehouse, I was spending way more time than that. It was pretty much all my free time. But if I would say don’t like, see, this is a very go at your own pace. Don’t like, you don’t have to have a dedicated time balancing it. If you’re trying to fit in it, I would say solve problems.
I’m working on algorithm. Algorithmic skills is something that’s really neglected by a lot of programmers. And so like getting this intuition for solving problems, it’s like something no I think it’s not as like programmers intuition, which is basically knowing X solution will solve fast enough.
But it is you can let it go and be like, okay, it’s probably won’t work fast enough. Something you actually developed through that. I think I like to think I have it now. But it’s yeah, I would say in terms of just hours I’ve spent, it was a lot just purely cause that was my main hobby.
That was my manager curricular. Like I was on different teams in high school, but. Probably like when I had free time, this is normally what I did other than seeing friends cause I just really like it. And so yeah. And I was going to say I covered all the ones in the pre Q and I, so yeah, I can talk about the the free MIT courses.
I didn’t really use those a lot. I had friend who really loved it though. So it’s called MIT OpenCourseWare they actually publish like their university classes. So for free, they don’t have graded work and stuff, but you can watch the lecture. So a lot of the times it can actually be really helpful if you’re trying to take notes.
But yeah, you could probably look up what their introductory CS classes and try to take it there. Also I know for Carnegie Mellon I’ll just put this in the chat, some really good ones. This is probably like my favorite course for fundamental for computer science. They I don’t know if they have the website, at least last time I checked it was freely published.
This one is really good. If you’re looking for a, and if you do the current Mellon program, highly recommend you take this course, but they have some resources associated with it’s really published is a 15, 1 12 fundamentals of programming, computer science. And if it did that is really good.
It’s from Carnegie Mellon. They it just takes you through all, pretty much all the data structures you need. Not data structures, but like just basic solving things you need to know. Also you get to do some animation, which is cool. A little bit of object oriented programming. It’s kinda like a great broad spectrum one.
And it’s definitely not like a free course per se, but you could probably work through the material. Like I did that with a lot of courses. I did that actually as a preview to the second course stand some stuff posted online. That’s a really good course. If you like, for some reason you can figure out how to take that.
I highly recommend that it’s in Python too, which is really nice. That’s the program that’s of course I’d like to say made me the program. Our aim today is a really good course. It’s hard, but it’s a great course. And they have the, just the resources are incredible. They’re so really recommend it and yeah, MIT OpenCourseWare that’s also really good.
And if you’re looking for challenges, look at w three schools look at hacker rank, look at prep. And if you’re looking for algorithmic challenges, project oiler, cause they’re really only good for that because you can use whatever language you want. HackerRank is a little more targeted. All right. Cool. So that being said, are there any other questions anyone else has and the Q and a I’ll keep it open for 30 more seconds just in case a question comes in.
So maybe like last two or three trials go onto this one quickly just while I wait to see if there’s anything else, just because I want to make sure that I have every question answered. I just, I don’t know. How did I study for exams and grades and classes until you find your balance? I’m a workaholic.
I don’t really like having downtime. I don’t know what it is. Like just bothers me. So I just really like to I’m like one of those people who’s driven by a motor. I have to always be doing something. And I would just say that I never really pushed, like I took a really I kinda got used to taking a lot of time to do schoolwork, but again, like I also knew when to push pause and give myself those mental breaks and computer science is actually often how I relaxed.
So as much as it may seem like work to some of you, it was like my form of relaxation. So that’s just what I would say on that. Cool. Are there any other questions you can even type into? Yes. Just typing to do.
I think we can probably start to wrap it up. Are there you guys going to say? I think we’re all good. Cool. Awesome. Thank you all so much for coming out tonight and thank you Austin so much for thank you all for attending. I hope I could answer a lot of questions about computer science and stuff and yeah, my experience.
Cool. Thank you all. Okay. So this is the end of the webinar. We had a great time telling you about summer opportunities and computer science and technology. And here’s the all of our April series, which I guess now has done this was the last one. So have a great night, everyone. Thank you for coming.