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What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your career of Computer Science, and how did you overcome it?

Everyone faces challenges throughout the course of his or her life. How one chooses to rise above these challenges says everything one needs to know about their character. #computer-software #computer #technology #programming #information-technology

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Teg’s Answer

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Of course when you get a real job as a software engineer (a.k.a. programmer) you will face many challenges at work. Engineering is all about tackling a challenge with a design that you construct using your knowledge and creativity.


But if by "biggest challenge" you mean the obstacle that had the highest chance of derailing your whole career, I have to imagine that for many people it's their initial computer science training. The required classes in a computer science major are hard, plain and simple. I'm talking about calculus, discrete math, physics, probability and statistics, programming abstractions, data structures, systems, operating systems, databases, etc. They contain difficult and unintuitive concepts that you have to wrap your brain around fully and master, so that you can apply them in homework problem sets, projects, exams, and later in your real work. To complete a high-quality undergrad major you probably need to take 10-15 classes, each of which requires huge amounts of time and will make even very bright kids doubt their own intelligence! Many people drop out, or don't even start the program because of this.


But here's the thing. I think that most people if they are persistent enough, can make it through. And if you are the kind of person who deeply enjoys understanding how things work, and building new things, a career as a software engineering can be extremely rewarding, both personally and financially, so it's worth trying to make it through to the end.


So what are some strategies that can help a person to make it through? First, be easy on yourself: don't believe for a second that you're the only one that finds the material hard. It's difficult stuff, and almost everyone feels the way you do (except that genius guy who sits in the corner). Give yourself plenty of time to spend on the courses - probably 10+ hours per week per course - so that you can get the most out of each one. If you have to take a lighter courseload to do well in each one, do it! Second, make sure you have great study partners and groups for each class. Get to know the other folks in the class (you might have to walk up to a stranger and introduce yourself) and get each others phone numbers so you can schedule study sessions and sessions to help each other on homework, etc. (while not cheating, of course). Third, take advantage of all the help that your university provides - go to the section meetings, talk to the TAs and even the professor during their office hours.


Best of luck to you. I hope that you make your way through!

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Joanne’s Answer

About 20 years ago, I was working as a Systems Administrator for a development lan and the entire lan crashed. The process failed, the backups failed, the recovery failed ... basically everything failed.


Some of the lessons I learned from that experience:
1. don't be afraid to ask for help. A cavalry of folks came to the rescue so we could piece together the code that the developers needed
2. don't be afraid to step away when you have to. Sometimes it's called a 'level-set'. Basically, you have to step back (or step away), calm down, and approach the problem from a new perspective
3. document, document, document - write EVERYTHING down. When you are in a panic, the "I remember" part of your brain tends to shut down first
4. test, test, and then test. We had backups but had never fully tested recovering from them.

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Denise’s Answer

For me, one of the biggest challenges was "getting my foot in the door", without a formal education in security. A few years ago I decided I need to go back to school and get a degree. I knew security was going to be the next upcoming career and I wanted to be part of it. I started my formal education in Cyber Security, with the goal of obtaining a B.S in Cyber Security. As my education progressed I started looking to move formally into a Cyber Security role. Being in IT for over 20 years, technically I was ready; I just didn't have the degree or the certifications that everyone is looking for.


I started networking with others in security hoping to get a chance and it worked out. I was moved onto a growing team that was starting to monitor web applications for cyber threat activity and was given a chance to grow with that team and into a Forensic / Threat Analyst role. So for me the lack of formal education and certifications was a challenge, but networking, and having a technical background really helped me get into the growing profession of security. I would say, when given a chance to go to school go, and always network/ make / keep contacts. You never know what can come from meeting other professional in the field you wish to move into.

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