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How many AP classes and extracurriculars did software engineers take in high school?

I want to have a computer-related job. I love computers and I think I’m good with them. computer-science college software-engineer

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Sharon’s Answer

I agree with the previous answers. The key is to ensure you take only the amount where you can pass - because it is not good to take them and not get a good grade. Also, consider what colleges you are considering. Take a look at their application requirements well in advance of applying, so you can align your course work to your target schools. Best of luck!
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Chad’s Answer

I would definitely encourage you to look at all of the available options at your school and take as many AP courses as possible across as many different topics/subjects as possible. Even if they don't necessarily all apply directly to your chosen field, they'll still generally apply to the overall academic program that you will have to take at college, and will generally free up more of your collegiate time to focus on the courses you really want to take (vs. those you're required to for general curriculum).

I took AP tests for Calculus, Physics, Chemistry, Literature, Biology, History, etc. - and while they didn't all directly apply to my focus on technology or business as part of my chosen degree program, by the time my junior and senior years rolled around in college I had a *lot* of flexibility in my schedule for more electives because I had earned a lot of basic credits before I ever started school.

Chad recommends the following next steps:

Investigate the AP course options offered at your high school
Investigate the degree program or requirements at colleges you are interested in
Map out where your potential AP credits will save you class time/course load in college
Never stop learning
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Tony’s Answer

Honestly, not many. I had an autodidactic interest in learning, but my school only had a few AP options. I took some honors courses where my interests intersected.
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Rob’s Answer

Ahoy Evan--

Speaking for myself? Two AP classes (English and European History) and as for extracurriculars... I really just played lacrosse.

When I think about candidates I've interviewed over the years, this really hasn't ever come up -- not explicitly.

On the other hand, anything that sparks your interest is worth chasing after. If there's an AP class or extracurricular that lights you fire, just go for it. Those experiences help make you a more rounded person, and that's what I tend to look for in candidates: Are they passionate? Are they well-rounded? Can they tell a good story about WHY they did what they did?

Also -- when it comes to those extracurriculars: don't be afraid to just try out things and quit! I feel like a lot of people out there talk about sticking it out with things and I really wish I'd had someone tell me when I was young: "You know what? You tried it and it didn't take. It's fine to walk away."
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Patrick’s Answer

Any classes that will broaden your knowledge and competency level are good to take. They definitely can be calculus, programming, literature, history, etc... Anything that will make you grow as an individual, foster independent thinking and problem solving are prime candidates.
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Scott’s Answer

There are so many fields within software engineering. What you take in high school and whether you take AP classes or not can really depend on the field. For example, if you are really interested in going into robotics or control systems, it's probably really helpful to take more math and physics classes and in these areas, it probably does make a difference whether you take an AP or non-AP class.

On the other hand, if what you are interested in is building Web applications or working with Web technologies, I would personally say that it doesn't matter whether you take an AP class versus not. There is very little physics or math involved in building Web apps. I can say that from 20 years of development experience in this particular area of software engineering.

I can tell you that I only took a single AP class and it was completely unrelated to my current career. In fact, I didn't even start college in a technology related field. I was studying for a music composition and performance major. But I ended up at one of the best engineering schools in the country doing computer science. So don't let taking an AP class or not taking an AP class stop you from doing anything.

Scott recommends the following next steps:

Decide on a few areas of computer science that interest you.
The number of free online programming resources and courses is innumerable. Try your hand with one.
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