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What does it take to become or get into a Computer Science/Computer Engineering Major?

I heard that getting into a Computer Science major is somewhat getting harder.

What does it take to increase your chances of getting accepted to that major/school?

Is there a certain volunteer or community service that has to be done? Something related to computers?

Are there prerequisite that should be taken in high School?

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Subject: Career question for you

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Rebecca’s Answer

Thank you for your question. I am glad to hear that you would like to develop your career in Tech.
Below are my suggestions:
1. Find out more on Computer Science and Computer Engineering. Determine which streams you would like to pursue
2. Attend ICT classes in the high school
3. Identify simple programming languages and learn the syntax &
structure. Start doing simple programming.
4. Explore any internship opportunities to work in Tech companies
5. Find out the entry criteria of the subjects in the college
Hope this helps! Good Luck!
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Wayne’s Answer

Hi Amily,

I'm glad to hear that you're interested in computer science. Getting into a good computer science program can be difficult indeed. The acceptance rate for prospective computer science majors at some school can be below 10%. To get into the right computer science program and take your first steps on the path to a career in the field, you should try to go beyond taking the right courses and getting good grades and high test scores. To really stand out, you need to show true passion for computer science, well-roundedness, and facility communicating and working with others.

Admissions offices are looking for the skills applicants will need to succeed in school and in their career. You should work on three types of skills that command a premium from employers: human or soft skills, digital building block skills, and business enabler skills.

If you want to strengthen your applications, you should show you’ve been doing the following:
- In extracurricular activities that highlight your passion for computer science, like coding and math clubs, robotics teams, STEM summer camps, coding contests, and hackathons.
- Taking classes (e.g., online) in machine learning and AngularJS in addition to popular building-block languages like Java, C, and C++.
- Building a robust code repository and completing freelance projects during high school.
- Showing your well-roundedness by demonstrating interest in activities and subjects outside of computer science (e.g., playing sports or music, participating in social activism or student government, working on the student newspaper or school yearbook, learning a language, volunteering in the community, etc).
- Developing non-technical skills that employers value highly in computer science grads, including soft skills like communication, collaboration, and relationship-building as well as business-enabler skills like project management.

To really stand out, you can also do things like modifying GitHub projects, creating an online portfolio, and get experience deploying large-scale applications in the real world through an internship or volunteering activity.

It's also a good idea to reach out to admission offices as early as possible to show interest expressing your deep desire to be accept at that college.

Hope this helps.

Be well.

Wayne.
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Atul’s Answer

My son went to NJ State Univ for the Computer Eng major.
He had a high SAT score, did take many AP courses and had an almost perfect GPA to get scholarships from the University.
After graduating he took prospective employer’s exams (most high tech companies demand that you pass their exams) to land an interview.
He passed the employer’s exam and landed six-figure starting salary plus bonus plus stock options to build a nice nest egg to pursue his dream in just 3 years.
Most important - He did not incur any student loan debt.
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Heather’s Answer

Look at engineering bootcamps too. I have several people on my dev team that do not have 4 year degrees and they are excellent engineers. They are also paid really well too...... A 4yr degree is not required anymore. If you have a desire for management then I would say go for the 4yr degree, if not look into bootcamps. ..... Food for thought.

Also suggest to look at engineering job postings and see if a college degree is required for the companies you like. I bet most of them do not have that as a qualification anymore, worth a look up on Glassdoor or LinkedIn.

I will say that women in tech have some good scholarship offers and companies definitely look to hire more female engineers too !
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Jimil’s Answer

Grades are a great predictor of university acceptance in more difficult programs. engineering and computer science tend to be impacted majors at many colleges, meaning the requirements for entry are more difficult. With that being said, there are many people in the computer science field that do not have a degree. My best recommendation is to use a website like codeacademy for youtube to learn how to code independently and make your own projects. There are community service and non profit options, but I highly suggest creating your own projects using the same technologies that companies are actively using. By looking at job descriptions on career sites like linkedin, you can better understand what these technologies are.
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