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What "path" does one take to get a degree in computer science in junior year (3rd) of high school ?

I'm currently a third year in high school and still lost on what path to take to get to a computer science degree or in similar area. I feel like it might be too late to correct my path I've made without thinking.

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Christina’s Answer

It's never too late to be on any path! For computer science, it depends on what you want to do. Most colleges have you do general courses the first 2 years before declaring a specific field. Computer science generally requires good math and logic skills. It also requires creative thinking and teamwork. In high school, focus on math, join a club like robotics or chess, and do something creative as well. All of these experiences will help you see the variety of computer science skills you can acquire, which will be different in 5 years from now as AI & chat GPT are exploding! Good luck.

Christina recommends the following next steps:

Take math classes.
Join a robotics club.
Play chess.
Look at college catalogs to get an idea of the variety of degrees in computer science.
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Abdullah’s Answer

Hi Christian,

Hope you’re doing well!
First and foremost it’s not too late at all if you are interested in pursuing a Computer Science degree. As others have suggested, it’s worthwhile to talk to the guidance counselor at your school and discuss what courses you should take so you can increase your chances of getting accepted into a Computer Science program at a University. If you have access to students who are currently enrolled in a Computer Science program or have recently graduated it could be worthwhile to chat about what helped them. For myself I took the AP computer science classes my school had to offer, participated in the robotics club, and volunteered frequently which I believe helped strengthen my application.

One thing I do want to call out is even if you do not get accepted into a Computer Science program directly from high school, don’t give up as there are plenty of opportunities. For instance, many community colleges offer transfer programs into Computer Science majors at Universities.

Good luck!
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Vilma’s Answer

No matter how far you've come, it's always possible to switch gears and opt for a Computer Science major in college. Drawing from personal experience, my son took a bit longer than usual (a total of 6 years) to figure out his desired major. It was in his third year of college that he decided on Computer Science. Fast forward to 2022, he proudly holds a Computer Science degree and has recently been accepted into a coveted role as an IT Tech Engineer at Verizon. So, remember, it's never too late to make a change, especially if you're eyeing a career in the promising fields of Information Technology or Data Science.
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Todd’s Answer

Even with only a bachelor's degree, an individual can venture into the world of coding and programming. However, the career possibilities for those with a computer science major are not limited to this. They can explore areas like technical writing, software development and engineering, systems management, network administration, and even cybersecurity.

Computer science isn't just about knowing how to operate a computer. It also encompasses areas like cloud computing, data gathering and storage, and information security (BLS, 2021). To excel in any computer science profession, one needs to possess a broad range of skills. Notably, proficiency in coding and programming is crucial. The specific language skills required can vary from one organization to another.

In addition to these technical skills, there are also general skills that are equally important. These include teamwork, leadership, and communication. Since a computer science professional often works within a team, these interpersonal skills are just as vital as computing skills.
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Elizabeth’s Answer

Hi Christian! Remember, it's never too late to dive into the world of coding. Even without any high school background in computer science, I managed to grasp it during my college years and successfully earned a degree in the field. If you're curious and eager to learn, the internet is brimming with excellent resources to help you understand coding and decide if it's right for you. Initiating your coding journey with minor projects, like 'Hello World' applications, is a fantastic starting point. For these beginner-level tasks, you can find numerous online platforms that allow you to code in user-friendly languages like Python or JavaScript.
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Brandon’s Answer

There is always time to learn a new skill and to assess if that skill or field is what you enjoy. If you have availability within your final year, I would advise trying to pick up any computer science related course work.

1) Robotics
2) IT courses

Any type of course that gets you on a computer will help you build a better comprehension of how it functions. Hope this helps and wish you luck throughout your journey!
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Nicholas’s Answer

Its never to late to go down the CS path in college. So many people get to college snd change their major kn the first year or 2. Its natural and normal as you learn more.

Do not think you need to go to a expensive 4 year school to land a great job. Community college is a great place to start your college career if you want a non traditional route.
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James Constantine’s Answer

Dear Christian,

As a junior high school student, you have several routes to pursue a degree in computer science or a similar field.

Firstly, it's crucial to remember that it's never too late to adjust your academic journey. Many students shift their majors or career paths during high school, college, or even post-graduation. The key is to make well-informed decisions about your future and act on them.

Here are some steps to help you navigate towards a degree in computer science or a related field:

1. Enroll in relevant courses: Sign up for computer science, programming, or related classes in your high school. These will give you a solid foundation in programming languages, algorithms, data structures, and other core computer science concepts. Relevant courses could be:
* AP Computer Science A or AP Computer Science Principles (provided by the College Board)
* Computer Programming or Introduction to Computer Science (offered at your high school)
* Online courses or tutorials (like Codecademy, Coursera, edX)
2. Join coding competitions and hackathons: Participate in online coding contests, hackathons, or coding clubs to gain hands-on experience and demonstrate your skills. These events can help you build a project portfolio, connect with other students and professionals, and expose you to different programming languages and technologies.
3. Learn various programming languages and technologies: Get to know different programming languages, such as Python, Java, JavaScript, C++, and HTML/CSS. Also, explore various technologies, like web development, mobile app development, machine learning, and data analytics.
4. Seek advice from teachers, mentors, or professionals: Consult your computer science or math teachers, a guidance counselor, or industry professionals to gain industry insights and advice on preparing for a computer science career. They can help you pick the best courses, resources, and opportunities for your interests and goals.
5. Look for internships or volunteer work: Seek internships or volunteer roles in tech companies, startups, or non-profit organizations to gain practical experience and expand your network. These experiences can help you develop practical skills, learn about different sectors, and gain a deeper understanding of the field.
6. Prepare for standardized tests: If you're planning to apply to a computer science or related college program, get ready for standardized tests like the SAT, ACT, or subject-specific tests like the AP Computer Science exams. These test scores can help you qualify for college admissions or scholarships.
7. Research colleges and universities: Investigate colleges and universities that offer robust computer science or related programs. Look for institutions known for their reputation, experienced faculty, and strong career outcomes for graduates. Consider factors like location, cost, and campus life when making your decision.

By following these steps, you can chart a course towards a degree in computer science or a related field. Stay focused, work diligently, and be open to learning new things.

Key Reference Titles:

1. "Introduction to Algorithms" by Thomas H. Cormen - This textbook offers a comprehensive overview of algorithms and data structures, covering topics like sorting, searching, and graph algorithms.
2. "The Elements of Computing Systems" by Noam Nisan and Shimon Schocken - This textbook delves into the fundamental concepts of computer science, including programming, algorithms, and computer architecture.
3. "Head First Programming" by Paul Barry - This book offers a friendly introduction to programming, covering topics like variables, loops, and functions in a straightforward and concise way.

Remember, these references are just the beginning of your journey towards a degree in computer science. There are numerous other resources available online, such as online courses, tutorials, and forums, that can assist you in your growth as a computer science student.

May God Bless You Abundantly,
James.
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Rian’s Answer

Hi Christian,
If you want to go into computer science, I would recommend looking to see if you can take computer science classes at your high school to start learning how to code. I would then focus on trying to make your own personal projects, maybe an app or a website to solve a problem that you see in your community. You definitely are not too late to be studying computer science!
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David’s Answer

College can indeed be a hefty investment. However, starting with a Community College is a smart and economical choice. It allows you to complete all the elective courses and prerequisites at a lower cost. Once done, you can then move on to a college that provides a Computer Science program.

Remember, it's completely normal to switch majors and explore different paths during this journey. It's all about finding what truly sparks your interest and passion. I, too, didn't start with computer science, but now I genuinely love my work.

I hope this advice is beneficial to you. Keep in mind, the goal is to enjoy what you do and make the most out of your college experience.
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Ervin’s Answer

1. Talk to your guidance counselor at school about the classes you should take to prepare for a Computer Science Degree.
2. Apply for the those courses
3. Find people from your school that have graduated in Computer Science
4. Talke to them about how they do it
5. Work with your counselor to pick your path
6. Work hard!
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Steven’s Answer

Math courses are essential to Computer Science. Beyond that, any and all classes and clubs that increase your exposure to computers is helpful. Classes in sciences such as physics, biology, and chemistry are useful as they help your mind to think logically, and there is also crossover in using computers in those fields as a career.
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Alec’s Answer

Hi Christian,
It's important to remember that you can always choose a new path at any point in your career, it'll take some work, but you can do it. I work with many programmers that have transitioned from other fields such as the service industry, sales, and others.
Regarding a Computer Science Bachelors degree, even if you are missing some AP credits, you can take those classes as normal college courses. Most people end up taking 5 years to complete their degree anyway (me included!). Considering where you are now, all I would recommend is trying some online coding classes to get a feel for programming, just so you can feel comfortable.
My final bit of advice would be to not worry about which college you end up going to, as long as they have a well funded sciences department, because recruiters are going to look at the degree more than the school's name.
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Amelia’s Answer

Absolutely, it's never too late! In fact, your current age is the perfect time to start contemplating your college major. I encourage you to explore pre-college programs, particularly those available at your dream college. Some of these programs are still accepting applications until mid-January, so don't lose hope!

Also, self-learning can be an excellent stepping stone before you dive into more conventional Computer Science (CS) courses in your senior year, such as AP Computer Science Principles, AP Computer Science A, and AP Calculus AB/BC. Coursera is a fantastic platform for learning new coding languages. Starting with beginner-level Python or HTML courses would be a great move. Once you gain confidence, you can even sign up for a GitHub account and start creating and sharing your own exciting coding projects!

Remember, the world of CS is vast and you're just at the beginning of this exciting journey. Keep reminding yourself that it's never too late to start. Best of luck!
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