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What drew you to Computer Science?

+18 votes
I am writing an essay for culture points regarding the social dynamics that have developed around the computer science field. The public concept of a programmer is white males, whereas women and minority groups represent incredibly small percentages of the workforce at leading software companies and in undergrad CSC programs. SO, I would like to supplement the hard facts I find on this subject with some personal stories: What drew you to computer science? What is it about the community that makes you feel welcome and supported? If you are a woman or person of color, how do these facts of your identity shape your experience in the computer science world, now or in the future?
asked Oct 15, 2016 in CSC 285 (F16) by Keenan Odenkirk (100 points)
I'm glad you posted this... interesting topic of discussion.

11 Answers

+9 votes
For me I took my first computer science class in high school because my friend had taken it and liked it. I kept going with CSC because I enjoyed it. I like coding and solving problems, I think its fun! I have found Augustana and the people here very supportive. I have friends who are CSC majors at other school and they talk about the guys in their classes not talking to them, avoiding conversations or eye contact as much as possible, I have never experienced anything like that here.
answered Oct 16, 2016 by Abigail Thomson (100 points)
+8 votes

What drew you to computer science? I was drawn to computer science because I had to take CSC211 as an applied math major. I found programming fun, challenging, and rewarding so I continued to take computer science classes.

What is it about the community that makes you feel welcome and supported? I like the collaborative aspect of computer science and that other computer science people are willing to help you with your code.  

answered Oct 16, 2016 by Luke Robinson (100 points)
+7 votes
I took Dr. Stonedahl's "Explorations in Computing" at the beginning of my sophomore year and was pretty much hooked from then on out. Originally, I took it for the Quantitative Reasoning perspective, but the class as a whole was super fascinating, and having been undecided at the time, I decided to major in computer science (ultimately changing to a minor since calculus is NOT up my ally).

In my journeys through CSC education, I violently struggled through 211 and 212 since I am not the best test-taker, so I decided to take an internship at the EDGE Center over the summer to develop my coding skills in an attempt to boost my confidence in this field. With the help of my coworkers, I learned so much while getting to learn HTML, CSS, and jQuery and saw that this field of study is way beyond difficult exams! Nothing feels better than creating a website and knowing that you hand-crafted it yourself! (With the help of various Youtube tutorials of course...)

The Augustana Computer Science community in general is pretty rad. It's easy to make friends with many of the students when you find out you're all struggling together. Everyone I've met has this general knack to help classmates get better at coding, and I think that's pretty awesome.

Ultimately, I'm still riding this roller-coaster relationship with computer science and enjoying every minute of it. Hope this helps!
answered Oct 16, 2016 by Kenaniah Saunders (100 points)
+6 votes
What drew me in was the endless possibilities for creating. Once you turn on the computer, anything you can imagine, you can eventually create with enough hard work. There isn't quite any feeling that's the same as making something, and being able to point to it and say, "I made that." I was originally considering engineering, but there are so many more constraints on what you can do in engineering that there aren't in computer science. Literally anything is possible, and you're only bound by your own creativity and logic.
answered Oct 17, 2016 by Blake Erquiaga (150 points)
+4 votes
My dad is a computer scientist so I took a computer science class in high school and I found that not only was I pretty good at coding I also enjoyed it. I have always loved computers so being able to design my own programs and do my own thing really just sort of worked for me as a career choice more than any of the other ideas I had for what I might want to do with my life
answered Oct 25, 2016 by James Compere (100 points)
+3 votes
What originally drew me to computer science began in one of my physics class where I coded on optics program using MATLAB, which is similar to python. I then took CSC211 and Math Modeling the next term and really enjoyed how I can create tools that can have almost endless applications (if coded elegantly). I think what I like is tying together creative and analytical thoughts to solve problems that are difficult for the human mind to comprehend. I find the CS community for supportive and change-makers in this, especially with the commitment many coders have to open source projects.
answered Oct 25, 2016 by Kyle Zeberlein (100 points)
+3 votes
I originally thought I wanted to be an English and Spanish major because I was really interested in languages, but I quickly realized that the lack of "right answers" was way too frustrating. Also, essays were definitely invented by Satan.

Then, I saw my roommate coding, and I thought it looked interesting. My brother is also a programmer, so I asked both of them about it, and then decided to try it. What really drew me in was that coding is like solving a puzzle and I love puzzles. Not only that, but coding also sort of has different languages, so my love of language is still present and being used, even if it's in a different way.

So far, I haven't noticed anything drastically different about being a female in computer science as opposed to being male. Every time I tell someone I'm a computer science major, they seem to get really impressed, but I'm not sure if that's because I'm female, or just because they think computer science seems really difficult. I'm a little worried that once I start working, I may encounter some ugly stereotypes, since my brother has worked in the computer science field and has told me that there are a lot of times when women are underestimated in terms of skill level.
answered Oct 26, 2016 by Amanda Moore (100 points)
+1 vote
In my high school days, I took a class about computer programming. I liked it because I enjoyed creating these nifty little programs that did simple tasks. I thought it was pretty awesome that I could make these small programs and that other people have done this to the n-th degree and done much larger things, such an operating system or a computer game. We started out using python, and then in the following class the next year, we used visual basic. The teacher for these classes was a chill guy, but some students that thought they knew a lot more about programming roasted him for making us learn a "useless" language like visual basic instead of Java. I didn't mind because I wasn't one of those kids that knew a lot about computer programming, I guess. Ever since, I've kept an interest in computer science.
answered Oct 30, 2016 by Antonio Rosas (100 points)
0 votes
I really enjoyed the computer science courses in high school which is why I decided to try it here at Augie as well. When I took CSC 211, I discovered that I was really motivated to learn, I was always excited and eager to learn more. I would do all the PracticeIt problems, even those that were not assigned for homework.

As for the community, from the very first day as my advisor, Dr. Stonedahl's enthusiasm towards this field made me feel very welcome. I also knew a lot of people who were taking CSC courses here and it was encouraging to hear about their experience.
answered Oct 30, 2016 by Avash Shrestha (100 points)
0 votes
For me, my high school did not have any computer science classes so I researched online a lot on what computer science really was. I tried a tiny amount of coding before I came to Augustana in the fall of 2015 but had a hard time teaching myself. I find it much easier to learn with a live teacher lecturing the material. The reason I started researching about computer science was because I had always had an interest in technology in general and had always been good when working with computers. I also loved math and the math way of thinking which is used in computer science. So when I got to Augustana, I tried CSC 211 my first term here. It went very well as I had lots of fun with taking my first computer science class. From then on, the experience has been the same; I just truly enjoy working with computers and can't wait to learn more.
answered Oct 31, 2016 by Kyle Workman (100 points)