What I Learned Studying Computer Science during my First Semester of College

Coding Photo

Hello. It’s that metal birdo, Mechasparrow.

Though you may not know it, I‌’m actually in my first year of college. Because of my interest in computers, and computer programming, I‌ decided that I‌ wanted to pursue a major in computer science.

And because it is my first year as a college student, I‌ only had one computer science class. It was called Comp Sci 1050 and it was taught in the C Programming Language.

It serves as a weed-out class for Mizzou Computer Science Majors.

The Structure of the Class

Each week, we had two 1.25 hour lectures on Tuesdays and Thursdays taught by an adjunct instructor.

In addition to this, we also had one 2.5 hour lab to complete each week. We would be given a problem and a list of constraints and were required to complete the assignment in the allotted time within the classroom.

To help prevent students from becoming a deer in the headlights, a prelab assignment was also posted. This would pose a simpler version of the lab assignment to prepare students.

Students were also allowed to use code that they wrote in the prelab for their actual lab.

‌What did it teach?

The class taught the basic fundamentals of programming that you would expect. This included.

  1. Input/Output
  2. Logic/Conditionals
  3. Variables
  4. Loops
  5. Functions

In addition to this, it taught more advanced topics. Some of which were specific to C. This included but was not limited to

  1. C Pointers
  2. C Structs
  3. C Standard Library
  4. Dynamic Memory Allocation
  5. String Manipulation

View of the Class looking back.

I‌ thoroughly enjoyed learning how to program in C and feel as if I‌ have gained a deeper understanding and gratitude for how far computer programming as grown and evolved over the decades.

However…

I‌ would not have enjoyed this class if it was my first time being exposed to programming. The class heavily favors students with prior programming knowledge over newcomers.

If you are taking a college programming class over C programming, I’d highly recommend learning as much C as you can prior to starting the class. It will save you much pain and headaches down the road.

It did for me.

Conclusion

The first class for Computer Science at Mizzou is definitely not for the faint of heart. Still, it is worth giving a shot and can be passed with some additional studying.

I’m really excited about what future Computer Science classes will have in store for me and my fellow classmates.

– Navazhylau