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Going into comp sci with no computer science background

A photo of Kylandria Kylandria
I recently got my acceptance letter to Waterloo computer science but I basically have no knowledge about computer science as I am/was primarily set on becoming a business student. Since you can obtain your MBA through any undergraduate degree, I applied for one non-business program, which was computer science at Waterloo. The job prospects with a computer science undergraduate degree is much greater than a business degree; however, I have little to no computer science background as I did not continue to take computer science after grade 10. Basically, I am wondering how big of a disadvantage I would be in and if a high GPA is manageable with no experience in computer science. Thank you!
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A photo of SevenFlow SevenFlow
Honestly this really depends on your skillset. If you're organized and can think logically to create algorithms, then compsci might be for you. However if you have no previous experience in the subject then I don't suggest going into it head on (It's not for everyone. I was originally set on going into compsci until ICS4U. I did quite well >90% but I didn't find it particularly interesting). You might wanna read some books about programming to see if you're the right fit :) Hope this helps
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A photo of Bscit Bscit
This question is asked a lot. I dont think you will need any prior knowledge of computer science or programming. Waterloo offers 3 base CS programs in first year. One of Beginners, Intermediate and Regular. So I would recommend that you go into beginners unless you want to learn a language during the summer.

The reason it isnt a prereq is because the hardest part about CS is not memorizing/knowing the language but the thinking and problem solving skills.
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A photo of greygoose greygoose

@Bscit wrote
This question is asked a lot. I dont think you will need any prior knowledge of computer science or programming. Waterloo offers 3 base CS programs in first year. One of Beginners, Intermediate and Regular. So I would recommend that you go into beginners unless you want to learn a language during the summer.

The reason it isnt a prereq is because the hardest part about CS is not memorizing/knowing the language but the thinking and problem solving skills.




I have no idea what you're talking about. There are three beginning CS streams:

- CS non-major (CS 115)
- CS major (CS 135)
- CS advanced (CS 145)

All levels assume that students have no prior experience with computer science, though they do assume mathematical ability. CS majors are automatically enrolled in CS 135, unless they opt to take the advanced CS 145.

As for Kylandria's question, I would first figure out if CS is something that interests you. If it doesn't, there's no point in studying it for four or five years. It's a difficult degree for anyone, experience or no.

If CS is really something you'd like to pursue, I think you will do fine in Waterloo CS so long as you are math-inclined. If it's not, I wouldn't recommend accepting the offer. You're going to have to put in more work than the people who have had serious experience for the past 5 years, but you're probably better off than the people who spent a couple years in high school taking "CS" and learned a bunch of bad habits.

CS so far has been the easiest subject for me to maintain high grades in, though your GPA shouldn't be your biggest concern by any means. I don't have less than a 90 in any of my CS courses, which is much more than could be said for the rest of my math courses...
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A photo of plato plato
Computer Engineering is the same, in assuming no programming knowledge. The programming courses are easier if you have prior knowledge, but the curriculum is completely self contained.

CS is very different than business, in terms of what your interested level may be. Before taking taking CS, make sure you are okay with a full course-load of math and math-related courses.
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A photo of SUMmer123456 SUMmer123456
To be honest with you, computer science requires a certain mentality. You have to be able to think structurally, which is easier said than done. Personally, I found that it wasn't for me when I took it in first year, but each to his/her own. Like everyone has said, I would try talking some introductory courses before you decide to go with it given your lack of prior experience.
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A photo of cm0011 cm0011
Well no, you don't need to have any prior computer science experience for ANY computer science program. There's a reason computer science isn't a prerequisite, and the ACTUAL reason is because many high schools do not offer it as a course. Not all schools have the staff or equipment to run ICS courses, so most first year computer science courses are intro courses. I'm not sure about Waterloo, but many universities have advanced courses for first years with experience. They're right about needing to have a mentality to be able to deal with math and algorithms. I've taken ICS3U1 and ICS4U1, and although it was a little difficult (granted, my teacher was not the BEST), it was definitely a good way to get my head into computer science, and will give me an advantage (I'm going into compsci at UofT). If you want to look at some of the stuff you'll be learning, take a look at the Waterloo CCC (Canadian Computing Competition). Although you might have already heard of it, since Waterloo asks if you have written it when you apply. To make things short, no, you don't need to, but it helps to have a head start :)
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A photo of jelly jelly
I have a lot of friends, who, going into ICS4U, felt that computer science was exactly what they wanted to do, but a lot of them regret applying to only computer science programs now. Personally, I'd like to think I'm mathematically-inclined to some degree, but I don't excel, nor am I interested in computer science. I don't know if it would be a good decision to go into the field for the sole purpose of attractive employment opportunities.
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A photo of LindaS LindaS
I'm taking compsci right now in high school. It's really easy and you really don't learn much. If you're good at math and very logical, you have nothing to be worried.

If you want, you can watch some youtube tutorials, which is pretty much everything you learn in the high school curriculum.
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A photo of 2012Applicant 2012Applicant
Only problem with computer science is that you will be doing almost as many math courses as a math student... because you basically are a math student who just happens to enjoy programming, I think that's what they think computer scientists are.

If you wanted to do a lot of programming, then software is more for you. If you wanted to do more hardware / programming, then computer engineering is for you. If you're really math inclined and <3 to apply math concepts in computers, then computer science!

Or at least that's how it is to me.
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