I finished University in Lockdown. As you can imagine it was a very underwhelming end to the three years of hard grind and struggle. I made my way through University, learning as I went along wishing there had been a guide to make it easier. Helping and supporting CS students is a goal of mine, so I have decided to write this, hoping it reaches someone that needs it.
Create LinkedIn and get networking
You don’t know what could be waiting for you, you could get your first job through this platform like me. You could receive help from a mentor, and it may shape your entire future. You could message a person for advice and get the help you need. This platform is a powerful tool, you should use it.
This I can’t recommend enough. Codewars.com is an online educational community. Practise, practise, practise. I started my computer science course with absolutely zero experience in coding. With peers that had been coding since they could type, it was very overwhelming to feel so behind. The practise I got using this site helped me so much. It helped me gain confidence with the coding exams and interviews I had in my final year.
Stop comparing yourself
The truth is in this industry, you are never going to know everything and that’s okay. There is always going to be someone who knows more. As Steve Sims says, “No one is expecting you to be the smartest person in the room.” Just make sure you are constantly questioning and constantly learning. That’s what is important.
You need to be interested in what you study
As with everything, if you have no passion in the field you a researching or studying everything will start to feel like a chore. For all the final year students picking their dissertation topic, pick something you have a great interest in and find a way to incorporate that. My topic was based around “Women in Technology” and trust me when I say it was hard enough writing 12,000 words on a project I had an avid interest in.
If you are struggling, reach out
No one wants to see you fail, do not be afraid to ask questions. I was outside my tutors’ doors almost every week when I didn’t understand the content. It was more than just passing a module.
You don’t need to leave university knowing everything.
A tutor of mine once said, “We’re not teaching you how to code, we’re teaching you how to LEARN to code.” I don’t even think he realised the gravity of his words at the time, but they have stuck with me since. As a grad, you could end up at any company, using any language with any framework. It would be impossible for you to prepare and know them all. As long as you know how to learn to code there is nothing stopping you.
Get as much experience as you can
This is a big one if you can get the experience you should. Whether that is through a placement year, a summer internship or working with a start-up. It will show you CS in a whole different light.
The thought of life after university is overwhelming and scary, along with the stress of studying while trying to find a job. You are not alone, as students, we all go through this time where we feel like we don’t know what to do. I hope this article gave you the advice you needed and helps you with your CS journey. Good luck!