Advice for Computer Science Students

Dog with graduation cap
Good luck doggo for college students 🎓

1. Learn how to write before graduating.

2. Learn C before graduating.

3. Learn microeconomics before graduating.

4. Don’t blow off non-CS classes just because they’re boring.

5. Take programming-intensive courses.

6. Stop worrying about all the jobs going to India.

7. No matter what you do, get a good summer internship.

I would venture to add my own unwritten “number 8” for this list:

8. learn your way around a Linux/Unix computer

You can practice this easily on Mac, Windows, or with a rented server.

1 and 3 are areas I’ve been thinking about a lot recently.

Upon reflection, I really wish I had taken more time in high school and college for practicing writing and getting good feedback on how to improve. I don’t really think there’s any substitute for this kind of practice with back-and-forth feedback from an experienced writer.

Economics can be pretty easily digestible though. The textbook learning is really important, but it can be fun too to learn “economic thinking” in a more low stakes way as well. NPR’s Planet Money podcast is a great example of this, including zany stories such as “the tale of the onion king” when a single trader was able to corner the market for onions one year. There’s also great news reporting through an “economic” lens of thinking, including practical stuff such as news on tech and business (if you’re interested in that too, I guess).


Update: This is the textbook for a microeconomics class I started earlier (but couldn’t complete due to scheduling conflicts):

Michael Parkin: Microeconomics (13th ed.)

ISBN: 978-0-13-474447-6

I think it really does a good job of bringing up economic concepts in very accessible and thought-provoking ways.

It also does well to inspire in the reader the process of “economic thinking” in framing many different types of issues as economics ones. I think for this alone the contents of the book are of value to most readers.


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