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Decoded: What to know before studying computer science

Whether it’s a self-driving car, a Boston Dynamics parkour robot, or the device on which you’re reading this blog, computer science lies at the heart of its creation. If working with technology has always interested you, or you’re looking to change careers, we outline some of the key things you should know before studying computer science.

By Grant Longstaff. Published 7 February 2023.

A background in computer science isn’t necessary

It can be daunting to start studying a subject you don’t have much experience with. However, you’re not alone. If you have the passion and desire to learn new skills, and a keen interest in problem solving, then you’ll fit right in, whatever your educational background looks like. Our computer science courses are designed to cover everything you need to know. You’ll start with the core concepts and methods of the subject, before specialising in the areas which interest you most as the course progresses.

There’s more to computer science than coding

If you want to pursue a career in coding then a computer science degree would, of course, be beneficial. That said, it’s a common misconception that the subject is all about coding and little else. Computer science is everywhere. It’s an ever-expanding area of work and as a result the employment opportunities are also growing. Read our interview with Dr Paul Sant, our head of Computer Science at the University, for just some ideas of where a computer science degree could lead.

Problem solving is important

Problem solving is one of the most important aspects of computer science. If you can identify a problem, and then develop creative solutions as to how technology can make it better, then you’ll thrive in computer science. Also, don’t be afraid of getting it wrong. There might be some trial and error, but this is all part of your learning and development. These things take time, and your studies provide the perfect opportunity to experiment and grow. If you’re interested in technology and have exciting ideas on how it can change our world, a computer science degree could be for you. Which brings us to our next point.

Computer science can be rewarding

With computer science being used more frequently, across increasingly diverse sectors, you likely find the work engaging and satisfying. Even more so if the sector is one you’re interested in. Perhaps you’ve dreamed of creating and developing your own game, software system or platform. You could work with a small, tech start up or a huge business like TikTok. Alternatively, you may wish to develop software to tackle climate change or a system to increase worker safety on oil rigs. From architecture and law, to the environment and transport, computer science is playing a vital role in many industries.

Consider work experience during your studies

Computer science courses offer both the essential theories and the opportunity for their practical application. That said, hands on, real-world experience will be beneficial to your future employment. During your studies it might be advantageous to seek an internship or work experience with a local organisation to put your tech knowledge and computer science skills to the test. If you choose to study with us then you can speak with our Employability team for help and support with finding a suitable placement.

Alternatively, you could consider creating or building something yourself or with your fellow classmates. Whether it’s a website or an app, having something real and working to show potential employers can help show your skills and enthusiasm, and ultimately make you a more desirable candidate.


Are you interested in shaping the future through technology? Consider our computer science degrees due to launch in September 2023 and register your interest today.