“It’s More Than Just Coding”: Students debunk the myths about Computer Science

Published by Afterschool.my on Jan 31, 2023, 10:52 pm

Computer science is the cornerstone of everything we do. From how we communicate and consume media, to the way we do business and manage our finances, computer science has become a crucial component of our modern-day life. 

There are quite a number of misconceptions surrounding computer science. One of the most popular ones is that people think it is just about coding

Is that really all there is to it?

To debunk this fallacy, we spoke with two students currently in their 2nd year of a bachelor's in computer science programme, to understand more about this area of study.  

“It's more than just coding; there's documentation, cyber law, policies, and guidelines,” says computer science student from UNITEN, Nureen Safiah, who majors in cybersecurity. When you learn computer science, understanding programming and algorithms is what you need to know to design software, systems, and networks. However, you are not a programmer. Programming is what you do. But an ambiguity resolver, is what you really are. You are considering ways to solve problems, how to meet business needs, and develop elegant solutions.

Through computer science studies, you can unleash the innovator in you by creating technological solutions to upgrade business operations. Farha, a computer science student in UNITEN specialising in software engineering, reveals a coursework assignment she completed for a medical service. “The database programme provides functionality like setting up appointments, medical check-up history, or finding available doctors alongside other functions. It was a challenging project, but I was satisfied with the outcome, as the system worked well.” 

Another misconception about computer science, particularly about the students majoring in it, that these two beauties with brains want you to know— the idea that they’re just geeking in front of the computers all day. “You need to throw away this stigma where computer science students are nerdy and just sit in front of the computer. We are fun students, who like to mingle around!” Nureen emphasised, with a smirk. Her witty friend intervened, “I also thought about that before, computer science is just for nerds, but here I am,” laughs Farha. 

Farha (left) and Nureen (right) wants to throw away the stereotypical notion that computer science students are just a bunch of nerds. It's 2023, guys: geek is clearly the new 'cool'!

What is it like to study computer science?

What you will learn

A computer science program is designed to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the field of computer science and its applications. Students will learn a range of core topics, including:

  • Programming concepts and languages, such as Java, Python, and C++.
  • Data structures and algorithms, including sorting, searching, and graph algorithms.
  • Computer systems and architecture, including the design and organisation of computer systems, memory management, and parallel processing.
  • Database systems, including relational databases, SQL, and data modelling.
  • Software engineering, including software development methodologies, testing and debugging techniques, and project management.
  • Web development, including HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and server-side programming.
  • Artificial intelligence, including machine learning algorithms, natural language processing, and computer vision.
  • Computer networks, including protocols, socket programming, and network security.
  • Operating systems, including process management, memory management, and file systems.
  • Human-computer interaction, including user interface design and user experience.

In addition to these core topics, students may also have the opportunity to specialise in different areas such as cyber security, UI/UX design, mobile development, and more. By the end of a computer science program, students should have a solid understanding of the principles and practices of computer science, as well as the ability to apply this knowledge to real-world problems.

Classroom experience

When it comes to classroom learning, there's no question that it's a completely unique experience for each individual. One thing’s for sure, is that choosing a university that emphasises interactive learning will help computer science students feel involved while learning the complexities of various topics, which will improve their overall learning experience.

“I was worried I wouldn’t be able to acquire the same experience that students get when they go for physical classes, as I started my university life during the pandemic when everything was conducted online. However, UNITEN lecturers have made the learning experience very interesting and engaging, through the usage of Kahoot, Jamboard, and Draw.io as interactive learning online tools. Even in physical classes, UNITEN has smart classrooms with screens displayed all around us, so it’s easy for students to pay attention and absorb all the information needed.” says Nureen. 

Farha, on the other hand, is glad that the UNITEN learning resources allow her to comprehend the programme more in-depth. The library is open 24 hours a day, with sufficient past papers available for reference and it’s easy to obtain lecture slides online. Students can feel secure knowing that they have complete materials to enhance their knowledge and excel in this programme. 

Expectations vs Reality

If you’ve never had a background in computer science before, don’t worry because entering this course will feel as if you’re starting everything from scratch. 

“Before this, I thought learning computer science was hard, and I thought I wouldn't survive 3 years of study since I have zero knowledge of codes and languages. But when I started my journey, only then I knew that it’s not just about coding. It's a lot about documentation as well. For example, before you create a project, you need to have a contract between you and your clients. So it’s really fun for me, as my expectations are very different from what I’m learning now.” says Farha.

How do I choose the right computer science course for my career goals?

Choosing the right computer science course is crucial for achieving your career goals in the field. First, you need to assess your personal interests and strengths. Do you like mathematics and solving problems? Or are you more interested in designing layouts and computer graphics? Perhaps you prefer documentation and theory learning, instead? From identifying this, you can narrow down to a specialisation that aligns with your interests and aspirations. Pay close attention to the areas of specialisation offered, and ensure that the course covers the areas that you're interested in.

Another aspect to look into is industry relevance. Make sure the course covers the latest technologies and trends in the industry. Especially since we’re talking about the IT industry, where technology is constantly ever changing with new developments emerging every second as we speak. A course that is aligned with industry standards and practices will better prepare you for the job market. 

You should also check for accreditation. Choose a course that is accredited by a reputable organisation. This will ensure that the course meets certain standards and that your degree will be recognized by employers.

It’s also better if the University provides certificates from different specialisations, so you can stand out as a graduate during work applications. UNITEN has partnered with CISCO academy, where you’re automatically enrolled in some of the subjects, which will qualify you for a professional certificate at the end of the programme. 

Nureen explains, “When we enrol in a class, for example, data communications class, we are automatically enrolled in CISCO academy. So for this specific subject, we use a platform called Datacat, which is provided by CISCO. There are about 17 modules that you need to complete in 14 weeks of our semester duration. Datacat itself is a very interactive website, there are quizzes, and there are also virtual configuration tools for switches and routers. UNITEN also has a physical CISCO lab here in UNITEN, where you can also configure the computer and you can also have hands-on experience with the switches there. You can play around with the cable, get to know the types of cables, learn how to change IP addresses, and see the real device there. It's a great opportunity for students to experience this, especially when they go for an internship later. The CISCO professional certification will be great for your resume.” 

By considering these factors, you can choose a computer science course that will launch your career to the path of success that you’ve dreamed of. 

What are the benefits of starting a computer science career?

For students, the best part about venturing into the world of technology is the opportunities that you can get. Computer science and information technology (IT) fields in general tend to offer competitive salary levels, due to the high demand for skilled professionals in these fields. In Malaysia, the demand for computer science and IT professionals is growing, particularly in industries such as technology, finance, and healthcare, which can lead to higher salaries for fresh graduates in these fields. 

The two polar opposites who bonded over UNITEN’s netball club share the same sentiments in this matter. Farha concurs, saying, “I chose this programme because I don’t need to worry about my future, as I know it pays very well and I know I’ll get a higher chance to get a job once I graduate. So if you’re a student, don’t worry. Every company needs an IT expert.” 

Meanwhile, Nureen says, “I did some research and I was thinking about what kind of career will be in demand in the next 5 to 10 years. That is why I chose Computer Science, specifically Cybersecurity. Especially with the widespread use of social media usage and online transactions, as you have to provide a username and password. Not to talk about 5 to 10 years to come, but it's very important as of now. We can see how scammers are spreading like wildfire. So we need to collectively be aware and beware; as the knowledge of cyber security and growth of technology is important to every one of us.”

Is Computer Science up on your alley? Our counsellors can help you out to register for the programme, hassle free! Simply click on the link below to get in touch with us:


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