The Truth About Life as a Computer Science Major

I am nearing the end of my time as a computer science major, and I’ve learned a lot over the past few years. After I tell people my major, I’m often met with, “Wow that’s so hard. I could never do it.” Sometimes it’s hard for me to hear this as I am struggling with my major. It makes me question whether I can actually do it. When people applauded me on how successful I’d be after I graduated, I doubted myself.

Computer science, like many majors, has mixed class difficulties. One of the hardest classes all computer science majors have to take is operating systems. This class has completely changed my semester. I spend about 40 hours each week working on projects and reading up on the material for the week. The bright side is that I’ve had the opportunity to meet so many people in my class. We are all struggling together, and it’s made us bond on a deeper level than any other class. As much as I hate the amount of work that I’ve had to put into this class, it’s interesting at times when we learn the fundamentals of how a computer works.

I hear about people who interned at Google, Microsoft or another tech giant and sometimes feel inadequate. I thought these companies only hired geniuses. A few friends announced on social media that they’ll work at these companies. Seeing them accomplish this makes me realize that getting a job at a tech giant is not impossible. I just have to practice and maybe one day I will accomplish my goal. I can do so much more. There are so many different applications of computer science that I’m sure to find something I’m passionate about. It ranges from creating video games to developing websites for businesses.

Computer science is a dynamic field that is always changing. I can never feel too caught up with the latest technologies. While a computer science degree does provide me with the basic fundamentals, I need to keep learning after I graduate. Luckily, no company will expect you to know everything. As long as you’re willing to learn, you will be successful.

Being a minority is tough in the computer science field. In many of my classes, I’m one of the few girls in the class. I’m often put into a group with primarily male students and feel that I’m not good enough to be in the group. Over the years, I’ve learned to become more confident and voice my thoughts, which helps me out of my comfort zone.

As I interviewed for full-time software engineer positions, many companies required that I complete a coding test/challenge. I didn’t feel confident enough. I met with companies at Swamphacks, UF’s hackathon and UF careers fairs. I kept trying. After months of applying for jobs and seeing my friends posting their job offers on social media, I thought I wouldn’t get a job. Ultimately, after a few rounds of interviews with companies, I received job offers. I had such a great feeling afterward. It’s the affirmation I needed to know that I can succeed in this field.

While I’ve faced these struggles as a computer science major, I feel satisfied with all I’ve accomplished over the last four years. I wanted to be a doctor since the third grade, so I started at UF as a biology major on the pre-med track. This drastically changed once I did not do well in chemistry at UF, despite doing well in high school. I took a programming class during the spring semester of my freshman year and haven’t turned back since. I’ve learned so much and realize I’m more capable than I think.