Choosing a Career in Computer Science
Growing up as a child, you were always asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
The default answers were always a doctor, a nurse, a teacher, or an astronaut. I didn’t know what I wanted to do or even who I wanted to be when I grew up. My answer wasn’t present, until I was introduced to computers…
I was introduced to computer technology when I was around the age of 6. My dad was heavily into building PCs and technology in general. I recall the endless nights where I would watch my dad tear apart a tower and rebuild it with new parts. My parents introduced me to computers with hands on educational learning games. The games were called Jumpstart and each game pertained to your age: pre-k, kindergarten, and so on. From here, I learned the mechanics of a computer; how to use a keyboard and mouse, how to start a program, how to navigate through programs, how to close programs, etc.
In elementary school and middle school, my interest in computers grew even more due to the fact that we had daily computer classes. Learned skills would increase as you increased grade level. We were taught how to properly type, played educational games on the computers, how to create new files and folders, how to navigate the internet, the components of a computer, how to install software, and much more. In 6th grade I was introduced to Scratch. Scratch is a beginner, visual programming language where you have to use block code to complete tasks. I remember being so fascinated with Scratch and how it operated. I really enjoyed problem solving and always felt accomplished when I achieved the goal.
I attended a STEM high school (Science, technology, engineering, and math) known as North County High School. Freshman year of high school was where I decide that I want a career in computers. But where? I have two aunts who are both employees at a government agency, who explained that they programmed and work on computers daily as their career. Hearing that I could be paid to program or mess around with computers daily really got me hooked, because it was something I enjoyed.
Graduating from the North County STEM Program
Throughout my high school career, I was taught Visual Basic, C++, Java, PHP, and Python. Each year we would enroll in two programming computer classes, which were held every other day. Each coding language was intriguing, and I always enjoyed exploring and learning about them. One project that I successfully completed was an interactive coloring book in the programming language PHP. Another major project that I am proud of was a program called Grocery Store. It was an object oriented project, where the objects were meats, fruits, vegetables, etc. Each item you “bought” was written out into a text with the corresponding prices and overall total like a receipt. Most of the programming classes I attended all had the same projects built on the ideas and difficulty from language to language.
Today, Computer Science is a male-dominated field, with women only making up about 15% of the software development workforce. Being a woman in a male-dominated career has never affected me negatively. Most of my classmates were male, with a max of six females per class. I found that being one of the few females in my class was an advantage. Personally, I felt like the men didn’t see us for our gender, but instead for the fact that we both shared the same drive and common interest. We are trying to expand the amount of women in the Computer Science field by enrolling and sharing the learning experiences that we encounter.
From taking these classes, programming became something I loved and enjoyed, which inspired me to pursue a career in Computer Science. After graduating high school in 2015, I decided to attend Anne Arundel Community College (AACC) and enrolled in their Computer Science degree program that Fall. AACC is known for their outstanding teachers and most importantly their Computer Science program.
Toga Day in Mathematical Modeling Class
Freshman year we advanced deeper into Java, which ultimately became my favorite programming language. The following semester we were taught C++. Each semester, my drive for learning programming and wanting more programming experience increased. During this time an opportunity where I could gain experience in the Computer Science field surfaced. The government was hiring for a summer college internship program for students pursuing a degree in Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering, or Mathematics I applied and within two weeks I heard back with a conditional job offer.
Graduating from AACC with my Computer Science degree
Currently, I am enrolled at University of Maryland Baltimore County in their Computer Science program. I look forward to the classes I will attend in the future.
I am really glad I chose this career because I enjoy learning about computers and computer programming. This is a great career to pursue, even if you were only recently introduced to computers, or even if you have no computer experience whatsoever. You can pick up where you are comfortable at and pursue it no matter what, as long as you have the drive and will to learn.
When I finally graduate, I know for a fact there are going to be multiple job positions available and offers for me to chose from. When the time finally comes, I will have to see what each entails and choose from there, but I am positive that my future job will involve computers; whether its Computer Science, Computer Engineering, or Software Engineering.