Have you decided it’s time to enroll in some computer science courses and earn your degree? Are you wondering where to start? We’re here to help. Before embarking on your educational journey, stop to ask yourself the who, why, what, where, and how of your academic future.
The who in question is, of course, you. Take some time to reflect on who you are as a student and what you hope to accomplish through continuing your education with computer science courses.
What made you choose computer science? Do you have a specialty in mind? Do you prefer problem-solving and tackling programming? Are online computer science courses something you might want to pursue or are you more comfortable in the face-to-face environment?
Consider the parts of school that you have had difficulty with in the past, and try to come up with ways to avoid these issues this time around. Also, consider your merits as a student and how you can best capitalize on them as an adult. Education can be challenging, and knowing your strengths and weaknesses before you get started could help to better prepare you for the experience.
Why are you enrolling in computer science courses? Are you planning to take one or two classes to test the waters and see if computer science is for you? Or are you hoping to earn a degree or professional certification in order to increase your value to employers?
Whether you simply enjoy tinkering with a PC or intend to use computer science courses as a segue to an IT career, by clearly defining your goals and motivations, it will be easier for you to be successful in your studies and make the right decisions about the types of courses you would like to take.
IT is an exciting and growing field, with many specialties expecting growth over 20% in the coming decade according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. There are so many options—you can work repairing computers, creating the software for new application or even work designing video games. Knowing what you want to do with your computer science courses will help you with deciding which ones to take.
Begin by exploring the various careers available within computer science and information technology. ComuterMajors.com is an excellent place to start. You could also consult the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Handbook, which provides an overview of various types of career paths, including the salary and growth expectations and the level of education required.
After gathering information on the available opportunities, analyze your skill-set and talents, and decide which positions might best suit your capabilities and interests. Based on all of your research and self-assessment, you should be able to develop a better idea of what potential areas are right for your situation.
The first step is to find accredited colleges that offer your area of specialization. When evaluating colleges, be sure to find out what sort of support they offer their students. Is there a tutoring center? How extensive is library and how experienced is the faculty?
Next, you must decide between taking an online computer science course and campus courses. Online learning can be convenient for those who would like to continue working while going to school. However, if you are interested in classroom instruction, there are still many schools that offer computer science courses with flexible scheduling on the evenings and weekends. See what college offers the courses you want at the times you want them.
You should also spend some time researching how the college assists its graduates. Does it have strong career services? How about their job placement office? If you plan to earn a degree or certification, once you’ve graduated, you’ll need some help taking that next step. Check out what your college offers.
How will I get in? How will I manage to keep-up with my other responsibilities while going to school? How will I pay for college?
All of these can be tough questions. Start by breaking the college admissions process down into steps and check them off your list one at a time. Choose the option that will allow you to maintain your school-life balance, and do your research to find a program that will meet your needs. From online computer science courses, to part-time and full-time programs, there are a diverse number of possibilities for pursing higher education.
When it comes to financing your education, college advisement offices can be a huge help with navigating the hurdles of financial aid and informing you of scholarship opportunities that are available.
Take that first step towards furthering your education today. Begin browsing the schools on our site to find campus or online computer courses that might interest you. Good luck, and good learning!