How to Learn Computer Science

Explore the vast field of computer science, including its theoretical and practical aspects, and discover various learning methods suitable for your style and preferences. Understand the bright job outlook for computer science professionals, with a predicted 21% growth rate from 2021-2031.

Key Insights

  • Computer science is a broad study involving information systems, computation, and automation, with theoretical aspects covering information theory, algorithms, and computational theory, and practical aspects involving hardware and software design and implementation.
  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates a 21% growth rate in computer and information research science jobs from 2021 to 2031, indicating a promising job outlook in this field.
  • Learning computer science can be challenging but varies depending on your career goals and learning methods, which can range from books, video seminars, and tutorials, to in-person or live online bootcamps and certificate programs.
  • In-person learning offers benefits such as higher engagement levels, effective networking opportunities, and access to course provider equipment.
  • Live online training is a flexible and convenient option that provides a dynamic learning experience with real-time feedback from expert instructors.
  • Free online courses and tutorials offer a cost-effective way to gain an overview of computer science before committing to a full-length course or program.
  • On-demand or self-paced learning is an accessible way to start studying computer science, especially for beginners, but requires high discipline and motivation to stay on track.

Only a few people would claim computer science is easy to learn. What aspects of it you need to master, however—and the degree of difficulty that will involve—depend on what you plan to do with it to a great extent. The number of options for learning computer science might be overwhelming at first glance. There are books, video tutorials, classes, and more to choose from; it all depends on your learning style and personal preferences. 

Here, we’ll discuss the various methods of learning computer science so you can decide how you’d like to get started.

What is Computer Science?

Computer science is an immense field that encompasses the study of information systems, computation, and automation. Hardware and software design, machine learning algorithms, and data visualization fall under the computer science purview.

On the theoretical side, computer science includes information theory, algorithms, and computational theory. The practical side of computer science covers hardware and software design and implementation. While data science has emerged as a discrete discipline in recent years, many computer science pros still consider it a subcategory of the larger computer science field. 

Read more about what computer science is and why you should learn it.

What Can You Do with Computer Science?

Software Engineering Certificate: Live & Hands-on, In NYC or Online, 0% Financing, 1-on-1 Mentoring, Free Retake, Job Prep. Named a Top Bootcamp by Forbes, Fortune, & Time Out. Noble Desktop. Learn More.

Computer science classes cover a wide range of subjects, encompassing anything from web development and software engineering to data science. Tools like Python and Java are popular among numerous career paths in this growing field, and as far as computer science applications go, the sky’s the limit.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the Computer and Information Research Scientist job outlook is especially bright: they estimate a 21% growth rate between 2021-2031, well above the average growth rate of five percent. Top positions for computer science professionals include Software Developers, IT Security Analysts, Data Scientists, and Product Managers.

Areas of specialization for computer science professionals include programming languages like Java, the development and application of robotics, and the development of new systems, tools, and programming languages. In our ever-more connected digital world, computer science generalists and specialists can thrive both now and in the future.

In-Person Computer Science Training

Although you might not consider in-person computer science training your first choice, many beginners find an education in the traditional classroom setting the most effective method. Students often report a higher level of engagement in the in-person setting compared to other ways of learning.

In-person training provides other benefits as well. A live in-person class offers a more accessible level of networking with peers or instructors, and working on course provider equipment is another advantage. While not every student wants to commute to a classroom, most course graduates agree that in-person training offers more benefits than drawbacks.

You may be able to find multiple in-person computer science courses in your area, depending on where you live and your choice of subcategory (such as JavaScript, data science, or machine learning). Use Noble Desktop’s Classes Near Me tool to compare and contrast your options. Noble offers a Full Stack Web Development Certificate and JavaScript Development Certificate at its New York City location. Other computer science alternatives include a UCLA Extension course in Los Angeles, a Practical Programming Python course in Chicago, and a computer science Summer Academy at Penn course in Philadelphia.

Live Online Computer Science Training

Many students and busy professionals who want to expand their computer science expertise will enroll in an online bootcamp or certificate. Although some course providers offer programs at the beginner level, others may require familiarity with certain computer science concepts. Be sure to check course listings thoroughly before enrolling.

Live online computer science training offers many benefits: it’s hands-on and interactive like face-to-face training, but you can learn from the comfort of your home or office. Computer science bootcamps offer a dynamic, immersive learning experience with expert instructors who provide real-time feedback via teleconferencing. In many cases, they can see or even share the screen—with your permission.

Noble Desktop hosts a range of live online computer science courses, including bootcamps and certificate programs. Use their Classes Near Me tool to find live online computer science classes in your area. Training options include Noble’s JavaScript, Python, and Data Science Certificate programs. Additional courses include a Foundation of Computer Science & Engineering course from Holberton School, a Python for Data Science Immersive from Practical Programming, and NYC Data Science Academy’s Data Science with Python: Data Analysis and Visualization.

Free Online Courses & Tutorials

Are you considering a career in computer science but not ready to dive into a full-length course? If you’re looking for a simple computer science overview or cannot commit to a full-length bootcamp or certificate program, check out the many online resources you can use to start learning computer science for free.

Say you want to study to be a JavaScript Developer or Full Stack Developer. Consider beginning with the Intro to Full Stack JavaScript seminar on Noble Desktop’s YouTube Channel. In this free introductory course, you’ll learn about topics like React and the JavaScript MERN stack development, among others.

Want to learn data science as part of a broader computer science curriculum? Your education can begin with Noble’s data science video tutorials. These include Get Started in Data Science, Intro to Python Fundamentals, and Exchanging Excel for Python.

Additional free online courses include:

  • Programming for Everybody (Getting Started with Python) from the University of Michigan
  • Google’s IT Support Professional Certificate program
  • Neural Networks and Deep Learning from DeepLearning.AI
  • HTML, CSS, and JavaScript for Web Developers from Johns Hopkins University
  • The Java Programming and Software Engineering Fundamentals Specialization program from Duke University.

Read about more free computer science videos and online tutorials.

On-Demand Computer Science Classes

On-demand or self-paced learning can be another approach to beginning your computer science education. These courses range from free two-hour tutorials at the intermediate level to paid programs that take months to complete.

There are three types of on-demand/self-paced courses:

  • Paid - Paid on-demand classes require a fee but may offer built-in advantages like a money-back guarantee or lifetime access to course materials. 
  • Platform Subscription - With this training option, subscribers pay a flat monthly fee, in exchange for which they can access various on-demand courses. Limitations or exclusions may apply, and monthly fees can be pricey, so you should read all details (including any prerequisites) before enrolling.
  • Free - Free on-demand classes are few and far between, and some are only open to intermediate or advanced students. If you’re looking for a free introduction to computer science, you’ll find a wider variety of options among the online tutorials and seminars available from providers like Noble Desktop.

Like any learning model, on-demand courses have built-in drawbacks and advantages. A self-paced class can be a convenient way to begin studying computer science–especially for novices. But many students with on-demand learning experience report that the lack of accountability for assignments can make it challenging to stay on track. If you’re highly motivated and self-disciplined, however, this type of learning can offer valuable tools to prepare for more formal, instructor-led training.

On-demand computer science classes include JavaScript Essential Training from LinkedIn Learning, Advanced Java Programming from Cloud Academy, and Learn to Code with Ruby from Udemy.

Which Learning Method is Right for Me?

With so many different resources available to help beginners learn computer science, you might need some time to figure out which is best for you. Everyone has different learning styles and preferences, and you can experiment with multiple tools to see which one feels right. One of the great things about planning your computer science training is that you can decide which combination of tools you prefer; you don’t have to stick with what a teacher chooses.

It’s also essential to consider your current schedule before selecting a learning method. If you have a lot of responsibilities like a full-time job or family commitments, you may not be able to devote time to a structured course that requires you to attend at the same time every day. In this case, a self-paced class or video tutorials may be better since you can access them when your schedule allows. On the other hand, those with a more flexible schedule may prefer a structured course offered in-person or live online. 

Why Learn Computer Science?

Learning a field like computer science can take many forms, from Python programming to software engineering. With the urgent demand for computer science professionals in numerous sectors, there’s never been a better time to study this exciting field. Machine learning, web development, and application development all fall under the computer science category.

Want to learn more? If you’re interested in a computer science career, consider enrolling in a comprehensive bootcamp or certificate program. These immersive courses can prepare computer science beginners for entry-level positions in web development, data science, or software engineering.

Read more about why you should learn computer science.

Level of Difficulty, Prerequisites, & Cost 

Any challenges associated with learning computer science depend on the requirements for a particular position. While Web Developers may need to master JavaScript, HTML, and CSS, Software Engineers may need Django, React, and MongoDB expertise. It all depends on the sector and the company’s specific requirements.

Costs also vary. Some entry-level computer science positions require a degree, but a bootcamp or certificate program can prepare students for many other entry-level roles.

Programming languages like Python and JavaScript are free, and their libraries and frameworks are also free. Many students begin learning computer science by watching online tutorials or seminars, but most realize the need for formal training in the classroom.

Read on to learn more about how difficult it is to learn computer science.

Learn Computer Science with Hands-on Training at Noble Desktop

If you want comprehensive computer science training in an interactive environment, check out the Full Stack Web Development Certificate from Noble Desktop. This in-depth program gives participants all the tools they need to build webpages and apps, plus training in hosting, server, and network environments. Featured topics include HTML/CSS, JavaScript, and MongoDB, to name a few.

Is software engineering your main goal? Consider enrolling in Noble’s Software Engineering Certificate program. Here you’ll learn front end development with JavaScript and React along with back end development using Django (Python), all taught by instructors with expertise in the field. Small class sizes and 1-on-1 mentoring mean you always get individual attention and gain essential skills in Flexbox, Grid, and Bootstrap.

If you focus your computer science training on the subcategory of data science, Noble Desktop’s Data Science Certificate gives you the skills you need for an entry-level position. This immersive program provides training in essential tools from Python programming to machine learning fundamentals. It’s a great way to prepare to work as a Data Scientist, Data Analyst, or Machine Learning Engineer.

High school students preparing for the AP Computer Science exam can benefit from Noble’s live online computer science NextGen Bootcamps. These summer classes offer an ideal way to learn disciplines like web development, Python programming, or data science in a beginner-friendly environment.

Key Insights

  • The computer science field encompasses the study of information systems, computation, and automation.
  • Theoretical computer science includes:
    • Information theory
    • Algorithms
    • Computational theory
  • Practical computer science includes:
    • Hardware design and implementation
    • Software design and implementation
  • The employment outlook for computer science and its subcategories remains bright. The BLS estimates a 21% growth rate in the field from 2021-2031.
  • Computer science may be a challenging discipline to learn, but the degree of difficulty depends on what you plan to do with the skills and knowledge you gain.
  • Options for learning computer science include books, video seminars and tutorials, and live or online bootcamps and certificate programs.
  • Training methods for computer science include:
    • In-person bootcamps and certificate programs, like Noble Desktop’s JavaScript, Python, and Data Science Certificates
    • Live online bootcamps, certificates, or individual courses, like Noble’s Full Stack Web Development Certificate
    • Free video seminars and tutorials from providers like Google, Noble Desktop, or Duke University.
    • On-demand or self-paced classes, like LinkedIn’s “JavaScript Essential Training” or Udemy’s “Learn to Code with Ruby.” 
  • You can receive comprehensive computer science training through an in-person or live online course with Noble Desktop.

How to Learn Computer Science

Master computer science with hands-on training. Learning how to code in JavaScript, Python, and other popular languages can pave the way to a job in tech, such as web development, data science & analytics, or software engineering.

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