Computer Science Prerequisites

What to Learn Before Computer Science

Explore the world of computer science, a field that offers diverse career opportunities, from web development and software engineering to data science. With a predicted 21% growth rate in Computer and Information Research Scientist jobs between 2021-2031, now is the perfect time to dive into this exciting and rewarding industry.

Key Insights

  • Computer science is a vast field covering areas such as hardware and software design, data visualization, machine learning algorithms, and more.
  • Despite the breadth and growing importance of computer science, only about half of U.S. high schools currently offer computer science courses.
  • For those interested in the field, various beginner-friendly bootcamps and certificate programs are available to help you gain the necessary skills and knowledge.
  • Having basic computer skills, including familiarity with Microsoft programs, presentation software, and messaging apps, can be beneficial when starting out in computer science.
  • While not mandatory, having a background in programming or math can also provide an advantage for those seeking to learn computer science.
  • According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, job opportunities in the computer science field, such as Software Developers, IT Security Analysts, Data Scientists, and Product Managers, are predicted to grow by 21% between 2021-2031.

Computer science is a broad field focused on developing and implementing complex tools, hardware, and software systems. A computer science career can make an excellent choice for professionals with solid physics, math, or engineering backgrounds.

You might worry that computer science will take a lot of work to learn. This guide will help you understand the best methods for learning computer science and what you should study first to make the learning process easier. This way, you’ll be successful however you choose to apply your new skills. 

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.

Is Computer Science Easy to Learn?

Around half of U.S. high schools offer computer science courses, yet only five percent of students take advantage of them to learn this essential discipline. Because it’s not yet mandatory in secondary schools, perhaps only a small percentage of students choose it as an elective due to the perceived difficulty of learning computer science.

The reality is that there’s never been a better time to learn computer science concepts and skills. Open-source programming languages like Python are available for free online, many companies need workers with computer science expertise, and the number of beginner-friendly courses has never been higher.

Noble Desktop offers many bootcamps and certificate programs appropriate for computer science beginners. If you’re interested in web or application development, software engineering, or data science, consider enrolling in one of these immersive courses.

What to Know Before Learning Computer Science

Computer science careers range from mobile app development to data analytics, so there’s no shortage of paths a computer science student can take. While you might think you need to know a particular subject before beginning computer science training, many courses provide training for novices. Still, having at least some essential skills can be helpful before you begin. Consider the following:

Basic Computer Skills

Today basic computer skills include more than simple familiarity with a keyboard or mouse. Most students know how to do a host of tasks on their phones, a desktop, or a laptop.

In addition to basics like internet searches, email, and video conferencing, students should consider the following as basic computer skills—whether they need all of them for computer science training or not.

  • Microsoft programs like Word and Excel
  • Presentation software (PowerPoint, Mac Keynote, Google Slides)
  • Scheduling management (iCal, Google Calendar, Outlook Calendar)
  • Instant messaging apps (Slack, Skype, Google Chat)

Other computer basics can include tools like Google Drive or Dropbox, Photoshop, and familiarity with various browsers and operating systems. Whereas some students are only familiar with Google Chrome or Safari, others may use Microsoft Edge or Firefox. It can help to know more than one OS or browser, but in cases where you train live online, you can get by with your equipment.

Programming Fundamentals

While it’s not a prerequisite before learning computer science, it can help your cause if you have mastered some programming fundamentals.Computer science is a broad field, and what you need to know for different career paths varies widely. One thing to know is that there are four types of programming languages:

  • Object-oriented
  • Scripting
  • Functional
  • Logic

It can also help if you understand basic programming concepts, such as data types and structures, syntax, and variables.

If you’re planning a web or app development career, you can get all the fundamentals you need from a program like Noble Desktop’s Full Stack Web Development Certificate. This immersive course is open to beginners and includes training in HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and other development tools.

On the other hand, if you want to be a Data Scientist or Data Analyst, you can get training in Python programming fundamentals with the Data Science Certificate or Data Analytics Certificate. Both open to beginners, these programs cover essential tools like NumPy, Pandas, and Matplotlib.

Advanced Mathematics

You don’t have to be a math whiz to study computer science. On the other hand, it doesn’t hurt.

Many computer science students come to the field from math, physics, or engineering backgrounds. Even high school-level courses like Algebra, Trigonometry, and Pre-Calculus can help prepare you.

The type of math you need to know for the computer science field depends on your career path, but probability and statistics often play a significant role. Data science requires statistical analysis, and the analytical skills you need for web development often resemble those learned in algebra classes.

While you may not need specific math training for your career of choice, most experts recommend taking all the high-level math courses you can while still in school. And if you’re already in the workforce, consider enrolling in a comprehensive computer science bootcamp or certificate program to get the best training for your next role. 

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 focuses on the development and implementation of complex tools, platforms, and systems. It encompasses hardware, software, algorithms, and informational and computational theory.
  • Only around half of U.S. secondary schools offer computer science courses.
  • While many beginners anticipate difficulty learning computer science, beginner-friendly bootcamps and certificate programs can prepare them for entry-level positions in the field.
  • Although there are no hard and fast prerequisites for computer science training, it helps to have basic computer skills. These include:
    • Microsoft programs (Word, Excel)
    • Presentation software (PowerPoint, Keynote)
    • Messaging apps (Slack, Skype)
  • Students with a programming or math background can also find those to be an advantage.

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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