Learn Computer Science Fundamentals
Free Coding Guide: Part 6
What is Computer Science?
Computer Science is basically about solving problems. It’s about understanding what computers can do for you, whereas programming itself is the practice of making computers do those things.
Do you like solving problems? If that’s the case, Computer Science might just be your thing.
Learning CS and coding will require skills in logical thinking and solving problems in various ways. Of course, you will also need quite a bit of patience, too, for those days when things don’t go the way you planned.
Luckily, there are plenty of great resources available for learning computer science basics online. I’ll be sharing my favourite ones with you in this chapter.
But first, let’s start by looking at a few crucial reasons for learning CS to begin with.
Why learn Computer Science for coding?
What are CS skills good for with coding? If you’re just writing code for computer programs, why do you need to know what’s happening under the hood inside the computer?
Anyone without much knowledge in Computer Science will face quite a challenge when they start learning coding: they have to understand the terminology and dynamics around coding, which are closely related to the fundamentals of CS.
As I mentioned above, Computer Science is about understanding what computers can do for you and how they work. Knowing how your code actually works and is executed helps you write better, faster, and more efficient programs in the future.
Of course, when you’re just starting out by writing simple, one-file programs, worrying about writing perfectly efficient code is not your number one priority. However, the sooner you start being more aware of it, the easier it will be to learn the fundamentals of how to write “good” code in the long run.
“Learning coding without knowing much about CS is like learning how to drive but not knowing what happens when you turn the steering wheel.”
Since the more technical terms can sometimes become a bit overwhelming for a coding beginner, I’ve put together this chapter to get you started.
Understanding CS will help you reach your goals faster
Early on, when you first start learning coding, you’ll be bombarded with technical terminology you’re not necessarily familiar with. Needless to say, this will slow down your learning process. You’ll be spending your time looking for answers and explanations online.
And that’s perfectly fine, we’ve all been there!
However, the key to speeding up your learning is to focus on learning the fundamentals behind those technicalities first. Almost all of them are somehow related to Computer Science.
Therefore, it’s a good idea to take your time to learn the basics of Computer Science right away when you start learning programming.
Why not learn Computer Science while you learn coding?
Of course, everyone has a different way of learning. You might prefer to learn your Computer Science basics while coding at the same time. And you’re perfectly free to do so.
My approach is simply a tip that’s worked for me and for many others I’ve managed to help learn coding. And since I’m here to help you out, it’s only fair to share my experience with you.
Surely, you will learn the fundamentals of Computer Science along the way, eventually. But making an effort to understand them before really starting off with coding will speed things up later on, trust me.
Learning the basics of Computer Science right away will help you reach your goals with coding faster and more efficiently. You quite simply won’t get confused about terminology as often, saving you a lot of time.
Do I need to be good in math to learn Computer Science?
Quite often I’m asked whether you need to be really good at math to become a programmer or in order to learn CS. My answer is the same every time: it’s not about math at all. Instead, it’s more about the capability to understand how things work together.
“Becoming good at coding is about being able to understand a specific problem and then working towards solving it in the best possible way.”
Hence, learning the basics of both Computer Science and coding will require skills in logical thinking and solving problems in various ways. You don’t necessarily need to be a math nerd – you will get far with just basic arithmetics.
Of course, you will also need quite a bit of patience, too. You know, for those days when things don’t go the way you planned.
The Best Computer Science Courses for Beginners
Ready to start learning? Awesome!
When it comes to finding a good Computer Science course for beginners, you want to start with the very basics.
Here are a few of the best CS online courses to take a look at:
Intro to Computer Science (Udacity)
Intro to Computer Science is one of the best places to learn Computer Science fundamentals from scratch. If you’re new to the world of coding, this course will teach you all the basics you need to know about how computers work.
At the same time, you’ll learn Python basics as you progress through the lectures step-by-step. You’ll go through a bunch of practical exercises where you can build something very useful with your code: a small search engine of your own.
CS101 Bootcamp (Udemy)
During this course, you’ll write your own small programs and apps for practice. You’ll learn how computer work on the inside, what software programming is all about, and much more. All this is packed into just 2 hours of intensive learning!
Computer Science 101 (Udemy)
Going through the course contents, you’ll learn how to write more efficient programs from scratch. You’ll understand how to design your code so that it makes the most of the resources your computer offers. (And yes, I regret not having started this course any sooner…)
Final thoughts: Computer Science Fundamentals
All in all, understanding the basics of Computer Science is super helpful for anyone interested in learning to code. When you’re taking your first online coding course, you need to know what’s happening under the hood of your computer. Your programs need to be designed well so that they run fast on any device.
With the learning resources listed above, you can get a quick introduction to Computer Science. And even if it seems irrelevant at this point, it’s worth your time to get a basic understanding of it at this point.
In the next part of our guide, we’ll look at how you can choose the right programming language to learn. Again, the guide is packed with heaps of helpful tips for helping you save time and achieve your coding goals faster. After all, if you want to start a career in tech, it only makes sense to pick a language with lucrative career opportunities, right?
Without further ado, let’s head over to the next part to find out which programming language to learn!