A common misconception is that computer science and computer programming are the same thing. In reality, computer science deals with the theories about what computers can do, while coding is the method of actually making computers do things.
You don’t necessarily have to know one to be proficient in the other, though they complement each other tremendously. One important difference is that computer science generally requires a college degree and coding does not.
Computer science covers a wide range of topics. Some are more concrete, like the best algorithms to make a specific program or system run properly. Others are more theoretical, like coming up with potential applications for new technologies and software programs. If you’re a high schooler and these concepts sound interesting to you, why not start now? There are plenty of resources out there for young people to begin their computer science journey, and there are plenty of advantages to learning these skills.
AP Computer Science Course
High school students who are interested in computer science can get an early start by taking the Advanced Placement (AP) Computer Science course in high school. The exam taken at the end of this course is the only College Board accredited test where students write a computer program from scratch. The exam exclusively tests students in Java and is unlikely to change or add programming languages soon. The number of students who take the exam is also on the rise: less than 50,000 students participated in 2015, but that number grew to over 70,000 in 2020.
Taking the AP Computer Science exam can lead to impressive college and career opportunities. An eight-week program at Facebook University is offered for college freshmen and sophomores who come from backgrounds that are typically marginalized in the field of computer science. The program lasts from May to August and pairs students with a Facebook Engineer who will mentor them throughout the internship. Additionally, there are multiple internship programs available through Google. These programs include an IT internship, a software engineering internship, and business internships for students planning on getting their MBA.
There are also scholarships available through the AP program. They currently partner with both Google and Amazon to fund scholarships for high schoolers who wish to enter the field of computer science after graduation. There are several Google scholarships available to students all over the world. At present, there are two that apply to students residing in the United States: the Google Lime Scholarship which is awarded to students with disabilities, and the Generation Google Scholarship which encourages students of minority backgrounds to apply. The Amazon Future Engineer program awards $10,000 to high school seniors who want to continue their education in computer science or a related field.
Careers in Computer Science
If you’re hoping to complete a computer science degree in college, you might be wondering what kinds of jobs you’ll be eligible for once you graduate. Luckily, computer scientists are highly sought after in today’s job market. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates 11% job growth in this field in the next decade. Computer science is a broad term, and most people who work in this field have a specialty area that they work within. Below, you’ll find some of the most common to give you an idea of what your post-graduate career might look like.
Many computer scientists go into cybersecurity or security analysis. These professions help organizations protect sensitive information. They also frequently communicate with more non-technical employees to describe the dangers of phishing attacks and to describe other issues that will help keep the company safe. Because of the ever-growing threat of hackers, careers in this area are predicted to grow at an astounding 32% in the next decade. The median pay for security professionals is close to $100,000 per year.
Artificial intelligence is another area where computer scientists frequently put their skills to use. These careers are becoming more necessary as demands increase in complexity and are no longer able to efficiently be done by humans. For example, AI is being used in the Department of Defense to identify potential threats for both civilians and in cyberspace. A human simply can not analyze such a large amount of data at once, but AI does not have the same limitations. Artificial Intelligence Engineers are offered a wide range of salaries, but they are typically over $100,000 annually.
Data science is one of the most lucrative career paths that a computer scientist can have. Data Scientists make an average annual salary of nearly $100,000. Data Scientists use their creative thinking and mathematics backgrounds to help businesses translate a huge amount of information into solutions they may not have otherwise been able to solve. For example, data science is used frequently in the healthcare industry to track and predict the spread of certain illnesses. Data science is especially exciting because it can be applied in virtually every industry.
Exercise Your Brain with Computer Science
Learning computer science will keep your brain active and strong in a variety of ways. Mastering some of the theories and algorithms within computer science takes a lot of self-discipline. Developing the dedication to focus on such a complex process will almost certainly spill over into other areas of a student’s life, making them better able to use their self-discipline and adopt other positive habits. Finally, the challenges that computer science presents help to build new neural networks in the brain and keep the mind sharp.
Learn Computer Science in NextGen’s Summer Classes
If you’re interested in computer science classes that are specifically designed for high schoolers, you can check out NextGen Bootcamp’s computer science classes for high school students. Students can attend in-person computer science courses at NestGen Bootcamp’s location in New York City, or attend a live online computer science class remotely from home.
Learn more in these courses
- Computer Science Classes for High School Students
Computer Science Summer Certificate Program Live Online
- Not currently scheduled
- 95 hours
- Open to beginners
In this live online summer certificate, high school students will master the fundamentals of programming in both Java and Python. Students will get a head start on the AP Computer Science Exam as well as learn the fundamentals of data science and machine learning.
Computer Science Summer Program NYC
- Not currently scheduled
- 95 hours
- Open to beginners
In this intensive bootcamp, you'll learn to program using Java and Python, two of the most popular and universally-applicable languages used by software developers today. This course will give any student a head-start in university-level coding courses.