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10 skills computer science students should have

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Posted: Wednesday, January 23, 2013 5:18 pm | Updated: 2:59 pm, Thu Feb 6, 2014.

Math, logic and science will be the topics of a trivia game night at the Career Center tonight.  

At 6:30 p.m. in Nedderman Hall Room 100, there will be a Microsoft Computer Science Trivia Night, an event that will pit team against team in a contest testing technological skill in the computer science field.

Being an expert in computer science at UTA requires dedication, passion and hours of work.

Here are the top 10 things needed to be a computer science wiz at UTA.

1) Be logical

When computer science professor James O'Dell was asked what the important basics to master for computer science were, the first thing he said was to have a good foundation in logic.

“It really does go a long way,” he said. “When you are discreet with logic, it works well in developing the skills needed for algorithms and coding when it comes to computer science.”

2) Be mathematic 

Math is also an important factor in computer science, O'Dell said. 

“In every way, computer science is based around a mathematical foundation,” he said. “So when you’re programming functions and commands into computers, you need to understand the basis of all of that is in mathematics.”

3) Challenge yourself

One thing that can help an aspiring computer specialist is by testing in real-life technical situations, said Matthew Wright, computer science associate professor. He said people can seek these opportunities out on the Internet.

“I really recommend that people try TopCoder,” Wright said. TopCoder is an online website that holds weekly competitions to see who is the most skilled in computer programming.

“There’s many more like it out there on the Internet,” Wright said.

4) Get involved with a group

Nothing develops skills more than hanging around a group of friends who shares the same interests, Wright said. 

“Getting involved with a group of that caliber really develops your skills,” Wright said. “It’s much better to learn with a group of friends, learning the same technical skills, than it is a teacher lecturing in a class.”

5) Be calm in stressful environments

One thing that computer engineering senior Sean Pierce recommends is being able to process large amounts of technical information quickly.  

“The computer can be a toy, not just a tool,” Pierce said. “One should choose a field where one has a natural passion, and those who tinkering with their computer will probably be comfortable working with it professionally."

6) Be creative

Being a computer expert doesn’t really mean you are restricted to one single method or practice. Being a computer expert means branching out and always striving for the impossible.

“Nothing in computers is ever really isolated,” Pierce said. “It is important to have a general breadth of computer knowledge, because computer scientists often have to develop interesting solutions to interesting problems.”

7) Branch out

Computer science alumnus Patrick Baggett said that to succeed as a computer genius, a person needs to be diverse.

“You need to learn software engineering, how computers work, how operating systems work, as well as countless programming languages,” Baggett said.  

Pierce agreed with Baggett and followed up on his own examples.  

“A famous misquote from Edsger Dijkstra was, ‘Computer science is no more about computers than astronomy is about telescopes,’ meaning that computers are our tools, and while we are experts at using our tools, they do not define the field as a whole,” Pierce said. 

8) Read and write a lot of code 

While it doesn’t sound fun to be going through countless streams of code and data, Pierce said that it is a necessity in order to stay in the computer science workforce.

“Your career will require it,” he said. “Due to technology becoming exponentially complex, one must continuously update their skills to stay competitive within the field." 

9) Understand your tools

“You need to understand how your tools work,” Baggett said. “You need not only know what a compiler, linker, assembler, interpreter and web browser is, but what they do for you to succeed.”

10) Learn from failure, then quickly move on

“You need to have a business mindset,” Pierce said. “Even though business majors are our natural enemies and there is typically a difference in ethics, having a business perspective is incredibly valuable.”

Baggett had one last thing to add to Pierce’s comments.

“Don’t give up easily when something doesn’t work,” he said as he laughed to himself.


This article, originally published on Jan. 23, contained incorrect information. The article has been updated with correct information.



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Welcome to the discussion.


  • vignesh posted at 3:11 am on Fri, Dec 26, 2014.

    vignesh Posts: 1

    be a self confidence,

  • Hugh_Manatee posted at 10:07 am on Thu, Aug 15, 2013.

    Hugh_Manatee Posts: 120

    11) Have a personality.


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