“Three good things about being an ICS student”
(Note: This is my first semester as an ICS student at UHM. So, I hope it's okay that I answered this in a more general fashion of why I think it is good to be a Computer science major)
1. Computer applications are increasingly prevalent in all aspects of life
Computers are important tools for many different fields and their applications are growing. Even modern cell phones are miniature computers and there are apps for almost every convenience (eg. email notifications, language translators, apps that track our basic fitness). Data is increasingly being stored in databases and even a visit to the doctor increases our digital footprint as patient information is stored (and often shared with other physicians) in cloud-based medical software. Gone are the days when accountants would use spreadsheets (or gasp, calculators and pencils) to calculate depreciation or interest. Goodbye to the countless plates of biochemical media for bacterial identification. They’ve streamlined the process with PCR. And behind every machine is software giving the guidelines to the mechanical beasts that make our lives (and stress levels) better.
In short, things are changing day by day, and the technology is only becoming more complicated. Fields that workers may have never expected to require computers are edging out the old-timers – who never had the chance or spent the time to develop their computer skills. Farming, a field that some people might think of as simply growing food, is increasingly complex. Beyond the basic biology, now exists vertical farming and software that automates the process of crop care to optimize growing conditions for hundreds of different varieties of plants.
So, it is not only cool to be a computer science major, potentially having a future that impacts the future of others. But it is also necessary to develop a certain level of computer competency to survive in today’s world.
2. Programming is a skill that boosts employment opportunities
On Glassdoor.com, a simple search for “Programmer Salaries” quotes a national average base salary of $69,980 (as of 8/27/20). Now, not all computer science majors are destined to work for the large companies capable of shelling out these big bucks. And not all of them want to – some desire to pursue a career as an educator, some might work for the government and others find their computer skills useful in other fields. However, the potential for the high salary is there. And programming, unlike many other careers, does not need to be tied down to one physical location. It is possible, that you can work for a large mainland company while living in Hawaii. It is also possible, that you work for a local company in Hawaii with ties to the mainland and a growing potential for larger networks and projects.
During this period of COVID-19 lockdown, there has been increasing talks by the media and local officials regarding diversifying Hawaii’s economy to become less reliant upon tourism. Due to the physical location of the State of Hawaii and a lack of space and natural resources, it would be difficult to diversify Hawaii’s economy in industry or biotechnology – even though these areas were frequently mentioned. Beyond just a lack of space and resources, biotechnology companies, for example, have already invested big money into their current locations and are already in hot hubs - surrounded by universities with big grants and world-class talent. And without the big companies relocating here (to Hawaii), it is too expensive to maintain and purchase the equipment needed to remain at a competitive standard. This is not to say that Hawaii cannot compete globally or nationally in more areas. Nor should we quash local efforts or the current smaller-scale research that could achieve important breakthroughs. However, big industries alone are not going to solve Hawaii’s economic woes. Rather, we should be looking into areas where we already have the resources and depth for a quicker and more significant impact. Computer science is an attractive choice because the equipment needed, while not cheap, is not cost prohibitive. A single student, can theoretically with their own laptop computer, develop software that is on the cutting edge of research. Computer science is also a field that already has a large community willing to share their ideas and development processes online. This makes it easier to progress quickly and research, like job opportunities, is not limited by the physical location.
In summary, computer science is a good major because of the potential for employment in many different areas (eg. education, security, government) and the potential for a high salary. Unlike other fields of study that may be limited in their research and scope due to geographical location or money, it is possible to do software development nearly anywhere in the world.
3. I like computers
It is no secret that a key to success in any field is to like what you do. I like computers and I love the feeling I get when I write some code, test it and it works. Then, write a bit more code, test it and it still works. Programming is one of those areas where it is very easy to see immediate results, especially if you incrementally develop your thoughts. In a slight modification of the words of the wise Dr. Seuss:
green eggs and ham to write some programs, man”
“I do! I like them,
“So, I will
eat them program in a box”
“And I will
eat them program with a fox”
“And I will
eat them in a program in my house”
“And I will
eat them with a put down the mouse”
Three good things about being a UH ICS student:
1. You are forced to learn good time management skills and find the lifestyle that fits best for you to succeed.
2. You learn that nothing hard is easy to obtain; advisors advise you that hard work in your classes and taking your time in school will pay off in the long run.
3. The ICS department is one of the best on campus. The staff tries their hardest to get us the best resources. Also, we have a lot of opportunities to find employment on the island due to their connections outside of UH.
1. The online modules and schedule really help keep track of what assignments are due and what we are learning.
2. Getting to experience many different coding languages (so far Java, C, C++, and SQL)
3. A rigorous class load to encourage more efficient matters of productivity.
Good things about being an ICS student:
1. Being an ICS student gives access to cost-reduced software via the MSDN.
2. ICS students at UH Manoa get to learn directly from industry professionals, meaning the information that they get isn't outdated, which is crucial in an industry where things change by the day.
3. Being an ICS student means I get to interact with possibly future co-workers and industry peers before we get out into the world and build our relationships early.
1) Development on practical computer science skill.
2) Learning how to credit a professional portfolio and connections.
3) A fun and safe learning environment.
1. Setting up our online persona or reputation through tools such as LinkedIn, TechHui. This will be an essential step post graduation.
2. Teambuilding exercises which build teamwork, a crucial skill for programmers.
3. Passionate professors who contribute majorly to our understanding.
1. Professors are very enthusiastic and knowledgeable.
2. UH Manoa provides a lot of software for students to use in the program.
3. Lots of emphasis on working in groups since the workforce requires lots of collaboration.
1. You get to learn from many professional professors.
2. Meeting new people who are willing to help each other.
3. Access to many opportunities to careers.
Three good things about being a UH ICS student:
1. Meeting new people and working together to improve not only group work and communication skills, but also building friendships. Having other people to work with has been greatly beneficial for me because it helped me become exposed to different ideas, and helped me expand my way of thinking. Building these connections also can be beneficial not only from a professional standpoint, but from a personal standpoint as well. Having personal connections with people has helped with building a great support system, which is important when times/classes become difficult.
2. Using the challenging courses to increase problem solving skills and learn more about the growing field of Computer Science. Computer Science is always changing, and being able to learn great problem solving skills can help increase the ability to adapt in situations that may not be familiar. This skill has helped me not only in past ICS courses figuring out coding problems, but with other classes that require logical reasoning.
3. Gaining knowledge from real ICS professionals about jobs, building a professional profile online, and being able to apply what I learned to not only computer science, but every day life. Having the privilege to be taught by ICS professors that are willing to share their knowledge about the field and always being available for help and guidance has helped me understand what I want to work towards in the field.
1. A vast selection of career paths from Data Science to Cybersecurity and Ethics
2. Meeting new people and the ability to network with Tech Companies.
3. Learning more programming languages and being able to apply them to class assignments
1. Having a common space for the ics students to gather around to seek help makes it a lot easier for students to gain the guidance they need and to also make life long friendships.
2. Having various clubs that relates to computer science helps students find out more about the field that theyre interested in and get a headstart on their career.
3. Some of the ics professors have done a very good job on helping out their students when they need it. They make themselves available and try their best at explaining hard to understand concepts to us.
1. Having others around you who also are interested in computer science and may have similar goals. Forming bonds and friendships that provide support and open up new opportunities.
2. The events and resources that are available to students. One of them being career fairs, where you get to meet companies that peak your interests. There are also resources UH provides that helps you prepare for career fairs.
3. There are many classes available that ics students can choose. Also, student opinion has a factor on what new classes could be created.