Are you interested in learning more about what all you can do with a major in computer science at Texas A&M?
Many freshmen come in knowing what they want to major in; however, most utilize their freshman year to find their passion. I always knew that I wanted to pursue computer science (CS). This post is not about why I love this engineering major, but about how Texas A&M makes me love it even more.
So if you’re a freshman coming into Texas A&M next semester and you don’t yet know which island in the vast ocean of engineering you want to inhabit, I hope this article enlightens you about most of the opportunities in computer science.
1. Finding your community: Open Houses
The MSC Open House, to me, was like Disneyland with all the organizations in one place. I talked to representatives from different organizations and got to know all about the amazing things their clubs do. Personally, I was more interested in the CS-based organizations, like the Aggie Coding Club, Aggie Women in Computer Science (this is not a women-only org), TAMUhack, Texas A&M Computing Society, and the Texas A&M Data Analytics Club.
2. Utilizing Howdy Week to the Fullest
My first week turned out to be relatively hectic as I decided to attend most of the above-mentioned clubs’ informational sessions. No matter how hectic it gets, it’s always a good idea to attend as many of these info sessions as you can! I got a rough idea of what each organization was like, and I was able to figure out which ones I wanted to continue with. You don’t need to do everything; just make sure that you do everything for the one thing you love and are deeply passionate about.
Pro tip: I feel that, as a freshman, the most efficient way to get involved in computer science is through these on-campus clubs and organizations. Classes won’t cover much of CS in your freshman year, but these club meetings and projects will teach you more than you could imagine.
3. Put yourself out there
You won’t look cool in a black hacker outfit, behaving like an outcast, sitting alone in the corner with your laptop. Making friends is the new cool. Get to know your peers, and most importantly, your upperclassmen! They’re the best people to be around, as they have so much more knowledge and experience than you. And what better way to meet these heroes than to get involved in their clubs?
4. Hack away all those hackathons
Texas A&M has so many opportunities for CS enthusiasts. Every fall semester, we have HowdyHack, a beginner-friendly hackathon, and the Datathon, a cool data science hackathon. Every spring, there’s the annual TAMUhack, the largest hackathon in the state of Texas, and TAMUmake, a hardware-focused makeathon! The incentive is not to win those awesome headphones and raspberry pi’s, but to get the hang of working on projects. As a CS major, your life revolves around the word ‘projects’ and they’re a good way to determine your expertise with a particular technology and the innovations you can bring about using it. These 24- or 48-hour ventures are great opportunities to brainstorm and work on such ideas!
5. Expand your horizons
Most CS enthusiasts get trapped in the wonders of computer science and fail to explore beyond the boundary that their major creates for them. A small step could be to participate more in the engineering community, as I am sure freshman year will compel you to do. Opportunities like Aggies Invent and organizations like Women in Engineering are great to get involved in and gain experience with. Engineering Village is a good place to find a safe community of people. It’s not always about hardcore coding; as a CS enthusiast, you should know how to blend in with the other majors as well!
All of these things, among many other surprises that Texas A&M has unfolded for me, have made me fall in love with computer science all over again. It’s amazing how you have the chance to do whatever it is that you want here; the only requirement is the will to do so!