Fernando Begins
posted on Feb. 10, 2014, 12:06 a.m. by Fernando Rodriguez
last edited on Feb. 10, 2014, 12:06 a.m.

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Origin story time! Time to find out how I became interested in Computer Science. SPOILER ALERT: I never was!

Back in high school, I loved math (in fact, I still do!). I tutored for my friends and got perfect scores. This is what caught the attention of my teachers, and their comments were always the same: "Hey, you're good at math. Ever consider doing engineering in college?" So I applied for Computer Engineering and got my degree.

Even until about my second year of college, I never considered myself "good" with computers. I still did writing assignments by hand, I never used PowerPoint, and the only reason I ever touched Excel was because my chemistry lab required me to (and even then, they had a step-by-step guide on how to do the stuff you needed to do). The only thing I really liked that is somewhat related to Computer Science was video games. I loved me some games, but that's a story for another time.

When I got to my first programming class, I had no idea what was going on. There were people in my class that had already done crazy stuff with computers, and all I did was follow the instructions in class to get my assignments done. I felt really out of place until grades came in. I was dominating in class, and the "experts" were having trouble keeping up. This led me to two conclusions: the grading system (with assignments, exams, and projects) is a terrible way to assess someone's skill, and that I might be able to enjoy programming. Thinking algorithmically made so much sense to me, so maybe I happened upon my "love" for Computer Science by chance.

I've mentioned previously that what I REALLY want to do is teach and that I have zero interest in going to work for the industry. I just needed to pick a concentration that I could have fun with, and math was NOT one of them. I figured I could make games through a degree in Computer Science (but boy was I wrong!).

I don't mean to discourage anyone, but I honestly believe that Computer Science isn't for everyone. However, I think we can all learn computational thinking (thinking and solving problems like a computer). If the goal is to get people interested in Computer Science as a profession, I think that's the way to go. Then, the people that enjoy computational thinking are the future computer scientists we are looking for. The most important thing in my eyes is not to get more people, but get the right people.

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