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Which computer science course to take?

elitepwnageelitepwnage 172 replies25 threads Junior Member
I have been looking at majoring in computer science (L&S) and I wanted to know where I should start. I don't have any programming experience except a little in HTML/CSS and I'm currently learning C#. Where should I start?

I'm confused because for example, Comp. Sci 9A is designed for those who already know how to program and is the lowest level. So if 9A is the lowest and is designed for people who know how to program, what do people who don't really have much programming experience do?

This may sound like a stupid question, but I don't want to make a mistake in course scheduling. I've been through that already in high school :)
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Replies to: Which computer science course to take?

  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 80141 replies720 threads Senior Member
    CS 61A is the normal starting course for students considering the CS major. Those with no programming experience may want to take CS 10 first.
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  • prezbuckyprezbucky 4323 replies11 threads Senior Member
    I'd take one that teaches SQL. A lot of analyst jobs these days require SQL skills.
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  • elitepwnageelitepwnage 172 replies25 threads Junior Member
    @ucbalumnus‌ - OK, thanks!

    @prezbucky‌ - Will look into it. Thanks!
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  • elitepwnageelitepwnage 172 replies25 threads Junior Member
    So...

    I see CS 10 "Beauty and Joy of Computing" is designed for non-computing majors, which does not fit me (I am a prospective CS major). Of course, I could still go for it.

    For CS 61A, the pre-reqs are Math 1A (which can be taken concurrently) and programming experience equivalent to 3 or passing the Comp Sci. AP exam. I don't have either of the latter, which means I'll be starting at 3L... That seems logical, and then next semester I would be taking CS 61A. Advice guys?
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 80141 replies720 threads Senior Member
    CS 3 is no longer offered; CS 10 is recommended for those who want to take CS 61A but do not feel confident taking CS 61A on the basis of previous experience or lack thereof. CS 10 is also suitable for non-CS-majors, but apparently has recruited some to major in CS.

    You can look at the first few weeks' of course materials for CS 10 and CS 61A to get an idea of which course is best for you:
    http://www-inst.eecs.berkeley.edu/~cs10/sp14/
    http://www-inst.eecs.berkeley.edu/~cs61a/sp14/
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  • elitepwnageelitepwnage 172 replies25 threads Junior Member
    @ucbalumnus‌ - Aha, thank you so much! Is CS 61A so rigorous or could I still enroll with minimal programming experience? Again, I am learning C# and other programming languages.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 80141 replies720 threads Senior Member
    Take a look at the course materials and see if you think you can keep up.
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  • failure622failure622 1318 replies36 threads Senior Member
    @elitepwnage‌ If you're worried, you can find past lectures on webcast.berkeley.edu and watch along. See if you think you'll be able to keep up with the pace.
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  • elitepwnageelitepwnage 172 replies25 threads Junior Member
    @ucbalumnus‌ - Will do. Thanks.

    @failure622‌ - Thanks, will do.
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  • elitepwnageelitepwnage 172 replies25 threads Junior Member
    So guys, I took a look at the mid-term for CS 61A, and it pretty much terrified me lol. But then again, this is Berkeley...

    If I took CS 10, would it leave me behind in declaring the major? That's my major concern, primarily because I want to see how I would manage my classes. If I started with 61A my first semester as a freshman, I could declare by the end of my 4th semester (end of sophomore year). Advice greatly appreciated! :)
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 80141 replies720 threads Senior Member
    Taking CS 61A in the spring would not result in excessive delay with the CS major. According to http://www.eecs.berkeley.edu/csugrad/#petitioning , you apply to declare during the semester when you are completing the last of your technical prerequisites. So if you take CS 61A, 61B, and 61C in consecutive semesters, and complete all other prerequisites no later than CS 61C, you would apply during your third semester if you start CS 61A in your first semester, and fourth semester if you start CS 61B in your second semester.
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  • totalcapricetotalcaprice 216 replies20 threads Junior Member
    edited July 2014
    You could try signing up for CS61A and CS10, and then see which class fits you the most (and then drop one). There are students that take CS10 first before they take CS61A, but there are students that jump into CS61A without any programming experience and end up doing really well. I don't know you, so only you know how much you can handle (look at the material for each class online. Since you haven't learned the material yet, it makes sense the midterm would scare you since its a couple of weeks of lecture...)
    edited July 2014
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  • elitepwnageelitepwnage 172 replies25 threads Junior Member
    @ucbalumnus‌ - Okay, thanks for the explanation.

    @totalcaprice - Haha, yeah that's true. I think I just need to, as you said, look into the material and webcasts and other stuff before making a decision. Thanks for the advice!
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  • GoldenBear2017GoldenBear2017 2 replies2 threads New Member
    I wouldn't judge how ready you are for CS61A based on the midterms - they're supposed to be tough! I think last semester when I took 61A, the average on the midterms was around 50-60% AFTER rigorously learning the material. However, the class is curved at the end so most people typically end up getting a B or an A. :)

    I guess what I'm saying is, don't be afraid of CS61A! Some people take it without any programming experience and do just fine. Maybe that'll be you too!
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  • elitepwnageelitepwnage 172 replies25 threads Junior Member
    @GoldenBear2017‌ - Thanks! Doesn't hurt to review though haha :)
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  • MeeeeeVMeeeeeV 30 replies10 threads Junior Member
    I think you'll be fine. I went into 61A with basically no programming experience (HTML/CSS like you) and came out with an A+. And I believe the CS 9 series is a self-paced series solely for learning languages. If you want to learn the big ideas of programming (OOP, recursion, algorithmic analysis), then the CS 10 to 61A route is what you're looking for.
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  • elitepwnageelitepwnage 172 replies25 threads Junior Member
    @MeeeeeV‌ - Thanks a bunch for the encouragement, really needed it.

    I'm currently waitlisted for CS 61A, so I may end up taking CS 10 after all. Oh, the decisions...
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