Tips for Upcoming Computer Science Graduate Students


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1.  Select courses. When selecting your eight courses, you need to keep your goal in mind: what do you want to do with your graduate degree? For instance, if you want to get into data science, you may have to choose courses such as Intro to Machine Learning and Data Visualization and Deep Learning. Or, if your goal is to simply acquire a variety of real-world skills, you can do that too, as UIS offers dynamic course selection. You can contact Stephanie Bishop, Graduate Advisor for Computer Science  and come up with a list of courses per semester that meet your goals.

2. Prepare in advance. Look up the courses that you have selected and briefly go through them online. If you are an international student, you can do this while you are waiting for your visa appointment or for classes to start. This will help you to not feel overwhelmed when your courses actually begin. This also sets your expectations. You can find plenty of introductory courses on Udemy or YouTube. You can even take it further by actually getting hands-on with these basic courses. For instance, “Traversy Media” on YouTube offers many hands-on crash courses on web development. The best part is that you can even add these projects to your resume to get an edge over other applicants in the interviews.

3. Learn to code. It is important that you already know how to code in order to complete a master’s in computer science, especially if you are lacking prerequisites. Any one programming language will do, as long as it covers concepts like object oriented programming and functional programming. The goal here is not to master any particular language but to develop a thought process on how to give computer specific instructions to do tasks for you. This will help you learn new technologies or programming languages in a very small time frame, which will be necessary throughout your graduate studies and your IT professional career.

4. Have fun while you are here. Education is important but so is having fun and making memories in college. As the famous proverb goes: “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy; All play and no work makes Jack a mere toy.” With proper time management you can complete your assignments on time and have enough time left for yourself. This time can be utilized to explore your hobbies, focus on fitness or sports, participate in events, or  get an on-campus job.

All the working staff at UIS are helpful when it comes to answering your questions. If they cannot find the answers, they will surely point to someone who can. All the best on your graduation adventure.