Why Learn Programming and Computer Science??
Why might you want to learn computer science and how to program?
There are lots of different responses to this question.
- Programming is an act of creation. A successful program involves
thinking up something and making it real. The result is a thing that
works and is useful. In this sense programming is much closer to
engineering or art than it is to science. Programing is used in
science, but the act of programming itself is not a science.
- Programming is useful. Some basic programming skills are useful
in almost any field of science, and the necessity of knowing
programming will almost surely increase over time. Almost everyone I
know doing good and interesting research in math or physics has at
good (or better) programming skills.
also very useful for some areas of the social sciences and also quite
likely for digital or computer art. Also, if you anticipate working
in any sort of IT field (databases, web page design and management,
system administration), knowing some basic programming will be very
- Computer science teaches problem solving. At its core, computer
science is the study of algorithms: methods of solving problems which
can be automated. This study prepares students to solve all sorts of
problems, not just those involving computers. The structured study of
algorithms also positions students to more fully understand the
limitations associated with algorithmic methods.
- There is a tremendous value to the intellectual discipline
demanded by programming. Successful programming takes patience,
practice, organization, and a tremendous attention to detail. Good
programmers must simultaneously have a sense of the big (or at least
medium) picture about the problem they're trying to solve and also
have mastered a considerable body of detailed technical information.
This combination of skills will help students in many different
endeavors. Also, I think the attention to detail required in
programming is something that you're not likely to encounter in many
other COA classes.
- Programming is fun. The challenge of designing and implementing
an algorithm is exciting. There is a great satisfaction associated
with coming up with an idea and then making it work. Also, the focus
demanded by programming is, for many, very healthy and almost
- Programmers are fun. My experience has been that programmers and
hackers are a very interesting and intellectually diverse lot.
Here are some other writings on why one might want to learn computer
science, especially in the context of the liberal arts.
- The Liberal Arts Computer Science
Consortium is a group of faculty who have written about the roles
of computer science in a liberal arts curriculum. Their model
curriculum is excellent.
science and the liberal arts from Saint John's University.
- Why should I
study computer science? from Washington and Lee University.
- Wikipedia's entry on computer