What Do You Learn in Computer Science?

Instructor: Adam Nystrom

Adam owns a Master's degree in Professional and Digital Media Writing. During his time as a graduate assistant, he developed lesson plans for upper-level English courses.

Computer science is one of the more popular majors today, and if you are considering it for your own studies, read this article to find out what kinds of things you will learn by studying the subject.

Computer Programming

A significant portion of your computer science studies will involve programming. You start out by learning high-level, basic languages such as Java and C++. As you go on, you'll be introduced to more complex coding methods, including Prolog, Scheme, and machine code, also known as assembly language programming. At first, you can expect to input basic commands that will print phrases such as 'Hello, world!' on your screen. This will evolve into entire structures and algorithms, along with operating systems design. For a primer on programming, check out our programming methodology chapter.

Computer Organization

Have you ever wondered how a computer performs basic operations inside? In this course, you study how a computer moves information from place to place. You examine the central processing unit, primary and secondary memory, accessories and peripheral devices, as well as the circuitry that conducts operations. Take a look at our computer hardware chapter for more details.


Most computer science programs require or encourage internships, which give you hands-on computing experience. Your department's faculty members and advisors will monitor your progress throughout the program, and strong candidates may even have job offers waiting for them after completing the internship.

Calculus and Discrete Math

If you don't like math, computer science may not be for you. You'll be going through rigorous mathematical classes that start with calculus, and you can also expect to study statistics and linear algebra. has its own course if you want to tackle calculus before you start a computer science program: Math 104: Calculus I.

Lab Science

You'll also also gain experience working in a science lab. Many programs recommend taking a physics course, but you may have the option of studying chemistry or biology as well.

Fortunately, also offers video courses in the following subjects:

More IT Courses From

We have a growing collection of computer-related courses and career resource materials here at Here are a few options to further your understanding of computer science topics and careers:

Earning College Credit

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Transferring credit to the school of your choice

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