Why Everyone Should Take Computer Science 1
If I had to give a Ted Talk, this would be it (at least, it would definitely be high on the list). Not to be cheesy, but CS1 changed my life. Then and there, I decided that I was going to be a computer science major, as opposed to all the signs on my college application that I would be headed the quantitative social science (QSS) route. While there are plenty of other current CS majors who share my similar experience of stumbling upon CS by happening to take CS1 their freshman year, there are also those who have the decidedly opposite reaction. Some hate it, and others find it, quite frankly, boring. Regardless, I believe that it is infinitely important that every freshman should have their bat at it.
Learning the very basics of coding is so important for our increasingly technology-dependent world these days. The world runs on computers; we live on the internet. Companies would be rendered useless without tech, and I believe it will be important for employees to have some sort of at least basic understanding. Furthermore, coding forces you to think differently than you may be used to. It requires your brain to be flexible; you have to have problem solving skills, something quite important in about any field of work.
But what if I'm bad at it and end up getting a bad grade? First off, though I can sympathize with the sentiment, if you never try anything for fear of failing, you'll live an awfully boring academic career. But regardless, you don't even need to worry about that! Dartmouth has this nifty thing called the non-recording option, otherwise known as the NRO. You can set an NRO at a certain point, such that the grade is the lower limit of the grade you would accept for the course. If your grade is below the NRO limit, you still get class credit for it, the grade just doesn't show up on the transcript. It's the perfect way to be able to try new things with a safety net - so it doesn't entirely negatively impact your GPA.
Dartmouth is a liberal arts school for a reason. It allows you exposure to all sorts of ideas. It's what I love most about the Dartmouth curriculum, and how I got to take CS1 in the first place. I came into the class without coding experience, and so did many of my friends who are now fellow computer science majors. There are no prerequisites for a reason! This term, I am tutoring for the class, and am reminded of just what a great class it was. Anyone can and should take it—at least in my entirely unbiased opinion.