What programming languages and basics should I learn before starting my CS major?

So I’m planning to take a computer science major, but I wanted to ask some questions about it. For example, in computer science what exactly do they teach you there and what programming languages and basics should I learn?

When you say you are “planning to take a computer science major” do you mean at a university? Or are you referring to the Computer Science Career Path here at Codecademy?

If you are asking about the Computer Science Career Path, you can go to the course syllabus and check all the content that is covered. It uses Python and will give you a foundation on typical programming language knowledge like what are variables, loops, functions, objects, modules and classes. It will also introduce you to data structures like linked lists, nodes, queues, stacks, trees, etc and other sort and search algorithms.

It’s a lot of fun and if you don’t have any prior experience with programming it is a great place to get started. For complete novices there is also the Code Foundations path.

oh sorry I meant the actual major in uni, should’ve been more specific.

Hahaha, yeah I guess that makes more sense :joy:

Hopefully users that have studied CS at university come across this and can help you!

Your university likely teaches it’s introduction to computing classes in a specific language. It will probably be one of c++/python/java. You don’t need to know any programming coming into it they will teach you what you need to know. It definitely helps to know the basics though. After that any tech/language you use is course/teacher dependent. I ended up using probably a dozen different languages throughout school.

A big part of your curriculum will be THEORY. This starts with the bread and butter CS classes, data structures and object oriented. You are going to learn a ton about big O and time complexity. The CS theory stuff is the foundation of your education and will change the way you program.

There is math! I had to take algebra/trig/calc1/calc2/discrete/probability among others. It was intimidating but I shouldn’t have been as scared as I was. Having a solid foundation in algebra will help you so much with calc. I was also able to draw parallels between math and CS by the time I was taking the scary classes like discrete and that helped tremendously.

My biggest advice

  1. Don’t be scared or intimidated - CS and math is something anyone can learn.
  2. Use your resources - We are so lucky that some of the best teachers in the world can be found on youtube. For pretty much any concept I didn’t understand there was an amazing youtube video or series on. Be involved in online forums just like this one too!

Summary- You don’t need any knowledge going in. They will teach you about computing/cs theory more than they will computer parts or specific languages. After your core curriculum you can explore things you are interested in more. I took a few architecture/hardware classes before I figured out hardware is cool but not my exact cup of tea, same with bioinformatics, same with compilers lol. CS is a HUGE field though and there’s gonna be stuff in it for you.


alright then, thanks for the advice! I learned a lot from it