The Student Room Group
Reply 1
No. Computer science courses assume no prior knowledge of programming before you attend. Also, you should note that computer programming is only a small part of what a computer science course entails, a great deal of which most people will not have encountered before. However, of course, prior knowledge will help you get those first-year assignments done :smile:
Reply 2
Original post by VannR
No. Computer science courses assume no prior knowledge of programming before you attend. Also, you should note that computer programming is only a small part of what a computer science course entails, a great deal of which most people will not have encountered before. However, of course, prior knowledge will help you get those first-year assignments done :smile:


Thank you!! Do you have any experience with programming or computer science?
Its not required no, but previous experience will be beneficial as stated above. You could have a look at websites such as CodeAcademy which takes a more practical approach to learning - it'll teach you the basics of several languages and should give you an idea of what to expect when learning more complex languages such as C++, C#, Java, Python etc. etc.
Reply 4
Original post by Waz123
Thank you!! Do you have any experience with programming or computer science?


Yes. I am starting my computer science course in September, but I already know about 60% of what is in the first year.

For reference, I know how to program in Java (almost at the application-design level), I understand Boolean algebra, logic circuits, binary/hex/octal arithmetic, linear algebra (from Further Maths A-Level) and some things about web services.
you're better off with a Maths a level than a computing one. I did computing as an a level and sure we did a fair bit of programming but there's no way i could go on to do computer science at uni because it's so maths orientated and i'm terrible at maths. Some universities will actually only accept you on a computer science course if you have a level maths, not computing. You'll probably be fine as programming is easy to pick up, there's just a lot of maths involved like algebra and equations.
Reply 6
Original post by Articultr
you're better off with a Maths a level than a computing one. I did computing as an a level and sure we did a fair bit of programming but there's no way i could go on to do computer science at uni because it's so maths orientated and i'm terrible at maths. Some universities will actually only accept you on a computer science course if you have a level maths, not computing. You'll probably be fine as programming is easy to pick up, there's just a lot of maths involved like algebra and equations.


This. Computer science is, for the most part, a branch of mathematics. Mathematics A-Level is not only highly recommended for a computer science course (not "computing" course), but for any course at a reputable university it is usually a requirement (some places e.g. Imperial require Maths and Further Maths).
Reply 7
Original post by VannR
Yes. I am starting my computer science course in September, but I already know about 60% of what is in the first year.

For reference, I know how to program in Java (almost at the application-design level), I understand Boolean algebra, logic circuits, binary/hex/octal arithmetic, linear algebra (from Further Maths A-Level) and some things about web services.


wow I don't know any of that tho :frown: do you need to know all of that before the course?
In a level maths we didn't learn any arithmetic or linear algebra or Boolean algebra
Reply 8
Original post by bailfire
Its not required no, but previous experience will be beneficial as stated above. You could have a look at websites such as CodeAcademy which takes a more practical approach to learning - it'll teach you the basics of several languages and should give you an idea of what to expect when learning more complex languages such as C++, C#, Java, Python etc. etc.


I have already had a look at the html lessons. Which language will you recommend to learn first
Reply 9
Original post by Waz123
wow I don't know any of that tho :frown: do you need to know all of that before the course?
In a level maths we didn't learn any arithmetic or linear algebra or Boolean algebra


No, you don't need to know any of it beforehand. The reason I know this stuff is because of my own private study, and the fact that I also did Further Maths A-Level.
Original post by Waz123
I have already had a look at the html lessons. Which language will you recommend to learn first


HTML and/or jQuery.

Python is intermediate

There's no point getting started on Java or C++ :giggle:

Some universities actually prefer it if you don't know programming beforehand, so that you don't enter the course with some bad programming habits and the "I was taught to program this way" attitude.
Original post by Waz123
I have already had a look at the html lessons. Which language will you recommend to learn first


VB.Net is the easiest and most of the time - goto language to start learning. They teach it in the Computing A level course.

I would suggest C# as it is arguably the most useful and industry standard language you can learn today. Not that different to VB in terms of syntax however it possess far more functionality. The syntax is also very easy to get to grips with and you have Visual Studio Intellisense which basically spoon feeds you the information.

If you're interested in HTML, I would recommend you dive into HTML5. Its basically an update version of HTML but it would be more useful learning 5 right now, only minor differences in the coding aspect to do with syntax but it allows for far more flexibility and compatibility.
(edited 8 years ago)
Reply 12
I have had no prior programming skills when I started my computer science (and electronics) course at university. They would teach you from the very basic ( I remember my first programming task was to write "Hello World" in C !). So I wouldn't worry much; knowing programming skills beforehand just gonna make you accel faster, that's all. So don't worry much.
Do some background reading and dabble with programming concepts just to get a taste for what is to come. This online book is ideal for beginners:

https://pine.fm/LearnToProgram/chap_00.html

Note it uses a language called Ruby, which has not been mentioned on this thread but it's a very good start for your programming journey. You won't get bogged down with details of writing simple programs that you would in Java or C++. C# is not an ideal place to start because as mentioned above, it lacks the simplicity of something like Ruby and that fact that it's a windows only tool. You will become familiar with Unix like systems at uni, mostly Linux and find programming in these environments less restricting in terms of cost.
can u apply for cs with bio chem and psycholoogy alevels?
TBH math a level is good enough.
Maybe you can grab some linear algebra or discrete mathematics but it's completely optional. You can learn all the programming stuff afterwards. Make sure you don't feel dizzy looking at the codes though.
Original post by nisa2005
can u apply for cs with bio chem and psycholoogy alevels?

Hi @nisa2005

The current A Level requirements for Computer Science BSc Hons G400 at Lancaster University are as follows:

Grade Requirements

A Level AAB

Required Subjects We are committed to encouraging the adoption of the A level Computing curriculum and recognising desirable subjects. Students applying with an A level or IB Higher Level in Computing, Computer Science or Mathematics will be considered for a lower offer.

GCSE Mathematics grade B or 6, English Language grade C or 4.

From the information above it looks like you should be able to apply for computer science with your A Level options. I’d recommend showing an interest in computer science in your personal statement and looking at the basics of some programming in a common language such as Python so you have a feel for the subject before committing to a degree in it.

Hope that helps!

- Tineke
Lancaster Student Ambassador

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