What’s it like studying Computer Science?

Owen Thomson

Being a second year Computer Science student at Durham means that the world is my very technical oyster. The university, and this course in particular, has provided me with a plethora of opportunities for practising my computer programming skills, familiarising me with programming languages like Python and C, and ultimately increasing my employability by adding to my programming knowledge repertoire. There have been times where I have absolutely been academically challenged, when my code just won’t run the way I want it to, or when I can’t work out how to fix any issues in my code. Despite this, the course at Durham has been a reminder to me to keep actively trying to iron out any quirks in my work, and the result of finally getting that code to run is thoroughly rewarding.

What actually is Computer Science?

I would say Computer Science is quite similar to Maths (if Maths was a bit more fun!). Computer Science looks at problem solving and applying the concepts you have learnt to various situations, whether it be putting skills in calculus and linear algebra to good use in artificial intelligence, or exercising new knowledge of web development concepts. It is all about variety: looking at a range of variety in the broad concepts you study and applying them to a variety of situations.

Why Computer Science?

I’ve always enjoyed subjects that allow you to create, much like Engineering, for example. Computer Science edged it, however, as it allows you the opportunity to build stuff without the need for power tools and certain other necessities. The accessibility and availability of Computer Science drew me to it, as I always feel more inclined to build on the skills I already have, as I always have the easy opportunity to do so.

And why Durham?

Employability. Computer Science is my passion, and to have it become my job would be a dream. This is something Durham can absolutely help with. The university has amazing graduate prospects and employment links which not only nurtured my love for Computer Science as a subject but inspired my desire to make Computer Science my career.

I’ve attended Durham University Comp Soc, a society focused on all things Computer Science. They hold big events, sponsored by large companies (like Scot Logic recently), and allow you to have the opportunity to receive careers advice and interact with other Computer Science students, which ultimately builds your knowledge of industry, as well as potential people you could be working with.

For the past two years I have attended ‘DurHack’, a Durham University Hackathon: I love it. It allowed me to be creative with my coding, and interact with fellow Computer Science students on projects we were really invested in. I was able to practise coding in a team and independently simultaneously, giving me helpful experience for any potential future job opportunities. 

Studying with friends

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Our Department of Computer Science is growing, with ambitious plans for the future and an inclusive, vibrant and international community at its heart. Ranked as a UK Top 10 Department (Complete University Guide 2022), our students develop knowledge and gain essential and transferable skills through high quality teaching, delivered by a passionate team of leading academics. 

Feeling inspired? Visit our Computer Science webpages to learn more about our postgraduate and undergraduate programmes. 

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Owen Thomson

Hello! I'm Owen, a second year student of Computer Science from the college of St Hild and St Bede. Outside of my studies, I’m quite involved in university and college life as I’m president of the Durham Karaoke Society which I run every other week, and social secretary for Bede Film Society.

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