Interview: Computer Science Student
January 24, 2018
What first sparked your interest in computer science?
My father is a programmer, so you could say there is some kind
of 'familial predisposition'. But although I started programming at
an early age and always enjoyed it, I never considered studying computer
science. In fact I first enrolled for Psychology but changed
my mind and started to study Bioinformatics. Just to realize that I
genuinely hate Biochemistry! But I liked most of my programming classes
so I got rid of Biochemistry and started to study CompSci.
What has been your favorite class so far?
With regards to content functional programming was my favorite one
(I just like this kind of 'mathematical' programming)
What is your least favorite class?
Even the worst classes in computer science weren't as bad as
biochemistry ;).But to be honest Discrete Mathematics was rather boring.
Out of all of your projects, which are you the most proud of? Why?
This is a tough question since I usually don't feel proud of projects
(I'm working on this issue ;)).
In general I like projects the most that caused the greatest difficulties.
On the one hand, it's because I enjoy the feeling of success
when I'm finally done. On the other hand, it's because failure has always been my
best teacher (<- quote based loosely on Yoda ;)).
What are your professional goals?
As a child I always wanted to be a scientist but I've become more modest
;). In the short term I just want to get my degree.
In the long term I'd just like to find a job that fits my needs as a woman
What is the biggest challenge you have faced as a female computer science student?
The biggest challenge I face as a female student is the same
that my male fellow students face as well:
Trying to pass classes while making money for a living and get a minimum
of sleep ;)
There certainly is sexism in computer science and I definitely could share the
same stories with you as every other female
computer science student:
I think I've encountered everything from comments like 'women are bad at maths
by nature' to men
who are constantly afraid that something they worked hard for could be taken
away by women just because they're women.
Incidents like those are luckily rare at my uni so I'd like to share a
different observation I made:
Female students are often much more afraid of failure and are trying much harder
to be perfect than men. Sometimes I catch
myself listening to a silent voice in the back of my head whispering
'what if someone thinks you can't do this because you're a woman?'.
So one of my biggest challenges as a female CompSci student has been to
silence this voice and stop putting myself under too much pressure.
(AND that someone is always opening a window no matter how freezing it is
because men obviously never feel cold ;))
What advice can you give to women and men who are thinking of majoring in computer science?
Be sure about what you are looking for. You don't have to study computer
science to become a skilled programmer. In fact the biggest
part of computer science isn't about programming at all.
You should be interested in learning how to analyse complexity and gaining a
certain logical mindset to solve problems (two things everyone can
achieve in my opinion). (Also slightly masochistic tendencies could be