The Bachelor of Computer Science has a certain old-school charm to it. It’s popular, too, available at most of Australia’s major universities. Christopher Taylor enrols.What is it?
So, what exactly is it? Monash University’s website says that it ‘[focuses] on the software, hardware and underlying theory of computing and its applications to scientific and technical problem solving and to information processing in commerce and industry.’
It’s a verbose but accurate description, although some of the former students we spoke to would debate the ‘hardware’ part. Sign up for a Computer Science course and you’ll find yourself doing subjects--both core and elective--that cover a wide variety of topics, ranging from the nitty-gritty of hardware to heavy coding.
You can choose to concentrate your studies on any number of specialist fields and disciplines. Artificial intelligence, security, operating systems, database management, network management, games programming, Java and C++ development, object-oriented design and web applications programming are but some of the major areas of study Computer Science students may choose to focus on. Which of these are available to you depends on which university you attend, though, so if you’re particularly passionate about a certain topic -- like, say, the games programming -- ensure that you go somewhere that offers it.
Where can I study it?
Most of the major universities offer Computer Science. In Victoria, look to Monash University, Deakin University, La Trobe University, RMIT University, Victoria University and the University of Melbourne.
ACT residents are limited to Australian National University, while New South Welshmen can choose from the University of New South Wales, the University of Wollongong, the University of Newcastle, the University of New England, the University of Macquarie and Charles Sturt University.
Queenslanders can look to the University of Queensland, the University of Southern Queensland and James Cook University.
South Australians have the University of Adelaide, the University of South Australia and Flinders University which all offer Computer Science.
Western Australia has the University of Western Australia, Curtin University of Technology, Edith Cowan University and Murdoch University.
All is not lost if you’re from Tasmania or the Northern Territory -- remember that there’s nothing stopping you from moving interstate to study!
How do you get into Computer Science?
A hard question to answer. Requirements -- and we’re talking in terms of those of you in your final years of secondary schooling here -- vary from state to state, institute to institute, campus to campus. In general, though, you’re going to want to finish Year 12 with decent marks.
By way of prerequisite subjects, most of the institutes we’ve listed want you to have studied whatever your state’s mid-level mathematics offering is (i.e. in Victoria this would be Maths Methods, in New South Wales this would be Extension). In some cases, they may want you to have done a high-level mathematics subject. Even if they don’t require it, tackling heavy maths will work in your favour.