Do I Have to Be Good at Algorithms to Get a Computer Science Degree?

The use of algorithms in computer science may frighten away students who want careers in computing. After all, they are complex and involve using many math skills. Do you really have to understand algorithms to get degrees in the computer science field? To answer the question we need to understand what an algorithm is.

Algorithms are Simply Steps to Solving a Problem.

You can think of it as a “recipe.” When you make your famous banana bread, for example, you first mash the bananas. Then you combine the dry ingredients and mix them with the wet ingredients and finally put the batter into a pan and slip it into the oven at 350 degrees for however long it takes to bake it. That is a simple algorithm in simple English. Now, if you had a robot that would bake your bread, you would repeat these steps to it, but you would write them in the language that computers understand. Computers speak math. You would have to construct a mathematical sequence that would impart the directions for baking banana bread. That sequence is a more complex algorithm. If you wanted not only to bake the bread, but also to wrap it for retail sale and pack a set number of loaves into a case, you would write a longer set of instructions that might result in a combination of algorithms.