Skip Navigation
What equipment / skills do I need ? (Q & A)

What equipment / skills do I need ? (Q & A)


What equipment/skills do I need to succeed in a B.S. degree with a major in Computer Science and Information Systems, at APSU? (Q & A)


Q: Do I need a laptop for my CS courses?
A: No, it is not required. We have computer labs located on campus that provide the necessary hardware and software to complete homework assignments. However, you are strongly encouraged have a personal laptop to succeed in this program. Some professors strongly encourage you to bring laptop to their class to try out programming examples during class. Computer labs have limited hours of operation. If you want to do programming assignments at night, or to discuss homework with your schoolmates after school, a laptop will come in handy.


Q: Do I need a Windows laptop or a Mac?
A: All computers in the Maynard building computer labs use Windows OS. You are strongly encouraged to own a Windows laptop.


Q: Do I need a particularly powerful laptop?
A: No, most software needed for this program does not need a powerful hardware configuration to run. We recommend keeping the laptop cost below $400. We recommend having a laptop display size of at least 14 inches (or else you cannot see your programming code clearly).  We also recommend having a large system memory (RAM) configuration.


Q: Do I need other peripheral devices?
A: You need a mouse. The cheapest wired mouse will do.  A mouse will speed up your software development process. A USB flash drive is also needed to back up your programming work. A good laptop carrying bag will help to prolong the lifespan of your laptop.


Q: Do I need to purchase software for my CS courses?
A: No, we use open source software for a lot of our courses. Our department is affiliated with the Microsoft DreamSpark Premium program. APSU CSIT students can obtain Microsoft developer tools, database software, operating systems, and servers for their use in schoolwork, learning, and research. As an APSU CSIT student, you can download thousands of dollars’ worth of Microsoft software, free of charge. For some online students who do not have access to our programming labs, you may need to purchase one or two special software application, but it does not happen often.


Q: Do I need a smart phone for my CS courses?
A: No


Q: Do I need a tablet for my CS courses?
A: No


Q: Do I have to be good at Math to be a good programmer?
A: Being good at mathematics will give you an edge in learning programming. Some types of programming require you to be good at mathematics. If you want to be a low-level programmer (say to create a 3D graphics engine), mathematics is very important.


Q: What other skills do I need to succeed in this program?

A: Hard work, perseverance, time management skill, lots of homework time and programming time after school, communication skills, a love for computing, a mathematics mindset, logical thinking, and online research skill.


Q: How can I have a head start for this program?
If you chose Computer Science concentration or Information Systems concentration, learn C++ before you start school, you will use Microsoft Visual C++ Express 2010 (free download, just google it) for your CSCI 1010 course. Self-learn C++ as early as possible before you join our program. There are free resources available all over the Internet (websites, YouTube videos).
If you choose Internet and Web Technology concentration, Database Administration concentration, or Networking concentration, you will use Java for your CSCI 1015 course. Self-learn Java as early as possible before you join our program. There are free resources available all over the Internet (websites, YouTube videos).
If you want something more visual, you can self-learn HTML, CSS, and JavaScript as early as possible. You will use JavaScript for your CSCI 3300 course.


Q: Where can I find textbook information? I want to read the textbook early to have a head start for my class next semester.
A good place to find all textbook information for next semester is APSU bookstore online (Ann Ross Bookstore - APSU). Click on "RENT OR BUY TEXTBOOKS", and select the department.