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What equipment/skills do I need to succeed in a B.S. degree with the Department of Computer Science & IT, at APSU?
(Q & A)


Q: Do I need a laptop for my CS courses?

A: Yes. 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 around $500. 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 (at least 8GB of RAM), and a minimum of 250GB hard disk 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, and/or an external hard drive are 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 / sometimes / depends, 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.


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 need High Speed Internet access for my CS courses?

A: Yes, at least 3Mbps Internet connection speed


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: Do I have to be like coding / programming to do well in this program?

A: Yes


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?

A: If you chose BS CSC or BS CIS, learn C++ before you start school, you will use Microsoft Visual C++ Express (latest version, 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 BS CIT, 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: A good place to find all textbook information for next semester is APSU Bookstore.