5 Ways to Jumpstart your Computer Science Career in High School

1. Get Involved with Valuable Extracurriculars

Involvement in sports and school clubs is statistically proven to be beneficial for a student’s growth to success. A study conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics found that participation in extracurricular activities have a positive correlation to a student’s GPA, attendance, and test scores. Students involved in extracurricular activities are 3x more likely to have a GPA of 3.0 or higher, perform 2x better on composite assessments and are substantially less likely to be cutting class. These traits for success will directly carry over as students move onto college and their future careers

Most high school students are involved in extracurriculars one way or another, but the important thing to keep in mind, however, is that students participate in an extracurricular activity for its value, not just for the heck of it. Though for students who are interested in computer science and business, it can be especially difficult to find a club that caters to that specific interest– so when looking at your options, ask yourself: 1. Will I be able to develop my skills and network through this club?, 2. Is it directly related to my career aspirations?, 3. Will it help me get into college?

If you find that there is no club that can do these things, it’s time to start to a Novus chapter at your school. Visit novusclub.org/launch to learn how.

2. Spend your Breaks Wisely

When school is in session, students spend nearly eight hours in tiny desks doing busy work, that in many cases, does not pertain to their career goals or aspirations. In many ways, it’s worse than a 9-5 in a cubicle, but in many ways it’s better. One of those ways being: breaks. Not lunch breaks, or passing periods, but week long breaks. This is a time where the mind of the student is freed from all school related work and stress. Though with great breaks, comes great responsibility. While your friends may be enjoying their time at the movies, you have the power to prepare for your financial and academic future.

If you are still figuring out your college major or career path it is highly recommended for students to find their interests as early as possible. This can not only benefit the student and their family financially but it can also save time. Usually students explore careers in their second year of college. On rare occasions some students are forced to stay an extra year in college to finish up classes due to a late decision for a major. This causes students to lose a full year of income they could have earned if their major was decided early on. In addition, it’s ideal to begin learning about a college major as soon as possible because it gives students an advantage over other students in the competitive job market. The time spent on finding your passion is more worthwhile than anything else because it realistically and directly correlates to your post-grad life. There is nothing else as reasonable and valuable in high school than preparing yourself with college and career skills; starting early will save you time and money.

3. Publish an App

The breakthrough in any developer’s resume or portfolio is a personal project– an idea that you, yourself, have turned into an application. It isn’t just about building the application, it’s also about publishing the application. Publishing an application on an app store shows employers, and even college admissions counselors that one, you have the drive and knowledge to create a useful application, and two, the ambition to publish it.

4. Enhance Your Interpersonal and Soft Skills

Most organizations have developer teams that work on large projects in a collaborative manner. Each developer has a minor role in a major project. Completing a successful project requires being able to cooperate well with a team of developers. It’s crucial to have a strong basis of interpersonal and soft skills such as communication, negotiation, problem-solving, decision making, assertiveness, leadership, team-work, creativity, and time-management skills. Enhancing these skills can be achieved by being involved in challenging projects in a team effort. Likewise, participating in Novus Club competitions can provide students the foundation they need to further develop these skills.

5. Learn to be Organized

Developing organizational skills play a fundamental role to your success in any career, especially if they are related to computer science. Organization is also part of ensuring college and career readiness. Being organized can not only keep a team on track but also help prevent potential mistakes. A commonly used organization method for developer teams is called Scrum. The purpose of this method is to improve a team’s productivity by being aware of daily and future goals or accomplishments for a project, in a structured and organized manner.

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