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Getting Started In CS: First Classes in Computer Science

Computation is used just about everywhere these days. It is used to control planes, cars, nuclear power plants, city traffic, and even to monitor wildlife. To support such a large range of applications, computer scientists learn a variety of problem solving techniques that have come to be called "computational thinking." Such techniques have proven to be useful even when computers are not involved in doing the computation. The goal of our program is to teach students these skills so that they can apply them to programming problems, improving the tools we use in computing, or developing programs or tools for other application areas.

The current introductory course sequence for the CS Bachelor's and Minor degrees consists of three classes: COMPSCI 121, COMPSCI 186 and COMPSCI 187. However, in Fall 2022 CICS started the process of implementing a revision to the introductory sequence. That will introduce three new courses including CICS 110: Foundations of Programming, CICS 160: Object Oriented Programming, and CICS 210: Data Structures. These new courses are available starting now, although some are offered under experimental course numbers. More information about the revised introductory course sequence including how to register for the new courses can be found here: https://www.cics.umass.edu/content/cics-introductory-course-revision.

Through the introductory sequence, students understand how to program a computer, how to design, develop, and test interesting software systems, and how to use many of the tools computer scientists have developed to make this as easy as possible. These courses provide the background students need to engage successfully with the COMPSCI 200-level core curriculum including COMPSCI 220: Programming Methodologies, COMPSCI 230: Computer Systems Principles, COMPSCI 240: Reasoning Under Uncertainty and COMPSCI 250: Introduction to Computation.