Self-Study Resources for Computer Science Students
Dear Computer Science Students
Becoming a computer scientist requires MUCH MORE than just taking the required courses. In this page, we list some resources that you can use to enhance your knowledge about the history, culture, relevance, and excitement of computer science. Both good and bad! (we have to know where we've come from so we can affect twhere we are going). The following have been carefully curated with contributions from your faculty.
- Dawn of the New Everything - Encounters with Reality and Virtual reality, by Jaron Lanier. 2018.
AN writes: I loved this book: part memoir about his unconventional life; part unique perspective on the evolution of corporate computer culture.
- Data and Goliath - The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World, by Bruce Schneier. 2016.
AN writes: Loved this book. One of the first books I know of about surveillance capitalism.
DK writes: I concur with AN. Not only will you find out about corporate and government surveillance, you will discover names of scores of surveillance tech companies you never heard of.
- Information Doesn't Want to be Free: Laws of the internet age, by Cory Dctorow, Neil Gelman, et al. 2015.
DK: A great read about the how the old models of copyright laws are failing the creative artists in the internet era.
- Code - The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware & Software, by Charles Petzold. 2000.
All computer scientists should read this book. And then gift it to your non-cs friends and relatives so they can understand what it is that you study and do!
- The Soul of a New Machine, by Tracy Kidder. 1981.
DK: I read this book when I was a sophomore in college and re-read it again in 2020. The story about the design of a new computer. Except the computer is from the 1970/80s! Yet, after almost forty years, this is an engaging eye popping read about the corporate culture in tech.
- Black Software - The Internet and Racial Justice, from the AfroNet to Black Lives Matter, by Charlton McIlwain. 2020
DK: Traces the origins of the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter by following a never before chronicled account of the use of computers and technology by African Americans in the US from the civil rights movement in the 1960s to the present.
- The Social Network. 2011
The birth of Facebook.
- Hidden Figures. 2016
The untold story of three women at NASA
who worked on the earliest space missions.
- The Imitation Game. 2014
Benedict Cumberbatch plays Alan Turing in this biographical remake of Andrew Hodges book/play Breaking the Code (also a great read!).
- Ex Machina. 2014
A Turing Test thriller.
- Silicon Valley (TV Series). Six seasons. 2014 - 2019.
A "true-to-life" parody of life in Silicon Valley startups and big tech companies.
Do (Online Courses)
- Kattis (least corporate and good)
Practice programming in over a dozen languages. Language tutorials availble in the "Help" section.
Practice programming in C++/Java/Python
Yet another developer wannabe site for competitive programming challenges.
If you have other suggestions, please feel free to forward to any faculty in the department.
And, most of all...whenever you have some time, go outside and enjoy some fresh air!
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