CS 111

Three Black women at the University of Illinois at Chicago listen to Professor Dale Reed in a computer science course

About CS 111
If you’ve decided that a major or minor in computer science or data science is for you, CS 111 will lay the groundwork for the academic experiences that lie ahead.
16 weeks
Program Participants

Break Through Tech Chicago helps UIC students who plan to major or minor in computer science, data science, CS + design, or computer science and linguistics to get their start in CS 111.

  • Sections are offered in the fall or spring semesters
  • Break Through Tech Chicago uses a team approach to make CS 111 fun and to ensure you have the support you need to try this new academic subject!
Additional Info

CS 111 is the course that sets you on your way to a UIC major or minor in computer science, data science, computer science + design, or computer science and linguistics. This might be your first-ever experience with a tech-oriented class, and you’ll find that almost all of your classmates are in the same situation. CS 111 includes lots of group work — because we believe that tech skills are best learned together — and will teach you new ways to be creative with computers.

Programmers aren’t born. They’re made.

And at UIC, they get their start in a course called CS 111.

You can walk into CS 111 with no programming or computer science experience. But by the time it ends …

  • You will have learned to code.
  • You will have learned a new language called Python, spoken by computers all over the world. (You can use it to tell them exactly what you want them to do!)
  • You will have a new power: a skill and tool that will allow you to solve a wide range of problems, from making day-to-day tasks easier to creating beautiful computer visualizations to communicate your ideas.

In short, CS 111 gives you the foundation in programming that will allow you to take higher-level courses in computer science and data science.


Hear from former students

row of headshots of five students who have taken CS 111 in the past

What’s it like to take CS 111? What are some of the advantages? Will you be supported if you are completely new to computer science? Get perspective on these questions and more from Nandini, Ciara, Sibleen, Diya, and Drishika.

Read their thoughts here!


CS 111 FAQ

When is CS 111 offered?

In the fall, Break Through Tech Chicago offers at least one section of the course that is designed for women and nonbinary students but open to UIC students of all backgrounds who support our mission. (The Break Through Tech Chicago section is in addition to the computer science department’s regular slate of CS 111 sections.)

In the spring, the computer science department offers its regular sections of CS 111, one of which is reserved for non-majors who are taking their very first steps in computer science.

No matter which section of CS 111 you choose, the course lasts for 15 weeks and is divided into “lecture” and “lab” components. In the lecture portion, you learn a new skill, and in the lab portion, you test it out.

Is prior experience needed?

No prior experience is required. In addition, no knowledge of computer science or programming is required! The only expectation is that you should be serious about going on to pursue a major or minor in computer science, data science, computer science + design, or another tech-oriented field.

Who can take a Break Through Tech Chicago section of CS 111, and how do I register?

For the fall Break Through Tech Chicago section: This section is designed for women and nonbinary students who are looking to get their start in tech, but any UIC student who believes in our mission and is interested in contributing to our inclusive learning environment may apply. We will post an application link on this page when we open our next fall section of the course.

For the spring 2023 open-enrollment section: During the registration window for the spring semester, we will post the course registration number (CRN) for the section geared for non-majors (watch this space). Interested students can simply sign up for that CRN through the regular UIC registration process. No additional permission from Break Through Tech Chicago or the computer science department is needed.

Who teaches CS 111?

Break Through Tech Chicago-sponsored sections of CS 111 are taught by Clinical Associate Professor Shanon Reckinger, a faculty member who is a committed advocate for gender diversity in computing and technology.

UIC’s other sections of CS 111 are taught by a large roster of popular computer science professors who are dedicated to teaching students the basics of programming.

How many credits will I earn?

CS 111 is a 3-credit course. It is a required course in all of UIC’s main tech-oriented majors — computer science, data science, computer science + design, and computer science + linguistics — and in the computer science minor. So no matter which academic path you eventually choose, you will have one of your required courses done!

What do students take after CS 111?

After you finish CS 111, you can map out your path to a major or minor with help from a Break Through Tech Chicago staff member. CS 141 and CS 151 are the courses that traditionally come next, no matter which of the tech majors or minors you pick. That means you can keep taking courses without having to decide just yet which major or minor is best for you.

School-Specific Program Information

We'll see you in class!

Application Information

Registration details coming soon

Partner Institution

UIC computer science logo
Students in a Break Through Tech program code on laptops as a mentor looks on

By the end of the semester, students will have had exposure to many examples of problem-solving and have had lots of practice applying programming tools to a variety of challenges.

David Hayes
Lecturer, UIC Computer Science