The 411 on CS 111
Why take UIC’s intro programming course?
Find out from five UIC students who have done it.
CS 111 teaches the basics of coding in Python, a popular and in-demand programming language used across various industries. The class activities allow students to obtain new skills while also learning about how computer science can be applied in fields such as the arts, healthcare, biology, education, and much more. The collaborative nature of this class makes it enjoyable as students will share challenges and celebrate achievements together. By the end of the course, students will be able to use their newly acquired skills and showcase their creativity in the final project. It is truly rewarding to see how much they have accomplished since the first day of class! Overall, CS 111 is a fun and welcoming experience that gives students the opportunity to consider studying computer science further.
The main thing I want to emphasize with regard to Break Through Tech Chicago’s sections of CS 111 is community-building. I was always interested in coding but very intimidated. Tech in general is a male-dominated field, so I was nervous to start. However, Break Through Tech Chicago’s edition of CS 111 specifically focused on bringing women and nonbinary people together. No matter the skill level of those around me, I never felt like I didn’t belong. Being in a course surrounded by people who look like you and share a lot of similar interests helped me become comfortable enough to ask the “stupid questions.” It’s very rewarding to not only succeed at something you like, but also have those around you want you to succeed as well. Break Through Tech Chicago’s course is a great introductory class and environment.
One of the most important aspects of CS111 is learning skills beyond how to program. CS111 focuses on developing learning, communication, and problem-solving skills. It centers around group work and builds a community for women and nonbinary students; these connections are especially important in a male-dominated industry. CS 111 emphasizes learning how to ask questions and how to seek support when needed. When I first took a CS class, it was extremely hard for me to ask questions because my classmates would try to oversimplify concepts and “teach me from the very beginning” simply because of my gender. It was exhausting having to prove that I can keep up with the work and that I understand the class. In Break Through Tech Chicago’s CS 111 sections, students are able to learn in a safe environment without the worry of being judged or dismissed.
This class involves a remarkable amount of collaboration and participation from students. Every day, students get more comfortable and confident to talk to one another, ask questions, and make friends. CS 111 also features a lot of involvement from Break Through Tech Chicago staff members, who have friendly talks with students and make presentations. I think this is an amazing way to encourage students to think about majoring in computer science, as they might feel more confident to see themselves pursuing a career in this field.
Taking CS 111 is crucial for any student who wants to begin their journey in understanding how to code and knowing how code can help in every industry. Students code various projects throughout the semester that have different themes, helping beginners to understand how their code can be used in the real world. This class is taught in Python, which is not only a great gateway to other programming languages but also one of the top skills to have in multiple fields. The class helps with logical thinking and problem-solving from the very first project. The community built in CS 111 always ensures that students have a safe space to ask questions and ask for help.