One of the most valuable parts of the first year is the group project: being able to work in a team, learn multiple new programming languages and create a website you’d actually want to use is such a rewarding experience
"After looking into the majority of universities that offered a joint computer science and maths course, I decided to visit Manchester. On the Open Day the atmosphere was so welcoming; both staff and students were really helpful and seemed genuinely enthusiastic about their course. Given the stereotype of computer scientists I was apprehensive about how sociable and charismatic the other students might be, but on visiting the university I realised quickly that everyone is just as outgoing and friendly as you’d expect on any other course, so I felt really comfortable that I’d fit in here.
One of the most valuable parts of the first year is the group project: being able to work in a team, learn multiple new programming languages and create a website you’d actually want to use is such a rewarding experience and demonstrates to potential employers that you have experience working as part of a programming team. When you look at what’s possible to produce with a very basic programming ability in first year, it can really motivate you to get started with your own projects and realise just how much you may be able to achieve by the time you finish the course here.
No matter how many times people tell you that programming here starts from level 0, when you’ve done little or no coding before it’s likely you’ll still worry about a lack of experience – my advice for anyone feeling like this: don’t worry. I’d never studied computing or computer science at school or college and I can confidently say that in the time I’ve been at Manchester my lack of prior programming knowledge hasn’t made a difference. Object-Oriented Programming with Java is the most code-centric module on the course and it progresses in a really manageable way so although sometimes it may be challenging, if you put in the time, you will see results.
Even though it’s a very time consuming course with a lot of contact hours, there’s still plenty of time to join societies. I’d encourage anyone to try out as many societies as possible in the first semester and figure out what you want to commit to – I only started societies in second semester and really wished I’d joined them earlier! I’d really recommend the Dodgeball Society – even with my lack of throwing, catching and dodging skills, it’s a really brilliant bunch of people and a very fun sport. Also, if you find yourself with a little bit of your student loan going spare, check out skydiving – I hadn’t realised just how easy it would be to cross it off my bucket list but it really is such a brilliant experience!
In addition to the course, Manchester as a city is a great place to be. Everything is a really convenient distance away from both lectures and accommodation; the transport is great so you can get a cheap bus anywhere and Uber has low rates here so it’s easy to get about and not have to worry about taxis back from nights out. The more you get to know the city, the more you find out about its quirky little spots, so if you fancy something a little bit different, check out Chill Factore, the Black Milk Cereal Café dessert-topped milkshakes and 23rd Street’s 20-inch pizzas.