Why did you choose your program? What makes it unique to you?
I picked the computer science program at the University of Toronto Mississauga Campus in spite of not knowing what I was passionate about. I knew that I always wanted to be working in and around anything that involved technology and hence I picked CS with an open mind that if it doesn’t work out, I could approach other majors/programs as well. For those not aware of their interest and passion : know that there are many students out there just
like you and are figuring out their future pathway by trying out different things. My advice for those people would be to do a lot of research and dig deep into what keeps you interested and the type of pathways you could take.
For a Student of UTM's Comp Sci Program...
What is some advice you would give high school students when applying to your program?
The number one advice that I would give high school students when applying to UTM CS is to move out of your
comfort zone and make connections. UTM CS is a program that consists of students who come from different backgrounds and circumstances, and having a great group of people that support you and help you from the very beginning could complement your success in the program. Frosh week is a great way to meet new people and make new connections and I would highly recommend this to all high school students entering this program. Alongside,
UTM has a great selection of resources if you ever get stuck onto an assignment or a question, and I would highly recommend using them as they could become one of the key elements to your success at this program. Last but not least, try your best to not fall behind as material is covered in each course. At times, you will have to push yourself hard to stay on track with each course.
How would you describe the workload and work-life balance?
The workload was one of the biggest challenges I’ve had to face in this program, as you will be taking courses such as MAT102 (Introduction to mathematical proofs) and CSC108 (introduction to computer science) which require your time and attention towards understanding the material, especially for those who are new to programming. You also get the option to choose numerous electives that could be used to compliment your GPA and fulfill the distribution requirements (1.0 credit of social science and 1.0 credit of humanities). The best advice that I can give regarding this is to spend a specific amount of time every week on each course that you will be taking per semester, for example : say I take 5 courses in a semester, I would commit to spending approximately 6-7 hours on each course (more or less depending on the difficulty of the course) every week regardless of whether or not I am ahead in each course. This will allow you to work efficiently and work ahead in courses where you may have already been caught up with all the material. Taking time off studying is one of the most essential things to do to keep yourself from tiring out, and being in this program, the workload can definitely be taxing for some. Hence, I would try and take time off on certain days for hobbies and hanging out with friends.
Does UofT have a co-op progtam?
UTM, along with UTSG, has a co-op program called PEY (Professional Experience Year) where students get to choose between a 12 month to 16 month internship. Although I am not at that current stage of the program, It is indeed very competitive, but the opportunities are there if you invest your time and effort into projects/events related to Computer Science that will increase your chances of landing a co-op work-term. Although it is optional, I would definitely recommend choosing PEY as it will allow you to gain work experience and make connections in the industry.
Is there lots of collaborative work or group presentations?
From my knowledge, we didn’t do any presentations. Most, if not all of the work assigned to us was individual. Throughout my time in first year, collaboration was one of the most important things I did as it helped me develop my basic knowledge and skills essential to a programmer. As an example, in CSC108 (introduction to Computer Science), around 5-6 students sit on each of the round tables in class as a way for students to collaborate and help each other in solving problems, understanding criitical concepts, etc.
A very special thank you to our interviewee...
Hi! My name is Zain Qureshi and I am currently going into my second year of the computer science program at University of Toronto - Mississauga Campus. As always, I am open to any questions from upcoming first year students. Feel free to contact me on Instagram or Linkedin if you got any questions!