What You Need to Know About CS100 at Howard

This article is part of our mentor tips series, where Edlyft mentors share tips about the course they mentored with Edlyft. Author: Chandler, Howard University ‘23, Computer Science Major

Erika Hairston
Co-founder & CEO

The Truth about CS100


Jumping into learning your first programming language for the first time can definitely be intimidating, but I can assure you it is just as rewarding as it is frightening. This class is essentially your gateway to a world of computer science, and the beautiful thing is: you don’t have to have any prior CS experience!

CS100 gives you the foundation that you need in order to venture off into other exciting computer science concepts such as creating websites, video games, and a world of other things. Coders are just like artists with a blank canvas, once you understand the base-level techniques of the discipline, the possibilities behind what you can create are limitless.


“Coders are just like artists with a blank canvas, once you understand the base-level techniques of the discipline, the possibilities behind what you can create are limitless.”

What You’ll Learn & How to Get an Edge


CS100 is essentially based around learning the fundamentals of Python. You start out by learning the structure and syntax of the language including variables, loops, arrays, etc. You then begin to learn functional python coding (functions, dictionaries, etc.) and how to solve problems using these concepts.

“A portion of the class is dedicated to interview prep.”

Around the end of the course you will be taught more advanced concepts in python along with a portion of the class being dedicated to interview prep. This class is usually taught by a different Google-in-Resident (GIR) the first semester of each year, this Spring ‘21 however, it will most likely be taught by a CEA Administrator who will be teaching a similar curriculum that the GIR created last semester. This means the class will be a little bit harder because your instructor will not be 100% familiar with the curriculum, but that's ok.

Tactical Tips

The class is still very manageable and utilizing the tips below throughout the semester will make getting through it that much easier:

  • Reviewing concepts taught that week can help further cement a deep level of understanding so once you have to apply them to your labs, it becomes much easier.
  • When presented with a new concept, test it out in an internet compiler and play with it until you fully understand it.
  • Explain to others (when you have the correct solution)! This really forces you to understand what’s happening and realize any gaps in knowledge that you may have. It also helps others as well :)
  • If you are able to understand HW, projects, practice exams without solutions, that’s a very solid indicator of success.

Wondering how to follow these tips and easily keep up with CS100? Join a cohort of students in your class, where you’ll have access to an Howard mentor who’s aced the class & leads weekly sessions designed to get you unstuck.

Join a CS100 Cohort —>

How to Prepare for the Class

I strongly suggest simply learning the basics of python. A good portion of the class is set aside for learning the fundamentals of the language so if you go into the class with a surface level understanding, it will greatly benefit you and will allow you to pick up on concepts much faster. There are resources all across the internet that designed to give you a base level understanding of programming in python (ie. W3 Schools).

Finally, Have an Open Mind

Going into the class with an open mind is very important because this will allow you to not be afraid to ask questions, branch out to learn new concepts, and to also excel in the problem solving aspect of the class. Also don’t be afraid to reach out to other individuals within the class, as hashing out problems as a group can really help you better understand the concepts given.

Edlyft intends to make this experience a lot less intimidating, by providing a mentor that will be available to you throughout the entirety of the semester, a cohort of other students taking the class, and sessions to help you fully grasp the concepts. If you find yourself needing a little extra help, or just want a small community of other CS100 students, sign up here :)


Erika Hairston

Co-founder & CEO

Erika Hairston is the co-founder and CEO at Edlyft, backed by Y Combinator, Kleiner Perkins and Jeff Weiner (former LinkedIn CEO). Prior to Edlyft she led the Social Learning team at LinkedIn Learning and interned as a Software Engineer at Facebook.