College may have a reputation for being expensive and competitive but it's also one of the only ways to secure a valuable education and the experience necessary to get a high-paying job. This guide, which was designed to help ease the financial, emotional and academic stress of college for computer science students, is full of free resources. The resources we've listed provide access to free online courses and journals, blogs and books, and professional organizations that will help jump-start your professional career. Consider this guide a starting point from which you can extend your education journey.
Open Access Journals (OAJ)
Open Access Journals are peer-reviewed periodicals that contain original research and reviews of research by leaders in the compsci field. A regular diet of these journals is a great way to extend your knowledge beyond the limits of your campus and department. All of these journals are open access, which means they are free and available online.
- Journal of Computer Graphics Techniques (JCGT) – This journal is published by Williams University and is administered by an advisory board from top academic institutions such as University of Pennsylvania and Rochester Institute of Technology. JCGT disseminates information regarding all aspects of computer graphics, including games, hardware, software and more. JCGT also archives open source code.
- International Journal of Advanced Research in Computer Science – This peer-reviewed publication from Gitam University, India, is published bi-monthly. The journal's focus is theory, methods and applications in a variety of computer science fields. This is an international journal with contributors from numerous countries.
- International Journal of Computer Science and Network Solutions (IJCSNS) – This journal covers all areas of computer science with a concentration on computer engineering, security, biometrics, database management and artificial intelligence, among other areas. The IJCSNS editorial board is international in scope, with members representing a dozen countries.
- Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research (JAIR) – JAIR is published by the All Access Foundation and publishes peer-reviewed research articles, survey articles and technical notes on all aspects of artificial intelligence (AI). Published since 1993, the journal is primarily digital with printed and bound copies available for purchase.
- International Journal of Computer Science and Security (IJCSS) – Concentrating on all areas of computer science and computer security technologies, IJCSS publishes about 600 papers per year. Other topics covered include, but are not limited to computer engineering, graphics, networks, operating systems, programming languages and theory.
- World of Computer Science and Information Technology Journal (WCSIT) – Published by EBSCO publishing, this journal's website offers both current and back issues at no cost. Produced monthly, WCSIT publishes articles that contain new results and theoretical ideas in all areas of computer science and IT.
- Computer Science and Information Systems (ComSis) – ComSis is an international journal published by ComSis consortium. The journal seeks to publish original papers that cover both the theoretical foundations of computer science and commercial, industrial and educational aspects that provide deeper insights into design and implementation.
- International Journal of Computer Science and Communication Networks (IJCSCN) – While IJCSCN is primarily a conduit for original papers, it also publishes select conference papers of exceptional merit. IJCSCN accepts material from all corners of the globe and releases six issues per year. Topics covered include A.I. applications, programming, neural networks and nanotechnology.
- International Journal of Computer Science and Management Studies (IJCSMS) – IJCSMS is an online international journal whose goal is to promote the integration of computer science and management studies. The aim of IJCSMS is to deliver peer-reviewed papers to researchers, managers, designers and developers.
- Journal of Global Research in Computer Science (JGRCS) – JGRCS is an interdisciplinary, monthly journal with a focus on theories, methods and applications. JGRCS also covers topics such as biometrics and bio-informatics, database management, software engineering and more.
- Discrete Mathematics & Theoretical Computer Science (DMTCS) – DMTCS is published by the French Discrete Mathematics & Theoretical Computer Science Association. DMTCS is dedicated to rapid publication of original and innovative research that covers the field of discrete mathematics and computer science theory.
- International Journal of Computer Science and Network Security (IJCSNS) – Indexing for this journal is provided by EBSCO and ProQuest. IJCSNS is a monthly publication that publishes articles that contribute to new theoretical results in all areas of computer science, communication networks and security.
- International Journal of Computer Science and Information Technologies (IJCSIT) – IJCSIT publishes original research on innovative applications from around the world. In addition to original articles, the journal also publishes surveys and review articles from recognized experts in the field in order to provide insight and understanding in all aspects of computer science.
- Issues in Information Systems (IIS) – This is the official journal of the International Association for Computer Information Systems (IACIS). This is a double blind journal published quarterly. IIS publishes original material with the intent to improve information systems and the education of information systems and computer professionals.
- British Journal of Mathematics & Computer Science – This independent journal is published four times a year. The aim of the journal is to publish original research articles, reviews and short communications on all areas of mathematics and computer science. Areas covered include pure mathematics, statistics and game theory and their use in computer science.
Open Courseware (OCW)
Open courseware or MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) are revolutionary forces in contemporary higher education. By providing free access to leading academic institutions from around the world these programs are giving otherwise disadvantaged students a chance to engage with some of compsci's most accomplished professors and lecturers. These courses use a variety of technologies to deliver their benefits to the widest possible audience.
- Practical Programming in C – Massachusetts Institute of Technology Instructors Daniel Weller and Sharat Chikkerur teach this undergraduate introductory course in C programming. The course can be taken online or downloaded. The course download includes lecture notes, labs and other course related material.
- Algorithms Part 1 – Princeton University is host to introduction to fundamental data types, algorithms and data structures. The course is presented by Kevin Wayne and Robert Sedgewick and runs for 6 weeks requiring 6-10 per week of work. Topics covered include union-find algorithms, basic iterable data types, sorting algorithms and more.
- Cryptography ll – Dan Boneh of Stanford University instructs participants in this follow-up to Cryptography l. The course delves into the inner workings of public-key systems and cryptographic protocols. The course runs for 6 weeks requiring 6-8 hours of work per week and is taught in English with subtitles available.
- Designing and Executing Information Security Strategies – This course from the University of Washington is 10 weeks long, with 4-6 hours per week work. Mike Simon provides students with opportunities to integrate and apply their security knowledge using a case study approach. Areas touched on include selection and application of controls, security policies, application of business constraints and other related material.
- Statistical Mechanics: Algorithms and Computations – Ecole Normale Superieure is home to this course in which Werner Krauth discusses the computational approach to modern physics. The course covers physics from classical to quantum using computer programs that participants download, generalize or write from scratch. This course is in English with English subtitles.
- Great Ideas in Theoretical Computer Science – Professor Scott Aaronson of MIT instructs this challenging introduction to some of the central ideas of theoretical computer science. The course presents a view of computer science beyond computers as set mathematical tools for understanding complex systems. The full course and related material are available for download.
- Introduction to Cybersecurity – Chief Scientist and Technical Lead at Leidos Dr. Gary Jackson of Excelsior College offers an overview of changing field of cybersecurity. The course includes an introduction to security standards and law. Participants are exposed to techniques for identifying, detecting and defending against cyber security threats.
- Malicious Software and It's Underground Economy – This 6 week long presentation by Lorenzo Cavallaro of the University of London discusses traditional and mobile malware and the security threats they represent. Participants are also exposed to state-of-the-art analysis and detection techniques. The course requires a commitment of 5-10 hours per week.
- Artificial Intelligence Planning – Gerhard Wickler and Austin Tate of the University of Edinburgh in Scotland provide a foundation in artificial intelligence planning techniques. The course includes an overview of a wide range of problems and approaches as well as their underlying theory and applications. This 6 week course has 3-8 of work per week.
- Software as a Service – Armando Fox of UC Berkeley teaches the fundamentals of software engineering using agile techniques using Ruby on Rails. Students will gain an understanding of challenges and opportunities of software as a service versus packaged software. This is a 6 week course.
- Software Defined Networking – This 8 week course by Georgia Institute of Technology professor Nick Feamster guides students in learning about software defined networking and the ways it is changing how communications networks are managed, maintained and secured.
- Fundamentals of Digital Image and Video Processing – Northwestern University is host to this class in which students learn about the principles and tools used to process images and videos. Participants are taught how to solve practical problems with a suite of principles and tools. Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Professor Aggelos Katsaggelos teaches this 12 week course.
- Concepts in Game Development – Australia's Swinburne University professor Clinton Woodard leads participant's exploration into key ideas in game design, programming and architecture. The course discusses the many skills required, including A.I.
- Principles of Computing – Rice University professors Scott Rixner, Joe Warren and Luay Nakhleh teach this 8 week course that introduces the basic mathematical and programming principles that undergird computer science. The principles discussed are essential to the process of creating well structured solutions to problems. The course requires 7-10 hours per week and is in English with English subtitles.
- Technology and Ethics – Robert Bailey of Ohio State University covers questions of the need for regulation, what is moral behavior and the role of technology. This is a 7 week course that has a requirement of 3-5 hours of work per week.
Much of a well rounded education is delivered in the form of textbooks, but textbooks alone may not be enough. The invention of e-reader technology has made non-textbook materials both more readily available and less expensive. In this section we will offer a selection of affordable, under $10 e-book titles that will supplement and enhance your formal compsci education.
- What is Data Science – The often heard "statistics is the next sexy job" line has been making the rounds for a while but what does it mean. Is there really a sudden rush to a new found appreciation of statistics and data? This intriguing title by Mike Loukides explores those questions and more.
- Schaum's Outline of Principles of Computer Science – This volume by authors Carl Reynolds and Paul Tymann presents a succinct overview of the theoretical underpinnings of computer science. This essential reading for anyone interested in computer science includes a review of object oriented programming using Java.
- Learning Python – This e-book by Mark Lutz offers a comprehensive introduction to the core of the powerful language of python. This is a hands-on book designed to get you up and writing code quickly. This book will be a great addition to your e-library no matter how many other languages you know.
- The Computer: A Very Short Introduction – It's easy to forget that all the theory and programming you are learning is applied to machines that have a rich and interesting history. Darrel Ince walks readers through the evolution of computers from behemoth magnetic tape eating monsters to devices that are such an ordinary part of our daily existence that we don't realize how ubiquitous they have become.
- Data Science for Business – Well known and respected data science experts Foster Provost and Tom Fawcett introduce you to the world of data science for business. Gain an understanding of how data-analytic thinking is necessary and useful for extracting business value from collected data.
- The Basics of Information Security – Understanding the fundamentals of information security in both theory and practice is an essential part of developing practical applications. Author Jason Andress is an experienced cyber security professional with a range of experience in both business and academia, which he brings to bear in this well written e-book.
- Information Security Operations – Matthew Hackling has worked in information security for more than 10 years, predominantly in the financial services industry. He brings that experience in this book where he discusses how to start a security operations team, build roles, processes and responsibilities from the ground up.
- DNS Security – The Domain Name System is one of the most important network infrastructure systems and is often overlooked or underserved. DNS is an enabler of virtually all web services, including email, instant messaging and e-commerce. Anestis Karasaridis give readers a deeper understanding of DNS security.
- Artificial Intelligence: The Basics – The virtual pages of Kevin Warwicks e-book practically turn themselves, as the basics of the rapidly evolving world of A.I. are explained. Warwick examines issues such as man or machine, advances in robotics and more.
- Introduction to Artificial Intelligence – This second edition by Philip C. Jackson presents a comprehensive survey of the current state of artificial intelligence and how computers can be made to act intelligently. You will find this introduction to be fluid and easy to read and a must have edition.
- Artificial Evil – This e-book won't help you land a job or get an A in algorithms – but all work and no play is never a good thing. This post-apocalyptic novel by Colin Barnes takes you to a world where a shadow organization known as the family runs the death lottery. So take a break and consider what might become of the future of artificial intelligence.
- Artificial Intelligence for Humans – Every great building requires a solid foundation and the same is true for A.I. algorithms. Jeff Heaton discusses dimensionality, distance metrics, clustering, error calculation, linear regression and more. This book intended for those with an interest in A.I. but do not have an extensive math background.
- Functional Programming Bibliography – Programming has grown in scale and scope to a point where having a reference like this is more necessity than luxury. This bibliography presents an extensive collection of titles on the many languages and libraries of modern programming.
- The Joy of jQuery – Author, inventor and entrepreneur Alan Forbes has written an easy to read, easy to understand quick-start guide to jQuery. jQuery is the one of the keys to creating truly cool applications for fun and profit.
- Doing Data Science – Mathematician turned quant turned data scientist turned author Cathy O'Neil together with Rachel Schutt explains that now that people are aware that data can make the difference in an election or a business data science as a career is gaining ground. Learn how to get started in this exciting new field.
Online Magazines / Industry News Websites
Magazines and websites, unlike journals, are not peer reviewed. Nonetheless, they are still an outstanding source of compsci information for students, professionals, even consumers. Magazine and news website content tends to be much less dense and therefore a faster read, enabling busy students and professionals alike to get a quick overview the computer science industry.
- Information Week – This industry website and online publication is primarily for business technology professionals. Readers are often CIOs, CTOs and other IT professionals. They provide coverage of nine CS areas including: software, cloud, mobile and infrastructure.
- Network Computing – Published by UBM Tech they bill themselves as the magazine for IT by IT. The focus is on delivering timely news, strategies and expert reviews along with in-depth features and opinion blogs on a variety of enterprise technologies. Network Computing is published 3 times a year and the website is updated on a rolling basis.
- Wired – With more than 20 years under their collective publishing belt Wired magazine (monthly) and it's website report on the latest technologies and how they affect our culture and economy.
- Communications of the ACM – This monthly publication is available online and in print and provides coverage of the computing and IT fields. The magazine is the official publication of the ACM and publishes topical news, reviews and articles on public policy, engineering and market trends.
- SD Times – This online publication publishes news and opinion about software development. The site covers the latest news and is updated on a continual basis throughout each day. The site also includes special reports on a wide range of topics of interest to developers.
- InfoWorld – A leading publication and information resource for technology decision makers. IW publishes information that includes in-depth technical analysis with the intention of providing valuable intelligence to professionals – pre-purchase.
- AI Magazine – The official publication of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence. The intent of AI is to keep members and interested individuals abreast of the latest news and developments in the field of artificial intelligence.
- CIO – The bi-monthly publication for CIOs and others in IT leadership positions. The magazine website, published by CXO Media, began in 1987. Both the website and magazine offer coverage of big data, cloud computing, consumer tech, mobile and operating systems.
- Technology Review – This website and magazine are products of MIT and include features, news, reviews and discussions of issues and technologies that matter. MIT, as one of the world's foremost tech leaders, are in a unique position when it comes to the authority and expertise granted to anything they publish, especially in the realm of compsci.
Professional societies dedicated to the advancement of computer science professionals play an important role in the industry. Granting members access to peers and potential employers, these organizations are relevant to students and working professionals wherever they are in their career.
- IEEE Computer Society – The society provides members with an expansive list of conferences and publications to help validate and disseminate information. The society also provides opportunities for continuing professional education through webinars and professional training. Membership is open to academicians, employers, engineers, IT professionals and students.
- International Association of Computer Science and Information Technology – The IACSIT is an association of scholars involved in computer science and information technology. The association organizes conferences and workshops. They also publish highly regarded peer reviewed academic journals.
- Association for Computing Machinery – This is the world's educational and scientific computing society. Their goal is to deliver resources that advance computer science as a profession. Members have access to an extensive digital library, publications and career resources.
- Association for Women in Computing – This is a national non-profit for individuals interested in information technology as they relate to women's place in the field. Founded in 1979 the goal of the association is to promote awareness of issues confronting women in computing, computer science and IT industries.
- Association for Information Systems – The goal of AIS is to serve through the advancement of knowledge and the promotion of excellence in the practice of information technology. Members have access to an extensive e-library of resources, conferences and career placement. The association also facilitates community among members and special interest groups.
- Computing Research Association – CRA counts more than 200 North American academic departments of computer science, computer engineering and laboratories as members. CRA's mission is to enhance innovation by joining industry, academia and government to advance education in computing.
- International Society of Software Engineering – An international organization for engineers and scholars in software engineering, they sponsor workshops and conferences. The society aims to act as a conduit for the exchange of ideas and problem solving for the professional community.
- Information Systems Security Association – ISSA is an international association of information security professionals. The association provides opportunities for members to have peer to peer interaction through educational forums and publications.
- Data Management International – DMI is an independent global association of technical and business professionals who are committed to moving the concepts and practices of data and information management forward. In addition to recognition members are eligible for discounts on training and publications.
- Information Systems Audit and Control Association – This four decade old association sets the pace for information governance, control, security and audit professionals. Members of this non-profit group are IT professionals who receive recognition and guidance and support.
The purpose of this guide was to act as a starting point for your journey into the many resources available online and in print. For each resource listed in the guide there are far more unexplored offerings, such as this resource from MIT for anyone interested in developing an app and becoming an inventor\entrepreneur.
Software and computing giants like Microsoft and Google offer extensive resources dedicated to developing ideas, programs and products for fun and profit. Both these companies offer many of their resources free of charge and only require registration in order to gain access.
Organizations like TED offer outstanding audio and video programs featuring some of the world's most sought after scientists and experts. Many conferences and individual speakers will publish proceedings online via YouTube and quick search by name or topic will likely turn up something new and interesting. However you decide to approach compsci, the obvious takeaway is that, if you know where to look, you'll have an arsenal of resources to support your every endeavor.