Is six too many? All current compsci clubs are necessary

October 26, 2016 — by Frederick Kim and Roland Shen

In the age of electronics, computer science now plays a major role in many diverse jobs.

A walk around the quad during Club Day on Sept. 22 revealed an interesting trend: the plethora of computer science-related groups on campus. While most fields such as math or writing only have one or two clubs, the school now has six clubs centered around computer science.

But is there really a need for the multitude of computer science clubs on campus?

The answer, in short, is yes. Having a wide spectrum of computer science clubs is both important and necessary in order to account for the numerous and diverse careers in the field.

For example, if students are interested in the algorithmic side of computer science, which involves computation and logic, they would be drawn to Computer Science Club, which focuses on theory and helps students prepare for computation competitions such as USA Computing Olympiad and ProCo at Stanford. On the other hand, those who are more interested in the application side of computer science, such as building apps or games, are drawn to Application Developers Club, which works on the SHS app and creates computer games.

In addition to software-only clubs, there are computer science clubs that also work with hardware such as Internet of Things club (IoT) and the Mechanical Science Engineering Team (M-SET). These hardware-based clubs give students more options when it comes to finding a niche within the vast computer science concentration.

Furthermore, even among the hardware-based clubs, there are clear differences. One the one hand, IoT only works with small hardware projects. Members learn how to work with IoT microcontrollers such as Arduinos and Photons. Meanwhile, students in M-SET, the robotics program, compete in events at regional, state and national levels. M-SET attracts those who want to experience the thrill of building a full-scale robot and competing against other teams.

Furthermore, clubs such as Women in STEM (WiSTEM) and Girls Who Code provide opportunities for girls who want to enter this male-dominated field. According to the U.S. Department of Education, since there are more males who receive a degree in computer science, clubs like these create a more comfortable learning environment for girls.

If all of these clubs were combined into one big computer science club, members who only want to work on or learn about one aspect of computer science would be bombarded with unwanted information or projects. Plus, having multiple computer science clubs allows students to participate in and appreciate the nuances of different computer science fields — and have more leadership roles.

Although fields such as computer science may seem to be only one subject, they encompass a wide variety of subfields that are distinct from one another. All of this means having numerous computer science clubs on campus isn’t crazy or unnecessary.