What is CompSoc?

We’re the Computing and Artificial Intelligence Society (CompSoc) at The University of Edinburgh. Head over to the about page to learn more about our society.

What programming language should I learn first?

Different programming languages are aimed towards different tasks, and quite often one language can perform equivalently to other programming languages.

Hot languages in the industry include:

  • Python. Used for data analysis, modelling, machine learning and server development (here’s a great book — don’t worry, the title is misleading)
  • JavaScript. Used to make websites interactive and is used on pretty much every webpage you visit (including this one!)

The languages mentioned above aren’t just limited to what has been noted, you can create games, write websites, create servers, and perform data analysis in all of those languages; sometimes it’s just a matter of personal preference.

There are many other books available, so do not hesitate to use Google to find other educational material. Google is a programmer’s best friend.

If this is all too daunting for you, do not worry, The University of Edinburgh’s excellent first year Informatics courses hold your hand through Haskell and Java.

Whether or not you’re a student studying an Informatics course, you’re more than welcome to contact us for any kind of support with getting started in programming.

When can we hang out?

CompSoc holds a meeting every month: say hello to Student Tech Meet Ups. We invite industry experts, our academic staff and our very own students to hold talks on a wide range of topics.

STMUs are typically on the third Wednesday of every month, hosted at the Informatics Forum, but keep an eye on the latest events by following our Facebook page.

Talks may include showcases of languages that someone likes, introductions of new technologies, or companies giving a taste of what their company is working on.

Even though we’re a Computing society, talks are not always technical. We may sometimes hosts talks discussing ethical issues, or host workshops to help you write the best CV.

What do we learn?

We sometimes host workshops - these are a lot like our STMUs except a lot less focused on talks, and a lot more interactive.

We have previously held workshops on Haskell (to help our first years approaching their midterm exam revise), Python, Ruby and Git.

Workshops are organised by volunteer members in CompSoc, and are announced on our Facebook page.

What are hackathons?

Every year we try to host a hackathon in Edinburgh: Hack the Burgh. Hackathons are where we round up a bunch of enthusiastic students who have an interest in technology, and invite them to make something cool over the course of a weekend.

Of course, we provide the food, the atmosphere, the music, and plenty of fun things to do. You don’t need to be a programmer, and you definitely don’t need to be studying an Informatics course.

Stuck for ideas? You can partake in particular challenges, and enjoy talks throughout the weekend. If you and your team make something that impresses our judges, you’re bound to win a prize… or even a job if you’re lucky enough!