First and foremost thing you should be doing is working on your typing speed. From now onwards you want to work with computers for your whole life and if you are lacking in typing speed then you will be at disadvantage, you will be wasting a lot of your time in comparison to others. So, for getting better with your typing speed, start doing touch typing and use sites such as 10 fast-finger, typing test, etc for practice. Try to learn keyboard shortcuts, for example, ctrl + backspace is used to delete the whole word in a row but some people only use backspace which starts deleting a letter one by one and hence takes more time. It’s not necessary to have 70-80 wpm speed, no one is going to ask you your typing speed in interviews but you should be having an average typing speed, 35-40 wpm.
Some students think like if they will be having data structure and algorithm subject in their second year, they are going to learn it in the second year as it is in their syllabus, so they don’t need to worry about that subject right now.
Students don’t work on their communication skills and lose their opportunities of being selected for internships or other programs. You should start working on your communication skills and writing skills from your first year onwards so that you will be more confident in your interviews and you can express yourself properly. You can start participating in events which are arranged in your college and look forward to speaking or express yourself, make your presence & this is not only going to help you in improving your communication skills, it will also increase your networks which will be helpful for you later. You can also make some videos, talk in front of the mirror and participate in group discussions to improve your communication skills and body language. For improving your writing skills, you can start writing your own blogs, articles, or small stories. Even you can contribute articles in geeksforgeeks site, it is a good way to share your knowledge with others while learning.
Projects provide a wonderful way to learn anything, and they enrich your resume. You should always make some mini projects while learning any language or any new skill. You will start understanding the use case properly and your problem-solving skills will also develop if you will make something on your own. You will also need some good projects(2-3) for applying in fields you are having the interest in to showcase your skills/candidacy. So, after being comfortable with the basics, you should start working on some real-time projects which are needed in our society. You can also collaborate with other developers or work on open source projects which will help you to learn how git and GitHub works, how teams work on big projects in the real world.
Many students don’t apply for internships thinking that they don’t have enough skills. You don’t need to know everything before applying for an internship, you are going to learn a lot of new things while doing an internship and you will get industrial experience from these internships which are going to stand you out while applying for jobs later. Some first-year students do apply for internships, but they don’t understand which one is good for them. Even though they don’t have any interest to get into marketing jobs still they apply for these kinds of internship thinking that they will get a certificate which will help them in the future. They don’t understand that when applying for jobs you will have to showcase relevant experience. So if you want to get into web development don’t apply for a campus ambassador internship or other irrelevant internships, these certificates will be of no use. If you are not getting any good internships then you should work on your skills instead of applying to these kinds of irrelevant internships.
Competitive sites such as GeeksforGeeks, Hacker Rank, Leet Code, Code Chef, and Code Forces contains really good problems which helps in improving problem-solving skills of individual which companies want in every candidate that’s why most of the companies take coding round as there first round to check how much good problem-solving skills individual is having, how clear his/her concepts are and how much he/she can visualize. You will not be able to clear this round without practicing such problems as there will be a time limit and everyone gets a bit nervous when it comes to such exams. So, for staying on the safer side you can learn one language and solve problems topic wise in these platforms to get a grasp of those topics then you will be able to easily solve questions of coding round asked in jobs in the required time. Apart from the job perspective, competitive sites organize contests which is a fun way of solving problems in the required time and competing with the whole world. It’s like a sport, sometimes you win sometimes you lose(rank increases or decreases) but most importantly you enjoy.
There are so many programs going on especially for college students which are really beneficial. You should know about them so that you can prepare for them and participate in them. Programs such as ICPC for competitive programmers, GSOC for students who are willing to contribute to open-source projects, Internships programs like Google step, Duolingo Thrive program, etc.
Many first-year students stay in myth that certifications is important, and they try to earn more certificates. If you are getting a certificate for any course or competition you’ve applied for then it is good but you shouldn’t be taking part in some competition or webinar just for sake of certification. You should be taking part in it to get some experience, to learn new things or to get better. Some students put a certification section in their resume but still, it is always better to put some good projects made by those skills you’ve mentioned in your resume rather than certificates of courses from where you’ve learned those skills. Even many companies just ignore the certification section.
In start, you should be focusing on one language until you get comfortable with it properly. Some first-year students try to learn more and more languages rather than focusing on one and end up learning none. Remember, It’s not that hard to switch to another language if you are good at one. But if you will try to switch frequently, you won’t remember the syntax of anyone and no one is going to ask you how many languages you know. Even you just need one language to clear the coding round of any company. They want to see your problem-solving skills, not your memorization power.