How to Build Your Own Computer Science Degree

August 29, 2020

Note: You can find the video lecture for this article at



The following books can be used to study core computer science topics at the college / university level, to prepare yourself for machine learning, deep learning, artificial intelligence, and data science.

These are the books I recommend for building your own computer science degree. Remember! The goal is to do as many exercises as you can. It’s not to just watch 5 minute YouTube videos and then conclude “I understand everything! There’s no need for exercises!”

This quote from the video sums it up nicely: if you don’t find the problems, the problems will find you.

Common question: What about C++? Yes, C++ is excellent! Ideally, you will learn both C++ and Java, but obviously, these are not hard prerequisites for machine learning or data science.




Calculus: Early Transcendentals by James Stewart

Introduction to Linear Algebra by Gilbert Strang

Introduction to Probability by Bertsekas and Tsitsiklis

Big Java by Cay Horstmann

Introduction to Algorithms by Cormen, Leiserson, Rivest, and Stein

Disclaimer: this post contains Amazon affiliate links.

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