View Full Version : College programming course decision

08-29-2008, 09:07 AM
I've enrolled in the local community college this fall. I took an Algebra course in the spring and passed with flying colors.

This semester, I decided I would take 2 course. Right now, I'm in speech (public speaking) and Sociology. The decision on taking two evening courses was based on the premise that I would take two, so long as the homework load from either wasn't going to be too great.

The Sociology course seems like it will be pretty interesting. The public speaking course is not bad, but I would rather be spending my time in a tech course related to comp. science.

My dilemma is that the only tech comp sci class being offered that would work for my schedule is a programming 1 class, and I really think it might be too basic for me.

All three classes listed above are core requirement classes for an associates in science comp sci degree.


08-29-2008, 09:16 AM
If there's any option to test out of a course - I would investigate it. Some times they'll give you a couple of assignments or a test, and if you can do it, they give you the credit. There's also sometimes an option to take an "accelerated class", where if you don't feel ready to test out, but the class is too basic, you get the text book, etc... And work with the professor on say, the 3 hardest assignments.

It varies greatly depending on the school and the class - but it's worth checking out. Failing that - a requirement is a requirement, I guess.

08-29-2008, 09:16 AM
Talk to an adviser about testing out of the class. You might be directed to see the head of the department or something to show your knowledge about the class' subject, so you might not have to take the class. In fact, I'd be surprised if they required you to take a class that you already knew about. If you test out of it, you might even get credit towards your degree. Ask them about that.

08-29-2008, 09:23 AM
I'll second the test out recommendations. Other things to keep in mind:
1. There are deadlines for these sort of things -- at my school you'd be SOL, since you either test out during your first semester or not at all. So don't delay, call now!
2. There are also limits on how much you can test out of -- your department head should know this or can find out.
3. Test-outs do not transfer. (If you're grabbing the associates' degree here, then who cares, but if you're moving on you may have to do this again at the next institution.)

08-29-2008, 06:42 PM
Well, today was the last day to add/drop/swap with no penalty fees. I went ahead and dropped speech and signed up for programming 1. It'll be with C++, which is fine. The test-out exam would be in Java, and while I've been reading through the SCJP book, (and I'm 1/2 way through, and have been doing well on the chapter review questions), I'm not as comfortable with Java's syntax as I am with C and C++ yet.

I know all the concepts would be equivalent, but just the typical questions of "of the 4 following coded examples, which one is wrong" questions take a while to run through in your head. Call me chicken.

Hey, if I have any homework questions - do you all know a forum where I can ask??? HAR HAR HAR.

Oh, and on the web site for this class, it has a link for learning about C/C++ - guess where??? HERE!!! Link #5 on the page. http://tc3.hccs.edu/cosc1436/

Thanks. Todd

(I wonder if I can get extra credit if I turn in the custom C++ program I wrote early this year that I sold for $4K?)

09-18-2008, 03:44 PM
Your school is kinder than the one in my city. You have to be in Calculus just to take Programming Concepts I. And they don't allow one to test out of it.

09-18-2008, 05:07 PM
The Sociology course seems like it will be pretty interesting.Sociology tends to yield an extremely politically biased professor. At the time I had Sociology, I had a teacher that insisted the "minutemen" down in Texas were shooting hundreds of Mexicans every week as they try to cross the border... when I spoke out about how ridiculous that was, I ended up risking the A that I was getting to that point. Luckily I was able to talk him out of lowering it for no good reason.

Just be careful what you say to them... they're usually... touchy. Oh, and Civil & Criminal Justice is no better.

09-18-2008, 06:52 PM
All three classes listed above are core requirement classes for an associates in science comp sci degree.
Why would you need to know sociology to do CS?

in the UK if you're old you should be able to get straight into the degree if you tell them that you're capable of it and provide some evidence. Otherwise you can waste a year and then get bored to tears as you have to repeat it all over again but at "degree level", which from my experience was pretty much the same.

09-18-2008, 08:06 PM
Why would you need to know sociology to do CS?US degrees require specific general education courses as well as humanities and social sciences for all degrees. While you can, to some extent, bypass the entry level courses based on how well you did on the courses in highschool as well as your SAT scores... there is always some level of general education that all students must take. Sociology itself is probably not required for a CS degree in his school... but a humanities course is and Sociology qualifies as one.

09-18-2008, 09:13 PM
Not an issue any more. I dropped both. I calculated that it would take 8 years, with an aggressive schedule, to get a Bachelor of Science degree, and another 2 after that for a Masters. By then, I would be 55, and who the heck would care at that point.

So, I decided I can be the smart guy and not have the degree, and, instead of cramming in courses for the next 10 years of evenings, I'll spend my time on activities that generate passive income.

Now, where's that iPhone SDK....

09-18-2008, 09:36 PM
So, I decided I can be the smart guy and not have the degree, and, instead of cramming in courses for the next 10 years of evenings, I'll spend my time on activities that generate passive income.Why don't you go for a semester... then start a multibillion dollar corporation and let them give you an honorary degree.

09-19-2008, 08:36 AM
I'll do that for Harvard. It will be more impressive on the wall than Houston Community College.

09-19-2008, 12:38 PM
Yeah I hear your pain, Todd. I am back in school now (though I am leaping to a different field) and I will be 32 when I am where I am wanting to be.

Meanwhile, if you are wanting to be a software engineer and not wanting to take classes for a degree (which is exactly how I have conducted my software career). Just look into getting certifications. Like your MCSE or MCP or JCP or CNA (Novell... not nursing) or whatever.

09-19-2008, 01:22 PM
Yes, Im about ready to take the SCJP test. Another couple weeks and I'll be through the book. Not sure what certifications there are for C or C++. I've been coding in assembler for 20+ years on the mainframe, and there are no certifications for that. I'm certified for Database Administration for DB2 V9 on z/OS. Passed the test on that one by walking in and taking it cold turkey. There aren't too many certifications for the mainframe world, as compared to the CICSO Networking, Sun Programming and Microsoft everything worlds.

09-19-2008, 01:32 PM
Yeah there are the MCSE and similar. Though those aren't in the broader sense of the word "C++ certifications." The M$ and Linux software programming certifications do put your C++ skills to the test.

A good resume and strong references is worth its weight in gold and probably even more valuable than any certification that you can present. Or any degree, for that matter. Experience is far more than an equivilent to an education.