Software Development Education (Calgary, or in canada)

Dec 4, 2019
2 posts
1 upvote

Software Development Education (Calgary, or in canada)

Currently I'm taking a 16 month or so diploma for Software Development and I've been meaning to ask those who have taken Software Development courses of all sorts or even those with experience in the field for some advice on my current situation. I don't need someone to be nice about it, I just need a straight up opinion.

My current program is laid out in a condensed format where you touch on subjects (3 weeks for each) like Programming Logic and Design, Object Oriented Programming Java and JavaFX, Adobe Photoshop/Illustrator, JavaScript, PHP and MySQL, python, HMTL 5 with CSS , and lots more. We have 2 assignments and a project at the end of each course with an exam and some quizzes in between. Projects were things like make a website with 7 functional web pages in HTML, create a Vehicle Simulation program in Java, and with JavaFX create a popular game among programmers called Towers of Hanoi. Right now I'm in JavaScript and our project will be to create another website using HTML, CSS and Javascript.

Prior to coming back to school I did a little research on what steps to take in becoming a Software Developer (also speaking with an advisor). I am completely green in the field and so are the rest of my classmates excluding one who's got very little experience in Computer Science from like 10 years ago in high school. All my research from google, youtube and other forum sites kept saying to focus on one language first and get comfortable with it or else you'll make it much too hard if you focus on various languages at once (this was not what my advisor said btw). Most of us in class also have families and work full time jobs, I myself have two jobs, one full time and one part time. I mentioned this to my advisor but I was told everything would be fine and they would help me understand and walk me through each course so I can learn and keep my busy schedule (only reason why i even came back to school).

We are paying roughly 30 grand for this course and the question or concern is, we are all feeling like the work load is FAR too much for the amount of time spent on each course, and I'm wondering would that be something that we should be feeling? As a class we've spoken over and over again about it and I guess I want to know if we just need to suck it up and study hard cause this is normal or if we have a valid reason for why we feel this way? Programming seems to be more about problem solving and VERY little memorization, so it feels like it's very time consuming to problem solve something you are just learning for the first time. Also, most of our textbooks are outdated and even though a lot of the material applies, we find ourselves using the internet to solve our own questions more than the book or our instructor. We have a great instructor but the content being taught and in the manner it's being taught is not of their making. The school has laid out the exact outline and how to teach it, but even our instructor says there's a lot of things that could have been excluded to save on time and focus on the more fundamental topics we would need in order to have a foundation for when we try to apply for jobs.

I am considering dropping out because I don't want to pay the full tuition cost as I feel I haven't received at all the experience advertised to me by my advisor, or the website. Granted, I expected this to be hard, but not impossible hard, and it might be because I'm working the two jobs at the same time so this is where I need that honest opinion from anyone who's got knowledge on this subject. Also some advice on how to approach some of these programming languages because the further we go in the more it seems to pile on and it's suppose to get easier not harder according to the school. Being green to the field I thought "WOW, here's a program that touches on a lot of subjects in the industry, i'll be able to learn loads!!" when I started, but now I realize maybe there's too much and too little time.

Anyways, any advice or questions are welcomed, or even recommendations for other programs in other schools across Canada. I'm based in Calgary but I'd be open to suggestions. Thank you for your time.
2 replies
Aug 8, 2019
263 posts
It's probably possible if you can dedicate 20+ hours outside of class to further study the topics.
But the amount of time really depends on your own learning style; so only yourself can say whether you have enough time or not for this program.

Projects are good because you will be able to list those in your CV.
But from the short description they seem to be not that involved.
You'll want at least 1 bigger / more involved project which demonstrates various concepts you've applied and challenges you've overcome.

The focus should be on the concepts and not the languages, since most concepts can be applied to all languages.
The recommendation for sticking with 1 language is to not get distracted by a different syntax, different libraries, different naming, different tools, etc.

I'm not sure what tuition fees are normal nowadays but 30k seems high.
I would look around to see if there are cheaper options if possible.
Feb 16, 2017
396 posts
Try taking a program that specializes in something like web or mobile development and 1 language. Yes I said 1 language. Web - maybe Javascript/Typescript/React. Mobile - iOS (Swift) or Android (Java/Kotlin). On top of these basic languages you should also learn databases (sql/nosql), object oriented design, systems design, code quality, git... It is a lot and even full time students have difficult time keeping up with the work so if you are really interested in building a career in this field I recommend you spend at least 50% of your entire waking hours studying these topics.

I think you are right in the sense that it is way too much to learn in such little time, especially if you are working as well. Also, if you are not use to coding or the kind of problem solving involved (math, logic) then you will have a very difficult time building momentum. The program you are in seems similar to a Diploma which should provide you the fundamentals of software but a more specialized program would provide you with a set of tools to actually get a job.


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