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Courses Guidance needed - IT/Computing Course

  1. Jul 17, 2012 #1
    Hi everyone, I would really appreciate some input from people who have taken IT or Comp Sci courses before. The situation is like this: I did business in college, but ended up implementing business systems. I did some programming and enjoyed it, so now I plan to take a formal Computing diploma so that I can do better in the technical side of my work.

    After discussing with the college I plan to take it from, the rep was suggesting that since I have 2 years of work experience I skip the first level (diploma) and go to the second level (advanced diploma). However I have no formal IT knowledge besides some simple programming, so I am afraid that I cannot cope with the second level without the first.

    Courses offered are as follows:

    First level:

    Computer and Information Processing
    Program Design
    Mathematics for Computing
    Project - Web Design with HTML, JavaScript and Java Applets
    Project - 'C' Programming
    Computer Networks
    Introduction to Java
    Structured Query Language (Access 2003)

    Second level:

    Systems Analysis and Design
    Software Engineering
    Discrete Mathematics
    Object Oriented Programming in Java
    Project: Systems Development
    Computer Architecture & Data Communications
    Information Management
    Database Management Systems

    Details are all in the attachment I linked.

    So my question is: with some minimal programming experience, is it workable for me to go to the second level without going through the first? I'd be willing to do some reading to catch up.

    Thanks for your advice.

    Attached Files:

  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 17, 2012 #2


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    Science Advisor

    Hey noobilly and welcome to the forums.

    The question I have for you is what the nature of your programming in the past has been like? What languages, platforms, projects, and so on have you undertaken?

    The other thing is that SQL is extremely important for business applications across the board and if you don't have this skill, you need to get it. You could do it in your own time though if you have enough experience.

    With regards to the courses in the normal diploma, again this will depend on your experience. If you have enough experience, learning networks isn't that hard because it's more or less a library or an API to use. In fact, learning any new technology when experienced enough is straight-forward if you are used to dealing with external libraries or platforms on a regular basis.

    I think you will be fine with the advanced diploma if you have working background experience in programming: you may want to review some simple math for discrete mathematics, but the other stuff should be OK.

    Please outline your experience in detail though for a better response.
  4. Jul 17, 2012 #3
    Hey Chiro, thanks a lot. I was really mostly dealing with already complete systems (SAP if you have heard of it) so most of my work was non-programming, e.g. gathering business requirements, discussing with clients, configuring the system, testing, managing data etc. My only actual programming experience is with some simple scripts to shovel data around, and I did a Python course online with some simple assignments. Have not used SQL or networks.

    So I told the college rep pretty much what I told you, but she is still suggesting me to go for the Advanced Diploma. I'm not sure is this an honest academic suggestion or a marketing decision though, so I asked her to ask the opinion of the lecturers then tell me. Of course I would like opinions from you guys too though.
  5. Jul 17, 2012 #4


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    Science Advisor

    If you haven't done something like C I think that I am going to change my recommendation.

    I know what SAP is though and I'm aware that it has its own weird programming language (I've seen some examples and its pretty horrible). The thing is though, that things like SAP, Oracle and these other Business Intelligence platforms are very specialized and usually only purchased by people who have enough money and resources.

    The SQL stuff is universal: it is a standard that is used for any standardized database system and as a result is essential not just for being able to use, but more importantly to understand how things actually work internally which is what you are trying to obtain yourself.

    In terms of networks, if you haven't really had solid experience with something C you will find this a challenge.

    Given that you have mainly dealt with scripts and a little python and nothing like C, I am going to strongly recommend you do the first diploma. It has two projects which are essential parts of programming and in different environments (stand-alone and web environments).

    Just for your information, the most important two things for any programmer are state and flow-control.

    State refers to the state of the system at any point (it's variables and the values they have at any point in time) and the flow-control refers to the flow of the actual computation (the order of instructions being executed and how this relates to the actual code).

    Debugging experiences helps you understand state and flow-control in a lot of depth and general experience helps you develop both as well.

    Once you have a developed sense of both, you'll be able to figure out what's going on pretty quickly and you will be a good programmer.
  6. Jul 18, 2012 #5
    Thanks Chiro, I just talked to my manager who has a degree in CS and she said pretty much the same things as you did. So I've made up my mind to do the first already.
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