Third mid-year reflection

Warning - This was written some time during semester one of 3rd year. may or may not be an accurate depiction as time passes.

Things I now know, that I didn’t before Uni.

What my course is actually about.

As an ignorant Year 12, I thought picking “Computer Engineering” would give me more knowledge into hardware. Well, I was right about that one.

Many stumble through Physics, Maths and the Electrical Engineering tri-force: ELEC1111 Analysis, ELEC2134 Circuits & Signals and ELEC2133 Analogue. A proportion transfer to Computer Science because of these! (Yes, I can name a couple guys!) Word of warning: be prepared to flex those maths muscles.

Want to study more of Computer Graphics, Human Computer Interaction, Databases, Networks, Algorithms, etc? Software Engineering and Computer Science will allow for more COMP electives. I may have to extend my degree a tiny bit to cover all these. My university degree costs minimum $32,000, and it would suck if I graduated without doing X, Y, Z.

The diversity of specialisations in Computer Science, such as:

The existence of a field called ‘informatics’

Up until university I had never heard of this. e.g. “Have you heard of the ACM?” “Nope”.

There are some crazy great guys out there who just seem to love problem solving all day, all night. Often paired with mathematics.

Or at least, are willing to die trying 🙂

Information Security

This is supposedly the next big thing in the media (be it UNSW CSE or the general world media). These go by the name “Hackers” (with the capital H). I suppose Hackers (1995) is on my movies to watch list – the memes.

There are some things about University that don’t quite sit well with me.

It’s definitely has been hard work, but that’s just ‘study’. (I define hard work as: consuming (energy / time), difficulties understanding / completing work / succeeding).

If high school was to be paired with HSC/Uni entrance, then boy would Uni be paired with… employment!

In short, there is a somewhat gap between academia & theory and real world & practical. University tends to teach concepts, not the latest technologies (“fads”, maybe). As a student, I’ve heard from current workers about the constant “upskilling” required to keep up in this industry. Oh, and getting onto the latest industry trends. Stuff like IoT I guess?

I’ve come to realise, along with others, that there are no courses that actually teach Angular, Ruby, CSS/HTML, JS etc. The stuff you sometimes see in the “Experience” section of job ads.

Irrelevant but funny figure: See the careers ad below!

So – is it is up to you the student to teach yourself these skills and fill in the gaps? Hopefully university will prepare the background needed to learn them. which it definitely should. I imagine that getting practical work experience would be beneficial too – but that is not easy to get, either. Unpaid may have to do, and preferably with (minimum) wage so that it counts towards the 60 days industrial training by the school. Just start looking.

Working on “side projects”? They are fun, self-motivated and rewarding. But how much time can you actually afford to devote?

Group work.

Motivation is key here. Putting the “I” in T E A M.

Sleep-study-work-Fun-social life balance

Just ask anyone.