New Mature Student – Part II

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Part 2

As expected, the work has already started to flow in. The mathematics module is self-taught and frequently tested. Most of the subject matter will be familiar, but even so it takes time to complete the exercises provided.

As knowledge of programming varies considerably between various students in part I, ECS-speak for the first year, all levels of ability are catered for. The danger of knowing too much, and more importantly, not being on board when your level of knowledge is reached, has been recognised.

Students of considerable experience are encouraged to involve themselves in “Space Cadets” group sessions. As a software developer in a previous life, I feel obliged to join the latter; I am aware that puts me in a class of very smart people and any notion of comfort or even superiority, should be probably be left at the door. Conversely, there are “Ground Controllers” sessions for those who were not coding at the age of 4. Either way, the through-put is more than sufficient enough to prevent boredom setting in. Forget the bare facts of the timetable: this year is going to involve serious amounts of work.

In the first year of computer science, students are presented with a pick of two modules for the first semester: Introduction to Digital Electronics and the blandly named Computer Systems and Applications. The first is a grounding in the underlying electronics that we all rely upon and the latter covers a history of the common concepts. Honestly, I’d like to take both.

This stems from a belief that a good grounding in both the building blocks, as well as the history, is necessary to be successful. The best example of this is Valentino Rossi, who currently holds the world title in motorcycle racing. “The doctor” as he has also been known, is noted as a hard racer as well as something a party animal which is in common with most of his fellow racers. Unlike a lot of fellow racers, it is also a matter of record that he has a strong interest in the history of the sport coupled with an understanding of the science involved in two-wheel racing.

In truth, either choice is a good one and I suspect that I will opt for Computer Systems and Applications as the lecturer has a tendency to tangent off at the end of the lecture to link in his own work. This enthusiasm for one’s own work is not unusual here and therefore can only bode well for the future.

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