Posts Tagged ‘graduate school’

By Mike Hubbartt, © Copyright 2011, All Rights Reserved.

I enrolled in Software Engineering and Web Application Design classes in graduate school last fall and completed all coursework, exams, and projects for both classes on December 21, 2010. The class projects really added to the workload of reading and homework assignments – more than I expected. Something I learned from both classes is to start any project in future classes the days they are assigned, because the homework and exams and reading assignments don’t slack up until the semester is over. And yes, mid-term exams are not easy.

I learned a lot in my first semester as a grad student. Both of my classes exposed me to unfamiliar tools and technologies which can only help my career as a developer. I probably grew more technically than any semester or year at the undergrad level.

Knowing what I know now, I’m glad I went on with my education after completing my undergraduate degree. The pace of grad classes is much faster and in far greater depth than comperable undergrad courses, but the knowledge gained is well worth the effort spent reading the textbooks and researching the subjects.

I’m looking forward to resuming school in the spring. I’ve enrolled in 2 classes: Database Systems Management and Design, and Advanced Web Application Development. I had two database classes as an undergraduate, and one of the classes used the same textbook as the grad school class, so I get to save $100+. The only required book for the advanced web book was available on Amazon for $10 + s/h, so my textbook expenses are minor this semester.

I believe this career move is good regardless of the age of the student. The only warning I would give prospective grad students is that you must sacrifice time spent on leisure activities (TV, golf, flying, etc), as you will spend a lot of times hitting the books and working on your computer. You must establish and follow a regular study schedule, and reading ahead of the topics covered in class is a must. I’d suggest new students buy a good laptop, even though we didn’t need them when on campus at St. Thomas.

The experience of being in classes on campus, being with teachers and fellow students is great. I have no doubt I’d much rather attend classes in person than take them from an online university. I look forward to completing my Masters degree and expect I’ll continue to take classes after I’ve graduated, as I truly enjoy being back in school.

By Mike Hubbartt, © Copyright 2010, All Rights Reserved.

It’s Fall and school finally started. I’m enrolled in the St. Thomas GPS (Graduate Programs in Software) program, where I’m working on my MS in SE (Software Engineering) degree. I have wanted to go to grad school for a long time and this economy made this an easy decision. I feel that advanced degrees, undergrad as well as graduate level, will be necessary to stand out from the crowd of developers in the near future.  Most of the recruiters I’ve spoken with agreed and were enthusiastic I made this career move.

I am enrolled in two classes: Software Engineering, taught by Dr. Chih Lai, and Web Design, taught by Marius Tegomoh. I’ve been to one Software Engineering class and two Web Design classes so far and I’m loving it. The St. Thomas campus and facilities are very nice, the staff seem very polite and considerate, and the chance to finally study computer science at the graduate level is fantastic. Several of the professors have mentioned that there are opportunities to do research projects, which has a lot of appeal but something I’ll postpone until at least one year in school. I am interested in researching the fastest way to transport large quantities of data via the internet, so I have a good reason to try to excel in all of my DB courses.

The first night of class was for my Web Design class, and the room was packed. There were computers for the students to use and the lecture was interesting to me, even though I’ve been working with the web since the mid-1990s. It is always fun to learn how to use new tools to do development and this class promises to be interesting for students of all levels of internet experience. The second day of class was for the Software Engineering class, and it too was packed. The material is so appropriate for people working as developers in the industry, and I had no problem following along as I’d read ahead. One thing Dr. Lai required for SE was that we sign up for a Twitter account, which I’ve never used. I already have 2 blogs plus I’m working on a new website with a friend, so I just don’t have the time to spare on something else, but I went ahead and signed up. I’ll try to write about the experience in this blog over the course of the semester.

What about your education experience? Did you take some college classes, complete your undergrad degree, take some grad school classes, complete a graduate degree, or none of the above? Do you think it would help or harm your career? If you’re considering grad school, look at those with programs for working students, because you can go to school while working and raising a family.

That’s all for now.