[clug] Software Engineering

Anthony David adavid at adavid.com.au
Fri Sep 1 21:27:08 GMT 2006

On Fri, Sep 01, 2006 at 11:07:03PM +1000, Sam Couter wrote:
> The engineering degree covers all that, but also the hard stuff you'll
> not likely need to know: Advanced calculus and physics, elecronics
> engineering, all that stuff IEEE want in an engineering degree. It
> didn't seem to cover any more project management or any more programming
> than the IT degree. It's an extra year of study too.
> I couldn't pass the calculus part, so I don't get to call myself an
> engineer.
> I don't see any extra value in the engineering degree unless you want
> the title, or unless the hard maths, physics or electronics interests
> you enough to spend an extra year at Uni. I can't think of any
> professional skills it covers that the IT degree doesn't.

Regarding maths and study at ANU in general:

The ANU has a maths bridging course for those that need to improve their
Yr 12 level maths. As an "older student", the head of the Maths dept
recommended I do the course before I do any Advanced Stream first year
Maths courses. The course was taught well and increased my confidence
to the extent I tackled the Honours stream (which I barely passed) but
I have continued and am/will be doing some of the "Applied" 3rd year
maths courses you will find listed in the Computational Science BSc major.

Often maths is not taught well at high school or students are not always
receptive. You will find the increased effort you put into mathematics pays
off in other areas as your problem-solving skills and sheer "stickability"
improves. My biggest mistake my first time around (years ago) was doing
computer science and avoiding maths. I did the minimal 1st year maths and
paid heavily in 3rd year as I wanted to learn more about numerical 
computation. Not know what an eigenvalue was and worse, not having the
mathematical grounding to understand it, really put me behind the eight ball.

My advice would be:

-  prepare well (bridging if you want to brush up on maths)

- go through the undergraduate handbook and plan your degree path
from go to whoa

- revise your plan regularly as you will find subject areas you never
knew were interesting. Courses change as well.

- aim as high as you can (be somewhat reasonable) and with planning
you will know what to do as an alternative if your aim turned out wrong.
- enjoy yourself. I've done fulltime and I'm now doing part-time. The
study immersion opportunity and the social aspects of fulltime should not
be wasted.

Anthony David

Gambling(n): A discretionary tax on those asleep during high school maths
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