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Need Advice: Going to College for Software Developer

Hello everyone.

I'm going to college this August for an Associates and then Bachelors in Computer Science with a Concentration on Software Development.

Looking through the courses they offer, it's hard to decipher exactly what I'm going to learn and for the sake of career potential, and I'm trying to find out what things I should be learning about in my spare time to compliment my coursework in college.

To start with, its Southern New Hampshire University. They said I could either get a Bachelors in CS or IT, but everything I've read online points to CS. I've read countless job posts on Indeed for Software Engineering/Development, and almost all point to CS, so I changed majors today to CS.

The problem is though, I also compiled a list of no less than 100 common skills/expertise that jobs report looking for; I've come to understand that breaking it down, they are different programming languages, frameworks, APIs, certifications, proficiency in variants of Java or Javascript like Vue.js and scripting languages, etc.

Since this degree is Computer Science and not specifically for Software Engineering, I'm not sure what I need to compliment my learning with during my 4 years of college. I want to make sure I'm fully rounded for the highest chance of success when I finish college, and my career plan is to obtain my Associates so I can begin work, at least as an intern, to have job experience in the field and title, and start a portfolio of projects to show during interviews.

So where should I start? With wanting to jump-start my career with an Associates in CS while continuing to earn my Bachelors, what terms and things should I start researching now? Databases? Algorithms? If you started all over again and your plan was mine, how would you structure your learning path so you would be ready to start at a company when you obtained your Associates?

I look forward to hearing from all of you, and thank you in advance for helping me succeed.

Thank you,

Top comments (4)

phlash profile image
Phil Ashby

Big question! So a somewhat vague answer (sorry!):

Go find/talk to people already doing what you want to do (there are a few here :)) and see what they weren't taught in college - I'll hazard a guess that's it's all the practicalities around getting software created: source control, build systems, development methodologies, people skills, business politics, company purpose / ambition.. if you can find one, then an internship or apprenticeship will be invaluable in picking up skills in these areas!

If you have a company lined up (because you believe they are doing something worthwhile), then focus on their technology stack(s) and ways of working, and network with their people!

Anecdote: some of the best engineers I have worked with came through the support desk, they understood exactly what the company existed to do, and how to make customers happy. Getting software created was only a part of their experience (an important part though!), and they took it up to be able to directly provide value to those customers.

Good luck!

joelbonetr profile image
JoelBonetR 🥇 • Edited

A good thing you can do is to add a screenshot (or text) about the subjects (roadmap) of the degree you're about to do.
This way we may find some weaknesses (if any) or point out some beneficial ways to improve the overall skillset from now to a 4 year span.

Note that this is a rapid changing profession, specially on web. Maybe in 4 years Vue does no longer make sense. Even that, if you learnt it, you'll have a better base knowledge than if you didn't learn anything.

I'd recommend you a book called "Computer Science: An Overview" by J. Glenn Brookshear as jumpstarter, as it's own name states, it's an overview to CS and a required reading at many universities for good reasons.

Hope it helps! :)

omarpixel9 profile image
Omar Ahmad

I think a good thing to do is to try to reach out and ask recently graduated alumni from the same major of the same university for advice. This is also a great chance for networking! Honestly, merely looking at course descriptions on a website can be misleading as most of them are not accurate enough to truly describe the curriculum.

jackler2 profile image

Hello again,

Alright, so here are the courses they gave me. This is for a Bachelors in Computer Science with a concentration in Software Development. Also, where would you recommend networking with other software developers? I don't have any companies I have a particular interest in or something that I believe in, but that's my ignorance of the industry. I'm going to reach out to the college to see if I can get the information on any recently graduated alumni; honestly finding a forum to even ask this question was so hard. This profession has a million videos on Youtube going over whats good and bad about Software Development, but when it comes to finding forums for Software Developers its actually quite hard. At least your standard forum like the old days of if anyone is old enough to remember it, lmao. I just turned 34 and I feel old, and I'm reminiscing the good old days of the internet.

MAT142 - Pre-calculus with Limits (3)

MAT225 - Calculus I: Single-Variable Calculus (3)

MAT241 - Modern Statistics with Software (3)

MAT243 - Applied Statistics for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) (3)
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CS110 - Fundamentals of Programming (3)
IT140 - Introduction to Scripting (3)

CS210 - Programming Languages (3)
CS217 - Object Oriented Programming (3)

CS218 - Data Structure and Algorithms (3)
CS300 - Data Structures and Algorithms: Analysis and Design (3)

CS231 - Database Systems (3)
DAD220 - Introduction to Structured Database Environments (3)

CS230 - Operating Platforms (3)
CS250 - Software Development Lifecycle (3)
CS255 - System Analysis and Design (3)
CS305 - Software Security (3)
CS320 - Software Testing, Automation, and Quality Assurance (3)
CS330 - Computational Graphics and Visualization (3)
CS340 - Client/Server Development (3)
CS360 - Mobile Architecture and Programming (3)
CS370 - Current and Emerging Trends in Computer Science (3)
CS465 - Full Stack Development I (3)
IT145 - Foundation in Application Development (3)
MAT350 - Applied Linear Algebra (3)
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CS490 - Computer Science Internship (3 - 15)
CS499 - Computer Science Capstone (3)

MAT230 - Discrete Mathematics (3)
MAT239 - Mathematics for Computing (3)

PHY150 - Introductory Physics: Mechanics (3)
PHY215 - Physics I (3)

These are all the courses for Computer Science, and it is a concentration in Software Engineering, so here are the courses listed specifically for Software Engineering (Concentration):

CS319 - UI/UX Design and Development (3)
CS350 - Emerging Systems Architectures & Technologies (3)
CS405 - Secure Coding (3)
CS410 - Software Reverse Engineering (3)
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