Having finished up the final week of my first semester at HES in their graduate software engineering program in CS-15, I feel both relieved that finals week is over but also happy that my first semester was a successful one.
My background is not in programming (civil engineering major with 5 years of self-taught programming experience), so I had my reservations entering my first semester of an online program geared for professionals in the industry.
That said, I turned out to have a great semester and appreciated the following parts of the HES program and course which made it such a great experience:
- HES support staff and advisors are great – they normally respond to emails within 1-2 days and advisors are normally available my phone/email.
- CS-15 instructor, Susan Buck, was great – her lectures, assignments and course materials were thorough and well thought-out.
- CS-15 TA’s were helpful and were available for us during our weekly online section and answered offline, normally within 1-2 days.
Having the time and motivation to participate in the course is a big factor to success, both in terms of getting good grades and benefiting from all the course material and assignments. Although the workload is not overwhelming, one does need to steadily invest time every week in watching the lectures, attending section and completing assignments.
In addition, the following are definitely recommended for any prospective students out there considering this course:
- Prior programming experience in any language(s) is highly recommended since the the assignments will require web development, workflow/version control and deployment of websites to live servers.
- Basic understanding of relational databases will be useful towards the end of the semester in the context of building web applications, so it would be worthwhile to read up on data normalization and ERD diagrams.
- Participation in TA section and forums are a big help, especially for remote students (such as myself). The video lecture and notes are a big help as well, so be sure to review everything since they are a condensed version of official documentation.
In conclusion, I recommend the course and learned a lot from the detailed course material and assignments. That said, the course does require weekly participation and due diligence in completing lectures/assignments so be sure to set aside the time to do so in success with the course.