From Cegep to University in tech
Do you sometimes wish you knew some things sooner? That’s exactly how I felt when I entered university. I want to help other students avoid making the same “mistakes” I did. Keep on reading this article if you don’t want to miss out on some great opportunities for your IT career.
All students in the province of Quebec (Canada), needs to attend a CEGEP after high school and before getting in university. It takes 2 to 3 years depending on the kind of diploma. I did a 3-year-diploma in computer sciences where I learned Java, SQL, C #, VB, etc. Now that I’m in university, I am aware that I should have learned some technologies sooner, or pay more attention during some classes because I’m regretting it!
This article aims to give you some advice if you’re still in CEGEP or high school. I reveal what I wish I had known earlier in my training.
I know very well that from every CEGEP teach different things, so I stick to my experience. Some points can indeed be applied to all students in CEGEP.
I should have been paying more attention in…
- Analysis classes
One of the most important courses I had to attend. How to do class diagrams, sequence diagrams, use cases, etc. We have to create this documentation throughout our careers in IT, like it or not. The analysis is the basis for all development, and primarily a programmer is a good programmer if he/she can thoroughly analyze the work that must be done.
- I listened very well in this course, but If I could go back in time, I would have taken better notes. Today, I am confident that these notes would be useful to me. I keep some memories of the tough exercises that I had to do. Still, it’s a shame, because databases are everywhere in IT. Wherever we work, there will be databases somewhere.
This course would be very useful today. Four years later, I finally realized the importance of the terminal and its high utility. Now whenever my computer is on, I have a terminal open. Why did I not realize this before ?!
- Managing a Workstation
It covered all the material on a computer. We disassembled and reassembled towers ensuring they still work, dismantled laptops, and even disassembled MacBook (without ascending the course — it’s impossible!). We also learned to play in the BIOS of a computer for the first time. I loved the course, but I wanted to follow the instructions of the laboratory and have 100% rather than understand EVERYTHING I was doing. That is what I regret!
We should have learned
- To use GitHub
Maybe it was a new technology for my teachers. They have therefore had to learn before then teach — which requires some additional work. In this case, it should have been my duty to get to use git properly. It’s so useful, even for an individual project, to have versions of our code.
- Create LinkedList / FIFO / LIFO
I learned about these types of lists while I was studying for my tests to get into ETS. I went to see my former teacher of Java so that I could get some explanation. I do not understand why these concepts have not been taught when I was in CEGEP. At university, it’s all we talk about!
- Some Design Patterns, Especially MVC
Now that I know MVC, I just tell myself … “but why my teachers did not show this to me while I was learning to code?” It seems to me that learning good object-oriented design patterns from the start would help students to have a better foundation for the future.
Technology advances very fast. GitHub was much less known and used in the days when I went to CEGEP. Also, being in computer sciences means we need to be able to learn some new technologies on our own. Teachers cannot teach us everything; they don’t have enough time!
What about you? Are there any concepts that you wish you could have learned before university?