My first week as a Computer Science student at UoPeople

Tamal Anwar Chowdhury
Software Engineer’s Journey
4 min readApr 16, 2019


This week I attended my first class at University Of The People. I started from term 4, on April 11th 2019. I enrolled as a computer science major in the four year undergraduate degree program.

UoPeople student portal login

Prior to this week, I finished 3 weeks orientation class at UoPeople. It helped me guide and prepare for my online college studies. Before starting the first week, I was very nervous. Having taken the orientation course, I learnt I have to put 15–18 hours each week to study for the course.

I was worried about my time commitments. As a master procrastinator, I thought I may not be able to put the time into my class requirements.

As a non native English speaker I got enrolled into the English Composition 1 (ENGL 0101) course. Before starting the English course, I thought I know enough English and this is just a waste of my time. But right after taking the first lesson, I was hooked. I realized my current level of English needs work, and it can be improved.

I made a budget of 15 hours for the classwork this week. However, I was done within 4 hours this week. This is probably because it’s just the first week and this course is not that intensive.

Why I enrolled into Computer Science?

One and a half year ago I decided to become a full-stack web developer. I self studied and learned Node and React with the help of various online courses. After learning a lot I thought of going deeper into JavaScript.

As I went deep into JavaScript, I saw I’m entering the borders of more computer science level concepts. So I thought, “Okay, why don’t I learn all of it?.” For those who don’t know, having CS knowledge can make a huge difference when working with programming languages.

I came across an open source Computer Science program. After reviewing it I noticed it would take me 3–4 years to finish. I was chatting with a friend and expressed my idea about the CS education. He recommended me about University Of The People. So I thought to myself, “If I am going to spend 4 years in study, why not keep it organized and get a degree along side?”

By following a curriculum I will be focused in my studies. Academic education has the concept of tests and grades. This will keep me on my toes all the time.

Back to school

So earlier I mentioned I finished my first-week studies within 4 hours. I tried to spend my remaining hours studying for the next weeks. I finished my reading assignments for week 2 and 3 ahead of time. There are 8 weeks of study material per subject.

I read two short stories: The Happy Prince by Oscar Wilde (1888) and In Cuba I was a German Shepherd by Ana Menendez (2001). Both of the stories were wonderful and I am glad I am getting to focus on reading. In total I spent 11 hours studying for my college this week.

I met many new people in my class and already made a few friends.

Client work rocked this week!

So I also managed to squeeze in 2 client projects this week. One project I had for a custom Node web application, which is ongoing. Another one was a small WordPress project I did. The WordPress client is happy with her finished site.


This week I continued my WebRTC learning but had to put it off because of my studies. Later this week I watched a Lynda course on Functional Programming. I had this course downloaded on my computer for more than a year but finally, I got past the boring parts.

Anyways, I have to quickly finish this entry. I’m going to publish this one without further proofing, so please excuse me for that. I will get back and maybe fix the typos later on.

Hope to write again next week.

Oh, about this mini-series: I want to document my journey while I am on the way to becoming a software engineer. Let’s see how it goes.

Update Oct 2019: I passed this course with 4.00. I took the next course which I also passed with 4.00 GPA and now I am doing my 3rd term at UoPeople.

Update Mar 2021: I got 21 credits, just shy of 9 credits to finish the freshman year. During the COVID-19 pandemic in May 2020, I got stressed out and took three terms off (about 6 months) I am back again and will be taking the course head on! Let’s do this!!



Tamal Anwar Chowdhury
Software Engineer’s Journey

Software Engineer working with React, JavaScript. Looking for my next role in tech.