Looking for advice!

Hi all,

I’m 22, looking into a computer programming diploma from a college near me in Canada. I am unable to attend in person – I need to keep working and I live 4 hours away from the college, but they offer the diploma program online. It’s self-taught, which is fine; I’ve been working through an accounting certificate through a different college online and have self-taught myself just fine so far. What I’m concerned about is the missed opportunity for a co-op program.

So my question is this:

If I begin to use this site to get ahead before I start the diploma program (likely next year), do you think that I could build a worth-while portfolio to aid me in getting a job in the future? I’m worried that I’ll finish the schooling program with little but a diploma to show for it, and a lot of jobs require something… more. I hope to use this site to build up some projects, and use my schooling to build up my resume a bit.

I’m sorry if this is a silly question or if it doesn’t make any sense. I’m a very anxious person and I’ve been having a bit of a crisis trying to find a fit for me. Coding and programming has always interested me and when I tried it a few years ago, I loved it. Any advice, big or small would be greatly appreciated.

If you got this far, thank you for reading!

Don’t apologize. It’s not a silly question. :slight_smile:

I would think that the CS diploma program would have students work on projects to contribute to their portfolios (but, I could be wrong). I will say this–before you give anyone a huge chunk of money, do your research on those programs. There are sites that rate schools and/or online programs. (Course Report being one of them. YouTube also has reviews of programs). The reviews are written by verified students. Or, just google reviews for those diploma programs.

As for CC or any tech program, it depends on how much work you put in to understanding the programming concepts. It also takes patience and repetition to solidify those concepts.
Learning to think computationally is a skill in itself.
It also depends on what area of programming you’re interested in, which you should probably narrow down–front end, back end, data science, etc. Think about what you want to make or build and contribute to the world (which sounds overwhelming, but it’s not. Stick to what really fascinates you) too which should help you figure out an area of focus.
You can google it or there’s a repository of articles on the CC site here that might be useful. Other seasoned people in the community might have some good advice and there are similar threads here in the forums that have lots of insights too.

Good luck!

Thank you so much for your advice!

I’m definitely doing a lot of research before I double down on a program. I’m just looking into my options and keeping an open mind for now.

I’m currently reaching for an ADHD diagnosis and treatment, as I believe I struggle with that. It can make schooling quite hard, but I’m dedicated to gaining the skills I need for a better future. I haven’t narrowed anything down yet in terms of what area I’d like to go in to, since I’m still just learning all of this. I’m starting out with an HTML intro course on this site and branching out from there. I’m hoping that taking some of the courses on this site with help open my eyes to what I want to focus on in the future.

Again, I appreciate you taking the time to respond. You’ve definitely helped to ease an anxious mind a little. I’ll be keeping your advice in mind as I move forward. Thank you!!

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No worries. It can all seem a bit overwhelming. But if one just breaks it down into smaller, more digestible pieces, that’s a little better.
Think about people in tech that you admire b/c they’re doing something positive and making positive contributions to the world too. People in start ups and the non-profit sector as well.

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Hey there!

Im a CS undergrad student in Scotland who has just finished their first year at their local University at the tender age of 33.
By all means do what you think is right. However maybe take some the facts about the misconceptions of CS course.

  1. It may be called Computer Science however its really a discrete mathematics course and thats the reason why it falls under the catergory of NCS (Natural and Computing Sciences). Pre-Calc should be a prerequisite before you start. You can learn calculus/combinatorics/set theory during your studies as electives. I havent had to use any calculus in my degree yet.

  2. There is programming however its not catered to someone who wants to be a programmer. The programming courses in the degree are designed to be fast paced to get the student up to speed to use the language as a tool to do your work.

  3. Data Structures and Algorithms are arguably the hardest topic you come across before your penultimate years in a course. I particularly find understanding the algortithm or Data Structure to be the easy part by seeing it how it works. However my main problem is knowing how to code it in required language. My university just casually dumped Data Structures in my OOP class and I felt like I wasnt ready for it. I have criticised my institute about this as I told them I just copied the DS/A from a book into my Python Assessment and the real part of my contribution was making menus, saving and loading using pickle serialisation and unit testing. However this could be because the tests are done at home during the COVID epidemic and people would of just copied and pasted the data structures as that was the original test material before then.

  4. A diploma/degree puts you at an advantage in comparion to a self taught dev/engineer. Your piece of paper will tell the company you apply for that you have learned the core concepts thats required to do the job. Ive heard some people skipping programming hiring exams because that paper contained an algorithm course.

  5. Dont take my advice. Do what you think is right. I personally enjoy this much to the disdain from my partner who would rather have me off the computer however this is what I want to do and some rigor is needed to get what you want.