Becoming A Software Engineer
If you are lucky enough to have started considering a career in software engineering while still in High School you will find that you have some unique advantages over people who go to a University and decide to wait before they declare a major. Most students, in their first two years, finish their core courses while taking courses in different majors or sub majors before deciding on a specific path. But if you begin studies, begin taking University level classes in software engineering while still in High School you will have two head starts. The first is that you will get a good grounding in the basics before you have to worry about your Grade Point Average (GPA). The second is that you will allow yourself, during your first two years, to focus your attention on your core courses without distracting yourself with possibly unfamiliar computer science issues.
Fortunately there are now ways to do this and save a great deal of much needed cash at the same time. The Internet has opened up an entirely new world for students and taking advantage of these new offerings is very easy indeed. There are two of the finest Universities in the world for instance that offer free online courses mirroring the courses they offer on Campus. Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Carnegie Melon each have variations of the same courses offered for degree programs. These courses are free but do not give actual credit. What they do however is give students a wonderful grounding in the subjects before they actually have to worry about trashing their GPA and they do it with no cost to the student.
Some of the courses offered by MIT´s Open Course Ware program offer software engineering courses such as the Foundations of Software Engineering, Software Engineering for Web Applications, and Performance Engineering for Software Systems. The availability of these free courses can give High School students who want a jump up on their major a huge advantage. To top it off, along with many courses in computer science in general and specifically in software engineering, there are also advanced courses in subjects like History, Science, Creative Writing and many more. The things we learn in High School about both American History and World History are necessarily limited to dates and the people involved. When many students enter the University environment and discover that classes concentrate more on the why things happened then the who, when and where, many students are overwhelmed. Taking advanced classes and doing the reading ahead of time offers a great advantage.
The above information is just the tip of the iceberg. There are many opportunities online to get a free jump on the University software engineering courses that you plan to take, leaving you a great deal more free time when you actually enter school. Software engineering is one of the most difficult majors available and having any advantage will not only help you maintain a top GPA but also help you get a lot more much needed sleep, something that any Computer Science student can appreciate.
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