One Semester of Computer Systems

Semester one has officially come to an end and our exams are finally all over, I can tell you one thing and that is that it has been a hectic semester keeping up with all the assignments and tests as they were being thrown over at us one after the other. As all that is over and done with and for the next few weeks there is literally nothing left to do apart from watching TV and doing….nothing, so I am now left with all the time in the world to tell you about the courses from my perspective.

COMPSYS 201 (Fundamentals of Computer Engineering)

COMPSYS 201 is kind of based off of ELECTENG 101 as it teaches us about digital systems and logic circuits, building up on that, it also consists of basic modern microprocessors. We learn programming languages such as C and VHDL which are used for designing digital systems using microprocessors. VHDL is in the first part of the course and C in the second. The paper was like a breeze at the start, easy going and fun. There is only one test which was pretty straight forward and easy, as I got a pretty good grade in that test. But thats only the first half, the second half of the semester gets challenging but also fairly interesting.

ELECTENG 210 (Electronics 1)

This is one paper which you would not want to get behind on, it is considered the hardest of all the others we do this semester. We learn about diodes, BJT’s and Op-Amps in most of the course’s duration but there are a few lectures on chemistry as well. At first it seems easy and understandable but sooner or later you realise that its not that simple. Believe me when I say this, for this paper you would want to be on top of everything for the whole semester.

ELECTENG 202 (Circuit and Systems)

A simpler electrical paper which is basically an introduction to electrical engineering and computer systems engineering. It covers DC and AC circuits ways to analyse them. Most of the course is just analysing circuits with different components such as capacitors and inductors and different states such as steady and transient. This part of the paper is straight forward and easy to understand. Later on in the second half of the semester we learn about La Place transform and some AC calculations near the end. Overall, 202 is relatively easier than 210 and also easier to get a good mark in.

ENGSCI 211 (Mathematical Modelling 2)

This paper here is what you may call the math paper. Most specialisations do this paper but there are some which do their own version of it. We are basically taught first and second order differential equations, Laplace transforms, differentiation and integration, vectors and chain rule and some more complicated stuff. I have done CIE in high school, and I found some similarity as there were things I had been taught before but most of the things were new. I found this part of the course fairly easy to understand some things were harder than others but it all came around eventually. There is also a statistics part which is nothing like we do in school. Stats was a little challenging but overall it wasn’t too bad.

Did I make the right choice?

Now as that all that is over and I have seen what semester one of computer systems is like, did I make the right choice by choosing computer systems as my specialisation? I’d say I did. If you have read the first post then you would be aware that I initially wanted to do software but in first year I realised that I also liked electrical and that there was growth in the electrical field. I basically got to do a bit of both and totally enjoyed the semester. There were times when I was like “what have I gotten myself into???” but with some patience and time off to relax it all turned out to be fine. I wouldn’t say its easy but as long as you manage your time well to make sure you have enough time for everything, it makes life easier.

How to handle the pressure?

There may be times throughout the semester when you feel like you just can’t do it anymore and feel like giving up, I know how that feels and I faced a few of those myself but you just gotta hang in there and everything turns out fine. Manage your time so you have enough time to stay on top of everything throughout the semester, doing this will make life easier during exams.

But what’s also important is that you make time to do some extra co-curricular activity, play some sport or join a club at uni. When it comes to de-stressing, extra activities help a lot as they keep your mind fresh and active.

This concludes everything I have to say about semester one of computer systems, more to come next semester, till then make the most out of this break.

-Kunal

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