software reviews: semester one

Who would’ve thought we’d be starting and ending this year with online learning. To be honest, I don’t know how I would have survived the last week before mid-semester break without the much needed extension for assignments. They don’t call it “hell week” for no reason :’))

With all my assignments and tests done for the first half of the semester, I thought this would be the perfect time to reflect on last semester. (Oh how that seemed like forever ago). In semester one, I did the usual 4 papers – some of which were shared with the electrical and computer systems students. Since a lot of the courses were revamped this year, I figured I’d share my own experiences with them. 😀


SOFTENG 281 – object oriented programming

This course introduced me to Java, which I found wasn’t too different from C so it wasn’t difficult to pick up. I’d say that this is the evolution of ENGSCI 131, and since I liked that course, I ended up liking this one too. As someone who had no experience with programming before coming into university, there were definitely some unfamiliar and complex concepts. However, the teaching team is wonderful; the lecturers were really engaging and explained these ideas in a way that even I could understand. It changed how I approached programming. The assignments were – dare I say – fun when you started them way before the due date. The tests, I found, were harder if you didn’t fully comprehend the concepts taught in lectures. Overall, this course had everything I loved about software – and best of all, there was no exam.


SOFTENG 282 – software engineering theory

one of the slides found at the very first lecture of SOFTENG 282 – and yes, Art Williams is right.

The most challenging course I faced in semester one. As someone who has never encountered discrete mathematics, this was hard. I can barely remember what happened within the course aside from all the struggle that I endured before every assignment, test and exam. My friends and Google paved the way to my “success” – I definitely  wouldn’t have passed if I didn’t pester them with questions about almost everything. The lecturers really encouraged us to think both deeply and outside the box. While it was difficult, I wouldn’t say it was a bad course at all. Looking back at it, I probably would have fared better if I just started my assignments a little earlier and took the time to understand the concepts that I didn’t.



COMPSYS 201 – fundamentals of computer engineering

Last year, on a rainy day, I took the ELECTENG 101 exam. It was a somewhat traumatic experience, but I was relieved when I thought I wouldn’t have anything to do with electricity when I got my software offer. Boy, did I think again. COMPSYS 201 is the harder cousin of ELECTENG 101 – we even got Bill as one of lecturers! Again,  I definitely think putting more effort into understanding concepts would have helped me in the long run, but I didn’t – and so I struggled. That being said, notice how it isn’t the most challenging course of that semester in my opinion. It provided a nice break from all the software stuff and allowed us to learn more about some hardware. Bill brought many of his creations to the lectures and it was really cool seeing them work and how happy it made him. I think the best part about this course was the comeback of Gecko; it really helped me consolidate my understanding of the many new things I had to learn in this course.


ENGSCI 211 – mathematical modelling 2

This course made me feel like a first year – at least it did at the beginning. I was able to watch Colin show us his cool frisbee tricks with my engineering friends who study other specialisations. I actually really like this course! It’s a continuation of ENGSCI 111, and so I got to do some more typical math things like differentiation and integration – which I didn’t realise I was really missing. While there were some statistics involved, it definitely wasn’t bad – Kevin, our lecturer for that part, gave us chocolates for simply trying to answer questions :’)) AND KAHOOT.


The first semester of Part II software went by very quickly, whether that be because of the lockdown at the beginning of the year, or because I began taking a more online approach halfway through the semester. Regardless, I definitely learned a lot and met quite a few cool people 🙂 I’m not gonna lie, I did find it pretty hard at first – especially when you’re surrounded by all these really talented people who know a lot more than I do. However, I’ve slowly and surely learned to not be intimidated by them. Instead, I’ve just been trying to learn from their experiences and seek their advice when I can. There are a lot of people who are willing to help you succeed – you just have to go out and seek them for yourself!

Hoping the rest of Level 4 treats all of you well <3 Stay safe and see you next time :>

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