What to Expect
There's a lot of work involved in a software engineering program, but not
all of it's done in a classroom. Many programs include hands-on work with
digital systems and microprocessors.
But there are ways to deal with the workload. "To make it through, it's
mostly a matter of keeping on top of the assignments," says former student
Andrew Cook. "If you do the work, you'll make it."
Jason Odorizzi, who studied at the University of Wisconsin at Platteville,
took between 20 and 25 hours of classes each week and studied from 20 to 40
hours each week.
"The program requires patience and intense problem-solving abilities,"
he says. "I enjoyed an embedded systems class. It was interesting to build
fairly complicated programs on relatively simplistic chips."
Cook found courses in computer architecture to be extremely
interesting. "However, I think the best part of the program has to be the co-op
work experience," he says. "I have learned a great deal during my work
terms that I could never in a classroom."
How to Prepare
Develop a strong background in math and physics. Any courses involving
computing and programming, as well as problem-solving skills, would be helpful.
Odorizzi recommends participating in sports or other activities
outside of the computer world as well. "It makes life a lot of easier when
you can take a break from computers and just get some exercise," he says.
"More [often] than not, it clears your mind in helping to solve a problem."