Finishing School Or Going Bust

Next semester at San Jose City College will be the breaking point for finishing my associate degree in computer programming on a part-time basis while working full-time for the last five years. I need two advance classes to graduate. If the two required classes don’t get cancelled for low enrollment next year, I can graduate. If the required class I need to take next semester gets cancelled, I just might give it up entirely.

This past semester was hard since I felt like I was spinning my wheels after I lost interest in the two classes that I took but didn’t need to graduate, and I pretty much took all the available optional courses that I can take.

I waited three years for the C++ class that was held up due to a lack of funding to renew the site license for Microsoft Visual Studio. Unfortunately, according to the head of the computer department, teaching C++ on Linux doesn’t represent “real world experience” as every professional programmer must know Visual Studio. Never mind that the textbook also has side-by-side Linux examples.

Meanwhile, my entire classroom programming experience was in Java. Unlike Microsoft Visual Studio, the school doesn’t need to buy a site wide license to teach Java. Although you can get a job with Java, knowing only one programming language can limit your future opportunities. I really wanted to learn assembly language and C++ before I graduate.

For the spring semester, I’m taking an unusual combination: Data Structures and Ceramics I. The first class is a graduation requirement. The second class is one that I wanted to take during my first tour through college in the early 1990’s. If that schedule works out, the fall semester will be similar with GUI Programming and Ceramics 2. Assuming, of course, nothing gets cancelled.