Hey everybody.I am going into the second year of a Computer Science degree that I am paying for out of pocket, so can only attend part-time. I have taken a Javascript class, basic web development (HTML, CSS, JS), and will take Visual Basic and a hardware class in the fall. I also have some real world web development and design experience.Chances are that I will have to take a hiatus from school for a couple of years after earning my associates. (I am attending a community college due to cost, but hope to be able to afford state 4-year college later in order to finish Bachelors.) I also hope to be able to get a minor in mathematics along the way. Oh, and I will be 47 when I get my associates, so I will be competing with 20-somethings for a job.

Finally, the point of this thread: I am trying to plan out what 2-3 courses to take in the the coming Spring semester and would appreciate some advice. I am leaning towards the C+ class and the ASP class.

The courses (and the schools description of them) that are available to me that semester are:

This course will provide you with an introduction to and hands-on experience with the Extensible Markup language (XMl), its components (DTDs, Schemas, XSlT, Xlink, CSS, DSO), and several common XMl applications (XHTMl, VMl, SMIl, MathMl, WMl, 3DMl). Through readings, lab
projects, tests, and a comprehensive portfolio of interrelated documents that incorporate XMl and all of its associated applications, the student will have the opportunity to gain a thorough grounding in this emerging technology.

This course emphasizes methods of problem-solving and programming in a business environment. Students will learn the importance of user driven systems and how it applies to industry and education. The student will use Micro Focus NET Express for Windows.

This course introduces students to the basic concepts of data communications, networking, and connectivity. Students will learn how to design, implement, and manage an Internetwork infrastructure.

Students will gain the skills necessary to create applications in the C++ environment. They will go beyond writing traditional C and C++ codes and explore its underlying structure and syntax in the Visual C++ environment. With a step-by-step methodology and real-world cases, students will master building C++ applications from the ground up.

Web-Database Integration is one of the core skills of eCommerce web development. This course explores one possible integration solution, Microsoft’s Active Server Pages (ASP) technology. ASP is becoming increasingly popular as a web-database integration tool for developers using MS Internet Information Server (IIS) and either MS Access or MS SQl Server database management systems. In this course, students will gain a sophisticated command of ASP as a web-database integration tool and will develop a small eCommerce product catalog using ASP.

This course will build on Object Oriented Programming concepts creating applets and stand alone Java applications. Both Java and JavaScript will be covered with emphasis on applications to website development.

How can you be thorn between ASP and C++? Two completely different languages with completely different application areas. What appears clearest to me is that you don't seem to have a good about what you want and what area you want to get into. Once you determine that, your choices will be a lot easier to make. You seem concerned about your expenses (of money and time), it will help releave your worries if actually are confident about the direction you are taking, confident that you like it and that you will do well in that area.

Here's my opinion on those courses:
Cobol: Forget it. It's an old legacy language that you'll only encounter if you have to maintain some ancient code running some factory or something.

XML: I took a course very similar to this one during my masters, for me, it was a waste of time. A lot of time just studying the way a particular file format is made, of course, XML is the most important file format of all, and is certainly complex with all extensions, but I'm not sure it is totally worth a "course" on it.

Networking: I also took a very similar course during my masters, and that one was pretty interesting. I think it is important to get a good knowledge of "how the internet works".

The other three, ASP, C++, and Java, are really all about what application area you prefer.

I didn't say I was torn between C++ and ASP. I said I was considering taking both, at the same time. I don't have a preference between the two because I am unfamiliar with either. My intention is to acquire a solid programming foundation from which to build upon, and that is what I am asking for guidance on. I am not at all concerned about whether I will enjoy it or how well I will do in it - I am quite confident in these areas. I am not sure how you got the opposite idea...

Anyway, thank you for your advice regarding course selection. The networking class does look interesting.

ll concerned abo

@Helianthus - In my opinion, learning C++/C will open you up to learning other languages, it will give you that foundation or stepping stone and other languages syntax will become more familiar. Obviously, if you want such jobs as a C++ programming, then, you have to be really good at what you do and understand the concepts. REMEMBER, it's not about what language you can code in, it's about learning the logic. YOU SHOULD be able to take a particular problem, find out the best solution and in the best language and then go from there.

Hope this helps

REMEMBER, it's not about what language you can code in, it's about learning the logic. YOU SHOULD be able to take a particular problem, find out the best solution and in the best language and then go from there.

Thanks phorce, you seem to have understood the direction I am coming from. I too see languages as tools that can be applied to solve problems. I just want to make sure that I have the right core tools in my toolbox.

Stick to the C++ aspect of the course, it'll come in handly later on. Take a web course (ASP/PHP) as these two languages are really useful as well, especially in todays market where things are moving towards web programming. I learnt PHP then C++ then I moved into Java and by learning PHP I was able to pick up on C++ and by learning C++ I was able to pick up on Java..

P.S. By learning ASP (especailly ASP.NET) it may open you up to learning languages such as C# which can the easily be adapted and work with each other.

phorce: very helpful, thank you! What do you think of my idea, based upon your ASP/PHP to C+ to Java progression, to take C+ and ASP at the same time? I also have the option of taking Java as my third course for the semester. I don't know yet if PHP (PHP and ASP are offered as separate courses) will be offered in the spring, but that would be my other third course option.


Me personally, I would do this:

Take the ASP course to get to grips with some web programming and get to grisps with the language.

Either take the C++ or Java course. I would personally take the C++ over Java but then again I enjoy coding C++. If you can take Java in the spring, brilliant! Go ahead and do it.

Taking this path, to me will give you an insight in to what you want to do in your future. But, remember, you don't have to decide what you want to do now, it's all about learning experiences. I wanted to be a lawyer during school, I'm now programming? Someone I know did their degree in medicine and now runs a design company. Don't assume you "want to know everything there is about programming" because the chances are, even if you spent from now until you were 50 - you would not have grasped the full concepts as this is an ever changing enviroment.

now until you were 50

Kinda funny, really not that far off from now for me. Thanks again. I will take your advice.

Good luck in whatever you decide! If you require further assistance, feel free to post!