A few weeks ago, I took the decision to do something useful and undertake some further studying. I graduated in 2007 with a B.Eng (hons) Electrical and Electronic Engineering and although I got a lot out of it and learned some very interesting stuff, it was a little light on the software side. Software engineering is something which I would like to explore and even with my current job, I see that it will become more and more a part of it with the passage of time as the hardware becomes more integrated.
We did an introduction to C# module on the degree, which seemed OK if you want to write apps for Microsoft Windows and we also did some PIC programming. In addition to that, I did a bit of assembler and an introduction to C at college a few years ago. The problem is that if you don’t use this stuff, you just forget it. I could probably easily revise and understand it if I needed to but I did only learn it to a basic level. Therefore I have decided to do some Open University modules, perhaps doing a second degree if I complete enough of them (subject to cost) but my priority is to learn. Taking the advice of a few colleagues and friends, the first module I am doing is M255 Object Oriented Programming with Java. I opted for OU as I need deadlines and structure in order for me to learn and I figured if I am funding it myself, then it will give me the motivation to do it. I am terrible at procrastinating and I just know that if I planned on teaching myself from books with no real learning programme, with the best intentions in the world I would probably end up not doing it.
The OU and Bradford University recommended taking a post-graduate course. Whilst the thought of getting a Masters appeals, there is a hell of a lot of work involved and the courses are very expensive by comparison, plus they are going up in price next year. The learning is more important to me at this time so steady away, one module at a time suits me, especially with the other commitments in my life.
I know this is going to take some discipline but I know I am capable. If I managed to do a full degree part time, then I am sure I can manage this. I will just not be able to go out as much as I do now. Mind you, the course fees and the payments on the new laptop I just bought will help with that. The course starts in October so at least I can enjoy the rest of the summer before I knuckle down.
You are never too old to learn or expand your skill set and I am very much looking forward to doing just that.