Well, despite my misgivings on the course from the terribly written TM254, I’ve finally decided to press forward on Q62 Computing & IT from the Open University. I’ve enrolled about two months later than I normally would, because I was strongly considering switching over to a joint-honours maths degree. I think I’d have to brake too hard to make that turn right now without some serious consequences, so instead I’ll just make some small course corrections.
The first consequence of my decision is that next year is going to be a bit of a crunch. I’m going to tough it out with three modules, to catch up with where I’d have been without dropping TM254. The second (and strongly related) consequence is that I’m enrolling in easier modules related to my current job.
The first module I’ve enrolled for is not going to be easy, but should be fun: M269: Algorithms, data structures, and computability. This is real meat-and-potatoes computer science stuff: Data structures like binary sort trees, search and sort algorithms like bubble sorts, and algorithm efficiency analysis like big O notation. In my pre-university preparation, this is the stuff that’s really lit my mind, kind of like a digital landscape for mathematics. It’s the module in the Computing & IT course that I most wanted to take.
The next is TM257 Cisco networking (CCNA) part 1. The second part of this is a stage 3 module. I’d been contemplating doing the CCNA in my spare time over a summer, but now that I’m crunching three modules into one year, I’m going to take it as an official module now. Many people may find this one rough, and I may be silly for thinking it’ll be different for me, but it’s what I do professionally, and I’ve got a Cisco router in my loft for labbing with. (It should be two, but I’m sure I can use a Netgear to connect to in most instances.)
The best part for my time is that the last two modules have end-of-module assignments, rather than exams. The last two years, I’ve had all of my assignments in from March or earlier to focus on exams. I hope that means that I’ll have enough bandwidth to work on the assignments next year.
There’s a very good chance I’ll regret this, but even if I have to defer, it’s not like it’ll set me back anything but time. With the ridiculous interest students are charged on their loans in the UK these days, it’s not like I’ll ever pay it off either way.