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CA361 – Individual Report: “Advice to a Leaving Cert student who is considering doing Computer

Anas Alagtal:

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The topic I
chose to write my report on was “Advice
to a Leaving Cert student who is considering doing Computer Applications”.
I chose it because I felt that it would have been very useful if it was given
to me before I completed the CAO.

The first
advice that should be given to students is that they should only choose the
course if they feel they truly love what they will be doing. Even though that
may deter a student from choosing the course it may be beneficial as from
experience, computer applications is not a course that can give you an easy

piece of advice is to invest in laptop, even a cheap one, and start early. Even
though the course requires no previous knowledge in computing, it moves really
fast and having a head start would make life as a student of the course a whole
lot easier.

assessment (CA) is a new concept in college in comparison to secondary school
where the leaving cert is depicted by the end of year exams. College modules
give regular graded assignments, projects etc. to students that count towards
the final grade. So getting them done, done well and on time is vital. Missing
out on CA could mean failing the entire module while doing well in CA makes
getting a 1.1 (First class honours) degree very manageable.

As good as
Computer applications is, it will not teach you everything. IT is so broad that
it cannot be covered in 7 semesters. There are many skills that a student may
need for a job that the course didn’t teach. For example if an internship was
in c and the student only studied java and python, the student would be
required to self-learn the new language to be able to start the new job. That
shouldn’t be difficult as a lot of skills learnt from one programming language
can be transferrable.

A very
important piece of advice is time management. Procrastination doesn’t work!
Neither does cramming. The course requires a lot of energy problem solving and
time. There are parts of it where time is a luxury. In those occasions where a
lot of projects and assignments have due dates close to each other, managing
time will be crucial. This is what separates the best of students with the

Group work
is something students should not be afraid of doing. Where modules/
assignments/ projects allow a student to work in a project then the student
should always pursue it. It helps greatly in allowing the student to be a team
player and in preparing for the real world where most projects are done in
groups. Student can learn new skills and ideas by getting help from other
students and reinforcing what they already know by teaching other students.

A final
piece of advice that should be given to students is that they should not be
afraid to do extra summer projects and enter competitions even if they are not
at competition level. They will gain a lot of confidence and experience that
will carry on into the following year of study.

A piece of
advice to finish up on is no matter how good a student may be, they should
always maintain their knowledge by regular practice and keeping up with the
trends in the computing world to allow the student to stay relevant so that the
find jobs easily once they graduate.