Written by Marilyn
BSc (Hons) Computing
Computing is something I have been interested in since my early 20s. At the time, being married with a couple of small kids, it wasn’t something I ever thought I would be able to do.
Fast forward more than 20 years, and here I am, at Bournemouth University studying Computing. With a lot of encouragement from my youngest daughter, I applied via Clearing, got accepted, quit my job of more than 10 years and, a few short weeks later, I’m getting used to my entirely different life.
I chose Computing because there’s no requirement to have any indepth knowledge of the subject before you start – the course starts right from the beginning. Although I’ve been messing about with computers for a long time and learnt to do things just for fun, I didn’t have any formal training (computing wasn’t really a thing when I was at school), so this is perfect for me. The first year of all the computer courses are common, so if you want to swap to something more specialised at the end of the first year, you can.
As a middle-aged mum, I was worried that I wouldn’t fit in, but I didn’t need to worry at all. I’m amazed at how easy it has been to settle in to life as a student. I have already made friends and I don’t feel like the “odd one out” at all.
Given the subject, I imagined that I’d need a powerful computer to do work at home. As it is, a basic mid-range Windows laptop is more than enough to run the software we use. All the software (so far) has been free. Alternatively, there are plenty of computers on campus that can be used at any time, which have all the software available.
In the first semester, we are covering Computer Fundamentals, Data and Databases, and Principles of Programming. We are learning to program in Java and HTML, learning SQL and how to build relational databases, about computer security and the nuts and bolts of how computers work. The placement year has been talked about already and it sounds exciting. We had a presentation with students who are on their final year and their placements sounded fantastic with big companies like IBM being in the mix.
Each of the three subjects has at least one lecture each week, along with a lab session. Lectures and labs are usually two hours long. There is a computer room which is available for students to use at any time. During the day, there will be someone there who will be able to give you help if you’re stuck on something. There are other students who have had previous experience who have been really helpful too.
It’s a reasonably steep learning curve if you haven’t done it before, but it’s absolutely do-able with a bit of hard work and taking the support that’s available. You can’t just turn up and expect to learn everything in the lectures – you need to go away and build on everything you’ve been taught.
Overall, I am really enjoying University life and fully embracing my inner nerd!