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Computer Applications :)

  • 24-07-2016 3:55pm
    Registered Users Posts: 9 ✭✭✭ 1steph

    Hi I'm starting leaving cert year this September and so I'm doing some research on the computer applications course (and other computer sci courses) as I think it's what I'd like to do post-lc. Just have a few questions,

    1. I have read tons of threads about CA being one of the best computer sci courses (if not the best) so I'm wondering why the points are consistently lower than other courses, i.e. 400 compared to Trinity's 490? Is it that there are more places available?

    2. I need to buy a new laptop anyway so would a macbook be the way to go or else a windows laptop such as a lenovo thinkpad? Is there any major drawbacks in the course if working off a macbook?

    3. To get a good job out of college is continuous independent programming necessary aside from the course itself?

    4. What language is best to begin learning before entering the course?

    Sorry this post is so long but best to get all the answers then a handful! I'd seriously appreciate any replies at all from someone in this or a similar course! :)


  • Registered Users Posts: 66 ✭✭✭ Jamezzyboyoo

    Well in regards to Trinity, I can't say why their points are that high, but the reason DCU's are at 400 is because we are able to take 100+ students in each year, so that was the cut off for the last student who got in. For the academic 2016/2017 year we have 120 places for 1st years.

    If I were you I'd buy a windows machine, having an OSX is just a pain in the backside, but if you can put a dual boot or a VM on your mac that'd do (as long as you have sufficient RAM). Most of our programming is done on windows with some being done on UNIX (but not OSX). The major drawback to having a mac is you'll have to do everything on different UI's and you won't be using these UI's during your lab exams, so you will have to know how to use the UI's on the windows machines as well as your own.

    Continuous programming, kind of. But continuous study yes. It very much depends on whether or not you want to become a software developer or a network engineer or whatever. Computer Applications is a intense degree, but then again most CS degrees are, so continuous study is needed to get good grades.

    At the moment first years are doing Python when they come in, but it is assumed you have no prior experience when you come in, in first year, and there are plenty of lab tutors on hand to help you out during your labs in programming, and the lecturers are more than happy to help also.

  • Registered Users Posts: 373 ✭✭ rosmoke

    I would actually consider a Macbook as an advantage but this just my personal opinion.
    Also have to disagree with Jamezzyboyoo that most of the programming is done on windows, most of the programming is done on Linux.

    Let's see what programming languages I studied:
    - Python, (it runs better on osx than windows), it's even preinstalled.
    - MySql, we actually had a choice (either do it on a website) or though MySql Workbench, runs on osx.
    - Prolog, comes preinstalled on osx, runs better on osx or Linux than on Windows.
    - Assembly, Windows. (but since I can dual boot, all good).
    - Java, I used osx, comes preinstalled I think.

    Most of the colleagues who were having Windows machines, had to dual boot and needed Linux for getting used with the terminal, OSX has a very powerful terminal, similar to Linux.

    Another important factor is battery life and weight, with a battery life of over 6-7 hours reading and 2kg weight you can't go wrong.
    It's all about what you want and afford, you'll be grand with either one in the end.

    You can check this link to see what others prefer:

    I know my reply might be too late but could be useful for others.

  • Registered Users Posts: 67 ✭✭ Dave0JV

    As a point by point:

    1. This is, as Jamezzyboyoo said, due to the amount of spaces in the course. When I started first year in 2011 there were 60ish spots, and that number has only increased since.

    2. I actually just used the lab computers for the first 2 and a half years with no difficulty, but since you're buying one anyway my recommendation would be to go with a windows machine. You get much more power for the same amount of money as a Mac, and the experience in setting up various development tools will be handy to have, since most companies I know of give you a windows machine when you join. In addition realistically you're never going to be too far from a socket in DCU, so battery life shouldn't be too huge an issue.

    3. Definitely is nice and helps, but not necessary

    4. It was very Java heavy in my first two years, Python also definitely a big plus.