Question Regarding NWU BSc IT Degree

Kazuto

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Mar 6, 2016
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9
#1
Hello!,

I have enrolled at North West University for BSc IT degree ( at the Vaal triangle campus ) .

I am in my first year now ( obviously ) - Since classes commenced not long ago, I had no idea what to expect, but to my utter disappointment, each and every module in the first year BSc degree is completely elementary.

With special note on the actual IT module, which is an introduction to... Excel? :confused:

Statistics - easy, Mathematics - easy, Business Management - easy, Accounting - easy.

Now I know full well that I cant expect to be doing high level "hard" work in the first year, but a thought crossed my mind, what if the level of difficulty didn't increase much year-to-year?

What my actual question is, though, is whether anyone here could give me some insight into what to expect from the second and third year ? Is it even worth it to complete the BSc ( and subsequently, the Masters ) degree at the university?

- In High school my IT teacher exposed me to work done at UNISA, which completely intrigued me. Ultimately I never got registered there ( horribly poor communication ) - So I accepted NWU, expecting more or less the same.

Bear in mind that my interest lies completely in Computer Science. This is what I was planning on studying at UNISA, but after speaking to the lecturers at NWU, they recommended that I do BSc IT instead of the BSc Computer Science as it was more "oriented" towards programming and Software development.

Sorry for the essay, I hope someone can give me some insight however, since I really don't want to sit through this mind numbingly easy modules for an entire year only to experience more of the same in the second and third year.

- PS. I did try to talk to the lecturers about this matter, and they said it will be "MUCH" more difficult. I wanted a second opinion since I think they might be subjective on their opinion to keep me enrolled. ( I have little faith in them from what I have experienced thus far )
 

vic777

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May 6, 2015
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#2
I did the BSc Computing degree through UNISA, which is what they call the computer science stream now. It contains some informatics modules as well.

I can't comment about the NWU curriculum, but I can tell you the UNISA curriculum is more challenging than some of the others I've seen in SA. Lots of theory, maths (linear algebra - you can also take calculus as elective), statistics, formal logic and discrete maths until third year. I did electives in formal logic, artificial intelligence and computer graphics - I found all of them fascinating.

UNISA also offers a BSc Informatics (probably closer to your BSc IT at NWU), but the BSc Computing has more programming in comparison (C++ for three years, Python and Assembly. You can choose between Javascript (WebGL) or C (OpenGL) in graphics.

It sounds like you should have chosen the computer science stream at NWU - in my opinion, the computer science streams are more challenging than IT / informatics.

UNISA stuggles with admin issues and yes, the communication is bad, but I can't knock the standards of the modules I did.
 
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Kazuto

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Mar 6, 2016
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#3
Thanks for the reply, Its great to see the situation from someone else's perspective.

If you have any idea perhaps, what is my chances of changing to UNISA in year 2 ? How would they handle the credits for the work I am doing now? ( I highly doubt I can simply change and apply to UNISA right now ) it is probably not a question I should be asking you however, since you aren't familiar with the NWU course modules.

Regardless, Thanks! :)

- PS. I am mostly worried about the level of math we are currently doing, comparing that to what I have seen UNISA Students doing, I feel like its really not even in the same league. ( no formal logic etc. )
 

vic777

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May 6, 2015
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#4
UNISA will give you credits for modules done at NWU if they match the UNISA curriculum. I don't know how close the modules are, but first year modules should be a reasonable good fit. Wait for the second semester, then go chat to the UNISA people (go in person, I've never been able to sort something out over the phone) and see if they will give you any credits.

Your other option is switch to the NWU computer science stream, from what you are saying it looks like you will enjoy it more.

You can pick up the maths on your own if you feel its lacking. Linear algebra has a very direct application in computer science, so its a good option, then look at boolean algebra, graph theory, set theory, logic, etc. There are excellent free lectures on Youtube, so you don't need to spend money.

I did another degree at the university of Pretoria - and one thing I can warn you about is distance learning, like UNISA, is a different kettle of fish than going to class. You need much more self discipline and you can't always ask questions right after encountering a problem. It works for some people, others struggle with it.
 

Kerrits

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Jan 27, 2014
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#5
It's been a while since I graduated, so my knowledge will probably be out of date.
The BSc IT degree was introduced while I was busy studying, and the impression I got was that it was an easier option for people who didn't want to do the harder science and math stuff, but still wanted to do programming.
Back in the day it was WSK111 (hard) vs WSK112 (easy) vs WSA xxx (very easy)

I also remember that around about this time in my first year I was optimistic about doing well in maths. That optimism did not last much longer.

Are you in res? Chat to the guys doing the BSc computer science degree and find out what kind of maths they are doing?
 
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Zen17h

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Jan 10, 2011
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#6
I did B.Sc in IT at NWU several years ago (Initial 3 year course + honors afterwards @ Potch) and yes, later courses are a step up in difficulty (though still manageable) - things only really start getting interesting in the second semester of the first year when you start doing ACTUAL programming and truly relevant subjects. Ironically the ease of the first semester subjects caused me a lot of problems as I never felt like needing to go to class, causing my average participation and surprise test marks to be too low - causing me to have to repeat some subjects(Plus the few few B.Com subjects they threw into the course, which is still completely out of my mindset).

I was also only interested in the software side, but having several engineering students in our classes as well as working with several engineers afterwards, I really wish I got just a bit more learning from that side as well(at least the basics of electronics - soldering, putting together a controller, etc). Programming a computer can only do so much if you can't get it to talk to other devices. Just check for any basic electronic courses (from uni or any nearby colleges) as well while you are there and have some free time

EDIT: For comparison on the dropout rate which *may* be an indication of increased difficulty - First year we had ~300 people starting the course, end of third year there were about 40. Honors we were around 20 with some people who came in from other courses
 
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Kazuto

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Mar 6, 2016
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#7
Thanks for the additional info, I am not currently in res, no, What really gets to me is the fact that I asked the student advisors about doing Computer Science - they urged me to do IT instead ( I want to be very involved in machine learning -> a module the computer science course lacked in third year ) - I just honestly don't see the maths in this degree as a whole to "get to" the level of expertise needed to fully grasp and understand the concepts and algorithms behind modern machine learning techniques.

Going on Kerrits indication of modules they had back in the day, I would currently be enrolled for the WSK112 ( now called WISN113 ) - I don't want to sound "above" anyone here, but it really is NO challenge at all.

@Kerrits - The available Computer Science courses they offered at the Vaal triangle campus was something in these lines : Comp. Sci and Economics and Comp. Sci and Statistics.

As they explained to me, there was a greater focus on the "and" part of the name and less so on the Comp. Sci part, which is how they ultimately convinced me into IT instead. - It is also worth noting that at the Potchefstroom campus they offer Computer Sci. and Mathematics ( this sounded very good to me at the time )

My mathematics background is questionable at best ( never "got" it - finished matric with Maths Literacy 82% ) - until the right person taught me everything from scratch ( at that point I found the once "hard" stuff in pure-maths to be dirt easy )

But that's a really longwinded story, I guess anything more than what you guys already supplied me with, I should be getting from the lecturers and students in second year ( which I will be pestering nonstop for the next week until I get the information I want )

If you guys remember anything of note please do post it on here though, I feel as if I ( may ) have made some bad choices regarding which degree to study.

Thanks again !
 

nitesh

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Jun 1, 2007
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#8
Sorry to bring up an old post - but how did it go with NWU ? Am busy completing for the BSC IT and curious to know your thoughts since you posted this
 

Kazuto

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Mar 6, 2016
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#9
Unfortunately the experience was abysmal, I transferred to another institute a while after my second year started.

The lecturers, save for the mathematics lecturer ( she is truly amazing ) , were really bad at their job.

I'd advise you to not just take my word for it though, as your experience might not be the same, but for me atleast, it was a glorious waste of time and money revising work and concepts done in high school, sometimes to mind numbing degrees.

If you're serious about software development, I'm afraid you probably won't find a challenging curriculum at NWU.
 

nitesh

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Jun 1, 2007
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193
#10
Thanks for replying - much appreciated !

I started at Unisa a few years back and didnt like the material, and just came across this NWU BSC a few weeks back. Being distanced based, caught my attention but had some reservations, esp when I saw this thread

IF you dont mind me asking, were you distanced based or full time ? and where did you move to ?
 

JB Seige

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Nov 5, 2018
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#11
Guys don't be confused,, trust me NWU is the best. The thing is if u are not well informed about the coarse you'll be very confused in your first year.
People expect to be doing wonderful things in their first year without having prior background in programming and IT as a whole-thats magic.

In first semester at NWU will challenging to those who come from disadvantaged schools with not background in computing and easy to those who have background in programming or computing.

I was also like most of you in my first semester, I found it not challenging but ironically my marks was not that much amazing.. Just like anyone who said it was easy they also didn't get distinctions in every module.. I think if easy u must get 100% in every module.. Is it that so?

Come second semester and second year ..are still saying it easy?..I don't think so..it is getting real! Everyone was singing I QUIT. And indeed I saw many people leaving IT for other courses in BA humanities. C# programming , game projects in Java and web development..systems analysis and design, descrete mathematics..is not a joke ! Not to mention Data structures and algorithms.. In Java! Aybo..nothing made sense to me...people attacked lectures complaining about the level of difficulty in data structures and algorithms as well as systems analysis and design!.

There are lot of difficult modules in IT than computer science trust me.Artificial intelligence, expert systems, operating systems, databases, data science , information security etc ..all in NWU.

If you want a career in software or systems analysis and development.. I would recommend BSC IT.
A career in research and maths ..I would recommend Bsc Computer science.

I'm just saying this ..I did a research, comparing books, delivery systems, quality of professors , modules they offer...it is the same as the best universities in the country.
LAST THING YOU MUST KNOW ALL UNIVERSITIES GIVES THE BASICS OR FIRST STEP IN YOUR CAREER IT IS UP TO YOU TO TAKE IT FORWARD. THEY CAN NOT TEACH YOU EVERYTHING BECAUSE TIME IS VERY LIMITED, LOT OF MODULES TO BE DONE!

THANK YOU
 

Nzali

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Joined
Apr 20, 2019
Messages
1
#12
Hi ppl
Please help I have IT diploma CPUT, next year I want to go bk to varsity I dnt know if it’s best if I do btech IT or get credited for Bsc IT degree. With honors Bsc IT from NWU d u know the subject offered and is there distance learning
 
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