Be Your Own Superhero: Mike Jasper

“Many people have the skills to perform the job, but a degree is the next step to being promoted to management.”

If you read our last post about Mike, you probably know all about his crazy computer skills and his future career goals. But did you know that he’s also married AND expecting a new baby? AND working full-time AND going to school full-time? Impressive, right?

Check out his video below:

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10 Questions with a Computer Science Major: Mike Jasper

Meet Mike Jasper, a senior in the Computer Science department with one year left until graduation. He’s also a student worker here in the marketing department of Continuing Education, and an all-around computer wiz-kid. Mike is responsible for managing external websites and programming internal applications. I recently asked Mike some questions about his experience as a Computer Science student here at Weber State University.

  1. Why are you majoring in Computer Science?
    Computer programming is the one medium I know of that is a synthesis of both art and science. On an average day, I can work with color theory, mathematical algorithms for sorting, or end-user psychology.
  2. What is your greatest accomplishment so far as a Computer Science major?
    My greatest accomplishment so far is that I have stuck with it. There are many difficult classes, including higher level math, which have tempted me choose an easier path. However, I’m often enough reminded of my passion for programming and creating interesting solutions to problems and re-choose to keep going.
  3. Besides Continuing Education, are you currently making money elsewhere in the Computer Science field, even before graduating?
    Yes, I run a freelance website development business. Some of my clients are dentists, musicians, authors, and other local small business owners. Most students have careers in the industry before graduation.
  4. What are your career goals for the future?
    After completing my degree here are at Weber, I would like to further my education with a Master’s in CS. This will hopefully lead me to successful career in software engineering and project management.
  5. As a Computer Science major, what is your greatest strength?
    As a CS major, my greatest strength is my ability to think critically about a problem, and apply knowledge from many areas to create a solution. Both critical thinking skills and a continuing love of education are essential for a career in computer science.
  6. Have you been working on any interesting projects recently?
    Last semester I worked on an open source game engine. A game I created was featured on the website as an example.
  7. Are you a Mac or a PC?
    Most enterprise programming tools and environments run on Windows based PCs, and they are what I am used to. Oh, and, you know, they are cooler (As a side note, PC means any personal computer –  so Macs are PCs too. But I’m assuming you mean a Windows operating system)
  8. What makes the Computer Science department at Weber State University so great?
    Weber’s CS department does an excellent job of preparing its students for careers after graduation, while other universities in the state focus more on theoretical and academic applications. Most CS students are already employed while still in school because of the excellent education and professors at WSU.
  9. Do you have any good advice for someone considering Computer Science as a major?
    Learning to program will challenge your mind to think and operate in a way that it never has before. For some, this can be hard and downright frustrating. Just remember that as you stretch your mind, you are growing personally and enriching your capacity to learn in all other areas of your life. Like many of the sciences, CS can, at times, be monotonous and tedious work. However, seeing a functional and finished project will fill you with immense satisfaction and pride.
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Get To Know A Major: Computer Science

Computers are all the rage these days, aren’t they? You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who hasn’t at least heard of Angry Birds, updated their Facebook status on a smart phone, or finished homework on a laptop computer down at the local coffee shop. So what better way to secure a solid career for yourself than to major in a field that won’t be going away any time soon?

According to Weber State University’s Computer Science website, “In 2010, the Wall Street Journal had computer-related careers occupying two of the top three positions in best jobs in America in terms of current demand, stress level and salary. Salaries are consistently in the top-10 ranges with ComputerWorld reporting 2010 base salaries at, for example, over $71,000 for programmer/analyst and over $88,000 for Software Engineer. Computer software engineers are among the occupations projected to grow the fastest and add the most new jobs over the 2008–18 decade, resulting in excellent job prospects. according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.”

A small disclaimer for some: there is a certain amount of math involved. But it looks like there’s also some really cool classes. Check these out: Introduction to Interactive Entertainment, Mobile Development for the iPhone, Computer Graphics, and Game Development. Sounds pretty fun, right?

5 Clues You Might Be A Computer Science Major:

  1. You’d rather deal with a computer bug than a real bug.
  2. You’ve embraced your nerdiness, but insist it’s the “cool” kind of nerd.
  3. You already know that this sentence is a <li> within an <ol>.
  4. You’re more comfortable writing code than you are writing sentences.
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Degrees / Programs Available:

  • Bachelor of Science (BS)—choose from one of three emphases:
  1. Software Engineering Emphasis
  2. Network Security and Administration Emphasis
  3. Customized Emphasis
  • Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Computer Science
  • Departmental Honors in Computer Science
  • Minor, Teaching Minor, or Bachelor of Integrated Studies (BIS) in Computer Science
  • Game Development Certificate

Career Opportunities:

From weber.edu/cs: “The computer industry continues to grow at a rapid pace, and currently the job outlook for our graduates is very high. In the spring of 2006, Money Magazine rated occupations across the nation based on job demand, salary and stress level and ‘Software Engineers’ rated as #1. A wonderful resource for learning the current job situation and salary information for any field is http://www.bls.gov/oco/.”

Advising / Contact:

If you are considering a degree in Computer Science, contact Richard Fry, the department advisor. You can self-schedule an appointment at http://WSUComputerScience.clickbook.net, or call 801-626-7929 to make an appointment.

For more information about the Computer Science department, visit weber.edu/cs.

(Don’t know binary code? Convert it here.)

What does it take to Be Your Own Superhero?

In today’s popular culture, superheroes are becoming more prevalent and more iconic, thanks to enormous blockbusters like The Dark Knight and Ironman. But what is it that captivates us so much? It certainly doesn’t hurt that these movies have multimillion dollar budgets, some of our favorite actors, and plenty of cool explosions and chase scenes. It’s the characters themselves though, with whom we connect most. After all, every superhero has his or her own set of problems and commitments beneath the mask, just like everyone else. Sometimes it’s a flawed personality trait, sometimes it’s a moral conflict, and sometimes they just can’t seem to get the girl.

So what’s the whole point? You may be asking yourself, “Why all the superhero imagery?” Well, we here at Weber State University’s Continuing Education have decided that our students are real superheroes for pursuing their education amidst less than ideal circumstances. If you didn’t know already, Continuing Education provides assistance to and helps recruit nontraditional students, which is any student who is either at least 25 years old, married, taking evening, weekend or online classes, or is completing courses off-campus at any other WSU location. Many of the nontraditional students that we have highlighted in our previous blog posts (and whose images you may see riding around town on the side of a bus) are people who have returned to school after an extended hiatus, either because it was too difficult at the time or they had other commitments. Some have full-time jobs and some have children to take care of, but every one of them manages to create a unique schedule that works for themselves and their family.

So what does it really take to Be Your Own Superhero? Commitment, responsibility, an eagerness to learn, and a handful of other positive adjectives. Yes, it’s going to be difficult—it should be difficult—but the point is that you can do it. No matter what your excuse is, there’s already someone who had the same excuse and is about to graduate. So throw on your cape, tighten down your utility belt, and register for some classes already.

You can start by exploring some of your options at FinishatWeber.com

Plus, we’re on Facebook now! Like us for updates and free stuff! Facebook.com/FinishatWeber

Be your own Superhero: Zac Williams

“It’s a great environment to push myself and learn more.”

As a small business owner, Zac Williams knows the importance of having the right credentials. He’s enrolled in the Master of Professional Communications program at Weber State University as a way to bolster his credibility and create new opportunities for his business.

One of my favorite things about the program has been the opportunity to be in a program with other professionals and people that have been in the workplace. I’m able to get ideas from not only from the professors but from the other students. It’s a great environment.

Learn more about his company, Williams Visual.

Be your own Superhero: Felix Lleverino

Able to leap small children in a single bound!

Felix is a full-time student, father and husband. He’s staying at home with his two young girls while he’s working on a bachelors degree in Geography. When he graduates, he wants to go into Geospace engineering.

Watch our interview with Felix and find out how he balance family and school.

Accuplacer: How do I do that?

What is Accuplacer?

The Accuplacer placement exams are simple tests to gauge your knowledge and skills in certain subjects. Accuplacer is basically a way to make sure you don’t take classes you don’t need (or that you’re not ready for yet). There are two Accuplacer tests you can take, Math and English (which consists of two parts, reading comprehension and sentence skills).

Do I need to take it?

After you apply for admissions, you’ll receive an acceptance letter that will tell you if you need to take a placement exam before signing up for classes. You are required to take the Accuplacer if your ACT math scores are below 22 or if your course placement has expired. Your placement has expired if your ACT/ SAT is older than 2 years, your Accuplacer is older than 1 year, or your prerequisite math course is older than one year. If you’re coming back to school after a few years, you are more than likely going to need to take the Accuplacer to be placed into the correct math and English classes. Also, just a heads up, you won’t be permitted to register for classes before you take the required Accuplacer tests. Essentially the sooner you take the Accuplacer, the sooner you can sign up for classes.

Taking the Test

You can take the Accuplacer at several locations including the Ogden Campus, the Davis Campus, and the West Center. Just make sure to check out the testing center hours and locations. No appointment is necessary but you’ll need to be at the testing center at least one hour before they close. The math and English will each take about an hour, depending on your skill level.

What to Bring

  • Money: The math and English Accuplacer cost $10 each, so bring some form of payment with you. (But if you’re retaking one part of the English, it’s only $5).
  • A picture ID: Your Wildcard, license, or something akin to that.
  • Your W number: If you don’t know what it is log into your Weber Portal, click on the student services tab, and it will be on the left side under personal profile. And remember when entering your W number into Accuplacer, be sure to use a capital “W” and use zeros not Os.
  • A pencil: The main staple of taking any test.

THINGS YOU DON’T NEED: Calculators are not allowed, and scratch paper will be provided so you won’t need that.

About the Test

The Accuplacer is an adaptive test, which means that the questions are chosen for you on the basis of your answers to previous questions. Basically, if you answer the questions correctly you will keep moving on to tougher sections. Because the test works this way, you must answer every question in order. The Accuplacer isn’t timed so you can give each question as much thought as you wish. You can change your answer to a particular question before moving on to the next question, but you cannot skip a question or come back to it later to change your answer. Also you can’t “pass” or “fail” the placement tests, but it is very important that you do your very best on these tests so that you will have an accurate measure of your academic skills.

How can I prepare?

Now for most of us it’s been a while since we’ve thought about the quadratic equation or where in the world the comma is supposed to go, so you may want to prepare and go over sample questions. You can also look at test helps for the SAT or ACT.

When do I take it?

The Accuplacer is offered year round, so as soon as you’ve been accepted to WSU you should take the test. After you take it the testing center will give you a print out your scores. Once you have your scores you should look at the assessment and placement standards which outline what scores are needed to be placed into math and English classes. These standards are helpful to see your placement fits in the grand scheme of things. For example, Lets say you get an 88 on your English reading comprehension Accuplacer, well you only need two more points to go from ENGL 990 to ENGL 1010.  If you’re close to the next class my advice would be to study hard so you don’t have to take any developmental classes that don’t count towards your degree. Just because you do poorly once, doesn’t mean you can’t study and improve your test score. WSU does not count any 0900 level developmental course into your GPA average or graduation credits. 0900 level math and English courses are developmental classes that help advance you to the 1000 level courses, which count for your degree.

Test Results

For math, you can be placed into MATH 0950 Pre-algebra, MATH 0990 Algebra, MATH 1010 Intermediate Algebra, Quantitative Literacy (QL) Contemporary Mathematics 1030 or QL College Algebra 1050, or you can completely test out of math (although this is very rare). For English you can be placed into ENGL 900 Fundamentals of College Reading and Writing, ENGL 955 Developmental College Reading and Writing, or  ENGL 1010 Introductory College Writing, and there is no possibility of testing out the English (sorry folks).

TAKE IT FROM A RECENT GRAD: BEST GEN–EDS

As everyone knows, picking general education courses is somewhat akin to powering through a proverbial box of chocolates—you never really know what you’re going to get. What you expect to be the funnest class ever can sometimes turn out to be about as exciting as Math 1050, or vice versa. As a recent graduate, I feel it is my duty to impart to you some of my favorite* (valuable/interesting) general education classes, along with their credit type, pros/cons, and difficulty level.

Clint Eastwood, eat your heart out

American Civilization

Course: History 1700
Credit Type: History / American Institutions

I’ve always been somewhat interested in history in general, but American history always seemed to lack the excitement and energy that European history has. However, American Civilization turned out to be a great class. I credit a lot of my positive experience to my professor, Dr. Gene A. Sessions, who always managed to present the history and tell stories in an exciting and unique way. He’s also hilarious, and makes each class wildly exciting and informative. I walked away from the class with a wealth of knowledge and a healthy respect for the history of this country.

Pros: Interesting and relevant subject matter taught by an amazing professor.
Cons: One of the few Breadth requirements, this class is always large and always full (currently, Dr. Sessions’ two History 1700 classes have a capacity of 150 students each)
Difficulty Level:

2.5 out of 5 rating

That totally looks like a Sagitarius…right?

Elementary Astronomy

Course: Physics 1040
Credit Type: Physical Science / Scientific Inquiry

Who doesn’t love staring up at the stars? Well, welcome to Elementary Astronomy! The classroom itself is a state–of–the–art planetarium and has the most comfortable chairs on campus. I really loved this class because it was different in every way from the average classroom setting. It was also a blast to have my mind blown every class learning about stars, galaxies, black holes, relativity, the laws of physics, and anything else to do with outer space. My professor, John Armstrong, was an amazing teacher and a hilarious person. His passion for physics really made the class fun and exciting. Don’t get me wrong though, it is a fairly difficult class. There aren’t any prerequisites listed, but you would definitely be ahead if you have a handle on math and physics.

Pros: High–tech planetarium star shows and very interesting lectures.
Cons: Not a very easy class, especially if you struggle with math.
Difficulty Level:

3.5 out of 5

 

 

For more information on the Physics department, read my other blog article.

Omega–3′s anyone?

Foundations in Nutrition

Course: Nutrition 1020
Credit Type: Life Science

Everyone knows that eating right is vital to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but it’s not always easy to know exactly what to eat, or why. Foundations in Nutrition is a great way to get educated in the complex world of healthy eating. This is one of those classes that I really was not excited about taking, but over the course of the semester I learned to really like it and appreciate everything I was learning. Taking a class like this, you can’t help but apply what you learned to your own life, which is important if you aren’t totally satisfied with your own health. Be aware that the class does involve some minor mathematical calculations (regarding numbers and percentages on a nutrition label) and a good amount of traditional homework and studying.

Pros: Lots of valuable, life–changing information to be learned
Cons: Unless you’re a health nut, it probably won’t be the most exciting class you’ve ever taken.
Difficulty Level:

2.5 out of 5 rating

 

 

*Remember that this is all my own opinion and comes directly from my own experiences. You may not feel the same way about these classes and if you’re hesitant, contact an adviser to help you out. Good luck!

 

Step 6—Register for Classes: A Step-by-Step Guide for Returning Students

Visit weber.edu and click on “class schedule” under the index to view the current course listing. Visit weber.edu/catalog to determine what classes you should take for your major and minor. You can also review general education requirements.

Register for classes

  • Log into eWeber at weber.edu
  • Click on the “Student Services” tab
  • Click “Register (Add/Drop)” and then select the term for which you want to register from the drop-down menu.
  • Click on “Class Search” for a search tool to help you find your classes.
  • Follow the prompts to select the classes you want.

Registration start dates are listed under the “Student Services” tab.