September 14, 2015: CMIS 330 Project Finished, Goals for This Week

I just finished Project 2: SDD (Software Design Description) for CMIS 330. I do not have another assignment due for about two more weeks, so I think this week would be a good week to take care of some other things:

  • Clean the apartment. The kitchen/dining room, hallway, bathroom, shower room, and second bedroom should be so clean that I can take a picture of them and post it online by Sunday night. My bedroom should at least be clean enough not to be gross. This is all prompted because a guest will come stay with me for a few days (but it is not just her—I have been meaning to clean this place up for various reasons for a while).
  • Do some research for my potential trip to Stockholm this December and maybe buy a plane ticket. I am planning a trip to Stockholm (as in Sweden) this December. The main goal is not tourism (it is instead a private goal that I am not going to share to anyone on the Internet). However, while there accomplishing my task, I will probably see some famous Swedish sights, and possibly travel to other parts of Scandinavia, as well. This will be my first time in one of my two main ethnic homelands (I am 25% Scandinavian, and >50% German).
  • Take advantage of this slightly better exchange rate (~¥120 to the dollar instead of ~¥125 to the dollar like it was before) by setting up a bank account at a high-interest American bank and sending ~$10,000 there. The newspaper says Abe and the Bank of Japan (BOJ) might lower the value of the yen even further next month.
  • And of course, I should continue to study (keep up with my Anki reps, do a little bit of JLPT N2 study, and do all the Week 5 & 6 CMIS 330 readings and do a good job at work, too.

September 9, 2015: I Registered for the JLPT N2 Less Than an Hour Ago (when it was still September 8)

JLPT N2 Registration Confirmation

I just finished registering for the JLPT N2 (Japanese Language Proficiency Test Level N2, which is for intermediate Japanese). This is the test that I failed last summer, by only one point, on the Reading section. I am fairly confident that if I study hard (especially reading), I can pass it this year. The test date is December 6, 2015.

I have been pursuing an ad hoc study plan lately, but it is time to make a more formal study plan. Here is the plan:

Goals for now to December 13, 2015:

  • Successfully complete CMIS 330 (Software Engineering Principles and Techniques), which runs from 8/17-10/11.
  • Successfully complete CMIS 435 (Computer Networking), which runs from 10/17-12/13. Once this is complete, I will have only two more courses until I graduate from UMUC Japan (University of Maryland University College Japan) with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer & Information Science.
  • Pass JLPT N2 on 12/6.
  • Have a backlog of 0 reps on Anki on 12/13.

In order to accomplish these goals, this is my precise plan:

  • For the rest of this week, do 100 Anki reps a day, and minimal Japanese study (keep some kind of a log). The main focus should be on getting my CMIS 330 SDD done.
  • In the long run (well, for slightly more than the next three months), here is what I need to do:

    • 17 hours per week: CMIS 330
    • 8 hours per week: JLPT N2 study (mostly reading)
    • 3.5 hours per week: Anki reps

    This comes out to 28.5 hours, or slightly over four hours a day, on average. This is going to be a rough study schedule, but maybe I can manage it.

July 13, 2015: I Signed Up for Two More UMUC Courses for the Fall

I just signed up for the following courses:

  1. CMIS 330: Software Engineering Principles and Techniques

    I am dreading this course because I previously withdrew from it because of the extraordinarily poor design of the course (for example, Project 1 due at the end of Week 2 assumed that we had already read Week 3's material, and the textbook was written in very poor English by an Indian who gave rupees as the unit of currency and referred to XENIX [last updated in 1989] as a current operating system). Hopefully, this professor will be better. His Rate My Professors ratings are quite high—in the high 4's out of 5.

  2. CMIS 435: Computer Networking

    This course was actually not in my original plan. I have to take two 400-level CMIS courses. I had originally planned for these to be CMIS 445 (Distributed Systems) and CMIS 485 (Web Database Development). Unfortunately, neither was available for the second part of the fall semester, and I am not yet ready to take the capstone course, CMSC 495. Therefore, in order to avoid slipping farther behind, I had to choose another 400-level CMIS course. That left the following courses to meet the requirement:

    • CMIS 420: Advanced Relational Databases and Concepts

      I did not like the prerequisite course, CMIS 320 (databases with almost all theory and almost no SQL), so I doubt I would like this one.

    • CMIS 440: Advanced Programming in Java

      I am quite interested in this course, but I think it requires a firm foundation in CMIS 320 and CMIS 242, which I have taken, but which I feel I will need to review extensively before taking this challenging course. It is too early to take this course—hopefully, I will take it next semester after reviewing those two prereqs thoroughly.

    • CMIS 460: Software Design and Development

      This is the sequel to CMIS 330, my least favorite course at UMUC and the one I withdrew from—I want absolutely nothing to do with this course.

    • CMIS 435: Computer Networking

      This is the one I ended up picking. Although it does not interest me that much, I am ready to take it (I have met all the prerequisites, and met them solidly), and it should be relatively easy because I have already had ITN 100, Introduction to Telecommunications at NOVA and the course description sounds similar. If I have to take a class that does not interest me, at least I can pick an easy one.

After this fall semester, assuming that I am able to pass both those courses, that will leave just two more courses for the spring semester, and then I will graduate with my Bachelor of Science degree in Computer & Information Science. I really hope I can complete these and not have to withdraw, and that I do not generate a huge backlog.

July 3, 2015: I Finally Received My Associate of Science in Information Technology (AS in IT)

My AS in IT

This arrived in the mail yesterday. I am still working with my college (which is being extremely slow, having taken almost four months since I filed the paperwork) to get my Career Studies Certificate in Application Programming. I called them early this morning and spoke to the Education Support Specialist about this, and she says she can get the process expedited, so hopefully I will have that certificate too, soon.

Until then, well, my eight-year quest to get an associate's degree from Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA, as they like to be called) has ended—I had repeatedly put off the goal to do various other things, like study Japanese or work on liberal arts/studies degrees from Excelsior College. This quest to get an associate's degree from NOVA first began in 2007 when I was attending Yonsei University Korean Language Institute in Seoul, South Korea. I had been living in a series of rented rooms or sharing rooms with other people, and one day, my friend Dangli invited me to her apartment. I was so impressed with the apartment, I decided that I had to get one of my own—but I did not have enough money to afford Seoul's high rents. So I decided that I would have to get a job—English teaching. I read somewhere that one could teach in Korea with an associate's degree and a TEFL certificate (actually not true, just a rumor), and then enrolled in NOVA and started taking classes online, starting with the student development course SDV 100.

Many people often ask me why I bother to do an associate's degree in IT after already having a bachelor's degree. The answer is simple: the bachelor's degree is not in an IT field. The AS in IT is. This degree qualifies me to do some low-level IT jobs. The bachelor's degree does not. Hopefully, by Q3/Q4 of next year when I will probably start hunting for IT/programming jobs, I will have a bachelor's degree in Computer & Information Science, but if I do not, at least I have this.

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