Tinwhistler's college journey as an old man

That feeling when you are ready to take your next certification exam, but everything is shut down due to a national holiday...so you're only going to finish one class this week :(
Somehow, even though they were on vacation, my instructor approved my latest cert test July 3, and Scheduling Services issued me a test voucher July 4.
End result? I'm now ITIL Foundations V4 certified.

Next class: Scripting and Programming - Applications

This is a pretty in-depth class, and I feel sorry for newbs who have to take it. It's WGU's first real to-in-the-water for programming. It's in C++, and requires you to use arrays of pointers as part of the rubric, and then freeing that memory. I feel pretty bad for anyone who has to deal with it. I haven't dealt with pointers in so long, it took me all day to knock out the 400 lines of code or so that was required to meet all of the requirements. I can see why they'd expect someone to take 30-45 days to complete.
Turned in my work (final code count: 503 lines), and amazingly, they graded it already. Pass.
69/122 credits. Past the half-way mark ;)
Operating Systems for Programmers
I did a lot worse on the pre-assessment than I was expecting to do. Lotta Solaris and Linux memory management questions. So I spent 2 days studying (taking a day off after all of that c++ work I had to do), and passed today. 72 credits out of 122 needed.
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Technical Communication.
15 pages of writing: An inter-office memo, a fact sheet, 2 pages of writing analysis, and 11 pages of a proposal for a fictitious solution to a fictitious company. It's all turned in. The memo, fact sheet and analysis are graded. Just waiting for the 11 page proposal to be graded to be done with this class.
C484 - Organizational Behavior and Leadership.

Took the pretest an hour ago, and passed with an exemplary. It covered a lot of things I already knew from past trainings, like Marlow's Hierarchy of Needs and that kind of thing.

So, I just scheduled the final without reading the material--and passed.

78/122 credits complete.
hah :D I'm allowed some post-test brain fuzz ;)
In all honesty, I don't remember names very well, so I kinda remember the 'shape' of the name and the data points they're attached to.

Went ahead and did C175 - Data Management Foundations.
In this class, you had to know a little UML, what the difference between cardinality and modality was, what the difference between a unary, binary, and ternary relationship was, and know some elementary SQL. Plus, you had to know a chapter on Data Warehousing, which is where I missed most of my questions.

Still, passed with exemplary. ..the score line there represents six questions missed (which you can only figure out if you inspect the html element and then do some math on the percentage fill times the number of questions asked).

81/122 credits earned

Week 11 update.

10 classes remaining, 66% done. 4 classes with tests remaining, the rest are 'practicals'..things like writing code.

Tomorrow evening, I'm taking my CIW Interface Designer certification for C773 User Interface Design. I'm a bit nervous about this one. I know the material very well, however, all the chatter on Reddit is that this test is badly written by a non-native English speaker, so it can be difficult to sometimes discern the question and/or correct answer. I'd be bummed if this was the first test I failed at the first time.

Last upcoming cert: Oracle Database PL/SQL Developer.

The last two tests after the certs are
  • a MySQL hybrid final, with half of the test being questions, and half of the test being a lab.
  • a Software QA final.
C773 - User Interface Design.

After all of the negative things I've read about C773, I totally over prepared for this class. I read the udemy material several times, did the quizlets, did the chapter quizzes. I did poorly on the chapter quizzes and quizzes in the cohort material (scoring in the 70's percentile)...they totally sucked, were vague, and badly written. I was really worried about the actual cert test. But it wasn't anything like that.

Almost all of the conversations in reddit talk about how CIW test is hard to understand, and vague, and seems like it was written by a non-native speaker. I felt like I understood every question, and I felt like most of the answers were pretty clear. That said, there were only 3 questions on the test that I felt I wasn't 100% on. And one question on website security that I felt had no right answer at all. I hit my final "end test" button secure that I'd have missed, at most, 4 questions.

I missed 8 (if my math is right), so I'm not really sure where the disconnect was...maybe that's why people are seeming to have a hard time with it.

9 classes left, 85/122 credits.
Had some vacation downtime, so I finished a class night before last, C188 Software Engineering. It was mostly how to create a design document. Upcoming classes (Software I and II) deal with actual programming.

Banged out a 15 page document with visual aids (flow charts and UMLs) in about 5 hours. Had a couple of go-rounds with my evaluator about my scope section, but finally it passed yesterday. 89 credits in. 33 credits/8 classes remain. 3 months of term completed, 3 months left. I think I can probably finish up this term :D
Woke up early. Decided to get some more schooling done during my dead time. Next class is C856-User Experience Design

This class has multiple submission requirements. I have to write a UX design timeframe, and create a "persona"--a fictional user that I envision is using the site. The goal is to make sure the site meets the persona's needs. Then I need to create a mock-up (low-fidelity wireframe) and then a working prototype.

I will need help with the wireframe portion! I am supposed to do 'guerilla usability testing"--three users who will look at my wireframes and then give feedback (from which I will analyze for actionable and non-actionable items). I have completed the timeframe and persona, and will start on the wireframe as soon as I can get access to my Balsamiq license. So that might be finished today too.

If anyone would like to volunteer to look at my mock-ups and provide feedback, let me know!
WGU C856 - User Experience Design.

Things are definitely getting more complicated. This task required 6 different artifacts for submission, one of them being a fully functioning prototype. Got half of it done when I was on vacation.

And I have one more task to complete for this class. Thankfully, it's the smaller of the two tasks.

Still waiting on all of my student usability tests for the above class. So in the meantime, I've finished Software I, and Data Management Applications (which required writing raw SQL in a funky lab environment). I'm about half-way through with Software II.

Here are all the classes I have left.

The C993 course is an Oracle SQL Cert, which I read is an absolute beast. Other than that, it looks to be smooth sailing. Since I'm already mostly done with two of these, that means I have 4 classes to between me and graduation. I have 9 weeks left in the term. I'm still hoping I can do this in one term. :)
I just turned in my homework for Software II and for User Experience Design.

That's 9 credits and if they both pass, I only have 4 classes left.
Those four classes are:
  • Getting the Oracle SQL cert. I hear this one is a bitch. Barely a minute per question.
  • Building a mobile app in C# using Xamarin. Used to do this before switching to PhoneGap for easier cross-platform coding.
  • A software QA class. This seems like it coulda/shoulda come earlier than this. But my mentor did move some stuff around so that I could work on non-test courses while on vacation, so maybe that's why it's at the end.
  • The Capstone--"This course requires the completion of the design, development, and implementation of a software application; this is your performance assessment....There is no learning resource for this course..." This is where they throw you in the deep end, and you just gotta build something passable from the ground up with no resources. Good thing that's basically been my whole job for 26 years.
that's basically been my whole job for 26 years.
Oh, come on. Only 26 years? I'll bet you were doing it on the sly (or just for fun) even longer than that.
I mean, I was doing electronics & computer repair for almost three decades before I finally started getting paid to do it.

Oh, come on. Only 26 years? I'll bet you were doing it on the sly (or just for fun) even longer than that.
I mean, I was doing electronics & computer repair for almost three decades before I finally started getting paid to do it.

I made my first "slave disk" (because you couldn't boot to it) in September 1979. I remember it very well, because the instructions for formatting it instructed me to put my name and date on the disk, as well as the words "slave disk". It was useless for letting me know what was on it later, but very good at reminding me of the first time I ever stuck a floppy disk into a computer and typed something on a keyboard.

I programmed lots of stuff as a hobby--including my own dial-up BBS from scratch. I didn't have a hard drive, so I'd boot to the BBS software, and then once it was running, I'd flip the disk over and use the other side as storage for the message board.

But it didn't become my job until about 1994.
I was 3 months old at the bolded part, just to confirm the thread's title. :p
In 1979, I had independently discovered the artificial larynx, and I was electrolyzing water into hydrogen and oxygen into jars in my living room. Or maybe it was early 1980, I forget.

EDIT: I literally had a rectifier plugged directly into the wall. So much of my youth makes me wonder why I’m not dead.

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The end is near. Just at 90% completed, 14 credits left. Those 14 credits are in 4 classes. I started the mobile app class on Thursday, and I'm mostly done with it. It's a 6-screen mobile app, and I have 5 completed. I should be able to complete the 6th tomorrow, and tie phone notifications into the app and be finished.

Unfortunately, Xamarin has changed considerably in the 7 or 8 years since I first looked at it. But I'm picking up the changes pretty quickly.

That leaves 3 classes and 8 weeks to complete them in. It's so close I can practically taste it.
Finished the mobile app class. Part way through SQL.
I've decide that I'm ok to push my capstone and the QA class into another term. The capstone is a lotta work, and I may need a full 6 weeks to get it done.

3 classes/11 credits to go.
I haven't posted about schooling in a while.

My first term finished 10/31. I took off the last 5 or so weeks, because I was completely burned out--having finished 111 college credits in 4 months.

Plus, they were removing C993 (Oracle SQL certification) for a different class (Advanced Data Management). After spending a couple of weeks in the Oracle class, I decided to wait it out and take the new class instead. C993 is really a DBA course, and has concepts like complex roles management (what happens when you give a guy a role, and he gives three more people that role, and one of them gives someone the role, and then you take it away from the first guy. The answers isn't always as cut and dried as you think) as well as other administrative stuff I'll never have to do, not being a DBA. Even DBAs have a hard time getting the cert. Oracle gives just about 70 seconds per question in a lab-style test environment, where they will give you a page of SQL and you have to analyze it and then answer questions on which parts are wrong, or which parts execute first, etc. Just not something that I've ever had to deal with in a job environment. So I took the time off, rejuvenated, and waited for the course to switch out.

New term started 11/1. I am taking my C857-Software Quality Assurance final today. Provided I pass, that will leave me exactly 2 classes to complete my bachelors:
D191 - Advanced Data Management
and C868 - Software Development Capstone.

In the data management class I "will learn advanced SQL techniques to perform critical tasks for data analytics." So, I'm expecting that one won't be too terribly difficult. Or at least not as difficult as C993.

The capstone requires "the completion of the design, development, and implementation of a software application" Which, you know, has basically been my job for nearly 30 years. It sounds much like my previous software courses that I flew through, except on most of those, they provided the design step. The mobile development class was a complete design/develop/implement" class, so it'll likely be very similar to that one.

I don't expect either class will take me a month to complete, so I'm looking at (hopefully!) having my bachelors before the end of the year.