Saturday, March 28, 2009

Mangerial Accounting: End of Course Learning Journal

I've really enjoyed this class. I have many times made the statement that the only classes I've taken as I've pursued my degree that have actually taught me something relevant to my career that I haven't learned on the job have been my accounting courses. This one was no different. I particularly enjoyed the discussion of the different cost-tracking systems as applied to manufacturing as I will soon be writing systems to do exactly that sort of tracking.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Managerial Accounting: Beginning of Course Learning Journal

Just got back from Hawaii, and now I'm starting another class. This one is managerial accounting. From what I've seen so far, it looks like this course will focus on tracking internal costs associated with business planning. I'm looking forward to this course because I'd like to gain some objectivity on the cost of my design and development methods. Perhaps I'll learn better how to communicate the benefits of agile software development to managers.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Database Design: End of Course Learning Journal

I was happy that there was no symbolic set-logic in this course! YAY! Most of the material for the course was things I flat disagreed with or was already familiar with. For instance, I don’t see much necessity for creating ERD’s prior to starting work on a system. While I think it’s important to normalize data, I tend to build database tables and columns in response to needs of the application as it is being built. The normalization rules are things I already understand and use, so there wasn’t much new there.
I did learn one new concept though—that of the global primary key. The idea is that you create an Entity table for your entire database, and every independent entity has a record in that table. Connections between entities use the entity-key. This allows for easier linking of entities without the necessity to create a slew of supporting tables. It does add some complexity to join-queries, and I’d be interested to see the performance implications, but it is an interesting idea.

Structured Systems Analysis and Design: End of Course Learning Journal

This course was pretty much what I expected. The most valuable thing I got from it was some of the formalism surrounding the decision-making process around choosing which projects to do. I enjoyed thinking about how to approach the subject of whether to implement a project, and whether to build or buy, the resources for that project.
As far as the process of actually implementing a software solution, I found the course material to be weighted on the waterfall side of things, which is what I expected. It did give me ample opportunity to discuss the benefits of a more agile approach to things, as well as help me understand the traditional approach in greater detail. That knowledge will be essential as I go forward in my career.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Structured Systems Analysis And Design: Beginning of Course Learning Journal

This course is going to cover all aspects of the traditional SDLC. Given that traditional SDLC is waterfall, I expect to find ample opportunity to don my evangelical-agile-software-developer hat during the course. Like other courses that focus on issues dealing with the work I've been doing for the past 8 (almost 9) years, I don't expect to find much in the way of new information. Hopefully some of the information will be a little more structured than the way it's been presented in myriad technical books I've read about quality software development practices.

I don't mean to imply that I don't care about this subject--quite the opposite. I spend a great deal of time reading and continuously improving my ability to develop software. I have put to use much of what has come out of the Agile-practices community to produce better software faster. I guess I'll also be interested to see if or how this course addresses the concerns and improvements wrought by XP.

Database Systems Beginning of Course Learning Journal

Gah! Another database class! At least this one doesn't look like it's going to bore me with symbolic set logic.
I've been programming against SQL Server since 2002. In that time I've been responsible for all aspects of database management. In my current position we actually have dedicated DBA's, but prior to that I was the DBA for my own servers. Given this experience, I expect this course to be pretty much a cakewalk with a lot of grunt-work.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Information Security: End of Course Learning Journal

Some of my hopes for this class were realized after all. This Information Security class avoided the Linux bias that I've experienced at other schools. The concepts the class covered were general and applied to all operating systems and companies. There was a lot of overlap between this course and other Information Security classes I've taken. On the whole I wouldn't say that this class added a lot to what I've garnered from other courses.

Business Telecommunications: End of Course Learning Journal

This class mainly focused on hardware-related issues. Whereas I had hoped that the class would discuss strategies for inter-business communications, instead the course focused on the low-level infrastructure required for organizations to communicate with one another. The class held value as an overview of the underlying complexities of network infrastructure upon which the Internet and B2B communcations is built. Otherwise, the course was far removed from my normal area of concern as a software developer. I don't know how much of the material I'll retain.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Information Security: Beginning of Course Learning Journal

As I have already taken a class on security at USC Upstate, this class has a high bar to jump in order to teach me something new. My USC Upstate class displayed an all-too-typical Linux bias. While there are many businesses that are using Linux, I doubt many are using RedHat 7.1 as their OS. I'm hoping that this class will be more relevant to the windows-based environments that I prefer to work in. I'd like to understand more about how Active Directory works together with the other networking hardware and software to secure a Domain. Glancing through the table of contents in the textbook leads me to believe that much of the class will be about cryptography. That should be pretty easy for me as I've already covered that material within the last 6 months--but not particularly interesting.

Business Telecommunications: Beginning of Course Learning Journal

This class is supposed to cover the physical and logical layers of networking and protocols. I'm not sure what to expect from this course. I hope that I will gain insight into the networking and security infrastructure of the .NET Framework. I don't expect that the course will cover the .NET Framework directly, but perhaps I'll be able to merge the concepts from the course with the classes and namespaces in the .NET Framework that pertain to networking and security. I'll report back after the class is over.