Tan Jun Ji
Bachelor of Computer Science
What programme did you enrol for at Ngee Ann-Adelaide (NAA)?
I am currently enrolled in the Bachelor of Computer Science (BCS) programme offered by the University of Adelaide (UoA) through the Ngee Ann-Adelaide Education Centre.
What inspired you to pursue the above-mentioned programme after having completed the Diploma in Financial Informatics earlier at Ngee Ann Polytechnic? What and where do you see the relevance, if any?
When I was studying for my diploma in Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP), I was unsure of what I had really wanted. I am now immensely glad that I chose Financial Informatics then, because towards the end of my diploma, I realised I have the passion for technology and in programming. Thus upon graduation, I decided to pursue my interest in computer science at the undergraduate level at NAA.
Having graduated with a GPA 3.07 in your diploma programme, you could have applied for admission into the same programme at other institutions. Instead, you picked NAA. Why?
The other institutions I researched on did not offer any advanced standing for my diploma. This meant that I had to enroll for the first-year courses which were the exact modules I did earlier in my diploma at NP. UoA, the state university in Adelaide Australia, may award credit exemptions for entry to a relevant undergraduate program for polytechnic diploma holders thereby reducing the number of subjects a student has to do to gain the qualification.
For the BCS programme, students with relevant academic credentials like myself, can get up to nearly 60 per cent course exemptions, taking just 10 to 11 courses out of a total of 24. Not only do I get to save money with fewer courses to enroll for, I can also complete my bachelor’s degree in shorter time as compared to my peers at other institutions. I am also a privileged recipient of the Ngee Ann Kongsi Scholarship, one of the two bond-free scholarships made available to deserving students from less well-to-do families who performed well academically in their undergraduate studies. NAA Scholarship is the other which is available for students in the postgraduate studies.
One of Australia’s most prestigious institutions, UoA is a Group of Eight (Go8) research-intensive university and consistently ranked in the top 1 per cent of universities worldwide. Students pursuing its degree programmes at NAA’s centrally-located campus are taught by the same faculty that teaches at UoA’s Adelaide campus. The degree that NAA students receive is exactly the same as the campus-based students.
When did you start your bachelor degree programme at NAA? When will you graduate?
I started the programme in September 2013 and will complete my studies in August this year.
As this is a part-time programme, are you currently working in a related field? After graduation, what will you be pursuing, i.e. what is your long-term career goal? How do you think this programme will help bring you closer to that?
Currently employed as a software engineer in a local start-up company, the flexibility of the BCS programme allows me to attend intensive weekend classes from Friday evening to Sunday, with minimum disruptions to my work schedule. The programme also provided me with a good foundation in computer science, enabling me to pick up new things more efficiently at work.
How different is it studying at NAA, as compared to your student life earlier at NP? Describe the school environment and campus culture in NAA – what do you like most?
The environment at NAA encourages students to be independent learners and to do a lot of self-learning. Over time, I feel more confident in solving problems on my own and to rely less on others.
Tell us more about the curriculum, the teaching methodology and your favourite lecturers. What, in your opinion stands out most?
Lecturers from the Adelaide campus share their experiences, knowledge and real-life case studies with students at NAA. Vastly difference from the modules in Information Technology, the BCS courses provide broad introductions to various fields in computer science and uses programming as a tool to help understand and to apply these ideas in our everyday work.
How do you find the course so far? Which subjects or modules do you find most interesting/ useful? Which do you find most challenging? What do you think is the most important skills/knowledge that it equips you?
One of the modules that I find particularly challenging was Computer Architecture. The course brings students under the hood of a computer system and shows exactly how a computer works, the different structures and interactions between the Central Processing Unit (CPU), memory cards and the cache. The other module which I found really fun to work on was Artificial Intelligence (AI), where I got to code a tic-tac-toe widget that will never lose a game. During the duration of the course, I was also exposed to various interesting aspects of AI. These modules have not only piqued my interest in computer science, but have also greatly sharpened my critical-thinking and problem-solving skills.
What advice do you have for your juniors in NP who may be looking for a school or programme to further their education after graduation? Would you recommend NAA, and why?
If you have a burning passion for computer science or hardcore programming, you should definitely consider signing up for this programme. This part-time bachelor degree programme with a flexible class schedule will allow you to gain working experience while you study, giving you an edge over many other fresh graduates.
You get complimentary membership to the Singapore Computer Society which allows you to widen your network circle through regular meet-ups with professionals from diverse industries, enjoy fun-filled social and learning activities at discounted rates, keep abreast of the latest trends and developments through the IT industry news, nurture your leadership skills through active engagement with peers and industry players and more.
Students who perform well in the programme are given the opportunity to pursue the full-time honours programme at the University’s campus in Adelaide, Australia. Students also get a chance to go on a student exchange program with any of the universities in America, Europe, United Kingdom or Asia. They can also enroll for Summer/Winter school terms to accelerate their study over at the University in Adelaide.