first year tips
University fees can be quite expensive, especially when pursuing a degree in engineering or other software related programs. On top of tuition, textbooks will leave a heavy dent in your wallet as well. As members of SESA we've taken a look back at our previous years and have compiled a list of tips and methods that you can use to help reduce these fees and save some extra cash on hand (to maybe spend on that macbook pro you've had your eyes on :p ). Take it or leave it, we sure as hell wish we'd been given these pointers early on! Read More...
Developing time management skills is a journey that can be quite overwhelming especially in Engineering. You'll notice your Arts and Business friends having the time of their life while you spend endless hours and late nights studying away or pulling your hair out over that one compilation error that you can't seem to get rid of. Plan out your time and prioritize. It’s okay if you have to give up time working on an assignment worth 5% to spend time studying for your midterm worth 20%. Do what works best for you. Don't be worried though, members of SESA have been through the ups and downs and will definitely help guide you to the right direction in developing effective study habits whilst still enjoying your University life. Work hard, play hard! Read More...
The Software Engineering program includes a mandatory co-op experience to develop practical and solution-driven thinking. That means that upon graduating, you will have a good amount of real life experience under your belt that will further increase your chances of landing a job. Some students even get offered full-time positions from previous employers. We at SESA understand the importance of CO-OP and will therefore do our best to prepare you for the interviewing process: Read More...
Opting out of medical or dental insurance plans:
If you are already covered under an equivalent insurance plan, you can opt out of the health and/or dental plan. However, you must apply to opt out before September 30 of every school year. Thats over $100 you can easily save! To opt out, access your statement of account on uOzone. On the left-side menu at the very bottom click Insurance plans opt-out. Fill out the form and voila!
Purchasing pre-owned textbooks:
Let's face it, it may feel nice to own a brand-new fresh mint condition textbook but is the pricing really worth it? Trust us, after 2nd year hits you'll be begging your friends for their old texts or even scavenging for previous editions that are even more cheap. There are many resources in Ottawa to find great prices on pre-owned textbooks: ottawa.kijiji.ca, usedottawa.com, ottawa.craigslist.ca.
If you absolutely refuse to be an owner of used goods, try out the Agora Bookstore which is literally a 5 min walk from campus. They offer slightly cheaper prices than the school bookstore. Don't forget to get there early, the lineups can be quite lengthy. Most importantly, we would like to mention that google is your friend. And that the only thing better than a cheap textbook...is a free one. Use your resources, you're in software godamit.If you have some extra cash to spend (or some extra time to spend digging around), we highly recommend purchasing solutions manuals whenever possible. We can guarantee you will most definitely run into a few classes that have assignments with questions ripped directly from the textbook. If you're looking for an easy free 20-40% boost, the investment can be worth it. Just make sure to fully understand how to solve all questions...or you'll be left clueless when exams come.
Apply for OSAP if needed:
Need help paying for school? The Ontario Student Assistant Program will be a lifesaver. Visit: osap.gov.on.ca/OSAPPortal to learn more about who is eligible, the mix of grants and loans available and what information you need before you apply. If you apply for OSAP – you’re automatically considered for 30% Off Ontario Tuition, too. No need for a separate application. Get saving!!
Allocating study time and breaks
Develop and plan for blocks of study time. Determine how long it takes before you become restless and have a short break between. If you have a hard time studying at home, the 3rd or 6th floor of Morisset library is an excellent noise free environment.
Getting enough sleep
Although you may have been able to pull off all-nighters back in highschool, you'll notice sleep deprivation taking a heavy toll on your University life. You'll come to class grumpy and groggy having no motivation to learn. While everyone's body may be different, we recommend you get atleast 7 hours of sleep in order to be functional throughout the day.This is especially important the night before exams.
Prioritizing your classes
We highly recommend that you attend all classes when possible. With that being said, we will admit that certain classes or tutorials may not be worth the effort to go to if you feel that you are not really getting anything out of it. Engineering is a practical science...therefore sometimes it may be better to allocate some of that class time towards actually completing assignments or doing practice problems. Figure out what works but most importantly, don't skip class if you just plan on slacking off.
Work on side-projects
This is probably one of the biggest issues that SEG students have when entering coop. Employers are looking for students that have a true passion towards programming and having side projects definitely makes you stand out from the bunch. Designing a website, creating an app, even doing different programming tutorials will give you that extra edge to land a placement. Just expect interviewers to ask you about what you do outside of school.
Learn different language
From our experience, the current courses offered at the University do not really dwell too deeply into front-end web development but doesn't mean that you can't learn it yourself. After having a fundamental understanding of Java and C++, other languages can be picked up rather quickly. Learning resources that we recommend would include www.codecademy.com and www.udemy.com. Even learning something as simple as HTML/CSS will make you stand out. Programming is an ever-evolving industry and new languages are always being introduced so always make sure to stay up to date with today's technologies.
Brush up on your technical skills (VERY IMPORTANT)
This is probably the biggest mistake you can make going into interviews. This is a technical job therefore expect technical questions. Personality and charm will only get you so far but if you don't know how to code, then you won't get the job. Your COOP advisor will tell you not to worry about technical questions, but from our experience we advise you to not listen. They do not specialize in the tech-industry therefore they have no idea what will be asked. A quick googling of java interview questions or whatever other language required for the job will bring up a nice a list of things to expect.
Finding a Job (COOP or Graduating)
Network with SESA and leverage your personal network(friends, family, colleagues, clubs, meetups, organizations, professors). Find jobs online and through COOP Navigator Index(companies not registered with the COOP Office). Visit the Career Center run by COOP but open to all students. Work Study Navigator (uozone... jobs on campus) and VOLUNTEER!! For more tips take a look at this presentation.