Computer Science

Good morning.

Why take our classes?

  • A great video. You may recognize some of the people in the video.
  • And here's an article explaining why you should be in our classes.
  • ComputerWorld listed the hot skills for 2014. Many of these skills are hot in 2015
  • offers a similar list.

Together, they explain why our diploma and degree programs are full (60 students combined) this year.

But you can be here next year. Applications opened in early November. What courses will you take as a diploma or degree student? Click the "detailed descriptions" link in the sidebar.

Applications are strong for the 2015-16 intake of students and we are first-come, first-served. To tell you about the programs and to make sure you know what you are getting into, we offer some required orientation sessions. Here are the dates and the rooms for the next sessions. They all occur from 17:30 PM to 19:59 PM in KLO campus.

  • February 23, Room  C176
  • March 30,     Room  E105
  • May 16,        Room  E302

To get a head start, look at the presentation we use. If you can't make any of those dates, contact the chair of the department.

What makes a successful student? This column suggests eight characteristics of a successful student.

The market for graduates

IT careers offer plenty of potential. Information Technology, or specifically these degrees? Here are some pleas for graduates in Information Technology.

From the BBC, dealing with the situation in Europe.

From the Wall Street Journal, about cyber-security jobs

from eWeek, more cyber-security jobs

The market for students before you complete your program

Both our diploma and degree offer capstone courses, courses in which you, working as part of a team, complete a project for members of the community. These courses are developed during the final year of your program, and the call for project proposals is now available.

How to be a successful student

The Registrar's column (mentioned above) offers help. Here are some other videos. College is not the same as secondary school, and these videos provide useful advice.

What can you take in the Computer Science department at Okanagan College?

We offer:

Where can you complete the CIS diploma or BCIS degree? And how are the CIS diploma and the BCIS degree related?

You complete the CIS diploma in Kelowna; some courses are only offered there. COSC 111, COSC 121, CMNS 112, CMNS 122, and BUAD 123 (all acceptable towards the diploma) are available outside Kelowna.

The BCIS degree, on the other hand is more flexible. The courses above are available outside Kelowna, along with MATH 112 and MATH 122 and others which you could use as electives. Thus, it is possible to take 10 courses that count towards the BCIS degree outside Kelowna. But many of the advanced and more-technical courses in the BCIS degree are not available outside Kelowna.

Thus you must transfer to Kelowna to complete your BCIS degree. Transferring to Kelowna, you will have part of your first year completed and part of your second year completed. In the first two semesters in Kelowna you'll complete your first and second years. Then you take full third and fourth years to complete your BCIS degree.

The CIS diploma is the first two years of the BCIS degree.

If you need to return to the workforce quickly, complete the CIS diploma and then return later (either full-time or part-time)  to complete the BCIS degree. If you have time before you rejoin the workforce, start directly in the BCIS degree.

Why do people study Computer Science and other areas of Information Technology?

We build the tools that other people use to do their jobs.

Here are some older reports showing strong demand in IT. That demand continues today.

If you're wondering what courses you'll take in your first year in CIS or BCIS, click the link to the appropriate program on your left. The information is there.

Do you want to study computing as a subject on its own, or as a tool to use in some other subject?

You can do both at Okanagan College!

The CIS diploma and BCIS degree give you a strong foundation in computing which you can supplement with study in other areas or you can study other areas and supplement them with computing. It's up to you.

Do you know what you want to be when you grow up?

Here are a couple of areas where computers are very useful, areas you may not have expected. First, hurricane forecasting, and second, plate tectonics. While interesting, both of these probably need more of a scientific background than our CIS and BCIS grads have. So, consider the university studies courses, particularly the Associate of Science degree we offer and continue your studies at a university.

Here is an interesting slideshow, showing some of the hottest degrees and diplomas. And here's an article describing a different perspective on what's hot and what's not. Hot! Look how many of these areas are offered at Okanagan College!

Positive reports on employment in IT.

"If you can code, you can get work". That quotation comes from this article.

And here are two other positive articles: from InformationWeek and from The Wall Street Journal. Similar trends are apparent in Canadian IT.

Here's an article from ITWorld Canada that lists the top ten Information Technology skills and careers. See how many of them are applicable to many different industries! Many of them will be in demand for quite some time. Here's a different article that identifies the fields that pay the most to graduates.

Here's a great oldie article from The New York Times pointing out how computing is used more and more in other areas of study. I love the picture of the nerdy little kid with the Van De Graff generator. It's even better than the picture of the nerdy adult the kid became.

Here's an article that reports that Smokey the Bear is studying computer science. I don't think that's exactly the situation, but it does point out the variety of areas in which computer science is being used. This is an example of what is being called Computational Thinking. This is a newish term and so the explanation is brief. For a longer explanation, look on the web for articles by Wing and Hemmendinger, among many others.

Here are the hot skills as reported by ComputerWorld Canada. The most frequently requested skill sets (SQL, Oracle, Java, .NET, and UNIX) are all part of our curriculum!

There are very few women taking advantage of the opportunities studying computing provides

Why is that?

Here's a study that offers some insights. Basically, women don't like being in an environment that proclaims its geekiness.

Do you want a good description of computer science? The U.S. House of Representatives described the computing industry as "a transforming industry that drives technology innovation and bolsters economic productivity."

Still wondering why you should study computer science (the theory) and computer information systems (the practice)?

What careers are available if you study computing? Most importantly, are there jobs available once you have a CIS diploma or BCIS degree?

Yes, there are jobs!

This article speaks of 5.8 million new jobs worldwide. Where are these new employees? Many of them will be in groups currently under-represented in IT. Georgia Tech is one institution which is trying hard to attract such groups.

The Communications of the ACM (May 2009) reported that "Computer science graduates on average earn 13% more than the average college graduate. ... Future job prospects for computer science graduates are higher than for any other science or engineering field." That prediction continues to be true.

There are many, many opportunities available for people in information technology. And more and more will become available. Here's an InfoWorld article that describes the opportunities available even in a time of recession. Surprise! Tech is a safe career choice today.

Not only are there jobs, but people are returning to Computer Science classes. Here is an article that shows US enrolments are up between 6 and 8%. This is reflected in the increase in applications for the CIS and BCIS programs we offer. If you are thinking of applying, start here (soon).

This ITWorld Canada article reports on a need for those with new skills (Web 2.0 and .Net, for example) and those with older skills (like COBOL.) .

There are many opportunities for graduates in computing.

This article (from claims there are 8000 graduates a year to fill the 89000 vacancies which will appear over three to five years. And this article (from The New York Times) talks about the lack of women to fill those jobs. Computer Science is the only science in which the interest of women is declining!

Consider this quotation, from Cornell University

“There is a tremendous hiring boom occurring,” said Ken Birman, computer science professor at Cornell. “The problem is that the students haven't understood that yet. The growth and job opportunities are as strong as it was in the dot-com period. The students haven't yet figured out what is going to happen next.”

Look at the careers in demand, as identified by Yahoo!.

Here is an article speaking to the decline of the number of women in computing. In many ways, women present different skills than men and the decline in the number of women will make it more difficult to produce the software customers want.

In conclusion

Now that you know there are many reasons to study computing, please use the menu on the left to learn about the Computer Science department at Okanagan College, the opportunities we offer, and how we can prepare you for your career in computing.

If you can't find what you are seeking, you can always send an email to the chair of the department.

Last updated: 2015 05 27