“Don’t confuse computer science with information technology,” says Scott Davis, program head for the college’s computer science program. IT folks use the stuff that the computer science students build.”
TCC designed its associate program for students who plan to transfer to a four-year college or university to pursue their bachelor’s degree in computer science. The program also meets the needs of students seeking teaching certification in secondary mathematics or computer science.
Much of the classroom instruction takes place in labs with laptops at every desk. The Virginia Beach Campus will be adding new Mac minis this spring semester that will allow students to work with Apple’s OS X operating system along with Microsoft Windows.
“Previously we were all Microsoft. Now with OS X students will also get exposure to Unix,” Davis says.
By graduation, students are familiar with C ++ and Assembly language. Free software is available while students are in the program so they can complete projects at home.
In completing the degree students follow two tracks: one is geared towards programming and includes Introduction to Computing (CSC 110), Computer Science I (CSC 201) and Programming with C + + (CSC 210). The second track incorporates hardware and architectural components with Computer Organization (CSC 205) and Advanced Computer Organization (CSC 215) as requirements.
Day, evening and hybrid classes are available with online classes coming soon.
Most classes include realistic projects. Graduate Harrison Hornsby, now at Old Dominion University, plans a career in software design and loved the hands-on classes he took at the college.
“In one summer class I wrote five or six programs,” he said.
Hornsby said the small class size and accessibility of the professors were also advantages. Current computer science major Christian Doyle, preparing for a career in game design, agrees. “Scott’s a great teacher,” he said. “With the projects you get the experience behind the theory.”
“You immediately put something into practice that you learned 15 minutes ago,” said student Samuel Kamau, planning to transfer to Virginia Tech after graduating in fall 2016.
Computers for Student Success, located on the Virginia Beach Campus, is an additional opportunity for students to gain experience hands-on experience. Club members repair and refurbish donated computers that are then given out to fellow students and the community.
Other clubs available for students to join are the recently formed Coding Club on the Virginia Beach Campus and the TCC Chapter of the ACM on the Chesapeake Campus.