CS373 Fall 2020: Ishan Phadke

How well do you think the course conveyed the takeaways?

Every lesson and topic that we covered had something to do with at least one of the takeaways. As an aspiring software engineer whose had internships, I see how this course shows the best practices to use in the industry. In fact, I think that the course taught these concepts so well that it may be the most important class I’ve taken so far. After all, what’s the use of knowing advanced CS topics like AI and cybersecurity if your applications are clunky and are unable to be improved?

Were there any other particular takeaways for you?

Teamwork in a software engineering environment requires serious work. It’s hard to coordinate various moving parts, especially online. This class taught me that communicating effectively with your peers is more important than deciding with technologies are used, the idea, and etc. I learned how to use issues, Slack, and pair programming very effectively, all of which will aid me greatly in my future career.

How did you feel about two-stage quizzes and tests?

The two-stage aspect of the assessments was an interesting concept. It helped show that individual work is usually inferior to group work, as discussing ideas and concepts with my groupmates helped me recall more about the topics on the quizzes and tests. Collaborating in a time crunch is also something I learned to be comfortable with during these tests.

How did you feel about cold calling?

I felt that while cold calling seems scary, it was especially good at getting concerns addressed about the material. People without knowledge of the topic we're often called on and were able to converse with Professor Downing, getting questions answered, and helping all of us understand better. It also had the added benefit of keeping my attention focused on the lesson at all times.

How did you feel about office hours?

Office hours really helped when there were some tools that were not working or burning questions that needed to be answered. The TA’s were extremely helpful and eager to help us understand the topics and tools we were using. Professor Downing also devoted a lot of time towards helping groups.

How did you feel about lab sessions?

The lab sessions were also great. Sometimes AWS, Jest, or Docker break without warning, happening to us once or twice close to a deadline. lab sessions were a great way to get quick help and get right back to the content.

Give me your suggestions for improving the course.

One thing I would recommend implementing is a few individual projects here and there. As someone who primarily worked on the backend, I didn't have much to do in the later phases. Having such projects is a great way to teach more concepts while also occupying people, possibly for extra credit.

To future students:

This class, while somewhat time-consuming, teaches a great many skills that are quintessential to working in the tech industry. Make sure to pay attention during lectures even if they don’t feel like they are important for the projects. Also, make sure that you start as early as possible on the projects. More often than not, there's gonna be something that doesn't work for some reason or breaks at the most inopportune times. However, it is not difficult to do well in this class alongside other hard classes.