Do the chickens have large talons? -Napoleon Dynamite
Question #91764 posted on 11/01/2018 1:10 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

I will be graduating in April '19 and finally have the freedom to take 3 credits of whatever I want (I have to take at least 3 in order to keep my scholarship although I am willing to take 3-5). I have been learning Swift (iOS App development) from books/online resources and would like to supplement my own studies with a more formal class.

My main project I am working on is creating a simple dictionary app for a lesser-used language that I learned in the mission field. There are zero apps for it on the App Store but it is spoken by a decently significant amount of people (less than 50 million but more than 10).

Anyway would you recommend that I take CS 142? Will trying to learn whatever language they teach confuse me? Is it too basic that it won't help? Any other classes that might be helpful for a beginner app developer (it would have to be one without prerequisites as I'm a History major) such as design, marketing, etc?

-print ("myNameHere")


Dear Python Example,

CS 142 is really basic but I think it could help you. I don't know if they implemented this but when I graduated they were considering having an accelerated CS 142 class for those who had some programming experience. You should look into that because the normal one might be a little slow for you. Besides, I don't think you can take any other classes in the CS program that teach mobile coding without lots of pre-reqs. So I say go for it.

On the other hand, as Anathema says below, there are classes outside of the CS program that use coding for specific purposes and that might help you get some experience more than CS 142. 

Now, if you are really daring, you could visit a professor and ask for an exception to be admitted into one of the other classes without having the prereqs (usually the prereqs are just CS 142 and maybe 240). My suggestions are:

  • CS 260 Web Programming with Dr. Zappala - It's been revamped since I took it to be a good web development class that doesn't delve too much into how the internet actually works, just enough to write some good code.
  • CS 356 Designing the User Experience with Dr. Wood - I had a different teacher but it was partly web development and partly mobile development. This would probably be very useful for you.
  • CS 405 Creating and Managing a Software Business with Earnshaw - Really good if you want your app to become a business. Needs ENGL 316 as a prereq but I would highly recommend this because you get to team up with other coders and create a business, including a very basic version of your program. Actual companies have been developed in this class, such as Podium.

Like I said, if any of those classes sound interesting, go visit the professor during their office hours, tell them it's your last semester and you have some coding experience and why you want to take their class. Seniors can sometimes get exceptions easier than others. Good luck!



Dear Pythonic Syntax,

I loathed CS 142 with a passion, so yes, my answer is definitely biased. But truly, I don't think it's a very good class. All the stuff you'll go over will be painfully basic (like, this is a loop, this is a function, and classes only come at the very end). So basically, you don't come out of it knowing anything particularly useful, and the syntax is just gross and in my biased opinion, dumb. Honestly, I think you would be better served by taking the bio stats class that teaches beginning Python. Mainly because you don't have to be bogged down with stupid syntax in Python, and it's a super common language. That way, you can become familiarized with basic coding techniques without having to endure the pain of 142.


posted on 11/01/2018 9:14 p.m.
Hey there,

Just wanted to submit a second plug for Bio 165. I made it 90% of the way through a computer science minor before switching my focus to genetics and for a single class without prereqs, Bio 165 does the best job of teaching practical, generally applicable skills.

posted on 11/02/2018 1:29 p.m.
I took CS 142 in the spring, and the largest advantage is that they hire way too many TA's and a lot of students don't really study on campus much since they're taking only one or two classes. The TA/student ratio is ridiculous. So, while the class may be a little tedious, the access to really bored smart people is invaluable.