It is really hard to juggle around being a software developer and full-time student. I am sure that I am not the only person going through this stage of being a computer science student at university. Well I have worked on a way that students can develop their own software or mobile applications while still getting the grades you’re aiming for in your course modules.
Go to lectures and taking notes!
First of all, hand write all of your lecture notes. It sinks in a lot better plus you aren’t distracted by the internet and games which seems quite common with computer science students who bring their laptops to lectures. This is the worst thing that another student could do as it not only distracts the user playing the game but it distracts everyone around them. Top tip, just don’t play games in lectures.
Scheduling your work
Secondly, try making a university work schedule. I’ve done this and it can be very useful. Plan in advance what you want to carry out for your coursework. Read the specification and split it up into smaller tasks. This way you can free up time for doing your own software development.
Another great point is when it comes up to exam periods, stick to a revision timetable. They worked for me at school and they work for university too. Don’t develop anything in this period. Your focus is on your examinations. They are important to you and your future, even in your first year. Although first year examinations and coursework marks don’t make up a part of your degree, bad habits tend to stick with you from the start of your university life. If you used to do this at school, university gives you the chance to break out of them.
Turning coursework into self-promotion
There is something great you can take away from your programming coursework. Say you were asked to develop a game for a PC. You should gain experience with porting that game to a mobile device and getting it on the marketplace. It is your intellectual property so why not show it off to the world and kick-start your portfolio. You even have the chance to make some money for yourself if you decide to sell your application or build in adverts.
If you are considering developing for mobile devices, I would definitely suggest Windows Phone as your starting platform. It is relatively new and not many people are developing for it at the moment, however it expands on what you already learn at university (especially if you go to the University of Hull where we teach C# as your starting programming language). The mobile platform is relatively easy to develop for and as a student you get a free membership through Dreamspark to the Windows Phone developer scheme so you can publish your apps to the marketplace. Even if you intend on going on to developing for iOS or Android devices, Windows Phone is brilliant for your first attempt at getting into the mobile market.
Following these steps has worked for me so far and I am on track to finishing my university career with a first class degree.
If you are interested in developing for Microsoft platforms and are a student with a valid UK university (ac.uk) e-mail address, you can register at DreamSpark for the latest software to get your started at https://www.dreamspark.com/.