Informatics program offers leg up for diploma grads
New academic pathway at Dal for NSCC grads
Andy Murdoch - October 24, 2012
Impressed and keen.
Those are the first words Computer Science Professor Norm Scrimger uses to describe his enthusiasm about a recently-signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Dalhousie and the Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC).
This agreement will allow NSCC graduates with a Diploma in Information Technology to apply for admission to a Bachelor of Informatics (Major in Software Systems) program at an advanced standing. The memorandum allows for the transfer of diploma credits to the Informatics program, meaning students could complete a Dal degree in two years.
Dr. Scrimger, the director of Dalhousie’s Informatics program who was instrumental in making the MOU happen, looks forward to seeing more NSCC students at Dalhousie.
“We like to get people who are ready, willing and able. If this is how they started, great! We don’t want to put up roadblocks,” he says.
Dalhousie can only benefit by attracting talented new students, Dr. Scrimger adds, especially in light of recent changes to NSCC curriculum, which makes the diploma program very competitive to get into.
Opportunities for students
Robert Moore is one student who’s already made that leap.
A year ago, he finished his NSCC diploma and met with Dr. Scrimger to work out a plan to pursue an Informatics degree.
“There were a few things that I didn’t have for Dal that I needed to make up,” Moore says, like statistics and writing credit, but even so, he feels he started with a programming advantage over some university students.
“All the hands on work that you do at NSCC, I find that really prepared me for all of the programming sort of stuff that we do at Dalhousie. But NSCC doesn’t really do as much of theory, studying and reading textbooks, and that sort of thing, as Dalhousie does.”
A stronger foundation for future development
An Informatics degree will offer NSCC students the chance to explore information technology through a well-rounded lens. While NSCC students might study the same tech, the university program offers a much broader, solid foundation in statistics, calculus and humanities.
“We give a broad education, not just training,” says Dr. Scrimger. “You have to learn how to design a database, not just use the database or technology of the day. We teach the theory behind the development, so they can move to the next generation without being left behind.”
Any NSCC grad with a Diploma in Information Technology from May 2010 onwards could benefit from this agreement, starting at Dalhousie as early as 2013.
With a year and a half left on his degree, Moore is currently in a co-op work term as a web developer at GenieKnows, a Dartmouth internet company.
“I would definitely recommend it as far as experience and moving on with your resumé,” he says.