Taking on a Second Degree: [Part 1] From Teaching to Computing Science

Taking on a Second Degree: [Part 1] From Teaching to Computing Science

By: Patrick Underwood | Computing Science Co-op Student
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Patrick started his career as an elementary school teacher and now he is completing SFU’s Computing Science Second degree program.  He shares how he got there and how co-op has been a great help!

Starting over can be daunting...even terrifying especially when approaching “middle-age”. I know this first hand, but thanks to the Co-op program my fears have been dissuaded.

I started off as an Elementary school teacher. I got my first degree in Fine Arts, went on to get another in Education and began a career as a professional educator. After working for two years as a Teacher-on- call I finally got offered a full time position, but at the same time I was presented with the opportunity to go teach English in Japan. Having never ventured off of North America’s shining shores I opted for the latter and turned down the full time teaching position. I figured that I could teach for one year in Japan then come back and pick up my public school teaching career where I left off (since my seniority would be maintained for one year). One year in Japan turned into three, as these things often do, and when I returned to Canada I searched in vain for a full-time teaching position... if only I could speak French or teach computers I’d be a shoo-in for a job.

Worried I’d be starving on the streets, I considered my options very carefully and decided I would go back to school and study computers to help me get a teaching job. I got accepted into SFU’s Computing Science Second Degree program and entered a brave new world of concepts and skills that I had never thought of before. To make matters worse, most of my classmates were literally half my age and filled with the optimism and vigor of youth; how could I compete? Did I make a horrible choice?

Read on, and learn about Patrick's first co-op.

Beyond the Article:

Posted on June 18, 2014