Q

I want to pursue a degree in Computer Science after completing my CCNP. What subjects and programmi

I am currently enrolled in a CCNA program. I also want to pursue a degree in Computer Science after completing my CCNP. What subjects and programming languages should I concentrate on? And what relationship does a software engineer have with this career path I am taking since there is a specialization course in that area at the university I want to join.
Given an interest in networking, the subjects to concentrate in are easier to recommend than one or more programming languages (alas, there's not always a clear relationship between taking care of networks and writing code, though there are opportunities that permit the two to be melded from time to time). Thus also, a software engineer is more likely to be somebody who builds networking tools or utilities than somebody who designs, manages, or maintains networks - -and hence, also defines a way to "do networking" and "write code" under a single umbrella.

Subjects you'll want to pursue include networking topologies and technologies, including wireless and wired LANs,

MANs, WANs, and long-haul high-bandwidth infrastructure technologies (e.g. SONET). They also include networking protocols and service, especially the huge subject area that is TCP/IP. You'll also want to understand fundamentals of network management, security, and design as well. On the development side, you'll want courses in programming language design, algorithms, various math courses (linear algebra, discrete mathematics, automata theory, and set theory are all particularly helpful for would-be computer scientists and software developers), plus whatever languages you choose to pursue.

On the languages side, I'd recommend C+ and some object-oriented language like Java or C# (pronounced "C-sharp"). All of these languages are widely used for networking software and operating system development, and should stand you in good stead.

This was first published in August 2004

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