My Georgia Tech OMSCS Experience So Far
I was accepted to, and enrolled in, Georgia Tech’s OMSCS (Online Master of Science in Computer Science) in January 2016. This post is meant as a recap as the classes I’ve taken, and my experiences throughout this program. Every class is a 3 hour credit. You need 10 classes, or 30 hours, to earn this degree, which you have to complete within 6 years of admission. There is no thesis requirement, just pass all the classes and you’ve earned the degree.
I transferred in 3 hours that I didn’t use from my undergrad at Auburn. I needed 5 engineering elective hours to graduate at Auburn, and I passed 12. I had too much free time then. One class, ELEC5150-Intro to Information Security at Auburn, transferred as credit for CS6035-Intro to Information Security at Georgia Tech.
I only take 1 class at a time, since I also work full time and like to do things besides be in front of the computer. I’ve dropped a few classes, and got a D in 1 class, which doesn’t count towards your graduation credits, but, unfortunately, does count towards your GPA. Anyways, here’s the classes I’ve taken, grades I earned, if I recommend the course, and my thoughts on each.
- Grade: B
- Would recommend
This was a great first class to take in OMSCS. It eases you into the concept of working at your own pace, working with groups of people that you never meet in person, and the basics of using Github in a small group. I got a B, but was really close to an A. I wish I had put a little more effort into this class. Dr. Orso is a interesting professor, and you learn a bit of Java and how to build a simple Android app.
- Grade: B
This is a software architecture course. I work in cloud architecture, more along the infrastructure lines, but I didn’t learn much in this class. The lectures are boring, the content is boring… it’s just a whole course on UML.
- Grade: Dropped
This is considered to be one of the easiest classes in OMSCS, but it wasn’t for me. It’s all about writing networking algorithms in Python, and it just didn’t click for me. I dropped this one pretty early.
- Grade: D
- Advise against
This class with Dr. Irfan Issa has been my worst Georgia Tech class, and second worse classroom experience ever (no one will ever top Dr. Baginski’s Analog Electronics at Auburn). So this class I really struggled in, but I put in a ton of effort, and expected to make a mid C. A bad grade, but at least credit towards graduation. This class is heavy on Python and matrix algebra, both topics I am not strong in. So I go into the final project with a 75, and I just have to get about a 10 (out of 100) to keep my C. One annoying thing about Dr. Issa is that he gives you the assignment file as something like final_project.pdf, and wants the deliverable to have the exact same name (final_project.pdf). You can see how this can cause issues if you’re keeping your projects in the same directory, like a logical person.
Well, I uploaded my final project after completion and did an OK job, not A material, but definitely more than a 10 material. When grades came back a few weeks later, I saw that I had a D in the class. I asked the TAs and professor why, and it was because I uploaded the final_project.pdf that was the instructions, not my actual final report. When I selected the file to upload, I was in the wrong directory. I received a 0 on the final project, they would not accept my completed final_report.pdf, and therefore I failed this class. I brought this up to Georgia Tech as a Official Grade Dispute, and it was not re-graded. My D stood. This was probably the worst experience I’ve had in an academic setting, and foreshadowed the rest of my expirience at GT.
Overall, I would recommend not taking this class unless you have a very strong interest in Computational Photography.
- Grade: A
- Would recommend
This is a really good class, and it was nice to take a interesting class after my awful previous semester. I had considered dropping the whole program after getting a D in my previous course. In this database course, I learned a bunch, and worked with a really great group on my projects in this course. Dr. Mark is funny and keeps lectures interesting. This class also helped me in my work, as I’ve been working more with databases now than ever before.
Fall 2017 - None
- Grade: A
This class is taught by Dr. David Joyner, who is highly liked in the OMSCS community. He is a interesting professor, but this wasn’t the most interesting topic for me. This class has a decent amount of busy work, like weekly status reports and required meetings, but it made for the easiest grade in OMSCS so far. I didn’t learn a whole lot in this course, but it is a decent course and good for padding your GPA.
I signed up for this thinking it was a really interesting sounding course. The content is interesting, but it gets tough, quick. The first project was easy, then it became super difficult. The course deals with stock trading, AI, and utilizes Python, numpy, pandas, and other Python libraries. I also had a lot of things going on in my personal life, so I couldn’t devote as much time as I needed to this course, so I dropped it. Dr. Balch’s lectures are interesting.
- Grade: B
This class was not fun or educational for me. The class is 100% run by a TA, there is no instructor involvement. The lectures are dry, and the content is not interesting for me. You spend most of the course learning about FHIR, a healthcare API, but every time we were had an assignment to do any development with it, the API was not functioning. Luckily, you don’t have to use FHIR for your final project, and I think 0% of my class ended up using it. We were allowed to pick any healthcare related project that was given to us, and it ended up being a simple team project. I came away with a B, but was close to an A. I would not take this class again.
- Dropped… again
I got a promotion at work and my work load started going up, I got engaged, ended up doing more home remodeling, more car stuff, and less school. Same as the first time I took this course, the second project was overly difficult. I won’t try to take this one a 3rd time, but the content does still interest me.
Summer 2019 - None
Honeymoon for a week in Costa Rica, no way I’m doing school then.
Fall 2019 - CS6238 - Secure Computing Systems
This is the first time this class has been taught, so it’ll either be super easy or the worst class ever. I’ll let you know in December.
Update: Hardest class ever, dropped.
So as of April 2019, I have 18 credits out of 30. I need to pass 4 more classes by Spring 2022 in order to graduate.
Dropped out in 2019, so happy I did, this degree wasn’t worth the time for me and my career ended up not requiring a MS degree. If you do need a MS, this is a great value but it is very very difficult.