evening computer science classes in NYC?
December 23, 2014 6:46 PM   Subscribe

I'd like to take a computer science class after work, with as little hoop-jumping as possible. My interests are broad: compilers, programming languages, type theory, distributed systems, OS, numerical analysis. I am looking for relatively academic courses, basically advanced undergrad or grad school without committing to a master's program, not some kind of learn-to-Rails/MEAN/h4x0r boot camp. Is this possible? Any NYC-specific recommendations?

I was graduated a few years ago with a B.S. in computer science, so I've taken the usual 101-level classes.

Actually, I wasn't sure what I wanted at the time, so I did the non-majors, majors, and honors intro sequences all at once:
  • The non-majors one assigned a bunch of nontrivial projects demonstrating how other departments used computers.
  • The honors one was a random walk through Haskell, C, lex/yacc, awk, Python, min-max trees, purely functional data structures, Lindenmayer systems---basically a year of the professor shouting, "And now isn't this cool?!"
  • The for-majors one, unfortunately, had all the workload of the non-majors sequence but none of the whizz-bang factor of the honors sequence.
I liked the first two approaches. I didn't like the for-majors course because I wasn't willing to do that much work just to make a crappy rocket ship animation.

I'm looking for a structured course that assigns problem sets and projects and returns comments. I've tried a variety of self-directed approaches (MOOCs, personal projects, Rosalind/Euler/ICPC-style puzzles, reading a textbook on my own) and I think I learn best in a structured environment.

I would ideally like to do this without getting faculty recommendations or taking any GREs. If I need either, a good GRE score is probably a lot easier than a faculty recommendation, as I haven't kept in touch with any of my professors. I'm willing to pay tuition.
posted by d. z. wang to Education (8 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
I would use this as an excuse to contact your old professors for advice. I bet they'd be happy to hear from you, and happy to help!
posted by oceanjesse at 9:07 PM on December 23, 2014

If distance learning is okay with you and you really don't mind paying tuition, check out Stanford's SCPD program. You'd want to be taking classes as a non-degree student.
posted by town of cats at 12:29 AM on December 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Brooklyn College has a lot of these kinds of classes that are taught at night, as does City Tech. One of my colleagues got a master's at Fordham at night, as well.

My experience with these night classes for working professionals is that you still had to submit an application and a transcript, but that they were relatively flexible about it.
posted by deanc at 7:36 AM on December 24, 2014

How about taking courses in the computer science department at Hunter College as a non-degree student?
posted by merejane at 7:36 AM on December 24, 2014

Columbia used to offer a non-degree program that offered BA holders a chance to take classes that seemed to emphasize practicals, but were more academic than the training you'd get at a boot camp. I had my eye on the program years ago, but just never followed up on it. I no longer see it on the CS department website, but they now have something called a "Certification of Professional Achievement", which seems to group together related MS level classes into a course of study. It's online only, though I'm sure you could check with the department if you could audit those classes in person if there's room.
posted by Calloused_Foot at 10:20 AM on December 24, 2014

Response by poster: "Non-degree student" sounds like exactly the term I was missing. Please keep recommending specific programs, especially if you can share personal experience as a non-degree student there. Thanks, everyone!
posted by d. z. wang at 1:34 PM on December 24, 2014

Less structured than you're looking for, but you may enjoy Hacker School.
posted by glass origami robot at 2:55 AM on December 25, 2014

I was a non-degree SCPD student for a year and change before matriculating into the distance master's program (got my degree in 2012). Feel free to memail me if you have any questions about it.
posted by town of cats at 12:53 PM on December 27, 2014

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