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Frequently Asked Questions

This page presents a list of questions (with answers) to frequently asked questions by students. Please email the instructor if you have a question you think should be posted.


Course Content


Technical Questions


How do I get an account in the Computer Technology Center (CTC)?

User names and passwords are provided by the CTC lab (room 1400). They are provided only to those students who are legitimately enrolled in one or more computer-related courses that uses the CTC lab. In order to use a computer in the CTC lab, you need to log onto the computer with your CTC User name and password. For more information, click here.

Where can I find a good glossary of computer terms?

The computer and information technology disciplines use thousands to terms. This course uses many of those same terms. Since there are so many terms, it is usually faster to find the term you are looking for using a search function. Any of the following is a good source.

Which Programming Language Should I Study?

You should learn whatever programming languages you need to accomplish your goals. That said, most students have one of the following goals:

  1. Meet requirements for their major
  2. Improve their chances of getting a job
  3. Determine whether or not programming is a good career choice

Meeting Requirements for a Major

You can get an idea of which programming languages to learn by consulting the course catalog for your intended major and transfer university. To determine which Cabrillo College courses are transferable, you should visit the assist.org web site and meet with a counselor. The following links may be useful for Cabrillo College students in determining which courses to take:

Improving Your Employability

Despite what you may assume from reading the press, computer software and support jobs are still projected to be the fastest growing job categories in the U.S. between now and 2010. The November 24, 2003 issue of Time Magazine (p. 55) listed computer-support specialists as the fifth fastest growing segment and computer-software engineers (applications) as the ninth fastest growing segment. These projections are supported by Bureau of Labor statistics.

So which programming languages do employers want software professionals to know? The October 2003 issue of Dr. Dobb's Journal presented a web-based jobs survey that answers this question. By scanning web-based job offers that specify requirements for different programming languages, the authors found that:

A more recent indicator is the TIOBE Programming Community Index. This site measures the popularity of programming languages based on availability of software engineers, courses and vendors. The index is updated monthly using web search engine results. For instance, in December 2005 the most popular programming languages in order were:

  1. Java
  2. C
  3. C++
  4. PHP
  5. Visual Basic

To maximize your employability, you should learn both C++ and Java at a minimum.

Exploring Software Engineering as a Profession

You can learn to program using either C++ or Java. Once you learn one of the languages, the second language is much faster and easier to pick up. However, Java is usually the best choice as a first language for the beginning programmer because:

  1. Java is the language used for the AP test and to teach programming at most all University of California campuses.
  2. Java syntax is more consistent, allowing the student to learn more programming concepts in the first semester.
  3. Java provides an easier path to learn C++ (or C#) than languages such as Visual Basic.

Further Information

Why can't I use PhotoShop in the CTC?

PhotoShop is a commercial application and Cabrillo strictly follows all laws pertaining to use of commercial software. For students in the Digital Media program, Cabrillo has purchased an extremely limited number of user licenses. The licenses are limited because funding to community colleges is extremely limited.

If we allow you to use PhotoShop when you are not enrolled in an appropriate course, then we must allow all students to use that software. This would prevent students who are enrolled in classes from using the software.

Why does WebCT say unavailable after I submitted an assignment?

The term unavailable applies to the grade of the assignment. The grade is unavailable because the instructor has not graded it yet. When he grades it, it will become available.

How do I view my test results in WebCT?

To view your test results:

  1. Go to the Quizzes/Surveys page and push the View Scores button.
  2. Under the column Attempts Number select the number "1" hyperlink.

This will show you all the questions and answers for your test.

How long until the semester is over?

See the Cabrillo Counter by Steve Hodges.

Course Content

Can students influence which topics are covered during the course?

Yes. The course will cover the objectives listed in the Syllabus. Beyond those objectives, we can choose additional topics of interest. Your instructor wants to make this course relevant to you.

Is it possible to get bugs fixed on the class web pages?

Yes! Just email the instructor and he will be happy to correct any problems you find.


Will you look over my assignment before I submit it and tell me if it is correct?

No. If I were to "look over" your assignment before it was graded then I would have to look over every student's assignment. This would mean that I grade every student at least twice but only assign grades after everything is correct. Part of learning is to find errors and correct your own work. However, I will answer specific and reasonable questions.

According to my calculations, I got 89.9% in the course and I received a "B". I was only one-tenth of a percent away from an "A". Can't you give me an "A"?

An "A" means you have done excellent work throughout the course. It does not mean a "marginally excellent" student. You either earn an "A" or you earn a "B", which signifies that you did "above average" work. There is no shame in being above average. If you earn 90.0% or more, you will receive the "A" grade you earned.

If I get close to a "C" at the end of a semester, will you give it to me?

I don't give you any grade. You receive the grade you earn. If it is a C, that is what you get. If it is a D, that is also what you get.

Technical Questions

How do I change the extension on a file using Mac OS X?

If you use Macintosh OS X:

  1. Use Finder to find the file
  2. Select the file by clicking on it
  3. Open the Get Info dialog (Ctrl-i or File->Menu->Get info)
  4. Untick the Hide Extension checkbox
  5. Change the extension of the file
  6. Say "Yes" when the confirming dialog asks if you want the extension changed