BCIT’s Computer Systems Technology (CST) two-year diploma program combines computer systems theory with hands-on practical experience in software development. You’ll learn about software engineering and programming from subject matter experts, and gain experience working on real projects, from concept to deployment. In second year, specialty options add depth and further hone your skills.
The CST diploma is a widely-recognized credential that is highly regarded by employers. Graduates emerge with the well-rounded skills essential for a career analyzing, designing, and developing software solutions.
The CST diploma program is right for you if:
As a CST graduate, you’ll be able to:
Do you have credits from another BC/Yukon post-secondary school? Do you want to know if they transfer to courses here at BCIT? Check out BCIT's Transfer Equivalency Database to find out.
The CST Diploma is a two-year full-time program.
The first year of the diploma introduces the core skills and theory used in all areas of software development, providing the foundation for the second year specialty options.
Web development, programming, scripting, and computer architecture are all introduced. First year culminates in students applying their skills and creativity to build an application of their own design.
In the second year, students take mostly common computing courses (about 70%), but also select an option to deepen their expertise in specific computing areas (see options below). Admission to the options is competitive – all students who successfully complete first year will be placed in an option, but choice of options may depend on first year grades. Students also hone critical breadth skills in communication, business, and math.Note: availability of options is subject to change
The Client/Server option offers specialized courses in the areas of client/server computing, distributed computing, and mobile computing. Topics include architecture, modeling and structural issues, inter-process communications, and strategies to ensure performance, reliability, scalability, availability, interoperability, and security in such systems. Students develop client/server based systems and solutions using state-of-the-art tools and technology including TCP/IP sockets/datagrams/multicast-sockets, multithreading, multiprocessing, and thread/process synchronization involving desktop as well as mobile platforms.
The Database option focuses on the design and development of database-driven transaction processing and business intelligence applications, covering both database concepts and practical implementation. Included are topics on advanced queries, logical and physical database design, access methods and query optimization, transaction and concurrency control, database administration, trigger, function and stored procedure programming, dimensional modelling and analytical processing, and web-based application development with C# and Java. Practical platforms include database systems, tools, and technologies from Microsoft and Oracle.
Data Communications and Internetworking
The Data Communications and Internetworking option specializes in network architecture and design, software development, and network security skills. Courses in the option place a heavy emphasis on the practical aspects of software development, design, and implementation. Topics covered include protocol design and implementation; low-level systems programming on the Linux and Windows platforms; software development using the TCP/IP protocol suite; wireless protocol design; and the design and implementation of device-level communications applications. Devices used include Embedded Linux boards, Android devices, Radio Frequency Identification Devices (RFID), Wireless modems, and GPS devices. Practical work is focused around the analysis, application design, and implementation of the TCP/IP protocol suite. The environment is very team-oriented and "real world".
The Digital Processing option focuses on the development of digital image, video, and audio systems especially as it relates to gaming. Emphasis is placed on development of tools for new media applications. Topics include image processing, fundamentals of audio and video streams, 3D gaming environments using DirectX, and performance improvement with concurrent programming and MMX/SSE. Various techniques are studied for making filters (Finite Impulse Filters, Infinite Impulse Filters, Gausian smoothing, First-Order and 2nd-order edge-detection), morphing and warping techniques, compression (JPEG, MPEG, Wavelets), mirrors, and picking in 3D worlds. Advanced projects are usually drawn from IEEE papers such as template matching, face recognition, image stitching, and others. Team projects in game development on phones/tablets and the PC are encouraged.
The Information Systems option specializes in developing web-based and mobile applications required by medium and large businesses. Students develop large applications with state-of-the-art tools and application servers, and learn to administer Linux and Windows Servers. Topics include system architecture, performance, scalability, and security in distributed systems. Technologies covered include both Enterprise Java (including Java Server Faces, Java Persistence Architecture, Enterprise Java Beans) and Microsoft's .NET (including ASP.NET, C#, Web services).
The Technical Programming option covers advanced techniques in design and software development. Topics include design principles of human-computer interaction, code techniques used for desktop, web and distributed applications (client-server and three-tier architectures), concurrent programming (multi-threading, synchronization and interprocess-communication), and project management. Students gain programming skills at the low-level of the Win32 API and Windows operating system kernel, and at the high-level in the area of human-computer interaction and web development.
Web and Mobile (Combined)
The Combined Web and Mobile option is aimed at students who want to specialize in developing software applications for Apple iOS devices, as well as mobile websites. After learning how to script and write code in the first year of CST, students in this option develop hands-on skills in PHP, ASP.NET, Java, C# and Objective-C. Working in teams they apply industry standards, design patterns and use Agile development with Scrum. Graduates of the CST Combined Web and Mobile option will able to develop and use client-side and server-side code with multiple programming languages to create mobile/responsive websites, plus web and mobile applications for the iPhone.
Industry Sponsored Student Projects
During the second year, students work directly with external industry sponsors on computing or IT-related projects via the Industry Sponsored Student Project (ISSP), applying their newly-learned skills, and acquiring real-world experience. Students work in teams with an industry sponsor, proceeding through the development life-cycle to develop an IT or software solution. All students participate in two projects.
The BCIT student outcomes reports present summary findings from the annual survey of former students administered by BC Stats one to two years after graduation. These reports combine the last three years of available results for the 2012-2014 BCIT Outcomes Surveys of 2011-2013 graduates and for Degree 2009-2011 graduates. The reports are organized into three-page summaries containing information on graduates' labour market experiences and opinions regarding their education. More detailed information can be accessed at the BC Student Outcomes website.
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Graduates of the Computer Systems Technology program can also pursue a Bachelor of Technology in Computer Systems at BCIT.
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Programs and courses are subject to change without notice.