Taken from my responses in OMSCS group at Google+ about the subject:
I’m taking both right now (Software Development Process and Computer Networks), not difficult any of them, but they are time consuming because they’re both assignment intensive. We have one assignment per week for SDP, start dates are saturday mornings and due dates are friday nights (seven days for every assignment). For CN start dates are monday mornings and due dates are sunday nights (1 to 2 weeks are given to us to finish assignments, sometimes they overlap by 1 week). For SDP I’d suggest you learn Java if you’re not proficient yet, install android studio in your computer before starting the semester and try to learn some android the hard way (by coding), that will definitively help, trying to do that once the assignment time is running might be stressful. Avoid using the VM for SDP if you can, you’re better off installing things on your own computer. If you have an old computer consider buying a new one with lots of RAM, 16GB would be great. Android Studio eats RAM like crazy, and so does the mininet VM from CN, I had to allocate 6GB of RAM only for the CN VM. You’ll spend most of your time doing assignments. For CN there is a test every 5 weeks, they don’t send you an assignment for the week before the test, for that week try to arrange as much time as possible, try to finish the SDP assignment early so you can focus only on CN most of the days of that week. CN teacher gives a preparation question list, focus on that mostly. Teacher will also post on piazza a list of main subjects for the test, that’s very important too. One thing I didn’t mention is the number of papers you’ll have to read for CN, 1 or 2 per week, sometimes the assignments are based on the papers, so don’t start late the assignments or you might see yourself forced to read a paper first besides the lectures, which might take you a few hours, if you have a day job and family that might mean 1 day really
Software Development Process: Way more coding load, only android and java coding so far, I had to learn Android during the course, again I’d suggest you to install Android Studio in your computer before you start and get your hands on some android coding by yourself first, it took me many hours to install android studio and emulator, and many hours to understand how android works. For the group project we were given 2 weeks just for coding. There are assignments every week from saturday to next friday, most assignments don’t need coding though
Computer Networks: we haven’t coded that much, but there were 2 or 3 projects were we coded in Python, we were given an already existent project and we had to fill the gaps, for that we had to understand all the python code first, it took me a whole day to understand all the python code and another full day to code the missing parts. We have been given 2 weeks for every assignment until now, but a new assignment is released almost every week, so I have 2 assignments every week, one from SDP and another one from CN.
Work/life balance: If you work and have spouse and kids, be very careful about your schedule, tune it the best you can, just saving half an hour every day to add to your study schedule can make a big difference. These 2 courses are not difficult but very time consuming, for CN you have to read 1 or 2 papers every week besides the lectures.
Hardware and Software: If you don’t have a good computer with lots of RAM, I’d suggest you to try to get one ASAP or try upgrading yours. Android Studio eats RAM like crazy, and for CN you’re given a VM with mininet, which I had to give 6GB of RAM, or it crashed on me for some load-intense projects. For SDP we were given a VM with android studio too, never got it to work correctly, emulator crashed or was too slow inside the VM, I could make some real progress once I installed android studio directly in my PC. I’ve been told Android Studio eats more RAM when installed on Windows, I use Linux Mint with 12GB RAM, it was still slow sometimes, but way better than using the VM