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For CIS, Math is good, but Philo is better.

by dragonchild (Archbishop)
on Jul 25, 2002 at 18:57 UTC ( #185284=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to (OT) Should math (or adv. math) be required in CIS degrees?

Short answer - yes (and yes).

Longer answer - for the very reason you cite - analytical skills.

Real answer:
To learn how to think. Personally, I think that Philosophy, especially Logic, should be required for any sort of degree, let along CIS. But, it's especially important in CIS. Math, at least, is a quasi-related field that has logic pedagogy built in to the fabric of the subject. You'd think that this would be the case in a CIS degree, but it's not. In fact, I've noticed that analysis and design is the weakest skill for most CS professionals.

This results in a "code-first, maybe-figure-things-out-later" attitude (for both coders and managers) that leads to demolished productivity and a bad name for the profession. In fact, a number of programmers I've met are afraid of analysis/design work. We fear what we do not understand. Had they taken Math, even something as simple as Linear Algebra or Advanced Calculus, they would be more secure in their capabilities to attack and solve problems.

The reason why Philo would be better is that, unlike Math, you have to be able to handle problems expressed in English and parse them to their logical equivalents. This is the exact skill I use when handling customer-written requirements. Without that training, I would be lost.

(For the record, I have a double major in both Math and CompSci, with a should've-been-completed minor in Philosophy.)

We are the carpenters and bricklayers of the Information Age.

Don't go borrowing trouble. For programmers, this means Worry only about what you need to implement.

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Re: For CIS, Math is good, but Philo is better.
by sean23007 (Initiate) on Jul 29, 2002 at 01:49 UTC
    There would be, of course, a plus side for requiring Philosophy for a CIS degree. One who is versed in the philosophical way of thinking will always ask questions, and perhaps those questions would lead to answers that improve the code somehow.

    Not to mention the added bonus of improved ethics among coders. If the people with CIS degrees were seen to be very ethical, it might shine a new light on hackers in general, and present a role model for the developing script kiddies out there. (And maybe fewer good coders would go running off to code for the Empire. ;) )

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