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Re: (OT) Should math (or adv. math) be required in CIS degrees?

by vladb (Vicar)
on Jul 25, 2002 at 21:48 UTC ( #185360=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

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

First, how deeply assured are you that web programming is going to stay there for a long while? or alternatively, how long you think you'll be able or willing to keep doing the job? Personally, I classify myself as a kind of programmer who likes to explore things. I like to play not only with the web stuff but writing drivers in Assembly, C++ Libraries, graphical programming, etc etc. As a consultant, I get to do various types of projects. Some require C++ knowledge; whereas others are fine with Perl. Overall, however, ability to think analytically and be a good problem solver is paramount in any work I do.

For one, I very much liked (and still do) Physics, Calculus, and Math. Naturally I did good in all of these areas (hack, my Physics teacher even suggested I pursue a career of a 'rocket scientist'; whilst my Calculus teacher insisted I pursue that of a statistician... ;). This, I believe, played out quite well for me in my work as a developer. Math/Calculus trains your brain to think in abstract fashion. Having a good grasp of precise sciences allows one to device better algorithms and data structures to employ in his/her code.

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Re: Re: (OT) Should math (or adv. math) be required in CIS degrees?
by japhif (Scribe) on Jul 27, 2002 at 19:31 UTC
      First, how deeply assured are you that web programming is going to stay there for a long while? or alternatively, how long you think you'll be able or willing to keep doing the job?

    What you mention here and what you go on to mention are good points. I may drift off topic a little replying to it, but I will anyway and I'll go on to summarize what I've gained from the original post and the replies to it. I didn't mention in my original post that my BS was a double major in CIS/Mathematics, but I did make it noticable that I was biased toward math by my post (and it was listed on my home node). Before I started day one of college I took many weeks to research local and some not so local colleges so that I could plot a course that would take me up to 8 to 10 years to complete. The college I really wanted to go to was not an option to begin with because I couldn't afford it financially (at the time) and it was far to distant to travel to 4 nights a week (like is commonly required for full time AS and then BS studies.) I had to work full time during the day, so I could only go at night my first four years and is still the case now. But to make a long story short (whoops, too late) I realized the college that I wanted to do graduate study at requred very high math classes so that is the (1) reason that I chose to take a second major in Mathematics. The (2) reason is I've always enjoyed math and I thought it would be quite challenging. I have and always have had a hard time learning math so it turned out to be very challenging for me, but the challenge kept me interested so I didn't get bored with college. As a side note it seems I rarely had to think very much to complete all the CIS classes and I spent a lot of my CIS class time helping or tutoring other students. And the (3) reason I chose math which pertains to the quote at the top that I'm responding to is because I wasn't sure that I'd always be a programmer because of ambitions or market changes, etc. But I like almost anything to do with technology, and math in one form or another is part of the foundation of many other tech fields. I started out in electronics engineering (part time for 2 years), but I switched to computer programming after the technical school I attended cut the night program and lost all records that I had ever been there in the first place. But also, I noticed that there were a lot more programming jobs in the area than electronics engineering jobs. So to summarize all that I just said in response to the quote above, I'm not totally certain that web programming will be an option for me in the long term, but if it falls through, I'll switch to another programming system because I definitely buy into the "don't put all your eggs in one language err... I mean basket" club. And if there are no programming jobs, maybe I'll go back to electronics engineering.

    As far as my original post, I do believe that math (somewhere in between beg. and adv) should be required for CIS degrees. I think the Algebra I requirement (like the college where I got my BS degree)is far too low a requirement though. But I think they did that so they could have more market coverage (since many of the existing CIS students could hardly meet the Algebra I requirement). At my old college, "money" definetely out-ranks "education quality" on the priority list, but I guess it's only to be expected.

    Reasons for my belief that math should be required for the CIS program is what has already been mentioned.

    1) Builds analytical skills
    2) Some math concepts can be directly applied to programming
    3) A serving of medium to advanced math courses exposes the student to concepts that he or she can research further if needed in certain job situations
    4) Based on the same premise that applies to General Studies classes that makes for a more rounded student and gives all students a universal or common ground on which to think and communicate (or at least that was the execuse given to me as to why I had to take all those music appreciation and art appreciation, etc classes. I did finally accept it at one point and when it was all over I was glad that I took all those courses which made me think in a different way). But anyway, I think math to a certain extent carries that concept one step further and applies it to the technical and science fields. And to use a quote from one of my favorite movies, "Mathematics is the universal language of science."

    Thanks to all those who responded and I hope the discussion continues.

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