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

by december (Pilgrim)
on Jul 26, 2002 at 04:11 UTC ( #185418=note: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??


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

Well. You asked for it.

I studied CS at the university of Brussels (Belgium). The first 2 years consist mainly of maths (as you listed): algrebra, trig, discrete, calculus, ... In fact, until a couple of years ago, math students and cs students had the same classes those first 2 years.

And I think it sucks. We had way too much math and other bullshit, while nobody ever tolds us how to program in a secure way, admin servers, basic hardware knowledge, or make comprehensible interfaces, etc; if I would have studied only the things I was supposed to know (for my classes), I wouldn't know much at all about the things I actually need to know. And the math, well, I forgot almost all about it. It's not like I will ever need it in anything I do (thank god, I hate it). I agree there are certain fields that require some mathematical knowledge, like encryption or performance analysis, but I had the feeling I was drowning in it, it put me off and made my life hell. Almost. :)

I didn't enjoy to study CS at all, although I'd been programming computers by myself at a young age. It even had that much effect on me, that I still (only 1 year ago though) refuse to do any kind of programming work (C, Lisp, ... as opposed to 'scripting' in bash or perl) and only occupy myself with system administration and security.

I think that especially in this country, the studies are _way_ behind the requirements of the market in fields evolving as fast as the computer hard/software industry. It's sad I never seem to have learned anything _in class_ of the things I wanted to know.

Oh well... Win some, loose some. I have fun now as admin, in all peace and quiet, at a slow pace. I'll get over it. :)

Eventually...



Comment on Re: (OT) Should math (or adv. math) be required in CIS degrees?
Re: Re: (OT) Should math (or adv. math) be required in CIS degrees?
by Hanamaki (Chaplain) on Jul 26, 2002 at 09:55 UTC
    I didn't enjoy to study CS at all, although I'd been programming computers by myself at a young age.

    Unfortunatly that seems to happen quit often. But many young students forget to think wether CS is really the subject they want to study. Often the "I have done programming since I was 8 years old" guys horrible fail in CS. CS is not about programming but about algorithms, analytical thinking, etc. You could become a genius computer scientist without knowing any programming language.
    So if ones wants to study CS one should really think twice. If one just likes programming, CS is the wrong place. Probably a vocational school or some polytechnic college is a much better way to go. Or ask yourself, "what would I like to study if there was no CS?" ...Then if you think "Linguistics", "Legal Studies", "Literature" etc. pp. would be real cool, join the appropriate school and use your computer knowledge there. Probabably you will be much more satisfied to do legal computing or whatever.

    I think that especially in this country, the studies are _way_ behind the requirements of the market in fields evolving as fast as the computer hard/software industry.

    While I cannot speak for America, this is at least a European phenomen called "Universities are for academic research and education, but not for vocational trainig". Thats fine, because if you want to study something which the market requires you can go to vocational schools, polytechnical schools, etc. pp.

    If you want to learn Spanisch don't study Hispanic studies but go to Berlitz.

    hardcore academically yours,
    Hanamaki

      Often the "I have done programming since I was 8 years old" guys horrible fail in CS. CS is not about programming but about algorithms, analytical thinking, etc.

      Indeed. I fell into precisely this trap in college. I wanted to learn programming so I became a CS major. While I did manage to pick up and do well enough with the algorithms and analytical thinking, but my university required what seemed to me to be too much electrical engineering as part of CS. Since I had neither the interest nor the aptitude for that, I promptly failed out and returned as a German major. ;)

      Lesson Learned: Find out what you're getting yourself into before you commit to it.

      -rattus

      __________
      He seemed like such a nice guy to his neighbors / Kept to himself and never bothered them with favors
      - Jefferson Airplane, "Assassin"

      Unfortunatly that seems to happen quit often. But many young students forget to think wether CS is really the subject they want to study.

      That's very true. If I would have had better knowledge of the exact contents of the CS studies, I don't think I would have started them. It's hard to know how things will turn out when choosing studies or more ahead, jobs. Hindsight is always 20/20, but I would have better started something else. You are right about the "what would I like to study if there was no CS?" Probably nothing scientific at all, I don't like numbers. I like to be creative, more to the artistic side, quite the opposite of scientifical studies and especially CS, it seems...

      So, to return a bit to topic and not bore y'all to death, yes, I think there should be basic math in CS degrees, but in proportion to what is useful to the average graduate. The point that they might have to write seriously mathematical software is rather invalid, in my personal opinion. Why don't you require medical/legal/linguistic/... knowledge too, then?

      It would be better to provide specialization options in each specific type of study, e.g. math degree with a cs option, med degree with cs option, etc. This will be more useful since computers are used in about every profession these days, and CS majors can't be expected to understand all of these fields just because they might have to program for it. By using people who studied something more relevant to the type of specialized software being written, the specific needs and problems will be easier to capture, analyze and solve.

        The point that they might have to write seriously mathematical software is rather invalid, in my personal opinion. Why don't you require medical/legal/linguistic/... knowledge too, then?

        Mathematical studies in the field of computer science have nothing to do with preparing students for writing mathematical software. It is to provide students with the tools needed for the study, design, and analysis of algorithms.

        By using people who studied something more relevant to the type of specialized software being written, the specific needs and problems will be easier to capture, analyze and solve.

        That may well be true, but that domain specific knowledge doesn't help the programmer/designer figure out algorithms appropriate to the task or to decide if certain approaches are even computationally feasible.

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