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Re: Re^4: Programming and math

by Anonymous Monk
on Aug 10, 2003 at 08:20 UTC ( #282579=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Re^4: Programming and math
in thread Programming and math

Why "formal CS education"? The students who study CS at a university read the same books we can read...

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Re^6: Programming and math
by adrianh (Chancellor) on Aug 10, 2003 at 08:53 UTC

    I wasn't trying to say that somebody has to go through a university programme.

    However, more "academic" CS knowledge is useful and can make you a better developer. A degree is a good a way of acquiring it. You can also go read the communications of the ACM and read a lot of Knuth.

    My (minor) point of contention is that I don't see a CS degree as a negative. Yes there are poor developers with CS degrees - but there are also poor developers without CS degrees. A good coder will get a hell of a lot out of a good degree programme.

      ...A good coder will get a hell of a lot out of a good degree programme...

      Oh yes, indeed! All of what you can learn in a CS study, being a more or less experienced programmer, will fall on "fertile" ground and thus flourish (pardon the analogy, maybe there's a bit too much of Chauncey Gardner in there ;-) I even would make at least 1 year of programming a prerequisite for being allowed to do a CS study.

      But that's just the problem. Many CS students don't have any programming experience. They're not able to make a connection between their new knowledge and the real world (yet). And by the time they're in a position to apply, they will have forgotten about most of what they're learned.

      Anecdote Alert:
      I once gave a 3 week course in programming (TenCORE LAS if you must know) to a group of 15 ex-teachers who had never done any programming before. Unfortunately, the forces in charge decided that it would be at least 4 months before any of them would be able to use it in the real world. Needless to say, after 4 months I could basically start teaching all over again. Very frustrating. Glad I'm not in the (classroom) teaching business anymore.


        I agree completely that a degree will benefit somebody with real world experience more than a complete newbie - but that applies to any subject.

        (My partner is convinced that nobody should be allowed to do a degree until they're at least twenty five - until then they won't be able to appreciate it!)

        The problem I get with new CS graduates without real-world experience isn't that they've forgotten stuff - it's that they don't realise that there is a lot more left to learn: working in teams, maintaining somebody else's code, having to talk to clients without sounding like a patronising know-it-all SOB, the ability to talk to people without degrees who just happen to know a lot more than they do, etc.

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