First, let me say this is not a rant at shotgunefx
replied to this post because it hit several topics that I
wanted to touch on. I don't think anyone disputes the fact
that college systems turn out an inordinate number of
hacks, whether CS or literary. I also doubt that many
would dispute that there are a goodly number of bad CS and
Literary university programs.
However, some of these examples listed above actually
represent the basics of any decent CS curriculum:
- CIS students on a systems information track
usually have to write a multitasking operating system
simulation. I had to do this in Advanced Operating systems.
- <OLDFART>I was in college from 1983-1987. When I graduated, we
still had IBM PC Jr.s in the PC labs and an IBM 4341
mainframe with 8MB of core memory. Do you think that the
scope of our assignments were limited because of the
hardware constraints? Mind you there was no such thing as
CPAN back then, we had to write everything from scratch
using the quaint data structures Ovid mentioned.</OLDFART>
- Students in the systems information track were also
required to take Compiler Construction and Design. I was
exempted from this because I requested to take a graduate
course in Artificial Intelligence instead. My project was a
3d tic-tac-toe game on a 5-by-5 cube.
- Assembler was required for all CS majors and was a
prerequisite to Data Structures. Digital Logic, required
for systems information, also provided valuable insights on
how computers work.
One of the points I'm trying to make is that universities
are a lot like computers: Garbage in, garbage out. Those
that apply themselves and learn the required material will
benefit from a college degree.
Colleges do provide the opportunity for real hands on
(paid) experience for their students, it called co-op. I
had one friend that worked with the local Corps of
Engineers and two at QMS (Quality Micro Systems) R&D. One
is currently upper management at Adobe.
People should also consider the fact that most intelligent
college students do more than just attend class and do
homework. Some work, have families, belong to professional
organizations and also find time to further personal
projects or research as well (computer related or not).
Here are some interesting statistics lifted from here:
Table 1. Highest level of school completed or degree
received, computer programmers, 1998
Level completed Percent
High school graduate or equivalent or less 10.6
Some college, no degree 20.5
Associate degree 10.2
Bachelorís degree 45.3
Graduate degree 13.4
About 3 out of 5 computer programmers had a bachelorís
degree or higher in 1998 (see table 1). Of these, some hold a
degree in computer science, mathematics, or information
systems, whereas others have taken special courses in
computer programming, to supplement their study in fields
such as accounting, inventory control, or other areas of
business. As the level of education and training required by
employers continues to rise, this percentage should increase
in the future.
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