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ECT News Community   »   LinuxInsider Talkback   »   Re: Is a Computer Science Degree Worth It?



Re: Is a Computer Science Degree Worth It?
Posted by: Katherine Noyes 2011-12-08 08:54:22
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Education may be "the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world," in the wise words of Nelson Mandela, but is that true of education in all its forms? That, indeed, has been the question of the day among Linux bloggers. "How worthwhile are Computer Science degrees?" asked the TuxRadar team. "Many technology companies complain that graduates, even of Computer Science, arrive with little understanding of how to work in industry and often lack knowledge of basic coding paradigms."


CS Degree
Posted by: mpflorio 2011-12-09 07:37:06 In reply to: Katherine Noyes
My comments may refer to a bygone era, when computers were a mystery, but in 1967 I was drafted after studying Industrial Design in college. I went into the Navy and circumstances led me to their 2-year Data Systems School.After three years in the fleet I returned to teach (after 6 weeks of Instructor Training)at the same school. I knocked off my BS in Operations Research while there, and went to work in Silicon Valley.

Most of my contemporaries had EE degrees, so I spent 4 years part-time attending graduate school and got my CS MS degree. I have to say I learned more in that 2-year Navy School than I did in graduate school. That semester-long Finite Math class was taught in 2 weeks in the Navy school. I knew more about how a computer worked internally than most of my PhD instructors.

Over my 40-year career I learned that those short, intensive courses, if properly taught, trump what the universities offer.

I've hired and managed many CS people over the years, and agree that folks with a CS degree may be good, or not -it depends on the person, and their ability to dive in and consume a problem. The nerds that hung around the computer center late into the night were generally a better bet than those who didn't.

The pea-brains with degrees in Psychology are the ones manning the HR departments. They haven't got a clue and never will.

Another Prespective
Posted by: klanias 2011-12-09 05:18:33 In reply to: Katherine Noyes
I disagree with the prespective of seeing computer science as a degree for developers and especially for "professional" developers. (or even worse as programmers).

First of all, Computer Science (personally i believe informatics) is a Science. If an individual chooses to follow an academic course in Computer Science he should have in mind that it is not a developer school.

Of course in CS school you are taught the Basics of developing and programming BUT we shouldn't forget that, as in open source community and in bussiness propiertary development, the individual HAS also himself (an in collaboration with others) to learn and gain experience for example through hands-on practice and reading. This factor is important also in CS schools, so dont blame CS schools for providing poor developing courses or for not being useful.

If someone wants to be a "developer" then he can become one by self-study and participation in projects. Later on he can follow courses in many types of education (for example vocational programs on developing). Computer Science is another more broad aspect in education.

Finally the only thing to blame on CS schools is that instead of promoting science (and of course some business oriented courses and not only academic) they tried to become a poor version of "academic" vocational school that provides a "certification" with which someone will find a job. All the other stuff have to do with PERSONAL choices, or choices mandated by the market.

True CS degrees are useful but for a different reason. CS = programing-developing school.

Programmer in the making
Posted by: R_T 2011-12-08 14:29:15 In reply to: Katherine Noyes
After spending the past 15 months writing code, it has become clear that my career has shifted from a systems admin path, to a programming/web developer path. I have learned enough to be dangerous, and have considered investing in some additional education, possibly a CS degree. After reading this article I am not sure what to do.
I recognize that a degree might be a means to open doors, and validate my knowledge (for those who don't know enough to ask the right questions when hiring), however, I had hoped that a formal education would also provide a foundation on which to build and enhance my budding programming skills.
.....still pondering...

Multidegrees
Posted by: Paul-T 2011-12-08 09:05:30 In reply to: Katherine Noyes
" Hairyfeet has also advised his oldest son to "be ANYTHING but a tech guy," he added. "Programmers will be joining autoworkers and machinists on the bread lines. Their degrees cost less than $5k, yours cost over $50k; they can live well on 15K a year, you can't even pay your student loans.

"It's simple economics, folks -- survival of the greediest -- and nobody makes 'greedy' like a U.S. corporate head," he concluded. "
. . . need to add the word "stupidity". Many of the heads are not educated nor intelligent to fully run their company. Witness the many law suites and government bailouts due to same.
The above article just touches the surface of non-educated controlling the U S Economy.
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