Fog Creek Software
Discussion Board




Why don't colleges teach stuff one can use!!!!!!!!

after my undergrad education in CS and grad education in CE...

I still do not know the reasons why univs/colleges teach stuff one can use in real life.

If it was upto me I would ask people to stop using Roger Pressman & Ian Sommervile and start using Steve McConnell and Joel Spolsky for software engineering!!!!

Your thougths would be much appreciated, after all we are the people who would like to see the field of software enginnerring progress.

any mistakes in this article can bve attributed to Harvest Moon (http://harvestmoonbrewery.com)

Prakash S
Wednesday, February 05, 2003

why in the world are you going to college and wasting your money then?  Or, at least studying something you seem to realize doesn't really help too much.  I've read a lot of your previous posts, and you seem to be a competent, knowledagble person.  How can you stand it? I'm still going to college, but i'm trying to learn things that will be useful to me, (business, law, english, etc). 

Vincent Marquez
Wednesday, February 05, 2003

I officially renounce my JoS readership if we seriously go through this again.

I mean it.

Stop it.

Beating Dead Horses
Wednesday, February 05, 2003

College course are not vocational training centres.  They are based on the implicit assumption that you are going to go on to become a researcher not a an employee.  Therefore, their teaching has an academic orientation and they try to develop broad abilities rather than particular skills.

Sherlock gently massaging the dead horse

sherlock_yoda
Wednesday, February 05, 2003

College are suppose to teach you to think. Period.

Robert Chevallier
Wednesday, February 05, 2003

sherlock_yoda's explaination is probably the closest to the truth.

Btw, Ian Sommervile differentiates between Computer Science and Software Engineering in his book, "Software Engineering, 6th edition".  Sounds to me that you should be pursuing a Computer Engineering degree rather than a Computer Science degree.

Personally, I feel that most researchers provide little value outside of the educational institution they work at.  What do most of them do?  Write a few articles each year that only handful of fellow researchers will read?

One Programmer's Opinion
Wednesday, February 05, 2003

The jobs out there are too diverse for them to focus on teaching things that you personally will actually use.  A CS degree could lead to a job as a database admin or a systems admin, or a programmer in any one of a myriad of specialties, operating systems, and languages.

However, at least 90% of the material will be used by *somebody* in your class at some time in their career, if it isn't you personally. For example, it was eight years after graduation that I was actually able to use my knowledge of big-O complexity to reduce a response time (of another programmer's code) from a few minutes down to a few seconds, taking 5 minutes to solve what another programmer was unable to fix after days of effort.

A CS degree is mainly about exercising your brain so you know how to learn, rather than what you've learned.  Having said that, a *good* CS program will teach you certain fundamentals that you actually are likely to use, such as object-oriented concepts.

T. Norman
Wednesday, February 05, 2003

Because the people teaching usually don't practice.  They are out of touch.  Study something for fun in college.

not my regular made up name
Wednesday, February 05, 2003

sherlock_yoda basically said it exactly right: college is not a vocational training course. Their job, typically, is not to get you ready to go out and get a job in your field.

Fact is, there isn't enough education targetted directly at getting into specific types of jobs, and those that exist rarely seem to come from college, and those that still do exist often don't have enough behind them to convince employers of their value.

Prediction: There will be lots of big opporunities for the future in special and specific job training and certification programs that are focused on what they are really supposed to be doing and who do it well.


Ultimately, college was not designed to do what you wanted it to do. It is for providing a general education in the field of Computer Science and Computer Engineering.

What you apparently wanted instead was something more along the lines of MCSE Training and Certification.

That with an Associates in Computer Science, or maybe at most a BS in Computer Science is, from all that I've seen, about all the certified education required to get just about any job in the whole tech industry. All the rest is Experience.

The Associates to prove general knowledge and the MCSE cert, perhaps along with other certs, and a little experience would have been cheaper in resources (time and money), possibly more enjoyable for you, and would have most likely made you better at whatever it is that you do.

Guess it's too late to tell you that, though. Sorry :(

Brian Hall
Wednesday, February 05, 2003

The trouble with college trying to teach you something you really use is that when you graduate you find that nobody is using it any more!

Stephen Jones
Wednesday, February 05, 2003

Just a minor FYI - computer engineering is the branch of EE that deals directly with computers. I expect that you meant 'software engineering' -- the kind of stuff Joel talks about in most of his articles. Now, I think that a lot of people with CS degrees (myself included) would have preferred 'software engineering' undergrad program, with less set theory and Lisp, and more software engineering and UI design.

Dave Rothgery
Wednesday, February 05, 2003

"College are suppose to teach you to think. Period"

I think this statement is very far from the truth.  In any of my college classes, I am able to do well by memorizing.  Thats what everyone does.  How else can students come out of their third C++ class and not remember how to do basic programming?  This happens all the time.  I can't speak for other countrys, but I believe that in the US, college is about playing the study game, not about "thinking".  My friend/mentor recieved a MS in Mathematics at the University of Moscow.  He said every test he took was a one on one conversation with the teacher.  No written, multiple choice exams.  Now that sounds like learning.  Its too bad its not done right over here.

Vincent Marquez
Wednesday, February 05, 2003

It seems college taught you to drink beer and spew garbage from your keyboard. What more do you want?

Mr. Dude
Wednesday, February 05, 2003

>>>
College are suppose to teach you to think. Period.
<<<
unfortunately, most large comapanies require their employees to NOT think. these large companies recruit on campus. most student are only familiar with these large companies. bottom line; you are young with nothing to lose. start your own company or start something with some friends. if your smart employment is a safety.


Wednesday, February 05, 2003

Read the stuff on Abstractions.

Useful stuff is useful 'NOW'.

Universities are about the future too.

Universities should'nt be teaching you how to drop buttons on forms in the latest version of visual basic, c# or whatever. You should be able to work that out yourself.

Alberto
Thursday, February 06, 2003

Looking at the 14 replies, it looks like there's life in the dead horse yet

Sherlock ;0)

sherlock_yoda
Thursday, February 06, 2003

You know, maybe we should have a forum on Good colleges. Its quite obvious a fair number of us have had horrible experiences being taught computer science.  Yet, there are some that I respect too much to think that they were only fooled into thinking they had a good education. So, while most didn't get a good education, some did. 

Vincent Marquez
Thursday, February 06, 2003

Looks like the old mare is here to stay ...

Unfortunatley, JoS is apparently more addictive than crack and I can't go cold turkey.

With that in mind ...

Bark Is Bigger Than My Bite (formerly Beating Dead Horses)
Thursday, February 06, 2003

Vincent Marquez,

You seem to have surface knowledge of the oral examinations in Russian universities.

The main problem with such exams is that professor can ask you ANY questions he wants. This is the reason there are professors that don't give ANYBODY above 80%, professors that fail you and make you attempt to pass it for 5-6 times and after that you get thrown out of university and go to Chechnya. That's reality back in Russia.

What's so good about that?

I can give a lot more reasons for I have a lot of friends left there that go to universities.

BTW I got my secondary education in one of ex-USSR republics, where we had oral/written exams and now studying on this continent. So, I have a taste of both worlds. Believe me, I never noticed written examinations impair my ability to understand material deeply enough.

I do not see a single advantage of oral over written exams.

Pavel Levin
Thursday, February 06, 2003

I think you just validated my point, if you'll bear with me.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
The main problem with such exams is that professor can ask you ANY questions he wants. This is the reason there are professors that don't give ANYBODY above 80%...
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
I think this is a LOT better then having swarms of students come out of american schools with a CS degree and be both a bad thinker and a bad programmer.  An 80% is GOOD, as in, above average.  It should be VERY difficult for students to get A's in programming. Those that do are probably the super programmers.  Nowdays, students expect A's for doing all their assignments and memorizing everything their told. Thats not how it should be.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Believe me, I never noticed written examinations impair my ability to understand material deeply enough.
<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

I doubt it does.  From that statement, I'm guessing your a self motivated learner, and are very interested in expanding your knowledge about Development and management (given that you read JOS). Unfortunatly,  There will be thousands of other students thrown into the job market with you that don't understand the material at all. 

Its not the fact that American universities don't allow students to learn-- heck,  If I can learn C++ from Orielly, I doubt you can't learn reading a text book and listening to lectures.  The problem is American universities don't care if you learn the material or not.

Vincent Marquez
Thursday, February 06, 2003

"The problem is American universities don't care if you learn the material or not."

Interesting comment. Actually, **we** as the students are supposed to care more than anyone else whether we learn anything or not at any school. The school isn't supposed to have to force us to learn.  It should be a 'pull' from us, and not  have to be a 'push' from them.

Now, I realize that's kind of idealistic, but it was my immediate thought upon reading the comment quoted.

anonQAguy
Thursday, February 06, 2003

                      Sponsored by:    
    Subject:    $$MAKE YOURSELF SOME MONEY$$, NO SCAM! GUARANTEED MONEY! NO JOKE!$$             <http://ad.doubleclick.net/jump/oreillynet.ds/network;abr=!ie;pos=r_network;sz=120x600;ord=1211662617?>     
    Date:    2002-11-21 11:21:19                 
    From:    dmxdarksk8                
                        
                        
    $$MAKE YOURSELF SOME MONEY$$, NO SCAM! GUARANTEED MONEY! NO JOKE!$$  Dear Internet User,  Good day, This article I've written is all about the fact where I earned an ASTOUNDING amount of money in less than a month and I've decided to share or reveal the secrets behind making big bucks in the Mail Order Business. So all money seekers, read this carefully.  Hi, I'm 23 years old and I make more money than my parents and so can you" Turn $6.00 into $60,000...read this to find out how!!! READING THIS COULD CHANGE YOUR LIFE!  I found this on a bulletin board like this one and decided to try it. A little while back, I was browsing through several newsgroups, just like you are now, and came across an article similar to this that said you could make thousands of dollars within weeks with only an initial investment of $6.00! So I thought, "Yeah right, this must be a scam", but like most of us, I was curious, so I kept reading. Anyway, it said that you need to send $1.00 to each of the 6 names and address stated in the article. You then place your own name and address in the bottom of the list at #6, and post the article in at least 200 newsgroups. (There are millions) No catch, that was it. So after thinking it over, and talking to a few people first, I thought about trying it. I figured: "what have I got to lose except 6 stamps and $6.00, right?" Then I invested the measly $6.00. Well GUESS WHAT!!... within 7 days, I started getting money in the mail! I was shocked! I figured it would end soon, but the money just kept coming in. In my first week, I made about $25.00. By the end of the second week I had made a total of over $1,000.00! In the third week I had over $10,000.00 and it's still growing. This is now my fourth week and I have made just over $42,000.00 and it's still coming in rapidly. It's certainly worth $6.00, and 6 stamps, I have spent more than that on the lottery!!  Let me tell you how this works and most importantly, why it works.... Also, make sure you print a copy of this article NOW, so you can get the information off of it as you need it. I promise you that if you follow the directions exactly, that you will start making more money than you thought possible by doing something so easy!  SUGGESTION: Read this entire message carefully! (print it out or download it.) Follow the simple directions and watch the money come in! It's easy. It's legal. And, your investment is only $6.00 (Plus postage).  IMPORTANT: This is not a rip-off; it is not indecent; it is not illegal; and it is virtually no risk - it really works!!!! If all of the following instructions are adhered to, you will receive extraordinary dividends.  PLEASE NOTE: Please follow these directions EXACTLY, and $50,000 or more can be yours in 20 to 60 days. This program remains successful because of the honesty and integrity of the participants. Please continue it’s success by carefully adhering to the instructions. You will now become part of the Mail Order business. In this business your product is not solid and tangible, it's a service. You are in the business of developing Mailing Lists. Many large corporations are happy to pay big bucks for quality lists. However, the money made from the mailing lists is secondary to the income which is made from people like you and me asking to be included in that list.  ~~~>HERE ARE 4 EASY STEPS TO GET STARTED<~~~ 
STEP 1: Get 6 separate pieces of paper and write the following on each piece of paper "PLEASE PUT ME ON YOUR MAILING LIST." Now get 6 US $1.00 bills and place ONE inside EACH of the 6 pieces of paper so the bill will not be seen through the envelope ( Please make sure that the bill wouldn't be noticed in the envelope to prevent thievery). Send out US $ DOLLAR, so it would be more acceptable. 
STEP 2: Next, place one paper in each of the 6 envelopes and seal them properly. You should now have 6 sealed envelopes, each with a piece of paper stating the phrase, "PLEASE PUT ME ON YOUR MAILING LIST.", your name and address, and a $1.00 bill.  What you are doing is creating a service. THIS IS ABSOLUTELY LEGAL! You are requesting for a legitimate service and you are paying for it! Like most of us, I was a little skeptical and a little worried about the legal aspects of it all. So I checked it out with the U.S. Post Office (1-800-725-2161) and they confirmed that it is indeed legal! 
Mail the 6 envelopes to the following addresses below:


#1)B. Hooper ; 3 Warringah Gve. Petrie, QLD, Australia 4502 
#2)Matthew Speight ; 6 Charnwood Ave. Belfast , N. Ireland : BT15 5DH 
#3)Ahmad Mujeeb ; 307-14 15 st, NW, Charlottesville, VA, USA, 22903 
#4)Rostum Hernandez ; #2 Jericho St., Victoriaville Subd. ,Antipolo City, Phillippine, 1870 
#5)jerry kramer ; 315 forest knoll drive, palatine Il. 60074
#6)Big mick; 610 foxdale lane, arlington heights IL. 60004 


STEP 3: Now take the #1 name off the list that you see above, move the other names up (6 becomes 5, 5 becomes 4, etc...) and add YOUR Name as number 6 on the list. 
STEP 4: Copy this article. Change anything you need to, but try to keep this article as close to original as possible. Now, post your amended article to at least 200 newsgroups. (I think there are close to 2.4million groups) All you need is 200, but remember, the more you post, the more money you make! This is perfectly legal! If you have any doubts, refer to Title 18, Section 1302 and 1341, US Postal and Lottery Laws or Title 18, Section 3005 in the US code, also in the code of Federal regulations, Volume 16, Sections 255 and 436, which states; "a product or service must be exchanged for money received." The simple note in the letter, "PLEASE PUT ME ON YOUR MAILING LIST", makes it legal because you are paying for exchange of a service, (adding the purchasers name to his mailing list) for a $1.00 fee. : Keep a copy of these steps for yourself and, whenever you need money, you can use it again, and again. PLEASE REMEMBER that this program remains successful because of the honesty and integrity of the participants and by their carefully adhering to the directions. Look at it this way. If you are of integrity, the program will continue and the money that so many others have received will come your way.  NOTE: You may want to retain every name and address sent to you, either on a computer or hard copy and keep the notes people send you. This VERIFIES that you are truly providing a service. (Also, it might be a good idea to wrap the $1 bill in dark paper to reduce the risk of mail theft.) So, as each post is downloaded and the directions carefully followed, six members will be reimbursed for their participation as a List Developer with one dollar each. Your name will move up the list geometrically so that when your name reaches the #1 position you will be receiving thousands of dollars in CASH!!! What an opportunity for only $6.00 ($1.00 for each of the first six people listed above) Send it now, add your own name to the list and you're in business!  ~~~>DIRECTIONS FOR HOW TO POST TO NEWSGROUPS<~~ 

Step 1) You do not need to re-type this entire letter to do your own posting. Simply put your mouse cursor at the beginning of this letter, click and drag your cursor to the bottom of this document, right click and select 'copy' from the edit menu. This will copy the entire letter into the computer's memory.  Step 2) Open a blank 'notepad' file and place your mouse cursor at the top of the blank page. Right click and from the 'edit' menu select 'paste'. This will paste a copy of the letter into notepad so that you can add your name and postal address to the list. 
Step 3) Save your new notepad file as a .txt file. If you want to do your postings in different settings, you'll always have this file to go back to.  Step 4) Use Netscape or Internet explorer and try searching for various newsgroups (on-line forums, message boards, chat sites, discussions.) 
Step 5) Visit these message boards and post this article as a new message by highlighting the text of this letter and selecting paste from the edit menu. Fill in the Subject, this will be the header that everyone sees as they scroll through the list of postings in a particular group, click the "post" message button. You're done with your first one! NOTE: Please don't SPAM or send unsolicited emails. It's completely illegal. Send emails to all the people you know or any ways that allows you to, instead of SPAMMING.( Just a reminder).  Congratulations...THAT'S IT! All you have to do is jump to different newsgroups and post away, after you get the hang of it, it will take about a minute for each newsgroup! **REMEMBER, THE MORE NEWSGROUPS YOU POST IN, THE MORE MONEY YOU WILL MAKE!! BUT YOU HAVE TO POST A MINIMUM OF 200** That's it! You will begin receiving money from around the world within days! You may eventually want to rent a P.O.Box due to the large amount of mail you will receive. If you wish to stay anonymous, you can invent a name to use, as long as the postman will deliver it. **JUST MAKE SURE ALL THE ADDRESSES ARE CORRECT.**  *Now the WHY part; Out of 200 postings, say I receive only 5 replies (a very low example). So then I made $5.00 with my name at #6 on the letter. Now, each of the 5 persons who just sent me $1.00 make the MINIMUM 200 postings, each with my name at #5 and only 5 persons respond to each of the original 5, that is another $25.00 for me, now those 25 each make 200 MINIMUM posts with my name at #4 and only 5 replies each, I will bring in an additional $125.00! Now, those 125 persons turn around and post the MINIMUM 200 with my name at #3 and only receive 5 replies each, I will make an additional $626.00! OK, now here is the fun part, each of those 625 persons post a MINIMUM 200 letters with my name at #2 and they each only receive 5 replies, that just made me $3,125.00!!! Those 3,125 persons will all deliver this message to 200 newsgroups with my name at #1 and if still ONLY 5 persons per 200 newsgroups react I will receive $15,625,00! With an original investment of only $6.00! AMAZING! When your name is no longer on the list, you just take the latest posting in the newsgroups, and send out another $6.00 to names on the list, putting your name at number 6 again. And start posting again. The thing to remember is: do you realize that thousands of people all over the world are joining the internet and reading these articles everyday?, JUST LIKE YOU are now!! So, can you afford $6.00 and see if it really works?? I think so... People have said, "what if the plan is played out and no one sends you the money? So what! What are the chances of that happening when there are tons of new honest users and new honest people who are joining the internet and newsgroups everyday and are willing to give it a try? Estimates are at 20,000 to 50,000 new users, every day, with thousands of those joining the actual internet!!! REMEMBER, PLAY FAIRLY AND HONESTLY AND THIS WILL WORK FOR YOU!!!                    
                        
                        
     </cs/user/view/cs_msg/11579> Previous Message </cs/user/view/cs_msg/11579>         Next Message  </cs/user/view/cs_msg/11817>  </cs/user/view/cs_msg/11817>                
                              
                        
                        
                        
                        

    
</pub/a/mediakit/contact.html>  </pub/a/mediakit/contact.html> </pub/a/mediakit/index.html>  </pub/a/mediakit/index.html> </pub/a/mediakit/privacy.html>  </pub/a/mediakit/privacy.html> <http://press.oreilly.com/>  <http://press.oreilly.com/> <http://jobs.oreilly.com/>  <http://jobs.oreilly.com/>    
    
        
Copyright © 2000-2003 O'Reilly & Associates, Inc. All Rights Reserved. All trademarks and registered trademarks appearing on the O'Reilly Network are the property of their respective owners. For problems or assistance with this site, email help@oreillynet.com <mailto:help@oreillynet.com>         

</pub/a/rss/2000/03/17/about_meerkat.html>  </pub/a/rss/2000/03/17/about_meerkat.html>         

joe
Thursday, February 13, 2003

*  Recent Topics

*  Fog Creek Home