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Is Computer Science Dead? Expand / Collapse
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Posted Thursday, March 29, 2012 12:18 AM
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James Goodwin (3/28/2012)
The essay and the comments conflate too many things.

Computer Science is not programming, is not Computer Engineering, is not IT.

Computer Science is the field of mathematical analysis of algorithms, languages, and automata.
Computer Engineering is the field of designing and building electronic computers.
Computer Programming is the field of creating software for electronic computers.
Information Technology is the field of designing and supporting the infrastructure of electronic computing in a business environment.


No, that's not the case. If you belive an education in these areas leads directly to your defined field, it might be the case where you live, but do not presume it's the case all over.


Is there overlap between these fields? Yes. A programming with some background in algorithms is going to be more effective than one without. A systems programmer with a computer engineering background is going to do a better job than one without.

So to answer the headline question:

Is computer Science dead? No, research into parallel computing, distributed computing, encryption, and the various AI disciplines continues apace.

Is Computer programming dead? No, look at the proliferation of apps for tablets and phones. Although it is arguable that computer programming as a degree field is being swamped by the self-taught of various levels of aptitude.

Is Computer engineering dead? Closer, new devices are getting smaller but there doesn't seem to be as much development in architecture as their used to be, or maybe I'm just not paying attention.

Is IT dead? Not as long as there are business that have networks and users.
--
JimFive


Would you would actually recommend your children to take an education and go into our business area?
Post #1274881
Posted Thursday, March 29, 2012 6:33 AM
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Tony Savoie (3/28/2012)
IT has been dieing since IT began. Every new technology is the end of the world. Saw it with client/server replacing big iron in glass rooms, saw it with the interweb and thin clients, saw it with outsourcing, now hearing the same crap regarding omg "The Cloud".
...
Can you tell you've hit a nerve? :)


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Post #1275021
Posted Thursday, March 29, 2012 6:35 AM
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James Goodwin (3/28/2012)
The essay and the comments conflate too many things.

Computer Science is not programming, is not Computer Engineering, is not IT.

Computer Science is the field of mathematical analysis of algorithms, languages, and automata.
Computer Engineering is the field of designing and building electronic computers.
Computer Programming is the field of creating software for electronic computers.
Information Technology is the field of designing and supporting the infrastructure of electronic computing in a business environment.

Is there overlap between these fields? Yes. A programming with some background in algorithms is going to be more effective than one without. A systems programmer with a computer engineering background is going to do a better job than one without.

So to answer the headline question:

Is computer Science dead? No, research into parallel computing, distributed computing, encryption, and the various AI disciplines continues apace.

Is Computer programming dead? No, look at the proliferation of apps for tablets and phones. Although it is arguable that computer programming as a degree field is being swamped by the self-taught of various levels of aptitude.

Is Computer engineering dead? Closer, new devices are getting smaller but there doesn't seem to be as much development in architecture as their used to be, or maybe I'm just not paying attention.

Is IT dead? Not as long as there are business that have networks and users.
--
JimFive


+10000000!
Post #1275024
Posted Thursday, March 29, 2012 6:47 AM


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Lynn Pettis (3/28/2012)
James Stover (3/28/2012)
Computer science isn't dead, but the way it's taught probably is. By the time you finish a four-year degree in CompSci, much of what you learned at the start is irrelevant. Let's take iOS. Four years ago it was essentially nothing. Now, devs are getting rich (or at least earning a good living) building iOS apps on - arguably - the largest mobile platform on the planet.

Why would you bother spending a mint earning an obsolete CS degree from some old fart (in their 30's ) to just end up as Dilbert when you could have spent those 4 years getting rich? Or at least doing something very cool. This is how kids are looking at it these days. Can't say I blame them.


Somebody developed iOS (actually, it was probably a team), and they probably have degrees in Computer Science.


iOS, like Mac OS X, is (if I'm not mistaken) based on BSD Unix. If so, then definitely yes on the CS degrees there. People who have or were working on at the time.


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Post #1275033
Posted Thursday, March 29, 2012 8:32 AM
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Is Computer Science dead? My initial thought was no. However, while reading through all of the posts on this topic, I began to think that maybe it is dead, or least dying when viewed in the traditional sense. In other words, it’s changing, or going through a phase shift, similar to the way that much of the manufacturing in the U.S. has gone over seas in recent years. I can’t help but wonder if this may be the reason that there are fewer people entering Computer Science in college. I know that I wouldn’t want to invest my time and money studying a declining trade where many of my future opportunities may be far away from home.

Does one need a Computer Science degree in order to program, design or administer systems? Of course not, but it’s certainly beneficial, in my opinion. I’ve got over 20 years of industry experience and hold degrees in Business Administration and Computer Science, and most of the degreed developers that I’ve worked with over the years have outperformed their non-degreed peers. However, I must say that (2) of the better developers that I’ve ever worked with were non-degreed and self-taught, but did have some unrelated college experience. On the other hand, I’ve also worked with a couple of developers with graduate degrees that weren’t in the same league as most of their non-degreed peers. Although, I don’t have any hard numbers, I would be willing to bet my paycheck that the development teams that are responsible for developing the majority of the multi-million dollar systems that are on the market these days are degreed professionals that formally learned the fundamentals of their trades at an institution of higher learning.

Computer Science is not dead, it is just changing.

Long live Computer Science!!!



Post #1275111
Posted Thursday, March 29, 2012 10:08 AM
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IceDread,

No, that's not the case.

I'm not sure what you're disputing here. Are you saying that the fields I listed are not different, or that the article and comments do not conflate them? You seem to be saying that a degree in Computer Science doesn't let one do computer science which seems absurd. You might be saying that you don't need a degree to do the field and for Programming and IT that is true. For CS or CE that is less true.

Would you would actually recommend your children to take an education and go into our business area?


Which business area? My entire post was that there is not a single field that encompasses "computer expert". There are (at least) the four I listed.

Would I recommend that my children go into:
a) Computer Science: Sure. It's a great field with lots of interesting questions ahead of it. Natural Language, Machine Learning, Massively Parallel systems, etc.

b) Computer Engineering: Sure. Inventing, designing, and building electronic devices would be fun.

c) Computer Programming: Mostly. Again, lots of challenges, interesting projects, the thrill of creating. The only caveat is I would recommend a CS degree instead of a programming degree.

d) IT: No. Lots of drudgery. Long hours. etc.

And Since this is SQLServerCentral

e) DBA: Maybe, but again they should go through CS or at least Programming to get there. Database development is a lot more fun that server administration.
--
JimFive
Post #1275200
Posted Thursday, March 29, 2012 1:41 PM
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sturner (3/28/2012)
In my experience VB/Basic programmers have shown the worst software design techniques, implementations and documentation. The opposite seems to be true for those trained in OO, and specifically C & C++.

I have seen this over and over again through the years. More often than not, VB programmers were self-taught or migrated to VB from vbscript (or VBA like with excell). Very few people have the discipline or aptitude to self teach C++... and some don;t get it even after getting exposed to it in college course.

My $.02


Yes, I've seen this also. It's not being self-taught. A large percentage of the programmers I know are self-taught (myself included). But, those for whom the first language was VB or VBA have this disadvantage. I'm not sure why. I think it's bad habit. VB code, in the past, didn't enforce good coding habits and some of the language limitations prevented good coding. Now, there's so much bad VB code out there, it's like a self-perpetuating cycle.

Personally, I loath VB, and I've tried to rationalize that loathing. I associate it with the worst programming I've ever seen. I also have a strong distaste for its verbosity, awkward keyword casing, and the childish names Me and My.
Post #1275348
Posted Thursday, March 29, 2012 1:45 PM


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Stephanie Giovannini (3/29/2012)
sturner (3/28/2012)
In my experience VB/Basic programmers have shown the worst software design techniques, implementations and documentation. The opposite seems to be true for those trained in OO, and specifically C & C++.

I have seen this over and over again through the years. More often than not, VB programmers were self-taught or migrated to VB from vbscript (or VBA like with excell). Very few people have the discipline or aptitude to self teach C++... and some don;t get it even after getting exposed to it in college course.

My $.02


Yes, I've seen this also. It's not being self-taught. A large percentage of the programmers I know are self-taught (myself included). But, those for whom the first language was VB or VBA have this disadvantage. I'm not sure why. I think it's bad habit. VB code, in the past, didn't enforce good coding habits and some of the language limitations prevented good coding. Now, there's so much bad VB code out there, it's like a self-perpetuating cycle.

Personally, I loath VB, and I've tried to rationalize that loathing. I associate it with the worst programming I've ever seen. I also have a strong distaste for its verbosity, awkward keyword casing, and the childish names Me and My.


You haven't seen the COBOL code I had the opportunity to support for eleven years. The base code, we could do nothing about, and we had to code in it to its level (UGLY!). New code that we could separate out to new supprograms, that is where we used structured coding, eliminated the use of GOTOs, etc. That code was clean and easily maintained and enhanced.



Lynn Pettis

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Post #1275351
Posted Friday, March 30, 2012 12:09 AM
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James Goodwin (3/29/2012)
IceDread,

No, that's not the case.

I'm not sure what you're disputing here. Are you saying that the fields I listed are not different, or that the article and comments do not conflate them? You seem to be saying that a degree in Computer Science doesn't let one do computer science which seems absurd. You might be saying that you don't need a degree to do the field and for Programming and IT that is true. For CS or CE that is less true.

Would you would actually recommend your children to take an education and go into our business area?


Which business area? My entire post was that there is not a single field that encompasses "computer expert". There are (at least) the four I listed.

Would I recommend that my children go into:
a) Computer Science: Sure. It's a great field with lots of interesting questions ahead of it. Natural Language, Machine Learning, Massively Parallel systems, etc.

b) Computer Engineering: Sure. Inventing, designing, and building electronic devices would be fun.

c) Computer Programming: Mostly. Again, lots of challenges, interesting projects, the thrill of creating. The only caveat is I would recommend a CS degree instead of a programming degree.

d) IT: No. Lots of drudgery. Long hours. etc.

And Since this is SQLServerCentral

e) DBA: Maybe, but again they should go through CS or at least Programming to get there. Database development is a lot more fun that server administration.
--
JimFive


My point was that where you live computer engineering means one thing while I know it has a different meaning in other parts of the world. Where I live for instance, it's usually associated with developers, just as computer science degree means more or less the same thing but is a lesser education.

Which business area?
Would you recommend your child to study to become a developer/ dba? It appears you would, I would not. And in my world, that defines if IT is or will die as a respected line of work with good salaries.
Perhaps I'm wrong, I'd like to be wrong, but I believe that in 20+ years higher salaries within the IT lines of business will be rare because of globalization, india, china and a bit later usa will push the salaries down.
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Posted Tuesday, February 12, 2013 3:36 PM
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Honest answer.

How many quad core processors at 2.8GHZ and 5 errors per sq. cm will it take to process 1 terabyte of information in 1 second?
What will customer X be doing next Thursday and how can Company target marketing to what they are likely to be doing?
What is the best path for a network to take to minimize downtime (use an RBFS tree)?
Can you build a program that can replace half the workers doing repetitive tasks at your firm (don't worry you work as part of a team)?
How many different atomic structures are there? Can you build a database program that can find them all? Also, you need to build a model of the structure using matrix math.
How many operations are performed in your database in order to transfer 1,000,000,000 records or more?
How should you design a database that handles this information, SQL is a terrible option here? What structures can you use to read and sort the information in < 1 minute?
Can you program micro devices?
Age old question, what is multi-threading and what is forking?
Can you build an application that can use server processed data to display things in a GUI, record information, and work much faster than flash no matter the network connection?


Obviously, the other people have no freaking clue why they got a CS degree and are now stuck. The way the market is going, the questions above are going to be the ones that computer scientists are made for.

P.S. I only have a degree from a mediocre state school and can answer all of these and more. Way more valuable than the IT major who doesn't know what an algorithm is or the self taught guy who cannot do a tripple integral or a state table.
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