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Is Computer Science Dead? Expand / Collapse
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Posted Tuesday, April 17, 2007 10:08 AM
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I don't think its dead, but its unnecessary. My degrees are in Forest Management. During grad school I spent more time making databases, writing FORTRAN, building COBOL reports and sysadmin duties than any of my peers getting CIS degrees. I think college gives you the pieces to think critically and build a framework (as well as life lessons about sticking to it till its done). As long as you are able to learn and apply developmental lessons from college it really doesn't matter if you degree is in sociology or CS.


Post #359002
Posted Tuesday, April 17, 2007 10:14 AM
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It's not dead, but it's not absolutely vital, if, and it's a big if, the person actually loves doing this stuff. Some of the best I've dealt with are self-taught, and while there are hurdles for those types in the beginning, most soon realize that a lot of the best practices that they didn't teach themselves actually have a true benefit, at which point they adopt them. Things like strong typing, explicit conversions, self-documenting code, version control, etc., aren't necessarily important initially to a self-taught developer, but after dealing with the repercussions of blowing those things off a few times, the good ones come around very fast.

I also agree with the above posters who noted that learning a machine language (or assembly), on any processor for that matter, can help you greatly in many small ways in the future, whether self-taught or through formal training. I haven't coded in anything that low level in decades, but I find that the understanding of what's going on behind the scenes helps me frequently understand new concepts or issues more quickly.

Edit: I see bnordberg made some of the same comments as I did. Simulposts are fun.

Post #359003
Posted Tuesday, April 17, 2007 10:32 AM
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I don't think that computer science degrees are dead, but I do think they are "sick" (to extend the metaphor).  I think most people entering college today are sensitive to their employment opportunities after college.  A few years ago there was a huge rush to outsource IT to off-shore sites/countries.  If I were an American college freshman today, it would seriously not consider getting a degree in CS, because I would be very concerned that there wouldn't be a job for me when I graduated.

 



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Post #359008
Posted Tuesday, April 17, 2007 10:33 AM


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Are you off your prozac or something? What's with the depressing topics lately?

Computer science will not die, unless people let it. As long as folks like me are out here, I think we will continue to push the science to its limit, and that requires further study. If kids today aren't interested in it, I don't really care. More money for me later on.
Post #359009
Posted Tuesday, April 17, 2007 10:45 AM
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If you are going to require a programming language, then it should be Fortran.

Punching cards will either make you a better programmer by getting more work out of each instruction or become a better typist.

CS is not dead.

We will still need coffee pots that need programming.

Or VCR's

 

 

 

 

Post #359012
Posted Tuesday, April 17, 2007 10:58 AM
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I can't help posting another one

how many of the top 100 richest business people in the world has a MBA or evan an BBA?  knowledge is about learning, of course with self motivation and commitment.  if we follow the line of richest business people, then we don't need any kind of university education.

There is nothing wrong with the idea of "self taught" expert. but the danger is that many many people nowadays have the perception that they can self taught to be a good developer.  Do you know that since IBM published the rate of failure in software projects in the industry in the 80's, there is not much a improvement as the statistic shows in this 21th century.

Look back these 25 years, the fundamental concepts and technology actually haven't changed much. what are the invention in the past 10 years, 5 years? 

We need to brush up the CS training, we need people to do research and promote innovation. otherwise, the computing industry will soon be controlled by package tools/software. People will be trained to program plugins, packaged component only.

ken.

p.s. I've heard people saying Relational DB, OOD are just common sense.  but how many can really design a good RDB, OO model? 

Post #359017
Posted Tuesday, April 17, 2007 11:28 AM
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Computer science is not dead but it is not as popular as 10 years ago in college, thanks to all the big companies outsourced to other countries.  The employment outlook affects the students choosing their major which right now is biology and biochemistry.   Also in most colleges, they are totally out of touch with the real world.  When the company hires a new graduates, you basically have to train them all over again. 

In the other thread, a lot more women also exit IT business. The parents do not encourage their daughters to major in CS.   

Right now I am working on a project, there are twenty contractors and 5 in house employees.  I am the only 'woman'.  

Post #359027
Posted Tuesday, April 17, 2007 11:37 AM
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Read "After the Gold Rush: Creating a True Profession of Software Engineering" by Steve McConnell.

I think it explains the shortfalls of a CS degree versus what is really needed.




Post #359032
Posted Tuesday, April 17, 2007 12:38 PM


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Yes, college is not teaching development skills. They are teaching languages. IMO, the first year of a CS degree should not involve any programming. The reason I'm still around is because I know the basics, and I can apply that in any new language that comes along. The reason I can get a job is because I have a degree. It doesn't matter that my degree is in Biology (liberal arts, even). I find myself applying skills I learned at McDonald's way more often than anything I learned in college. My college education comes in handy in trivia contests.
Post #359059
Posted Tuesday, April 17, 2007 1:47 PM


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Its not dead yet but it is dying. Why, because opportunities are drying up. Bill Gates and all the major tech companies are pushing for unlimited visas for tech workers. This has put a lot of US workers out of jobs not for lack of skill but because most of the visa holders are paid at least $12,000 less than a US worker according to Bureau of Labor Statistics figures. I personally have seen people replaced by less skilled visa holders numerous times just because they were less expensive. I have also seen good CS people replaced by less skilled Americans as well to be fair. No matter, too many companies today want to develop software on the cheap. It is hard to justify the investment in education if you know that you are in competition for jobs in a market that is being flooded with visa holders and that you can be put out of work by lesser skilled individuals for no other reason than cost. It is not difficult to see that the prevailing wage will eventually be depressed to the point where it is not worth the expense of a CS education.


Karen Gayda
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