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Is Computer Science Dead?


Is Computer Science Dead?

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Antares686
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sturner (3/28/2012)
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.


Haha, you just described me. I am self taught in all the C++, C#, VB, T-SQL, and PL/SQL. A bit of terminology I cannot directly relate but I can code circles around many of the vets and college kids who can talk the talk. Sometimes I think self teaching if you do have the aptitude has the bennifit of not being weighed down with the baggage of this is the way it happens versus it can be done better another way. Very rarely do I find anyone who can talk the talk and walk the walk in true defined understanding.

sturner (3/28/2012)
Randy Rabin (3/28/2012)

I'm not sure that pure programming is completely relevant to being a DBA, but Data Structure and Relational Set theory definitely should be. Every DBA should fundamentally know what a B-Tree is.

IMHO :-)


Lacking knowledge of programming languages and platforms (i.e .NET) or good programming techniques will put you at a severe disadvantage at my company (and probably most that have developers). If you can't provide guidance to people who are quite capable of bringing your server to its knees with a few dozen lines of code you are in for some difficulties.


Actually it depends on what your role within the company is as to if it will put you at a disadvantage. A DBA at some companies may not have any need beyond making it run and the programmers are the ones wholly responsible for the code and what affect it has. Sounds like your company has a mixed requirement on the DBA job in that they must understand development and design as well as the service itself.



sturner
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Antares686 (3/28/2012)


Haha, you just described me. I am self taught in all the C++, C#, VB, T-SQL, and PL/SQL. A bit of terminology I cannot directly relate but I can code circles around many of the vets and college kids who can talk the talk. Sometimes I think self teaching if you do have the aptitude has the bennifit of not being weighed down with the baggage of this is the way it happens versus it can be done better another way. Very rarely do I find anyone who can talk the talk and walk the walk in true defined understanding.


Agreed. If you are serious enough to learn something on your own you are probably way ahead of your contemporaries. Having said that, even if you started by taking a class, that is just the beginning of opening up your mind so you can think outside of the box. Achieving competency or even expert status requires lots of hard work and experience and continuing to maintain your currency as new versions are released.

The probability of survival is inversely proportional to the angle of arrival.
webrunner
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Thanks, Steve, for the thought-provoking question. I think rumors of the death of computer science probably mask the fact that most of the world is probably getting by on the fruits of the labor of the first few generations of real computer scientists. I'm not an apocalyptic person, but it does seem to me that a lot of the ignoring of computer science fundamentals that seems to be going around will come to a head and force a kind of reckoning. Maybe not a collapse of computing but an upheaval that will make people realize that, as you said, there is value in algorithms, solving puzzles like the Towers of Hanoi, and knowing how information is processed (databases included, of course).

There haven't always been computers, but there will always be information, and so there will always be a need for people who know the principles of working with information. I think for now there is a kind of laziness (I mean practically, not as a moral judgment) about how computer stuff "just works" without a realization of the immense training and effort that makes it "just work."

Just my two cents.

- webrunner

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I'm always surprised by the concern this question raises. Is Computer Science dead? No, of course not. Does everyone who works in IT need it? Of course not.

Alright, let's look back about 100 years. In design and development of an engine for a vehicle, you need to be an engineer.

Now, is your local mechanic cleaning your carberateur an engineer? No, no he's not. In some places he got taught this instead of finishing his high school degree. He's the mechanic. He can drop in a new engine, hook it to the driveshaft, and understands enough about how the designs generally work to figure out if he's dealing with a timing or a spark plug problem.

Then he consults a manual, written by the engineers, about what to do about it. He might even plug into the computer and find out what that has to offer if it's ODB2.

Do we still need mechanical engineers? Well, of course we do, we're still designing new technology and including it into the older designs. Hybrid fuels, electrical/gasoline switches, the works.

The guy working on my car doesn't have to know the front load weight of the bolt that holds down the alternator, he just needs to use an equivalent one when he swaps out the one that broke.

For cars, we're the users.

For databases, almost all of us are mechanics of varying abilties.

I'm Craig Farrell, and I'm proud to be a Database Mechanic.


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James Stover
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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.


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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.

Cool
Lynn Pettis

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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.


Indeed, I'm sure it was a very large team full of CS graduates. And I would be suprised when they embarked on their CS degree if any of them said: "I would love to build a semi-invisible proprietary platform for a ruthless mega-corporation so other people can do cool stuff and get rich." Maybe some did. Who knows.

The way CS is presented and taught in universities today really only has a place in R&D. There is absolutely a need for this but it's not exactly...sexy.


James Stover, McDBA

Lynn Pettis
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James Stover (3/28/2012)
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.


Indeed, I'm sure it was a very large team full of CS graduates. And I would be suprised when they embarked on their CS degree if any of them said: "I would love to build a semi-invisible proprietary platform for a ruthless mega-corporation so other people can do cool stuff and get rich." Maybe some did. Who knows.

The way CS is presented and taught in universities today really only has a place in R&D. There is absolutely a need for this but it's not exactly...sexy.


Some people aren't after sexy, they are after something that interests them and perhaps excites them.

Cool
Lynn Pettis

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Lynn Pettis (3/28/2012)
James Stover (3/28/2012)
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.


Indeed, I'm sure it was a very large team full of CS graduates. And I would be suprised when they embarked on their CS degree if any of them said: "I would love to build a semi-invisible proprietary platform for a ruthless mega-corporation so other people can do cool stuff and get rich." Maybe some did. Who knows.

The way CS is presented and taught in universities today really only has a place in R&D. There is absolutely a need for this but it's not exactly...sexy.


Some people aren't after sexy, they are after something that interests them and perhaps excites them.


Agreed. And these days most would-be developers can reach this mythic top level of Maslow's pyramid without a CS degree.


James Stover, McDBA

Lynn Pettis
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James Stover (3/28/2012)
Lynn Pettis (3/28/2012)
James Stover (3/28/2012)
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.


Indeed, I'm sure it was a very large team full of CS graduates. And I would be suprised when they embarked on their CS degree if any of them said: "I would love to build a semi-invisible proprietary platform for a ruthless mega-corporation so other people can do cool stuff and get rich." Maybe some did. Who knows.

The way CS is presented and taught in universities today really only has a place in R&D. There is absolutely a need for this but it's not exactly...sexy.


Some people aren't after sexy, they are after something that interests them and perhaps excites them.


Agreed. And these days most would-be developers can reach this mythic top level of Maslow's pyramid without a CS degree.


Maybe. Depends on what type of software they are working on in my opinion.

Cool
Lynn Pettis

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