studying

Rob Park eocnex at hnyoregn.pn
Thu Feb 6 15:22:02 PST 2003


Alas! Csaba Henk spake thus:
> On Wed, 5 Feb 2003, Rob Park wrote:
> > From what I've discovered, take computer science only if you enjoy being
> > bored to tears.
> 
> Do you think it is a general situation or is it specific to your
> education system? Now I'm thinking about taking up some kinda CompSci
> major, called here something like "Programmer Mathematician". That's why
> I'm interested in this question. What's the problem with compsci
> education on your lands?

Hmmmmm, how do I put this?

First, they kill all creativity. So far, the assignments have basically
been "Here is a demo program, deduce how it works and write the code
that does exactly the same thing, including all the bugs that we put
into it on purpose".

Second, the lectures are pretty boring and simple. I've been using
hashes in perl as an indispensible programming tool for at least a year
before I got into University. Guess what? CompSci at my university doesn't
even give the slightest mention of hash tables until the very very end
of the _second_ programming course that you take.

The two big killers for me, though, are that a) it's all done on Windows
(at least for the first year), and b) it's all done in Java with
CodeWarrior.

Let me put it this way: CodeWarrior is a very apt name, because I spend
more time fighting with it than I do actually writing code.

That is to say, the CodeWarrior IDE has so many little quirks and bugs
that it's a painful program to develop code with. I'd like to install
gVim and use that as my editor, but the "Third Party Editor" feature is
broken for some reason (though gVim installs and works fine).

Also, they have a special version of the DOS prompt that you can
configure to have a scrollback buffer... except that you have to
re-enable it every time you log in, because all those settings get
forgotten when you log out.

Well, I could rant on and on about all the little stupid bugs that drive
me insane, it's not really worth it. So I guess what I'm trying to say
is the problem is with my university, not Computer Science in general.

Computer Science can't possibly be boring, though, I have so much fun
teaching it to myself... it's when you get a curriculum that tries to
explain things to the lowest common denominator AND weed out the stupid
kids at the same time that you run into problems...

-- 
Rob Park
http://www.ualberta.ca/~rbpark
--
If it weren't for the last minute, nothing would ever get done.
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