Author Topic: Alternative Non-Accredited Computer Science Degree?  (Read 976 times)

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Offline Stanley N

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Re: Alternative Non-Accredited Computer Science Degree?
« Reply #15 on: December 29, 2020, 08:22:12 AM »
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  • I'm not making a judgment regarding humanities IN THE ABSTRACT.  I am making a judgment with regard to their relevance to computer science.  I absolutely hold that sociology and psychology are of no more relevance to a computer programmer than they would be to a plumber, electrician, or car mechanic.  THAT is the point. 

    And you completely missed the point. Trade school is a training. Training focuses on the field. I was talking about a bachelors degree. A bachelors degree is supposed to be something more than a training, call it an education, where you learn a few things outside a narrow field.

    Both training and education can have a place.

    Quote
    are BETTER if self-taught from good reliable sources rather than from some BLM-activist professor.

    I don't disagree, but as I said, there are good instructors and classes out there. Or do you think every prof at every college is a BLM-activist?

    Traditional catholics sometimes work at colleges.

    Offline AlligatorDicax

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    Long Curriculum?/Re: Alternative Non-Accredited Computer Science Degree?
    « Reply #16 on: January 16, 2021, 10:00:10 PM »
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  • As a couple of my older kids are now of college age, and this is making me confront the issues with college ... particularly with regard to computer science (which is the field I am in)

    Ummm. Weren't the academic degrees that you earned actually in Classical Languages?

    I'm horrified by the cumulative effect that I expect that the trendy "Learn to Code" classes, books, and videos will have in driving down programming skills in the U.S.A.  I strongly doubt that the skullsful of mush will be taught anything on algorithms, program structuring, data structures, and overall software engineering.

    So I'm unsure how a hypothetical student of yours would get the breadth of education that would be routinely expected of any graduate awarded a bachelor of science degree.  But that won't stop me from diving in to draft a curriculum anyhow.  Off the top of my head:

    I'd expect each student to be equipped with a single-board computer (SBC) to unify the platform, thus facilitate grading, for various projects assigned in various classes.

    • Predetermined extensive use of C and C++ (they would not be my choices for learning programming, but I realize that I don't get a vote).

    • Include entire more-or-less separate courses on algorithms (with serious attention to execution speed of implementable alternatives) and their data structures (esp. for vectors, linear chains, and trees, e.g., finite-state-machines, hash tables, and file directories) [∆].
    • Include entire more-or-less separate courses on system & program organization and overall software engineering (e.g., must everything really be an object, and when will mere modules suffice?).
    • Include manual storage management, including buffers and their competent filling, which programmers seem not to know how to do anymore; their bugs (not "glitches") have enabled tons of malware in recent decades (e.g., Adobe Reader, Javascript).
    • Include data organization & mining; might there be courses in Library Science that would be valuable for perspectives on organizing large amounts of data?
    • Include other languages as separate courses that are really really not "C-like" (contrary to nearly-ignorant descriptions touting new languages as such) or that rely on different styles or paradigms; the specifics of my choices need not be argued in this reply.
    • Include computer architecture and virtual machines (notably the Java V.M.), esp. for students entranced by compilers; as an issue of execution performance, students need to understand how virtual instructions translate to real machine instructions.
    • Include computer networking, focused on TCP/IP via Ethernet, including routing.
    • Include computer server design & configuration, esp. load-management and proxies.
    • Include computer security, revealing as much of black-hat techniques as seems appropriate for students to learn how to defend their own servers.
    • Optionally a compiler course, focusing on grammars (the latter being how programmers learn the syntax of newly mandated languages in the real world [×]).
    • Include enough statistics to recognize "lying with statistics" and to do testing analysis (e.g., each student needs to understand the reasons that the p-test has lost the scientific respect it once had in statistical-based studies).
    • Optionally a numerical methods & anaysis for the students who'd love to be hired to write or maintain math run-time routines.
    • Include mathematical logic, notably propositional logic and predicate calculus, enough for elementary understanding of logic-gate-level hardware designs; require students to build something at such a simple level, e.g., with FPGAs or bit-slice processor chips.
    • Optional linear algebra.
    • Delete calculus & differential equations.
    • Optional physics for game-programming; calculus-free approaches might suffice.
    • Delete chemistry, but that might disqualify employment in the pharma industry.

    • Delete foreign-language requirements; nearly everything worth reading in computer science since World War II will be published or posted in English, the exceptions being the Russians (e.g., recent Zonnon programming language) and possibly the French (an effective way for their research to be not noticed, while the surrounding E.U. countries publish or post in English [⚔]).
    • Include business writing & stand-up presentation, and maybe also formal debate, so that students diagnosed within the newfangled autistic spectrum can't continue to avoid face-to-face human interaction by taking refuge in their computers.  Oooh! Cruel! Bad Gator, bad!
    • Delete psychology & sociology.

    Hmmm. I've identified practically nothing in the liberal arts, so I've failed to resolve the issue of how to justify granting B.S. degrees, but it'd be quite a strong program for a multiyear trade-school diploma.  As readers might imagine, I haven't even attempted to tabulate the academic credits for my hypothetical courses.

    Either way, I envision lots of prep time would be required from the instructors.  Perhaps adequate textbook-equivalent source material can be found on-line in the public domain, but publishers don't abandon their copyrighted investments easily.  I can write from experience that conscientious grading of programs for their approach & organization, not simply for getting "right answers",  is quite time-consuming, but even more important as feedback to students in any classes that have no bricks-&-mortar meetings.

    --------
    Note ∆ : There's a book Practical Algorithms in C (or somesuch), teamed with one for Pascal.

    Note ⛎ : The inventor of Python admitted in an interview (on the Web somewhere) that he never intended it for teaching nor as anything more than  as an alternative to the quaint unix *sh script languages.  The use of inden(ta)tion by Python to express the extent of execution control structures (and maybe scope?) will provide needless frustration to students alreading dealing with more than enough new things..

    Note × : You don't expect your employer to exempt you from ongoing project schedules and provide you with a course on company time, do you?  Hah, ha!  Time off for employee "technical development" is sooo 20th Century![/b]

    Note ⚔ : The notoriously self-important French wouldn't have had even the slightest of chances to publish their Ada documents in French; their contract to develop Ada was awarded by U.S. DoD.


    Offline apollo

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    Re: Alternative Non-Accredited Computer Science Degree?
    « Reply #17 on: March 11, 2021, 10:36:38 AM »
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  • I started my first programming job in 1969 at Ford Motor Co.
    I'm still programming today, mostly self-employed.  I worked
    for about 15 companies, as a software engineer / programmer.

    It's a terrible field, except for one thing: you can sometimes
    work from home which could be anywhere in the world that
    has internet.

    A BS or higher degree is very desirable.  An accredited college
    is very desirable.  MIT, Stanford, Carnegie-Mellon and other ivy
    league colleges are very desirable.  

    The computer industry worships degrees, ivy-league schools,
    and GPAs.  The less human you are, the better.  Photographic
    memories are highly desired.  PhDs are like god.

    The more human you are, the less desirable you are.  Human-
    factors people make less money.  User-centered design people
    make less money.  Who cares if the software or website is usable?
    The users will give feedback and the 3rd or 4th version will be
    more usable (a low priority).

    It's not a real engineering discipline, like civil engineering, or
    aerospace engineering.  No bridges to fall down.  No airplanes
    to crash.  Computer crash?  Yeah, just reboot and pray.

    If you cannot teach yourself a programming language (Python,
    HTML, CSS, Javascript) to get started, then choose another field.

    If you love not having retirement benefits, love to drink free coffee
    provided at work, love to work extra hours to meet deadlines
    without extra pay, love staring at a computer screen 10 hours
    a day, and don't like to interact with other humans ... then you
    might last 20 years in the computer programming field.

    But keep in mind that every five years, half of what you know
    becomes obsolete.  So after 20 years, there's a young guy who
    just learned the latest technology and will work for half of your
    salary.  And if you didn't keep up with all the truck loads of new
    technology being invented every year, then you will be considered
    out-of-date.  

    The corporations really like to hire people at the office in Hyderbad
    India where the cost of tech labor is dirt cheap compared with the
    cost in the US.

    I could write a book on this subject.  In retrospect, I wish I had
    pursued civil engineering or real-estate sales.


    Offline Matthew

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    Re: Alternative Non-Accredited Computer Science Degree?
    « Reply #18 on: March 11, 2021, 02:42:39 PM »
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  • As I mentioned in another thread (the one where I announced my unemployment, being in my mid-40's)

    A young guy with 5 years experience would be only 21 - 27 years old, and almost certainly unmarried with no kids. He would have almost no health issues. His brain would be optimal for learning new things, and quickly. And he wouldn't be "set in his ways" in an old paradigm that is now out-of-date. But with all those up-sides, he is also CHEAPER than the fortysomething with 20 years experience but only 5 of that is relevant.

    Human beings lose their ability to change as they get older. The older they get, the harder it is to change, especially drastically.

    I still prefer the original GUI I got into, which is Windows 95. The modern Linux installed on my current PC is obviously better in every way -- faster, more reliable -- but fundamentally you still have a start menu, a taskbar with running programs, and clicking files to launch the appropriate programs. The paradigm is exactly the same.

    I can use smartphones, but I don't dive in and use "smartphone specific" stuff. I still just treat my smartphone as a portable Windows 95 computer. I click apps to launch them. I hate the lack of keyboard, mouse, and large screen. I prefer desktop any chance I get. I can't do the 50WPM double-thumb fast "touch typing" that young people do to send out texts quickly. I can see why they prefer smartphone, if that's how fast they can type on that keyboard! But I bet they can't touch type on a QWERTY keyboard as fast as I can. When that silly little pop-up keyboard appears, I have to peck out each letter with my index finger. At least I don't have to HUNT for each letter (the software keyboard is laid out QWERTY format), but it's painfully slow and I can't stand sending more than a few-word message. If I need to do real communication, I head to my PC.

    I still prefer making optical storage backups (DVD-R, Blu-ray DVD) of my data. I can't get into "cloud storage". I want to own my backups on-site where I can count on it. What if the Internet goes down?

    And I can't stand the "rent everything" model. Klaus Schwab would be happy with the modern state of software! "You will own nothing, and be happy!" "Everything you need, you'll rent, and it will be delivered by drone!" Remember that infamous video?  I prefer to pay once and OWN software, if there's a fee at all. I don't like having a subscription or monthly fee for anything. What if you lose your job, and have to tighten your belt? The only stuff you'll continue to have is that which you permanently own OR can afford under your new income (much smaller -- unemployment, savings, etc.)
    Feeling generous? Want to say "thank you"? Feel free to send gift(s) from my Amazon wishlist!
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    Offline Prayerful

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    Re: Alternative Non-Accredited Computer Science Degree?
    « Reply #19 on: March 11, 2021, 06:03:14 PM »
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  • An approach in IT is to go for certification in a number of small things, or in a major area. These are well recognised. An example would be Microsoft certification in various areas. Classes in a college or online would allow someone to prepare for far less money and nearly as good a result. Now some job roles specify IT degrees, but recognised certification is fine for most.


    Offline Ladislaus

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  • Ummm. Weren't the academic degrees that you earned actually in Classical Languages?

    Yes, but I've been working in IT for 20 years now.  That's actually part of where my thinking process came from.  NOT ONCE did a prospective employer ask me what my degree was in.  They cared about the fact that I had one, but then were more interested in my experience.  So the thought here would be to transition from other fields to computer science.  There's actually a company out there doing that, and having a lot of success, but they compress everything into a 15-week "boot camp".  Some of these concepts take much longer to really sink in and take root, so I don't agree with that approach.  But in a world of instant gratification, people like to believe that they'll become expert at something in 3 months, whereas it might take years ... if EVER, since some people don't quite have the aptitude for IT.

    Comp Sci graduate after Comp Sci graduate has come through the various companies I've worked for, and one was less competent than the other.  It always took nearly 6 months before they could be even remotely useful.  After FOUR YEARS of a degree program.

    I could cover all the subjects necessary to be an effective programmer in the real world in roughly 3 years, at a pace of 3 hours per week of actual instruction.  You don't need a FULL treatment, for instance, of networking ... just the basics that allow them to do the vast majority of development tasks.

    In any case, I have degrees in Classics, but I've risen to the top of my field (short of those positons that would require MBAs and in which I would have little interest due to the fact that they're 90% meetings).

    Offline Ladislaus

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    Re: Alternative Non-Accredited Computer Science Degree?
    « Reply #21 on: March 11, 2021, 09:05:48 PM »
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  • An approach in IT is to go for certification in a number of small things, or in a major area. These are well recognised. An example would be Microsoft certification in various areas. Classes in a college or online would allow someone to prepare for far less money and nearly as good a result. Now some job roles specify IT degrees, but recognised certification is fine for most.

    Perhaps, but my experience with MS certified types has been equally negative.  Most of them simply memorize the course materials and are able to regurgitate them but can't actually program a lick.  You actually need a lot of hands-on experience to be effective, with real world problems to solve.  That's why all these Comp Sci graduates were worthless, since they were in turn taught by professors who had never actually worked in the industry.  I've learned 99% of what I know by diving in and trying to work it out ... NOT from textbooks.  You learn from your errors and mistakes and bugs.

    Offline Ladislaus

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    Re: Alternative Non-Accredited Computer Science Degree?
    « Reply #22 on: March 11, 2021, 09:10:45 PM »
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  • As I mentioned in another thread (the one where I announced my unemployment, being in my mid-40's)

    A young guy with 5 years experience would be only 21 - 27 years old, and almost certainly unmarried with no kids. He would have almost no health issues. His brain would be optimal for learning new things, and quickly. And he wouldn't be "set in his ways" in an old paradigm that is now out-of-date. But with all those up-sides, he is also CHEAPER than the fortysomething with 20 years experience but only 5 of that is relevant.

    Human beings lose their ability to change as they get older. The older they get, the harder it is to change, especially drastically.

    I largely agree with that and, unfortunately, so do most employers.  Very few of them would even consider me given that I'm nearly 53 now.  So, if I got laid off, I'd pretty much be done.  I think I started to hit that wall around the age of 40 or 45, where it was more difficult to absorb newer paradigms.  I COULD, but it was always a lot more work and didn't come natural ... as it did when I was in my 20s and 30s.  Or perhaps it was because I cared less and wasn't nearly as enthusiastic.  I started out doing game programming when I was about 10 years old, but I never had a chance to actually do that as a career.


    Offline Minnesota

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    Re: Alternative Non-Accredited Computer Science Degree?
    « Reply #23 on: March 11, 2021, 09:51:43 PM »
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  • Some people should learn as they go and not get degrees in their field. It would benefit them immensely. 

    For perspective as an example (non-tech), I have sung in many choirs. They range in level and ability to "master race of babbling retards" to very competent that basically ran as a professional ensemble. A decent amount of the directors I've worked with who knew what they were doing didn't even have degrees in conducting. One was a STAS dropout and one had his doctorate in voice. They learned as they went.
    Get off the internet and say your rosary!

    Pray for one another.

    Offline Ladislaus

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    Re: Alternative Non-Accredited Computer Science Degree?
    « Reply #24 on: March 12, 2021, 07:32:40 AM »
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  • Some people should learn as they go and not get degrees in their field. It would benefit them immensely.

    I agree.  In the good old days, apprenticeship was a thing, and a good thing.  You learn much more by doing than by actually looking at books or videos.  Unfortunately, there's a huge industry in "education".  Just as you'll never be a good carpenter just by reading a book, the same can be said of IT.  Comp Sci graduates are nearly always useless for the first 6 months after graduation, until they've been able to cut their teeth on some real projects.

    Offline apollo

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    Re: Alternative Non-Accredited Computer Science Degree?
    « Reply #25 on: March 12, 2021, 09:15:46 AM »
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  • I agree.  In the good old days, apprenticeship was a thing, and a good thing.  You learn much more by doing than by actually looking at books or videos.  Unfortunately, there's a huge industry in "education".  Just as you'll never be a good carpenter just by reading a book, the same can be said of IT.  Comp Sci graduates are nearly always useless for the first 6 months after graduation, until they've been able to cut their teeth on some real projects.
    .
    I think you are simplifying the situation too much.  Not all software development
    work is at the level you are describing. 
    .
    There are application programming jobs, scientific programming jobs, system-level
    programming jobs, and others. 
    .
    System-level work, such as, "compiler engineer" requires a knowledge of algorithms and data structures: sorting, linked lists, hashing, parsing, abstract-syntax trees,
    graph theory (i.e. Warshall's algorithm, transitive closure, optimizations), and others.
    .
    I'd like to see your non-Comp-Sci, non-book-learning people jump into a compiler-
    engineering job at Intel and hit the ground running the first week. 
    .
    What kind of dummies have you been hiring among the Comp Sci group?
    .
    I started with a non-Comp-Sci certificate and I was a programmer, but just a
    programmer.  Boring, boring and more tedious boring work  Finally, I got a BS
    degree from a good university where I became fascinated with compiler engineering.
    .
    So, Comp Sci programs at a good Comp Sci department can open up new possibilities
    that you will not get at a technical school. 
    .
    Unfortunately, it's hard to find a good Comp Sci department that is reasonably priced
    and does not require you to do high-school humanities all over again.
    .
    Which calls into question the US education system.  It needs to be overhauled.  Maybe
    Europe is better.


     

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