[lug] Re: Academic exercises

Glenn Murray gmurray at Mines.EDU
Thu Mar 14 14:06:15 MST 2002

Undergraduate CS education is, in fact, largely driven by industry
expectations.  That said, trade-offs are made.  Students turn in code
which will be looked at (and maybe run) once, but never touched again,
because by the end of a course or degree program they are supposed to
exposed to a certain variety of topics.

Steve Beaty at MSCD once said that he'd like to start freshman
students on one project that they would continue working on until,
four years later, they graduated.  Unfortunately the average
graduation time is something like 7 years.

Even within a semester it's tough.  Your CS1 Pascal course (you're
dating yourself!) had to cover certain topics, e.g., compiling, types,
if/else, loops, functions, arrays, etc.  At the end of the course
everyone is supposed to have learned the same stuff.  Doing
semester-long projects usually doesn't fit into the curriculum until
the senior year.

Glenn Murray

On Thu, 14 Mar 2002, Sean Reifschneider wrote:

> Ignoring any judgements on Chris's situation, I'd just like to make an
> observation...  It may be useful to consider...
> The people I've worked with on software projects, who were fresh out of
> school (at the bachelors and masters levels) were developing code which
> looked to me like they were still turning in programs which had to work
> once and would never be looked at again.
> Unfortunately, school just doesn't really seem to promote developing
> quality software.  I remember being quite disappointed in my first
> programming class (AP Pascal).  The instructor asked at one point for ideas
> for our final project.  I suggested that throughout the semester we develop
> components, and the final would be assembling them into a text editor.
> That suggestion was immediately discarded.  Which was unfortunate...
> As far as hours, deadlines, and people to delegate to, I think that
> University is probably a good indication of what to expect in industry,
> particularly right now...  As an entry-level programmer, you're going to
> have things delegated to you, not be delegating them on to others.
> Ask the person who hasn't had a job interview in 5 months about the hours
> and deadlines on his new job which has mandatory 6 days work weeks for the
> first 2 years because it's a start-up...  If you think this is far-fetched,
> I provided a professional reference for this person on Monday...
> Just food for thought...
> Sean
> -- 
>  "You're thinking of Mr. Wizard."  "[Emilio Lizardo's] a top scientist,
>  dumbkopf."  "So was Mr. Wizard."  -- _Buckaroo_Banzai_
> Sean Reifschneider, Inimitably Superfluous <jafo at tummy.com>
> tummy.com - Linux Consulting since 1995. Qmail, KRUD, Firewalls, Python
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