The key is that you can do what you say you can do. There are High school kids that are great programmers, even better than some 'professionals' I work with. Knowledge is key it doesn't matter where you get it. When interviewing programmers I always ask them things that I don't expect they know, just to see how they answer. I would rather hire someone who is self taught and loves computers, than a recient graduate who thinks that they can make a million dollars as a programmer.
I totally agree,
Also I prefer bilingual or polyglot persons who display an interest in Computers, and we concentrate on non Computer areas during the interview process, like what books they are reading, the current economic situation etc.
The theory is that if the applicant is bright enough, he/she will manage to learn what we are doing in a short amount of time anyway.
As an ancient graduate with 6 programming language changes myself and various methodologies , I regard less than 1% of what I had learn't is relevant today.
Thus now Qualifications mean to me, an applicant can study and stick with it for several years.
And Industry Experience means an applicant can settle down in a role for a specific amount of time.
There are some skills that are hard to learn outside of the university. I never finished college
and I spend a lot of time trying to improve my understanding of mathematics. I don't feel that
computer programming is an important thing to learn in school. It changes too fast doesn't it?
On the other hand, the ability to communicate and think clearly and to rapidly acquire new
skills is forged in a good academic program.
I haven't always valued math skills as much as I do now. The need to understand the
combinatorial effects of the problems I am working on these days has me struggling through
abstruse texts with unfamiliar notations and concepts. A degree in math would sure be a
The consequence of an incomplete education for me has been a lot of money spent on books,
a lot of time studying when I'd rather be playing, a constant worry that I've overlooked
something important, and too much time trying to solve NP complete problems without
understanding what they were.
The experience would have come anyway. Hindsight being what it is - I'd go with all the
college I could get
Personally I feel that the value of a [good] degree is that it does not teach you what to think, but teaches your how to think.
I guess I am biased since I come from a mathematics/physics background, but I feel that the problem solving skills I gained doing these courses was infinitely better than the courses I did learning Pascal and Modula-2. Still - there is definitely something to be said for having a solid background in fundamental computing science issues such as program design, testing, logic etc. The actual syntax or technology you use to implement the logic is almost irrelevant.
I think the best combination is to firstly understand the problems (via tertiary courses) and then understand the tools you will be working with (via certification, self learning, peer exchange like CodeProject etc).
Nice ramblings Chris,
True possibly you are biased and that is hard to change.
Yes problem solving is a major ability, we and others should be looking for in applicants.
Unfortunatly it is extremely hard to test for;
Sure we can easily test the ability of an individual to solve a 2 minute problem, but a normal work based problem can take days of research to solve.
Heres a top question,
Here at ABC systems we wish to develop an application to retrieve data from the "xyz" database and post it to a "rst"
information exchange application, we have never done this before how should we proceed.
A good answer, (that would get the job straight away would be)
I'll find some NG's and forums that deal with "xyz" and "rst" download them and build a database of the old postings. Then I'd search the old postings for "books" on "xyz" and "rst".
Thus just as problem solving is important knowing where to look for good answers is just as important, More today than 10 years ago.
>>The actual syntax or technology you use to implement the logic is almost irrelevant.<<
I agree completly with that comment.
Last Visit: 31-Dec-99 18:00 Last Update: 23-Sep-17 10:30