Things a CS major/programmer need to know to be competent

This is a discussion on Things a CS major/programmer need to know to be competent within the General Discussions forums, part of the Community Boards category; Yet, nothing beats that feeling when you've finally written and tested a piece of code to find out that it ...

  1. #16
    Programming Wraith GReaper's Avatar
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    Yet, nothing beats that feeling when you've finally written and tested a piece of code to find out that it works!!!
    Devoted my life to programming...

  2. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sipher View Post
    Yet, nothing beats that feeling when you've finally written and tested a piece of code to find out that it works!!!
    Testing is something I see lacking in the curriculum for CS. When I went to college the concept of testing wasn't really emphasized. Some teachers alluded to the idea that programmers are more or less "Special" and should be expected to crank out code after deep thought and have it " work. It wasn't until I actually saw testing used in the field that I realized college could have been much easier for me.
    Here to Deceive, Inveigle, Obfuscate Since 1945

  3. #18
    Programming Wraith GReaper's Avatar
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    A new piece of code can't be expected to be error-free. Everyone makes mistakes and that includes programmers. Whether they're syntactic or logical, errors and bugs almost always exist in new code. That why mid-term testing is important. That's my opinion anyway...
    Devoted my life to programming...

  4. #19
    Woof, woof! zacs7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommonTater View Post
    In a right-working world I would happily agree with you.

    The problem is there's no way, short of doing our own testing, to sort out the ones who actually learned from the ones who skated through. Final grades don't even tell the story because some people get really good at passing tests but don't retain the lessons.

    Then there's every boss's nightmare... the person who hasn't learned a darned thing since graduating. For some reason there's a certain group of people who see the diploma as "mission accomplished" and utterly ignore Mario's consternation to treat University or College as the beginning and not the end of their training.

    However... when all does work as it should --which I consider to be an exceedingly rare event-- higher education usually does produce fully qualified people.

    The problem is telling them apart...
    Conversely, there is a problem that CS/SE students have -- and that's telling poor employers apart from the good ones.

    Just because you've finished university or college, and work for a company certainly doesn't attribute you with "We know the right way -- the grads are awful". I'm not saying some (even most) of them aren't, but proportionately there is an equal number of poor employers who seem to sport the "just get it out the door" attitude.

    Quote Originally Posted by indigo0086
    Testing is something I see lacking in the curriculum for CS. When I went to college the concept of testing wasn't really emphasized. Some teachers alluded to the idea that programmers are more or less "Special" and should be expected to crank out code after deep thought and have it " work. It wasn't until I actually saw testing used in the field that I realized college could have been much easier for me.
    I agree, but finding the balance between mathematics/science and software engineering is always going to be difficult. But who can blame them? Industry seem to have the same attitude, what else is a test team for? ;-)
    Last edited by zacs7; 01-19-2011 at 04:55 PM.

  5. #20
    Crazy Fool Perspective's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thefeedinghand View Post
    I was wondering what stuff do you guys think a CS major/programmer need to know to be competent overall, it can be either languages, concepts, algorithm stuff, math, etc...
    Knuth, The Art of Computer Programming, Volumes 1 - 5.

  6. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by whiteflags View Post
    Wouldn't the process of getting a degree make you competent?
    I am a current undergrad..and I say..nope.
    First of all, I had only excellent programming teachers, especially for first year.
    Our algorithms lecturer is so terrible, I figured they hired him because of his MSc or Phd. I didn't learn squat, same goes for the Maths lecturer (I want to shoot him).

    Another thing with the lecturers or what the faculty don't always get..the exam papers are always the same. It is shocking. Have you ever wondered why students are having first class and second upper blah blah..it is because students learn how to beat the system. Look at the exam for year 1 07, 08, 09.. oh they're exact replicas! Just memorize the answers!
    If you know someone who has a 1st class..it doesn't mean he is a genius..
    Although, the weird thing is..many still fail :S

    Now, to rant about the students. Jeez...some don't even have any idea what is happening at all. End of the semester and no idea what a Constructor is. I look for fellow students who want to do some personal programming projects, but I have more chance of winning the lotto.

    We're the next Microsoft.
    You ended that sentence with a preposition...Bastard!

  7. #22
    Woof, woof! zacs7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eman View Post
    We're the next Microsoft.
    As tech support perhaps, there's plenty of good and competent undergrads. A lecturer is exactly that, a lecturer -- don't expect them to be much more.

  8. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by zacs7 View Post
    there's plenty of good and competent undergrads
    yep, I know that.

    A lecturer is exactly that, a lecturer -- don't expect them to be much more.
    true, and most suck
    You ended that sentence with a preposition...Bastard!

  9. #24
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eman View Post
    true, and most suck
    You know why Walter Pitts revolutionized the cognitive sciences and launched the field of Neural Networks? Obviously because he benefited from a rewarding academic background.

    You know why Percival Lowell would see water irrigation canals and the presence of intelligent life on Mars? Of course, because he had terrible teachers during his academic years.
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

  10. #25
    Captain Crash brewbuck's Avatar
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    After 12 years in industry, I find that the skills I need on a daily basis are usually people skills. Bein able to work with different personalities, teamwork, and being able to see th big picture of what's being achieved and how you play a role in that are more important than sheer volume of technical knowledge. Being able to write decently is also important.
    Code:
    //try
    //{
    	if (a) do { f( b); } while(1);
    	else   do { f(!b); } while(1);
    //}

  11. #26
    Programming Wraith GReaper's Avatar
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    I believe that any knowledge you get your hands on, you should get.I'll tell you an example:

    Back in Senior High School, a class existed called Math and another one called Physics. Both where useless to me at the time. I was saying things like " how this knowledge will benefit me in everyday life? Are vectors/determinants/physics rules any good? etc". Now, as my ambition is to become a game programmer, all of the above and more are a must to begin with making 3D games.
    Devoted my life to programming...

  12. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by zacs7 View Post
    I agree, but finding the balance between mathematics/science and software engineering is always going to be difficult. But who can blame them? Industry seem to have the same attitude, what else is a test team for? ;-)

    I work at a company with over 10 teams, each with a balance of Developers and QA. QA are responsible for exploratory, functional, and in our case web automation/testing. Developers are responsible for unit and code-level integration testing and automation. In smaller companies or companies that do one thing in their product a test team might be a valid resource, but I imagine larger organizations and those with multiple facets need to have developers that understand they are responsible for testing their code.
    Here to Deceive, Inveigle, Obfuscate Since 1945

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    Just to throw two more cents into the can, I'm working on my CS degree on the side not that I think I'll gain some worldly knowledge that I don't already have, but rather as insurance in-case my current job goes under I have that piece of paper to help me bubble past the 50% or so applicants with no degree. The market being what it is causes any open position to be flooded by applicants, so I've seen some places instantly cut all applicants without at least a BS to get the list down to something manageable. It sucks that it comes to that because some of the best developers and hackers I've seen have no degree what so ever, but in a world ran by suits that piece of paper or even certificates do speak loudly.

  14. #29
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    I saw a video of a guy talking about it 1 week ago(I think it was in OS News). He was a major in CS in a big university and did a program to train kids in india with no math no theoretycal background just hands on experience. I can not findthe video I saw it in os news or something like that. He adresses the points you guys mentioned and explains in which cases the degree is important. Maybe one of you can have some luck finding it.
    Oki I found it!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zt5EMnATY_Q

  15. #30
    Super Moderator VirtualAce's Avatar
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    The next to last post was a 17 day bump and while the next one actually does not violate the old post rule (a mere 11 days) I'm still closing this thread due to the first bump.

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