Computer Science vs Programming

Thought this article was an appropriate starter for a new post. In this case, it touches upon some really personal topics that are near and dear to me, especially with what I do both professionally and in the world of academia.

While I think many students want to learn “how” to code a solution, I think many under-appreciate the other aspects of being a programmer which involve not only how to solve a problem, but also how to even define the problem, and all the small steps in between. In truth, the most worthless thing we can do as an educator, is teach the solution. As far as tech goes, the solution is typically on good for a specific problem, and even then, only good for as long as the parameters haven’t changed and the status quo is maintained.

Just last week at WWDC, for example, Apple turned the iOS development world on its head with the introduction of a new programming language – Swift. If all a student learned was how to solve specific problems with Objective C, they’re going to be left in the dark as the industry turns away from the language and focuses on the new approaches with Swift. On the contrary, if we concentrate our efforts on teaching students how to identify a problem, break it out into manageable logical chunks, and then utilize the tools in their arsenal as well as prepare them to find and utilize new skills, then something like a new language really isn’t that big of a hurdle at all.

Anyway, definitely worth a read for anyone thinking about development as a career.

10 Secrets You Should Have Learned with Your Software Engineering Degree – But Probably Didn’t


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