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Does a CS degree prepare you for the workplace?

 
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From things I've seen so far, I'd guess the answer is no. But what do people who know what they're talking about think?
 
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Who do you think knows what they're taking about? Everyone has a right to an opinion.
In mine, a CS degree is as applicable to software engineer as a physics degree is to mechanical engineering. It's a good foundation, but it falls short on applicable skills.

--Mark
 
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Mark, To help put this in perspective, can you tell us if there is an undergrad degree that you find provides more of the skills for software engineering than does CS?
Anyone considering getting a BS CS versus not having a 4-year degree, should take into account that a good undergrad education is as much about communication and critical thinking as it is learning a paticular set of technical skills. Of course, not everybody makes the most of it. But in my opinion, it will serve you well whether you spend your life doing what you studied or not. What's probably more important is that you study something that interests you enough that you'll exercise your brain.
For example, I think my physics studies served me well, even though I've spend the last twenty years doing something else.
 
Mark Herschberg
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Well, I thought the discussion here, was on that topic.
A few random points...
I was a physics major myself (I double majored). I think physics is a great background for many fields, EE/CS, science, engineering, financial, economics, consulting, medicine, etc. Physics is very good at building general analytical skills.
MIT's Associate Dean for the School of Engineering recently felt too many MIT students ended up in cubicles. That is to say, doing engineering work, but never moving into engineering management, or into other fields such as politics, social services, etc, fields which generally require more people skills. To compensate for this, MIT began a new program UPOP. I stand behind, and agree with the goals and princples of the program 100%. Convienently, my friend is the director of the program, and I actively participate in it's development and execution.
This whole question is really the basis of my book. Fundamentally, my answer is, "no it doesn't, here are some additional ideas you should keep in mind when working in software." It's aimed at people in software with 0-5 years experience, designed specifically to fill in the gaps left by a CD program. So, in fact, I could spend quite a lot of time talking about this topic--for about 170 pages so far. I'm hesitant to go into further detail just because I should really be focusing my energies on this topic into the book to get it done (I've slacked off a bit lately and need to gear up again). Nevertheless, you can be sure that I will post much more detailed answers to these and other questions when my book get close to publication.

--Mark
[ July 17, 2002: Message edited by: Mark Herschberg ]
 
Mark Herschberg
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As I followup, I must say I think this forum the most interesting board on the ranch, for just his reason. It goes to the point of "Peopleware." Thepremise of that book is that projects don't fail for technical reasons, they fail because of people and management of those people.
Think about a porject you know of that was difficult or failed. Was it "technically challenging?" That is, did you push the limits of the technology. A company like Google, or building a massively parallel algorithm, might be. There even the most minute detail can make a huge different. For the rest of us, the accounting software, or CRM software, or whatever, is pretty mundane. You know it can be done and how to do it, yet, somehow, in the details of doing it, we screw it up.
For this reason, of late, I've been finding project management much more interesting and challenging then actual technical work. Unfortunately, the people in the technical field are usually more competant then those who manage them.... but that's a whole other discussion.

--Mark
 
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