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Algorithms and degrees

 
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It's good to have you around the Ranch Dan

I believe your book Algorithmic Thinking is targeted at people who don't have much knowledge of algorithms and data structures. How far do you think books like yours fill the role of a computer science degree? Is your goal to equip people who haven't studied computer science with skills they are missing, so they don't need further study, or do you see it as a potential stop-gap as well? Or even as a stepping stone for either formal or self study in the future?
 
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Hi Jj,

Thank you for the welcome!

You're right about my target reader: someone without much knowledge of algorithms and data structures but with knowledge of a programming language.

I think careful study of the book could get someone most of what they'd learn in an intro data structures or algorithms course. What they'd miss is the formal basis of proving correctness and running time, but I've tried to include what the practicing programmer needs there.

It would be fantastic if my book helped people later tackle the, mmm, algorithms books that my students find scary. Maybe those books will be less scary after this

Thank you,
Dan
 
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Thanks Dan. I'm particularly interested because I haven't yet had the opportunity to study computer science, and I am thinking that some good beginner books like yours are a good start for now. You're the right person to ask because you teach and write
 
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Jj Roberts wrote:Thanks Dan. I'm particularly interested because I haven't yet had the opportunity to study computer science, and I am thinking that some good beginner books like yours are a good start for now. You're the right person to ask because you teach and write



Thank you! My research area is actually computer science education -- literally studying how to teach this stuff I'll always have more to learn about teaching, of course, but I've tried to pack everything I know about teaching algorithms into this book. For example, I've done research on teaching recursion, dynamic programming, data structures, how students learn this stuff and where they tend to struggle -- and that's informed the material in the book.

Dan
 
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