Wednesday, January 30, 2008

BT in Software Engineering

Many people have the opinion that Computer Science graduates are not being well prepared for the road ahead, and I completely agree. I don't want to repeat any of the arguments or my personal take on the exact problems with today's curriculum, but I do want to broadcast an idea of where the solution needs to come from.

I think we need to separate Technology from Science and the Arts. I want my (future) son to go to a 4-year University and get a Bachelor of Technology. Science relates to facts, theories, and formulas. Arts relates to creativity, culture, and individualism. Neither of these describes technology related fields, and coming to that realization is what we need.

We've seen the beginning of it. New buildings on campus to house computer science and other engineering programs. The equipment that students interact with has changed. But did the way we teach change?

Our world isn't built on formulas, theories, and laws like the traditional science programs. Our world is built on best practices, innovation, collaboration, adaptability, and abstract concepts. You can't learn best practices from a book. You don't experience innovation through canned programming assignments. Collaboration isn't taught by sitting in a classroom with 50 other students, staring at a projector screen. The world has evolved and so should our teaching methods.

1 comment:

kitplummer said...

Excellent thinking.

I'd imagine some will say what you described is either IT or vocational. I don't think this necessarily true. However, I don't see your vision becoming a reality. Academia is either bound to curricula generated by copirate-led committees or tradition.

What I did, more as an experiment, was got a Masters I'd Software Engineering. This turned out to be a dud. The program, tho good on paper, is too soft and process oriented. It was also killed in the after a few years. Fortunately I was grand-fathered in because they've turned it into an MIS program with a SE focus. No better than CS.

So. At the end the day it is up to the individual to be smart enough to drive themselves in the right direction by paying attention to industry and get involved in Open Source projects as soon possible.