[plt-scheme] Re: Programming for non-programmers

From: Alex Peake (alex.peake at comac.com)
Date: Sat Oct 16 17:57:48 EDT 2004


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Richard Cleis [mailto:rcleis at mac.com] 
> Sent: Saturday, October 16, 2004 10:36 AM
> To: Alex Peake
> Cc: plt-scheme at web-ext.cs.brown.edu
> Subject: Re: [plt-scheme] Re: Programming for non-programmers
> On Oct 16, 2004, at 9:33 AM, Alex Peake wrote:
> >> Message: 2
> >> Date: Fri, 15 Oct 2004 13:31:00 -0700
> >> From: Richard Cleis <rcleis at mac.com>
> >> To: "Neil W. Van Dyke" <neil at neilvandyke.org>
> >> Subject: Re: [plt-scheme] Re: Programming for non-programmers
> >> Cc: plt-scheme at list.cs.brown.edu
> >>
> >> Is it the 'workers' that need educated or The Industry that needs 
> >> educated?  The laments in this thread include errors (made by 
> >> >'workers', of course) involving memory allocation, among other 
> >> low-level issues.  In other words, after a four decade computer
> >> >evolution where operating systems
> >> have surpassed a gigabyte, these environments are still so 
> dumb that 
> >> it is possible for 'workers'
> >> to make the same fundamental errors today as we did when I 
> was a kid.
> >>
> >> I feel cheated; I was told that programs would be writing 
> themselves 
> >> by now! ;)
> >
> > It is WE the programmers ('workers') that need to write the 
> programs 
> > that write programs, surely?
> Indeed.  And bus drivers need to be trained to drive a 
> busses.  If busses have poorly designed brakes, the drivers 
> (no matter how well
> trained) still crash more than necessary.  Does this mean 
> that we need to train them to upgrade brakes?

This gets us into the "division of labor" discussion - probably not here!

>  From my perspective, CS education is often wasted because 
> graduates can't pursue better ideas when so much of their 
> time is wasted merely surviving.  This is part of what I 
> meant by 'The Industry Needing Training.'  I am applying self 
> criticism here, by the way; I am part of The Industry that 
> needs training.

By "graduates" do you mean the working graduate, or the garduate student? Let me assume the former.

There are great companies, average companies, poor companies (assume a somewhat Normal
distribution). That means there are very few "great". I also observe that the "average" is pretty
(absolute terms) low perfoming. It is tough to do well in low perfoming companies. Just like
companies, graduates follow a similar distribution (companies are just aggregations of people).
Again the "average" is pretty low performing (IMHO). Even then, held back by low performing
companies, the great can still shine bright and make big contributions. (My mantra of career
management, BTW, is "choose the right boss - all else follows".)

So what would you like to achieve? Raise the level of a particular, small subset that is important
to you? This is quite doable. Raise the level of the global average? Exceedingly challenging, and
certainly a very long term goal.


> rac
> >
> > Alex
> >

Posted on the users mailing list.