[plt-scheme] Should computer programming be mandatory

From: Woodhouse Gregory (gregory.woodhouse at gmail.com)
Date: Fri Oct 17 16:03:10 EDT 2008

I don't really blame the students. They want every advantage they can  
get when it comes to simply getting hired. I'm less sympathetic when  
it comes to the hiring practices that emphasize short term gains at  
the expense of a better educated workforce, and therefore a workforce  
that will be more productive in the long run.

A theme that comes up time and again is that there are a few  
developers whose code always seems to work and who are able to solve  
problems that would lead most everyone else to throw up their hands  
and say "it's impossible". Oddly, these are not the same developers  
as those that know Java EE backwards and forwards and seemingly can  
do anything with WebLogic or Oracle. Don't get me wrong, developers  
in this second group are very valuable, but when their code can be  
cryptic or convoluted, and when they run out of design patterns, they  
can start tto run out of steam, and productivity (of the enterprise  
as a whole) falls off. These are the highly trained technicians that  
we as a society have always sought for and reward the most. The  
developers in the first group are critical thinkers and generally the  
most innovative workers. Ironically, when we REALLY get into a bind,  
we are forced to turn to the first group, but it's the second group  
that is rewarded both with respect and the largest salaries.

Maybe it's time for a rethink.

I hear and I forget.
I see and I remember.
I do and I understand.
--Attributed to Confucius, 500 BCE


On Oct 17, 2008, at 7:06 AM, Ernie Smith wrote:

> If there is decline in the quality of education, perhaps it is a  
> consequence of a misguided
> propensity to equate the goal of education with the goal of  
> training a workforce.

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