[plt-dev] number of HtDP graduates

From: Matthias Felleisen (matthias at ccs.neu.edu)
Date: Mon Oct 12 17:36:08 EDT 2009

On Oct 11, 2009, at 9:22 PM, Neil Van Dyke wrote:

> The other day, when I was extolling the merits of Scheme for agile  
> commercial use, someone (predictably) responded that finding Scheme  
> programmers was too difficult.
> I'm thinking it might be helpful to have a counter on the plt-scheme  
> home page of estimated number of students who've been through HtDP.
> Like number of Big Macs served, or the US national debt, only  
> desirable.

23,804, oops, no. Now it's 23,809 :-) Nice idea

Two comments:

1. Few institutions teach programmers to design documents in PHP or to  
program in Ruby on Rails or Perl or Python etc and yet, shops have no  
quibbles picking those systems for getting their work done. Is it  
possible that such questions are just a way to throw you off? To get  
the conversation stuck? If you throw out enough of those questions,  
the challenger will become discouraged.

2. While I appreciate the compliments, I will say that I forbid my  
students to mention Scheme on their resume. I tell them time and again  
that they are not learning Scheme (there is lots more to learn before  
you even scratch the surface of Scheme), and that the course isn't  
about Scheme. Seriously, I would expect that someone with a full HtDP  
background (or basics: I through VI) would need another semester to  
get to the basic level of programming where I would even consider  
someone fluent in a language. Even HtDP combined with PLAI wouldn't be  
enough to get some basic tricks down. High-speed HtDP plus #lang  
scheme with classes might be getting close (my MS level class).

But having said all this, keep pushing for PLT. Once Typed Scheme is  
really in place, we're the only language where scripters can script  
and grow up smoothly.

-- Matthias

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