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This is absolutely true, however in reality (= in practice) very few non-CS degree devs _will_ reach the same level of knowledge.

When you have to learn all that stuff to get your degree, then you just have to learn it. Period. Also people who are full time students have more time to spend on these topics, but when you are actually working 8h+ per day and your career is mostly around JS frameworks it becomes much harder to invest time into these things.

Obviously this doesn't apply to everyone, but I'd say it applies for most.




I don't disagree with you, but I don't completely agree with your implications either. From my experience, most people with a CS degree will not attain that level as well. Even at the masters level, a number of people will not understand. It's sad. I really feel this is a failure of universities not forcing students to learn, but I know there are a number of politics etc that factor into how hard they can make courses, and what they can teach.


There's a difference between learning specifics, and learning habits of thought.

The two best things a CS degree can do is expose you to ideas you wouldn't otherwise know about, and to force you to work on hard projects that require a combination of multi-level analytical thinking and research.

Both of those are excellent training for at least some aspects of being developer.

But that doesn't mean the details are inherently useful. There are very few situations where you will be expected to write a compiler. So in that sense compiler theory itself is optional - far less useful than the experience of having to handle a complex set of data structures and relationships, which could in theory come from other kinds of projects.

Academic CS also tends to miss out a lot of useful practical skills. It won't teach you much about management (from either side), salary negotiations, office politics and co-worker relationships, or business theory.

It may not even teach you how to write good clean code that's easy to read and maintain.

So IMO the ideal CS degree doesn't exist. The ideal degree would be a good mix of theory with plenty of industry practice - possibly with some standardised requirements that would lead to a Chartered Developer qualification that was better at guaranteeing a working blend of practical skill, theoretical understanding, and analytical talent than current degrees seem to be.


>The two best things a CS degree can do is expose you to ideas you wouldn't otherwise know about, and to force you to work on hard projects that require a combination of multi-level analytical thinking and research.

I agree that should be the case, and sadly enough, I've seen a number of people graduate college with degrees in CS and not have that. There have been a number of times when I'd mention some non-esoteric concept that should have been covered and the response is something like "huh"? I'm not talking about things like "Oh you don't understand how to implement Redux?", it's more things like "Ok, you need to compute the intersection of these two arrays." You are right, they probably have been exposed to these concepts, but they have no idea how to actually do it. More importantly, they grasp so little, they didn't even know where to start. The saddest one I saw was a student that was wicked smart, and the school didn't challenge him enough to struggle through any projects. When he came to intern, he was lost, because he'd never been actually challenged. (He was from a major public university too.)

Don't get me wrong, I disagree, there are a number of great CS programs from both public and private universities, and actually the good ones are exactly like you mention (both theoretical and practical application), but there are a lot that aren't.


> When you have to learn all that stuff to get your degree, then you just have to learn it. Period.

Or you could just do the bare minimum that your class’s TA will let you get away with, which usually means not much at all…


There's a huge difference between taking the easiest path through a degree (mostly Cs, the easiest electives you can take etc...), and someone who pushed themselves while in college. That's why if the degree is a big part of someone's resume, I ask for a transcript.




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