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I don't know if it's that, or if it's just that it's muddled.

Physics is really two different fields: There's Physics for people who want to a rigorous understanding of the underlying theory, and possibly also want to become research scientists or academics within the field. And there's engineering and all its subfields for people who are primarily interested in applying that knowledge to make stuff.

There's the potential for CS to be broken up along similar lines, but it hasn't happened. I'd argue that this does students a great disservice, since it's hard for someone getting in at the ground level to tell what a program's real focus is just by reading the course catalog.

I took the SICP route and I'm very glad I did. But plenty of my classmates hated it, and I don't see a problem with that. It's terribly dry stuff, and there are plenty of people who've got only a high level grasp of the theory and still make amazing software and make it well

That's a good point. I like the fundamentals and really digging in, and for my friends who don't I ask why learn less about the fundamentals of what you're doing!? Those same friends seriously questioned their life choices during the theory/core classes. They later found their calling when they had a chance to explore things like web dev or mobile dev and they're happy now.

Different strokes for different folks.

I like Richard Gabriel's proposal for a Master of Fine Arts in Software Development degree program. It focuses more on the craft aspects of building software since we still don't know how to do true software engineering in the general case.


In 1998 my university offered CS, CE and EE degrees (I'm throwing in the EE to make it clear that the CE was software oriented).

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