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Education Programming

Why Johnny Can't Code and How That Can Change 527

Posted by samzenpus
from the get-your-learn-on dept.
snydeq writes "Fatal Exception's Neil McAllister discusses why schools are having a hard time engaging young minds in computer science — and what the Scalable Game Design program in Colorado is doing to try to change that. 'Repenning's program avoids this disheartening cycle in three important ways. First, it deemphasizes programming while still encouraging students to develop the logical thinking skills they'll need for more advanced studies. Second, it engages students by encouraging them to be creative and solve their own problems, rather than just repeating exercises dictated by their instructor. Third, and perhaps most important, students are rewarded for their efforts with an actual, concrete result they can relate to: a game.'"
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Why Johnny Can't Code and How That Can Change

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  • by sethstorm (512897) on Thursday June 23, 2011 @12:10PM (#36542650) Homepage

    Except that Jina only is coding because of anti-US fraud that works in her favor.

    Sounds like you don't want a US citizen until they've been beat down to a level of world subservience. Another point to add - you weren't paying attention that we're not asking about Jina, just Johnny.

    We need less of you, less of Jina, and to give every advantage to Johnny.

  • Re:Offshoring. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by BigDaveyL (1548821) on Thursday June 23, 2011 @12:56PM (#36543422) Homepage

    Quoting from your post:
    "Even WITH offshoring Software Engineering is one of the ONLY segments of the US economy that is still hiring and has a serious shortage of qualified people."

    I think you need some additional quantifiers here - employers set the bar high and don't want to pay for a rockstar. There will always be a shortage of the super highly skilled/niche programmers, and these people will easily find jobs because of their highly skilled/niche status.

    Also, employers are unwilling to recognize transferrable skills and adverse to having promotions/employee development. For example, I know people that are stuck programming VB 6 because their employer doesn't want to upgrade to the new fangled .Net stuff. When employees want to look for a new job, they are told "Sorry, you don't have .Net exp." so they are stuck supporting crappy apps, even though they could be an above average programmer.

    I also thought I read somewhere that colleges and universities are graduating enough people in computing related fields to fill computing related jobs. If this is true, then the shortage is less of an issue.

    So in conclusion, there is only a shortage of people that are highly skilled and have real world exp. in what you're specifically looking for, and willing to accept your pay. All others need not apply.

  • Re:Offshoring. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Kagetsuki (1620613) on Thursday June 23, 2011 @02:49PM (#36545206)

    No, I took programming classes at Stanford, and then I studied at HAL in Japan. The difference was very much the same as the difference between education in mathematics between American and Japan, both I have experienced. Americans just seem to jumble concepts together in some sort of linear path where to get from point A to C you absolutely must learn point B before C and after A.

    For example, in mathematics in America you learn different equations for a line in different mathematical styles - algebra, geometry, etc. In Japan we learn all the equations for lines together at the same time. For programming in America you'll learn some method and then learn several algorithms that employ that method (learn loops and conditionals, then learn different types of sorts). In Japan we learned computing architecture including how things were stored in memory and collected and processed by the CPU, stored in the registers etc. while also learning assembler, doing algorithms with flow charts, and learning C. By learning all that in parallel I understood how the code I wrote in C would look in ASM, and how the ASM would translate to a list of binary instructions stored in memory, and how those instructions in memory were composed and how they would be sent through the machine. I came out of the first year at Stanford roughly able to code, I came out of the first year of HAL with a complete understanding of how to implement complex algorithms in C and how the compiled binary output of that C code would be processed by the machine.

    Certainly different schools will teach differently, but it seems to me the general methodologies of teaching have different underlying paradigms. As for India, good schools in India are insanely difficult to get into because of limited space. To get into a good university in India the hurdles are significantly higher than those of say MIT. On top of that India has a very unique system of mathematics that can prove to be extremely impressive. Calculation code I would have to write down and spend time converting, breaking down and checking I have seen my Indian counterparts glance at and find errors in seconds. Certainly the Indian coders I have worked with would be the higher-level ones; the ones that have made it to Japan. By the same token I've yet to see an American that worked well in a group and didn't continually press their random ideas like they were be-all end-all solutions. Just personal experiences for sure, but if I were putting my own money down on foreign developers my past experiences would have an effect on my decisions.

What this country needs is a dime that will buy a good five-cent bagel.

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