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Professors Slam Java As "Damaging" To Students 1267

jfmiller call to our attention two professors emeritus of computer science at New York University who have penned an article titled Computer Science Education: Where Are the Software Engineers of Tomorrow? in which they berate their university, and others, for not teaching solid languages like C, C++, Lisp, and ADA. The submitter wonders whether any CS students or professors would care to respond. Quoting the article: "The resulting set of skills [from today's educational practices] is insufficient for today's software industry (in particular for safety and security purposes) and, unfortunately, matches well what the outsourcing industry can offer. We are training easily replaceable professionals... Java programming courses did not prepare our students for the first course in systems, much less for more advanced ones. Students found it hard to write programs that did not have a graphic interface, had no feeling for the relationship between the source program and what the hardware would actually do, and (most damaging) did not understand the semantics of pointers at all, which made the use of C in systems programming very challenging."
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Professors Slam Java As "Damaging" To Students

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  • tasty (Score:5, Funny)

    by User 956 ( 568564 ) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @04:19AM (#21951006) Homepage
    Professors Slam Java As "Damaging" To Students

    I dunno about you, but java was nothing but helpful to me as a student. the drinkable kind, at least.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @04:22AM (#21951018)
    I'm concerned about the narrowm view of the world IT people and engineers
    have these days. I think the problem starts at college -
    There's a culture that somehow science is more rational and usefull
    then the humanitities. Lecturers encourage students to joke about arts
    students, and humilaite them whenever possible. This encourages
    eliteism, and I for one am sick of it.

    Let's tell it like it is. 'science' is just as much about opinion as
    the humanities. Research simply follows the fad of the day. Take
    dieticians for example. These men and woman believe that just because
    they have degree in medical science that they are all knowing. Why,
    what they recommend one day may kill you the next! (see the DDT story
    for more information.) Science is 95% opinion then facts, lets face
    it. What about astrology, the most rediculious of the sciences! But I

    Another example is music. We know what sounds good. Everyone aggreed
    that Valves for instance sound great. But knowitall engineers use
    trensastors with inferious sound quality just to save a few bucks.
    They argue with numbers. Hey, I don't want to do maths just to listen
    to music. I know what I like. You cannot apply objective reasoning to
    a subject which is intristically subjective. But try telling those
    recent grads with their useless piece of paper that and they go all

    The problem with you technical guys are that you are all so eliteist.
    Whilst you want to trun collage into a trade school with yore narrow
    minded views that collage should be a job training centre, humanities
    are focused on making you a well rounded person who is auctually
    interesting to be with, not a boring focuesed geek. Really, it makes
    me so mad when people say "oh, he's doing a humanities degree, that's
    easy". I have to read *3* *books* *a* *week* on average. Not picture
    books either I assue you. It is a lot of work, but the upshot is
    improved grammer and spelling skills that are lacking in the
    technical. As for those that say "you will be working at mcdonalds" ,
    I'm going on to so a PhD in socialolgy where I'll be line for tenure
    where I have a much more rewarding job then beeing a science freak or
    an engineer. Anyways, all I have to do to be a engineer wold be to get
    my MSCE and how hard couyld that be? techincal stuff is simply
    whatever fad the market thinks is hot at the moment, but all great
    things were done by humanities.

    You technical types are far to narrow minded and cynsical. You should
    learn to enjoy life.

    Peace be to god, he transcends all.
  • by forgotten_my_nick ( 802929 ) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @05:20AM (#21951350)
    Sure don't you know that C++ was just a cruel joke by the creators. ;) []
  • by Exitar ( 809068 ) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @05:41AM (#21951480)
    "I have to read *3* *books* *a* *week* on average. Not picture books either I assue you. It is a lot of work, but the upshot is improved grammer and spelling skills that are lacking in the technical."

    It does not work for you. In your post mispelled:
    narrowm, lets, aggreed, trun collage, auctually, focuesed, assue, grammer, socialolgy, beeing, couyld, cynsical

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @06:18AM (#21951648)
    Did you mean: grammar

  • by goose-incarnated ( 1145029 ) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @06:55AM (#21951838) Journal

    a quote: "if the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail".

    right back at ya: "if the only tool you have is a chainsaw, every problem looks like hours of fun

  • by something_wicked_thi ( 918168 ) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @06:55AM (#21951840)

    And don't tell me Java doesn't have pointers - what do you think references are? Glorified pointers with auto-null checks.

    And what's a SIGSEGV if it's not an auto-null check? ;-)

  • by Moraelin ( 679338 ) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @07:48AM (#21952118) Journal
    Just as an extra anecdote and illustration of what happens when such people finally get told about pointers (but still don't quite "get it"): one team's architect actually told everyone to use "Integer" instead of "int" in method definitions everywhere, because it's faster! See, it copies only a pointer instead of the whole int!

    Yeah, that guy was quite a bit less than a Michelangelo.
  • by mofag ( 709856 ) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @09:35AM (#21952912)
    What's the big deal with writing grammar as grammer. He is just being a good American and helping to further differentiate and dumb-down the US version of the English language. After all when: tyre is spelt tire; gaol is spelt jail; realise is spelt realize (my gods - how do you play scrabble?), it can only be a matter of time before grammar is spelt grammer.

    My point being that if you're gonna act like you have a stick up your arse (ass being a beast of burden), you need to get a nice British passport like mine. If you're happy being American then accept that its your job to make the English language more phonetic.

    Oh and for the record, university should not be about people. It should be about standards but that argument was lost in the US and Canada a long time ago it seems.
  • by Antique Geekmeister ( 740220 ) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @09:40AM (#21952960)
    Given the authors, perhaps they could share their insight on how studying Ada is damaging to your employment prospects and your career?
  • Re:tasty (Score:3, Funny)

    by TurboTimmy ( 1112383 ) * on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @10:14AM (#21953322)

    I don't know a lot about programming as a profession, but teh article feels on target to me.
    I don't know a lot about comedy, but this feels like a pointer joke to me.
  • Re:tasty (Score:5, Funny)

    by computational super ( 740265 ) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @10:21AM (#21953406)
    doing your homework in haskell or lisp or hell

    Hell? Maybe you meant Perl?

  • by linguizic ( 806996 ) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @11:18AM (#21954196)
    I studied to become a sociologist, but all those circle jerks made my dick hurt!
    Seriously, sociology is full of shit. It's just an excuse for liberals (of which I am one) to make up reasons why everyone else should be liberal.
  • by Exitar ( 809068 ) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @11:21AM (#21954236)
    1. English is not my first language.
    2. I'm a techie...
    3. I read only books full of pictures!
  • Re:tasty (Score:3, Funny)

    by bidule ( 173941 ) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @02:48PM (#21957534) Homepage

    But, the whole reason to GO to a University, is to get the skills/education to make more money when finished, than you would have if you had not gone.
    What! Heresy! Perversion!

    University is there to teach you how to think, first and foremost. You'll get hired at a higher salary because you're expected to think and not just be a technician. Otherwise a degree is just a piece of paper, nothing more than a multi-year cert.

    It also means that you aim at being more than just a corporate drone. Well at least that's the theory.

    BTW, do you know the difference between theory and practice?
    In theory there's none, but in practice...

  • by HiddenBek ( 1101673 ) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @03:45PM (#21958614)
    There's an even greater danger. A while ago, I was trying to make toString return a length, just like you suggested. Great minds think alike hey? Anyway, I was reading the API docs and eating my donut, and, wouldn't you know it, I dripped some jelly from my donut into my computer. Now, I know what you're thinking, just lick it out right? Well, that's exactly what I tried, and let me tell you, that's a bad idea. I even had to go to the hospital. But Java didn't say ANYTHING ABOUT THIS! Not even a compiler warning. What the hell? The doctor said I could have been killed.

    Also, did you know that you can override the paint method on a JFrame? The paint method. The method that does the painting. Why, someone could override that method with some code to show a naked picture of themselves, then forget they did it, then accidentally install the application on every computer at a catholic school. I bet they'd have to register as a sex offender and the girl scouts would stop coming and then where would they get their thin mints? I really miss think mints. I filed a bug report, so here's hoping this dangerous behavior gets fixed in the next release.
  • by borat4president ( 1083997 ) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @03:50PM (#21958706) Homepage Journal
    And do you people know how damaging English can be to those studying linguistics? No cases, no genders, just two articles, only 26 letters, decimal numerals, vowels not ommitted from spelling, etc. etc.
  • Re:tasty (Score:3, Funny)

    by peterpi ( 585134 ) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @06:42PM (#21961782)
    I graduated with a degree in the biological sciences and another in spanish, and now I'm a perl programmer. Go figure.

    So does perl make sense to a Spanish-speaking biologist? It sure as hell doesn't to the rest of us!

A verbal contract isn't worth the paper it's written on. -- Samuel Goldwyn