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Programming Curriculum Improvement

Develop programmers with real programmer skills
  [vote for,

When I studied programming in school, I learned the basics along with a lot of useless specifics (COBOL, anyone?). Never have I seen a programming curriculum that offers some of the most vital skills to programmers of all, and every last programmer I know lacks these fundamental skills. I propose that all programming curriculae require the following courses:

Network Printer Setup/Maintenance
Automatic drip coffee pot cleaning
End user language interpretation
Sleep deprivation studies
Tractor-feed paper tearing
Vocal music performance (like me, the guy in the cubicle catty-corner from me is constantly singing the chorus from the last song he heard on the radio before turning the key off and coming in -- but at least I sing on key...)
(and the #1 most important skill that programmers lack -- jutta being the exception proving the rule) Human behavior

globaltourniquet, Apr 22 2002


       Fax machine repair
Telephone system installation
101 web sites with cheap prices and fast delivery
How to eat like a king
from a vending machine
The Frugal Technician
"Why do people keep calling?" - An introspective look at antisocialism
Mail-order brides - When pornography no longer cuts it

phoenix, Apr 23 2002

       Keyboarding - I vote for that!   

       I still fondly remember the time I changed both the superuser passwords right in front of a 'single finger' admin (of a xenix system - long time back) who had left the # prompt on screen.
neelandan, Apr 23 2002


       How a base diet of pretzels and Pepsi subtly degrades your coding ability as you age   

       Help! There's a carton of pork-fried rice in my keyboard!   

       Hygenic balls: cleaning trackballs and mouse balls   

       Why your way is not the only way, why it may not be the best way, and why you are just gonna hafta deal with it   

       Good 'un, Global! Another croissant! That's two straight...the HB is on a roll.
Dog Ed, Apr 23 2002

       Yes globaltourniquet, all excellent ideas.

On a much more serious note, add a healthy does of 'soft skills' to anyone that wants to end up in applications/product support - though don't go as far as Microsoft Professional Services, who have excellent soft skills, but seemed to have gained them at the expense of actual technical knowledge.

I always wondered why programmers are taught and examined on language specifics - sure they have to know them, but who works without a good reference in easy reach? And who is still coding in the language they learned in school? A much better strategy would be to teach something more transferable, like patterns, or efficient coding - areas where the good programmer shows their strengths ahead of those who are just regurgitating documented examples.
mcscotland, Apr 23 2002

       Some of these skills are very useful, but many will be learnt in an informal manner. Learning how to pull an allnighter through desperation will have far more educational value than any professor drawing diagrams of clocks and Pro-Plus on a blackboard. Similarly, learning how to disassemble and reconstruct a printer after being awake 36 hours, your hands shaking like jelly from too much coffee, and a deadline 2 hours away is only possible in actual circumstances, not in controlled lecture-room conditions.   

       It is truly said that the most important lessons learnt at university are not taught in classrooms.
pottedstu, Apr 23 2002

       //COBOL, anyone?//

Yes please. We're still using it here.
DrBob, Apr 23 2002

       great idea! as someone who did a hardcore programming degree, and now never codes but manages people who do, my 2p (5c) is:
why contact with none-techie CEOs is sometimes unavoidable (esply after they have been to a conferance or promised something impossible) & related lip biting skills
what to expect a CIO to know, & how to communicate with them
effective task estimation
easter egg design
coffee. it shouldnt be a lifestyle
ditto 1980's t-shirts
mymus, Apr 23 2002

       Hey mymus, that's uncanny, sounds like you're talking about the same CEO I'm thinking about!
peeebeee, Apr 23 2002

       peebee, only suprised you have any lips left.
mymus, Apr 23 2002

       •Removing Optimism From Schedule Estimates
•Beyond Abort, Retry, Ignore: Error Messages That Mean Something
•Dealing With Game Artists Without Screaming At Them
•Controlling the Urge to Rewrite From Scratch
bristolz, Apr 23 2002

       why not dong effective version/source control has been scientifically proven to lead to severe cranial injury.
mymus, Apr 23 2002

       mcscotland, my programming education was pretty much as you describe - loads of theory and very little actual programming. Despite the unrelenting tedium of the classes, the theory part was fine. However, in my four years studying computer science, I never got a program to work. Not once. This dawned on me at my gradutaion and it was then that I took the decision not to be a programmer. Anyway, what I am trying to say is that I, personally, would have benefitted from being more practical computing 'skillz' (as I believe they are called).   

       gt, could there also be a class called "Not talking in acronyms when spendintg time with people who aren't programmers" as it would make the remaining tatters of my social life a little more bearable.
calum, Apr 23 2002

       Oh no, we can't have that last one, callum. Being the middle man between programmers and accountants has kept me in a job for twenty years. :o)
DrBob, Apr 23 2002

       The basic problem with computer programmers is that they exist. The fact that computers need programs and hence programmers is evidence that they don't yet work properly.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 10 2016


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