Re: Can you learn computer science from a school?

Wade Humeniuk wrote:
I have found the articles in this thread fascinating. There
seems to a bias against formal schooling and learning when
it comes to computers. Comments you might hear down at
the bar about those "university ivory types" types.
(Yet in the last few years I have resorted to some
remedial academic learning that is missing from my
computer background. Know what? There is ton of
useful knowledge in there. Problems which seemed
intractable, with a little bit of learning, no
longer are.)

One of the problems I see with computer science courses at universities is that it is typically taught as if it were a branch of mathematics or natural sciences, which it is clearly not.

The idea of something like "self-taught" surgeons operating
on me makes my skin crawl (an analogy EN used often). Yet
"self-taught" programmer does not. I suppose its that a
programmer cannot do as much damage (or can they?) What
is the difference?

Medicine is a much older discipline than computer science. One should always keep in mind that computer science is a very young discipline - it's roughly 50-70 year old, depending on how you count. Computer science in 100 or 200 years from now will look very different (and things like the metaprogramming techniques we use in Lisp will be regarded as trivial, for example).

Try these on for size

"self-taught" airline pilot
"self-taught" manager
"self-taught" President of the United States
"self-taught" bomb maker
"self-taught" musician

Makes me think...

All of these "disciplines" were "self-taught" at some stage in history. Teaching is communicating accumulated knowledge to other people. If there is not a lot of accumulated knowledge, there is not a lot to teach.


P.S.: Ah, yes, and of course in order to be able to communicate knowledge, you have to have that knowledge yourself... ;)

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