Now I can see the dependencies for my project taking about 15 minutes to load. And while they are loading, I think about what higher education gives me.
This is a rather controversial topic of discussion. On the one hand, we hear that this education is a base, a foundation for future knowledge; on the other hand, there is an opinion that it is useless.
Important mention, I study at a regional university and I guess that in the best universities the situation is a little different, for the better
Higher education is important, right?
Let’s take a look at three guys.
- The first one is a regular guy who doesn’t know what he wants. Just goes after what his parents told him to do, or they just paid for the education, for example, or he just doesn’t want to get into the army and the only legal way to do that is to get a higher degree. Yes, for you the army may sound kind of silly, but in some countries it is a pressing problem. He has never been interested in programming, etc. What do you think is the level of such a person’s interest in learning and researching the subject? What is the motivation? (80% of the total number of students)
- The second one is a guy who has never written a program before, but for some reason he likes it in his first year. He enjoys doing labs, taking exams and going to lectures, and getting a scholarship. All in all, he studies diligently. Things are a little bit better here, but as a rule such students very rarely do anything outside the university. (18% of the total number of students)
- The third guy found himself in programming at a young age, maybe as a kid, maybe as a teenager (13-16 years old). It’s not that important. He already knows what he wants to do in the next few years. Often such students get a job in the 1st or 2nd year of university. (1-2% of the total number of students)
All percentages are approximate, I took them from my own experience
So at this point we have three “types” of students. Let’s think about what the university has to offer each of them.
For the first type, it’s just what he “has to do”. Another annoying thing in his life.
“You can lead a donkey to water, but you can’t make it drink”
It is useless to force someone who doesn’t want to learn, the knowledge will simply fly out of his head in a second.
For the second type, the situation is a little better. Guys like these will get a “general idea” of software development. But don’t you think the price you paid for this “general introduction” is too high?
I want to ask you, how much information can a lecturer put into your head in 2 lectures? Don’t you think that the total amount of knowledge given at the university is less than 10% of the total amount of knowledge? And I’m not talking about the relevance of this knowledge.
In the time you spend sitting and listening to the lecturer, you can read two or three books on the subject. The quality and value of the knowledge in these books will often be much greater than sitting in an auditorium.
Now you can turn your attention to lab work. In 90% of cases, the teacher at the university has not even heard of the concept of code quality. We have a picture of students accustoming themselves to write terrible code for 4 years.
Let’s say the quality of the code is not so important now and the words above don’t bother you in any way.
Take a look at lab work. Lab work very often forces students to work according to instructions. Here is the instruction, here is the variant, here is the solution we want you to get. Under such conditions, a person simply stops thinking; all he or she learns is to repeat what is written in the instructions. Just dead brain work, no thinking, just stupid copying. People who are in such conditions for four years end up incapacitated. I would call it an injury to the ability to think and learn.
For the third type, the university has nothing to offer, just nothing but a waste of time sitting in classrooms. I often hear that university teaches a person to learn. No matter how many times I hear this clown expression, each time it amazes me. If a person is able to get a job in the 1st or 2nd year of university, he probably already “knows how to learn”. What does he have to learn at the university?
Here I’m trying to highlight points related to professors, with a good chance I’m missing out on a lot of things.
Let’s look at one of the signs of professionalism.
The main sign that a person is a professional is that he gets paid for the work done.
Can you tell me what percentage of all IT professors work in IT? 10%? 5%? How can a person who doesn’t get paid to write code teach someone how to write code? To put it in perspective, would you willingly enter a vehicle with a driving instructor who lacks a driver’s license?
You might argue that these people are theorists, not practitioners. Well, I can tell you that theorists have no place in programming. Especially when we’re talking about teaching.
“Talk is cheap. Show me the code.”
– Linus Torvalds
How are students evaluated? If you went to a lecture - well done, if you didn’t go - you’ll write an exam. Just come to all classes and you don’t have to take the exam. Can you tell me how attending all the lectures will help me learn something?
Often teachers have no clear criteria, only an emotional assessment. I liked you, I’ll give you an A! A student’s grade might be influenced by personal favoritism rather than objective standards.
But the worst thing that could happen would be if such a professor found out that you work as a programmer. You have no idea how much his attitude toward you would change for the worse. The idea that a student might know some area better than he does terrifies him. And he tries to prove otherwise in class, in a lecture, etc.
“I’m going to prove to myself that I’m better than this twenty-year-old kid!”
– Some Insulting Professor
What can I say at the end.
Right now I would compare my university education to something like a long torture, where the executioner tries to keep me alive as long as possible. Whether you need it, you decide for yourself.
Thank you for your attention!