Re: National Sign-On Letter to House on H-1Bs, U.S. Immigration

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From: John Klassa (
Date: Thu Jun 08 2000 - 04:36:01 PDT

>>>>> On Thu, 8 Jun 2000, "Adam" == Adam L. Beberg wrote:

  Adam> A computer science degree now is far more about training then
  Adam> about theory. When I was in school maybe 10% of the undergrad
  Adam> pure-CS majors were in it because it was what they loved (preaty
  Adam> much the ACM folks).
  Adam> 1. Degree + 8 years in the field (may overlap). 2. Programming
  Adam> experience _before_ college. 3. Knows the theory underlying
  Adam> the role they have. If they touch a database they better know
  Adam> what BCNF is. 4. Experience with quality control methods, code
  Adam> review, etc.

I fall into the category of "programming experience before college"
and "in it because it was what they loved"... However, I'd also claim
that I fall into the camp of "doesn't know the theory all that well any

I'm not sure if my experience is typical, but my first job after grad
school was all about getting things done, right now. Theory took a back
seat to making the product work. Unfortunately, every job I've had
since then has been that way. Not much theory; lots of coding.

At this point, I may still know more of what underlies it all
than would, say, one of those "in it because computer people get
paid well" people, but I'd have to say that I'm not nearly the
thinker/designer/theorist I should be.

[ FoRK people highly intimidate me on this particular point... You
  guys know far too much stuff. :-) ]

Anyway, my gut-level feeling is that we don't nurture people who are
fresh out of school... There's really not much mentoring that goes
on. You get a degree, and get thrown onto a project and told to bang
out code. There's nobody around, generally, to remind you, e.g., why
some coding practices are better than others... Why certain solutions
suck, relative to others, because some piece of theory shoots down some
fundamental assumption or another.

This is actually compounded somewhat for folks who are reasonably good
at what they do. My bad habits tend to go uncorrected because there's
nobody around, who works closely enough with me, who knows enough to
point out something I could have done better.

Maybe I've just been choosing jobs poorly... Hmmmmmmmmm.

Just my $0.02,

John Klassa /

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