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I did do some extracurriculars in adjacent fields that I could have skipped: psychology courses, a handful of advanced writing and math courses. And I took a handful of masters level classes that required a lot more time and focus. But overall I would say doing a great job in serious CS classes is a full time job for all but the most exceptional students.

Sure there are genius types who could do it all in 18 months, and yes you could skim through it as a C-student on much less time. Or even as an A-student who just did the minimum to get the grades. On top of that, there are all kinds of side projects that your education should be spurring, and which will feed back into your coursework. In fact, for many courses Statistics with Calculus, Electrically Engineering I regret just doing enough to get a grade and deeply wish I had strived to understand that material deeply.

Those things were part of what really made my degree formative. You can skate by in many schools with a C average taking the easiest classes and the easiest professors, but doing well is hard work. And for this reason, ai generally want to see a transcript for new grads. Art and literature might combine with your computer science degree to inspire projects natural language processing or generative art For what it's worth, this is a very American approach to college. You generally wouldn't spend more than 3 years on an undergrad course as a student in the UK - because you tend to spend the vast majority of time on your chosen degree subject.

There's maybe room for one or two optional modules in an unrelated field. Possibly because the U. It's just a shame you have to go to college to get it. From the very proper English lady across the table from me at a supper at Douglas Adams' house: "You Americans have the best high school education in the world -- what a pity you have to go to college to get it! I think that depends on the country and the type of uni.

I have some friends that have been at top notch schools, and I have taken the time to see how they did things, and the trivium and quadrivium seem to be the cornerstones for elite education which I was trying to self-replicate. That said, it feels like public schools which are actually private In the US I don't think they hardly reference the trivium or quadrivium, but the structure is loosely based on the principle, so because they have lost the reasoning behind it their course load is much more wild and varied, and sometimes unnecessary.

This is also my main beef with those who claim we should just do vocational training or very narrow course loads The US just doesn't apply it very properly. One thing the US does do much better, I must say, is the egalitarian culture though, which offers people the opportunity to laterally move in education much more freely.

Because of the nine originally-charity schools investigated by the Clarendon Commission, they weren't the two that established that they had constitutions guaranteeing their private character which made them immune to the kind of publicly-directed reorganization the other seven were subjected to under the Public Schools Act.

That is, they are "public" in the sense that their basic organization was redirected by the State to correct problems found by a government investigation. Sure, I don't think I disagree with any particular point you are making. I apologize that I didn't make it clear, but I'll clarify now: if you want to make your current job better, then these "teach yourself to code" things are probably great.

You'll probably learn a lot to make your job less boring. I feel like I had to practice stuff a lot more than I would have if I had just stayed in school. But I will concede that it's possible, and school isn't for everyone; I just don't want to encourage the trend of people dropping out, and then thinking they'll make a ton of money in Silicon Valley.

Yes, it does happen, but it's hard, and you'll have a much easier time if you just finish school. Merrill 1 day ago. The 4 years of college includes a lot of non-college time during summers, breaks, holiday vacations, etc. There is no reason why a serious student shouldn't be actively learning 50 weeks a year, minus holidays, and putting in the same work time as his peers who entered the job market after high school.

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In which case, 3 years is easily enough. The coursework listed on github for the OSSU is likely thousands of hours if pursued diligently. Having a family? Decompressing from the stress of studying? Earning a living? I worked 35 hours a week in school so I could eat Why are college students given such a light schedule?

I also worked my way through college, but that seems to be less practical now, since the price of college has risen much faster that wages for jobs that students can get. Although I think it is a good idea for students to have jobs off campus to get an introduction to real work. Wasn't my experience at any of the major or minor tech companies I've worked at. I've never been expected to study outside of work hours, and most places pretty quickly gave more than two weeks vacation. Nothing about my schedule was 'light'. I think it's wrong to assume that college students necessarily have it 'easy'.


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No, you're not allowed that! From a physical standpoint there are enough hours in a week to work 40 hours and pursue 40 hours of university. Except universities aren't something like an evening school that is explicitly designed around this idea. University lectures do not follow a nice time table that allows that. Lectures start at different times depending on the day of the week. Therefore your workday will start at a different hour every day, except all your colleagues still work their 9 to 5 schedule which will make you significantly less productive than them because you don't get to meet them every day.

There can be gaps between lectures but you can't just go back and forth between university and work. It takes time to travel and even if you can do it in a reasonable amount of time you will end up doing multiple context switches per day. This makes working significantly more than 20 hours per week extremely hard. That " hours will make you an expert" thesis has been debunked. I find the "10, hour rule" odd after reading both Ericsson and Gladwell. It's often misinterpreted as "10, hours of X will make you an expert in X", but that's not how I interpret the claims by Ericsson or the simpler repackaging by Gladwell.

I read the article you linked and was hoping it contained new research to clarify or refute the work done by Ericsson, but it didn't. Not mindless work. It's an average at best. The "10, hour rule" hasn't been debunked. It just doesn't mean what some people assume it means when first hearing it refereed to as the "10, hour rule". Yes, you might be engaged in "deliberate practice" , but that does not account for individual talent.

Someone might take and another Gladwell dumbed it down. Isn't it obvious? Learning how to hold a spoon takes less time than learning how to drive a car. At the risk of being too self promotional.. An accredited 4 year bachelors condensed into 2 years of intense study, primary focus is project-based CS but we have a robust general education component as well. As another commenter points out, the prototypical 4 year degree which many in the US actually complete in years is a fairly American phenomenon. You're right, that was too self promotional.

I'm one of the maintainers of the curriculum. I somewhat agree, though I don't really see the problem with "learn to code" style programs if learning to code is precisely your goal. What I don't like is the seemingly widespread belief that learning to code is equivalent to learning computer science, when computer science doesn't even have anything to do with computers as specific pieces of hardware. The second thing I believe I agree with you about is that we reject "learn programming on your own".

While many people are interesting in starting to learn something on their own, drop off rates are extremely high for MOOCs. Most people cannot learn things on their own, and most MOOCs fail to provide the support needed by students. That's why OSSU is a community of learners that support each other, not just a curriculum. Since we are not an institution, we do not have any general education requirements.

That is exactly how I'm using it myself. I see this statistic tossed around quite a lot. Maybe it's because many MOOCs require you or at least urge you to login and officially "enroll" in their course to see the content. Many times I've been just looking around a MOOC out of curiosity, but I'm required to "enroll" in it in order to see the material. So I login, "enroll", take a quick look at the content and forget about it.

It's not necessarily a fault of the MOOC format. Very true! I think all educational material should be openly accessible without login, and that enrollment should be something entirely separate and optional. Just a note, I realize that I came off as overly-hostile towards OSSU; not my intention, I don't know anything about it and I apologize if I gave the impression that I was criticizing it specifically. I agree; nothing wrong with learning to code if you just want to learn to code. I get a little frustrated that a certain subset of people treat these MOOCs as a replacement or alternative to college.

PeterisP 23 hours ago. MOOC drop out rates are a fiction. Citation needed. It is a big stretch to go from "some percentage of enrollees are just browsing" to "MOOC drop out rates are a fiction". The research that's been done on this shows that even if we adopt a much more narrow definition of enrollee, the completion rate is still very low. PeterisP 15 hours ago. IMHO a good metric would be to simply ask people probably on that first quiz "What are your plans for working on this course? The near- or at- zero cost of MOOCs mean people will start them when they would not commit to something with a higher activation cost.

To some extent, the stats on drop-off aren't signs of being worse at getting people to complete them though that's probably a factor to , but at getting people to start them when they would not start other kinds of programs. Which is often still a win, significant learning can happen without completing a curriculum. Everyone should through the Sedgewick and Cormen textbooks.

I wish I'd done it earlier. Actually go through them carefully -- it will probably take at least 3 months, perhaps 6 months or a full year, depending on how much time you can dedicate. Most CS graduates don't go that far and just do the assigned reading. I really don't see why having self-taught pathways available to these folks or simply those who can't afford college is a bad thing. Ramiuz 1 day ago.

You've Got to Be Carefully Taught

You make very good points. The simple fact is that claiming you can transition from being uneducated to educated in any field or in general in a few months watching youtube videos is absurd. People who claim such a thing is possible are claiming something on the scale of an educational space elevator. There are however alternatives to traditional college that are effective.

You work through a detailed curriculum over a number of years. It's not the same as traditional college, but for people who are working or have a family and might want more flexibility of schedule, it's a good thing to look at. You can't cheat true knowledge. I use MIT open courseware. It's dry material that is painful and frustrating to learn; which means it works! DarkWiiPlayer 1 day ago. I don't think this can be reduced to being taught at a university. A good analogy might be going to a gym: some people have the discipline to just work out at home on their own; others simply need the right environment to get into the right mindset.

Some people can perfectly teach themselves programming, but it requires both practice and individual research, aka. Others may just need the environment and guidance of a university to reach an optimal mindset for learning the right things. And even among those who "learn" at a university, there's always those who think that all they need to do is attend classes and let the knowledge drip into them.

Those people often go out being as incompetent as they went in, because they didn't spend any time improving themselves. Ultimately, saying university is either pointless or a must for every person is missing the point. Some people are better off without it, others could hugely profit from it. The only absolutes are that university is the "safer" route, while self-teaching is, if it works out, the more direct one. Also general courses have a proper role to play in one's education, so that even if you're very specialized, you have general knowledge that inevitably comes handy in some situations in life.

Moreover there is a certain well-roundedness, knowledge wise, that comes from such an education. When you're on the other side of the table, interviewing candidate, it is as if you can spot them without even looking at their resume. They have a certain profile. I think you're missing the point here. Most college students don't even pick a major until their sophomore year. Many "self-taught" developers went to college and took "pointless" philosophy classes, they just decided later in life they wanted to learn software development.

Most people who attend bootcamps have college degrees, including many in other engineering disciplines. College CS courses aren't necessarily designed to be practical; many are more theoretical and not really practical for day-to-day SWE jobs. OTOH, bootcamp curriculum is usually optimized for practical software development e. Most "good" developers become "good" on the job. This is the mentality that I really dislike about these courses. How exactly do you get to decide if something is just "theoretical" and "not really practical"?

Everything in CS was purely theoretical at one point. The secret is to learn how to distill the useful parts of the theory into something useful in pratice Then you can leave all these reactionary and narrow minded coders to their own devices, implementing suboptimal solutions. I guess my question is if there's even such a thing as a "non self taught front end developer"? No 4 year university will teach you React as part of a CS degree. Most probably won't even teach JavaScript. Point is, becoming a good developer is largely a self-taught discipline as is.

They will teach you why React is used though, at least indirectly. A good professor will explain the virtues and drawbacks of immutability, and explain how it affects performance; with this understanding, it will help you choose whether or not React or another framework is more appropriate. It can be, but to write code that ends up performing well, you typically have to have some underlying understanding of the "guts" of the libraries you're using.

Dumb example, to find the smallest element of a list, I used to sort the list, and grab the first element out of it. This will work, but if I had taken any data structures or algorithms class, I would have learned that this is an O n log n process, whereas finding the min only requires O n. This won't matter for smaller lists, but for something big it absolutely will. Now, maybe I'm just dumb, I'm willing to accept that, but it's not like when I realized this later and changed to the faster version, that the code for finding the min was appreciably shorter or prettier or easier to maintain , it was only faster.

I knew just fine how to search for something and copypaste from Stackoverflow; I just didn't even realize that the solution that I immediately thought of was sub-optimal. You're conflicting computer science with being a developer. A CS degree isn't about learning how to program in the industry. No, I'm in agreement with that view. I'm responding to OP's line "If you're learning to code just for fun, these things are totally fine and can be incredibly fun, but if you're learning to code for a job, please don't treat these things as an "alternative" to college.

Bubbadoo 1 day ago. A CS degree, especially at the undergraduate level, is mostly conceptual. It takes much experience to develop the intuition necessary to solve complex problems faced on the job. I'll have React, GraphQL,. I agree, there have been concerns about the lack of humanities courses in tech schools. College gives you a broad education, the opportunity to take courses in fields you want to dabble in, meet people from disparate backgrounds. It's hard to ever do that again in your life. The bootcamps are just serving the mad rush to get into tech.

The courses - serve a purpose, you build on your fundamentals.

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I don't get it. The self study is the easiest part. Nothing prevents you from starting to learn these things from age 12 and up. Not even the language barrier is an important consideration. The harder part is actually getting recognized by employers when you can't just supply them with a paper that shows them that you burned X amount of years on a certain topic which employers use as a form of spam prevention like the proof of work mechanism in bitcoin. So not only do you need to study as hard as a university student but after self study you will still have to work hard to get past the HR filters.

There is an assumption being made here, and that everyone learns in same or similar ways, making it necessary for this sort of content to slowly sink in. While true, it is not a replacement for a 4 year college, not everyone learns the same way. For me, I can blow through an MIT course at an accelerated rate and retain most of it, but that's because I made a hobby out of meta-learning for a while and really got into effective ways to learn.

Blowing through most MIT courses is quite an achievement. Can you share any ways to learn that have been particularly effective? Osiris30 1 day ago. Thanks reply. I've written about it a few times here, but unfortunately I haven't yet documented it in any great level of detail. High school drop out turned software engineer here. I never had any success with these sort of programs. My advice is pick a hard problem to you and stick with it until you've solved it.

Rinse and repeat. Eventually you will be pretty good at solving problems. No need to limit yourself to websites. Embedded systems are fun too. Although I guess you could put a website on one of those too. University doesn't teach you how to code. They delve into complex theory or math proofs. You still need to learn to code on your own.


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These self taught systems do come in handy. That's a generalization that maybe used to be true but probably never was. There are some good university programs today that I feel actually focus on learning how to program like the How to Design Programs curriculum. I disagree with you in one regard, I think you are taking the position of a young person who hasn't had much education outside of high school.

Take a look at it from the perspective of a 30 or something with some college or a degree in another domain looking to transition into CS. In this case, the fact that formal CS degrees are, I dare say, polluted, with irrelevant crap is a waste of time, money and brain power. For example, my son, who happens to be studying CS at a major university was forced to take a class on Marxism. The only word I can come-up to describe this is: Demented.

I would prefer to see a system where degree programs focus on the material necessary to support the degree and nothing else. They could, as an aside, offer a parallel track where the student could take additional non-degree classes for general culture. These classes should not have any effect whatsoever on the degree. To continue with the example, if my son failed or dropped out of the Marxism class he did not, he passed it with full marks it should have no bearing on his overall standing in the CS degree. I also disagree with the concept of a fixed timescale being required in order to gain understanding of a topic.

There's plenty of evidence in support of this. Companies complain that traditional CS grads don't know how to write code. Yet they spend four to six years in school getting BS or MS degrees. Frankly, going back to my son, if it weren't for the fact that we work on a number of real-world projects together his coding skills based on schoolwork would likely be substandard. There's a difference between learning to CS to pass tests and applying it in real-world environments. My argument might very well support the opposite conclusion: Get through schools as quickly as possible, one or two years for a BS in CS and go to work.

Medicine has residency and internship as part of the process for that very reason. I would much rather hire someone who devoted a couple of intense years learning and two years full time directly applying and honing the craft than someone who takes four years to study and comes to me with no experience other than, perhaps, a few summers as an intern here and there.

What college was this that required a "course on Marxism" for a CS degree, and what was the course? It would not be good form to post this. Please explain why this wouldn't be good form? A University's course requirements are publicly available.

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My guess is that an entire course on Marxism wasn't actually required, and it was either an elective or a much smaller part of a required course. How would this be bad form? If this is from a "major university" like you claimed, and if Marxism is bad, isn't it good to tell us this university so we aren't blindsided by it when we enroll our kids in it?

It's not like you'd be posting forbidden knowledge; most universities publish their required curriculum. Karl Marx was notably a philosopher who wrote about the alienation of labor which resulted from a highly specialized capitalist economy. He saw that workers were increasingly separated from the things they produced, and that people who would have once tended for the flock, shorn the sheep, spun the whool, and wove it into clothing were instead spending 16 hours at a machine, isolated from the final creation.

He thought this converted people in mere cogs in a machine rather than fully realized creative individuals. If you think that universities should just teach students tools that they need for some specific job, perhaps you would benefit from a course in Marxism, even if many of his ideas are today known to be wrong. I know quite a bit about Marxism and modern incarnations of his ideologies. The only people who think this ideology is good are those who have never lived within the grips of such evil.

When anyone talks about Marxism and Socialism everyone shakes their heads in disbelief. For a bit of context, research and read The Gulag Archipelago. I firmly believe in open discourse and free speech, which means I have to give particular care to opinions with which I might not agree. If you are getting down-votes, it isn't me. I have no problem whatsoever with anyone disagreeing with me so long as the exchange is respectful and intellectually honest.

How was he forced to take a class on Marx? I have never seen that as a required course at any university. That was the only class available for several terms that would satisfy the degree requirement. Interestingly enough, that was the only class that was available every term while the others were not. Even more interesting, they never mentioned Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and his work, The Gulag Archipelago. Everything was painted through rose colored glasses. Pretty disgusting. Thankfully we have a home where education is deemed important.

My son had already read many of the classics before going through college and was well equipped to deal with an ideologically biased situation. He also read some of Gulag Archipelago and knew the history of that work. I recommended he be practical about this class.

He did the work, wrote a bullshit paper, got an A and then proceeded to vomit. No harm done. I went to college for almost two years, and re-enrolled in college late last year doing night classes. I also worked as a research scientist at New York University for around a year , though this was admittedly more in the working world than the educational world. My wife is doing college full-time. This seems like a weirdly dismissive response to me. Maybe your school is different, but I have seriously never heard of "Marxism" being a required class in any university.

Did you not actually read the comment you are responding to? I said pretty unambiguously that the classes that seem "useless" often end up informing your perspective in different ways. That was literally the whole point, and it seems like you kind of missed it. To go with your example, it's entirely possible that the Marxism class would give a higher understanding of political theory and philosophy.

While your son may not want to be a politician, him having a decent grasp of philosophical reasoning is probably a good thing. I'm sorry if I didn't make this clear, but no one should go to college thinking that it is sufficient for being a decent engineer, just like having a skeleton is insufficient for having a body, or having an oven is sufficient for having dinner. There is a lot of self-learning you have to do. College is about building fundamentals, and teaching you how to teach yourself.

And I'm glad people have this mentality Wait, so you only want him to learn about successful political ideologies? That is not what I said. No, of course not. Marxism and other ideologies should be taught. And they should teach the good, the bad and the ugly. If you want to know what that means, read The Gulag Archipelago for perspective.

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Education should not be about indoctrination. Sadly there's a lot of that going on. I am not some crazy right wing guy, not even close. I'm just sick of what our universities have turned into. Someone goes to school to study computer science and they are treated to a solid dose of rosy-glasses Marxism. Those who go into humanities are in for full-on indoctrination.

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This is a horrible disservice to humanity. Again, someone please tell me where the intersection between Marxism and Computer Science exists. Why aren't kids reading the Greek philosophers? Aristotle, Socrates. Move forward from that, read Descartes, Kant, Adams and others.

So much to learn.


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