Training Computer Scientists

We work in an interesting industry. While I think you can certainly enter many other professions, electrician, plumber, artist, etc. without any formal schooling, programming allows you to earn a very good living with little physical effort. You can also work in any location, even from home. I think the opportunities and requirements open this field up to many more people than previous occupations in the past.

Of course, plenty of people still go to school to learn about computers, though I’m not sure I’d recommend that to people if you want to work in this business. I think you can teach yourself lots of the skills you need, and I think companies are really starting to realize that a college degree doesn’t correlate with a strong technology worker.

I was reminded of this when I saw a piece on a student that dropped out of a computer science curriculum. While I would hope that 3rd year CS students had written lots of code (I had by that point), I do agree that the exercises and requirements of many universities do not necessarily prepare many students for working as developers or DBAs. The most valuable thing you can learn in university is great communication skills, on which most people don’t spend enough effort concentrating.

There is a lot of potential for universities to really train students in very strong ways to solve complex algorithmic problems, but schools need to evolve more quickly. The world is advancing quickly and companies are searching for employees that can learn quickly and adapt to new situations. However for students to learn these types of skills, we also need instructors that are willing and able to adapt as quickly to teaching new subjects and techniques, rather than relying on a curriculum that was built twenty years ago.

Steve Jones

The Voice of the DBA Podcast

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