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Comment: We hire almost exclusively CS-degreed engineers (Score 2) 630

by JPL-Jeff (#41308745) Attached to: Is a Computer Science Degree Worth Getting Anymore?
The suggestion that a CS degree isn't worthwhile is preposterous. I lead a fairly large organization and I've hired dozens of software engineers over the years and hundreds of interns. With only a few exceptions, we find that self-taught programmers have some superficial skill in the languages or platforms they tinkered with but lack CS fundamentals that enable them to build well designed, maintainable, and performant systems. Their code doesn't adhere to patterns and standards that make it easy for other programmers to understand. They struggle to decompose complex problems and don't have a mathematical background to tackle the biggest challenges. They often haven't even explored the full capabilities of the languages they use. Yes, there are exceptions, but we've found that a CS degree from a good institution to be a very valuable indicator when selecting our employees. It's the difference between a home cook and a chef trained in a culinary institute.

Comment: Re:Please reconsider (Score 5, Insightful) 417

by JPL-Jeff (#33471808) Attached to: Software (and Appropriate Input Device) For a Toddler?
I second this as well. I'm a computer scientist who spends almost all of his work time in front of a computer and a lot of my leisure time as well, but my two children (aged 7 and 5) never watch television or use computers (truly). What do they do instead? They read, climb, ride, draw, build, etc.. - they're constantly learning how to play, interact with others, and control their bodies. The time will come for them to learn how to use computers and I'll be there, ready with a series of great programming projects that we can work together on, simple robots - the works. I look forward to that, but it's not like there's any shortage of things to do with them in the meantime!

Numerous studies have shown detrimental effects to child brain development associated with the early introduction of television and computers. No, you can't get around these detrimental effects by using "age-appropriate" or "educational" shows and games. Apparently, something about the *medium*, not simply the message, is causing these negative impacts. Perhaps it's the pacing of the material, the quick transitions, or the sugary over-the-top positive feedback that they get for completing even the most simple task in an educational game. For me, I don't need to know exactly what is causing the negative impacts - I see no serious side effects associated with withholding computers and television for now.

I know you might thing that you're helping your child out by letting him get an early start on computers, but keep in mind that some things are much easier for someone to learn at a particular age. For example, I always have to bite my tongue when one of my friends tells me with great pride "It's AMAZING! My two year old already knows how to use a mouse!!!" I always *want* to say "Were you really under the impression that he was going to have a problem picking that up?" Honestly, people, it's a MOUSE. It's DESIGNED to be easy to use. I think it would take a 10, 20, or 30 year old with no training about a minute to figure it out and an hour to master it, and they'll understand the full context and purpose of the mouse and the computer - things that the 2 year old couldn't possibly comprehend. Controlling a mouse isn't something that your child needs a "head start" on.

You could attempt to teach your 2 year old the periodic table, but I think we can all agree that he'll pick that up just fine when it's time to study Chemistry in high school. Maybe it's time to focus on how to dig holes, stack blocks, and chase you around the house instead?

If I had only known, I would have been a locksmith. -- Albert Einstein

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