[Chicago] teaching intro programming to geoscience undergrads, via swc list

Jeremy McMillan jeremy.mcmillan at gmail.com
Fri May 22 16:16:45 CEST 2015

I think there is a yin and yang to programming, and I really hate when
people disparage one side of it because they feel like they've been
neglected on the other. Let me tell you what my practical bread and butter
is: *guessing* what the Big-O is for some pathologically broken opaquely
complicated software+hardware construct after it's caused pain and
suffering. Say what you will, but being able to get the meat and potatoes
stuff on the same plate with the bread and butter is what qualifies a good
programmer for a lucrative six figure hands on leadership role.

So, while I think we need to meet people where they are at, which is why
Software Carpentry is generating so much excitement, the goal is to get
everyone to the point where they understand how to learn
algorithms/architectures, evaluate their Big-O cost, choose the best (or at
least good enough) combination for their problem, and get it done, skipping
the traditional "oh crap it totally fails under production load" failure

On Thu, May 21, 2015 at 12:30 PM, Lewit, Douglas <d-lewit at neiu.edu> wrote:

> I've also noticed a lot of CS professors focus almost exclusively on math
> problems.  I mean that's okay up to a point.  That stuff is really
> interesting.  BUT.... it would be nice if some of these professors taught
> security testing, web page development, and the more hands-on "carpentry
> style" stuff, the meat and potatoes that you need to really work in the
> field as a professional developer.  I'm kind of tired of all the theory and
> oh  yes, let's figure out the Big-O for this particular algorithm!  I
> mean.... if that's really what I wanted to learn, I would have stayed in
> the math department!
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