Programming Habits in Python

Nick Bensema nickb at
Thu Dec 7 17:42:05 EST 2000

In article <cspU5.82459$U46.2617014 at>,
Greg Jorgensen <gregj at> wrote:
>I don't write them off. Part of my job description is to mentor the more
>junior programmers (who start at $50K these days if they claim to know
>Visual Basic), but it's an uphill struggle when they don't know binary math,
>can't read debugger output, are unfamiliar with common algorithms, and can't
>debug the simplest problems in their own code. 

I'll say this for DeVry.... they taught us a lot of things that made a
lot of people complain, and among them was JCL.

We didn't get to use cool things like keypunches, but we used TN3270
to do our work on a server in Chicago.  We'd submit a JCL job and a few
minutes later, stacks of extra-wide white and green paper would appear on
the FA's desk.  It was there that we learned about reading debugger output
and EBCDIC, and some of the nuances of batch processing.  The most brutal
part, of course, were the two-hour exams in which the teacher would give
us a pile of code, and a list of user input, and we had to trace through
the program and tell which subroutines were executed, and so forth.

Furthermore, even in our C++ class, we would be given the occasional
trace-the-program exercises where we'd have to keep track of global
and local variables with the same names, and recursive function calls,
and code that didn't seem to make any sense.

It went all the way back to the C course I took one summer.  I knew
already how to convert decimal to hex to binary, sometimes in my head,
but it was there that I was asked to actually add numbers in base two,
and subtract them.  

I wonder, though, if this kind of teaching is commonplace in
universities and community colleges anymore.  I wonder if DeVry
even still teaches it.  I at least suspect that a JCL course might not
be required for a computer-related degree in many universities.

Nick Bensema <nickb at>      ICQ#2135445 
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