[PLUG-TALK] [PLUG] Computer Science at PSU a nightmare

Keith Lofstrom keithl at kl-ic.com
Wed Dec 19 22:06:51 PST 2007

And here I posted this to the wrong list myself.  How do you cancel
a mail to mailing list?

On Wed, Dec 19, 2007 at 09:39:35PM -0800, Keith Lofstrom wrote:
> someone <plug_1 at robinson-west.com> dijo:
> > Anyone else find PSU's computer science program next to impossible to
> > get through?  If the physics and Calculus don't stop ya, it seems
> > that Karla Fant will.  Programming Systems is called an intro course,
> > but there's nothing intro about it.
> The discussion is not about Linux, so I am replying on plug-talk.
> Perhaps one of the "arcane, useless" skills that future employers
> may find essential is the ability to post to the proper email list.

And now to weigh in.  College is five goals (and more):

1) Learning how to think independently
2) Learning to put up with arbitrary nonsense
3) Networking
4) Vocational training
5) Learning to do the above without whining

If assignments are vague, then goal (1) is met.  If requirements
are stupid, then goal (2) is met.  Out here in The Real World (tm),
clients, suppliers, employers, and perhaps someday employees are
going to throw stuff at you that makes PSU look like structured,
rational perfection.  When you are out in T.R.W., there will be
two groups of people - the ones who have time to listen to whining,
and those who don't.  Which group would you guess is more profitable
to do business with?

If you want the diploma, you put up with the bullshit, because one
of the principal things a diploma signifies is an ability to absorb
punishment and get over hurdles.  Think of it as a tame, wussy sort
of boot camp, and be glad that it doesn't involve live fire and
crawling in bug-infested mud before dawn.

I have a great deal of respect for folks like John who treats college
as an intellectual adventure, and doesn't really care about the degree;
chances are, he will go on find new ways of looking at things, and
become a leader in his field (whatever that becomes).  If he is doing
this to get a day job that requires a degree, then he is crazy.
Credentials are needed for some things, knowledge is needed for some
things, and they are often different things.

Knowledge = Power
Time      = Money
Energy    = Power * Time
Time      = Energy / Power


Money     = Energy / Knowledge

The job market rewards energy, not knowledge.  Sigh.

At the end of the day, the value of a college degree from a particular
institution is related to the respect that the graduates earn later on.
Somebody who trained in a coddled environment, and only knows how to
do the vocational stuff, isn't going to earn a lot of respect. 


Keith Lofstrom          keithl at keithl.com         Voice (503)-520-1993
KLIC --- Keith Lofstrom Integrated Circuits --- "Your Ideas in Silicon"
Design Contracting in Bipolar and CMOS - Analog, Digital, and Scan ICs

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