UVSC BYU U of U etc was"Software Engineering (was Re: Java)

Alex Esplin alex.esplin at gmail.com
Fri Feb 16 13:26:37 MST 2007

On 2/16/07, Daniel C. <dcrookston at gmail.com> wrote:
> I've always been confused about the motivation for learning pure
> _Science_, especially when dealing with something like computers.
> What's the point of learning theory if you don't know how to apply it?
>  So you can get a job teaching theory to other people, who will go on
> to get jobs teaching theory...?

One of my professors here at BYU was talking about this a couple of
months ago.  As he put it (and I agree 100%) if you want to learn to
write code you go to ITT or whatever tech school has a less painful,
less long program and learn how to write code.  You will learn how to
code on current tools and write currently applicable software.  The
idea behind learning Computer _Science_, at least in the view of this
professor, is that if you learn to think about computing and why we do
things the way we do, and learn how to code as you do so you are
prepared to solve new problems by applying the theory.

If the current standard had ever been "good enough" the computing
landscape we live in today would be very different.  The folks at
Xerox PARC were not people who learned to code to make a living.  They
were folks who thought a lot about the theory of what was or would be
possible.  The same holds for the people who are doing the research in
AI and machine learning, NLP, and other fields that will change the
landscape of computing we will have in the future.  I'm going to go
out on a limb and say that there is a level of software engineering
that you can only reach with a solid understanding of the theory.  If
you don't know that a certain problem can be solved, or the principles
on which it can be solved, you can't code up a solution.

Alex Esplin

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