On Tue, Jun 14, 2005 at 01:08:16PM +0100, Dave O Connor mentioned:
> Certainly in my case, After 3 years of a Computer degree, people in my
> class were contemplating making official complaints to the college
> because they were being asked to code in C, which they hadn't had
> extensive tutorials in, and basically hadn't been spoonfed.
It's completely up to the lecturers and their marking standards.
I finished the year before you, as you well remember. About a third of
the class had done programming of some sort before. A Third picked it up.
And a third were completely oblivious.
It only came to a head when our Language Design lecturer gave an exam on
simple parsing stuff halfway through fourth year. Five questions, as I
remember, and the first two were:
Write a string copy function in C - strcpy() effectively. Second, write a
string reverse function.
Of 120 odd people, 40 could do strcpy, and 22 could do strrev. It was the
first time that the class had come across a lecturer that wouldn't give
them marks if they just got code to compile, and they were disgusted.
A few years later, I found myself teaching assembly language programming
to evening students and language/computing hybrids. Groups that
traditionally have a little more difficulty. As we got paid per exam we
corrected, we decided to write software for marking peoples code. If it
compiled, you got zero. If if looked like it could work, you got zero.
Each program was fed five test cases, and you got 20% per case.
At christmas, something like 7% of the class passed. There was blue
murder. The lecturer in question stood by us, and agreed that if people
couldn't code, they didn't deserve marks for "effort". By the end of the
year, they were able to program, even those that didn't have much
interest. Why ? Because they had to.
At the other end of the scale, we had some people that got to fourth
year, and still couldn't code, so did fluffy review and thesis projects,
rather than software. At least two of them since have turned into
excellent developers because it finally interested them - and in college,
pretty girls could just bat eyelids and get the guys to do the work for
them, which doesn't happen so much in industry.
To go back on topic, I'd say the main reason there isn't a huge
interest from Irish people is that it's a lot of effort for little
capitale gain. Good people would rather get summer work as sysadmins or
web programmers instead.
For astrology and the rest to flourish it is only necessary that those with
an IQ in double figures do nothing.
-- Lucy Mangan
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