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Subject:
From:
"S. Ron Oliver" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
S. Ron Oliver
Date:
Sat, 3 Feb 2001 08:46:25 -0700
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A while back, as part of the long thread stimulated by Ian Sommerville's
desertion to Java, Brit Snodgrass referenced "Bandwagons Considered Harmful" at
http://www.acm.org/sigs/sigada/education/pages/bandwagon.html .

The article was written by David G. Kay.

I just read most of that paper, and agree that it is well-written, and
makes many good points r.e. teaching Computer Science.

In one section Dr. Kay makes a pretty good argument that C++ is probably
not a good introductory language, even though he doesn't bother to use at
least a dozen reasons he could have.  However, in introducing the subject
he makes the following claim:

"Even apart from its object orientation, C++ provides a standardized
language available on all major platforms, with a well-developed mechanism
for enforcing modularity . . ."

Shocking!

C++ provides "a well-developed" mechanism for enforcing
modularity?  Nothing could be further from the truth!  It doesn't even
provide a well-conceived method for enforcing modularity!

To even teach young people that C++'s "mechanism for modularity" is
reasonable teaches them exactly the opposite of what they should be learning.

This is one simple example of why I say that almost all of contemporary
computer science curricula is, at best, worthless.  And much of it is
damaging - sets students up to not be able to think clearly.

This is why I say, if you want to hire a good Software Engineer, hiring a
Computer Science grad is probably the worst way to get there.  (Of course,
there are exceptions.)

sro

S. Ron Oliver, semi-retired professor of Computer Science and Computer
Engineering.  www.csc.calpoly.edu/~sroliver

caress Corporation is proud to be the U.S. representative for Top Graph'X,
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links to software sucks and The Oliver Academy.

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