Thursday, May 26, 2005

I have a bone to pick with Computer Science departments. To put it in context, we have spent an inordinate amount of time at Paragent out interviewing soon-to-be graduates of undergraduate CS programs. The number of students goes well over 100. I'm sure that you might be expecting me to complain about the fact that none (or very few) of these programmers have real software development skills. Actually, that is okay with me. Hell, I still don't have many of those skills. I don't expect them to have those skills as undergradutes. The people that love to program will have picked up many of these skills on their own.

As an aside - it is amazing what you can tell from an interview. When you are asked if you have any programming projects outside of school, don't tell me "My classes give me enough programming to do." If you don't enjoy programming enough to want to do it on your own, you will never enjoy doing it for work, and will never do what it takes to be a great programmer.

Back to the main point of the rant: My beef is with the fact that these people THINK they are ready to be employed as software developers. I don't blame them, I blame the CS departments. Ask a CS professor why they don't teach good debugging, source code control or real language skills, and they will tell you that it is the Computer SCIENCE department. What we are asking for is more professional skills that don't belong there. That's fine, someone just forgot to tell the students. The fact is, 99.9% of all CS majors go into it to get jobs in programming. The profs know this, and are selling them a false bill of goods.