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Re: [ljc] To old to learn new tricks!!!

From: Russel W.
Sent on: Monday, February 11, 2013 11:35 AM
On Mon,[masked] at 04:15 -0500, Naveed wrote:

> First off I'm a mature student with a basic I.T background. I will be
> starting a Bsc computer science degree in June this year. I'm hoping
> to someday start a career in programming. But Im  get a mixed
> reaction, from a lot of guys!!

You don't hint at what the mixed reaction is or about, so it is
difficult to comment.

> My problem is should I just do certificates and try get experience that way ?? 

The BSc should have a strong programming element as well as dealing with
underlying facts and theories. Do you know which languages they work
with in the first two years of the course?

Certification is, in my view, of questionable value compared to a
degree. For some people it works well, especially I think those who
haven't done a degree.  For many I think certification achieves nothing
tangible.  The style of content and assessment works for some but is
really more about having the certificate that it being a valuable
process that helps the individual – but as I say it works well for some
and so serves a purpose.

> Or start the degree hoping to start programming when I finish, baring in mind I'm in my early 40,s. ??

I would hope the BSc degree itself involved lots of programming. You
should treat programming as the base tool and technique, and indeed
skill – many students try to ignore programming, this is a big mistake.

"Computer science" is a misnomer, there is no science in it as there is
in physics, chemistry, biology. There are some mathematics underpinning
to various bits of the subject, and that can be really fun.

The most important place where science is critical in programming is in


> Or will it be like teaching an old dog to do new tricks impossible to do ???

I can assure you that 40s is a fine period for learning stuff about
programming and computing. It's been a long time since I had a leading 4
in my age, and I am having no problem keeping up with changes in the
field. Well except the Scala type system, I never did get Category

> Any advice, pointers, and honest opinions  will be greatly appreciated.

Go for it. Enjoy it. Ignore the fact that many of the students will be
18, they have no life experience.

One of the crucial aspects of computing and programming is having
knowledge of the world and the domain that you are creating programs in.
Mature students generally have a much easier time seeing the context and
place for the solutions the programming and code represent. Revel in

Dr Russel Winder      t: [masked]   voip: sip:[address removed]
41 Buckmaster Road    m: [masked]   xmpp: [address removed]
London SW11 1EN, UK   w:  skype: russel_winder

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