Honing Computer Science Education
A few weeks back, Microsoft security expert (and co-author of the book Writing
) Michael Howard lamented
about the quality of young coders
coming out of university computer science
In Howard's case, the concern was over the utter lack of security awareness
and training among newly minted post-graduate programmers. In fact, the situation
is so bad that Howard says Microsoft pulls every new programmer aside for several
weeks of security-specific training before they can even begin working on live
Security, of course, is an ongoing concern, as reflected in our upcoming cover
feature on secure development in the age of Windows Vista (coming in our June
15 print issue). But U.S. colleges face a challenge just getting kids in the
door. Since 2000, the Computing Research Association found that enrollment in
computer science (CS) programs has dropped
So perhaps it's no surprise that colleges are looking for ways to spice up
CS studies, as reported in a recent
Associated Press story.
At Georgia Tech, computing professor Tucker Balch heads up a robotics curriculum
that includes cheap, Frisbee-sized robots called Scribblers that students program.
The story notes that students get to write code to control the behavior of the
tiny robots -- a far cry from traditional exercises like cracking prime numbers.
At the University of Southern California, the GamePipe
Laboratory offers students a chance to blend coding and creative skills
as they study the art and science of computer game design.
Do you think universities are on the right track? Or do alternative approaches
like these threaten to undermine core skills and fundamentals that are critical
to producing able programmers? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If we publish your response in our magazine, you'll receive a free RDN
Posted by Michael Desmond on 05/30/2007 at 1:15 PM