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I was perusing Joel Splosky's blog the other day and ran across the post about Undergraduate Programming.  Seeing as how, when I find the time, I'm trying to go back for my Masters degree.  It's my goal before my wife and I have kids and other obligations start popping up.  It's a noble goal and the only thing holding me back is taking the GREs. 

But, one thing the post made me do is reflect upon my own formal education.  I graduated back in '99 with a BS in Management Science / Decision Support Systems from Virginia Tech.  It was an interesting mix of programming, quantitative methods, modeling and so on.  We did quite a bit of business process modeling, process optimization in semi-real life scenarios.  Also, we focused on software development as well.  I can't say it was like any traditional CS degree, although CS classes were required, which was C++ with some VB *shudders* at the time and then moving to Java around '97-98 or so.  I can honestly say that unlike many other programs, it did prepare me for my life in software development.  Well, it doesn't hurt that I've been programming since I was 7 years old in front of my Commodore 64 with Compute Magazine...

Fast forward to today.  It was interesting reading on the ALTDOTNET mailing list about what an ALT.NET Masters degree would entail.  It'd be interesting to say the least?  What would it really entail?  Can you really define it?  Well, I don't think you can, because it would entail alternate frameworks within the .NET space, but what I would like to see is:
These are some of the criteria I'm currently looking for in graduate school.  I would love nothing more than to continue my Decision Support Systems undergraduate degree and keep going.  Recently, on the Domain Driven Design mailing list, that very question was asked.  Is this being taught anywhere? 

Last year, Chris Chapman did a study of just this on his blog of Canadian Comp/Sci programs and the results were quite interesting.  I'd like to see a similar study for US based schools.  They do exist where they teach Domain Driven Design such as UCSD

So, getting back to Joel's point, I think it'd be very interesting to have Comp/Sci programs fall under a Bachelors of Fine Arts.  To me, that'd stress, that sure enough it's as much creativity as it is technical knowledge.  As strange as it might seem, I think that a music background like I have also helps in the matter.  It helps me think in new and creative ways about solving problems, or sour notes, one or the other.

We all strive towards beautiful code.  We all strive to refactor our code.  Our code is never done, it's never beautiful, compact and slick as it can be.  It's hard to walk away.  Take a look at your code from 5 years ago, and tell me if you like it.  To me, software is a fast evolving art form that takes not only technical skill, but pretty creative thinking as well.  Art plays a big part in that and I see Joel's point. Posted on Thursday, January 17, 2008 6:37 PM ALT.NET | Back to top


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