Build Stuff!

Tim Berners-Lee:

Extending on the about page, I want to emphasise even more the importance of creating personal projects, having independent work and going far beyond what a degree might teach you. Just so that we are on the same page, I will not take into consideration the reason for choosing a Computer Science degree, nor the money aspect of doing a degree, but rather I will assume only that you are doing a Computer Science degree and my focus will be on how to make the most out of it.

The computer world has evolved a lot in 50 years and computers, with everything they entail, are nowadays easy to use; take for example GUIs for art designing or forums for programming erros. That is why the Computer Science degrees also adapted and stopped teaching irrelevant topics, such as Fortran (an old programming language) or MS-DOS (an outdated operating system). The currently taught topics make use of the most significant advantacements in technology and free students from some of those old pains. Nevertheless, degrees seem to lack lectures on fundamental skills in programming and in dealing with machines.

Of course, there are important things the degrees do teach, and those are mainly related to basic concepts of algorithms and data structures, architecture, databases and networks. They also teach compilers and security, so one gets a good grasp of various relevant fields and can definitely do more with computers than simply plugging together a couple of cables. However, that is the apparent safety net we do not want to find ourselves in, at least for two reasons: first, this knowledge may not even be useful in an actual job, as all the trivia you know is general and possibly long disregarded in the industry, and second, graduates from Physics or Engineering are competing with you for all the tech jobs, because they require the same amount of job training, while potentially having a stronger analytical side.