The limited value of a computer science education

thoughts from the red planet:

There are people who take the extreme positions, that a computer science education is totally useless or that a computer science education is completely essential. My position is that a computer science education is overvalued, though not useless. The vast majority of what a programmer does, forming good abstractions and avoiding complexity, is almost completely untouched by computer science curriculums.

A handful of times in my career, I encountered problems which I don’t think I would have solved without my computer science education. These all related to algorithms in distributed systems that required formal proofs to be confident of their correctness. These few cases happened to be critical to their respective systems – for example, this algorithm is what made Storm possible. So in that sense, I personally have gotten a lot of benefit from my computer science education.