Thursday, August 03, 2006

Lern yoursefl compooter sience

Robin The Bear laughs at me but I have become increasingly interested in the history of computing and computers and computer science itself. I've been reading an extensive history of Mac OS (that page links to a 3MB 100+ page PDF) and now I'm bookmarking 'bootstrapping a simple compiler from nothing' because it looks like learning fun.

I wonder what would have happened if I had chosen computer science over sociology when choosing my degree subject in 1983. Maybe I would have got rich in the dot-con but I would have shown the exact same lack of enthusiasm for reading computer science textbooks as I did for sociology textbooks, and maybe the same disinclination to pursue it afterwards. There's nothing like studying a subject to put you off it - like maths, which I considered as a degree subject for about minus 2 seconds despite it being my best subject at school.

The annoying thing about sociology was years of people saying "oh, you want to be a social worker then?" - yes, they both contain (a homonym of) the word "social". No, I don't plan to. As a long-time Social Services employee I can tell you that a sociology degree would not in any way provide any training towards a career in social work, and you need a CQSW anyway.

My outrageous niece Chloe - who has just scored a first from Ehdenburrer - got it right. Classics! Brilliant. Unless you collapse into academia there isn't the remotest possibility of a relevant job. And she got to go to Iran, lucky lucky.


James Turnbull said...

As a holder of a Computer Science degree, from the afore mentioned Edinbrrrr no less, in 4 years I didn't even go near a textbook. But then I suppose tha intarweb wasn't around in 1983.

lottie said...

To be honest, you don't even get to learn anything modern in a computing degree - I did ADA and Assembler. I must say, they have come in soooooooo very useful in my life......(and, I got Robin to read the books)

stuart said...

I suppose I have this idealised vision where they base the course on Kernighan and Ritchie..

stuart said...

James, what do you think of The Perils of JavaSchool? I remember you did stuff in Java at Erdhenburggghhhrrr