Education for Everyone

I guess this is one of those topics without beginning and end. You’ve probably already noticed that there is a shift in the education. The change affects mainly primary and secondary education, college education and undergraduate university education. In my opinion the latter is most affected. Many people perceive it as a decrease in the quality of the education. You’ve probably read such news in your local newspaper or mainstream media. There are reports, studies and no one seems to have clear idea on what to do about it.

I cannot speak about the education as a whole. I can share my thoughts about the undergraduate university education in IT and computer science though. My impressions come mainly from conducting job interviews for my team and from communication with students and interns. The conclusion is that today the education skips some theoretical foundations in favor of more practical knowledge and skills. For example I had 24 main classes during my graduation while today the typical IT/CS students have 32 main classes. The students just don’t have enough time to focus and dive deep into the things. The impact of this is that the current students have faster start as junior software engineers but they need more time to become more proficient.

While some people find the current education insufficient I think it is just different. The education focus has shifted because of the need in the IT industry. In my opinion the lack of the theoretical foundations can be easily compensated with today free online education. Many universities including MIT and Stanford offer free online courses. There is OpenCourseWare Consortium as well. For more advanced things and research one can use Directory of Open Access Journals. There are hundreds of free journals on various topics.

In conclusion, though the most of the existing IT/CS education programs are more focused on the practical knowledge and skills there are a lot of free online resources that can compensate the lack of theoretical foundations. It is up to the students and their will to improve.

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