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What do you think about the Academia?

category: offtopic [glöplog]
agree on the writing writing writing.. yet, it still beats flipping hamburgers at mcdonalds!
mmmmmmm mcdonalds....
added on the 2011-04-13 17:38:37 by ferris ferris
I'm finishing my bachelor in computer science. Beside the fact that I had some lame courses (chemistry, theory of science) which were not so terribly related to my field, I have had an easy time. Not great grades, but who cares.

I'm taking a masters too, because I've come to realize that there are a lot of basic skills (databases, network protocols, advanced algorithms, some maths) which I know that I will benefit greatly from having before taking my first real job - and this is after being main developer in a venture project for three months, not just something I imagine.

Also, I know there there is an insane gap between being a pretty good and a master programmer. I read some good comments on Slashdot recently which had a good perspective: If I join a team of N coders, then suddenly the entire team has N more channels of communication. As a team grow, the increased channels of communication and general noise will lead to a diminished return (and some times even a negative productivity in total) for each new coder added.

Therefore, being 1 great guy will always be better than two guys who are half as good.

Other than that, I have considered going into team management. I like the idea of taking two people who each give 100%, putting them in a team, and then getting 300% back because I found that they compliment each other really well, and while I'm still a pretty rough character at times, I think that I could grow into a good communicator and team leader. I must discuss this with someone.

Other than that, I am not the most disciplinary student ever (and discipline is the keyword here). Being in an environment that demands certain things of me which don't always come easy kind of stimulates a growth into a more well-rounded and skillful coder.
Gargaj, for real? :O

Yup, that was while we were running for a student contest at the same time with the same course, we represented the school with it, and they even asked us to give a seminar about it next semester. Then after we finished, the teacher pointed at me and said "...And by the way, he failed last semester."
added on the 2011-04-13 20:46:37 by Gargaj Gargaj
I'd scream: Fuck YOU, you are talking about a fucking famous pop star scener known as Gargaj!
added on the 2011-04-13 23:47:41 by Danguafer Danguafer
... BITCH! (Almost forgot the most important part)
added on the 2011-04-13 23:50:10 by Danguafer Danguafer
lol Gargaj, the same thing happened to me :D

failed written exams "the basics of computer programming" twice.
then was the only one out of ~20 people to pass the oral exam.

then I quit. f*ck them :D
added on the 2011-04-14 00:17:51 by xyz xyz
academia defined me and saved me in many ways. It sort of feels like I came home when I started to 'get' academia, even though im a slacker and choose humanities (where its neigh on impossible to get a phd grant).

Since I delivered my masters thesis a few weeks ago, I guess unless I get really lucky or my professor finds a secret stash of cocaine he can sell, its out onto the jobmarket :) Perhaps that will be a learning experience too although I sincerely doubt that anything will ever rival the freedom of applying yourself so fully to any one subject :)
added on the 2011-04-14 00:45:09 by nic0 nic0
I have a love hate thing going on with my course (and my final undergrad project). I love that I get to do the things I love, in the most obscure and crazy ways I can, but I hate that I have to cite everything I ever say (see my other thread ?which=8054 ) and have to constantly interrupt what I'm coding to write reports about how little coding I'm doing because I'm constantly writing reports and searching for citations on things I've known for years.
I am just sitting in a lecture that starts at 14:15 :D

Signed Prof. Chromag
added on the 2011-04-14 13:56:40 by chromag chromag
A university degree is one of the most important things you can do in your life.

I have an engineering degree (+honours) and completed my PhD in robotics. I'm not sure the PhD was worth it, but at least I now have a highly paid and interesting job in the robotics industry.

Similar to other people here, I didn't do so well in some of my first programming and graphics classes, despite excelling in some aspects. It is important to realise that in university you are graded according to your ability to understand and disseminate the content of the course you are in (not how good your demoscene coding skills are). This is a valuable life skill, however as many of you have already pointed out, does not correlate very well with "real-world" talent.

There is a misconception that university is about teaching you "real-world" skills. It is not.

This is my opinion of the most important parts of university:
1. You meet lots of other people, who become an invaluable network of people in your career. Other really smart people who you will learn from time and time again. People who you will hire, when you start your company, or will help you find a job in that cool company you have always wanted to work for.
2. You are very likely to meet your life partner at university. Most people I know met their partners at university. When/where/how did your parents meet?
3. It proves that you are able to achieve set goals, work under pressure, work in teams, and learn rapidly. Yes, you can prove this in other ways, university is just an internationally recognized standard.
4. It will help you get your first job.
5. Insurance. All of your experience and skills will be worthless without a reputable degree to back it up. Ask anyone from sri lanka how much their experience is worth in another country after they were force to flee?

So swallow your pride, and go (back) to (a good) university and get yourself a degree. (Yes Gargaj, I'm talking about you!!)
added on the 2011-04-14 14:58:10 by e64 e64
Also a noteworthy part:
When getting a "real world" job - you instinctively know of alternatives to the way things are done at that particular company!
added on the 2011-04-14 15:05:50 by Punqtured Punqtured
e64: I appreciate and understand the concern, but I think I've proven the opposite. Literally all the five points you have said have been provided by me by the demoscene (and more), and it was a far more pleasant experience. I won't go into detail here (feel free to send me an email if you want stories), but if it was for the university, I probably would still be hacking PHP websites for unpleasant clients instead of working as a "lead" developer for an MMORPG. Hell, I probably wouldn't be even IN the scene by now.
added on the 2011-04-14 15:09:23 by Gargaj Gargaj
^That. Recently, uni became just another checkbox in life that you "have to complete if you're going to be successful!". How quickly people forget about the origins of recent trends.

e64, I bet the answer to number 2 would be surprising to you, because a small number of parents would have went to uni at all. And asking the same questions to grandparents would only prove the point further.

Knowing the right people and having a skill/talent is still what it takes to get into a good job, and uni can make that happen for some people. But it's not required, and I really want to smack the [HR people/recruiters/e64s] who try to instill that as a fact.
added on the 2011-04-14 15:31:44 by shuffle2 shuffle2
on the one hand, i loved university. i grew up there and had a really good time.
on the other hand, i breezed through the course and only started to learn how to code properly when i got a job at a game company surrounded by good, experienced people. i dont hold all that much value for academia in my line of work (with a few notable exceptions) - the environment is a festering ground for those who failed in the industry, are afraid of it or could never make it there anyway.
added on the 2011-04-14 15:41:35 by smash smash
I'd love to go back and have the chance to do a proper phD in graphics. Always regretted my decision to begin working so early but now Im trapped in the salary/bills cycle I think. I'd like the time to learn lne thing really well.
added on the 2011-04-14 16:03:32 by auld auld
So in essence, the purpose of uni is to provide time for someone to figure out something that add to the pool of knowledge at a company. I'm not in the game-devloping industry, but during a rather relaxed strawl down the educationary alley, I picked up a few valuable points that I've been able to benefit from in my career.

I'd still hold on to my point about the most important part of education is to obtain knowledge of alternatives practices and - to a lesser degree - have time to experiment and refine by implementing said practices in my job. Having a fulltime job while educating will highly increase the value of the education, I think.
added on the 2011-04-14 16:04:57 by Punqtured Punqtured
a lot comes down to the course. When i studied computing, I didn't learn a whole lot about coding particularly, although i got a good understanding of OOP that I lacked before. Then again I skipped the c++ courses, thinking it was probably stretching my ability a bit too far, which looking back was a mistake.

Databases on the other hand, I leant a lot from, and that was very practical. I still use that knowledge regularly now.
added on the 2011-04-14 16:22:10 by psonice psonice
Academia: it depends.
added on the 2011-04-14 16:40:17 by revival revival
Gargaj: Glad things worked out well for you. I understand that the demoscene has provided a lot for you, all I am saying is that going to a good university experience can provide exactly the same/more. This isn't an either-or situation, you can have both.

Shuffle: Of course everything is dependent on your personal likes/dislikes. The reality of todays world is that about 20% of people meet their life partner at uni/school (match.com/wikipedia), and typically about 20-40% of young people go to uni (wikipedia). Assuming the kind of person you are attracted to is intelligent, and making a generalization that intelligent people go to uni, then there is a very very good chance that a university attending person will meet their life partner there.

Personally, almost everyone I know met their life-partner at uni.

I'm not saying that you can't get a job without uni, I'm just saying that it helps a lot. Bill gates dropped out of uni, and he did pretty well for himself. But he also met a lot of his first employees at uni. Ditto facebook, apple, etc, etc.

Auld: A lot of people do their PhD's part-time and work full-time. (and take some time off for the thesis & defence). Could be an option for you.

Overall, I've been at four different universities. The university you go to matters a lot - I've found that world class uni's make a massive difference to your experience.
added on the 2011-04-14 16:47:30 by e64 e64
srsly guys, everything is what you make of it. i've seen absolute morons get the same M.Sc. degree as me and nevertheless i feel that i learned a great shitload at university.

while i was busy trying to grasp abstract concepts, they were learning exams by heart and writing reports to lick the teachers' asses. while i was organising events and getting to know people, they were at home playing world of warcraft. we ended up the same degree, but i'm absolutely convinced i got more out of it.

on a side-note, e64:
highly paid
I've found that world class uni's make a massive difference

let me guess, you're in mensa too?
added on the 2011-04-14 18:21:18 by skrebbel skrebbel
you cant make diamonds out of turds, don't blame uni for that!
Maali, of course you can! It's just a matter of having enough pressure over enough time!
added on the 2011-04-14 19:33:58 by revival revival
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZRVsHrtG6Xs :)

Also, let the mensa witch-hunts begin!
added on the 2011-04-14 19:55:31 by shuffle2 shuffle2
so if i sit on maali for a long-ish time, he might actually turn into smth we can sell for profit? GREAT \o/
added on the 2011-04-14 19:59:52 by havoc havoc


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