I was reading blog entries today and stumbled across this article. Basically it talks about universities and Java and how programmers nowadays are sucking. It's been a fairly repeated argument over the last little while it seems.
The difference is this: I've been reading that stuff and wondering, "Hmm, are Canadian schools the same?" Up until I read this article, I've been thinking that it is true, Canadian schools pretty much are the same.
Now I'm not so sure. Yes, I did learn Java in my first year (I had done C++ in high school, so it was a breeze learning Java) instead of C or Pascal or Scheme or what else. It also seemed like the math requirements were a little skimpy.
However this article says that many of the students had never seen assembly language or things like that. We were required to take a class on assembly (more specifically, MIPS assembly with some Intel x86 stuff at the end). We also used some C, which the students were required to figure out a bit on their own having not being taught it in any class, although the extent of C that we did wasn't very much. There was one project where we had to take the assembly output of gcc and make some tweaks.
We were required to take a course on programming languages (I think all universities do, don't they?), where the coursework was heavy in Scheme. There was some stuff in Prolog and SmallTalk, although I don't recall there being any major assignment using them.
Finally, many of the upper level classes required coursework to be done in C or C++, two that come to mind immediately were called "Computer Graphics" (that's a no-brainer what it's about) and "Microcomputer Interfacing", which involved programming a mini-computer embedded on a robot with wheels and sensors and what-not.
There was math requirements, of course. Basic calculus, like derivatives and integrals. The honours program that I was1 in required two advanced calculus courses, which looked at calculus using higher dimensions and vectors to name a few things. Other required courses included a course on linear algebra, and one on logical proofs and things like that.
Are these not things that are taught at all universities? I looked at some others and the curriculum seemed somewhat similar. Some of them had maybe one or two required classes that I didn't have to take, or I had to take one or two courses that they didn't have to take, but for the most part it was the same.
I've never looked at the American universities though. Is it similar to what I wrote above?
1That's a big "was", I dropped the honours program later in my degree in favour of taking more economics courses.