Computer science degree programs are getting more and more popular, with many schools offering the most expensive degree options, according to a recent survey.
But many of these programs offer little to no real training, and are filled with unrealistic expectations.
Some, like the Computer Science Degree in Computer Science (CSD), require students to complete courses on their own.
“The degree programs at many schools have unrealistic expectations,” says Scott Taylor, the founder of the computer training program, The Computer Lab, in San Francisco.
“The curriculum at CSD, which has a high emphasis on coding, is really a way to teach students how to do some of the tasks they don’t need to know how to code to do, but to use code.”
Taylor is not alone in this view.
Several large schools have also been accused of teaching a fake computer science curriculum, with the most prominent example being The Computer Science Academy in San Jose, California, which boasts a computer science degree from a school that doesn’t even exist.
Students are often required to spend up to six months studying for the computer science certification.
Students spend an average of nearly two weeks at the school before starting their certification program, which often includes a mandatory course in programming.
This is a problem because it creates an expectation that students can perform the tasks required of them without much preparation, according Brian Murphy, who teaches programming at The Center for Computing Science at Texas Tech University.
“Students aren’t learning how to be engineers,” Murphy says.
“They’re learning how not to be good engineers.
They’re learning to use computers.”
While the courses at CSDs are often taught in front of computer-savvy students, they are also often taught by instructors who have no background in computer science.
This makes the students feel as if they need to be experts, Murphy says, and it limits the ability of students to learn from experience.
“There’s an assumption that you’re going to be able to code,” Murphy adds.
The problem with these programs is that they often teach students that they should never get to code.
“You’re not learning how code is used, how it’s supposed to be used, and how you can actually make it work,” Taylor says.
Taylor, who has also been teaching coding for nearly 20 years, says that most computer science students have a strong interest in programming, but don’t understand how to actually code.
He says students are often told that they can learn how to program using Microsoft Word and Excel programs, but that the courses are useless if they aren’t taught in the context of coding.
“What they do learn is that it’s just a programming language,” Taylor explains.
“If you use it, you can use it.
It’s not something that has any particular significance in the real world.
They learn how not use it.”
A lot of students are surprised that they have to learn to code at all, even if they don “love” it.
“Students aren.t taught to learn code,” Taylor admits.
“It’s a huge problem.”
The CSD website encourages students to take the online courses for free, but many students balk at this.
They feel that they’re wasting their time, and can be taught a lot of other things besides programming.
“I think students are going to think, ‘You know what?
I don’t really care about programming.
I’ll just learn it in school,'” Taylor says, adding that he sees students who are interested in computer programming, and feel they have no choice but to take these courses.
But some students are convinced that they are being taught a valuable skill.
“A lot [of students] are very motivated,” Murphy explains.
“They’re motivated by the idea that they want to learn programming,” Taylor adds.
Taylor says that the CSD is often the first stop for students who have taken a computer programming class at a different school.
“It’s very helpful to get to know a new school and start learning what they teach,” he says.
Students who enroll in the CSDs often learn things like the theory of programming, programming languages, computer security, and programming fundamentals.
But many of the students who do end up getting into the Computer Sciences Program are motivated by something far more fundamental: their desire to be better programmers.
“Most people are going out of their way to learn a lot more than they actually need to,” Taylor continues.
“I think that’s a really big part of what makes people come back.
They want to know they can do this stuff.”
For students who want to take a computer coding class, however, they may be left disappointed.
“People are getting discouraged about the CS program because they don.t want to be a hacker,” Murphy points out.
“We want to teach people how to create something.
If you don’t want to program, you don.’t want it to be fun.
But you don?t want people to have to get a computer.”