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I think the required Humanities courses in college are a waste of time


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#41 Dwarf King   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1682

Posted 27 January 2013 - 05:29 PM

if all these people complaining about the poor social skills of some people, one would think they could use THEIR apparently masterful social skills to work around the kinks and get the most out of the people with limited social skills.

I worked with these people very successfully in college, where the admissions didn't weed them out, but I think you'll find that most tech company's hiring processes are finely tuned to prevent that type of person from stepping through the door.

 

 

>On a purely practical level, I never enjoyed writing papers on literature. I enjoyed reading, and even discussing themes etc, but I would have hated to be tested on it, because I know it would have dragged my grades down.

I wouldn't say I exactly relished such papers, but I always used humanities classes to keep my grades up. Especially once I reached the CS grad courses, and shit got real.

 

 

No person should be called a child just because he dares to be critical of how a CS program is put together by an institute.

I'm not sure how to else characterise someone who comes and complains on an internet forum about how much his life sucks because he can't do exactly what he wants, other than "childish"...

 

 

Well I found plenty of good inputs here in this thread from other people, so some people seems to know how to. Anyway it is not my job to teach you how to communicate professionally(even though I do have the degree to do so). It is your forums, your rules and therefore I was just putting forward some suggestions to what could be done differently. I shall not write more posts in this thread.


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#42 swiftcoder   Senior Moderators   -  Reputation: 9507

Posted 27 January 2013 - 06:32 PM

I find the hard to believe, especially when more than half of the college grads right now are unemployed right out the gate, regardless of major or to a lesser extent if they took humanities classes or not. You know what? Its extremely hard to get past the HR drones unless you have inside contacts, which is more of the rule than the exception

I'm a little insulted that you think I obtained my job through "inside contacts". I was hired after the same interview process everyone else goes through, purely on the basis of my technical abilities and skill in communication - abilities and skills that I have earned through study and hard work.

 

The jobs situation may be that dire in various other fields (many of the humanities included). But in CS there are plenty of companies willing to hire those with the requisite skills - it's a field with 3.5% unemployment, for goodness sake.


Tristam MacDonald - Software Engineer @Amazon - [swiftcoding]


#43 Shaquil   Members   -  Reputation: 811

Posted 27 January 2013 - 07:20 PM

And I hope that last sentence about Computer Science drones was a joke. I pray it was. I'll assume it was.

Actually, I'd say that there's some truth to it. It applies to more than just computer science, too. If all you can talk about is your field, then the only people who will want to talk to you will be in your field and (by definition) the only conversation you'll get will be related to your field. If all you can talk about is your field, I can guarantee that other people will have a lot of difficulty relating to you. Some people might prefer this state of being, of course. I know very few people for whom that is the case. I know even fewer people for whom the idea of socially interacting with such "drones" is a palatable one.

 

 If you honestly for one second think that not taking a college course in a subject makes you completely uneducated in it, then I think this conversation should end here, at least for my sake. The friends I've made in my CS classes are ridiculously diverse people with many different interests and lifestyles I never encountered in my hometown. Just because they major in a science doesn't make them robots. You'd think I wouldn't have to be telling you this, but just because some people act a certain way doesn't mean all people with the same interests act the same way. And I didn't need a humanities class to learn that. I'm done talking about these fake "drones" who don't exist (just because a guy is a drone when he's talking to you doesn't mean he's a drone when he's talking to, say, people he actually likes).

 

Perhaps you've noticed that pointing out problems with another person's ideas is not considered disrespectful here. Perhaps you've noticed that this is a technical forum. Perhaps you've noticed that the entire purpose of (most) technical forums revolves around pointing out problems with other people's ideas in order to help them. This is not a place where we pat each other on the back just for having an opinion. If you post an opinion here, you should expect that someone will eventually point out a problem with your opinion. That's what we do.

Personally, I'm of the opinion that posts that seem like teenage-level whining should be called out as such, so I don't blame people for doing just that if they make such a judgement. I'm sure many of us have had similar feelings to those OP expresses. I'm likewise sure that most of said people have had those feelings called out as detrimental to one's personal growth by our elders, our peers, or even those more junior than us. Personally, I welcome such calling out as useful to clarifying my own self-perception. I would rather have the entire internet tell me that my way of thinking is unhelpful - and therefore be aware of the fact and able to contemplate how to correct it - than remain unaware and potentially fuck myself over later in life.
 
Oh please. Your "this isn't a place to pat people on the back" argument is tired and inappropriate. I didn't pat him on the back. In fact, in my own post, I simply related with the feeling he's going through and offered my opposing opinion on humanities courses, with some perspective. I did it politely and peacefully. I didn't call him a child. I didn't call him a whiner. I didn't tell him that he didn't deserve to go to college. I didn't tell him his problems were worthless.
 
Maybe I can help you out, since you don't seem to understand the point of criticizing another person's ideas. See, the goal is to help the person refine the idea and, in responding to your criticisms, refine your own as well. We do this not just with other people, but with entire structures in our society. We criticize the education we receive because we want it to be better. When my parents tell me I'm doing something wrong, I don't respond to them "Well, if you don't like it, you shouldn't have had me." By the same logic, when a person criticizes his schooling, I don't tell him "If you don't like it, don't go to school." Just because I don't like certain aspects of something doesn't mean I should toss it aside completely. And I'm perfectly within my right to complain about those things I don't like. That's how change happens. Sitting silent and taking it is, ironically, the most drone-like thing to do.
 

Maybe because then you wouldn't have the fun job of just piling on a guy, post after post, joining the horde of "You don't know anything, young blood. You just so stupid and young and oooh."

I'm no longer certain that you and I are reading the same thread.

 

 

Yeah, I agree.


Edited by Shaquil, 27 January 2013 - 07:21 PM.


#44 AltarofScience   Members   -  Reputation: 920

Posted 27 January 2013 - 08:37 PM

if all these people complaining about the poor social skills of some people, one would think they could use THEIR apparently masterful social skills to work around the kinks and get the most out of the people with limited social skills.

I worked with these people very successfully in college, where the admissions didn't weed them out, but I think you'll find that most tech company's hiring processes are finely tuned to prevent that type of person from stepping through the door.

It just seems so contradictory to me with how much "blah blah blah" companies do about professionalism but they can't work around some social skill issues. All the ridiculous crap you have to do at a job but they can't handle a little social limitation? Ridiculous.

 

And I just had to fill out this app and they do this screening for presumably sociopathic tendencies with all these tricky questions but then you look at the behavior of the company/organization and their business practices and it seems so hypocritical. Is it any better to be a manipulative asshole with social skills that you utilize towards that goal than to not have very good social skills? I can tell you that I would take some of those clueless people any day over the psychopaths I and my friends have had to deal with in management.



#45 ChaosEngine   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2101

Posted 27 January 2013 - 08:42 PM

ChaosEngine, on 28 Jan 2013 - 10:25, said:
On a purely practical level, I never enjoyed writing papers on literature. I enjoyed reading, and even discussing themes etc, but I would have hated to be tested on it, because I know it would have dragged my grades down.
I wouldn't say I exactly relished such papers, but I always used humanities classes to keep my grades up. Especially once I reached the CS grad courses, and shit got real.

 

I never did a grad course, just a B.Sc in CS/physics and frankly, the CS courses were trivially easy compared to the physics stuff. I still have nightmares about electromagnetism and quantum mechanics. 

 

Overall though, I agree that a broad education is a good thing. If I had some down time, I think I'd go back to uni and do a few courses in industrial design or philosophy.


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#46 Oberon_Command   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1782

Posted 27 January 2013 - 09:05 PM

If you honestly for one second think that not taking a college course in a subject makes you completely uneducated in it, then I think this conversation should end here, at least for my sake.

What a ridiculous allegation. Nobody has said any such thing.

The friends I've made in my CS classes are ridiculously diverse people with many different interests and lifestyles I never encountered in my hometown. Just because they major in a science doesn't make them robots. You'd think I wouldn't have to be telling you this, but just because some people act a certain way doesn't mean all people with the same interests act the same way. And I didn't need a humanities class to learn that.

I wonder once again if we're reading the same thread. Nobody is saying that all CS majors are drones, or that majoring in a science makes you a robot. I challenge you to find a post which actually says that. What is being said is that some people in CS are drones and that being such a drone is a bad thing.

I'm done talking about these fake "drones" who don't exist (just because a guy is a drone when he's talking to you doesn't mean he's a drone when he's talking to, say, people he actually likes).

They exist. I admittedly know of very few of them in computer science, but they definitely exist in other fields.

And I'm perfectly within my right to complain about those things I don't like. That's how change happens. Sitting silent and taking it is, ironically, the most drone-like thing to do.

Quite right. But it is likewise within our rights to complain about complaining we think is without merit. Right?

#47 AltarofScience   Members   -  Reputation: 920

Posted 27 January 2013 - 09:08 PM

I am here to complain that all this complaining about complaining about complaining is too meta. Let my poor head meat get some concrete thoughts going on dammit!



#48 swiftcoder   Senior Moderators   -  Reputation: 9507

Posted 27 January 2013 - 10:08 PM

And I'm perfectly within my right to complain about those things I don't like. That's how change happens.

Nobody has ever effected change by complaining anonymously on the internet.

 

If you want to change the fact that humanities courses are part of a liberal arts education, how about bringing that up the next time your university's president has on open house? Writing an article outlining your position to your college newspaper, alumni magazine, or an education journal? Or at least complain in some forum where there are a significant number of university professors - as far as I know there are only a handful of us on GDNet who have even taught at the university level, let alone actual professors.


Tristam MacDonald - Software Engineer @Amazon - [swiftcoding]


#49 3Ddreamer   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2902

Posted 27 January 2013 - 10:13 PM

Employers want "well-rounded" employees.  Because most kids in the USA exit high school vastly underachieving even by youth standards, they are forced to make prospects prove that they got would they should have received in secondary education before applying for college or tech school.

 

 

Some countries such as Japan create excellent high school graduates, safe to say the average one there outperforms most in the USA.  Other countries such as Germany also release well rounded secondary school graduates which outperform and understand better than USA students by quite a gap on average.

 

My response is why you should stay the course since you started in it.  There is no need to change schools or degrees, I say to the young people, but you sure best know what you are entering. 

 

It is very important to show that you complete a plan, project, or curriculum to prospective future employers and partners, even if you hate some of the courses. In real life you will be asked to do many things over the years which you hate to do.  Is it better to do what you love? Yes, but until then keep your nose to the grind stone, because building a good reputation is more important than how you feel about any classes.


Edited by 3Ddreamer, 27 January 2013 - 10:15 PM.

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#50 way2lazy2care   Members   -  Reputation: 782

Posted 28 January 2013 - 07:22 AM

it's a field with 3.5% unemployment, for goodness sake.

I knew it was low, but holy crap! That's quite phenomenal.

 

That said, I have a CS degree and an Art Minor. I would say Art History was my least favorite art course. I wouldn't blame humanities, you just happened to pick a bad humanities course. I like art and I even disliked the art history courses I took; largely because they are usually structured in very boring ways.

 

There are any number of blogs/articles on why humanities are in the traditional college degree. I would recommend googling about it. You'll probably find some better/more thorough arguments and probably leave with a better understanding of what you should most be taking away from your degree (hint: It's not what you think).



#51 mdwh   Members   -  Reputation: 801

Posted 28 January 2013 - 07:48 AM

In the UK, it's possible to specialise a lot more - in almost all cases, at University people only study what they applied for (e.g., I did solely maths). If people do do other subjects, it's only those that are closely related (e.g., having to study other sciences if you're doing physics, and even then that's only at some Unis). Doing completely unrelated subjects is unheard of, unless people choose some kind of mixed/general degree.

Is this a problem? No, because getting a rounded education is what school's for. If it's left to University, what happens to all the people who don't go to University? Even at 16-18, in the UK people specialise to just 3 or 4 subjects, which can be all the same area (e.g., I did double maths, physics and economics). (The school leaving age is 16, so again, the argument for getting a rounded education is better done before that age, not after.)

The fact that people are having to pay (especially in the US) gives an even stronger argument that people should have a say in the kind of courses available.

I don't think it's helpful to write the OP off as "whining". I think there's a perfectly good argument that at a University level, it doesn't help to make people do unrelated subjects, rather than specialising in a field. (I mean, how far do we take it? What about post-graduate? Here, PhDs get very specialised, should they have to balance that with completely unrelated subjects?)

If you disagree with the OP, then make your case - accusing people of "whining" because you disagree with them is not an argument.

 

My point about describing the UK is not to claim it's necessarily better, but to show that actually, a whole country does it the way that the OP wishes, so this isn't some ridiculous or unreasonable desire, or just some whining.

For people who aren't sure what they want to do or change their mind - well firstly, they are free to take a more general degree, that's not an argument for forcing everyone to do so. But I also find it odd that the OP should be criticised, just because some other people can't make their minds up. If other people don't even have a vague idea of the area they want to work or specialise in by the time they're 18, that's not the OP's fault. If I wanted to change my career direction, I still have my school education to fall back on - at some point though you have to draw the line.

Ah, the joys of being young and thinking everything else isn't important or worth knowing...

Young or not, he is an adult (I assume) - this isn't about school education. At that age, people should be able to make their decisions about their education and career. And I'm older now, and am still glad I did not have to do History or other subjects at University. As that comes at a cost of the time spent on the education that I did want.

Nobody wants to talk to a mindless Computer Science drone, nobody wants to date one, and for the most part, nobody wants to hire one either...

I'm not sure dating has anything to do with University courses. And if someone does meet your tired stereotyping of computer scientists, it isn't going to be fixed by making them take History or Art lessons. I wasn't aware that the market of History and Art graduates was so much better, by that logic, perhaps better not do computer science at all.
 
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#52 swiftcoder   Senior Moderators   -  Reputation: 9507

Posted 28 January 2013 - 08:20 AM

My point about describing the UK is not to claim it's necessarily better, but to show that actually, a whole country does it the way that the OP wishes, so this isn't some ridiculous or unreasonable desire, or just some whining.

A little context is important here, though. He isn't in the UK, he's in the US, where a liberal arts education implies just that, a comprehensive cross-section of the sciences and humanities.

 

It isn't as if he didn't have a choice (we have trade schools and polytechs that function as you describe), and it isn't as if he didn't know this going in (unless he refused to read the degree outline, in which case, it's on him). 


Tristam MacDonald - Software Engineer @Amazon - [swiftcoding]


#53 stupid_programmer   Members   -  Reputation: 991

Posted 28 January 2013 - 10:49 AM

OP, since you seem to be under the impression that college is just job training and just want to be a computer science robot then you should probably just drop out of whatever college you are in now and go to ITT/DeVry.

 

Here's a protip though:  Employers don't want robots.  They want people who can do their job as well as be able to interact with people from all walks of life.  These are people that you have to deal with 8+ hours a day 5 days a week.  It shouldn't be up to everybody else at the workplace to have to work around somebody else social problems.  The job is hard enough as it is.  With me being a tech lead I have to deal with my programmers as well as trying to corral the designers and artists in to something sane we can actually make.  I also have the joy of dealing with my bosses who are worried about the bottom line.  It is vitally important that I be able to communicate with them in a way they understand.  The designers get lost in XMLs and the higher ups aren't tech heads in the least, if all I knew were computers then it would be near impossible.  As it is now it's like trying to herd cats.

 

As for the actual humanities thing, I got to agree with swiftcoder.  If you are in the US and go to a traditional university then you know that taking a bunch of random classes outside of your major to make you more "well rounded" is all part of the game.  You know what you are getting in to.



#54 szecs   Members   -  Reputation: 2082

Posted 28 January 2013 - 11:18 AM

I don't know about UK, but I heard that some countries (like Germany) do have problem with over-specialitzed personnel (I work in a subsidiary company of a German company). They just refuse to leave their profession in the slightest bit. Which would be pretty important in cooperation. Well, it is in mechanical engineering, I don't know about IT.

The "the world would never change if we wouldn't stand for ourselves" argument always comes up. But there is a huge difference between whining and changing the world. Whining is a useless thing, because you won't change anything with it. Changing would be impossibly hard in this situation compared to just sitting on those goddamn courses, especially since many student think totally the opposite way. It would be pretty much obvious to leave the particular school. MAybe I missed, and the OP said that he will do something useful about the situation. But I don't know why I try to explain it, it's pretty much impossible to explain whiners how useless and bad thing (for themselves) whining is.

Edited by szecs, 28 January 2013 - 11:27 AM.


#55 TheChubu   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3599

Posted 28 January 2013 - 01:58 PM

I think the point of it is that you discourage criticism and critical thinking by saying "stop whining, it doesn't solves anything". Which may be true but one has to learn first how to critic rather than learn "just" to critic. Very offtopic though :P


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#56 szecs   Members   -  Reputation: 2082

Posted 28 January 2013 - 02:22 PM

I think the point of it is that you discourage criticism and critical thinking by saying "stop whining, it doesn't solves anything". Which may be true but one has to learn first how to critic rather than learn "just" to critic. Very offtopic though tongue.png

 

Point is (more precisely one of the points): don't whine, but do something. Posting on a forum for reinforcement doesn't count. Well, maybe... hopefully he gathered enough """info""", so he can decide what to do.



#57 phantom   Moderators   -  Reputation: 6684

Posted 28 January 2013 - 02:24 PM

By labelling his thread as whining you might end sending a signal that critical thinking is not allowed.

I did no such thing; I labelled ONE quoted segment of a reply as whining (because it was) NOT the whole thread.

Trust me, if I was going to call the whole thread out as whining then I would, as you may have noticed I tend not to pull punches smile.png

Edited by phantom, 28 January 2013 - 02:24 PM.


#58 phantom   Moderators   -  Reputation: 6684

Posted 28 January 2013 - 02:29 PM

mdwh, on 28 Jan 2013 - 13:48, said:
I think there's a perfectly good argument that at a University level, it doesn't help to make people do unrelated subjects, rather than specialising in a field. (I mean, how far do we take it? What about post-graduate? Here, PhDs get very specialised, should they have to balance that with completely unrelated subjects?)

However I'm still waiting for an answer to my earlier question in this thread about if you are told about this cross section up front.

If you aren't then the OP has a case for complaining about unrelated subjects, however if you ARE told up front and the OP STILL applied for the course knowing full what was involved... well... this whole thread takes a completely different turn.

So, I ask again; in the US are you told up front on course if you have to take non-major classes and are these choices spelt out anywhere? i.e. If I applied for a Comp. Sci major am I going to be told 'btw, you'll have to take an English Lit. classes too' up front?

#59 TheChubu   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3599

Posted 28 January 2013 - 02:36 PM

I think the point of it is that you discourage criticism and critical thinking by saying "stop whining, it doesn't solves anything". Which may be true but one has to learn first how to critic rather than learn "just" to critic. Very offtopic though tongue.png

 

Point is (more precisely one of the points): don't whine, but do something. Posting on a forum for reinforcement doesn't count. Well, maybe... hopefully he gathered enough """info""", so he can decide what to do.

Probably he had his mind set from the start. Anyway, the point is... Ah, seems we ran out of points. Too bad.


"I AM ZE EMPRAH OPENGL 3.3 THE CORE, I DEMAND FROM THEE ZE SHADERZ AND MATRIXEZ"

 

My journals: dustArtemis ECS framework and Making a Terrain Generator


#60 swiftcoder   Senior Moderators   -  Reputation: 9507

Posted 28 January 2013 - 02:44 PM

So, I ask again; in the US are you told up front on course if you have to take non-major classes and are these choices spelt out anywhere? i.e. If I applied for a Comp. Sci major am I going to be told 'btw, you'll have to take an English Lit. classes too' up front?

I suppose it is possible that you could manage to avoid ever reading it, but it's pretty unlikely.

It's spelled out in the course catalog they send out when your application is accepted, and it's spelled out on the university and/or department websites (by law). It also constitutes a gross failure on the part of your college adviser if they didn't explain what a "liberal arts college" means, since that parlance is consistent across the US...

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