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Being taught "old" languages at College a problem?

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Hullo, In disagreeance with my recent post on UTD, I've ruled it out of my list, and am now looking at three college's here in Texas. The first one and my goal, being Texas A&M. My only concern, is their computer science program. A list and description of the courses can be found here. It looks like a good course, covers what should be covered. However, instead of the other two colleges in my radar using Java and a little of C++, A&M uses "old" or "outdated" languages. Those languages being, Pascal, C, FORTRAN, Ada, and Lisp. I understand the importance is learning the concepts, and once that is down, it is fairly easy to learn new languages, although takes some time to master it. Now, I can understand that. Java, C++, Python, Ruby, C#, etc. I can see that. But Pascal, C, FORTRAN, Ada, Lisp? My concern is, is that first of all, I will not have time during College like I do during High School to learn C++. For every program I make in Java at school, I make the same thing in C++ at home. Second, I fear that the difference between C++, and OOP to Pascal, C, FORTRAN, Ada, and Lisp are going to hold be back after College. Third and lastly, if their using "outdated" languages, are the courses themselves going to be fairly "outdated"?

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It looks like most of it is done in C. 111 claims to be in Pascal. But then 206, 211, Software Engineering, and others use C or Java.

Any program is going to give you a lot of exposure to older languages, since understanding those will help you to understand modern languages which descended from them.

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I went to Ohio State University and found this to be a problem. First language they teach you is Java, then they take you through a downward spiral through all these older languages. Now you also have to understand they are preparing you for a job in real life. That means a job at nationwide or other companies who still use alot of these "outdated" languages. And often the professor is just as outdated with my expierence. But that doesnt mean the prof doesnt know the language or how to program, they often do. I went through alot of these classes often failing my final exam(and the program) until I had to go back in and explain how my solution worked. We had to write our final exams in pencil and have them compile 100% with the program working at 100% of the objective. While mine did it wasnt the way the prof expected it to be written. Regardless I did pass with an A after explaining how it worked. This was when I was beginning programming, so maybe at OSU this is something to be said for being outdated.

Also at OSU they liked to teach team programming, so this generally meant that you were paired with one other person and it was easier to tell the other teammate to sit out and let you do all the programming. Much easier than teaching the other person how to program. Which is really what they are pushing for, in my idea.

Good luck picking and note that there arent many places where you wont run into this, so try to pick the best that fits u.

GL,
Brad

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Universities are institutions reluctant to change and reluctant to co-option. They aren't interested in teaching the "flavor of the month". Even though many teach Java, it seems to me that they would be reluctant to teach C# due to it's proprietary nature. I suppose that contradiction can be accounted for in the different reputations between Sun and Microsoft - and that cross platform execution was a major goal of Java.

Believe it or not, some businesses still use Pascal and C. Iirc, Python was written in C. At any rate, knowing an old language can be a boon. A few years ago one of my uncles landed a job because he knew COBOL.

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Actually that's a good mix of languages to learn in college (IMO). This will give you the foundation you need to learn the syntax of a variety of the languages that are found in industry. At the end of the day, the languages you spent time on in your classes should have no affect on your ability to get a good job. What's important is when you do go to interview for a C++ job, you can answer all the hard C++ questions given to you by the people interviewing you. Most modern programming languages are pretty easy to learn (couple of weeks) if you're substantially familiar with several other ones.


Now, if COBOL and RPG/II were on that list, I'd probably start running.

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i learned more about programming from C, ASM, and LISP than I ever did from java. the point is to learn algorithms, programming techniques, and how things work in your computer. its not about how to use specific languages.

learn the concepts then you can program in any language with moderate adeptness.

LISP especially, learning how to think in a functional programming way of doing things really opens alot of doors that you'd never see if you only ever did declarative langs. if that doesn't convince you, MIT uses scheme for all its intro courses. (scheme~=lisp) you know they are at least half smart. :)

you will have time to learn other languages, plenty of time. im sure alot of your higher level courses will let you chose what language you want to work in. plus i think you will find that your university doesnt teach you to program so much, as teach you computer science.

dont go to a school because they use a specific language, go because its got a program thats held in high regard for computer science. its not about what language you speak, its all about what you say :)

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oh yea, after reading someone elses response I thought I should agree with the COBOL statement. iirc COBOL specialists are the highest paid programmers for a while. there are still TONS of legacy systems written in cobol and no one is coming out of college knowing it. so don't be intimidated by old langs, be happy :)

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Quote:
LISP especially, learning how to think in a functional programming way of doing things really opens alot of doors that you'd never see if you only ever did declarative langs. if that doesn't convince you, MIT uses scheme for all its intro courses.


Lisp is awesome. Me and some others are currently implementing a game engine based entirely on an event stack, modeled roughly after the functional programming model: You just push a GameBootstrap event on the stack to launch the game, and it might push a MainMenuEvent on the stack, which might push a LoadGameEvent on the stack, which might push a GameChapterEvent etc... There are a lot of things from those languages which can be applied to many things, beyond the obvious--programming.

Also, I think that java is favored in academia because it is in most ways a model OO language. Some are picking up on C#, but java is already there, and--as someone noted--academia resists change. I also agree with the proprietary comment.

EDIT:

Oh yeah, and C is still HUGE, unfortunately, in the "real world".

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Bah. French Classes Préparatoires teach Caml Light, Pascal and Maple.

On the other hand, teaching a functional language to people of mathematical background is easier than teaching them an imperative one, and then they can move on to other languages much easier.

I teach Caml Light, by the way, and it truly is an useless language (not used anywhere except for teaching).

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A language is an implementation detail; it should not really be used to make or break a decision about a college, except in extreme cases. Computer science is not about programming, programming just happens to be useful in that field. To that end, the actual languages you are taught (or learn on your own) are vastly less important than the concepts you are taught (or learn on your own) that can be applied across languages.

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