re: CS Degrees Are Mostly Just Signaling - An Interview With Economist Bryan Caplan VIEW POST

FULL DISCUSSION
 

"For computer programmers, it's clearly more important to have good quantitative skills than good verbal skills." But is it?

Firstly, the quantitative skill needed is a more generalized mathematical reasoning ability, not just a close familiarity with the k-12 math curriculum (though it couldn't hurt.) The kind of quantitative skill that helps with programming is the ability to move between concrete and abstract, consider many perspectives on a puzzle, and so on. At such a high level of generality one must wonder if those with a strong verbal capacity (critical thinking) aren't exercising similarly applicable logical capabilities to those that excelled in the math curriculum.

Secondly, good communication skills are tremendously important in the work of a programmer. The success or failure of software engineering projects often hinges on a programmer's ability to communicate technical issues to others in a way that clarifies what needs to happen and why. A programmer also needs to be able to work carefully with the expectations of business stakeholders in order to work successfully within the flow of an organization. This implies not only verbal reasoning, but a good measure of emotional intelligence as well. In my experience, the programming is for naught if the communication has not been successful.

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