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    I see you would not want to “waste” 4 years. But do you not value the certification of most institutions? Do you see the benefit of 4 years dedicated learning and grasping as much as you can? And what part of what you have learned now consists of actual “science” in “computer science”? That was not clear from your post.

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      Might be naive, but my hope (and, for the most part, my experience) is that my own body of work will speak louder than a college degree. As long as I’m as competent as a more certified professional, I want to be evaluated on the same level. That being said, there are definitely doors that have been shut in my face purely because I don’t have this certification – when that happens, I tend to shrug it off and tell myself I don’t want to work in an environment like that anyways.

      Re: computer science, I’m a bit unclear on what you mean. The coursework and material I went through reflects that of traditional university computer science programs. As far as I’m aware, topics like computer architecture and networking fall under the “computer science” umbrella (rather than the “programming” one).

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        I might be biased by my own point of view. Let me explain two reasons why I believe that you need a long period of time of uninterrupted, free time to study a subject thoroughly and in-depth:

        1. You do not have academic freedom in any professional environment. (Re: “I tend to shrug it off”) In every professional environment, you ultimately need to deliver value. Be it value for your customers, or some other way of (e)valuating your work. This is not the case in an academic environment. Course work is merely provisional work, i.e. setting up the required basic requisites for doing, what I shall now call, “actual science”.

        2. The typical undergraduate program of four year is too short. It is my opinion that to fully understand a narrow specialization within computer science may take 10 years of continuous studies. Finishing 10 years of such study shows, among other things, the most particular properties: perseverance and dedication. Also, it should be noted that these efforts are often done without financial motivation, that underlines these two properties even more so.

        I am still lacking experience to explain what I mean by “actual science”, but my (romanticized) reflection of it is similar to the following: you see something you have not yet seen before, you try to describe it as illuminating as possible and try to (re)search whether other people have seen the same thing. Repeat. It is certainly necessary to have the basic vocabulary of “things” you can use to describe your visions. But just having the knowledge of these “things” does not make it any easier, nor gives you any experience, to “see” the world and to “describe” what you have seen.

        It is my opinion that the most important part of any (under)graduate program is to gain experience in performing “actual science”, preferably by executing an independent research project that takes at least 6 months. Not all universities offer this opportunity. Also, if there exists a training program that accomplishes the same goals in less than 6 months, then I should reconsider my choice of pursuing a degree at a university.

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          Thanks for your thoughts!

          As I learned this stuff I gained an immense respect and appreciation for the people who do spend decades studying and researching, and those are the people who produce the biggest breakthroughs. I think that the kind of dedicated long-term critical thinking you’re describing is what eventually moves things forward. I’m not sure if you’ve heard of Recurse Center; it sounds like something you may want to look at as well. However, my personal itch leans more towards taking theory and concepts and applying them to solve other sorts of problems. I could definitely be convinced otherwise, but that’s where I stand right now.

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          Out of curiosity, was your training math intensive? (discrete mathematics, statistics, algorithms, etc.)

          PS, have a nice Canadian beer: +1 beer

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            Ha, graciously accepted.

            I took one dedicated discrete math course and one dedicated algorithms/data structures course.

            It was a thousand times more math and theory intensive than learning web development (duh). I couldn’t sit down today and provide proofs of equations or research new algorithms, but I am reasonably confident in my understanding of basic algorithms (trees/graphs/sorting/searching/etc.), set theory, Bayesian probability, induction, basic linear algebra, and combinatorics (not an exhaustive list by any means), and I feel like I have a good starting point for more advanced material.

            Hope that at least somewhat answers your question! “Math intensive” is kinda relative and hard to pin down. Happy to go into more detail about any of this.

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        Discrete math?! I hadn’t done math of any kind since high school…

        With all due respect, you’re not allowed to say that until you’re at least 30. ;)

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          tl,dr:

          I skipped college and instead did a CS bootcamp. Also I am too young to buy a beer but you should listen to my life experiences because software.

          Also, I wonder if this is stealth advertising for the bootcamp they attended?

          Slightly less harshly, congrats on being honest that the autodidact thing didn’t quite work out for you and I hope you found something that does.

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            This is the least charitable tl;dr I’ve read on lobsters.

            He did an excellent job articulating his motivation for taking school. He wrote appropriate approachable examples about the knowledge he gained. The narrative is rich enough to be interesting but concise enough to not get in the way of the real content. And he doesn’t presume to know more than what he does.

            I wish more of the posts here were this well written.

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              Hi! I’m one of Tiger’s teachers. We’re very proud of Tiger: very few people have his level of maturity, modesty and capability all at once at his age. We didn’t ask him to write this story, but we do hope he gets some recognition through it.

              We’re also not a bootcamp: we teach the same undergrad and introductory grad level computer science as a typical college or university, we just don’t grant degrees. Most of our students spread their courses out over a longer period of time: Tiger’s ability to take them all expeditiously like this is testament to his ambition and studiousness.

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                Ah, that makes a bit more sense. Between your website and Tiger’s writeup I got the impression it was meant to be taken all at the same time instead of staggered out.

                It looks a bit like other professional training courses based on the pricetag ( 1.8k/course, 9 courses )–I was just a bit annoyed from my (evidently mistaken) impression this was being marketed as an alternative to proper CS education (the precise value and content of which is quite up for debate).

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                  Moreso a testament to the freedom and energy of youthfulness ;)

                  Thanks for everything Oz!

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                    I believe you were the guy asking here about foundational materials for CS a while back. Did any of the recommendations from Lobsters make it into your classes or the one Tiger took?

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                    A bit harsh, I wouldn’t assume for a second that anyone should listen to what I have to say :)

                    Cheers, I am happy with the eventual mix I found between self-teaching and having enough external motivation/resources to reach for when it got hard.

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                      Good to hear! :)

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                      It’s hard to tell, which is the point. People often love things and write about/talk about them. This used to be called “word of mouth advertising” and was the best kind of advertising. It was also short range, because it was limited to immediate social circles and companies had a hard time gaming it - you had to buy off too many people. Now with social media and blogs, suddenly such social engineering does scale, if you do it right. I like your contrarian viewpoint @angersock. And I’m troubled by the down votes you have received.

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                      off-topic: what’s this keyboard model tho?

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                        Vortex POK3R with Cherry MX Clear switches and DSA Granite caps :)

                        Played around with fancier stuff but at the end of the day I was happiest with the look and feel of this one.