A few weeks ago, I wrote about my experience in learning computer science over the last decade. In that same vein, this article was just published by the Chronicle of Higher Education by Kevin Carey, who discusses what a small background in CS did for him.
Discussing his work in analyzing school finance data, he writes:
So I sat down, mostly as an intellectual exercise, to rewrite the formula from first principles. The result yielded a satisfyingly direct SAS procedure. Almost as an afterthought, I showed it to a friend who worked for the state legislature. To my surprise, she reacted with enthusiasm, and a few months later the new financing formula became law. Good public policy and good code, it turned out, go hand in hand. The law has reaccumulated some extraneous procedures in the decade since. But my basic ideas are still there, directing billions of dollars to schoolchildren using language recorded in, as state laws are officially named, the Indiana Code.
This is why I believe that some level of logic and programming is a prerequisite for far more careers than is generally acknowledged. There's a reason that Columbia recently started a joint-degree program in journalism and computer science. The ability to write your own codes allows you to create your own tools - and that is truly powerful.
Posted on November 11, 2010