know your roots

August 14th, 2001

I’m having a discussion with Chris Nott about Code Complete and more generally, the learning of classic programming fundamentals. I touched on this a week ago, but it deserves a bit more mention. I’ll just quote something (warts and all) I wrote to Chris:

I can’t tell you how many times I have seen idiots with useless compsci degrees who haven’t a clue who the fuck Dijkstra or Yourdon are or what any of their contributions were. Imagine an architect who hadn’t heard of Christopher Wren or Frank Lloyd Wright. Sheeesh.

My Dad has said to me that he doesn’t understand how I manage to get idiots to pay me big bucks to program for the internet for them when everybody’s 15-yr-old brother can do this stuff. I say:

“Sure, Dad. So when you want to build a 27-storey office tower, I’m sure you can pay Bob down the street who drywalls basements in his spare time $10 per hour to design and build it for you. Just let me know so I can stay out of reach when the first light breeze comes along.”

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