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Google Blogger: Vietnamese HS Students Excelling At CS

timothy posted about a year ago | from the pho-great-justice dept.

Education 291

An anonymous reader writes "A Google engineer visiting Vietnam discovered a large portion of Vietnamese high school students might be able to pass a Google interview. According to TFA (and his blog), students start learning computing as early as grade 2. According to the blogger and another senior engineer, about half of the students in an 11th grade class he visited would be able to make through their interview process. The blogger also mentioned U.S. school boards blocking computer science education. The link he posted backing up his claim goes to a Maryland Public Schools website describing No Child Left Behind technicalities. According to the link, computer science is not considered a core subject. While the blogger provided no substantial evidence of U.S. school boards blocking computer science education, he claimed that students at Galileo Academy had difficulty with the HTML image tag. According to the school's Wikipedia page, by California standards, Galileo seems to be one of the state's better secondary schools."

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Not blocking, just ignoring (1)

RightwingNutjob (1302813) | about a year ago | (#43267447)

Probably a good half or more of "good" high schools just plain ignore programming and CS, and the people who pass the Google interviews learned most of what they know in college, whether from lectures or from working through it while doing homework and projects.

Re:Not blocking, just ignoring (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43267471)

I rather like having a rare and mysterious skill set that guarantees me high marketability and a respectable salary. If more schools follow the example of Vietnam, programming might become another minimum wage job with workers being a dime a dozen.

Re:Not blocking, just ignoring (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43267521)

programming might become another minimum wage job with workers being a dime a dozen.

I wouldn't worry about it...that's not the point of teaching programming that early. The point is that nearly all jobs of the future will require programming ability. Today, if you want specialized software for a specific area that requires other skills, you hire a programmer and train him/her on the domain. In the future, those kinds of specialized software will be written by people with domain training/expertise. But there will always be strictly programming jobs that require additional training beyond that given in high school. Granted, exposing kids to programming at an early age will allow kids who wouldn't otherwise realize that they love it or have a talent at it, but it won't drastically increase the number of programmers. I'm too lazy to find references, but there's been studies that show that less than 25% of the population is capable of enjoying working as a programmer.

So yes, some of the jobs that are currently filled by programmers will go to people who wouldn't otherwise have been able to accomplish them. But there will be so many more jobs that require programming that it will more than even out.

Excelling at CS? (1)

fyngyrz (762201) | about a year ago | (#43267691)

Yes, but, there's this [flickr.com] .

Not sure that's actually recoverable.

Laughing at the Vietnamese ? (5, Informative)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about a year ago | (#43267945)

You guys can laugh at the Vietnamese

Go ahead, have your laugh now

In Great Britain, they do have "computer classes" in their high schools. But do you know what they teach?

How to use Microsoft Words

How to make a Powerpoint Presentation

Re:Laughing at the Vietnamese ? (1)

fyngyrz (762201) | about a year ago | (#43268117)

I'm just laughing at their canine... fashion sense. I'm perfectly ok with being out-programmed by them. But my animals are better accoutered [flickr.com] . :)

Re:Not blocking, just ignoring (5, Insightful)

Sperbels (1008585) | about a year ago | (#43267709)

The point is that nearly all jobs of the future will require programming ability.... In the future, those kinds of specialized software will be written by people with domain training/expertise

This is such crap. You're just talking about flooding the workforce with coders who can't find jobs.

Re:Not blocking, just ignoring (4, Insightful)

Smauler (915644) | about a year ago | (#43267871)

I'm not being elitist here (well, perhaps I a little)... but most people can't code. They can't be taught to code, save for in a very limited manner.

The thing is... there are a billion people in china, and the same percentage will be able to code as are here.. You _cannot_ teach people to code if they cannot. It takes a slightly odd mindset, IMO.

ergo... there are always going to be more coders, or those with aptitude to code in China than in the west. I think it's just something we're going to have to deal with.

Re:Not blocking, just ignoring (1)

Kal Zekdor (826142) | about a year ago | (#43267955)

ergo... there are always going to be more coders, or those with aptitude to code in China than in the west. I think it's just something we're going to have to deal with.

So... who said anything about China? TFA is about Vietnam, which has less than a third of the population of the US.

Re:Not blocking, just ignoring (1)

crutchy (1949900) | about a year ago | (#43268057)

i'm not sure but i think maybe the OP's point may have been that for someone to write specialist software there will be an increasing demand for specialist qualifications.

the problem is that often these specialist degrees (such as science or engineering) have programming components, and the students have probably already had exposure to programming through high school or hobby so more often in future specialists may be involved in programming their own tools with less help from CS grads.

it's probably more an issue of liability than capability; as threat of litigation increases, companies will be less able to afford to have programmers without specialist qualifications working on development of specialist software.

there are lots of applications that don't require specialist qualifications, but specialist software is a huge area of development that CS grads may have more limited opportunities in down the track unless they follow up their CS degree with another specialist degree.

Re:Not blocking, just ignoring (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43267927)

I'm too lazy to find references, but there's been studies that show that less than 25% of the population is capable of enjoying working as a programmer.

I'm pretty sure less than 25% of the population is capable of enjoying working as anything.

Re:Not blocking, just ignoring (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43267523)

too fucking late

Re:Not blocking, just ignoring (2)

c0lo (1497653) | about a year ago | (#43267615)

I rather like having a rare and mysterious skill set that guarantees me high marketability and a respectable salary.

Learn COBOL.

Re:Not blocking, just ignoring (1)

PhamNguyen (2695929) | about a year ago | (#43268063)

Of course you do, everyone prefers to get paid more rather than less, and the less people trained to do your job, the more you will get paid. This is not the government's problem, however. The government should neither try to artificially increase supply, nor decrease supply, of people trained for any kind of job. In practice this would involve making people aware of the opportunities available in all lines of work, in an even handed manner, and providing whatever courses the students wanted.

Re:Not blocking, just ignoring (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43267481)

This is the typical thing with American education, lazy high school, crazy hard work in college (well those that actually earn degrees and not just party.)

Re:Not blocking, just ignoring (5, Interesting)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about a year ago | (#43267497)

High school is lax because we don't have tiered curricula like other countries. The slackers staying in school because they'd be arrested otherwise are sitting next to the kids planning on going for PhDs. We need tiered programs so that those pursuing further education aren't slowed down by the kids who are just looking to finish and go off into the work force.

Re:Not blocking, just ignoring (5, Insightful)

anagama (611277) | about a year ago | (#43267629)

Hmmm, I'm 44 so it was a while ago I was in HS. I recall there were three tracks when I went: vocational (shop, electricity, etc.,easy math, easy English, basic science, etc.), business (typing and whatever else you might study if your goal was to be a receptionist -- easy classes, essentially shop for girls (we were more sexist then)), or college track (various math classes, literature, foreign language, psychology, etc.).

Now, granting that schools can be different, and maybe not all schools in the 80s did this, I would be really surprised if this has all gone away. I chose to not have kids so I wouldn't know from personal experience, but I could have sworn I heard someone bragging about how well their sprog did in AP something or other recently. The existence of an AP curriculum suggests to me that students are still tiered.

Re:Not blocking, just ignoring (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43267745)

I graduated 4 years ago. At the time, my hs gpa was weighted, as was everyone's in my graduating class. AP courses were weighted 1.1, so a 100 overall average was recomputed to 110, etc. A regents course, (yes, NYS resident) was weighted 1.08.

After my physics teacher (brilliant woman, paid to go to school by companies she worked for rather than work) complained, the principal's response was, "AP courses really aren't that much harder, are they." I think that says more about the perception of the high school cirriculum than arguing over it's objective merits. The perception is the more important part.

Also, I believe the principal is now some sort of deputy superintendent. Dilbert's law seems to apply.

Re:Not blocking, just ignoring (3, Insightful)

Barlo_Mung_42 (411228) | about a year ago | (#43267765)

I think the No Child Left Behind push towards standardized testing pretty much made that go away. That and budget cuts with art and shop being trimmed way down or tossed out all together in many places.

Re:Not blocking, just ignoring (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43267767)

Yes, it's all gone away. There's AP classes for early college credit, honors classes for people who work a little harder, normal classes for everyone, and a couple of one-on-one type classes for people with learning disabilities.

My high school used to have shop, sewing, cooking, programming, electronics, various art classes, etc..., and a partnership with a couple local business (consider this a vocational program with a low population limit). Slowly they've almost all gone away due to budget cuts. You can't cut the core classes, so everything else goes. You do well in your classes and try to get into college. That's the only thing that's pushed. I'm 26. Soon my peers will be in positions of leadership and they won't add back different tracks. They don't remember them.

Re:Not blocking, just ignoring (1)

jewens (993139) | about a year ago | (#43267789)

I'm only 42 (so feel free to ask me to depart your grassy area) and can confirm the exitence of "tracks" in the 80s, however they were not meaningfully separated environments. Sure the AP calc class was full of college bounds but was the cafeteria, the bus, the locker room etc?

Re:Not blocking, just ignoring (1)

Sir Holo (531007) | about a year ago | (#43267891)

anagama: ... I recall there were three tracks when I went: vocational (shop, electricity, etc.,easy math, easy English, basic science, etc.), business (typing and whatever else you might study if your goal was to be a receptionist -- easy classes, essentially shop for girls (we were more sexist then)), or college track (various math classes, literature, foreign language, psychology, etc.).

And then some of us went multi-track. I was in all the advanced math/science courses (e.g. Calc. for college credit), but also took several shop classes. I am a much better scientist for having done that. Even though it meant I had to drop choir. :-(

Re:Not blocking, just ignoring (5, Insightful)

Intropy (2009018) | about a year ago | (#43267631)

It would help a lot if we respected blue collar labor more. Your plumber, your carpenter, your steel mill worker, and anyone who knows what the heck he's doing on a factory floor are skilled, valuable workers doing important things that have to be done. We need to stop treating high school like the only valid thing it does is train people for college. We don't have the college capacity, we don't have enough qualified students, and the job force doesn't have the need for as many students as we try to push through to university. Vocational high schools used to be a thing (probably still are some left).

Re:Not blocking, just ignoring (5, Insightful)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about a year ago | (#43267827)

We don't respect blue-collar because in our minds that means uneducated rednecks. Seriously, try that attitude in NYC or Miami and see how far you get.

Re:Not blocking, just ignoring (5, Insightful)

crutchy (1949900) | about a year ago | (#43268097)

blue collar workers turn squiggles on paper into skyscrapers, which is certainly more respectable than the worthless stockbrokers who now work in those skyscrapers

Re:Not blocking, just ignoring (1)

Smauler (915644) | about a year ago | (#43267905)

It would help a lot if we respected blue collar labor more. Your plumber

I'd be happy respecting them more if I paid them less - plumbers call out fees in the UK are astonishing.

In fact... all your examples of jobs we undervalue seem to be decently paid (save carpentry - that's _all_ imported now). Car mechanics, plumbers, electricians, builders are all complained about at least as much as other services.

Re:Not blocking, just ignoring (3, Insightful)

Intropy (2009018) | about a year ago | (#43267957)

I didn't mean undervalued by pay. I meant undervalued by the education system, which goes hand-in-hand with lack of respect (again that's actual respect as in admiration not money). I suggest that we'd be better off if these sorts of trades were treated as worthwhile goals for a student instead of it being "college or nothing" in high school. College is great for some people. College is a waste of time for others. Not everyone is well suited to it, and we don't need as many college graduates as a percentage of population as we seem to want to educate.

It's mildly ironic that the lack of respect causes fewer people to pursue those careers, which causes scarcity and thus the higher pay you mention.

Re:Not blocking, just ignoring (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43267959)

They are expensive exactly because they get no respect, hence there aren't enough of them. The ones that are skilled to do those things can almost name their price. School system tries to push everyone to college, we get lots of cheap white collars for the lower positions, and way too much people trying for the higher up positions, that go to CEOs relatives anyways. Easy job, good wage, you won't be outsourced, become a plumber.

Re:Not blocking, just ignoring (1)

whoever57 (658626) | about a year ago | (#43267965)

I'd be happy respecting them more if I paid them less - plumbers call out fees in the UK are astonishing.

You should try calling out a plumber in California. You would be glad to pay what whose plumbers are charging you in the UK (and yes, I do know how much plumbers charge in the UK).

Re:Not blocking, just ignoring (2)

curious.corn (167387) | about a year ago | (#43268093)

The problem is this: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/25/magazine/skills-dont-pay-the-bills.html [nytimes.com] Managers still live the early '900, practicing what looks like class warfare, trying to run companies like sweatshops and forgetting the supply-demand rule when it's time for them to cough up... ;)

Re:Not blocking, just ignoring (1)

Smirker (695167) | about a year ago | (#43267649)

In my public high school in Australia, students were split into different classes based on their intelligence (however defined or measured). It was an unspoken thing. Kids in the A,B,C class were the smartest, D,E,F next, and so on. Movement between classes did occur, but was rare. It worked excellently.

Re:Not blocking, just ignoring (1)

Bremic (2703997) | about a year ago | (#43267741)

I remember this system, it was a slight variation (We had a D music class which tended to be the most successful class, then A, B, C, E, F) but it worked.

The problem is the push for Performance Pay for teachers - which is huge in the US and a LNP push in Australia. If a teacher is paid more if their class gets higher grades, then the focus is on making the students get better grades instead of teaching them the skills they need after school. There are two ways to efficiently increase the grades a student gets. The first is to make the test easier; the second is to focus only on the barest minimum they will need to know for the test, and ignore everything else.

The nature of schooling in the first world is all about the teachers, not the students - it's silly, but true.

Re:Not blocking, just ignoring (1)

Smirker (695167) | about a year ago | (#43267819)

If performance pay is properly designed, I think you can avoid both problems. In Queensland, every quarter each school sends representatives for each subject to a district "teacher's meeting," and as a component of this, the teachers must assess each other, from test content to top students. I'm not sure of the exact details, but I know it was designed to ensure each school was testing their students equally. I remember that my physics teacher was made to make the final question in our final physics test relatively complicated in order to justify giving certain students top grades.

There is also a state-wide curriculum (or is it national now?), which in my opinion is quite broad, and teachers are made to test many aspects of it.

On top of this district-based system, there is a state-wide test which gives a weighting factor to the grades of students in each school and also to the students within each subject within each school. If a teacher in one school was to somehow bypass the district-based system and give students easier tests, one would assume the students would perform worse in this national test, which would then impact their overall grade regardless. The opposite it also true.

As an interesting side-note, because of the implications bad students have on good students as a result of this weighting system, some schools pressure underperformers (e.g. weed smokers, kids who always skip class, etc) to leave and find work. I'm sure there are varied opinions about whether this is good or bad.

Anyway, to conclude, if performance pay took into consideration the systems that are designed to make assessment fair, then I think it would have a better chance at benefiting students. As with most systems, design is important.

Re:Not blocking, just ignoring (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43267731)

I agree with the siblings. I don't know what you're talking about. I'm not all too long out of HS and I'm pretty sure my HS's classes are still organized the same way: there were up to 4 levels of each class (some weren't offered at every level if there weren't enough students): LH ("honors") or L1 ("level one") for the students headed to college, L2 for students who couldn't keep up with L1 (didn't go to competitive colleges), and L3 for everyone else. (I believe special ed was a somewhat separate system.) I took some L1 classes (English and history weren't my best subjects) and they tended to have some distracting slackers (because, let's be honest, they were easy classes partially for people too lazy to take honors classes), it wasn't as bad as you are implying.

Re:Not blocking, just ignoring (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43267499)

It's more about dumbing down the curriculum so they can justify moving the jigs onto higher grade levels and out of the schools more quickly. Welfare minority kids are expensive, even more so when they're held back multiple times having to re-take the same grade over and over; generally being a drain on taxpayer and other educational resources.

Asian kids, however, are still stuck with the all-manual slide-rule mentality. They would be great for performing tedious ballistics calculations by hand(a job held by white women) in the WWII era, but they are poor at thinking "outside the box" and would be spending most of their time stealing your corporate IP and handing it over to their motherlands.

Re:Not blocking, just ignoring (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43267517)

It's more about dumbing down the curriculum so they can justify moving the jigs onto higher grade levels and out of the schools more quickly. Welfare minority kids are expensive, even more so when they're held back multiple times having to re-take the same grade over and over; generally being a drain on taxpayer and other educational resources.

Asian kids, however, are still stuck with the all-manual slide-rule mentality. They would be great for performing tedious ballistics calculations by hand(a job held by white women) in the WWII era, but they are poor at thinking "outside the box" and would be spending most of their time stealing your corporate IP and handing it over to their motherlands.

someone had to say it. My woman can't think outside the box for shit. Women and Asians man, what losers.

Re:Not blocking, just ignoring (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43267787)

Jigs?

Re:Not blocking, just ignoring (1)

crutchy (1949900) | about a year ago | (#43268157)

many asian kids are studying overseas (much of australia's higher education is paid for by wealthy parents of full fee paying foreign students, many of them asian). they are among the most astute and studious in the world (stemming from much more intense competition due to higher population).

american kids on the other hand are stuck with the "we are the rulers of the universe" mentality and they turn out to be bums on welfare that vote for morons like obama.

I'm just a drop out (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43267703)

But I successfully passed a Google interview and got an offer letter.
Not bad for a EE drop out who didn't take any CS classes. But to be honest, being a senior kernel dev for years probably helped.

Re: I'm just a drop out (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43267885)

Who cares?

Re:I'm just a drop out (2)

crutchy (1949900) | about a year ago | (#43268165)

senior kernel dev

so you're an old fart who worked in a corn field?

Hmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43267451)

Google uses Pascal?

Re:Hmm... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43267541)

Well they should. It's awesome.

Re:Hmm... (1)

crutchy (1949900) | about a year ago | (#43268181)

free pascal and lazarus also aren't bad

HTML image tag? Really? (4, Insightful)

tjb (226873) | about a year ago | (#43267503)

What does an HTML image tag have to do with computer science or being a good software engineer?

Heck, I've been working as a professional software developer in the semiconductor industry for 13 years, can sling C, Matlab and various assembly languages all day long, and think I have a pretty good theoretical grounding, but I'm not terribly familiar with HTML or Java or PHP or whatever the cool kids are using these days (now get off my lawn). I mean, good for them and all, but it seems like a rather hokey standard to judge students by.

Re:HTML image tag? Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43267557)

What does an HTML image tag have to do with computer science or being a good software engineer?

Heck, I've been working as a professional software developer in the semiconductor industry for 13 years, can sling C, Matlab and various assembly languages all day long, and think I have a pretty good theoretical grounding, but I'm not terribly familiar with HTML or Java or PHP or whatever the cool kids are using these days (now get off my lawn). I mean, good for them and all, but it seems like a rather hokey standard to judge students by.

It's a fairly fundamental concept -- representing a data structure as a string of text, with the data structure including a level of indirection (i.e. the image tag contains a pointer to the source of the image, in this case expressed as a URL). And while you might not know how to do it, that's not the same thing as "having difficulty" with it, which implies an attempt to learn it that failed.

Re:HTML image tag? Really? (4, Informative)

anagama (611277) | about a year ago | (#43267677)

I think the the HTML reference comes from several links deep, not specifically, but topically:

Of the two classes described, neither teaches computer science. The first teaches keyboarding and use of Microsoft applications, while the second teaches website design. While the website design course claims to teach the use of "HTML programming code," this is a misuse of the term, as HTML is a markup language rather than a programming language and requires no understanding of algorithms or program design.

http://blog.carolynworks.com/?p=572 [carolynworks.com]

Which was summarized in the article like this:

Teachers often refuse to teach real CS because more often than not they don't understand it. Instead, they end up teaching word processing and website construction, while calling it CS.

http://neil.fraser.name/news/2013/03/16/ [fraser.name]

So essentially he's saying that US CS curriculum is so bad, students can't even do html, which actually isn't programming anyway, it's just a kind of text formatting.

Re:HTML image tag? Really? (1)

crutchy (1949900) | about a year ago | (#43268279)

html, which actually isn't programming anyway, it's just a kind of text formatting.

it can get a little bit trickier when generating html from javascript from php

Re:HTML image tag? Really? (1)

crutchy (1949900) | about a year ago | (#43268255)

Matlab is awesome, and so are IDEs like Delphi, but if you can get your head around PHP/JS/HTML/CSS/MySQL it can be very efficient. You just need a junked Windows OEM box to make a LAMP server. I personally like the ability to mash up half decent and usable GUIs without a whole heap of fucking around. Browsers have their quirks, but if you learn some basic principles (Google "top ten mistakes in web page design") and use the W3C validation tool you can't really go wrong for in house (LAN hosted) tools. You can even do charts and diagram automation with PHP's GD extension.

but the question is.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43267507)

Even if they can program, and could pass a Google interview. Do they want to be computer programmers/developers? I have met many people who have degrees in CS or are developers (app or web) and they can do the work, but they don't do good work.

They can produce code because they know how, but they have no drive or real desire to do the work. For me those who produce code that is quality code have a real desire to be a developer and to write code. It's not enough just to know how.

Re:but the question is.. (0)

Bremic (2703997) | about a year ago | (#43267771)

The point of introductory schooling is to help people make the decisions about what career they want to pursue, not about only teaching them what they will need in their chosen vocation.

I don't know the American school system, but in Aus we have grades 1-12. From my schooling (nearly 30 years ago). Grades 1-3 is the basics (reading, writing, arithmetic), 4-6 start covering history, geography, and the generic stuff that's important to everyone. 7-8 was history, science, basic economics, physical education, math - the basic building blocks of finding out what interests you. 9-10 was starting to focus on the things that interested you. You could choose to take a business path, or a arts path, or a science path, or (oddly enough) a sports path. Years 11-12 were for the people who wanted to be educated more in the things that they were interested in continuing in after school was over. General a strong focus in what you started in 9-10, maybe focusing on a particular type of science, or accounting vs legal.

About the only good reason I can think of for doing a purely vocational focus in schools (only teaching what students need for the profession that someone has chosen for them) is that there would be almost no need to ever consider teaching religion in schools.

Seriously, schooling is about educating children enough so that as adults they can start focusing on what they want to do. Not about choosing a path for every student. Schools shouldn't be factory lines putting out clones, though with the recent trends in performance pay for teachers, focusing on grades rather than learning, and parents thinking of teachers purely as cheap child care for 8 hours a day - I understand why you would think that.

Re:but the question is.. (2)

fredgiblet (1063752) | about a year ago | (#43268277)

In America the finding what you want to do phase has been moved to college for the most part. It's way more profitable that way.

Re:but the question is.. (2)

crutchy (1949900) | about a year ago | (#43268289)

i have real desire to be a porn star. doesn't mean i would make a good one.

Google Interview Process (2)

jrumney (197329) | about a year ago | (#43267511)

If that blog post is an example of what gets past Google's interview process, then I am not at all surprised that 11th grade high school students could also get past it.

Re:Google Interview Process (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43267723)

I've gone through Google interviews before. Their questions are rather poor for identifying any true creativity or ability to learn new things, basically just testing with CS brain teasers and annoying algorithms. eBay was even worse - their Java architect asked moronic things like "name 15 Java keywords as fast as you can" and their C++ architect intentionally focused on way-too low level concepts like how compilers constructed vtables (which having worked on compilers I knew, but given his attitude of wanting to prove candidates wrong would never choose to work with him). Apple's was a lot more balanced, and I admit I bombed one question from misunderstanding what was asked; their loss.

But in any case I'm so glad I didn't take a job at any of those now-bloated corporate workplaces. The startup I ended up at was bought a few years ago and I had enough stock to buy a house and live very comfortably in the Bay Area. Basically at this point Google might want to focus on 17 year old Vietnamese HS students, because the real talent has better options...

Re:Google Interview Process (1)

crutchy (1949900) | about a year ago | (#43268315)

the main focus of institutional jobs seems to be the humble idiot test... that only idiots can pass :)

No wonder... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43267535)

Given the incresed rate at which my site gets probed from hackers in Vietnam in the past year or two, this does not surprises me.

Not Blocking Per Se (4, Interesting)

KeithIrwin (243301) | about a year ago | (#43267561)

What's happened is that the national standard for computing education in this country (which have been adopted by most states) are set by a board of specialists who all specialize in the use of computers in education. They don't specialize in computer science. There are no computer scientists on the board at all. As such, they recommend that teachers teach the sort of skills which make the computer useful in reinforcing learning in other subjects because that's what they specialize in. So, for example, they might recommend that students learn how to use spreadsheets in middle school because it helps them in analyzing experimental data in middle school science. Or they might recommend that students learn how to browse the web because it helps them practice reading and study skills. But they don't recommend learning programming because it is outside of their specialty and they likely don't understand how programming can be used to reinforce learning in other subjects (which I would argue that it can be used very effectively to do so for many subjects, especially math and science).

If we want to change this, we need to get state level boards of education to adopt different standards. That's how change will happen.

Re:Not Blocking Per Se (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year ago | (#43267623)

If we want to change this, we need to get state level boards of education to adopt different standards. That's how change will happen.

Except that many of the state Boards of Education are grappling with such esoteric topics as the validity of evolution or the value of pi.

We're doomed.

Re:Not Blocking Per Se (4, Insightful)

Bremic (2703997) | about a year ago | (#43267775)

How many skilled programmers are willing to work in schools for the pay that is offered? It's a prime example of if we want kids to have access to knowledge in their schooling, then we need to attract teachers who can impart that knowledge.

Unfortunately in the first world there seems to be a trend to offer as little as possible for education, figuring I suppose that if the next generation is uneducated they will be cheaper to employ.

Re:Not Blocking Per Se (2)

KeithIrwin (243301) | about a year ago | (#43267987)

Being a skilled programmer doesn't necessarily mean being a skilled teacher, especially when it comes to the basics of programming. It can actually be quite difficult for someone to teach to others the things which come easiest to them. However, your overall point that we don't have a surplus of skilled computer science educators is true. But even without that, forcing at least a little basic computer programming on kids, even with unskilled teachers, is a lot better than letting them do without. I'm pretty sure that the teacher who taught me Logo in 2nd grade and BASIC in 3rd didn't understand very much about programming beyond the range of those courses. (I suspect this partially based on, for example, that when I asked when you would use GOSUB instead of GOTO, they didn't have a clear answer). But they were effective at teaching that basic material and that was a great start. I think that the article this was about illustrates this well, as I have trouble believing that Vietnam has a much greater quantity of skilled computer scientists teaching in its schools than the USA does.

Re:Not Blocking Per Se (1)

crutchy (1949900) | about a year ago | (#43268319)

or keynesian economics... america is so totally fucked

Not Surprised (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43267613)

Foreign countries, especially in Asia, concentrate on ability and utility rather than race or gender. No way the U.S. could promote CS in school: too many males like it and it'd make the girls look bad. Spam away... say girls are "just as good"... Fact is, vast majority of them aren't as interested and when boards and government get involved that skews their perfectly-engineered-society target numbers.

Re:Not Surprised (1)

crutchy (1949900) | about a year ago | (#43268333)

girls in america are too busy trying to look like the cover girls of vogue and cosmopolitan magazines, because that's what is expected of them

is there any wonder how girls growing up in such a vain and stereotypical society become so vain themselves?

it's less to do with whether girls are good at programming or not; female programmers just aren't able to compete in a male dominated profession (for salary, credibility, acceptance, etc).

Outsource This! (2)

Tablizer (95088) | about a year ago | (#43267625)

They know they are going to get all the outsourced jobs from the US. A US student, on the other hand, has to find something not so easily outsourcable.

Re:Outsource This! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43267763)

Politicians.

Re:Outsource This! (2)

crutchy (1949900) | about a year ago | (#43268343)

eventually it will be the other way around; americans will be answering phones in call centers and manufacturing shoes for asians.

The US does other things, though (3, Insightful)

sandytaru (1158959) | about a year ago | (#43267643)

As far back as 1991 I went to "computer camp" - a two week long overnight camp for elementary school kids that was a charitable outreach from our local Army base. During those two weeks, we learned some BASIC and LOGO, did our very first "hello worlds" - and also did some nifty science-camp stuff, like making our own ice cream by hand (and thus learning how salt lowers the freezing point of water) and getting some hands on fundamentals in networking. (Oh token-rings, how we don't miss you.) All for the low low cost of free - although I think I did have to test into the camp.

Not defending the US education's system's oversight in this area, but I bet if Google interviewed some kids at a US engineering high school, they'd have better results.

Re:The US does other things, though (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43267757)

Imagine explaining to your PHB that the network is broke and that the token fell out of the cable onto the floor, where he proceeds to look for it.

Re:The US does other things, though (2)

KeithIrwin (243301) | about a year ago | (#43267995)

Yeah, we used to teach our kids LOGO and BASIC back in the 80s and early 90s. Now we teach them MS Word, Powerpoint, and Internet Explorer and how to upload videos to YouTube (which is "learning multimedia" in much that same way that the other things are "learning computer science"). We used to do those things. I learned LOGO and BASIC in my elementary school in the early 80s. But you don't find them done any more.

Re:The US does other things, though (1)

Kal Zekdor (826142) | about a year ago | (#43268021)

Not defending the US education's system's oversight in this area, but I bet if Google interviewed some kids at a US engineering high school, they'd have better results.

I went to an engineering high school, and there were a number of programming courses. (In addition to the other random computer related courses, like web design, or matlab.) Granted, I skipped ahead to CS 4 by tenth grade and aced my AP Computer Science test (saving me a semester in college "learning" simple CS topics which I knew since I was 12 and started poking at qbasic), but it was mandatory for everyone to take at least one year of programming. If your job involves science or math in any non-trivial fashion, knowing a bit of programming can make you much more competitive/productive.

While the state of education (primary and secondary) in the US is indeed dismal, CS is not entirely left by the wayside by every school.

Re:The US does other things, though (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43268191)

yeah I have to laugh at this as well... the best "programming" class I got was in my (public) high school, straight C++ with a good overview of algorithms and Big-O (class prerequisite on elective math and score therein). went on to do an independent-study AP course (they only offered AB, wanted BC), only to be extremely disappointed in the available curricula when I got into college. I doubt many of my professional peers would pass the tests that were regularly given in those classes, especially as there were no compilation cycles -- you wrote the code on paper, in a room devoid of terminals; failure to compile was tantamount to incorrect results.

to quote some of my favorite CS geeks (the Haskell folks, in the paper for RankN types):

The type system is arguably too complicated for Joe Programmer to understand, but that is true of many type systems, and perhaps it does not matter too much: in practice, Joe Programmer usually works by running the compiler repeatedly, treating the compiler as the specification of the type system. Indeed, a good deal of the complexity of the type system (especially Section 6) is there to accommodate programs that "ought" to work, according to our understanding of Joe's intuitions

One data point... (4, Informative)

pongo000 (97357) | about a year ago | (#43267657)

...does not prove anything.

he claimed that students at Galileo Academy had difficulty with the HTML image tag

OK, repeat after me: Computer science is not about programming/scripting languages. It is about the methodology and theory of developing programs, applications, and computational systems. To tell you the truth, I don't cover HTML in my computer science curriculum (and yes, Texas has a full-blown CS curriculum), mainly because CS isn't web development.

Re:One data point... (5, Insightful)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about a year ago | (#43267795)

Call me a cynic, but I don't think this story is what it seems to be.

It wasn't more than a couple weeks ago that I read another Microsoft PR piece attempting to influence Congress into increasing the number of H1Bs they can use. For some reason this new story immediately made me think "You know, if Google was going to try getting more H1Bs, this is pretty much how I'd expect them to go about it."

Google's just really ham-handed and ineffective when it comes to attempting to influence public opinion - witness Brin's bizarre "cell phones are emasculating" statement.

Re:One data point... (1)

complete loony (663508) | about a year ago | (#43267925)

I assume there's some context missing. Perhaps the statement would be more accurate as follows;

he claimed that students at Galileo Academy, who had completed a web page authoring subject, had difficulty with the HTML image tag

Re:One data point... (1)

KeithIrwin (243301) | about a year ago | (#43268035)

He also said that they don't understand loops and conditionals. I think that the author is pretty clear that web development isn't CS, based on several of the other articles he linked to (like, this one [carolynworks.com] ). But students who have a solid understanding of programming and are used to consulting reference material for how particular commands or functions work would be highly unlikely to be stymied by IMG tags if they were to try to create some. It's not exactly a complex concept. People who have trouble with IMG tags would be people who aren't used to looking at code carefully or ones who think that computers "understand" things. Neither of those should be the case for anyone who has had a reasonable computer science education.

Re:One data point... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43268167)

It's not about programming? I hate to tell you, other than programming there really is nothing to CS. Not even sure why they call it a science. The course should be called computer engineering..

Re:One data point... (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#43268293)

you'd probably still would understand the img tag in 10 seconds, no?

Old Aussie joke (3, Funny)

capt_mulch (642870) | about a year ago | (#43267693)

How can you tell when you've had a Vietnamese burgle your house? Your VCR is gone, but your homework is done...

Too busy teaching Islam in US schools (-1, Flamebait)

SplashMyBandit (1543257) | about a year ago | (#43267711)

Today's US high school students are fed politically correct subjects like Islam (which is *very* anti-scientific thanks to the theories of Al Ghazali). Citations:
http://news.yahoo.com/texas-public-school-students-don-burqas-learn-muslim-063126528.html [yahoo.com]
http://www.cbn.com/cbnnews/460652.aspx [cbn.com]
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7cvMIBWoR18 [youtube.com]

Anyone who knows anything about abrogation knows that Islam is an evil ideology, racist and certainly not a religion of peace. However, if we overlook that fact for a moment what is very significant is the fact that all other religions are pretty much banned from most mainstream schools (certainly Christianity and Judaism are). So you ought to ask yourself, why is Islam being pushed in US schools? Besides the obvious answer, because Islamists (eg. the Muslim Brotherhood) want this, how come the Department of Education allows this? The short answer is that the political Left have an alignment of ideology with Islam - so are indoctrination the youth of America with collectivist nonsense. What they don't understand is that they are sowing the seeds of a generation of jihadis because no one is pointing out the true facts about Islam - it is a curse in every country it touches.

Before the haters start please consider these things: I understand Islam *very* well, and *hate* it as it is against every liberty that free men (and women!) cherish; I am an atheist, no point citing Christian bias (Christianity also bunk just like Islam; however unlike Islam today Christianity way less evil); I have no problem with Muslims themselves, who are generally good people despite the brainwashing they've had in the anti-scientific nonsense of Islam; I'm not from the US, so I don't vote, or back Republicans or Democrats (although the Democrats are far more anti-Constitutional than most US people seem to be aware of).

The US is making colossal strategic mistakes. Warping schooling for politically correct subjects instead of emphasizing maths, tech and hard science is not going to result in US global leadership in the coming decades. US citizens can fix it though - vote out the bastards who are warping your schools. Demand that schools teach and promote Enlightenment values instead of barbaric Sharia. Demand that schools teach more math and science.

Re:Too busy teaching Islam in US schools (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43267813)

I realize as an AC that I carry very little weight here, but when you bring up this subject with a very tenuous grasp on reality to most people, you sound like a nutjob. Teaching Islam in public schools isn't nearly as widespread or as big of a threat to anyone as, for instance, those people who are trying to pervert science and claim that there are other legitimate alternatives to the theory of evolution (and they then pervert what "scientific theory" means in order to cast doubt on something where there's no legitimate room for doubt).

Additionally, you'd do well to stop listening to CBN as a source of information for anything outside of whatever comfort you get from Pat Robertson praying into the camera, because they have no comprehension of anything scientific or pretty much anything related to reality. They are either delusional or liars, take your pick.

Re:Too busy teaching Islam in US schools (2)

jayveekay (735967) | about a year ago | (#43267815)

Every religion is a tool invented by people. Tools can be used for good or for evil. Look at the historical record and you wll find examples of that with every belief system invented by man.

No religion should be taught in school. In my opinion, no religion should be taught to any child. When they turn 18 and have an understanding of reason and logic, then they can choose to learn about religion and choose to just "believe" something if they want. Indoctrination of children into a belief system when they are unable to make an informed choice is wrong.

Re:Too busy teaching Islam in US schools (1)

SplashMyBandit (1543257) | about a year ago | (#43268169)

I agree with you wholeheartedly. However Islam is particularly bad because it asserts claims on non-believers. There is one religion that is an exception, it is called Jainism. It is a weird philosophy, and I don't actually agree with it as it is not practical and conducive to scientific progress, but at its fundamental level it is a religion of peace (unlike the Abrahamic religions). Here is seven and a half minutes of great insight from Sam Harris:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vDMOxjHIt0U [youtube.com]

Re:Too busy teaching Islam in US schools (4, Interesting)

wichawa (2716799) | about a year ago | (#43267833)

Anyone who knows anything about abrogation knows that Islam is an evil ideology, racist and certainly not a religion of peace.

As a non-Muslim, completely non religious person that has recently read the Bible, the Quran, and the Chumash, I feel like this statement is incredibly bigoted. All of your follow up statements only cement my feelings about your bigotry.

The only way you can state this without being bigoted is if you also state that every organized religion is an evil ideology rooted in racism, and not respectful of peace. No religion should be taught in public schools (save for topical interest/history classes) and I have no idea why you brought this into an article discussion regarding CS education. You could have simply stated that some schools are misappropriating their funds/energy on various other types of programs, when there money/energy would be better spent with programs like Computer Science.

To counter your bigotry, I posit that in order to protect its survival and serve its own self interests, every organized religion is constantly waging a war for your "soul," also known as your money/goods/services/time. This is done in many ways with many tactics or justifications, but the end goal of every major world religion is for one religion to reign supreme - be it the Yahweh/Allah schools of thought or some other totally cool god/gods I've never heard of. Faith does not co-exist with other organized faiths, as every faith is right and no faith uses the scientific method to show how much more right said faith might be. How is the Muslim ideology that much different than that of the Jewish and Christian faiths when all three schools of thought believe in the exact same mythical character that governs the universe?

Maybe, instead of more Computer Science education for kids and teens around the globe, we should just have more education focused in logic.

This should help create better theory around computational processes and design anyways, and would prevent entire internet posts from being written - like the one I am responding to right now..

Re:Too busy teaching Islam in US schools (1)

wichawa (2716799) | about a year ago | (#43267845)

* their, not there.........

Re:Too busy teaching Islam in US schools (0)

SplashMyBandit (1543257) | about a year ago | (#43268141)

Sorry, it seems you read but don't understand. Perhaps you could start here ...
http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/quran/index.htm [skepticsan...dbible.com]
http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/quran/abs/long.html [skepticsan...dbible.com]
http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/quran/int/long.html [skepticsan...dbible.com]
http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/quran/cruelty/long.html [skepticsan...dbible.com]
http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/quran/science/long.html [skepticsan...dbible.com]

Please clarify how I was bigoted. As far as I an see, I am consistent with *facts* such as these:

Please let me define bigot for you: "Bigotry is the state of mind of a bigot: someone who, as a result of their prejudices, treats other people with hatred, contempt, and intolerance on the basis of a person's race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, religion, language, socioeconomic status, or other status."

What contempt did I display for any *person* ? I said I hated Islam because I have studied it extensively and *understand it*. Please note that Islam is an *ideology* not a person. As such it is always able to be subject to criticism - even harsh criticism - and this never constitutes "bigotry".

How is the Muslim ideology that much different than that of the Jewish and Christian faiths when all three schools of thought believe in the exact same mythical character that governs the universe?

You read the books and cannot tell the difference? are you *sure* you read them? the differences are stark! For example: Christ commanded compassion for your enemies, Mohammed commanded death; Christ demonstrated continence and never appeared to take a wife; Muhammed had multiple wives, including slave wives, and raped Saffiya on the day he murdered her tribe and tortured her husband to death by kindling a fire on his chest while he looked for the tribes riches; in Islam is is permitted to to have sex with children because Mohammed at 54 years old had sex with Aisha at 9 lunar years (8 solar years) - and no, this was not normal even for those times; then we have the commandments for every able bodies Muslim to conduct jihad asghar against non-Muslims; then we have Mohammed ordering assassinations and permitting lying to do this (both big no-nos against the Mosaic Law); then we have the so called "Satanic verses" of Islam where Mohammed was tricked/possessed (unlike Christ who resisted Satan); then we have the claim that Islam is the direct divine and unalterable word of God (in contrast to all historical evidence, eg the 1972 Sa'ana Quran discovery that is changed from the later orthodox Caliphate version); then we have the whole historicity aspect, where the pagan Moon God illah became the single god "Allah"; then we have the sections of the Qur'an that are plagiarized from the Torah and Bible but the plagiarism is inaccurate and they get some things wrong (eg. the relationship of Mary); then we have Mohammed as a prophet of the religion when only Jews can be prophets. There are heaps more differences but I think that is enough to start. Still can't distinguish between the doctrines in the books you so proudly read?

Please also note that the Qur'an is only one third of the scriptures of Islam. You have to also have to read the hadiths to understand the religion. That's why your understanding of the differences between Christianity, Judaism and Islam is so poor and as a result you are confused and incorrectly cast around the ad-hominem of "bigot" as a result of your lack of understanding (sorry to be harsh, but you need to understand the truth - which is why you don't understand just how evil Mohammed was and the ideology of Islam is).

Maybe, instead of more Computer Science education for kids and teens around the globe, we should just have more education focused in logic.

Yes, and perhaps history, analysis, and reading comprehension too :) Sorry to react this way, but if you are gonna call people bigots you'd better understand what it means and what you are talking about.

There is cruft to be sure (3, Insightful)

Barlo_Mung_42 (411228) | about a year ago | (#43267749)

My kid spends way too much time imo learning cursive. They make her do a lot of her work in both cursive and print which seems like a waste of time when the number of hours spent in class keep shrinking. They should be learning to type and print; forget about cursive.

Re:There is cruft to be sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43267785)

I agree; everyone should write like a 6 year old.

Re:There is cruft to be sure (2)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43267923)

Make it part of their art class. Seriously, kids don't learn much of anything in their art classes--they just experiment with different media and are encouraged to 'be creative'. At least teach them cursive and calligraphy during that time and free up class time for other subjects.

Re:There is cruft to be sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43268027)

Cursive?

Well, I know 'hell' and 'damn'...

Not surprising (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43267755)

I heard gooks are good with wires.....

CS is not the only career. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43267797)

why do we want everybody to be a computer scientist? that is not for everybody. I am a pipefitter and I only get by using only a pytagoral theorem. I travel the world. One week I might be in curacao working for shell and the next week for brittish petroleum in the north sea. I work around 7 months of the year and make more than $100,000USD in that time. And I love my Job. At the oil rigs here we work in pairs a pipe fitter and a welder. A welder makes a little bit less than a pipe fitter but still better pay than most college graduates. And guess what we have shortgage of workers. Most people get home sick and do not want to go away from their home town to make a living.
How did I find slashdot? from beeing bored. The CS guy we have here at the rig. According to our computer guy everything here runs on QNX OS and he think he is very smart, but guess what when we go to shore he can't get laid and we make around the same money.

Well the point is that not everyone needs to be a computer scientist if we concentrate in just one thing that would be wrong.

Re:CS is not the only career. (1)

fredgiblet (1063752) | about a year ago | (#43268301)

I have no attachment to my local area so I wouldn't mind traveling. I just don't want the kind of responsibility that comes with a job where that much money is on the line.

fake, as always (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43267851)

Vietnamese here, I have read that article a few days ago in my language. It is very likely that the school selected the best students in the whole school, put them in one 'class' for the test. It's commonly accepted here to do anything so you won't "lose face" and appear better than you really are. We have a proverb for that, "Show the beauty, hide the ugly".

Google's H1B visa lobbying (2)

0-9a-zA-Z_.+!*'()123 (266827) | about a year ago | (#43267875)

Wouldn't it be clever for the pro-H1B visa lobbyists at Google to plant news stories about how gifted foreign workers are?

If the argument is "US ed bad, Foreign ed good" and therefore "US workers bad, Foreign workers good" necessitates liberalizing H1B visas, well it just writes itself.

Not saying that /. is just a plant for Google PR hacks or nothing. Ok, maybe I am.

The U.S. teaches kids what the markets will handle (1)

asmkm22 (1902712) | about a year ago | (#43267877)

U.S. labor is expensive, so teaching every kid here programming at young ages will do very little for their job prospects (companies will still prefer H1-B's). It's one thing to talk about how our education system is falling behind, etc, etc, and another thing entirely for the country -- and the companies within it -- to actually hire American workers when they can get them cheaper overseas. If not outsource entirely.

This whole thing is disingenuous (4, Insightful)

tlambert (566799) | about a year ago | (#43267937)

This whole thing is disingenuous.

That might have been acceptable to present as an interview question (before it was disclosed), but those kids would not have passed the interview process on a single question, nor would they have even passed the single session interview which used that question, if they took 45+ minutes to arrive at it.

An interview session typically lasts 45 minutes in total, and the point of presenting the problem is to gauge the persons problem solving ability, and their ability to think in terms of their ability to apply CS tools to solve the problem optimally. Taking the full 45 minutes for a single solution would not cut it, even if they ended up with the optimal solution. If they knew the question because someone had leaked it to a jobs board, then immediately solved it optimally, then the immediate response of the interviewer should be to vary the premise to make it a related but slightly different problem. If they didn't solve it optimally, and the interviewer had them iterate on their solution to optimize it, that's the best possible outcome, as far as an interviewer is concerned, as it speaks to the persons thought processes and problem solving capability.

They also would not have passed the educational bar. There are a lot of self-taught programmers who are brilliant at it, but who can not work on teams because they lack the common terminology for algorithms and so on. So they are able to solve a problem in isolation, but they are unable to communicate this information to their peers, and neither can they document it in such a way that a future engineer can pick up where they left off when changing requirements force an incremental update to the design. Without that critical communication, it's impossible to make minimum necessary changes to accomplish a goal, while remaining cognizant of the side effects. So there is typically a degree requirement, and from the fact that you have a degree, you are expected to know things like "big O" notation, and a set of 20-30 algorithms by name so that you recognize them when they are used in code you are later asked to maintain.

It's great that he bought them a teacher for a year by pulling $1,200 out of his personal bank account, but this emphasis recently on Slashdot of trying to get everyone to be a programmer in elementary school is misguided and misses the fundamental point that you can not narrowly focus an early education and expect to have people come out of it with the ability to retrain in other careers should their career become obsolete.

What school is that ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43268073)

Not that I don't think possible and few schools are good, but general VN school kids are beaten, learn nothing they will not need to be working in a factory
Key is that teachers make most of the salary for extra classes

How do I know this, my brother in laws kids

Ethnicity breakdown of Galileo Academy (2)

BurstElement (1332791) | about a year ago | (#43268253)

Wow... I can't believe the ethnicity breakdown listed for that school... 74% of students are Asian, 12% Latino and only 3.4% Caucasian!
And from the Wikipedia article... "Math scores remain one of Galileo's best academic strengths"... Lol.

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