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Ask Slashdot: How Should a Liberal Arts Major Get Into STEM?

buddyglass my advice: (262 comments)

To maximize employability you'd want a degree from a reputable 4-year brick-and-mortar university. On the other hand that's probably also the most costly and time-consuming option. Some ideas in no particular order:

1. Go back to the university where you earned your English degree. It hasn't been that long since you graduated, so you may be able to apply your existing credits to a C.S. or Math degree. That might allow you to get the second degree in as little as two years instead of four. If there are any required classes for the 2nd degree that can be taken elsewhere (e.g. a junior college) and transferred in then doing so can lower your total cost.

2. Go through one of those "Code Academy" places. This still costs money but takes way less time. It also offers less in terms of employability, but it's better than nothing.

3. Teach yourself some of the basics of C.S. Data structures, algorithmic complexity, discrete math, etc. Possibly through some online courses. Then self-teach yourself Objective-C+iOS or Java+Android and create some sort of app. Put it in the store. Interview for junior level app developer positions. If you have an app in the store and can talk intelligently about how it's designed (and why you chose to design it in that particular way instead of various other alternatives) then many employers will overlook your lack of formal C.S. education. Even if your first software dev. job is shitty, the point is to get your foot in the door. Once you have a dev. job on your resume it becomes that much easier to get other (better) dev jobs, because employers will no longer see you as someone with no experience in the field.

4. If you can stomach it, the military actually isn't a bad deal. Last I checked they were offering an abbreviated 2-year full-time commitment (with a longer period of national guard duty). At the end you get a sort of "half" version of the G.I. bill. More importantly (at least, it would be if you were younger), being honorably discharged from the service severs the link between you and your parents when it comes to applying for financial aid. Their income and savings is no longer taken into account when calculating your "need".

yesterday
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Forbes Blasts Latests Windows 7 Patch as Malware

buddyglass language matters (228 comments)

Malware implies malicious intent. This patch is just unintentionally buggy. Not the same thing.

2 days ago
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Displaced IT Workers Being Silenced

buddyglass Re:More than one reason the coverage is biased (398 comments)

More like 350 million / mile. Defense budget is about $700B and the border is ~2000 miles. Still; we're not going to tell the military to take a year off. The question is what is a reasonable amount to spend each and every year to "secure" the southern border. $50B? $100B? At what point does the cost outweigh the benefits? For $100B/year the U.S. could provide a $5000 yearly grant to every single student enrolled at university. Would that provide more bang-for-the-buck than spending $100B/year to secure the border? Or, for that matter, the federal govt. could refund $100B worth of taxes to low-income households. Or it could take the $100B and use it to incentivize work by juicing a program like the EITC. Etc. All of which would probably be better uses of that money.

about two weeks ago
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Displaced IT Workers Being Silenced

buddyglass Re:More than one reason the coverage is biased (398 comments)

How large? How much spent per-mile-guarded? What would be the cost to replicate that level of protection across 1954 miles? How would this address the problem of people entering legally and overstaying their visas?

about two weeks ago
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Displaced IT Workers Being Silenced

buddyglass Re:Contracts Not Really Enforceable (398 comments)

What reason besides greed does an American company have to fire a US worker and hire a foreign worker at lower wages and benefits

Because they want to be more successful as a company and provide benefit to their shareholders, which is the goal of any corporation. Why does the domestic worker deserve to be more highly paid if he can't provide any additional value?

who is more important to our society? a working taxpaying American or a working non taxpaying foreigner

Foreign nationals pay U.S. income tax, but don't qualify for SS or Medicare. They also pay local property tax, local sales tax, etc. Whatever tax they pay is essentially "cake" to the IRS.

I don't know 1 product besides pencils and crayons that are 100% are in the USA. That's ok by you?

You're exaggerating. But, yes, I'm generally okay with most goods being imported if they can be produced less expensively abroad. I am generally not okay with huge swaths of the U.S. workforce being more or less unemployable. If we need to artificially subsidize low-wage labor in order to create demand at the bottom then so be it. Better that than have people not working and on the dole.

Our people are fat because the only places to work anymore are Wal-Mart's and burger kings and call centers of the USA.

Our people are fat because we eat a lot of junk food and don't exercise. Learn a marketable skill and you don't have to work at Wal-Mart, Burger King or a call center.

about two weeks ago
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Displaced IT Workers Being Silenced

buddyglass Re:Contracts Not Really Enforceable (398 comments)

So, in essence, you advocate no trade between nations except perhaps in raw materials and foodstuffs that can be grown in one geography but not another. Awesome.

about two weeks ago
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Displaced IT Workers Being Silenced

buddyglass Re:More than one reason the coverage is biased (398 comments)

Crossed legally then didn't leave when they were supposed to. Sort of like if I went to Canada on vacation then just never left.

about two weeks ago
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Displaced IT Workers Being Silenced

buddyglass Re:Contracts Not Really Enforceable (398 comments)

American companies should be required by law to hire Americans first and foremost

Let's take this to its logical conclusion. Should "American" companies be required to purchase only American goods? Can't buy Lenovo; gotta buy Dell. Can't buy Toyota delivery vehicles; gotta buy GM. Etc. Should we allow foreign investors to buy stock in "American" companies? A corporation is "owned" by its shareholders, after all, and we want these to be truly "American" companies.

What other market restrictions would you impose?

about two weeks ago
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Displaced IT Workers Being Silenced

buddyglass Re:I am one (398 comments)

So? If the govt. were to contact him about testifying against Atos I suspect he'd welcome the opportunity.

about two weeks ago
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Displaced IT Workers Being Silenced

buddyglass Re:More than one reason the coverage is biased (398 comments)

Build a border that can be enforced

Not economically feasible given the size of the U.S. border. Not to mention, many undocumented folks crossed the border legally. More guards, fences and guns wouldn't have stopped them. If you want to stop undocumented immigrants from working you need to work on the "demand" side. For instance:

1. Raise fines on employers.
2. Devote more resources to policing employers.
3. Makes it as easy as humanly possible for employers to verify work eligibility.
4. Require schools to verify citizenship or legal residence before registering new students.
5. Create frameworks similar to the EITC that benefit low-wage domestic workers but that ineligible workers aren't able to access. For instance, wage subsidies available only to citizens.

Preventing illegal immigration by "securing the border" is a red herring.

about two weeks ago
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Displaced IT Workers Being Silenced

buddyglass solution: (398 comments)

If you don't want to be silenced then don't take the severance package. Title makes it sound draconian while, in fact, they're being "silenced" by being given large sums of cash.

about two weeks ago
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Programmer Father Asks: What Gets Little Girls Interested In Science?

buddyglass Re:What about men going to college? (584 comments)

Possibly. But primarily because there's an established history of discrimination against women that would lend credibility to the notion that it's happening now. There's no history of overt discrimination against men, and certainly not starting as far base as the late 1970s.

about two weeks ago
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Programmer Father Asks: What Gets Little Girls Interested In Science?

buddyglass Re:The social pressure here is on the father (584 comments)

I agree it's no big deal. Was just addressing the claim that he was zero'd in on "tech" and motivated by the movement to get more women interested in STEM. I don't think that's what's going on.

about two weeks ago
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Programmer Father Asks: What Gets Little Girls Interested In Science?

buddyglass Re:What about men going to college? (584 comments)

Possibly because you're exaggerating. In 2012 the gap was 56/44. So 1.27 women for every man. It probably doesn't get reported on very often since women have outnumbered men in terms of total enrollment since 1979. One explanation might be that there are many more professions that are male-dominated but that don't require a college degree. Skilled tradesman, for example. Construction. Anything where physical strength is a prerequisite. So if you're a man who doesn't seem cut out for college then you have options. If you're a woman then, perhaps, you have fewer options. So there's greater motivation to get a degree.

It might also be worth noting that the gender gap decreases substantially among "traditionally aged" students (24 and under) as family income rises. So the gender imbalance is coming from poorer students and older students.

about two weeks ago
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Programmer Father Asks: What Gets Little Girls Interested In Science?

buddyglass Re:The social pressure here is on the father (584 comments)

I don't know Auerbach, but I suspect he'd be "okay" if she wanted to be an attorney, doctor, CEO, astronaut, concert pianist, architect, prime minister, etc. I doubt he's laser focused on tech and primarily motivated by the lack of women in STEM. It seems more likely the problem is his daughter's choice of "princess" as a goal. It's nonsensical, for one, but it would also tend to irk someone whose hope for his daughter is that she "aim high" and not have as a goal merely "marry a prince".

about two weeks ago
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Programmer Father Asks: What Gets Little Girls Interested In Science?

buddyglass one thing to consider (584 comments)

How many 4-year olds male or female want to be a scientist or engineer when they grow up? Plenty of boys want to be things like firemen, astronauts, soldiers, pro athletes, etc. who don't eventually enter those fields. I'm a software developer and I never wanted to be a software developer growing up. Then again I was born in the 70s, so it wasn't on a lot of peoples' "radar" career-wise when I was a small child.

about two weeks ago
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Want To Work For a Cool Tech Company? Hone Your Social Skills

buddyglass Re:a thought (139 comments)

Does Belgium tax the perks as well? If so then it's a wash. I know in California they're starting to clue in to the fact that companies are essentially allowing their employes to dodge the income tax by providing "free services" in place of cash. Free food, free transportation, free daycare, free gym membership, free dry-cleaning, etc.

about two weeks ago
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Hawking Warns Strong AI Could Threaten Humanity

buddyglass Re:Hawking sure is a downer (574 comments)

Agreed. I can envision a more credible doomsday scenario, however, where humanity becomes overly dependent on pseudo-AI type automation (think self-driving cars) and that automation breaks in some spectacular way. Probably wouldn't mean the end of the species, but could precipitate a big die-off. Of course that's not what Hawking is talking about.

about two weeks ago
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Want To Work For a Cool Tech Company? Hone Your Social Skills

buddyglass a thought (139 comments)

One reason companies offer all the silly perks (pool table, excessive free food, etc.): it's a way to compensate employees tax-free. I can pay my guys $1000 more apiece but they'll only take home $700. Maybe $1000 worth of "free perks" and creating the perception of a "fun culture" offers better "bang for my buck" in terms of attracting and retaining employees than the extra $700 in take-home pay. Then again, maybe not. But I'm willing to entertain the argument that it does.

about two weeks ago
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Want To Work For a Cool Tech Company? Hone Your Social Skills

buddyglass Re:Wrong. It's the companies that need to do that. (139 comments)

I find conclusions like those of the GP laughable at best.

Do you at least agree there's a kernel of truth? Having social skills > not having social skills when it comes to successful interviewing. You don't have to look like "rich frat boy", but, like it or not, it helps if you don't come across as "neckbeard with bad hygiene". The fact that corporate American also has huge problems doesn't change that.

about two weeks ago

Submissions

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The Fiscal Cliff: What's your bill?

buddyglass buddyglass writes  |  about 2 years ago

buddyglass (925859) writes "As most slashdotters in the United States are aware the impending fiscal cliff will hit in 2013 unless a compromise is reached beforehand. Want to know the impact to your household in the absence of any compromise? Turns out there's an app for that. It should be interesting to see how different readers' households are affected by the "full cliff" scenario as well as various alternate proposals."
Link to Original Source
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London Stock Exchange delays Linux switch

buddyglass buddyglass writes  |  more than 4 years ago

buddyglass (925859) writes "Citing scalability concerns after its test platform "Turqoise" was knocked offline for two hours by unusually high volume, the London Stock Exchange announced that it is delaying its planned switch from Microsoft to Linux. The switch was initially motivated by a desire for shorter latencies. Notably, the NASDAQ uses a scalable Linux-based system that achieves trade latencies 25ms shorter than the LSE's planned deployment."
Link to Original Source
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No more Windows bugs?

buddyglass buddyglass writes  |  more than 4 years ago

buddyglass (925859) writes "Past submitters have focused on previous "Patch Tuesdays" in which Microsoft has issued fixes for a record number of issues. Examples here and here. It seems only fair, then, to mention that the software maker intends to release only a single fix this iteration, addressing an issue that is only considered critical for Windows 2000 systems. If past releases with large numbers of fixes were evidence of the poor quality of Microsoft software, and by extension the closed source model in general, does this upcoming Tuesday represent some level of vindication?"
Link to Original Source
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Climate change consensus questioned?

buddyglass buddyglass writes  |  more than 7 years ago

buddyglass (925859) writes "In 2004 Naomi Oreskes examined 928 abstracts of peer-reviewed journal articles published from 1993-2003 and announced an overwhelming agreement in favor of the "consensus view" of climate change, which states that human activity bears at least partial responsibility. Her methods were recently repeated by one Dr. Klaus-Martin Schulte, who examined 528 abstracts of peer-reviewed journal articles published from 2004-2007. Dr. Schulte's study found that 45% of articles agreed with the consensus view, either explicitly or implicitly, whereas 6% explicitly disagreed. Another 48% were explicitly neutral, refusing to support or deny the consensus view. Does this draw into question the notion that there is an unequivocal consensus among climate change researchers with regard to human activity's effect on the global climate?"
Link to Original Source
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How would you refocus linux development?

buddyglass buddyglass writes  |  more than 7 years ago

buddyglass (925859) writes "The majority of Slashdot users are no doubt appreciative of linux in the general sense, but I suspect we all have some application or aspect of the platform that we wish was more stable, performant, feature-rich, etc. So my question is a hypothetical one: if you were able to devote a "significant" number of resources (read: high-quality developers) to a particular app or area of the kernel, and were able to set the focus for those resources (stability, performance, new features, etc.), what application or kernel area would you attempt to improve, and what would you focus on improving?"

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