[Techtalk] Theory vs. practice

jhamilto at n2h2.com jhamilto at n2h2.com
Tue Jan 15 12:52:38 EST 2002

It's really the step-by-step aspect of math that I think would have helped me in learning how to troubleshoot quicker and more efficiently. I think one of the reasons humans get frustrated with computers is because computers think one step at a time, and humans always think about 5-10 steps ahead, usually skipping steps along the way. I felt that taking more math would have helped me learn how to problem-solve issues in the computer world faster because of this, from a low-level.

 I think Glenda's mentioning of skills in political science, theory, etc, would help other skills that are also used in the computer world, from a high-level. One example is the ability to understand computers as a 'system' or a connection of systems and approach problems from above instead of below. For example, "if change this, it's also connected to that, so that will change, also possibly affecting that-other-thing..." and so on. 

The person that really works well in the computer world, I believe, has a very good balance and understanding of both low and high level. 

Jen h.

-----Original Message-----
From: Glenda R. Snodgrass [mailto:grs at theneteffect.com]
Sent: Tuesday, January 15, 2002 11:09 AM
To: Jennifer Hamilton
Cc: techtalk at linuxchix.org
Subject: Re: [Techtalk] Theory vs. practice

you wrote:

<<I actually feel that I would have benefited from doing lots more math in
high school and college. I think working with computers requires learning
step-by-step logical thinking which is what I believe exactly what math
teaches you.a+b+<plug in a formula> = the answer. I'm coming from a system
administration point of view where 75% of my job is solving problems. I
quit taking math after math analysis (anal math, I liked to call it), and
am now playing catch-up with real world problem solving.  I've read a
couple of books on logical/critical thinking to sharpen my skills.>>

I find that very interesting.  I have very strong analytical skills, and
yet I believe I developed those skills in courses in foreign languages,
political science, history, philosophy.  I've never thought I learned that
from math at all.

Now, I never went past calclulus, so I've never had analytical math or
theory of any kind (and I've been told by others that I quit too soon and
would probably have enjoyed theory classes) ... but that goes back to my
original pet peeve, where I suspect that many young girls, like me, quit
math before they ever get to that point, because they don't enjoy it in
grade school & high school, and thus never consider a career in computers
because they hate math.  I think there's a disconnect between what is
perceived as necessary for a career in computers and what actually -is-
necessary.  Altho I don't have children so I don't know what is actually
being told to kids today, and perhaps it has changed a lot since I was in

Glenda R. Snodgrass

Before you begin, consider ... The Net Effect
(251) 433-0196

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