Education - Computer Science
Computer science is a scientific field focusing on the theory of computation and design of information systems. This note is about computer science in universities.
Don't ask trivia questions. If the question can be answered with a search, it’s trivial.
Don't penalize mistyping programming language syntax. The point shouldn't be the code but the solution, even in courses focusing on a specific programming language.
Stop teaching only Java. Different programming languages give numerous tools to solve the same problem, and the most optimal solution depends on the context. There is nothing wrong with Java. It becomes a problem if it's the only language being taught.
Focus on working solutions, not memorizing theory. Consider making grades entirely project based. You shouldn't be teaching people the knowledge of what's known, but how to apply that theory. If the students cannot use what they have learned, they will never advance computer science.
Reaching for Doctorate in Computer Science
Science is a cycle of consumption and contribution. The only way to earn a Ph.D. is by publishing papers, not merely by consuming knowledge from classes or papers. Applied knowledge goes much further than theory, but understanding the theory is essential.
It's a calling, not a decision. If you are having a hard time deciding whether to go for Ph.D. or not, you should not. Going for a Ph.D. in CS is more of a calling.
Results over anything else. People rarely question your intentions or methods if you produce solid, truthful results. The better your performance is, the more questionable your practices can be. Sad but true.
Avoid holing up in isolation. Talk with professors and find mutually exciting research topics. Giving talks, chatting with colleagues, asking for help and offering help all create opportunities and provide meaningful connections.
Surround yourself with positive people. You will be happier and more productive when working with people who like you and people you enjoy. All normal life social aspects apply in universities just like they do elsewhere.
You are the henchman. As a Ph.D. student, you are at the bottom of the pecking order and in no position to change "the academic game." By understanding the motivations and personalities of older Ph.D. students, professors, and other senior colleagues, you can lead your initiatives even from the bottom of the pecking order.
Always publish using LaTeX. It helps you create professional and standard looking papers with the minimal effort. Creating Microsoft Word documents can be more comfortable to begin with, but creating professional looking Word documents is more laborious than using LaTeX, and many conferences only offer LaTeX templates.
Conference talks are more prestigious than journals. Attendance goes like this:
- Conference issues a call for papers with a list of topics and a deadlines.
- Researchers submit their papers by the given deadline. A conference receives roughly from 100 to 300 articles. Each paper contains 30 to 40 pages of text.
- Conference program committee consists of 20 or so experts. These researchers review the submitted papers. From three to five people review each paper. The review process takes about three months.
- After the reviews, a committee decides which papers to accept and which to reject.
- Committee emails all authors whether their papers have been welcomed or rejected.
- Authors of accepted papers attend the conference to give around 30-minute talk on their paper. All papers are then archived.