[opensource] CSE 560 advice

Paul Betts bettsp at cse.ohio-state.edu
Fri May 19 17:49:12 EDT 2006

> If you are afraid of 560, you need to seriously reconsider a different
> major. In "real life," nobody gives a shit if you took good notes on
> every bullshit powerpoint lecture. The only thing that matters is "can
> you perform." If the answer is no, then DEFINITELY take 560 with the
> attitude to make that answer "FUCK YES" or drop out of comp sci. You
> will be doing yourself a favor either way. It's your decision. 

Although I wouldn't agree completely with this, realize that 560 is very
reflective of a real-world project. This isn't to say you can't get
better at CSE; thinking progmatically is a language, and just like any
other language, it has its own patterns and structure. Learning to
program is getting used to phrasing what you want to do in this format
(i.e. realizing that to find something in a list, I should check each
item of the list in order)  It's certainly not always intuitive, but it
does get easier I promise. 

> For your documentation, use LaTeX. If you do not know what that is,
> get on Google and find out.

That's a decent idea, I would check out some programs that will
automatically generate documentation from your source code, such as
Doxygen or Javadoc (or nDoc if you're .NETing)

> Also, anyone in your group that is "not programming savvy" and isn't
> voraciously trying to learn/catch up will pull you down.

See, this isn't necessarily true and 560 aims to prove that. Some people
that aren't good at coding _are_ good at writing documentation, and as
much as they don't want to admit it, some people who are good
programmers can't write their way out of a paper bag. A programmer who
can't communicate with others is almost as worthless as a programmer who
can't program, because there's NO way that one person can write any
non-trivial program in a reasonable timespan.

>  Fuck them. Assume that you are personally accountable for every line
> of code... because you are. And act that way. This is a totally doable
> project, and anyother attitude is wrong on your part. 

I'll definitely agree with that, it is doable. And also, talk to your
grader about figuring out how to do something, if you find what you're
doing is taking a lot of time, is really hacky, etc, they probably know
a better way to do it.

Paul Betts <bettsp at cse.ohio-state.edu>

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