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A peek into my world

Posted by fread, 08 December 2011 · 884 views

As you may have guessed by now I am from a small country in the Caribbean, one which is very popular by way of its international festivals.
Often times while participating in ‘regular forum activity’ I would encounter a thread where someone less than half my age has already developed an appetite or a profound interest in the operations of computers, the organization of the computer, the internet and/or a special interest in programming. Most times I am amazed that a 14 year old kid understands fundamental programming concepts; things like loops, control flow and even arrays. At 14 years old I only knew one person in my neighborhood that had a computer. I remember vividly my primary school had one computer in the library and we never had access to it. I saw my first computer program (Hello World in C) at age 22.
Fortunately things have changed or improved a lot since then and almost every government of the day continues the increase the amount of technology the country. Government budgets today are usually very favorable of technology but with too much emphasis on training and non on development. But even now as computers are more prevalent than before, it does not seem that we are advancing in the fundamental understanding of the computer and the computer development industry.
It seems to me, that most of what we are interested in is: understanding how to manipulate the computer to get by on a day to day basis. Of course we have multiple university some accredited some not, offering various computer and information technology degrees and computer related courses and programs, but to what end. I am a final year undergrad myself and I feel like I am only now beginning to understand how a computer really works.
I work for the government (non-I.T or computer related job) and I usually hang-out with the I.T staff a lot. It is not surprising that most of the I.T personnel are very good at networking computers and installing all flavors of MS Windows and windows related applications, whilst most of them cannot install, configure or run/operate any common Linux Distribution (Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora, Slackware, Knopix, etc) or let alone write a proper computer program; Linux is still pretty much a taboo (with Ubuntu beginning to peak through the curtains), the word backtracking raises eyebrows. I am not saying this is the scenario across the entire country, I am saying this is the scenario in my department, a department with more than 3000 employees and 40 I.T personnel.
Very little can be blamed on the academic folks since they pretty much teach most to all of what is required for employment in the professional field less the practical experience. As for me I think I understand or have a fairly descent understanding of what happens from the moment I push to power button all way to a GUI interface and I thank God for that.
I would like to become a teacher one day, at least for a few years. That way I can educate young minds all about computers with a particular bias on development and manufacture of course. Encourage creative taught; less consumer - more producer; and create or somehow inspire more interest for moving our country from third world to first as for as technology is concerned.

Well I think that is about even rambling for one evening and this is my first blog by the way.

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Unfortunately, there are two approaches to teaching.

1) Give job skills so the student can get a job and help keep things limping along with no understanding of why they keep getting hacked.

2) Give understanding of systems, including how to properly lock things down for security.

The big problem with 1 is obvious. The problem with 2 is you start blocking people from doing things they want to do. Security usually means stopping people from downloading/installing programs, for example.
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You made good notice that kids at the age of 14 already start to understand programming. In some countries (e.g. mine, I am from Lithuania) programming is being taught in schools from about year 8 (which is 14/15year old kids). And it is compulsory, however, I have to admit that majority girls (to be accurate all girls except me, since I had previous programming background with HTML) who were in my programming class didnt understand absolutely ANYTHING and I had to make all the work for all of them. I am not saying that its just because of **, since in my group we had only 1 guy who was alright with programming.
Well my point is that nowadays in schools we are being taught programming at early age. Which is definitely an advantage.
(The programming language which is being used in our schools are Pascal OR C++ (only one of them depending on school, in mine they taught us Pascal.))
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Wow, everyone had programming class... lucky you, in high school, I only had one class, it was an optionnal class, and the teacher was the gym teacher, who simply read a book that he find online but didn't really understood... and it was vb5, because vb6 or .net was too complicated for him (he told us that)
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@WingedPanther- Ill try to remember your suggestion. :thumbup1:
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In my school we only have a digital media class which is very basic GUI development, so I am self taught which is quite fun. I dislike using things when I don't understand them so I learn lots about things I am using. I do hope to go to university and get a degree in programming- but that is quite a long way away.

I do find it annoying that many of my peers simply spend 15 minutes copying code into Unity and then create a 3D game but I guess half the satisfaction to my Tic Tac Toe game is the 500 lines of code behind it!
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