Bonum Certa Men Certa

[Video] Prisons for the Minds and for Tech Workers

posted by Roy Schestowitz on May 08, 2024

Video download link | md5sum 76636c619b5cdfd8f7ca4a298a300810
Devaluing Computer Science
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Preview for Devaluing Computer Science

THE nature of human labour isn't some uniform concept or universal activity. Some people can pick fruit for starvation wages (if any), whereas some people push papers around or "attend meetings" for millions of dollars per year. They don't do anything, but their role is to annoy people who do everything.

The education minister in Finland now "criticises Angry Birds maker's foreign student import", knowing that Finland has no shortage of software developers. Apparently the issue is that cheaper labour or imported labour (that can be deported for not obeying managerial orders) is prioritised. It's not a Finnish issue but an international issue.

Today's video talks about what happens to workforces (across disciplines) in recent years. No wonder many doctors go on strike and food prices go up so sharply (that's not to pay farmers). "That's because the companies hiring berry pickers provide horrible working conditions on top of, as you point out, a completely inappropriate and unlivable wage," a friend told me. "With the berry pickers, and other illegally underpaid jobs, has been that foreigners fill 'empty' jobs that Finns don't want. The unions have been quiet on all that AFAIK, and the papers push only the agenda which supports the race to the bottom."

Windows Creating an Architectural Pattern

Then there's the issue of imported labour in tech (same country, same publisher as above). To many people, the workplace feels more like a prison than an extended family or a second home. It wasn't always this bad...

In the meantime, skilled and educated people are deprived domestically. If they're not obedient and "conformist" enough, they won't get hired. "Hence you have "Hive"," a friend said. "Microsoft took over the colleges and those now produce code monkeys who, at best, produce globs and globs of half-assed, overly bloated JavaScript. All without any basic computing knowledge or understanding."

The video covers this from a more personal perspective, as I saw this firsthand. Today's average "CS" syllabus isn't the same as it was decades ago.

"The backstory to Hive is that there are no coders (for all practical purposes) being produced even in the trade schools," my friend said. "The company's CEO realised that in order to have a hiring pool to select from, he had to train them himself. There were a bunch of articles about that at the time but they are buried or lost outright."

"Most schools (all) have had their curricula redone so that the time is nearly 100% burned up on playing repair games with Microsoft. Even work with Arduino is done on Windows instead of common sense GNU/Linux. Everything is shoehorned into Microsoft and its products no matter how inconvenient or inappropriate."

"And then weird-ass gimmicks are used, should the student manage to punch through the BS, such that the gimmick soaks up the remaining time. Take databases. Rather than teaching SQL by focusing on SQL by eliminating all the overhead by selecting SQLite3 for teaching, they use the MySQL Workbench, which is a separate skill. Or instead of straight R, they use RStudio. Both have big followings but both are major distractions from the core and can (and do) end up as time sinks. The list goes on and on."

In practice, the world demands computer skills, especially FOSS skills, however the Microsoft-controlled institutions do what they can to block that while technically fulfilling the letter (but not the spirit) of the course catalogs.

The issue was brought up in Gemini the other day, albeit without focusing on Microsoft. It said: "In the relentless pursuit of progress, software development has embraced a philosophy of ever-increasing abstraction. Frameworks, libraries, and tools galore promise to make our lives easier, allowing us to focus on the "what" rather than the "how." But is this relentless march upwards creating a labyrinth of complexity, ultimately hindering performance and innovation?"

It also said: "Favor minimalism: When possible, strive for simpler solutions. Sometimes, a few lines of well-written code can be more efficient than a complex library."

Even though I've made more GUIs than I can recall (at the end it turned out to be a lot of work and no major gains because of the limited number of users) and I still have a 'portfolio' of working with many toolkits, I won't be doing that again in my sites and elsewhere because it complicates maintenance and may cause compatibility problems.

What we need is prioritisation or emphasis on real education, not corporate training, but that's a subject we'll tackle in another article later today or tomorrow. The state of CS is truly sad; the marketing people took over.

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