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i think that education cost is evil

Svetlana Koshkina
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Joined: Jul 08, 2003
Posts: 108
3 years ago i decided that i can't go on in biology because i hated every minute of being in the lab. There are a lot of reasons to it many of which are unrelated to the discussion. One of lesser reason but easily understandable by most people is that almost all decent salaries in my field are paid for health care related research that directly tied to experimenting with rats and mice etc. I can't do it, period. Not that i am opposing to exp. on animals but i do not want to do this.
3 years ago i took courses of html and beginning of java (there are part of MS programs but i could not afford full program) at university (good one).
I was non-credit (slashed price in half) student and had another 50 discount and paid almost $500 per month.
I did learn html :roll: and dropped out on java because i could not understand a thing (the course did not had any prerequisites except of html). The teacher was horrible, she also made Deitel book with new Swing as our base textbook whereas at the university those times they even did not have swing, as a result i could not repeat examples from the book and became abs. lost. She did not tell us that we can download jdk from sun, that there are a lot of other resources available etc. Shortly, the quality of education was very poor while price-wise it was pure extortion (i was sorry for kids who paid well over 1,000 per month!!!).
Since then I am very sceptic about quality of education here in US plus cost is unimaginable. How you guys whose parents are not rich cope with it?
Moreover nowadays, you can part with your money, get ed. and then even can't get a job.
I think it's why some countries (at least people) can be in advantage because people can get another ed. easily and be more flexible and go along with puts and calls of the job market.
Carlisia Campos
sanitation engineer
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 22, 2001
Posts: 135
Basically, it goes like this:
- take out a loan
- finish school
- get a job
- hope you can pay back your loan before the end of your life
During my college days I worked as a waitress at an upscale place on Newbury St. in Boston, and everyone there was either going to college or had graduated. Allumini that were there but not pursuing a career in the restaurant industry came from:
- Harvard
- MIT
- BU, BC, NE, UMASS, etc
It downed on me during the latest discussions here that this is a society where the majority would rather keep increasing government spending on the military rather than provide higher education for its citizens. This way, a very large portion of the population cannot afford to go to college. But this is only half the problem in the education arena. The other half is that, comparing with even third world countries, the education here up to high school is very weak. I know this from personal experiences and from interacting with professors who teach in such places. Generally speaking, many things that people outside US learn up to high school, Americans learn only in college. But this might be a bigger snapshot than what you were asking for.


Carlisia Campos<br />--------------------------------<br />i blog here: carlisia.com
Tim Holloway
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Jun 25, 2001
Posts: 16142
    
  21

Well, it was a long time ago, but basically, I worked for a couple of months, got laid off and attended school until I ran out of money and then repeated the cycle. I got no external financial assistance from either my family or external agencies like scholarships or government loans, so college was strictly on a cash basis.
I was pretty clueless back then or I might have realized what that invitation from MIT I got when graduating high school meant and life could have been much different. I can't complain, though.


Customer surveys are for companies who didn't pay proper attention to begin with.
John Dale
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Joined: Feb 22, 2001
Posts: 399
Most books I've seen that introduce Java programming either tell you where to download the Java SDK, or include it on a CD-ROM. I'm pretty sure that's true of Deitel & Deitel, at least for the edition I glanced at. If it wasn't true of the edition you used (which would surprise me), and the portion of the book the class covered used features not provided by the school, then it would seem the instructor failed you if she didn't tell you where to get what you needed for the course.
Svetlana Koshkina
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 08, 2003
Posts: 108
Originally posted by John Dale:
Most books I've seen that introduce Java programming either tell you where to download the Java SDK, or include it on a CD-ROM. I'm pretty sure that's true of Deitel & Deitel, at least for the edition I glanced at. If it wasn't true of the edition you used (which would surprise me), and the portion of the book the class covered used features not provided by the school, then it would seem the instructor failed you if she didn't tell you where to get what you needed for the course.

She covered 2-3 chapters per lesson all from different part of the book (covered jdk 1.2). Many of us were so unexperienced like me that we skipped on introductory part of the book trying to catch up with other chapters. Moreover she explicitly said that she encourages only lab work (java 1.1 only) or work from home but connected to the uni's server (java 1.1 only). Of course now when i have experience first thing i'd do i'd go on language's website but not then - too green. Many people don't understand this.
Moreover if i were a bit more experienced then i'd never pay $500 for learning bloody html!!!
The only benefit from those classes for me was that it got me caught in whole this switch-to-parogramming thing of mine while having been of minimum usability study-wise.
Billy Tsai
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 23, 2003
Posts: 1304
tertiary education is more and more expensive, its costs lots of money just to get a degree and not to mention we had to buy our own textbooks which are very expensive too.
IT certification training are expensive too and the prices are like rip off prices.
And these days there is no gurantee ppl will get a job after they graduate even if they also have some kind of certifications.
so whats the point anymore
Al Newman
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 30, 2003
Posts: 716
Originally posted by Svetlana Koshkina:

She covered 2-3 chapters per lesson all from different part of the book (covered jdk 1.2). Many of us were so unexperienced like me that we skipped on introductory part of the book trying to catch up with other chapters. Moreover she explicitly said that she encourages only lab work (java 1.1 only) or work from home but connected to the uni's server (java 1.1 only). Of course now when i have experience first thing i'd do i'd go on language's website but not then - too green. Many people don't understand this.
Moreover if i were a bit more experienced then i'd never pay $500 for learning bloody html!!!
The only benefit from those classes for me was that it got me caught in whole this switch-to-parogramming thing of mine while having been of minimum usability study-wise.

I used one of the Sams '21 Day' books to get into Java 2 a few years ago, which was alright but didn't get far beyond the basic SDK. Then I sacrificed Saturdays for 8 weeks to take a 'Java API' course at a college in London. The instructor used the Deitel book for a text.
Definately a mixed bag. I really took the course to figure out how to install and troubleshoot various downloaded packages, which was causing me trouble at the time. I learned a little of that. Otherwise I found the canned Deitel lectures to be dry and not enough hands-on work in the class.
Hands on is really the key. The way they should structure these things is as a lab I think. The instructor should be able to help troubleshoot. If possible it would be best to work with the students own laptop.
Thata is thata. I don't anticipate taking another course in the Java space. Maybe if I could get a good deal on the Middleware Company's J2EE Architects course, I'd find that worthwhile. Or go to JavaOne one day, of course.


SCJP1.4, SCWCD
Jon McDonald
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 02, 2001
Posts: 167
I had the Dietel book in undergrad about 3 1/2 years ago. It sucked. It relied far to heavily on Swing to teach non-Swing aspects of java and programming. Furthermore, it tried to cover the entire Java API in one book, while teaching Basic computer science, and failed miserably at both. And if that wasn't bad enough, the code design was certainly not object-oriented. One gigantic class to do everything, including the Swing aspects. The only way I got through the course was to buy several better books and rely on them to do the homeworks, and I had an absolutely amazing instructor.
Jon


SCJP<br/>
"I study politics and war that my sons may have the liberty to study mathematics and philosophy in order to give their children a right to study painting poetry and music."<br />--John Adams
John Dale
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 22, 2001
Posts: 399
Those elements make it sound like a pretty bad choice for a text book.
Sometimes, CS departments pick introductory text books because they teach some computer science (algorithm, etc.) as they teach the programming language. Is this one of those cases? That would mean intro programming, intro to a production language, advanced APIs, and intro to computer science all in one course.
Anupam Sinha
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 13, 2003
Posts: 1088
I think that it's better to check out some tutorials(free) on the net, then if you feel that you can handle the thing go in for a book(if required). If the book alone is sufficient, fine, else go in for a course.
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Originally posted by Carlisia Campos:

It downed on me during the latest discussions here that this is a society where the majority would rather keep increasing government spending on the military rather than provide higher education for its citizens. This way, a very large portion of the population cannot afford to go to college.

It was never clear to me that society is better off sending more people to colleges--not indefinately anyway. There's no doubt that sending only, say 5% of the citizens is not enough. Sending 90% is too much.
Think of the typical liberal arts education, something like art history. The belief is that a broad education develop all sorts of skills. Maybe its useful, maybe not. But I meet so many people who pend $60-80k on college and end up managing a Gap or some similar fate.
America is often criticzed for having a poor educational system, but in fact, we have over educated, or rather, mis-educated people. College has become a middle class entitlement. Rather, we should promote 1-4 year vocational schools, which are more practical and lower cost.
--Mark
Jon McDonald
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 02, 2001
Posts: 167
Originally posted by Mark Herschberg:

It was never clear to me that society is better off sending more people to colleges--not indefinately anyway. There's no doubt that sending only, say 5% of the citizens is not enough. Sending 90% is too much.
Think of the typical liberal arts education, something like art history. The belief is that a broad education develop all sorts of skills. Maybe its useful, maybe not. But I meet so many people who pend $60-80k on college and end up managing a Gap or some similar fate.
America is often criticzed for having a poor educational system, but in fact, we have over educated, or rather, mis-educated people. College has become a middle class entitlement. Rather, we should promote 1-4 year vocational schools, which are more practical and lower cost.
--Mark

The problem with that argument is that it paints higher education as being valuable only in how much a person can earn, or what job occupation they can perform, after graduating. This misses much of the benefits and value of a liberal arts education.
If the person you spoke of above's sole reason for going to college was to get a high paying job, and they found themselves working at the Gap after graduation, then your argument would have more validity. However, if their goal was to expand there knowledge base into different areas, then working at the gap might just be an unfortunate side effect.
The problem with the vocational training model, IMHO, is that it trains a person to do one thing well, and thats it. It is in many ways like getting certifications. The vendor certifications only state one's knowledge of that platform, not of the field in general. a C# cert says that you know the syntax, and can build applications in C#. It says nothing regarding your ability to learn new langauges, or other (non-programming) aspects of IT.
I have seen this limitation among a lot of engineers/technologists. They have there particular area down cold, but they have a greater difficulty in seeing how their area relates to the larger picture. For example, I used to work for a consulting firm that dealt with information security issues. The engineers had no problem coming up with all the different ways to break in and disrupt a company's/government agency's system. Where they had problems was in determining how these disruptions would effect their client in the large scale. That was where I came in. Many times the worst thing that can happen to a company's technology isn't that it just completely crashes (they can rebuild from that), its when it is slowly corrupted in a particular way. Being able to think ouside of on area, towards the larger scale issues is, or should be, a major benefit of a liberal arts education.
Jon
One of the goals of a liberal arts education is to be able to think effectively across disiplines/fields.
Jon McDonald
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 02, 2001
Posts: 167
Also, I just wanted to add that I am a big fan of a liberal arts education followed by some form of vocational training. I am not saying this method is for everyone, but it does have it's benefits.
At 17 or 18 years old many (if not most) people do not have enough exposure to different areas/styles of thinking to determine what they want to do for the next 10 or 20 years of their life. They really don't know what they would enjoy doing.
This method increases the number of years before a person hits the work force, but I believe it gives the person more options, in that college has offered them the opportunity to develop skills and talents that were underdeveloped/unknown beforehand.
In addition, I think it would make career switching easier, in that the person has a base in something other than their vocation.
I am reminded of an National Public Radio inteview with Jodie Foster. The interviewer asked Jodie (who went to Yale) why she didn't major in drama or take drama courses, but instead chose English Literature. Her response was that Yale emphisied that they were not a vocational school, you didn't go their to learn a trade. That was not the purpose of a liberal arts education. Not to say that Jodie Foster should be the guiding light for all prospective students, but her sentiments reflected my own feelings on a liberal arts education.
Jon
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Originally posted by Jon McDonald:

The problem with that argument is that it paints higher education as being valuable only in how much a person can earn, or what job occupation they can perform, after graduating. This misses much of the benefits and value of a liberal arts education.

I don't necessarily dismiss the benefits of the liberal arts education (my jury is still out on it). Rather, I claim that it's misused. If getting a liberal art education results in a negative bottom line on your lifetime financial picture, then it should not be undertaken (unless you inherently value learning--many people don't).
Originally posted by Jon McDonald:

The problem with the vocational training model, IMHO, is that it trains a person to do one thing well, and thats it. It is in many ways like getting certifications. The vendor certifications only state one's knowledge of that platform, not of the field in general. a C# cert says that you know the syntax, and can build applications in C#. It says nothing regarding your ability to learn new langauges, or other (non-programming) aspects of IT.

I agree that this is the current case, but it does not have to be so. Right now they have vocational schools for things like automotive repair and culinary arts. They tend to be very narrow. There's no reason we can broaden that. A mechanic who wants to run his own shop needs to know not only mechanics, but also finance, hiring, marketing, some basic management etc. It starts to get very liberal, just with a specific goal in mind, rather then "this is broad background for *anything*."
--Mark
Jon McDonald
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 02, 2001
Posts: 167
Originally posted by Mark Herschberg:

I don't necessarily dismiss the benefits of the liberal arts education (my jury is still out on it). Rather, I claim that it's misused. If getting a liberal art education results in a negative bottom line on your lifetime financial picture, then it should not be undertaken (unless you inherently value learning--many people don't).
--Mark

Do you mean a lower bottom line than one would have had they not chosen a liberal arts education? I think many people make this very decision every day, with full knowledge that it would adversely effect their financial picture. Excluding those who are already planing to attend professional school afterwards, most of the people who chose a liberal arts education are making this very choice of picking a less financially prosporous major. And I have to believe that the vast majority are aware of this decision. If not then one of two things must be happening.
1) They are completely ignorant of the salary difference between majors, for example, a finance major and a history major.
2) They believe that they do not have the intellectual capabilities to major in finance, engineering, etc.
The first I find highly unlikely for most students, unless they have been living in a hole for the past 18 years. The second, while partially true for some people with regard to math and science majors, I don't think applies to other high income majors (finance, accounting, etc).
These people are weighing the pros and con's of majoring in a different field and coming to a conclusion. Keep in mind that the factors involved in such a decision are not only "What will make me the most money over my lifetime?". They are also things such as "Which major will be more enjoyable and fulfilling for me for the next four years" and "What type of career will be the most fulfilling and enjoyable over my lifetime".
If one were to only factor in what career choice will maximize one's financial position over their lifetime, they will miss several important economic benefits to other choices. Such a person may chose a vocaction that maximizes their income while making them miserable. If such a person values Enjoyment and fulfillment over money then they would have made the wrong choice.
I really don't believe that people who chose to major in philosophy or classics don't know at the time that they will make less money than had they majored in nursing, finance, or accounting. Nor do I believe that most of these people believe that they do not have the intellectual talents to major in those fields. Rather, these people are making a rational choice based upon availible information, considering factors not limited to income.
Jon
Jon McDonald
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 02, 2001
Posts: 167
Originally posted by Mark Herschberg:

I agree that this is the current case, but it does not have to be so. Right now they have vocational schools for things like automotive repair and culinary arts. They tend to be very narrow. There's no reason we can broaden that. A mechanic who wants to run his own shop needs to know not only mechanics, but also finance, hiring, marketing, some basic management etc. It starts to get very liberal, just with a specific goal in mind, rather then "this is broad background for *anything*."
--Mark

The type of training you are discussing really goes into entreprenuership and business management issues. A few points about this.
1) I would argue that the majority of mechanics probably do not need this training. Mainly because most mechanics (in my experience) work in shops owned by someone else. So while this info would be useful to someone starting a business, if the mechanic just wants a good job, it really isn't a huge benefit. Now the groups of people that I think do need this info are physicians, dentists, and attorneys. IIRC, most physicians have private practices, but few medical schools (until recently) taught physicians how to do this.
2) The business knowledge you speak of should really be offered to all students, even those in a liberal arts program. The art history major needs this information as much, if not more, than the mechanic. Perhaps he wishes to open up his own gallery, or become a freelance buyer. Many liberal arts majors gain useful knowledge in school that COULD be used to start an enterprise of their own, if they so desired and had the business knowledge.
3)This type of education does not need to take up a huge portion of someone's undergraduate academic career. My alma mater, Georgetown University (GO HOYAS!!) had (and may still have) a wonderful 5 or 6 week intensive introduction to the business principles you discussed. It started after the end of spring semester, didn't give any course credit, but gave people tons of useful information on how to start and run their own business as well as dealing with personal finance and investment issues. It is a course I wish I had taken (in fact, I may try to use my alumni status to take it this spring if they are still holding it).
I wish such intensive business introductory programs were offered more frequently at more schools, I am sure you would see a large number of students taking it.
Jon
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Originally posted by Jon McDonald:

Keep in mind that the factors involved in such a decision are not only "What will make me the most money over my lifetime?". They are also things such as "Which major will be more enjoyable and fulfilling for me for the next four years" and "What type of career will be the most fulfilling and enjoyable over my lifetime".

I should have been clearer, working at HBS I'm surrounded by economists, and when speaking to economists, enjoyment is implied in cost, i.e. I'm willing to make $1,000 less a year if I like my job twice a smuch.
So yes, I do consider that a factor. Nevertheless, I still think many people make bad decisions. Consider, for example, law school. Most people who go into law school have aspirations of trial law, or doing some public good. Most people who actually graduate law school go into corporate law. It's not what they wanted initially, but the financial lure is very strong, especially with such large debt. Now these are people who have been considering this profession for years, and yet they still find themselves ended up far off course from where they began. Undergraduates tend to be even more misdirected. Most engineering students, for example, don't really understand what engineering jobs are like, by the time they declare their major. I think most people woefully misjudge their choosen profession and projected career path.
As for finance, again I think people do not know the difference. Of course everyone knows engineers make more then teachers. What they don't know is how much things cost. Students aren't just to balancing a morgage, children's expenses, vacations, grocery bills, loan payments, etc. most people don't appreciate just how great the difference in expected lifetime earnings are between different professions.
Now with respect to "a mechanic's education" I agree and disagree. You're right that most won't own their own shops, and so obviously, it would be foolish for them to inucr the learning costs for how to run one. Continuing education classes can provide that later in a career. On the other hand, knowing some basics will amke them work better. This is, in some sense the premise of my book. A software engineer may never be a project manager, so he shouldn't have to learn about project management. And yet, his boss will ask him for schedules and tools recommendations; he may be shifted between projects as the PM consideres staffing issues. There are many issues which will effect the engineer and he will have to give input on decisions. having some exposure to PM issues will allow the engineer to work better in this environment.
--Mark
[ August 06, 2003: Message edited by: Mark Herschberg ]
Jon McDonald
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 02, 2001
Posts: 167
Originally posted by Mark Herschberg:

I should have been clearer, working at HBS I'm surrounded by economists, and when speaking to economists, enjoyment is implied in cost, i.e. I'm willing to make $1,000 less a year if I like my job twice a smuch.
So yes, I do consider that a factor. Nevertheless, I still think many people make bad decisions. Consider, for example, law school. Most people who go into law school have aspirations of trial law, or doing some public good. Most people who actually graduate law school go into corporate law. It's not what they wanted initially, but the financial lure is very strong, especially with such large debt. Now these are people who have been considering this profession for years, and yet they still find themselves ended up far off course from where they began. Undergraduates tend to be even more misdirected. Most engineering students, for example, don't really understand what engineering jobs are like, by the time they declare their major. I think most people woefully misjudge their choosen profession and projected career path.
As for finance, again I think people do not know the difference. Of course everyone knows engineers make more then teachers. What they don't know is how much things cost. Students aren't just to balancing a morgage, children's expenses, vacations, grocery bills, loan payments, etc. most people don't appreciate just how great the difference in expected lifetime earnings are between different professions.
Now with respect to "a mechanic's education" I agree and disagree. You're right that most won't own their own shops, and so obviously, it would be foolish for them to inucr the learning costs for how to run one. Continuing education classes can provide that later in a career. On the other hand, knowing some basics will amke them work better. This is, in some sense the premise of my book. A software engineer may never be a project manager, so he shouldn't have to learn about project management. And yet, his boss will ask him for schedules and tools recommendations; he may be shifted between projects as the PM consideres staffing issues. There are many issues which will effect the engineer and he will have to give input on decisions. having some exposure to PM issues will allow the engineer to work better in this environment.
--Mark
[ August 06, 2003: Message edited by: Mark Herschberg ]

A few points
1) You site as an example, people changing career choices while in law or engineering school, as illustration "...that most people woefully misjudge their choosen profession and projected career path". If this is the case (which I believe it is) how would sending the same person to vocational school when they are 18, where they learn almost exclusively about one career, be beneficial. Especially if, as you imply, younger people (e.g. undergraduates) are even more likely to stray further off course?
2) With regards to the financial issues are important, and should be addressed, however, I don't think that they directly support the idea of vocational training as opposed to a liberal arts education. Regardless of what choice in education students make they should have this information availible to them. Because, in the end, it is not as much an issue of people making bad decisions as it is people not having all of the information availible to make the best decision. The same type of information regarding basic management, financial planning and analysis could and should be offered to both those in vocational programs and those in liberal arts programs.
3) While total expected lifetime earnings differences between careers is important to consider, what would have an even greater impact on one's financial security in the future is proper understanding of wealth generation and preservation. The two are very different. Wealth planning at an early age can have a massive impact on one's financial future. Im sure you know several attorneys and physicians who, even though they have been extremely high earners over their careers, cannot afford to retire because of poor wealth planning. In fact, the only thing that is keeping many of these people's heads above water is the fact that they can still generate such high incomes.
The next arguement might be that these people are still better off financially than lower income earners. However, are they better off financially than those lower income earners who have exercised good wealth planning practices? They may have a higher net worth compared to those people, however, in many cases, their ratio of net worth/annual lifestyle expense would be much lower.
So if we agree that giving people additional business/financial planning knowledge is good,and if we can give them to both vocational school students and liberal arts students (because neither is receiving it now), and we agree that in both the case of liberal arts and vocationally educated students, people don't fully know what their career path will be when they enter school, and if wealth generation practices can have a larger impact on financial security than lifetime income generation, what is the big benefit of going to a vocational school over a liberal arts education?
Jon
 
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