Programmed to thrive

February 23, 2007

Your recent opinion piece about the possible death of computer science (Opinion, February 9) is a timely and pertinent wake-up call for the academic community.

Although there are some rather crude generalisations made, there are a number of key questions posed that we need to address such as giving graduates a more relevant curriculum and an understanding of business, teamwork and project management skills.

Some universities are well down this route, others are still trapped in the 20th century.

Some 13 years ago, I set up a commercial software house, Genesys Solutions, which is entirely run by our senior students as part of their degree course. They are responsible for marketing, negotiating commercial contracts with business clients, delivering high-quality software and consultancy and system administration - in short, everything that a commercial IT company has to do.

It has been an excellent learning environment for them - and for me - and has been enthusiastically received and supported by many of the major IT companies that queue up to recruit our graduates.

The computer science landscape in the UK varies widely, and Neil McBride's article might give a misleading impression that the subject is in decline everywhere - it is, in fact, thriving in some universities in exactly the way he proposes.

Mike Holcombe.
Professor of computer science Sheffield University

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