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Friday, February 26, 2010

Service and Product mindsets

The mindset of our best academic CS curricula is a product mindset.
Most people end up in a service company.
What’s the difference?
Earlier it may have been that whereas in the affluent countries a programmer could hope to get into a Microsoft or Google, in a 'developing' country the likelihood of a 'service' job was higher.

This distinction is probably not meaningful even in US/Japan etc nowadays.  After all most people that Microsoft hire are less likely to be working on the cutting-edge of the next windows than in testing and support.

In short almost everyone who works in IT today works in services.

And yet our CS academia deliver primarily for the product sector. The table below expands on this mismatch

Product Service
Deliver hi quality Deliver on schedule
fantastic code is written any kind of code is read and handled
Likes to code, not talk Likes to code, likes to talk
likes to work alone can work alone or in teams
rigid about (tech) principles[1] principles are parameterizable
Loves good code, hates bad code Writes good code, puts up with any knowingly
strongly believes in (some) technology[2] knows the appropriate tech
Bullshit and Justice meters super sensitive Can be turned on or off
temperamental is hep unflappable is required
bottom-up top-down

Yes a new discipline called Services Science (or SSME) is supposed to be emerging which will benefit from the rigor and science of CS; I have not heard too much about it after the first buzz around 2007.

[1] Tech principles examples: Code should be efficient|reusable|readable|
[2] Linux|Emacs|my-preferred-prog-language|

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