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View Diary: Out of work? Maybe it's 'cause you're unattractive (247 comments)

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  •  A logical reason to prefer the BA in English (0+ / 0-)

    For example, I have nine relatives with English degrees who all work as programmers, and the reason?  The companies that hired them decided to plan for the future instead of just focusing on the short term.

    After all, a company HR guy knows that a guy with a BA in English can write understandably in English.

    A guy with a computer science degree, on the other hand, usually has taken exactly one English Composition class in his entire college career, and focused his entire college time on non-English languages (C, C++, Java, etc.), noted for being difficult to understand.

    Why the guy who can write well is the better choice is that source code needs to be documented well so that the programmer after you can maintain and update the code as needed.  A computer programmer who doesn't understand how to write well is going to come up with TERRIBLE documentation, or possibly no documentation at all.

    Terrible documentation or lack of documentation means programmers who have to maintain and update the code later will have to spend hundreds of extra expensive man-hours trying to work out what the previous programmer wrote into the source code.

    So in the long run it is much cheaper for a company to hire a guy with a BA in English and train him to be a computer programmer, than for them to hire a guy with a degree in computer science and engage in an (ultimately futile) attempt to train him to write good English.  If a BA in English isn't among the resumes, any Bachelor of Arts degree is going to have a lot of Humanities courses, which in turn also lead to better English skills.

    Companies which ignore this basic fundamental need of good source code end up spending a lot more money later on attempting to document the undocumented code.  I'm given to understand this is one reason outsourcing programming to India and other countries where English is a second language has turned short-term savings into huge expenses in the long term: the code comes back with no documentation or broken-English documentation, ruining quick and easy maintenance and updates.

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