Put up or shut up

Critique of IT Education

There are only two things wrong with the education system: what we teach, and how we teach it – ROGER SCHANK

I am not referring to CS education. You may burn your brains out all those 4 years in college, and I would not complain. CS (computer science) is all about theory. I am not talking about CS. I am talking about IT education. IT (information technology) is simply applied computer science, just as engineering is applied science.

My take on IT education is simply this: get more of thesis-style learning, and less about theory.

Specifically, 3 years of PhD-style hunting for knowledge (with practical hands-on) after 1 year of requisite theory.


It all starts with the question “why?”

Students, first and foremost, need to do some soul-searching of themselves. They need to examine their interests and passion.

Steve Jobs in his 2005 Stanford commencement address says:

You’ve got to find what you love…Don’t settle.

After the why is resolved individually, students need to realize their direction. To paraphrase Lewis Carroll,

If you don’t know where you’re going, it doesn’t matter which way you go.

If students know their why, the school kicks in with the what (ideas) and how (skills transfer).


By guiding students to reach their potential, but in essence you don’t teach students how. They can do it by themselves. IT is 90% procedural. The 10% is left for educators to stimulate and sustain their thirst for knowledge.

In a word, IT education is simply a business of feeding the students’ passion.

So what’s the difference between traditional IT schools and technical/vocational centers? Nothing unless they go unschooling.


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