Computer Science FAIL – Higher Education in India

Note: I originally posted this article on a personal blog I ran when I was in my late teens and early twenties. I discovered in May 2020 that the Internet Archive had preserved the contents of that blog in its entirety, including some of the media. That blog was an important part of my personal history, so I reposted all of that content on this website for archival purposes. While my politics, opinions, and outlook on the world have changed radically since I wrote those posts between 2009 and 2011, it’s good to know that I was as much of an idiot then as I am now.

Update (March 13): He’s back, but now he’s simply shying away from what he doesn’t know.

Update: The professor in question has been reported and is now banned from taking any more classes.

This piece might come across as one intended to bad mouth my own college, but I have a sneaking suspicion that things aren’t all rosy in other parts of the country either.

I suppose every geek has had this same feeling before. You take a seat in the front row of your first Introduction to Programming lecture, all worked up about the fact that here, finally, is a class you can be on top of. The professor walks in, gives a little introduction, and you realize it’s going to be a long, long semester.

Today I decided to make a list of all the atrocities committed by my Introduction to Programming professor. I wasn’t expecting much because, even though he sounded like a complete knucklehead to the geek inside me, I was sure he at least knew the textbook inside-out. I was, as one would expect, wrong. So, hackers, get ready to cringe. Here’s my list.

  • … Linux is basically a DOS based OS.
  • These days we are using 128 and 256 bit processors.
  • A compiler is a software that converts code written in a particular programming language to machine code. To compile a program, you must hit ALT+F9. (It took me a while to realize he was talking about the Borland Turbo C++ IDE from 1992, a prehistoric compiler Indian colleges use for all C and C++ courses.)
  • The object code generated by a C++ compiler is almost identical to that produced by a Java compiler.
  • The first high level language was Ada, also known as Smalltalk. (This was a big WTF moment.)
  • The second high level language was COBOL, which was an improvement over Ada. (Cringe, cringe, cringe.)
  • FOTRAN came after COBOL. (No, “FOTRAN” is not a typo. This is what he said.)
  • FOTRAN, COBOL, Ada and Smalltalk were not general purpose languages.
  • This one is classic: C was the first language to run on UNIX systems. All languages before C ran only on Windows.

I still haven’t completely recovered from the shock.