This is a post about my personal opinion of how underrated web development is in universities at the moment. It represents only what I experienced in my Bachelor (Düsseldorf, Germany) and Master (Berlin, Germany) studies. Maybe the status quo is different in other universities, maybe it is the same everywhere else, I simply don’t know. But I don’t want it to stay like that.
If you experienced something completely different or if you are in the same situation, please let me know in the comments (far ;) ) below.
When I started my Master’s studies at HTW Berlin in 2011 I was already fully web-focused. All my side-projects and freelance jobs where web-related. Even my Bachelor Thesis was 100% web and I tried to do as many web courses. I came to HTW Berlin in order to focus even more on web technology since they’re offering a web-specialization in their Master’s program.
Unluckily, the professor, who was mainly doing all the web courses, got an offer from another university and went away before I came to Berlin. As a result we had substitute professors in most of the web courses.
The non-web courses, on the other hand, were completely different. We had to code a lot and in many different languages (Java, C#, C++). Even though we were always supposed to solve the tasks in specific languages, we could always argue the profs to let us use the language of our choice.
In ‘Programming’ we started off with C++ and had to solve some maximum substring-matching problem in DNA-strings. I have to admit that I suck at C++. To me, all the pointer and referencing stuff always stands in the way and I find it hard to concentrate on the main problem.
Canvas > Java
The goal of the ‘Image Processing’ course was to write a program that could vectorize an input image. Each task during the semester would add a new step to the process so that we’d have the complete algorithm by the end of the semester.
Above you see the first exercise, two simple binarization algorithms for images.
‘Computer Vision’ also was a course that dealt with calculations on image data and its aim was to write algorithms that could detect objects semantically in images. E.g. it should say that there’s a duck on the image if you’d show it an image of a duck swimming in a pond.
Above you see the first exercise, the first steps towards edge detection with different filters.
The bad parts
I don’t want to repeat myself or rage about the negative parts here, they’re all mentioned above, so let’s switch to the good parts:
The good parts
But still, the status quo is very unsatisfying and I don’t want future-students to experience the same disappointing web courses. In summer 2012 I met Simon (@sjockers), who was at that time a Master student and Bachelor lecteror at the same time, teaching web development to Bachelor students. After some Berlin.js meetups, he came up with the idea to make an own uni course which should be specifically for all web-interested students.
The key is, that as a student you have the freedom to choose what you learn and, more importantly, how you learn it. Of course, it’s always easier to just stick to the agenda and do what the profs say. But the benefits of going your own way are worth every extra-hour spent! There is so much more to learn which is not in the curriculum!