Education for IT professionals in Russia and America. Part one

    Due to certain circumstances, I had to change several educational institutions during my life: having visited both the Russian school and the Russian university with a major in physics, and even having studied for a year at an American school, I am now studying for a major in computer science at an American university .

    Having such experience, I think that I can and have the right to make various comparisons and just express thoughts about what I would like to do in this article. Considering that nobody likes to read a lot of text, I divided this article into two parts: the first part that you are reading now describes a high school in America and Russia and makes a comparison of the advantages for a programmer and sympathizers for computer scientists; the second part describes directly higher education.

    So let's get started! I will start, perhaps, with my vision of the situation in an ordinary, Russian school. In the Russian school tradition, the separation of teachers by students into dummies, threes, good guys and excellent students is incredibly strong. The label system works so well (why so is a separate conversation) that sometimes it’s amazing to see how teachers so accurately manage to “understand” which of the students is who. Unfortunately, the label is usually tied at the very beginning of the school career and it is quite difficult to get rid of it later, especially under the asphalt paving method of secondary school teachers. All students know what marks their friends have and this often leads to a mismatch between the formal “status” in the school community. So it turns out that a fairly large number of future IT people have, so to speak, hostility to the system (so, in any case, it was four years ago when I graduated from school) and this hostility makes them outsiders in the school hierarchy. Only when computer science lessons begin, they manifest themselves and are almost always "excellent", of course, if they do not enter into a counter with the teacher. Typically, the school usually does not provide almost any knowledge on the subject, except for powerful skills in working with Word and with the simple BASIC or Pascal compiler. Maybe these languages ​​were once adequate for learning, but now there are clearly better options like Python and Java. in addition to powerful skills in working with Word and with a simple BASIC or Pascal compiler. Maybe these languages ​​were once adequate for learning, but now there are clearly better options like Python and Java. in addition to powerful skills in working with Word and with a simple BASIC or Pascal compiler. Maybe these languages ​​were once adequate for learning, but now there are clearly better options like Python and Java.

    I think no one will argue with me that a true IT specialist is an engineer who needs to have a special mindset formed by logic and exact sciences, such as mathematics and physics. It’s worth admitting that there have never been problems with physics in Russia: if you study correctly, then it’s quite possible to prepare for exams at a university course, which cannot be said about mathematics. Not only does the school course absolutely not prepare for the university level, so you usually have to study on the side to enter an adequate university (for example, I studied at a correspondence school at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology), until the end of the course, the concept of limits and integrals is demonstrated at the same time, without completely revealing or explaining what dx is or that the limit of the sum is the integral. You can certainly say that whoever needs it will figure it out,

    In Russia, over the course of all ten school years, the class does not change, that is, it establishes quite close, friendly relations within individual groups. Often there are several people who are interested in programming and computers. These several people, supporting each other, are able to help, research and learn something new much more effectively than if one person did it. In this, I think there is an indisputable plus of the Russian system over the American.

    This is how we smoothly moved to the western hemisphere of our Earth, the most interesting part in the article. In America, the school is organized on a slightly different principle. Each student is considered separately, as there are no classes at all. The student is free to choose the subjects that he considers necessary for himself, for his interests and, ultimately, for his career. Each year there is a certain number of so-called credits that a student must take, say four credits in mathematics, four in natural sciences, three in English, two in physical education and three in humanities. In different places and in different years, the number of loans can vary, but the concept is clearly visible: it is impossible to do one physical education for eight years or one literature for the last four years. But even so,
    This is perhaps the most interesting - there is an opportunity at the school to study in some subjects according to the first-year program of the university. When I got a chance to feel the school system here, I skillfully registered for university courses in matan, Newtonian mechanics and programming. The official name for this is Advanced Placement. It is understood that the smartest students will take these courses to get loans at the university and have a strong knowledge base for much more complex university courses.

    After studying for the first semester at a Russian technical university, I can note that in an American school the matan course is truly university and even surpasses it in some ways. Physics does not use integrals, which, in essence, does not make it completely "university"; I would say that it is more like ordinary school physics in Russia. However, at the university, it is explained precisely by the integrals. And finally, programming. At school, Java was used to study programming. It was said that C ++ was used before, but I think this is complete madness. In Java, procedural programming was skillfully shown, which smoothly turned into object-oriented programming. Every couple of weeks, the students carried out some small project, which allowed them to more fully cover the concepts and generally cut through the chip. At the end of the course was a relatively large project, which was performed in pairs. I and my partner programmed a labyrinth game that used Swing for the graphic part and our boring logical calculations for the software. Even despite the fact that I already knew everything that was in this course, I was interested, because the teacher for strong students gave more complex tasks for logic and understanding.

    I think it’s time to finish already, the article is already quite large. To summarize, we can see that the American school provides more opportunities for strong, motivated students, but is unable to do anything for those who are not interested in anything. That is why there is a myth that "all American schoolchildren (and in special cases all Americans) are stupid." In the Russian school, the bulk of people give more knowledge, but do not give the opportunity to learn something not according to the program, so you have to look for sources on the side.

    Thanks to everyone who read this. If there will be interest from the side of the user, then I will publish the second part of the article about universities.

    The second part is published . Read.

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