Speaking as a Psychology graduate with a subsequent 20+ years experience
working as a software developer, I find this conversation fascinating.
The two biggest problems I encounter whenever I take on a new job are
always the size and the quality of the existing codebase. Opportunities to
work on greenfield projects are extremely rare - I can only remember one
from the last ten years of my career. A far more common scenario is that a
developer joining a project will be faced with a codebase of tens or
hundreds of thousands of lines of code, often with poor or non-existent
test coverage, and often grown organically, resulting in many individual
classes thousands of lines long with several, not always clear,
In my, admittedly limited, experience of working with new Computer Science
graduates, I've found that they have plenty of theoretical learning which
would be useful when building a product from scratch, and is also of some
use when adding new features to existing software. However they are a lot
less well equipped to cope with the spaghetti code which 90% of IT projects
that have been running 2+ years seem to accrue.
Any move to improve students' exposure to big, messy, real-world code would
be very beneficial.
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