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CS Versus CIS

I seem to be on a bit of a rant right now, so why stop with the last post. This thought was kind of planted in my mind a long time ago and recently began to grow when I was talking with my wife’s cousin’s husband, who just so happens to have a CIS degree. My bias may just be because of the people I know who all got CIS degrees and graduated from the same university.

Back to this rant. This guy I was talking to was telling me a little about the work he is doing with .NET development in VB.NET. I shuddered because of the VB.NET more than the .NET probably. Then he said that VB was his favorite language. Thus begins this rant.

VB? Seriously? Was that the only language you ever learned? I know from a friend who graduated at the same wonderful school that his development projects were in VB as well. I am kind of stunned. VB is not a language to teach computer skills (certainly not Computer Science, but I didn’t think for Computer Information Systems either). VB was not taught at SLU when I got my CS degree. Hell, they were just upgrading their program and using C and C++ instead of Pascal as their intro classes. Furthermore, I never once used a Windows-run machine for any of my work the entire time I was there. Everything was UNIX or Mac for high level languages and Math work. I don’t even want to get into the architectures I learned for design and assembly language classes.

I knew Basic and QuickBasic because those were the first languages I learned when I was little (and yes, I think 8 counts as little). So I understood the syntax of VB if it ever came up when my friend would ask for programming help. But that is the extent that I would even touch VB. I regarded VB as most people would regard a dead rodent; dead in the St. Louis summertime heat for several days, as they had to hold it by the tail to dispose of it. There were no benefits to me liking the language.

And why is it being used in CIS programs? I always thought that CIS was a mix between CS and MIS, but that can’t be the case either. My wife got her degree in MIS before going on for her JD, and I remember helping her and her friends write C programs for their classes. That’s right C, not VB. We used to joke that those that couldn’t handle the Mathematics required for CS (let’s face it, you come out of your degree with enough math for a Minor in it) would drop out and join the easier MIS program.

My point to all of this is that CIS people do not have the same technical skill set as CS people. They lack the logic and science skills, and they lack some of my respect when their favorite language is VB. (Sorry Kelly). So why do they get the same jobs we do? Why do they get paid the same as we do? They have an inferior degree and we have to treat them as our equals?

Something is just not right with the technical world.

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