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Preconceived Notions: “Databases Are Easy”

Rob Farley takes us back to school:

At university I studied Computer Science, which felt like it was mostly about algorithms and paradigms. It covered how to approach particular kinds of problems, what languages suited what problems and why, and how to model things. The answer to a lot of things was “C’, whether it was a multiple choice question, or the question about which language would be used to solve something.

I skipped the database subject. Everyone said it was overly basic, easy marks, and not particularly interesting. I wasn’t interested in it. Not when there were subjects like Machine Learning where we’d implement genetic algorithms in LISP to find ways to battle other algorithms in solving the prisoner’s dilemma. Or the subject where we’d create creatures (in software) that would follow each other in a flocking motion around a cityscape. Everything I heard about databases was that they were largely of no importance.

In fairness, university database classes tend to fall into one of two categories: either mathematical forays into set theory or fluffy, school-of-business-friendly “Today we’re going to learn how to write the word SELECT. Next time, we’ll learn how to write the word FROM” types of courses, at least from what I’ve experienced.

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