My name is Rob Guilfoyle and I am a recent graduate from Indiana University. My major focus was in Informatics with a cognate in Cyber Security. As a new graduate I have been exposed to multiple different job atmosphere’s including small business, working for myself, and at a large corporate business. I always felt I was not taught good skills in college and now I am confident the Informatics program is not a solid program if you have only one major.
While I was in College at Indiana I took many classes through the Informatics program which were a complete waste of time: Mathematical Foundation of Informatics, Introduction to Informatics, and Capstone. I do not blame the teachers of these classes lacking; however, I blame the education institution for not allowing more classes to be focused on Majors of study. Although I blame the University, I cannot change the curriculum of a major university so I will focus my rant on the Informatics program. The essence of Informatics is to give a person a technical background in one or more area(s) of focus, such as BioInformatics (Biology + Information Science). A person might argue it is this that makes Informatics so strong, in theory adding more computer skills to a career can not be a bad idea; however, I disagree. The Informatics program does not allow a student to take the full amount of courses in a focus area only leaving them with mediocre skills in their field. While at the same time giving them a “computer science background”, which is a joke. I would hardly call two computer programming courses a computer science background, and on top of only two courses, the courses move extremely slow and do not get into difficult paradigms, advanced data structures, or simple topics such as pointers. The Informatics program gives a student just enough information to be dangerous is a new position.
For the most part the professors at Indiana University’s Informatics program are solid resources however they are putting most intelligent ones on only specialty classes, such as Search Informatics with David Crandall. My core course teaching me Databases and SQL, which is a foundation of Information and cannot be stressed enough, was taught by Matt Hottell. I do not believe Matt has ever worked anywhere other than Kilroy’s and could not relate to any real world examples (which I think is unacceptable). Often times being able to take a class through Computer Science would get you a more apt professor leading to better course material.
Possible Individual Improvements
My advice to a upcoming Informatics student is to do yourself a favor and go above and beyond what is requested of you (this might emphasis on might put you on a even keel with other university graduates). If you are pursuing Business then heavily learn SQL. Business’s run on data, large amounts of it, and having the ability to communicate with databases building any type of report is an excellent skill. Get involved in enterprise software. It is a shame IU does not have at least one class in SAP because nearly 70% of the world’s data travels through ABAP systems and I bet if you are a student you do not know what this is. In fact I would be surprised if my database teacher knew what that was, or what it stood for. Get familiar with code, learn how to program (even if you don’t like it or don’t anticipate using it) with at least one major paradigm: MVC or OOP is good.
This rant is nothing personal against IU, I had a great time their I just think the Informatics curriculum is slightly ridiculous and for the insane price of tuition I don’t think it is worth it. (unfortunately a piece of paper is worth more than knowledge)
If you have questions about what I think is a good route to take through INFO feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 502.445.3616