19 January 2006

But What Is It Really Worth? Part 2

I got a great comment from Jackson regarding the previous post. Here is what he wrote:

A top student in class is not necessarily means a good programmer. I know a few people that are very good at programming currently studying overseas, and they are Malaysians too! Why would Microsoft sponsor their studies if they are not good? They already have a place in Microsoft after they graduate.

I’m not saying that I am the best programmers in College; I’m just saying that there are other people, who don’t really want to show their talents because of various reasons.

I feel the need to response in a post because I think I missed out an important point when writing the previous post. So here's my reply to Jackson and others:

Of course, yes, I'm sure there are many good programmers as well. In fact I once read about a 17-year old opening his own eCommerce site.

I think in the process of writing such a long post I neglected to point out the main gist of the topic: the state of education in Malaysia. My post isn't so much on our student's uselessness, but on how we think about education.

Local education systems hardly challenge students out of their comfort zone. Even when my programme is franchised from the UK, it is still very exam-oriented. Malaysians love to think that passing exams mean they are good enough. Not very true in our sense. After looking through many of the questions on TopCoder, I at least know that I'm not good.

Some unis teach data structures in the first year while we only learnt it halfway through Year 2. Makes me think what the students are taught in Year 3. So my call to other local students is - rise up to the challenge! Prove that Malaysians can be as skillful as Indians, Singaporeans, and Americans. Push yourself beyond what is expected of you and you'll soon find yourself among giants.

I'm still on the way up and I hope all my peers will strive as well.

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