Monday, March 17, 2008

Upgrading to Geek 2008

There is a great article in the January issue of Computers in Libraries titled Upgrading to Geek 2008. The author describes how some formal education in computer science really helped him in his library work. For example, he explains how coursework in discrete math, finite automata, and database design, theory, and implementation made him better at what he does. He contends that the best way to learn this material "is to take some classes," such as at the college or university you might work for or at the local community college. If you can't take some classes on the side, he strongly recommends picking up a book and learning the Python or Ruby programming languages.

As a librarian and as someone who completed a minor in computer science, I can't agree more with his advice. Basic coursework in computer science helped me develop better abstract thinking and gave me some knowledge of different computer programming languages, as well as the confidence to play around with code with which I am not immediately familiar. As a result, I have been able to make tech contribution in every library at which I have worked.

So, if you are still in college and thinking of pursuing a library career, consider completing a minor in computer science. It makes a wonderful complement.

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