Intellectually Homeless…

…or How I (sort of) Ended Up With A Liberal Arts Education Without Really Trying

In high-school I was the only student in 250-odd who was taking legal studies and physics. I also took accounting and “IPT” which began as learning the basics of hypercard, progressed to proper if-then-else coding and ended in SQL and ORM (none of this ER nonsense, do it right or go home).

In the first semester of my IT degree, I had a normal course load which was 50 credit points, and I had all of six points of computer science or half a subject. Everything else was from a different faculty. I took economics and psychology and linguistics and calculus and logic. In the second semester I had more CS subjects and I also took more economics, more psych and introductory philosophy. In second and third year I took mostly CS subjects. I think there was a commerce elective in there.

In my honours year, in addition to the thesis, I took HCI and a subject on neural networks and a subject on three-dimensional databases. (Shamefully, I can remember exactly nothing about 3d databases).

I worked for a while. I learned java. I learned some sort of server-side javascript thing. I learned to stand up to senior people in the firm. I picked up bits and pieces of ABAP.

For my PhD I wrote a bit of C++ (and vowed to never again), I learned a teeny-tiny bit about signal processing. I learned a lot about Science and Technology Studies. Or rather, I learned enough to be able to pick my way through most any STS writing I come across.

Now, I work with people who are actual trained designers and every day I learn more about design.

Why I am telling you this? Partly because it was in my head. Partly because I often feel somewhat intellectually homeless. Partly because it’s fun to say to people I work with “Oh, I’m not a designer”.


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