Loads of interesting issues raised by this article. It’s description of pre-uni education matches my experience, but if there are unis and colleges churning out unemployable graduates, Edinburgh University isn’t one of them. However, everyone I’ve spoken to who has interviewed for software engineers have complained about the amount chaff they have to sift through.
I don’t think it will ever be possible to produce graduates who are completely ready to work, employers in the interview want maths, physics, programming, general computing management and artistic skills all at once. However, engineering schools have been developing more balanced graduates for decades. Some people in technology still deny that software engineering is a valid field on account of it’s creative nature, but my experience of engineering companies suggests that creativity is key to their success. The fallacy is that engineering is building bridges, plugging numbers into well known formula, following well known processes, but someone had to design the first bridge and determine the safest and most effective process for doing so.
More thoughts about my old backpack than anyone reasonably needs to read
My old Jeep backpack is wearing through at the bottom, far less waterproof than I’d have hoped, I’ve had to replace one of the zippers with a paperclip and the clasp on the waistband has broken.
Its large main compartment easily fits my 15” Mac Book Pro and a few days of clothes, and it extends under the secondary compartments which is just enough space to hold the can of antiperspirant that has lived there for the entirety of the bags life. It’s not very deep though, so fitting the laptop and clothes involves vertical layering as opposed to the horizontal layering approach I’d usually go for with a backpack, which leads to unpredictable settling during transit. There is nothing worse than discovering your socks are where your boxers should be when you need to make a swift tactical underwear change. That’s just the worst.
There are three more compartments which get smaller as you approach the front of the bag, so when it’s full it looks a bit like a squishy rectangular zigurat. The biggest one is the perfect size for magazines and books, though it also lacks depth so books have to be stacked against their pages and spines instead of their covers. Many a fair page has been bent due to this unfortunate arrangement, but the most damage ever caused was due to water seeping through the fabric.
The next compartment is a little smaller and square shaped but has a surprising amount of volume to it, so this is where I stashed power cables, phone changers and other electrics bits and pieces like my x-mini speaker. Bizarrely this is the section with the little round plastic orifice for headphone cables, but it’s big enough that any digital media player will be easily lost within it. I guess a CD player would be a nice fit. I do not know anyone who still lugs a CD player with them.
Finally, right at the front there’s a small organizer compartment. This has a pocket with a few pen holders stitched into it and a keyring clip. I kept a pen and a notebook or two in here, and usually some sudafed and paracetemol, just in case. On the front of this panel there’s a big handle which is one of the best features of the bag as it’s usually more accessible than the standard handle at the top of the bag. The plastic cover on that top handle wore quite quickly, which wasn’t a major problem but speaks to the quality of the materials used.
Part of the reason I picked it was the decent waist strap to it. My previous backpacks haven’t had one, and when packed full with a laptop, chargers, clothes and books it puts quite a strain on your shoulders. Even the daily work load for me is weighty enough for this to be noticeable: laptop, A4 hardcover lab book, odds and ends. The waist strap shifts all of that load to your hips instead of your shoulders, and it makes transporting all that weight far easier. The compression straps on the side of the bag also help here, keeping the weight distribution of the bag as close to your back as possible. The straps on the bag are all worn now, and the chunky clasp has now completely cracked, rendering it useless.
It was cheap (I bought in Edinburgh Bargain Stores ), I used it every day and often had it loaded to the gunnels, so it’s done quite well in its time, but given my previous backpack (and Independent with a massive compartment and few frills, also quite cheap) lasted at least a decade before needing replacement, I’m not that impressed. On paper it looks good, but ultimately it’s not a bargain, it’s just disappointing.