Mark Guzdial (CS Faculty at Georgia Tech) had a recent post about Information Technology students not studying data structures. Frankly it blew my mind. Data structures is such a fundamental aspect of computer science and information technology that I find it hard to understand students skipping around it. It’s not like it is hard really.
The Advanced Placement AB exam covers a lot of data structures. That is in fact the larger part of what makes the AB course more involved than the A course. High school students can and do grasp these concepts. So what is the excuse for university Information Technology students not studying them? This I have trouble grasping.
Computer science is more than just programming but data structures, while on one level is real computer science, is so basic to professional programming that I think a programmer would be seriously handicapped without some knowledge of it. I think that all programmers should at least know how linked lists, trees, queues and stacks work. It’s really about a way of thinking as much as using the specific structures.
What do you think? Does every programmer need data structures or can someone who is an Information Technology major get by without them?