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Boom Or Bust: The Lowdown On Code Academies

samzenpus posted about 10 months ago | from the what-have-we-learned? dept.

Programming 130

snydeq writes "Programming boot camps are on the rise, but can a crash course in coding truly pay off for students and employers alike? InfoWorld's Dan Tynan discusses the relative (and perceived) value of code academies with founders, alumni, recruiters, and hiring managers. Early impressions and experiences are mixed, but the hacker school trend seems certain to stick. 'Many businesses that are looking at a shortfall of more than a million programmers by the year 2020 are more than willing to give inexperienced grads a chance, even if some are destined to fail. The zero-to-hero success stories may be relatively rare, but they happen often enough to ensure that the boom in quick-and-dirty coding schools is only likely to accelerate.'"

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Beta Boom Bust (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46211421)

Re:Beta Boom Bust (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46211479)

Fuck Beta.

For once tried to RTFA. (2)

inasity_rules (1110095) | about 10 months ago | (#46211427)

Advertising much?

Re:For once tried to RTFA. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46211501)

Subby is "snydeq", who just posts nothing but InfoWorld crap (and is probably the article author). Sounds like Dice.com, actually.

For once tried to Beta (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46211709)

The really cool thing about protesting Beta is that it is set to show -1 comments by default. So I can post about how god awful and horrid it is here in Classic, and very soon the mod system that has worked so well for so many years will mod this to -1. No geed trying to have a conversation will be disturbed. OTOH, on the beta site, when dice tries to sell its new "B2B Platform" to advertisers, this comment will be right there at the top of the page for all those advertisers to see.

Fuck Beta. Incremental improvement. AB testing. Involve your community. Don't surprise the user. Watch this and learn: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YnVeysllPDI

Beta sucks my nuts (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46211473)

But not my dick

Only (5, Interesting)

The Cat (19816) | about 10 months ago | (#46211477)

They'll work only if they aren't a sloppy, slapped together gimmick designed to rubber stamp "programmers" and install them in cubicles like spare parts.

In 2014, it is shameful that we still don't have an adequate statewide computer curriculum in the state that gave birth to Apple, Google and Blizzard.

And no, buying iPads for everyone and teaching them how to use Word is not a computer curriculum. When a 2.0 high school graduate can explain in 50 words or less what a computer is then we will have success.

The fact that someone hasn't already taken all the throwaway PCs, installed Linux on them and equipped every school in the state with a 50-desktop computer lab (at zero cost) is only further proof of our failure in technology.

Re:Only (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46211553)

And no, buying iPads for everyone and teaching them how to use Word is not a computer curriculum. When a 2.0 high school graduate can explain in 50 words or less what a computer is then we will have success.

Blame Microsoft for that.

20 years ago, every government had a program for "teaching computers at school'. Smalltalk, LOGO, or some other kind of computer literacy project was there, Whole industries were built on this (see Acorn).

And then Microsoft came, and bribe, I mean, and convince some key politicians that programmers were not needed, what a country really needed is a mass of Word typers and Excel users.

We're harvesting what we had seeded.

Re:Only (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46211933)

20 years ago, every government had a program for "teaching computers at school'. Smalltalk, LOGO, or some other kind of computer literacy project was there, Whole industries were built on this (see Acorn).

And then Microsoft came, and bribe, I mean, and convince some key politicians that programmers were not needed, what a country really needed is a mass of Word typers and Excel users.

You meant "bribe".

Others companies do the same (1)

Lennie (16154) | about 10 months ago | (#46213497)

Apple does it, I believe Adobe does it.

And even Google does it with Chromebooks.

Re:Only (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46211555)

> someone hasn't already taken all the throwaway PCs,

The high school I went to had a great CS program in 1983. IIRC CS classes were added in 1974. The year after I graduated, a couple students from my school won the national Junior Academy of Science CS competition. Currently, they have no CS classes. They were replaced by a womans studies class. A group of graduates tried to donate computers and time to set them up, but of course the state department of education smacked us down because we weren't paying money to Microsoft for the OS and for Office. That is why you can't take throwaway PCs and try to help kids. Microsoft is preventing that from happening. It's sad that a large high school in Silicon Valley doesn't have a CS class, but in this Microsoft-controlled system of education we have, that is what you end-up with.

The school is currently trying to raise $1k per workstation so they can offer an after school CS class. Of that $1k, almost $400 of it will go to Microsoft.

Re:Only (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46212101)

At my work (a private college), we pay $28/year for Win+Office on each lab PC and $65/year additional for the CS lab PCs with everything (Visual Studio, etc). If we were bigger, we would be paying less.

That $400 per PC is not going to MS. That is going into an administrator's pocket.

Re:Only (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46213699)

I think you're being unrealistic. I don't know any school savvy enough to negotiate that well with a group like Microsoft that is so good at screwing over people. My school pays $177.94 for Windows 8.1 which is a big discount from their usual price of 199.99. For Office, we pay $399.00 for Pro which is discounted from Microsoft's normal price of $399.99. Yes, there are stripped down student versions for half of that price, but we needed Access. Even though we were buying nearly 125 copies, Microsoft would only discount 0.99 on each copy.

To the OP, you're doing pretty damn good if you're only paying $400 from each PC to Microsoft. They're raping us for nearly $600 after you add-in shipping.

Re:Only (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46213875)

Of that $1k, almost $400 of it will go to Microsoft.

Sounds like you're getting an awesome deal if that number includes Office and VisualStudio. We're paying about four times that plus a yearly fee of almost $300 for the VS maintenance. Microsoft really puts the screws to schools which is why we're looking at buying Mac Minis for our new lab since XCode is free. Minis are about $100 more expensive for the computer, but will save us about $2,500 ($1,500 up front * 4 years * $300 /year - $100 for the high upfront cost) over a four year period.

Re:Only (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46211557)

When a 2.0 high school graduate can explain in 50 words or less what a computer is then we will have success.

With standards these days, I'd be surprised if a 2.0 high school graduate could explain anything.

Re:Only (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 10 months ago | (#46211563)

Can you explain what a computer is? For example: Can you explain why a cell phone isn't a computer--despite having computer pieces--but a smart phone is? Can you explain why a wifi card isn't a computer, even though it's running an operating system managing software and hardware?

Re:Only (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46211637)

All of those things are not just computers, but automatic computers!
A computer is a device that performs computations. It will typically refer to electronic or mechanical devices whose purpose is to automate computation thereby saving the labor of a human, but still they are all technically computers.
Ironically computer science actually has very little to do with computers and more to do with computation. I believe it was Dijkstra who said that "Computer Science is no more about computers than astronomy is about telescopes."
Computers are the tool but computation is what they are for.

Re:Only (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46211671)

In the abstract sense, a computer is anything, even neatly arranged rocks on a beach can be a ``computer''.

In the same abstract sense, nothing is a `computer' (nothing physical is infinite, so nothing is "truly" a computer in a Turing sense of the word).

Re:Only (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46211809)

Fail for talking bullshit.

Re:Only (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46211733)

Am going to define my requirements for General Purpose Computer: A device that is able to self host(AKA has the software to compile it's all it's software) without needed to be hacked or unlocked through unapproved means. It must also allow all of it's operating software to be replaceable with user supplied software. Boot Loader need not be user replaceable but must support and be documented for any OS to load without restrictions placed on hardware access aka "PS3" not included. Also Boot Loader must support automated booting of User OS. AKA, loads like a normal OS would.(It could display a brief warning but it must boot the OS).

Re:Only (1)

NapalmV (1934294) | about 10 months ago | (#46211763)

If by "computer" you understand "general purpose / user programmable computer", then the differences are easy to explain. Neither the wi-fi card nor the smartphone have a built-in general purpose programming language/environment for the user to play with.
On the same lines one may notice that contemporary Windows PCs are not "computers" in this sense either. Back in the past they used to, but these days they don't come with any sensible general purpose programming environment either.
I do remember the days of the Spectrum / Commodore 64 etc. Now *those* were computers - they booted right into a programming environment.

Re:Only (1)

rmstar (114746) | about 10 months ago | (#46211929)

If by "computer" you understand "general purpose / user programmable computer", then the differences are easy to explain. Neither the wi-fi card nor the smartphone have a built-in general purpose programming language/environment for the user to play with.

At least for android, downloading the sdk and running your first app on a phone is a matter of less than an hour (up to bandwidth limitations).

For the wifi card - well, it depends on your determination. It is possible to get root on the linux that runs on it, and since it has at least sh, you can program it [hackaday.com] .

Re:Only (1)

NapalmV (1934294) | about 10 months ago | (#46212035)

Sure you can do that to them, but they were not designed for this, at least not from the part of the end user. They were designed as appliances.

Re:Only (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | about 10 months ago | (#46212037)

At least for android, downloading the sdk and running your first app on a phone is a matter of less than an hour (up to bandwidth limitations).

And for the "PC" that Napalm claims isn't a computer because it doesn't come with a programming language, it takes even less time to install Perl or Python or ... and he's ignoring the batch file ability already there.

"A computer" has a certain set of properties, which do not include "spiffy GUI programming environment". Isn't it a shame when you young folks start thinking that something isn't a computer just because it lacks conveniences? In the new world of Things on the Internet many of our computers will lack much of any interaction with humans, and you won't be able to program a lot of it yourself. That's a good thing, IMNSHO, because it will keep total chaos from spewing.

Re:Only (1)

NapalmV (1934294) | about 10 months ago | (#46212073)

hey I'm talking about Windows 7/8 here. In which ways do you think that MS designed it as a general programming environment for the end user? I see none. By the time you make cygwin work on it, you could have installed Linux instead, and that one comes with all the programming tools by default.

Re:Only (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | about 10 months ago | (#46212715)

hey I'm talking about Windows 7/8 here. In which ways do you think that MS designed it as a general programming environment for the end user? I see none.

I've had no problem installing programming languages on my Windows 7 systems. You're calling the hardware "not a computer" because the operating system doesn't come with GUI IDEs for your favorite language? Wow. Then VAXen aren't computers, either, despite their long history of computing, because VMS didn't come with a general purpose programming language for free.

By the time you make cygwin work on it, you could have installed Linux instead,

You know, the fact that many Linux distributions come with the -devel packages installed doesn't mean they all do. I've had to install my share of -devel this and that just so I could program on a Linux system. As I recall, I've even had to install a gcc or two to get C.

and that one comes with all the programming tools by default.

I'm glad that every distribution you use has all kinds of things that may not be required for the end user by default. Some distro authors are more restrained and want to serve their target audiences better.

That still leaves the fact that there are many many computers out in the world where end users aren't expected to program them and they don't have IDEs installed by default, if one is available at all.

Re:GUI Programming a Must (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46213977)

This century GUI programming is important, CLI is last century

Re:Only (1)

NapalmV (1934294) | about 10 months ago | (#46212127)

To put it more bluntly: A contemporary Windows PC is an appliance that allows you to run pre-made software that you buy / download for free. A Linux PC *is* a computer in the previously mentioned sense, as it comes by default not only with all the programming tools you could dream of, but also with all the source code as examples or for you to tinker with. It was designed as a programming learning tool not as an appliance (albeit you can transform it into such).

jscript, vbscript, powershell (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46213321)

It's not that bad. Windows lets you write in jscript, vbscript, powershell and do batch scripting OOB. Those options aren't nearly as good as perl for example, but it's hardly just an appliance.

Re:Only (1)

ttucker (2884057) | about 10 months ago | (#46212635)

If by "computer" you understand "general purpose / user programmable computer", then the differences are easy to explain. Neither the wi-fi card nor the smartphone have a built-in general purpose programming language/environment for the user to play with. On the same lines one may notice that contemporary Windows PCs are not "computers" in this sense either. Back in the past they used to, but these days they don't come with any sensible general purpose programming environment either. I do remember the days of the Spectrum / Commodore 64 etc. Now *those* were computers - they booted right into a programming environment.

So you are trying to say that if someone else, but not you, can program a computer... it is not a computer. By this definition my computer is not a computer, because you can not program it.

Re:Only (1)

NapalmV (1934294) | about 10 months ago | (#46212839)

The reason I cannot program it because it is not in my possession, mr. smart hat.

Re:Only (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46211883)

Sorry about the other post but here is an improved version.

Am going to define my requirements for General Purpose Computer: A device that is able to self host(AKA has the software to compile all it's own software) without needing to be hacked or unlocked through unapproved means. The user must be able to load the compiler through ordinary means AKA USB stick, downloads, etc. (preferable not locked into an App Store.) It must also allow all of it's operating software to be replaceable with user supplied software. Boot Loader need not be user replaceable but must support and be documented for any OS to load without restrictions placed on hardware access aka "PS3" not included. The Boot Loader must support automated booting of User OS. AKA, loads like a normal OS would.(It could display a brief warning but it must boot the OS without user interaction once setup).

Re:Only (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46211901)

You may be interested in this [wikipedia.org]

A computer does not need to be electronic, nor even have a processor, nor RAM, nor even a hard disk. While popular usage of the word “computer” is synonymous with a personal electronic computer, the modern[60] definition of a computer is literally “A device that computes, especially a programmable [usually] electronic machine that performs high-speed mathematical or logical operations or that assembles, stores, correlates, or otherwise processes information.”[61] Any device which processes information qualifies as a computer, especially if the processing is purposeful.

Re:Only (1)

ttucker (2884057) | about 10 months ago | (#46212611)

Can you explain what a computer is? For example: Can you explain why a cell phone isn't a computer--despite having computer pieces--but a smart phone is? Can you explain why a wifi card isn't a computer, even though it's running an operating system managing software and hardware?

I see what you did there... it is a trick question, they are all computers.

Re:Only (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 10 months ago | (#46213333)

Think about "Computer Fraud and Abuse". The wording of the law makes it so that a strict definition of a "computer" can make you guilty of anything. A touch-tone telephone with number memory and built-in answering machine may be a small embedded computer; if you use it to dial into a phone system tree and hack your way through the system, you're using "a phone"... but, since it's got an embedded SOC, can you be charged with hacking "with a computer"?

It's an important distinction. The thing has the capability to be "a computer", but it's being used and operated in the restrictions of "a phone". If it were trivially different hardware capable of and used for exactly the crime you committed, would you fall under a less-punitive law; or would you be indicted for much worse crimes because your crime was committed "with a computer"?

In the same way: Gun crime (instant additional penalty for committing any crime with "a firearm") versus gauss gun, a metal tube with an explosive charge (naptha etc) in the bottom and a projectile (not a gun, but close, and uses fire), a flywheel-driven device that uses stored mechanical energy to launch a small rock, etc. Shaped like and recognizable as a gun, fires like a gun, functionally a gun? When is it a gun crime?

Re:Only (1)

rwa2 (4391) | about 10 months ago | (#46211775)

Preach on!

Hell, I'd be happy if they'd just teach people the basics of using source control.

It is so much more pleasant working with even a total noob dev who can incrementally make progress by properly checking out, branching, and submitting code, than working with a moderately talented programmer who just submits blobs of stuff all over the place that we have to run around and try to keep coordinated.

Re:Only (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | about 10 months ago | (#46211957)

I learned to code on my own from 10th grade onward (I didn't have access to programmable computers before then...)

In 1982, my high school CompSci teacher was pretty cool and realistic about his skillz, there were a group of about 10 of us who he gave "independent study" access to the machines so we could teach ourselves - the stuff in the lecture class would take us about 2 weeks to finish the year's material.

I took the curriculum courses in University Computer Engineering, but, strangely, they never offered a course in C programming, even though they had a mandatory course that used C language to implement the term project (write an assembler...)

And, I've spent the 20+ years following graduation gradually learning how to "do it right..." I'm a little further along than most other programmers I meet, but I still learn new "better practices" as time goes on.

My version of "Hacker boot camp" wouldn't focus on "how to code" or "how to look up & hook up a library function that does an optimal sort" - you're going to need to figure that out for yourself when Java/Python becomes the next latest and greatest thing. It would focus on best practices, communicating with your customers and coworkers, documentation, source control, and transparency.

Back in 1983, I thought it was really cool that I could implement the entire CompSci semester project in program with 4 short lines, using the same language and machine they were using. And, I must admit, at 15 years old, I thought it was also kinda cool that nobody, instructor included, had the faintest clue how it actually worked. Today, I'd still implement it in 4 short lines, but I would only think it is cool if the comments explained how it worked in a way that anybody who understood the math could understand the code, and I'd probably throw in a little explanation of the math too if I thought it might help.

Re:Only (2)

dgatwood (11270) | about 10 months ago | (#46214141)

My version of "Hacker boot camp" wouldn't focus on "how to code" or "how to look up & hook up a library function that does an optimal sort" - you're going to need to figure that out for yourself when Java/Python becomes the next latest and greatest thing. It would focus on best practices, communicating with your customers and coworkers, documentation, source control, and transparency.

This. This. For the love of all that is good and holy, this.

Learning to code is the easy part. Learning to design good software borders on a lifetime learning campaign by comparison.

Re:Only (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46212013)

someone hasn't already taken all the throwaway PCs, installed Linux on them and equipped every school in the state with a 50-desktop computer lab (at zero cost)

Libre != Gratis

Linux does not magically make everything "zero cost". If you want competent technicians, you need to pay for them...no matter what technology you are using. Have you ever run a 50-seat lab that can handle 300 kids/day? The OS licensing cost is a budget rounding error.

Old != Cheap

You can buy a whole lab's worth of new kit for a fraction of the marginal cost of labor needed to keep a hodgepodge of "throwaway PCs" functioning.

You != Helpful

One of the biggest hurdles I've encountered while advocating for using Linux more often in schools is overcoming prejudice. Frequently, the only Linux experience a school administrator has comes from talking to a highly passionate yet totally clueless person making idiotic statements much like yours. It takes real effort to undo the damage that can cause.

Re:Only (1)

The Cat (19816) | about 10 months ago | (#46212097)

Linux does not magically make everything "zero cost"

Didn't say it made everything zero cost. I said it makes the lab zero cost.

Imprecise thinking like yours is more damaging than a "clueless person."

You can buy a whole lab's worth of new kit for a fraction of the marginal cost of labor needed to keep a hodgepodge of "throwaway PCs" functioning.

Nonsense.

highly passionate yet totally clueless person making idiotic statements much like yours

I've been running a half dozen businesses (with 40 people working for me) on Linux for 20 years.

Re:Only (1)

ttucker (2884057) | about 10 months ago | (#46212727)

I've been running a half dozen businesses (with 40 people working for me) on Linux for 20 years.

Are you doing this with the hypothetical throwaway PCs that you mention?

Statewide curriculum not cause (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 10 months ago | (#46212115)

I don't think statewide computer curriculum had anything to do with Apple/Google - there were plenty of people in those classes when I was a kid but the only people that really learned anything were the ones who also had computers at home and spent a lot of time programming.

The code academies are a good start in making training available to those really interested in programming, for a much more affordable approach than getting an engineering or CS degree from most colleges. It's really just a more programming oriented trade school, and I see nothing wrong with that.

Re:Only (1)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | about 10 months ago | (#46212285)

The fact that someone hasn't already taken all the throwaway PCs, installed Linux on them and equipped every school in the state with a 50-desktop computer lab (at zero cost) is

Half a million individually assembled desktop computers, all wiped and re-imaged (using traditional installers, since they won't even come close to the same hardware configuration), and then maintained.

You've really taken the "Linux is only free if your time has no value" quip to an amusingly absurd conclusion.

Re:Only (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 10 months ago | (#46212401)

There's something to be said though for being self-taught something to inspire a love of a subject. The fact that all those tech companies started up and are doing well when computer science education at the HS level sucks so bad says it's working to some degree. Maybe we shouldn't fix what's not completely broken, since that often ends up even worse.

My computer classes in high school in the 90s were a 60 year old woman insulting us while we typed the same paragraph over and over in something one step up from an apple IIe. Had that old troll been instructing us on linux, I might have quit computers. As it was, I only stuck with computers through high school because 1. I had no friends and 2. I heard there was porn on the internet.

Re:Only (1)

PhrostyMcByte (589271) | about 10 months ago | (#46212513)

They'll work only if they aren't a sloppy, slapped together gimmick designed to rubber stamp "programmers" and install them in cubicles like spare parts.

I really can't imagine any good a 3 month crash course would accomplish. At best you'll get someone dangerous who thinks they know how to code, and a nightmareish scenario of either picking up the pieces or having someone in management now tell you your job is so easy they can do it.

Kids 2-3 years into college with no prior experience are just barely starting to write code that does anything interesting, let alone writing it properly. 3 months? Give me a break. The only proper way to increase the number of coders is to introduce kids to it early on and find/encourage the ones who show interest.

Public education problem (3, Insightful)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 10 months ago | (#46211499)

This is the same public education problem. If you provide universal education--that is, provide for a way for everyone to buy into education on their own--then what you get is market speculation by students, which often fails. For example: now again we have a need for programmers because things like Roku are becoming popular and we want to build more Android and iOS apps for phones and smart TVs; everyone in the world will want to be a programmer for those $90k, $110k, $150k salaries, and then in 5 years there will be so many programmers that none of them can get a job because some 10% of them filled all the slots and got $60k salaries out of it to boot.

The summary directly acknowledges that, short on a crop of self-made resources, businesses are buying into low-experience, low-training wannabe poor kids who can't afford college degrees and then supplying career development. Which is something I've said again and again: universal access to education doesn't provide greater upward mobility for the poor; it forces them to speculate, which gives them a hit-or-miss chance of success if they bother putting in the hard work to become career-worthy, which only the rich can manage to absorb in the case of landing in the "not useful because saturated market" bin. Government-backed loans and government-provided vocational education is bad for the poor.

I mean christ, I'm looking right at it. Right here. Do you see this? This is what happens when not enough people can get an education: the businesses need these educated kids to succeed, and not enough rich kids have those degrees and those skills, so the businesses grab anyone who can absorb those skills and makes sure they get it. Because hell if I'm going to lose market share to that goat fucker Cogswell when he publishes an iOS app selling his cogs to a huge market I can't reach.

Re:Public education problem (2)

Akratist (1080775) | about 10 months ago | (#46211599)

Good points. I'd also add that universal education simply makes it so that a person has to get more education in order to improve their chances of landing or retaining a job. Teachers, for example, generally have to get a Masters, which is completely useless to most of them. At least in programming, there's not as much of this, although I did lose out one time to a person who had a Masters' degree.

Re:Public education problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46212043)

I did lose out one time to a person who had a Masters' degree.

Did you bother to go back the next week to claim the job they couldn't actually do, or did you also buy in to the "superiority" of their degree? Or did you decide that the prospective employer wasn't worth your time because they'll treat you like shit?

Re:Public education problem (4, Interesting)

lexman098 (1983842) | about 10 months ago | (#46211615)

I think you're way off base.

universal access to education doesn't provide greater upward mobility for the poor; it forces them to speculate, which gives them a hit-or-miss chance of success

Even if it's as bad as you make it seem, that's still a chance of success as opposed to not being educated and having 0% chance.

the businesses need these educated kids to succeed, and not enough rich kids have those degrees and those skills, so the businesses grab anyone who can absorb those skills and makes sure they get it.

The problem is they don't need to make sure of anything because there's plenty of investment from other countries to take advantage of. We live in a global economy, and we should be investing in our competitiveness.

Re:Public education problem (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 10 months ago | (#46213265)

Even if it's as bad as you make it seem, that's still a chance of success as opposed to not being educated and having 0% chance.

From TFS:

Many businesses that are looking at a shortfall of more than a million programmers by the year 2020 are more than willing to give inexperienced grads a chance, even if some are destined to fail.

So we're going from "put in your hard work and have a roulette-wheel chance of winning" to "put in your hard work and have a high chance of success; be a poor lazy welfare wart on the ass of society and go nowhere".

The problem is they don't need to make sure of anything because there's plenty of investment from other countries to take advantage of. We live in a global economy, and we should be investing in our competitiveness.

The only reason not to outsource is: Our local talent is better. The outsourcing problem is entirely wage-based: $50,000/year for American programmers versus $15,000/year for Indian programmers. If the Indian programmers are essentially on parity with Americans, or at least close enough, then you're better off working at McDonalds because you won't have college debt. If businesses want to hire American programmers at above-McDonalds wages, then ... well, see above.

Can you try to not argue against what is exactly in front of you?

Re:Public education problem (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46211713)

This is what happens when not enough people can get an education: the businesses need these educated kids to succeed, and not enough rich kids have those degrees and those skills, so the businesses grab anyone who can absorb those skills and makes sure they get it.

There's a demand in the market for a certain skill set, some people will try to acquire those skills to get jobs (or better jobs). Every young person has to make choices and invest time and money into a career choice. While it's true that a young person with deeper financial resources can better afford a mistake ("gee, that Medieval History degree isn't so useful, maybe I can get into Law School") I'm baffled by what alternative you suggest.

Re:Public education problem (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 10 months ago | (#46213297)

I'm baffled by what alternative you suggest.

You're baffled by the alternative that businesses, incapable of finding enough labor to achieve their goals, will provide for the vocational training of able entrants in the same numbers as they would naturally hire in a flooded market?

I mean let's face it, the essential choice is this: either you pay money for a degree and get hired; or your employer pays money for a degree for you. That's the two success situations.

The two failure situations are this: either you pay money for a degree and don't get hired; or there is no labor demand at all for anything, degree or not--there are exactly enough or more people with experience and degrees in all fields to fill all job positions, woe to you. In the first place, you can get there by either selecting an already and continually non-useful degree (art history) or selecting an immediately useful degree in a scarce market that, by the time you get into the job market, becomes an over-supplied market from everyone getting degrees in that field. In the second place, there simply isn't any demand in any vocation--you have no winning selection, so you fail regardless.

It seems that the alternative which I suggest provides more and better success cases and fewer failure cases.

Re:Public education problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46211955)

then what you get is market speculation by students, which often fails

No kidding. In my highschool years I spent many hours drafting and making tiny foam houses. With grand ideas of becoming an architect. That went nowhere.

It was the 'fluff' class I took in pascal in the late 80s that became my career. I took it because programming was 'easy' to me and I needed an AP math type class. Clicked off an A then thought why am I bashing my head on this boring pencil and paper crap and playing with glue and foam. I suffered on many other things because "I KNEW" I was going to be an architect. It has taken many many classes and years to fix.

On the upside I can spot a crap built house (hint: many are). Had to talk many family members out of badly built houses over the years.

I basically 'got lucky'. I picked right. Median income for what I do now at entry level 1990 was 23k. For someone in the industry for 10 years was 56k. 50-60k is now entry level...

Not anyone can be a coder (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46211593)

Not anyone can be a coder, just not not anyone can be a doctor, lawyer or executive.

Businesses decided they didn't like the leverage coders had on them, so they tried all kinds of nasty tricks, including outsourcing, no-poaching agreements, removing stock options, and even Agile methodologies attempt to commoditize a position. Instead of fostering R&D, they RIF'd a ton of people in the early 2000s after the dot bomb. The result? The number of CS/MIS applicants were cut in 1/2 for half a decade.

You reap what you sew, assholes. Time to pay up, bitches.

Re:Not anyone can be a coder (2)

NapalmV (1934294) | about 10 months ago | (#46211669)

Apparently they think that "engineering" and "coding" are about the same thing. What they really need are some good software engineers not generic code monkeys. But, as you mentioned, they don't get it.

Re:Not anyone can be a coder (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46211745)

I personally don't think a code monkey should even exist. It's another aberration invented in an attempt to commoditize software development. The logic goes like this:

1. Hire 1 smart guy instead of 5.
2. Smart guy lays out the architecture/skeleton of the application
3. Hire cheap labor to "fill in the blanks."

It works about as well as it sounds.

Every "architect" should play a major role in the implementation of his ideas. Otherwise, it could be a complete failure and no one would know until it's too late. It's easy to make an architectural mistake from 10,000 feet up. Architects need to be able to land and see what's going on.

Re:Not anyone can be a coder (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 10 months ago | (#46211835)

THIS

So many organizations try to do this, and they don't understand why it doesn't work. For people who don't code, it makes sense. Just like in constructing a house. You get a guy who knows what he's doing to draw up the plans, and you get some low paid minions to hammer in the nails. Except that in software there is no equivalent of hammering in the nails. Every person writing code is basically the person that is designing the software. By the time the well trained guy has got the requirements specific enough and relayed that information to the "nail pounder" he could have just coded up the program himself, and probably saved a little bit of time.

Re:Not anyone can be a coder (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46211935)

Just like in constructing a house. You get a guy who knows what he's doing to draw up the plans, and you get some low paid minions to hammer in the nails.

Except that those "minions" are often extensively trained carpenters themselves. They might also be engaged in their apprenticeship. They are not low skill nor are they cheap.

Re:Not anyone can be a coder (1)

NapalmV (1934294) | about 10 months ago | (#46211861)

Been there, done that, ain't working. In order to insure direction and quality, the experienced guy will have to supervise / code review / correct / restart from scratch the monkeys at every step. By that time he could have written it all by himself.

Re:Not anyone can be a coder (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46211813)

You reap what you sew, assholes. Time to pay up, bitches.

sow?

Re:Not anyone can be a coder (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46212419)

don't be a pig

Re:Not anyone can be a coder (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46211841)

"Sow" not "sew" unless you're reaping crocheted nut-warmers.

RE: Not anyone can be a coder (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46211867)

Well stated. Anyone can learn syntax, just like anyone can learn medical terms, but knowing syntax doesn't mean that you can create software solutions for real world business problems.

Re:Not anyone can be a coder (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 10 months ago | (#46212901)

Not anyone can be a coder, just not not anyone can be a doctor, lawyer or executive.

I'm not sure that being an executive or lawyer is as hard as you make it seem. Sure, executives have great opinions of themselves, and they do work hard, but it's not like some impossible thing that only geniuses can do.

Re:Not anyone can be a coder (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46213797)

Well, I meant the good ones, like the executives that build a long lasting company from nothing. The lawyers who fight the beast for the rights of the people. Think Jim Crow era, EFF, the good public defenders, and the lawyers who free people unjustly incarcerated for 20 years for a crime they didn't commit.

WTF (1)

NapalmV (1934294) | about 10 months ago | (#46211601)

I'd be happy to see 1% of those 1000000 jobs.... were are they as I can't seem to be able to find them...

Re:WTF (1)

Narcocide (102829) | about 10 months ago | (#46211673)

They don't exist. Its all a giant conspiracy to justify more outsourcing to 3rd world countries where there aren't minimum wage laws.

Re:WTF (1)

Matheus (586080) | about 10 months ago | (#46211949)

1) This is a projected shortfall for 6 years from now not now. That being said I rarely give credit to such speculation as the logic behind is usually lacking.

2) Having recently been in the job market there are *TONS of jobs available in the Software field at least in my area (Minneapolis, MN) but even more so searching nationally. You may or may not have the skills or experience or desire to do certain types of development but there is no shortage of computer jobs at the moment.

Re:WTF (1)

Slugster (635830) | about 10 months ago | (#46212009)

Coding doesn't pay enough to offset the degree costs in the USA.
There is a few reasons for that, none of which you and I can do anything about,,, except for not playing the game at all, because whoever wins, isn't going to be us. The observation that young people seem to have realized that is a good thing (for the kids!), not a bad one.

My advice to young kids now is "don't go into debt for schooling to do anything that can be off-shored". That rules out a lot of technical fields at once, but it is the truth. Coding is becoming a third-world job skill, like medical transcription or making tennis shoes. You might like it, it might be difficult and you might be GREAT at it--but its usefulness as a source of income depends on economics you cannot control.

Re:WTF (1)

ub3r n3u7r4l1st (1388939) | about 10 months ago | (#46212189)

"don't go into debt for schooling to do anything that can be off-shored"

Well said. A manager sitting on his ass cannot be offshored. Couple a CS degree with a MBA is the way to go.

Re:WTF (1)

NapalmV (1934294) | about 10 months ago | (#46212331)

I hope you realize that there's no such thing as an non-outsourceable job. For those that can't be plainly offshored, H1B visas will do.

Hello my name is (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46211645)

Just stoping by for a quick second to double check on the beta status, somehow I did not get redirected. Are we officially done with the beta?

LOVELLY. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46211667)

Every time I try to this Article, Slashdot automatically logs me off(!!!!).

So I can only post here as Anonymous Coward.

Thanks, DICE! =/

Yeah right (3, Insightful)

CODiNE (27417) | about 10 months ago | (#46211675)

Where are all the no experience needed programming jobs then? Everywhere I look 3 years of X 5 years of Y extensive knowledge of Z.

Re:Yeah right (1)

InfiniteLoopCounter (1355173) | about 10 months ago | (#46212001)

Where are all the no experience needed programming jobs then? Everywhere I look 3 years of X 5 years of Y extensive knowledge of Z.

I think they mean unpayed jobs, of which there are some for inexperienced graduates. Some years ago when I graduated, I would have done jobs in either physics or engineering or computer science for free for months to get experience. After dealing with "employers" back and forth for long periods of time and them stipulating the terms, I couldn't get anything because of competition! Now I am fine, because once you have experience you can simply waltz from job to job, but getting the initial job with an advanced degree is hard (I think the degree puts many people off and I don't mention it much in my successful job interviews now).

Wrong Operator (3, Insightful)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 10 months ago | (#46211699)

It's Boom and Bust. [wikipedia.org]

There's no OR about it, one precedes the other.

Waste.. (2)

xtal (49134) | about 10 months ago | (#46211787)

The rise of the code academies is people trying to profit. Nothing more. Same thing happened 15 years ago.

There's so much information out there for free now - tutorials, books, references, open source, computers (damn near free), operating systems - the types of personalities that will excel have the tools available.

The money would be vastly better spent in providing access to maker spaces, and programming spaces with fat connections and coffee so people can network and work on ideas. Find a way to mix in some entrepreneurial types and you've got something.

Buy iPads? Why not buy them all a copy of the art of computer programming instead. Even if you don't understand it, it sets a stage. I remember getting my hands on a copy when I was very young, but I didn't understand it very well. Not understanding it bothered me the same way not understanding how the radios I took apart worked. 20 years later I know how both things.

HR wet dream (2)

EMG at MU (1194965) | about 10 months ago | (#46211789)

We all know this is every HR drone's wet dream. They probably buy the graduation list right from the coding academy and make low ball offers to these obviously desperate coders.

Re:HR wet dream (1)

ohnocitizen (1951674) | about 10 months ago | (#46213441)

This. The "shortfall" sounds like spin. There's plenty of programmers - but they have enough experience to want fair compensation. It's not black and white, there's fantastic upside to helping more people learn to code. At the same time, we need to see the potential for abuse.

Re:HR wet dream (1)

hibiki_r (649814) | about 10 months ago | (#46213777)

So, those experienced programmers are knitting while they are waiting for fair compensation? No, they are coding somewhere else. And if you raise salaries, guess what? That company gets to hire people, while another has open positions. It's not really an issue of not paying enough, when you look at it on aggregate.

If you want to look for a problem, it's that hiring young devs out of school is a lottery. You'll find some amazing ones, which will quickly deserve great salaries, and many crappy ones that are not really providing a good ROI even at entry level salaries. I'm sure you've seen developers that hindered more than they helped, even without taking their salary into account. So why hire someone out of school, when you can just have positions open to people with enough years of experience you can make a better guess on whether they are any good? Not that experience guarantees skill, but it's far easier to judge a 5 year resume than a 0 year resume, especially in a small enough market that you are well aware of the typical skill levels at each competitor.

Re:HR wet dream (1)

Bite The Pillow (3087109) | about 10 months ago | (#46214011)

I was going to retract everything I said this morning, but the rest of this comment is pasted from a link in tfa. I don't buy the projections. Particularly, the 1m jobs will be at the bottom of the pay scale, not the $80k average.

Summary of source data for Code.org infographic

1mm more jobs than students in computing, $500B over 10 years: From the 2010 - 2012 report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/ [bls.gov] , across all industries we are adding 136,620 jobs per year in computing. Subtract 40,000 annual computer science graduates (see NSF data below) and you get roughly a gap of 100,000 jobs. 100,000 jobs adds up over 10 years to 1mm jobs, with an average salary of $80,000 (the average salary in computing), that results in: first year: 100,000 x $80,000 2nd year: 200,000 x $80,000 3rd year: 300,000 x $80,000 10th year: 1,000,000 x $80,000 TOTAL SALARIES = $440,000,000,000 ($440 billion)

This is slightly below $500b, but it doesn't account for inflation over the next 10 years. on top of that, there are many studies that show that each new software job results in many more jobs in the neighborhood. The latest such study suggested a 4.3x multiplier in terms of generating supporting/neighborhood jobs. With a 4.3x multiplier, weâ(TM)d be talking about 5.3mm jobs over 10 years, and much more than $440b, so to be conservative we just rounded up to $500b. Hereâ(TM)s a very rough back of envelope analysis that suggests that the total opportunity size in this space may actually be closer to $1T in 10 years.

Target is probably at the top of the list. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46211801)

Target is probably at the top of the list of companies willing to hire the inexperienced to write programs for them. Writing business software is for experienced programmers who have the skills to do the work properly.

Software Enginering != Coding (1)

BBF_BBF (812493) | about 10 months ago | (#46211821)

Just because somebody has learned the syntax of one language doesn't mean that that person is a Software Engineer.

I've had experiences with foreign students that got a MASTERS DEGREE in Computer Science from a respected State University (not your run of the mill private diploma mill) that "waived" the CompSci basics background requirement because they're full-fare students and most of those "Software Engineers" are crap. They don't know how compilers work, don't know how a program is linked, haven't taken any of the basic CS theory (algorithms, data structures, etc, etc.) and as a result write code that is not suitable for the type of embedded development that the company that I work for does. They're smart people, just crap Software Engineers but maybe a good physicist, or economist or whatever their foreign undergraduate degree was in.

I can see how a "code academy" would generate the same type of useless Software Engineer. However, at least they don't have a "But I've got a master's degree in CS" attitude.

Re:Software Enginering != Coding (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46212129)

A code academy is much less likely to churn out people that can't write functional code, actually. You see, a CS major is going to have to learn all of that picky crap that nobody really wants to know. Stuff like big-O notation, and how each algorithm performs. A code academy student is going to have to learn use-this-not-that relationships. They won't know about big-O notation or any of the reasons why they shouldn't use a particular data structure, but they'll know not to use it in certain situations. All this in spite their lack of deep knowledge. This puts them at a functional advantage over the useless CS major that skipped all of the low-level courses.

Re:Software Enginering != Coding (1)

NapalmV (1934294) | about 10 months ago | (#46212437)

For embedded development try Electrical Engineers, they're better at it than the CS types. You may be surprised that many of them are very productive in assembly language too.

Re:Software Enginering != Coding (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46212815)

Your generalization is too general. My last manager was an EE, and while I have no idea how he did as an EE, he was horrible at writing code. I worked with him on assignments before he became manager. He would "cut-and-paste" repeated blocks with different values instead of looping over a variable; I'm not kidding. Instead of at least "ready, fire, aim," he was "fire, fire, fire, fire..." and hoped that one of his attempts actually worked. The project configuration manager hated him because the EE would submit code for the nightly build five minutes before the CM was heading out for the day, and then, shortly after the CM kicked off the build, the EE would make him stop the build because the EE had another change. This happened a lot. So, while you may think that EEs are something special, I can present at least one who was total shit.

-- green led

Re:Software Enginering != Coding (1)

NapalmV (1934294) | about 10 months ago | (#46212909)

Well I didn't say *all* of them are good at it. Some cannot write software at all. You're looking for one with experience in embedded software. Do a pertinent job description ("Electrical Engineer experienced in designing and writing software for embedded systems"), list C and assembly as requisites, ask candidates to bring previous work examples (prototypes or whatever) if they have any. You might fall onto the guy building robots in his basement, if anyone brings you a bag full of strange flashing moving things hire him on the spot. Make sure you don't mention *java* anywhere, they're allergic to it. C++ is ok.

Re:Software Enginering != Coding (1)

BBF_BBF (812493) | about 10 months ago | (#46213225)

Electrical Engineers are seldomly trained in Software Engineering, so in my experience, in general, make poor Software Engineers. Some Computer Engineering graduates have Computer Science training, some don't (ie Chip Designers, Computer Hardware Designers.) However, I fully expect anybody with a Computer Science Degree to have the basic theory of how programs are put together under their belt. Same as how I expect any EE graduate to have basic circuit theory under their belts.

With an understanding of how programs are put together, these Software Engineers (people with Computer Science Theory backgrounds, be it an EE, CE or CS major) can properly apply those basic building blocks to ANY programming language and properly debug software. (Oh, and when I mean PROPERLY DEBUG software, I don't mean just knowing how to use a particular brand of debugger.)

Have you actually *ever* posted at job and interviewed the applicants? I have, and in real life, people "stretch" their resumes to match the job posting. I would *never* limit one of my programming jobs to EE's ONLY, especially if it involved programming for a Multitasking OS. (I only know a few "self taught" programmers who were trained as circuit EE's, properly grasp threads. They're mostly more like the hack described by green led.) Note not ALL embedded device software jobs involve making BSP's and writing device drivers.

BTW, I'm a Computer Engineering graduate that took BOTH the basic EE curriculum and basic CS curriculum.

Re:Software Enginering != Coding (1)

NapalmV (1934294) | about 10 months ago | (#46213433)

If you think about Software Engineering as being about writing smartphone apps or Weblogic "enterprise" application, I will agree with you. However what good EEs have is a good understanding of systems theory and methodology. They will generally look at an embedded system as a (finite) state machine and work their way down from there. Their first draft would be a graph not a flowchart. They will be very thorough in making sure they cover all angles, instead of "throwing exceptions" every so often. If you want a working ECU get the EE.

Re:Software Enginering != Coding (1)

BBF_BBF (812493) | about 10 months ago | (#46213283)

Oh, and I forgot. I'd NEVER hire anybody who brought a prototype of a device he/she worked on at a previous job (unless it was an open source device.)

That would mean that this person will have no respect for my company's intellectual property, since he/she has no respect for his/her former employer's property.

IT / codeing needs an trades / apprenticeship syst (0)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 10 months ago | (#46212007)

IT / codeing needs an trades / apprenticeship systems.

That takes the best parts of places like this, the ITT's / devry's, and the old fashioned University system. While cutting out the fluff and filler but adding in real hands skills and real work place settings that can be far from what that books says and let's people work with stuff that can't really be done in lab setting.

And has a good maybe 1-2 year base with some kind of an on going plan after that.

Programmers (1)

jgotts (2785) | about 10 months ago | (#46212077)

We need all types of programmers, as eventually all jobs, no matter how menial, will require some programming skills.

Most technological device use is what was once called programming, but is not considered programming anymore. Think about the complex things millions of people do with their telephones. In the 1980's only a select group of the world's most skilled programmers could do some of those things. Is it really so different to do something with five button presses than doing something with 500 lines of code? You're still programming, just at a higher level. That 500 lines of code has been written and it's what makes an operation feel more natural but still be programming.

Maybe we need classes in modern devices, and to get away from the word programming. When you play your favorite smartphone app, you're programming. Take it to the next level and write an app yourself. Not everyone has to write industrial grade banking software.

"Boot Camps" can work (1)

sirwired (27582) | about 10 months ago | (#46212109)

My employer, faced with an outsized number of draftsmen, machinists, technicians, etc. and had need for programmers had a program many years ago to turn those non-programming employees into useful developers. I can't speak statistically on how successful the program was, but I can say that one of my former coworkers had gone through the program and became a successful developer.

If there is such a shortage of programmers... (1)

jonwil (467024) | about 10 months ago | (#46212501)

How come I cant find a job here in Australia despite looking for one for 3 years or more?
Everyone wants 3 years commercial experience with .NET or J2EE or whatever technology they are using.

Better think before you act (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46212617)

If you study to become a software engineer, prepare for a lifetime of unemployment.

I'm glad code academies exist . . . (1)

Kimomaru (2579489) | about 10 months ago | (#46212927)

I can't think of much anything bad about the rise of coding schools in the past few years, I think it's a great idea. All institutions of learning position themselves from an ROI standpoint to make it easier to convince people that it's a good investment, but the skills are needed pretty much across all industries. I like to think that coding schools are a good start, but the only thing that really teaches a person is working on coding projects. Some things you can't teach.

Follow The Money (1)

Jim Sadler (3430529) | about 10 months ago | (#46212933)

Daddy looks at his useless 18 year old spawn who is glued to the TV while slopping on the couch. Daddy is well aware that no place in the world really wants anything to do with his teen. Daddy also has a big ego. Daddy knows damn well that any school that is willing to get the brat out of his home is going to grab 50K a year. And daddy also likes his money. So here is what daddy will do. Daddy will send his worthless teen to a school that gives him high grades. After all if the useless kid flunks out he will be back on daddy's couch again. Daddy will talk to other parents with useless spawn and find out which glorious, so-called, college will keep the brat happy and give him credentials that will probably assure some job that will keep the brat from ever living at home. If things get bad enough daddy will give the school about half the price of a new gymnasium as insurance that his spawn can do no wrong. Once the spawn has credentials he can progress to a position of authority over others where he inflict his useless self upon the lives of people that actually know how to get a job done. It is not just the education system that is smoke and mirrors but the entire society is hollow and largely not worth the air they breath.

Re:Follow The Money (1)

EMG at MU (1194965) | about 10 months ago | (#46213189)

Wow Jim tell us how you really feel.

Just Hired One (0)

machineghost (622031) | about 10 months ago | (#46213277)

We actually just hired a graduate of Hack Reactor. She hasn't started yet, so I have yet to see her do anything more than a "Fizz Buzz", but just based on that an hour or so of interviewing she seems to have picked up a lot in her short time there.

A BS in Computer Science teaches you ... just about nothing applicable in the real world of programming. Don't deny it, all that math you did was a giant waste of time right (except for the maybe 5% of you for whom that math is totally relevant). So to me it's no surprise that someone could condense all the actual "programmer stuff" that a new college grad comes equipped with in to a few weeks.

Re:Just Hired One (1)

machineghost (622031) | about 10 months ago | (#46213289)

(To be fair this new hire has a PhD in a neuroscience, so she's no dummy. I'm not saying just anyone can be a programmer, but I am saying that I've seen evidence that a smart person can get entry-level skills from such a program.)

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