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Northface University - Computer Science in Half the Time?

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the revenge-of-the-nerds dept.

Education 666

prostoalex writes "Associated Press runs a nationwide story on Northface University. The school, founded by a pair of venture capitalists and former technology chief found a niche with its highly intensive curriculum and corporate software development specialization. For example, a BSCS degree can be completed in a little over 2 years, and it comes with IBM's WebSphere and Microsoft's MCSD certification. Northface is also promoting its corporate partnerships, which allow current students to feel more secure about future employment. Grady Booch from IBM is quoted to be 'jazzed up' about the program, although there are many who oppose such approaches to college education."

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feep (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9891092)

nothing for you to see here. please move along. first posts in twice the time!

fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9891093)

fp

Everything will be half (5, Interesting)

suso (153703) | more than 10 years ago | (#9891094)

Half the time
Half the money
Half the college experience.

Re:Everything will be half (1, Interesting)

darth_MALL (657218) | more than 10 years ago | (#9891103)

and maybe half the fluff removed that will have no bearing on real-world employment?

Re:Everything will be half (5, Funny)

ari_j (90255) | more than 10 years ago | (#9891140)

Right, because Physics, Calculus, Economics, and even Latin have no bearing whatsoever on real-world employment.

Re:Everything will be half (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9891291)

Sounds about right to me. I've never used any of those things on the job. Econ is good to know, but not directly job related. Now if they had a CYA class, or a dealing with idiots class, that would be useful on the job.

Re:Everything will be half (4, Insightful)

jridley (9305) | more than 10 years ago | (#9891168)

The point of normal colleges is not entirely to produce a working machine, but to give people exposure to a variety of viewpoints and ideas.

I personally enjoyed my non-major classes every bit as much (in a lot of cases, more) as my CS classes. Hell, the CS classes were largely boring, I already knew a lot of that stuff. The physics, biology, history, etc classes were where I really learned stuff.

Sure, I don't use biology in my job. I do have an actual life though, and friends who sometimes want to talk about things other than computers (believe it or don't on /.).

If all you want is get a piece of paper so you can get someone to pay you to warm a seat, knock yourself out.

Re:Everything will be half (4, Insightful)

op00to (219949) | more than 10 years ago | (#9891323)

The philosophy at the Universities that I've been exposed to isn't so much to expose people to differing viewpoints, although that is an integral part of the learning experience. In my opinion, I feel that by requiring students to take English, Calculus, Physics, and all the other basics not only requires some sort of literacy (No, C comments are not writing!) but teaches the student how to learn rather than merely teaching a trade. By learning how to add to their own knowledge, they are prepared to go for further studies, or to develop themselves in the worksplace. If you've never written a long essay, or done scientific experiments, you're probably missing out on a big chunk of experience that is difficult to gain in the real world, and it definately puts you at a disadvantage to people who have this experience.

Remember, eventually, there will be another IT crash. Just studying CS gives you little head start on another career. If you think school is hard, changing careers 10 years down the line is even harder.

Re:Everything will be half (1)

RLW (662014) | more than 10 years ago | (#9891284)

I used to think like this. When I was in college earning a BS in Computer Science I hated taking all those English, extra Math, Physics/Chemistry/Geology courses. Don't get me started on the Business school courses for a minor (that was the least extra course work to obtain a minor) or all the other extra credit courses. That was then. Now, I'm grateful for having taken these classes. I am able to participate in a much wider range of discussion rather then being limited to computer topics.I have developed interests and hobbies that I would not otherwise have been inclined to pursue and in general I think in a broader context which in turn leads to better code abstractions. The 'fluff' has turned out to be quite useful both in my personal and professional pursuits.

Re:Everything will be half (4, Insightful)

dup_account (469516) | more than 10 years ago | (#9891340)

Fine, then it's not a college education... It's trade school.... If you just want to get a job, then go to a trade school. If you want an education, and have the benefits of an education, then go to college/university.

Our College/University system is getting watered down as more and more kids just want to get in/out and get a job...

Re:Everything will be half (2, Funny)

Rei (128717) | more than 10 years ago | (#9891367)

Yes, but does a Northface University Notice of Failure to Graduate carry as much weight as, say, a Coney Island Community College Notice of Failure to Graduate?

Re:Everything will be half (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9891131)

Oh, I figured they'll be running Opterons or G5's, so everything will just go twice as fast with 64 bits.

Re:Everything will be half (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9891147)

Less than half the knowledge of the world you would get with a college education, too. This is a high-tech community college, nothing more.

Re:Everything will be half (2, Insightful)

LaCosaNostradamus (630659) | more than 10 years ago | (#9891162)

Since companies treat college degrees as simple job qualifications anyway, then why not just give them specific job-related certifications? It's not like a company hires you to maintain their network and also expects you to have strong reading comprehension of Shakespeare ... they expect you to have strong reading comprehension of technical manuals.

Re:Everything will be half (5, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 10 years ago | (#9891347)

While I agree with what you're saying, this change does have me a bit fearful. College curriculums have been slowly dumbed down as companies demand trained code monkeys from these institutions, instead of highly educated individuals with free-thinking ability. The result is that too many of today's college grads couldn't find a binary tree structure if it bit them in the ass. They just put one line of code after another and work on tying their shoes. The problem is, I could hire a fourteen year old to do the same thing.

As for degrees as job qualifications, this is seriously beginning to irk me. On one hand, companies supposedly want the best and brightest employee possible. On the other hand, they shirk the guy who's got the experience, the knowledge, and the proven ability but no degree, for some degreed idiot who doesn't know the first thing about software development.

Of course, these are the same companies that think that more warm bodies == faster development. In their never-ending pursuit for more warm bodies, they've outsourced to more warm bodies in India so that they can get even more warm bodies for the same price! Next they'll cut costs by going for more cold bodies!

Maybe Google will finally teach the business world something about proper engineering. Then again, maybe not.

Re:Everything will be half (1)

GreyPoopon (411036) | more than 10 years ago | (#9891361)

they expect you to have strong reading comprehension of technical manuals.

Most also expect you to be able to communicate with other people, which quite frankly doesn't seem to be taught in high schools, and certain isn't learned in a curriculum focused entirely on CS courses. I've seen plenty of people come through our office with exactly this kind of degree. Most of them came (recently) from somewhere near Bangalor. Most of them were technically very capable. Most of them could speak English pretty well. Most of them were almost entirely useless because they had no training whatsoever in communicating with other folks in a business environment.

On top of this, business generally like to hire people who are capable of understanding the business and translating user requirements into technical and functional specifications. Sorry, but you get what you pay for.

Re:Everything will be half (4, Informative)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 10 years ago | (#9891209)

Half the money

At $60,000 for 2 years, it certainly doesn't sound like half the money. A four year degree from the Art Institute of Portland [artinstitute.edu] in game programming or game art is $64,000 for four years. Although the extra couple of years might seem like fluff there is alot to be said for the knowledge and thinking skills that can be obtained during that time.

But that's my $.02

Re:Everything will be half (4, Insightful)

lucabrasi999 (585141) | more than 10 years ago | (#9891218)

Learning how to program is NOT the same as teaching you how to THINK!

Anyone can learn how to program in any language. I'd rather hire someone that has had a liberal arts degree. I can always teach them Java, ABAP, C++, or whatever. At least with a liberal arts degree, they've learned somehting about thinking and planning and collabaration. They may have even taken some business or finance classes, where they can at least understand that debits are supposed to always equal credits.

Re:Everything will be half (1)

lucabrasi999 (585141) | more than 10 years ago | (#9891243)

Oh, man, I should have RTFA'd. I've just lost alot of respect for IBM.

Re:Everything will be half (1)

RespekMyAthorati (798091) | more than 10 years ago | (#9891351)

Yeah, and you could learn how to spell "collaboration".

Re:Everything will be half (1)

RPI Geek (640282) | more than 10 years ago | (#9891280)

The CS degree at my school [rpi.edu] has a relatively short CS program, where there's a LOT of free electives: 32 credits (2 semesters for most students). If those courses simply weren't required, you could be done with your BS in 3 years. That's why I was able to go for a dual CS major alongside my Mechanical Engineering major and only need to stay one extra semester.

I've been wondering for a while now why they have so many free electives without doing certification or hardware courses (you'd be amazed at how many of my fellow students don't realize some of the limitations of the hardware that they code on).

(Yes I realize that the link above lists 36 credits of free electives, but RPI has since changed their degree requirements).

HAHA (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9891095)

First Post, bitch!

TACO said he loved me (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9891105)

But he only wanted my hot cock!!!!

Woe is me!!!!

Accredited? (4, Interesting)

ari_j (90255) | more than 10 years ago | (#9891106)

So? Is it accredited? I got a BSCS plus math and a thorough liberal arts education in 6 semesters. I'll be impressed when they teach you something other than another fad technology. As too many people here know: a degree is not only not everything, but it's hardly anything in this field.

Re:Accredited? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9891160)

Bzzzz! You did not read the article. Try again!

Compete w/ offshore outsourcing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9891368)

With all the Chinese and Indian "hire 100 PhDs for $9000/year", we need things like this to stay competitive. Degree inflation in some of these outsourcing firms has gotten so rampant, I won't be surprised if some countries start handing out PhDs with high school diplomas.

ADUni (1)

Matt Perry (793115) | more than 10 years ago | (#9891108)

Sounds a lot like what Philip Greenspun was trying to do with ArsDigita University [aduni.org] .

Technical school? (5, Insightful)

jridley (9305) | more than 10 years ago | (#9891110)

That's nice and all, but don't confuse it with a 4-year university, unless they're doubling up everything. A technically intensive degree doesn't produce the same kind of individual that a normal 4 year degree, with a variety of disciplines and experiences, provides.
Taken in that light, 2-year technical schools are nothing new. Any university could get you through in 2 years if you took nothing outside your major.

Sure the classes are nice (1)

Psymunn (778581) | more than 10 years ago | (#9891239)

Not to mention double the drinking. Double the random tomfoolery and shennanigans. Double the debt and double the substandard living and food. For me, all this things are as much, if not more so, a part of the University experience as any lecture or all-nighter.
There's more to a proper education and university experience then simply aquiring the nesseccary skills to be an effective employee. Personal growth and a well rounded education, I'd like to believe, are why one shoudl go to university, not simply because you'd like to eb a more effective corporate cog.

Re:Technical school? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9891253)

Agreed. My undergrad senior year in a 4 year program included really cool classes like AI, Compilers, and Cryptology.

No "business minded" person would think those classes would give a good return of investment - not as much as teaching them Visual Basic or Websphere. Therefore, probably trimmed out of the ciriculum to stuff it into 2 years and took all the fun out of CS.

And I'm sure no established graduate school would accept a graduate from this program without more accredited classroom contact.
(CS PhD's need not worry!)

Re:Technical school? (1)

alekd (580693) | more than 10 years ago | (#9891318)

From the article it seemed that the university catered more for people that had been in the industry for a while without any degree. I think that two years could be sufficient for people with a lot of previous practical experience. They probably already have a feeling for the subjects already. The main reason why a degree takes so long is that one time in order for things to sink in.

Re:Technical school? (1)

bluprint (557000) | more than 10 years ago | (#9891319)

with a variety of disciplines and experiences, provides.

I'm still trying to figure out what value was provided with that "variety of experience". Is it "good" to be able to talk about a variety of things? Sure. Is it worth the money you pay, and the time and money lost (opportunity cost, money you could be earning in a career) while you are there? Maybe not. That's more subjective. Unfortunately, most people consider that to be a purely objective question (as will be evident very soon in this slashdot article discussion). Personally, and this is just my experience, a good portion of the "basic" classes in college were a rehash of high school. You can only talk about Maslow's hierarchy of needs so many times...once is usually enough.

Colleges in general need to seriously consider improving the signal/noise ratio in a 4-year degree program. Every department head thinks their particular subject is the most important thing since written language and fire, but it's not that simple. We all have different needs and, more importantly, interests. Why waste time (for the school, professor and student) teaching something that most people will forget when the semester ends (and actually be able to survive in the "real world" with zero repercussions despite having forgot it)?

Re:Technical school? (1)

foidulus (743482) | more than 10 years ago | (#9891348)

Well, you can actually plow through at least a year of college with the AP tests in high school. I'm judging this on Penn State credits, YMMV:
AP Calc I/II: 8 credits
AP Physics: 8 credits(if you didn't keep your old lab notes you may have to do the labs over again)
AP Chemistry: 4(same as physics)
AP Bio: 4 credits
AP History: 6 credits
AP English Lit.: 3 credits
That is 33 credits, easily equal to a year of college(there may be CS tests, but my school didn't offer them when I was in high school). If you take courses over the summer as well, you can get done in 2 years. Though whether or not you will have your sanity at the end is another question altogether.

a new breed of super-nerds (3, Funny)

kalpol (714519) | more than 10 years ago | (#9891114)

As if it wasn't hard enough for computer people to learn social skills. There's gonna be a new crop of CS people graduating from a total-immersion CS program with nothing to talk about except computers. Wait, that's what we do now. Hooray for nerds!

Interesting, but Not Good (4, Insightful)

cephyn (461066) | more than 10 years ago | (#9891117)

Well it sure is an interesting idea...and I'm sure many will jump on it. But in my experience, turboing a CS course of study is bad. There's a lot to said for maturity and experience. I know I had a lot of trouble keeping up with a normal program -- it just moved so fast and skimmed so much -- but now that I have time and experience under my belt, it all seems so much easier and more clear. Sometimes taking your time is a good thing, and I think that getting a degree is one of those things that should take a while -- experience is often the most valuable asset.

Re:Interesting, but Not Good (1)

RazzleFrog (537054) | more than 10 years ago | (#9891221)

I agree 100% with you which is why I like the 2 year idea. I learned more in 1 year in the real world that the previous 16 years of education. In 4 years of college I learned more about alcohol, college sports, and the fairer sex than I did about my future career.

I also think that taking classes like Anthropology, Atmosphere, and Music of Latin America did very little to prepare me for anything after college. The idea that college has to be 4 years is outdated. Get the degree you need in 2 years, gain experience, and take classes that interest you at the local CC for the rest of your life. That actually brings up a much better point. Classes I have taken after college seem to sink in much better.

Re:Interesting, but Not Good (2, Insightful)

cephyn (461066) | more than 10 years ago | (#9891273)

Or you could have gotten out in 2 years and still been messing around with alcohol and have totally screwed up your life. Or not taken those anthro or culture classes and come out with a totally myopic view of the world. I'd be willing to bet the things you think were just wastes of time actually helped you out in ways you don't know -- you got all the silly kid partying out of you, so it wouldnt affect you by the time you got in the real world, and you had a better view of humanity and the world than if you had just been coding 18 hours a day with no other stimulus.

But thats just IMO.

Re:Interesting, but Not Good (1)

RazzleFrog (537054) | more than 10 years ago | (#9891358)

Actually I have an accounting degree so now coding for me in college (except one semester of basic - this was pre-VB days). Not sure I got the kid partying out of me yet, though. Not sure I want to. I just learned how to contol it.

You make a really good point, though. It really is a person by person thing. I know some people who never outgrew college, some who stayed in college for 10 years (and they aren't doctors or lawyers), and I also know some who started succesful businesses in their freshman year. In a way this at least gives somebody the option. As we always say on slashdot - choice is good.

Another One (5, Funny)

mzkhadir (693946) | more than 10 years ago | (#9891121)

Oh my god, another Devry

Re:Another One (0)

Bellyflop (681305) | more than 10 years ago | (#9891261)

I agree - I fail to see how this school is any more than marginally better than Devry. It will probably attract the same segment of the population and only the thoroughly uninformed will equate it with the total education and experience that you recieve at a four year university.

Nitpicking Symantics (5, Insightful)

Doesn't_Comment_Code (692510) | more than 10 years ago | (#9891129)

...can be completed in a little over 2 years, and it comes with IBM's WebSphere and Microsoft's MCSD certification.

I've said this before, and will again. A collection of certificates is not the same as a computer science degree.

Learning to program or to operate a specific set of programs if valuable, don't get me wrong there. But that is not the same thing as understanding the workings of a computer (which I consider Computer Science).

Learning a set of skills is very job-applicable, and very practical. But it should not be called computer science.

Re:Nitpicking Symantics (1)

Koyaanisqatsi (581196) | more than 10 years ago | (#9891274)

Learning to program or to operate a specific set of programs if valuable, don't get me wrong there. But that is not the same thing as understanding the workings of a computer (which I consider Computer Science).

Computing science has little to do with computers. Computers are tools; computing science is math.

corporate control of education (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9891136)

this is pretty worrisome to me. it turns education into a venue for companies to spread their product line, instead of a place for critical discussion of the benefits and drawbacks of emerging technologies.

this is just a damn shame (5, Insightful)

Altus (1034) | more than 10 years ago | (#9891139)


these kids are going to come out of school with a CS degree and very little of the knowledge that a COMPUTER SCIENTIST should have.

Now Im not saying that there isnt a place for a 2 year degree that is focused on programming for corprate america. corprate america needs more programmers, especialy ones that have been custom made for the type of work that corps need, but to call them CS majors? I have a hard time beliving that they will realy learn much of the science side of CS in 2 years, while also training in 2 certifications.

Perhaps Im wrong and this cariculum will teach excelent data structure usage, and algorithim analysis and AI and compiler design and low level architecture. But at this point i kind of doubt it.

Re:this is just a damn shame (5, Informative)

GileadGreene (539584) | more than 10 years ago | (#9891268)

Perhaps Im wrong and this cariculum will teach excelent data structure usage, and algorithim analysis and AI and compiler design and low level architecture. But at this point i kind of doubt it.

Looking at their curriculum course descriptions [northface.edu] , I'd say that your doubts are well founded. Looks like a trade school with a few classes in logic and discrete math thrown in. I don't see much on software engineering (aside from lip service to "the complete software life cycle"), let alone any actual computer science.

Is a BSCS just BS? (4, Insightful)

grunt107 (739510) | more than 10 years ago | (#9891142)

Just taking my experience of job hunting just out of college, a CS bach. degree is not that desirable to businesses.

Unless changed in the last few year's, the 'Big 6' liked anything but CS majors. EDS (I know bad example) even went so far as to prefer MUSIC majors. Their argument was that anyone can be taught to code - the 'free thinkers' in the BA degrees were where their employees resided.

Add to that the out-of-country outsourcing (where specific programming disciplines are taught), and a BSCS does not appear to be a good career path, 2 OR 4 years.

Re:Is a BSCS just BS? (1)

jridley (9305) | more than 10 years ago | (#9891276)

Though I disagree with this being used as a blanket rejection of CS majors, I can see where they're coming from.

When I was in college (early-mid '80's), there were a TON (probably > 50%) of people in there who had NO actual interest in computers, they were just there because their high school councellor told them that it would get them a bunch of money when they got their job. Most of them are now managers, promoted on the peter principle. There were also many of us who absolutely loved what we were doing, and I think are very creative, and I *KNOW* are way, way more productive than those other types.

You won't find someone who's just there for the paycheck going into a trance and cranking out 1500 lines of code in 8 hours, forgetting even to eat, like those of us who REALLY LOVE this stuff do from time to time.

If an employer has had a lot of bad experiences with CS majors of the "there to warm a seat" type, this could really turn them off. Hell, I once worked with someone with a master's degree in CS, and it took us years to clean up the damage that person did.

Re:Is a BSCS just BS? (1)

Patris_Magnus (771993) | more than 10 years ago | (#9891289)

Free thinkers... Music majors... That goes a long way towards explaining why EDS has gotten itself soooo hosed in the NMCI project. Free thinking is fine if tempered with just a bit of knowledge and experience.

Re:Is a BSCS just BS? (1)

Bellyflop (681305) | more than 10 years ago | (#9891350)

No it's not. Consulting firms don't want computer scientists. They need consultants. Very few businesses will hire consultants to provide anything that anything to do with the core business and requires some knowledge of their actual intellectual property.

I know of a lot of firms that actually want Computer Scientists. They won't consider anyone without at least a bachelor's degree in Computer Science unless your background is really sensational and you're not asking for much.

As far as outsourcing goes - theoretically, nearly any job could be outsourced. Financial firms pay their traders a lot of money and could concievable reduce the pay via outsourcing. But they don't - the talent is only found in pockets in the country and the traders add value to the firm by being present. I think the same thing is true with comp sci. If they can expect to throw you and someone overseas a spec and get the same result, then you're a good candidate for outsourcing. However, if by removing you, they lose something, then you're not.

Worth? (1)

coolsva (786215) | more than 10 years ago | (#9891156)

A degree is only as valuable as the university giving it. Once the students start coming into the job market, the companies will obviously realize the quality of this accelerated education and then decide what a degree from such an university is worth.
If not, a BS degree from a local smalltime university should be at par with a BS from MIT. Sadly, we know this is not true.
I do however like the idea of an intense curriculum, hopefully this does not go the way of the DeVry

What they cut (4, Insightful)

MarsDefenseMinister (738128) | more than 10 years ago | (#9891157)

Liberal arts. That's the part of a college education that teaches people to think for themselves, and to be generalists.

Nothing wrong with that, but nobody should be under the impression that this is as good as a traditional degree with a full curriculum. Unfortunately, the students who graduate from such a program will think they are well rounded, and well educated. That's because they will lack the thinking tools needed to realize that they don't have a full education.

Re:What they cut (1)

Doesn't_Comment_Code (692510) | more than 10 years ago | (#9891305)

That's the part of a college education that teaches people to think for themselves...

I would much prefer to cut liberal arts than core computer fundamentals, like math, data structures, and algorithm analysis. These things are all very important to understanding computer science, and they are invaluable later on in the game.

Learning to think for yourself, on the other hand...
I went to college thinking for myself. And I had some classmates who did too. I also had a lot of classmates who didn't come to college thinking for themselves. My experience: Those of us who came thinking on our own, left thinking on our own. Those who were "taught" to think on their own mostly just repeated what everyone around them was saying... things like "think for yourself."

I'm not really sure if you can be taught to think independantly. You can be taught good computer science if you have the capacity.

IT Degree (2, Insightful)

holzp (87423) | more than 10 years ago | (#9891158)

If you are learning how to click menu items in Websphere, you are getting an IT degree, not a Computer Science degree.

In theory you could teach a full computer science degree without even touching a computer. Computer Science is the theory behind computation, IT is the practical application of the work.

This is doable in any college... (1)

Kutsal (514445) | more than 10 years ago | (#9891164)

I finished BSCS in 6 consecutive semesters -- in 2 years.. With 120 credits exactly -- which was required for a BSCS degree...

So it's doable, if you really want to do it.. I took 20+ credits each semester to pull it off.. Consider it as going to work each day, as I had classes from 8am till about 4pm...

I have to admit though.. My degree did not include MCSD certification, but then again, doesn't it expire in two years or so?...

Re:This is doable in any college... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9891306)

Speaking of other colleges, why not just spend $51,000 CAD ($38,700USD) for a computer science degree at the University of Waterloo? Opt out of co-op and you'll have your degree in three years (of course this is one more year...). Of course this does entail moving to the cold country of Canada instead of Utah.

Not a "University" (3, Insightful)

cvd6262 (180823) | more than 10 years ago | (#9891166)

...although there are many who oppose such approaches to college education.

I do not approach such an approach. I oppose such institution being called "Universities". If you're getting two certs, AND a CS degree, where's the Humanities, History, PE, and other pieces of a well-rounded, universal education?

OT: Some people do not like general education, and that's fine. Go to a two-year (like this one), or another vocational training program. Unfortunately, administrators, wanting to attract these people are "modernizing" university education, and cheapening it at the same time.

God Bless America (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9891167)

This ain't no rag it's a flag and we don't wear it on our heads It's a symbol of the land where the good guys live are you listening to what I said

You're a coward and a fool and you broke all the rules and you wounded our american pride Now we're coming with a gun and we know you're gonna run but you can't find no place to hide

We're gonna hunt you down like a mad dog hound
and make you pay for the lives you stole We're all through talking and messing round and now it's time to rock and roll

These colors don't run and we're speaking as one when we say united we stand If you mess with one you mess with us all every boy, girl, woman and man

You've been acting mighty rash and talking that trash but let me give you some advice You can crawl back in your hole like a dirty little mole but now it's time to pay the price

You might have shot us in the back but now you have to face the fact that the big boy's in the game The lightning's been flashing and the thunder's been crashing and now it's gettin ready to rain

Chorus:
This is the United States of America the land of the brave and free We believe in God, we believe in justice, we believe in liberty

You've been pulling our chain, we shoulda done something about you
a long time ago But now the flag's flying high
and the fur's gonna fly and now the whole world's gonna know

This ain't no rag it's a flag old glory red white and blue
The stars and stripes and when it comes to a fight
we can do what we have to do Our people stand proud the American crowd is faithful and loyal and tough We're as good as the best and better than the rest
you're gonna find out soon enough

When you look up in the sky and you see the eagle fly you'd better know he's headed your way

This ain't no rag it's a flag and it stands for the USA

That's some mighty fine racism (1)

BlackTriangle (581416) | more than 10 years ago | (#9891213)

Damn.

CS = trade skill? (3, Interesting)

jaaron (551839) | more than 10 years ago | (#9891172)

So essentially this turns the CS degree into a trade skill like pumbing or electrician. Not that that is bad. My biggest concern about their technical skills would be if they had a sufficient math background -- IMHO no enough CS grads know or appreciate enough real math.

On another note though, even a general understanding of history, politics, and a host of other subjects one meets in a more "liberal" education is very important and often lacking amongst the general population.

Re:CS = trade skill? (1)

cephyn (461066) | more than 10 years ago | (#9891229)

Indeed. Well-rounded individuals should be more valuable. Unless your company wants mindless coding drones who dont think about what they're doing in the big picture (Microsoft's Security Team, or SCO might jump all over these guys...)

MIT and Stanford avoided CS major at beginning (1)

peter303 (12292) | more than 10 years ago | (#9891364)

From the 1950s to 1970s programming was considered a trade school discipline. MIT avoided even offering a major in the subject. Then it crept in as a minor in electrical engineering (6.3). Then in @1978 it made CS a titled majored (part of course 6). Before then people had to minor in CS via EE, math or business.

it's a good idea (2, Insightful)

iONiUM (530420) | more than 10 years ago | (#9891176)

I'm a fourth year comp sci student at McMaster university. I think it's a great idea. In my four years, the first 2 didn't even have that many comp sci course, a lot was electives. Sure electives are great for general knowledge and fun, but if you just want to get your comp sci degree and start working, then this is a much better option. Plus, if you really want to do electives you could do it after you start working.

Personally i'm sick of university, i was sick of it after the first year and I wish it was over. My attendance rate is near zero percent (literally), and i still manage As? Seems rather ridiculous and a waste of my money, considering everything i've learned about programming is at my current and previous development positions.

Re:it's a good idea (1)

KingEomer (795285) | more than 10 years ago | (#9891202)

You should have went to Waterloo, then. 6-7 CS courses within the first two years.

Re:it's a good idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9891270)

"I'm a fourth year comp sci student at McMaster university... ...My attendance rate is near zero percent (literally), and i still manage As?"

As? No attendence? Well, McMaster University, and all...

Re:it's a good idea (1)

chris098 (536090) | more than 10 years ago | (#9891326)

I love hearing stories like this from places like McMaster. Just *try* not going to class at waterloo or any other heavy school. It can be done, but not without many hours of self study.

Re:it's a good idea (4, Interesting)

Bull999999 (652264) | more than 10 years ago | (#9891365)

Personally i'm sick of university, i was sick of it after the first year and I wish it was over.

Maybe the reason why many employers are requiring 4 year degress in the IT field is to see if you have what it takes to work through the boring stuff. If you are sick of school after only one year, how would you last 30+ years in the work force?

More than just programming (3, Insightful)

yawhcihw (171760) | more than 10 years ago | (#9891178)

real CS is about much more than just programming. Look at any 1st-tier CS school's curriculum. There are very few actual how-to-program classes. There are lots of classes on theory and principles. None that give you a limiting certification.

a certification teaches you how to answer questions and follow a set of instructions. a real education teaches you how to think and solve problems.

i'd rather hire one CS student that went to a 4-year, second tier school, than a thousand 2-year certified programming monkeys.

Anything is better than... (1)

sleighb0y (141660) | more than 10 years ago | (#9891180)

These schools [hightechschools.com]

They made their teachers be on-site sysadmins for no additional pay.

Deceitful recruiters and poor courses.

mod 3own (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9891183)

postS. TherefOre [goat.cx]

liberal arts may not be necessary after all (2, Interesting)

has2k1 (787264) | more than 10 years ago | (#9891184)

All you need is teach the right material to the righy audience. not every tom, dick and harry is meant to go there.

i think with the right students liberal arts is not needed at university level. after all you forget that stuff after graduating that is if you haven't by graduation day.

brains are going to boil in that program. thats for surer

This is a great idea (3, Insightful)

adam.skinner (721432) | more than 10 years ago | (#9891186)

One day the truth of it hit me:

People don't go to college to learn things. They go to college to get a piece of paper that qualifies them for certain jobs.

This is a program that lets you walk out of there with 2 useful certifications and a degree under your belt. It's a "cut the crap" kind of education.

These people aren't out there to bilk you out of your money, or to brainwash you. They're there to provide a service to a niche market. And you're it.

Re:This is a great idea (3, Insightful)

hattig (47930) | more than 10 years ago | (#9891332)

You are entirely wrong.

Getting a degree shows an employer certain things, amongst which are:

1) You lasted university, didn't give up, didn't flake out
2) You are clever enough to do a full degree
3) What university you went to

these are useful. The degree itself hardly matters. What matters is the university you got it from.

These degrees are short 2 year monkey degrees. They are useful if you are in your thirties, want to change career, have a degree under your belt in something else, and you want to do an intensive retraining course. You already can show that you have the ability to work hard enough to get a degree.

What this course shows is that Programming is not a specialist thing anymore, it is a job for code monkeys, nothing special. It won't create Software Engineers though. Software Engineers (real CS people) will design stuff, and offload the boring stuff to the Code Monkeys (these trained people). Not much difference from an Architect or Engineer offloading the creation to the Builders.

Re:This is a great idea (1)

chipace (671930) | more than 10 years ago | (#9891363)

I completely agree... my degree got me in the door, and I did the rest. The sooner we can get people productive and into the workforce, the more competitive the US should become.

Once you have 3 years work experience, it doesn't matter where you went to school.

Secret revealed (4, Funny)

Otter (3800) | more than 10 years ago | (#9891194)

A 52-ounce mug of Mountain Dew stands at the ready as Northface University instructor Carolyn Sorensen helps student Robert Pace, left, with his project Friday, July 16, 2004, in South Jordan, Utah. In addition to the soft drink, other popular refreshments packed with caffeine that many students prefer include Dr. Pepper and Coca-Cola.

Apparently that's their secret -- double the caffeine, halve the time needed for a CS degree. Or is a 52 ounce Mountain Dew now a standard beverage for normal college students?

Re:Secret revealed (1)

nes11 (767888) | more than 10 years ago | (#9891322)

"Or is a 52 ounce Mountain Dew now a standard beverage for normal college students?"

I prefer to call it breakfast.

Northface? (1)

holzp (87423) | more than 10 years ago | (#9891203)

Does anyone else find it odd that a school to produce more geeks is named after a outdoor wear company? the mascot? Northface University Jackets [thenorthface.com]

Some people will never learn... (1)

Bull999999 (652264) | more than 10 years ago | (#9891206)

It reminds me of the boom days where every other TV commerical is from one of those paper mills that promise high paying IT jobs for a year's worth of schooling.

The business plan calls for 1,200 graduates a year by 2007 - five times MIT's 225 graduates in computer-related fields each year, Northface executives say.

And since when do they measure the quality of school based on the number of graduates per year?

Look at the BSCS Requirements (1)

dj28 (212815) | more than 10 years ago | (#9891207)

It looks like one of those "IT" degrees. There are no hardware courses like Computer Arch. There is no Discrete Math course or Calc II course. There are no science sequence courses or anything like that. It is merely software development with no training in algorithms or hardware. It's basically a glorified cert with a Philosophy and English course thrown in. You can substitute the time needed to spend on a degree with more busy work.

You can get a degree like this at ITT or any number of community colleges.

remember.... (1)

KrisCowboy (776288) | more than 10 years ago | (#9891210)

...don't let your studies interfere with your education.

4 year (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9891212)

I went to a 4 year university and learned NOTHING. Not a single skill that can get me a job. All i learned was computer theory. If this had been available i would have jumped on it 4 years ago. Every job i interview with rejects me because i lack experience. The 4 year university's are just a machine to extort money from you.

Yawn. (4, Insightful)

Marc Slemko (6200) | more than 10 years ago | (#9891215)

How is this a Computer Science curriculum?

Course Descriptions [northface.edu]

So ... the first course teaches all of "software development life cycle, OO Concepts, introductory Object Role Modeling (ORM), Entity Relationship Diagrams (ERD), HTML, ASP.NET, ADO.NET, Visual Studio Enterprise Architect, C#, Structured Query Language (SQL), Microsoft SQL Server, and XML basics.". That is quite the ... course.

Nothing new here, just another technical institute trying to sell their courses as something they aren't... I have no idea if it is a good program or not, but it isn't a CS degree.

This is NOT Computer Science (5, Insightful)

hattig (47930) | more than 10 years ago | (#9891226)

This is going to be a degree in Computer Programming, or Computer Administration at the most.

These people are not going to be taught a wide spread of stuff like in Computer Science that goes from lots of maths and theoretical stuff through to real world stuff through to hardware and all that.

You can but hope that this course will create people that are more than unthinking code monkeys or button clickers.

Can I get an AMEN, brother? (1)

pedestrian crossing (802349) | more than 10 years ago | (#9891297)

There you go, that is the crux of the biscuit. This is essentially a trade-school education, which will teach you what you need to know to be a code monkey.

It will -not- teach you design and problem-solving skills, but a lot of positions these days are more about cranking code than coming up with a good design.

Technical College (1)

mrm677 (456727) | more than 10 years ago | (#9891233)

This sounds like nothing more than a degree from a Technical College. Yes, very useful, however a college education is much more than learning specific skills. It is about becoming a more well-rounded, educated person.

Half the degree (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9891249)

Let me be the first to propose that students graduating from this college with a degree in "Computer Science" be instead given a degree in "Computer". There's no science going on there. No arts either, but I will leave developing that witticism to others.

Wow (4, Insightful)

foidulus (743482) | more than 10 years ago | (#9891266)

I looked at the CS requirements [northface.edu] , a whopping 12 credits of math(or maths for those of you outside the US). I had that many math credits at the end of my freshman year at Penn State, and had to take much more. The theories behind CS is math, and if they want to do anything but be a code monkey, they will need more than "Introduction to Calculus", most CS geeks took that in high school...
If you want to get through your undergrad program really quick, take the AP tests, don't go to some fly-by-night college....

frKist psot (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9891279)

1. Therefore 7here clear she couldn't

Let me guess (5, Funny)

themoodykid (261964) | more than 10 years ago | (#9891283)

Their textbooks are the "Teach Yourself XYZ in 24 hours" series?

Quoth the article (1)

kid_wonder (21480) | more than 10 years ago | (#9891296)

"It sounds like an institution that has identified a need, but will come out with programmers instead of people really trained to think critically,"

Eric Grimson, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology administrator

This is the future (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 10 years ago | (#9891300)

This is the future of education. The classic residential campus approach is just too luxurious for the United States in its declining period. A liberal education is today a luxury good. And if you have to pay for it with twenty years of loans, it probably wasn't worth it.

Now a joint IT/MBA four year program - that would have a payoff.

Theory much better...but not ideal (2, Insightful)

Benanov (583592) | more than 10 years ago | (#9891301)

I slogged four years (with breaks for co-ops) at a major American university very close to where I lived. I learned an incredible amount of theory, computing background, and a good solid programming style. ...that was 20 years old. The sad thing is that I had a good amount of trouble (thanks Dubya) finding work. However, my theory has served me well. If you have the theory, you can pick up the current much easier than if you just have the current and no theory. (My beef with my school is that they spend all of their efforts on theory, and learn little practical knowledge.) My college just started an entire new college called "IST" which attempts to merge business (MS/IS) majors with computer science. I'm finding that a lot of people who want to go into that major: 1) want lots of money, quickly 2) can't program and have no desire to 3) don't know about the old "Paper Novell Engineer" phenomena and are happy with getting certificates. Computer Science, Computer Engineering, and Electrial Engineering majors tend to call it "The System Administration Major" :) While too much theory can be a bad thing (evidenced by my difficulties entering the market) it's definitely better than learning the latest and greatest in a highly protean field (like computing) without at least some roots in theory. (Incidentally, this is why Visual Basic programming has a stigma attached. The bar was lowered to make entry easier--and it means while VB 'works' for many applications, I haven't seen a lot of elegant VB code that is scalable and designed well.) --BA

Re:Theory much better...but not ideal (1)

Benanov (583592) | more than 10 years ago | (#9891353)

I also didn't learn how to format slashdot posts.

Bah. ;)

A need for this for the second time students (1)

ericzundel (524648) | more than 10 years ago | (#9891303)

Most of the programmers at my office already have 4 year degrees, but not in computer science. Those folks need a practical education. I just think that it is kind of a waste of time for someone in their early 30's to start over as a freshman and have to go through 4 years of schooling to get a degree that won't teach them practical skills.

Discouraging (1)

myc18 (77888) | more than 10 years ago | (#9891307)

What is the point of college? Many people would say "in order to get a good job" or "to learn a specialty." Those are the most popular answers.

The point of going to college is to help you *think*. Sure, you take a boatload of courses in your specialty, math, humanities, social sciences, and hard sciences. You also learn a lot about yourself, the real world, how to adjust to changes, and how to stand on your own two feet.

What I find discouraging about programs such as Northface University are two things: it doesn't teach you how to think, and it locks you into a brand. You come out of Northface learning SPECIFICALLY Microsoft and IBM technologies, which is great for Microsoft and IBM --for the time being. But time changes, and technology changes rapidly. What happens if in the long-term there are other alternatives. Those who have the ability to think can adjust to new alternatives or find other choices --even a new career. Those who are locked-in to specific technologies will probably need to start all over again, which is sad.

Some classes my colleagues need that they offer (1)

kid_wonder (21480) | more than 10 years ago | (#9891334)

LA 120 Written and Spoken Communications I

Students strengthen their composition and oral presentation skills. Students examine the purpose, structure, logic, and language of expository writing. Students explore and apply appropriate skills for writing and public speaking, including the principles of rhetoric. Students learn the speech, composition, and delivery techniques needed to prepare for a variety of effective presentations.

LA 125 Collaborative and Interpersonal Communications

Students develop collaborative skills for successful interpersonal interactions and group work. Students learn and apply principles related to interpersonal communications, group dynamics, leadership and followership, benefits and caveats of group work, and the collaborative group life cycle.

the right stuff for 30 years of (r)evolution? (1)

wheatking (608436) | more than 10 years ago | (#9891338)

Universities (the good ones anyway) enable a student to observe, analyze, and think. thats it. and if done right, creates 30 year plus worth of opportunities where technology changes every few years and will continue to change faster than it ever has. "schools" like these are merely diploma peddlers which will get someone a job that devalues year over year... baaah.

4year college degree (1)

cbdavis (114685) | more than 10 years ago | (#9891339)

From my experience, this is just a scam by the colleges to get your dough. And the work-world enforces this scam by requiring 4year degrees for some jobs.

There used to be a great method for preparing people for work - apprentiships. I wonder who is more valuable - someone who works for 4 years at a job preparing him for a career ( using the right tools and working AT THAT career), or someone who goes to college for 4 years ( and comes out with NO experience in the field)?

I got a math degree. I have worked in IT for over 36 years. Never used my degree. In fact the best programmer I ever worked with had a degree in Physical Education. A damn jock!

It's not a real CS program... (1)

shadowmatter (734276) | more than 10 years ago | (#9891342)

... How can I tell?

Sally Struthers is the dean.

- sm

College is more than just career training (1)

unformed (225214) | more than 10 years ago | (#9891349)

You can get the technical training in two years, no problem. But all of the side stuff (history, arts, etc) is necessary to function in society as more than a worker monkey. Lastly, for someone coming right out of high school, the partying, friendships, and different experiences of college are what really make the college experience worthwhile. I made friends in college I never would have even expected to talk to before. I've got new ideas and different viewpoints. That's why college should be four years. OTOH, this would be great for someone who is older, has done the whole college thing, and just want to get on the right career track.

What's so weird about it? (3, Insightful)

Gribflex (177733) | more than 10 years ago | (#9891369)

The Bachelor of Science in Computer Science (B.S.C.S.) program is a ten-quarter, 28 month program. The academic year at Northface University is 47 weeks, and there are 10 weeks in a quarter.

Students attend classes and work on projects from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m., with one hour for lunch, five days a week. Most assignments are performed in groups as part of lab and project work.


This seems possible. In fact, it seems exactly like what most universities offer - less the out-of-faculty electives.

At my university, a full degree takes 8 semesters, or approximately 4300 hours of coursework (estimating 3 hours in class, and 6 hours out, per week). This can be done in as little as 32 months if one really tries hard. (read: doesn't fail anything, and takes 5 courses a semester with not summers off)

This place is advertising 3980 course hours, a 9-5 school environment, and 47 weeks of class a year.

Really, you are getting the same ammount of education. In fact, you are likely getting more (the 3980 number does not take into account homework time, my 4300 hour estimate does). What you are losing out on is diversity. Which many students don't want.

True, diversity is a valuable asset, and a valuable experience. I enjoyed taking english and writing classes, and found them very useful as well. But if you really want diversity, go to this school, get your first degree in just over two years, and then enroll in a second degree program somewhere else.
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