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Northface University - Computer Science in Half the Time? 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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Northface University - Computer Science in Half the Time?

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  • by suso ( 153703 ) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @01:50PM (#9891094) Homepage Journal
    Half the time
    Half the money
    Half the college experience.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      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.
    • 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.
      • by AKAImBatman ( 238306 ) <{akaimbatman} {at} {}> on Thursday August 05, 2004 @02:09PM (#9891347) Homepage Journal
        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.
      • by rebelcool ( 247749 ) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @02:14PM (#9891414)
        I doubt many companies care if you can create a turing machine on paper using predicate calculus either. But it's still an important part of computer science.

        The difference between a trade school and a university is that the university aims to not only equip you with the knowledge to perform in a job, but to make you a better all around person as well through exposure to other studies, people and ideas.

        In no other situation in life will you ever get a chance to experience such a fascinating breadth of humanity in such a period of time. Its a sad shame some people see this as a BAD thing.
    • by Shadow Wrought ( 586631 ) <> on Thursday August 05, 2004 @01:58PM (#9891209) Homepage Journal
      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 [] 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

    • by lucabrasi999 ( 585141 ) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @01:59PM (#9891218) Journal

      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.

    • The CS degree at my school [] 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 ma
    • by FirstTimeCaller ( 521493 ) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @02:15PM (#9891431)

      I really don't think that I could have built up an acceptable level of tolerance to alchohol in only two years. Heck, it took me over five years (but I did get a MS out of it too).

  • Accredited? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ari_j ( 90255 ) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @01:52PM (#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.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Bzzzz! You did not read the article. Try again!
    • by emil ( 695 ) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @02:42PM (#9891814)

      Since I graduated in 1995, tuition at the University of Iowa has tripled. It has done so because the school has locked itself into a number of expensive construction projects and is not able to reduce its cash flow needs to match the decreasing state revenue.

      From what I can tell, the quality of instruction has not tripled since my graduation. Even moreso, students that I have advised to pursue Oracle DBA certification as technical electives have been repeatedly refused, even though the university listed Oracle certification as for-credit courses.

      The CS departments of most universities have been bought off by Microsoft to the extent that they already spend over a year teaching Visual Basic. They do not use open tools, and their administrative structure reflects this close-minded and obsolete path.

      IMHO, State Universities are run in a cartel system that has seen its fair share of waste and corruption. Any ideas for a system that could effectively compete with the public university cartel would be welcome indeed.

  • Technical school? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jridley ( 9305 ) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @01:52PM (#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.
    • 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 b
    • 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 slashdo
    • 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
  • by kalpol ( 714519 ) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @01:52PM (#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!
  • by cephyn ( 461066 ) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @01:52PM (#9891117) Homepage
    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.
  • Another One (Score:5, Funny)

    by mzkhadir ( 693946 ) * on Thursday August 05, 2004 @01:52PM (#9891121)
    Oh my god, another Devry
  • by Doesn't_Comment_Code ( 692510 ) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @01:53PM (#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.
    • 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.
  • by Altus ( 1034 ) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @01:54PM (#9891139) Homepage

    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.

    • by GileadGreene ( 539584 ) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @02:03PM (#9891268) Homepage
      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 [], 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.

    • You're right!

      And my friends who finished their BA in fine arts have very little knowledge that a BACHELOR ARTIST should have.

      Like my Retail Manager Wife, who will never know how to survive as a single male oil painter.

      There is such a thing as being too literal. Sure you weren't an literary major?
  • Is a BSCS just BS? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by grunt107 ( 739510 ) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @01:54PM (#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.
    • 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 d
  • What they cut (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MarsDefenseMinister ( 738128 ) <> on Thursday August 05, 2004 @01:55PM (#9891157) Homepage Journal
    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.
    • 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
  • IT Degree (Score:2, Insightful)

    by holzp ( 87423 )
    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.
  • Not a "University" (Score:4, Insightful)

    by cvd6262 ( 180823 ) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @01:56PM (#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.
  • CS = trade skill? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jaaron ( 551839 ) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @01:56PM (#9891172) Homepage
    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.
    • 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...)
  • it's a good idea (Score:3, Insightful)

    by iONiUM ( 530420 ) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @01:56PM (#9891176) Journal
    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 (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Bull999999 ( 652264 ) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @02:10PM (#9891365) Journal
      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?
    • by neurojab ( 15737 )
      >In my four years, the first 2 didn't even have that many comp sci course, a lot was electives.
      The first two years should focus on math, the Sciences, English, etc. Very necessary coursework.

      >My attendance rate is near zero percent (literally), and i still manage As?
      Sounds like your college has very low standards.
  • by yawhcihw ( 171760 ) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @01:56PM (#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.

  • 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

  • by adam.skinner ( 721432 ) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @01:57PM (#9891186) Journal
    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.
    • by hattig ( 47930 )
      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
  • by Otter ( 3800 ) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @01:57PM (#9891194) Journal
    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?

  • 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?
  • 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
  • ...don't let your studies interfere with your education.
  • 4 year (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    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. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Marc Slemko ( 6200 ) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @01:59PM (#9891215)
    How is this a Computer Science curriculum?

    Course Descriptions []

    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.
  • by hattig ( 47930 ) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @02:00PM (#9891226) Journal
    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.

  • 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 (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    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 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by foidulus ( 743482 ) * on Thursday August 05, 2004 @02:03PM (#9891266)
    I looked at the CS requirements [], 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....
    • Re:Wow (Score:3, Informative)

      by Bellyflop ( 681305 )
      Can you believe that 26.5 credits of the degree are "externships"? Is that some kind of joke? Sure you'll get a little bit of project experience but no one is going to take your little college project seriously when you're applying for jobs.
      15 credits is "certification" courses in various random technologies. Most schools would consider them 1 credit courses at most for a total of 7 credits.
  • by themoodykid ( 261964 ) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @02:04PM (#9891283) Journal
    Their textbooks are the "Teach Yourself XYZ in 24 hours" series?
  • "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 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.

  • 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
  • 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 colla
  • ... How can I tell?

    Sally Struthers is the dean.

    - sm
  • by Gribflex ( 177733 ) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @02:10PM (#9891369) Homepage
    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.
  • by xenocide2 ( 231786 ) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @02:12PM (#9891389) Homepage
    This two year degree is pretty much the kind of crap you'd expect. No theory, little exposure advanced topics. The cirriculum [] is pretty much a lesson in writing web applications for a small set of technologies. Apparently a critical part of all software is the Web.

    This is no drop in replacement for a well rounded and indepth degree you'll find at your local University. Accrediation means something, you know.
  • by telstar ( 236404 ) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @02:25PM (#9891558)
    There's a huge difference between TRAINING and EDUCATION. You can train somebody so they have whatever certifications you want ... but that doesn't mean they know how to learn. I learned a lot of different things at college ... many of which I'm sure I'll never use, but they helped develop my brain to think a certain way and I improved my ability to learn how to learn. Particularly in an age where outsourcing is prevelant, I'd rather have a broad knowledebase.

    On the flipside, maybe college can be completed in 2 years if you take away all the fun, alcohol, and women ... and for anyone that's purely technical ... that may be a good fit.
  • by Facekhan ( 445017 ) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @02:25PM (#9891559)
    Anything that gives traditional colleges something to worry about is good. Its called healthy competition. runs 47 weeks a year and the program is composed of ten 10-week quarters.

    10 quarters x 10 weeks=100 weeks of class in two years as opposed to 8 semesters x 13 weeks=104 weeks of class in four years.

    Its a 4 year degree just a faster, cheaper (by a little bit), stronger one with additional benefits.

    It makes you wonder why traditional colleges don't do this. Perhaps it is because they like raking in inflated housing fees and food sales and the annual tuition hikes. Perhaps they are simply milking their aging business model of enslaving their grad students and treating undergrads like cattel instead of customers. For Profit Colleges and technical schools continue to innovate and traditional colleges are still living in the 1950's.

  • by uncadonna ( 85026 ) <> on Thursday August 05, 2004 @02:27PM (#9891578) Homepage Journal
    It seems to me that this discussion will be remiss if it fails to compare and contrast Phil Greenspun's idealistic Ars Digita University [] which attempted to deliver an MIT-equivalent CS education in a year.

    Some of the best coders I've ever encountered were under 20. It doesn't really take that long for someone with the right sort of intelligence to develop the skills. So the idea of a two-year crash course isn't unreasonable.

    The real problem is, that sort of intelligence isn't all that rare. Which is why a coding career isn't as lucrative as it once was, I guess. These crash courses beguile their audiences into thinking they can be fabulously wealthy just as coders. You need a great deal more to convert computing skill into something other than a moderately paid high stress job.

    Know computing, but also know something else, is my advice for most people. What else? Something that you can apply the computing to, basically. There's a lot of choices. Pick one.

  • by Ellen Spertus ( 31819 ) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @02:33PM (#9891669) Homepage

    Mills College (Oakland, CA) has a program with similar goals [], although a more academic focus. Specifically, Mills has post-baccalaureate programs [] for people who already have a bachelor's degree in another field. Graduates go on to industry or to CS PhD programs, such as University of Washington, MIT, and UCSD. The coursework is primarily upper-division undergraduate CS courses, which are taught by faculty with PhDs from top schools, such as MIT, Princeton, and UC Berkeley.

    FYI, I [] direct the program. We're having an Open House on Thursday, August 19, and are still accepting applications and awarding aid for this fall. Contact me [mailto] for more information.

  • trade school (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @02:36PM (#9891725) Homepage Journal
    That's not college. It's a trade school. A vocational program. That's very useful, maybe more useful than college in starting to work a job. But its value plays out fast, even the most of the training itself becoming obsolete within a few years. Learning to become an independent adult in college lasts a lifetime, and makes for a better career. Especially when your career, or industry, changes. That's why spreading this education over twice as long (or more ;) in college, along with a variety of other courses and students, is so much more valuable. But the trade school is better than no higher education than just high school, and probably a more realistic path for thousands of people each year than expensive, and largely mediocre, colleges. And as a post-liberal-arts degree, it sounds like the best balance.
  • by callipygian-showsyst ( 631222 ) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @02:57PM (#9892021) Homepage
    When I got my CS degree, there were three semesters of Calculus, Linear Algebra, DiffEQ, Differential Geometry, Prob/Stat, Mathematical Modeling, Discrete Math/Numerical analysis, and complex analysis.

    This is impossible, along with CS courses, in two years.

    The problem is they should call the program a degree in "Computer Technlogy" and degree holders should be "Computer Technicians."

    I may trust them to crimp connectors on my Ethernet cables, but they're not going to be doing any heavy lifting!

  • CompSci degree? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by lgordon ( 103004 ) <larry,gordon&gmail,com> on Thursday August 05, 2004 @03:14PM (#9892247) Journal
    The difficulty with this program's goals is that they are incorrectly equating the skills needed for a computer science degree with what the CURRENT job market needs are that can be satisfied with a CS degree. A college education educates. A trade school trains. This is a trade school pretending to give a BS CS diploma. I'm sure they could never get an ABET accedited Computer Engineering degree out of this nonsense.
  • by Watcher ( 15643 ) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @04:28PM (#9893189)
    This is probably being written far too late for someone to notice, but I'm going to waste my time anyway (I'm waiting for a test to run, so I have some time to burn). I end up running into a lot of very bright kids these days who are just finishing up high school and looking at what to do for their education. Some of them are looking at these two year game development schools, or two year software development schools. Every time I give them the same advice: pick a school that is going to give you a well rounded education beyond your immediate career path. Don't just study CS and learn how to be a C++ god. Learn how to write, how to speak, about history, math, science, art, whatever. The more you are exposed to, the more useful it is going to be to you later in life. That's not just a trite phrase-its reality. It is very rare today for someone to stay in the same career path or field for their whole lives-market factors, human factors, any number of things can and will force changes in your planning. The better rounded you are, and the better able to adapt, the better chance you have of changing professions successfully. As it is, I look back on my education at Penn State (EE degree, I'm a software engineer now), and some of the courses I think of most fondly had absolutely nothing to do with my career-but they were a lot of fun and I'm very glad to have taken them.

    If you want to go to one of these trade schools and in two years hit the job market, go for it, but the guy who waits another two (or four or six, depending on degree) years is probably going to be able to better mold his career path to the needs of his life.

The unfacts, did we have them, are too imprecisely few to warrant our certitude.