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Four Code Bootcamps Are Now Eligible For Government Financial Aid ( 85

Long-time Slashdot reader theodp notes a pilot program for improving computer science education which includes financial aid for students at four code bootcamps: In this week's Hack Education Weekly News, Audrey Watters writes, "The US Department of Education has selected eight higher ed institutions and eight 'non-traditional providers' that will work as partners to pilot the DoE's new EQUIP experiment, meaning that students will be able to receive federal financial aid for coding bootcamps, MOOCs, and the like...

"Good thing there haven't been any problems with for-profit higher ed and exploitation of financial aid, otherwise this would all seem like a terrible idea."

The original submission has more details on the participants (including the four code bootcamps). Ultimately the program involves pairing "non-traditional" providers with higher education institutions -- and then monitoring their results with a third-party "quality assurance entity" -- to improve the ways we measure a school's performance, but also testing new ways to fund training for computer careers. (I'm curious how Slashdot's readers feel about government loans for attendees at code bootcamps...)
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Four Code Bootcamps Are Now Eligible For Government Financial Aid

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  • Well (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ShooterNeo ( 555040 ) on Monday August 22, 2016 @03:54AM (#52746291)

    I've got a computer engineering degree. While I do currently have a job, some of these bootcamps claim to offer just a handful of weeks of work then the connections to get you an interview. They claim they get jobs that pay 6 figures on average to nearly all their graduates.

    When I was looking for a job, this seemed pretty tempting. It's also hugely more efficient if any of their claims are true. It makes more sense for people to finish high school/get a cheap associates degree and then use a bootcamp to get relevant, immediately useful skills. Out of all the courses I took for a degree, at least 80% of the knowledge I don't use on a daily basis.

    On demand education makes a ton more sense. Train people intensively for the 20% they actually need. 10 years later, those 6 figure jobs doing full stack web dev will probably not be nearly as lucrative or in demand. So people would go to another bootcamp.

    It's far cheaper and more efficient if it works. I can't say for sure if it does - as I mentioned, I only looked at advertising copy for these bootcamps - but the idea makes a lot of sense.

    • Re:Well (Score:4, Funny)

      by johannesg ( 664142 ) on Monday August 22, 2016 @04:26AM (#52746367)

      Yeah, because just a handful of weeks of education for people who are only motivated by money is going to turn out such great professionals. And who needs a well-rounded education anyway when someone with an extremely narrow skillset (who is therefore also less employable) is so much cheaper...

      • It depends on what the goal is. If you're talking about educational efficiency, it makes a ton more sense. It makes a ton more sense to train people for 6 months intensively, with a repeat in 5-10 years, if it makes them 80 or 90% as good as someone you trained for 4-5 years. I have that 5 years worth of training, maybe that makes me a better engineer, maybe it doesn't. But if I could be 80% as good as I am now, for 80% of the pay, and I didn't have to waste 5 years in school, I'd have gone that route.

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          It's more like "there are lots of jobs where 6 months is enough to make modifications and minor improvements, and to learn more on the job". You might only get 50% of the pay for that. There is a lot of vertical software that can be hacked up in that way. Sure, the result is ugly and makes the next person's life a living hell, but the business case for doing it properly just isn't there.

          The better paid jobs will be for the people who design and implement the first version or add major new features.

        • Would you visit a doctor who has had a few weeks of medicine bootcamp? Drive over a bridge designed by an engineer with a few weeks of engineering bootcamp? Maybe fly in a plane flown by a pilot with a few weeks of pilot bootcamp?

          No? Why not? Do you not appreciate the efficiency of that approach anymore, now?

      • by Rinikusu ( 28164 )

        Well... I know some folks that did these bootcamps. They have/had degrees in other subjects, but found they either didn't like that direction in their career or found options limited for whatever reasons (automation, downsizing, etc). So it's not like they have a narrow skillset; many of these folks have quite diverse skillsets. It's just not tech focused. So, they looked at software dev. It seems interesting and hey, everyone always has "an app idea." But they can't get a job doing software dev becau

        • No, now is not the ideal time to go to boot camp. Look around - with everyone getting desperate over their future, now is the time to open a boot camp.

          When the economy goes in the sh*tter, enrollment in education always goes up - and tuition has increased in price much faster than inflation, while the economic value has dropped.

          At one point, those two trend lines are going to cross. They already have for many degrees.

    • Depends on what was covered in the degree program. The Comp Sci Engineering degree at UF has *one* programming class (Java). Here at "the other college" in Gainesville someone who graduated last spring would've had the chance to experience C, C++, C#, Java, PHP, both iOS and Android app, and now with our BAS degree we are covering UML and a few other things. But nothing about say Python or Ruby. So if I were looking for a job and there was lots fo work for people who had experience with Python, doing

    • by GuB-42 ( 2483988 )

      I use much more than 20% of what I learned at school, indirectly.
      College-level education is not about learning keywords, it is about getting the appropriate mindset so that you don't need training each time the keywords change. If you rely on these "code bootcamps" for your education, you will be no better than cheap offshore workers (and worse than less cheap, better trained offshore workers).

      The only good thing about these bootcamps is if they can land you a job that allows you to get paid and get proper

    • It's far cheaper and more efficient if it works. I can't say for sure if it does....

      It doesn't. We've been here before in the 90's, when CS and CIS degree programs were flooded by people in the field solely for the money (which dried up rather quickly with the arrival of the Dot Bomb). It ends up with the situation I had in my senior year of College/University, in which one of my classmates asked me if I could format a disk for him because he never learned how.

      You're deluded if you think, "...a handful of weeks of work...", no matter how intensive, is worth anything. Hell, most graduate

      • We've been here before in the 90's, when CS and CIS degree programs were flooded by people in the field solely for the money

        Calling those training courses "degree programs" is rather generous. I remember those days, there was a serious shortage of skilled IT people, and I don't mean shortage in the sense of "let's pretend there is one so we can import cheap overseas workers"; it was genuinely hard to find staff of any qualification. What we had then is similar to the current boot camps, short track training to quickly get people up to speed. They enrolled literally anyone into these programs: housewifes re-entering the job ma

        • Calling those training courses "degree programs" is rather generous.

          Certainly less so than a boot camp. The grandparent poster is absolutely right - we've been here before (in the 80s, in the 90's, etc). Same sh*t, different scam.

      • [...] (which dried up rather quickly with the arrival of the Dot Bomb).

        Healthcare became the new money major after the dot com bust. Everyone and their grandmother dropped CIS like a rock and enrolled in healthcare. Friends told me I was crazy to be in computers. Fast forward to today... Many of my friends in healthcare are making more money than me but hate their jobs with a passion. I'm enjoying my career in IT support, and, ironically, some of my best contract work is for hospitals.

    • by sinij ( 911942 )
      I wholeheartedly disagree with the above. While I don't utilize, for example, what I learned about thermodynamics, I do frequently utilize my ability to quickly comprehend and summarize obscure concepts. Substantial part of my job is to translate thermodynamics-like concepts into task lists that could be understood and executed by coders.
    • Well your taking a lot of heat, but I am a member of a large community and personally know 3 young men who went to boot camp and were hired immediately after leaving, and now after a job switch (or two) are making low six figures (in NY). Front end is very hot, now, and these guys are getting hired. They're all smart and really motivated self-learners and--this is a slashdot blindspot--they do not stop learning once they leave the bootcamp, they just learn on and off the job. There are tons of books out the

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 22, 2016 @06:11AM (#52746605)

    Source URL:

    FACT SHEET: ED Launches Initiative for Low-Income Students to Access New Generation Of Higher Education Providers

    AUGUST 16, 2016
    Contact: Press Office, (202) 401-1576,
    More Resources
    pdf icon Transcript of Press Call
    Today, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) is inviting eight selected partnerships between institutions of higher education and non-traditional providers to participate in the EQUIP (Educational Quality through Innovation Partnerships) experiment.

    These partnerships will allow students—particularly low-income students—to access federal student aid for the first time to enroll in programs offered by non-traditional training providers, in partnership with colleges and universities, including coding bootcamps, online courses, and employer organizations. The goals of the experiment are to: (1) test new ways of allowing Americans from all backgrounds to access innovative learning and training opportunities that lead to good jobs, but that fall outside the current financial aid system; and (2) strengthen approaches for outcomes-based quality assurance processes that focus on student learning and other outcomes. The experiment aims to promote and measure college access, affordability, and student outcomes.

    EQUIP falls under the Experimental Sites Initiatives, which test the effectiveness of statutory and regulatory flexibility for post secondary institutions that disburse federal financial aid. Through the EQUIP program, the Department seeks to learn about these new models and their costs and educational and employment outcomes for students, as well as explore new methods to measure quality. Testing and learning from this program may help inform future policy reforms.

    "I'm thrilled that students will soon have access to these innovative programs, developed in partnership with colleges and new providers, with the help of federal financial aid," said Under Secretary of Education Ted Mitchell. "As these innovative programs continue to develop, it will be increasingly important to understand what an outcomes-based quality assurance system looks like for such programs. I am encouraged to see that these colleges, providers, and quality assurance entities have stepped forward to provide models for doing so."

    Why we are launching EQUIP

    Over the next decade, the share of jobs requiring some level of higher education is expected to grow more rapidly than those that do not, with 11 of the 15 fastest-growing occupations requiring a postsecondary education. That is why the Obama Administration has worked to ensure that all students have access to a high-quality, affordable higher education. From the First in the World grants with which institutions of higher education designed and are testing innovative approaches to teaching and supporting students, to recent changes that will allow students to apply for federal aid earlier and more simply, the U.S. Department of Education has continuously worked to promote college access, affordability, and completion.

    The expansion of higher education to more students means that students today are more likely to be older, living away from campus, and attending part-time while balancing work and school. To meet the needs of all students, our higher education system must continue to innovate and evolve.

    There are many efforts across the higher education community to explore new ideas and affordable models for offering a quality education, such as short-term credential options, and online or blended skills training that is responsive to the need for accountable innovation. These programs can be accessible, affordable, and customized to the needs of a diverse student population.

    For students seeking access to these new models of education, there are two key barriers to enrolling: lack of access to financial aid, and lack of information about

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Source URL:

    Page 1
    Educational Quality through Innovative Partnerships (EQUIP)
    Experiment to Provide Low-Income Students with Access to New Models of Education and
    Press Call to Announce Selected Partnerships
    Moderator: Kelly Leon
    August 16, 2016
    11:15 am CT
    Coordinator: Welcome and thank you for standing by. At this time, all participants will be
    on a listen-only mode. During the question-and-answer session, you may press
    star foll

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 22, 2016 @06:57AM (#52746717)

    What proportion of competent programmers are self-taught? I would expect the majority. On my degree, the only people who could program were the ones who had learned themselves, and the students who relied on the lectures knew practically nothing.

    You can't just sit in a classroom and expect to be able to program at the end of the course. You only become a competent programmer by spending a lot of time working on real applications, which generally involves dedicating a lot of your free time.

    If I were recruiting for a programming job I wouldn't even consider qualifications and wouldn't care whether the applicant had a degree or not. What I'd instead want to see is examples of the programs the applicant had produced. This would confirm that they could actually program (since many people with degrees can't) and that they have the enthusiasm and dedication to be good programmers. If all you have is a degree or some certificate from a bootcamp, and can't show any work that demonstrates your programming skills, then it's clear that you have no programming skills, nor do you have any interest in programming.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      If I were recruiting for a programming job I wouldn't even consider qualifications and wouldn't care whether the applicant had a degree or not. What I'd instead want to see is examples of the programs the applicant had produced. This would confirm that they could actually program (since many people with degrees can't) and that they have the enthusiasm and dedication to be good programmers. If all you have is a degree or some certificate from a bootcamp, and can't show any work that demonstrates your programming skills, then it's clear that you have no programming skills, nor do you have any interest in programming.

      If the advertisements for these programming bootcamps is accurate, the students / learners build a portfolio, presumably accessible online, to show prospective employers. The bootcamp tuition is not inexpensive and the student loans tie-in for these pilot programmes should be a red flag. There is no reason for charge more than 5000 dollars for the entire bootcamp which could be delivered online; twenty thousand dollars is robbery unless they can guarantee a well-paying, non-abusive workplace upon completion

      • Oh, I can show you that portfolio already. It's called "stackoverflow". If you have ever browsed through that you'll see how much "a few weeks of bootcamp" is worth...

      • There are some in NY that take a percentage out of the first year's salary and no tuition. have a friend who went to one of them and it worked for him, but they are selective. The better boot camps (per my research YMMV) are full time an on-site because your literally writing code with mentors and peers for crazy hours. They probably do more coding in a month or do than a working coder will do in 5 or 6. At some point, though the starting salary will go from 60-80 to 35-50, no doubt about it. It's the new

    • A bootcamp sounds great though for an experienced professional to pick up a new skill. When it comes to IT stuff, my experience is that a focused approach with plenty of hands on works best. You don't learn a new development framework well by trying a couple of tutorials from a book, you need to do an actual project. You can try this on the job, which usually sucks royally for all involved (unless you set up specifically for this). Or you do this yourself but this requires time and focus that not everyo
    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      Full agreement here. Job interviews where they set you little exams or focus on your qualifications are usually a sign that you don't want to work there. You will be stuck with crappy old code written by barely competent people. If they spend a lot of time looking at examples of work and discussing past projects, it's a good sign.

  • It's kind of like, on the eve of the car, the government sponsoring camps for learning how to use the buggy whip. Here's how you know for _sure_ that coding's days are numbered: government officials are saying that everyone should learn how to do it.
  • If this isn't an indicator of the top of the Second Dotcom Bubble, I don't know what is.

    I'm old enough to remember the first one. Since I'm a systems guy and not a developer, my side of the house had "MCSE Bootcamps." I worked for a consulting company at the time, so I got sent to one. These were some really interesting operations; some people were clearly there to cram for the exams but had real world experience, and others were basically off the street with zero idea what was going on. The second batch ha

  • by PolygamousRanchKid ( 1290638 ) on Monday August 22, 2016 @07:27AM (#52746797)

    Me: You don't seem to like IT, but you are working in it. Why?

    Him: The government told me that I could make a lot of money in IT.

    Me: Are you happy in working in IT?

    Him: No.

    Tossing out code camp degrees massively to folks might seem to the government folks that they have increased the IT skill pool.

    They are wrong.

  • bad idea we don't need 4-6 years of school + boot camp just to have a chance at a job. Where you may be going up against an h1-b who does not have an 50-100K loan to pay off.

    Or you do you want to be like med school where you starting working at your 30's with 250-500K in loans but the down site is no unions and you may just get layed off be for you can pay that loan off.

    • by Rinikusu ( 28164 )

      Even India has code bootcamps. They're much cheaper than the US (COL differences), but they have their equivalent fees and structures. I saw them advertised all over the place in Bangalore.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Free Money From the Government! Except for not the students, the money doesn't go to them, it does however go to the companies running these "bootcamps." What they don't tell you is that most of these companies are owned by a congressman's son in law.

    Let me make clear, NOBODY will actually get a job from these programs. Not a single person.

    Can you learn to speak a foreign language in the time frame these "bootcamps" claim to? No? Neither can a programming language.

    To be honest government money would be

    • by Shados ( 741919 )

      What's sad is that a lot of people DO get jobs out of these bootcamps.

      The "You don't need to go to school to make 200k/year" wave is strong, because there's the occasional kid who started coding when they were 5 and self taught by coding 60 hours a day instead of playing Pokemon, who then went in a bootcamp to learn Rails and actually did end up successful.

      Then everyone use their example and go "see!!! This kid became a tech lead at 21 and is making a truck ton of money instead of wasting their time in coll

      • by jon3k ( 691256 )
        This basically nails it. I have a friend who gets a dozen resumes a week from these kids. And literally they expect a $100k start salary after completing a six week coding bootcamp from some "dojo".

        Maybe there is work for cranking out web sites but I'm really confused as to who is hiring non-classicly trained Ruby Bootcamp Graduates? Need a website? Great, download a CMS (Drupal, Wordpress, Joomla) and buy/make a template for it. Need an internal line of business app - great, who uses Ruby for that?
        • the ruby track isn't hiring anymore. the js guys however are still getting hired. one of the 3 guys I know who went to bootcamps and got hired did one for Ruby but now works in the JS world. All 3 have progressed in their knowledge. You don't stop learning when you leave the bootcamp and get hired. That's what slashdot doesn't seem to get. It's just gets you a foot in the door, then you start learning on someone elses dime. it's been a great deal, but the ROI is declining.

          • by jon3k ( 691256 )
            I don't think anyone thinks you stop learning. I think everyone assumes you can't cram 4 years of actual computer science into 6 weeks. You can't possible learn all the fundamental elements from the major courses (Operating Systems, Data Structures, etc).
            • you can't, but you can get hired, at least for now. Then if you wish you can read a algo_ds textbook and an OS text book, and after about two years you are at par with a standard graduate.

              the bootcamps do what tons of theory cannot, namely, get you enough hands on to hit a entry level job running. While it lasts it's a great thing, as you can take your severance and re-tool and get into a new thing in a matter of months.

  • Make Up To $37,000,000/Hr In Taxpayer Funds While Working From /Home!

    Learn This One Simple Trick That Computer Scientists Don't Want You To Know About!

    This Guy Learned 9 Programming Languages in 6 Weeks, You Won't Believe What Happ...SIGSEGV at 0x0

    Eh, there's a MOOCher born every minute...

  • >> testing new ways to fund training for computer careers

    Gravy train...enabled.
  • by __aaclcg7560 ( 824291 ) on Monday August 22, 2016 @11:20AM (#52748267)
    I went back to community college on a post-9/11 $3,000 tax credit for job retraining to learn computer programming. Since I already had an A.A. degree, I only had to take the programming classes to get my A.S. degree. That took five years to complete. At the beginning I couldn't get some classes because there was too many students. Towards the end I couldn't get some classes because there weren't enough students, as healthcare became the new money major. After working six years a video game tester, I went into IT support. A decade later I'm working fewer hours per week (my employment contracts prohibit working OT), making more money and paying more in taxes.
  • I've been helping out a school near me that is in the process of replacing their IT guy. He built the school a web-based student information system on a cloud-hosted LAMP stack. The position requires maintaining that application, and doing all the infrastructure/desktop support.

    Over the summer I re-engineered their entire network - new firewalls, switches, access points, VLANs, and a new IP phone system.

    I met their new "highly qualified" IT director. She has a masters degree in computer science. We did

    • How on earth does a Masters Degree holder in Comp Sci get those credentials without understanding basic internet protocols?

      If you think that's bad... When I worked at the Goolge Help Desk, I had to walk a new CS graduate through the process of turning on his PC as no one was standing around like they do in the computer labs. I've been told repeatedly on Slashdot that CS is software theory that has nothing to do hardware theory.

    • Hope you lied and made up something that would be hilarious when repeated. Like Top Control Protocol and Under Data Control, and how you had to have both or the switches would get jammed by either having not enough control on top of the data or not enough data to control underneath.

      And when that happens, you need to remove ALL the cables from your PC before rebooting, not just the ethernet jack, because it's like static electricity - it's just going to stick there - and show that you're not BSing by saying

"How many teamsters does it take to screw in a light bulb?" "FIFTEEN!! YOU GOT A PROBLEM WITH THAT?"