Developer Bootcamps and Computing Education: Tech Done Right Podcast

September 29, 2017 at 7:00 am 3 comments

I was so excited to be invited to do this podcast with Noel Rappin (my first PhD student) and Jeff Casimir who runs the Turing Academy bootcamp. I learned a lot about bootcamps from Jeff, whom I was pleased to learn is a data geek and measures things pretty carefully.  Two of my favorite insights:

  • Female students are more likely to graduate from the bootcamp. They are more likely than male graduates to leave before six months on the job.
  • Students who skip college and go straight to bootcamp (as Peter Thiel encourages students to do) have a harder time graduating and getting a job. That latter part might be ageism, bias against younger job-seekers.

I recommend the podcast — we had a fun discussion.

How do people learn computing? Who learns best from traditional computer science education and who from bootcamps? How can we teach people who are not developers but who need to learn some programming to do their jobs? Jeff Casimir, the founder of Turing academy, and Georgia Tech’s Mark Guzdial, one of the founders of the International Computing Education Research conference, join Noel to answer these questions and also explain why Excel is both the best and the worst thing in the world.

Source: Tech Done Right Episode 20: Developer Bootcamps and Computing Education with Jeff Casimir and Mark Guzdia

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Alfred Thompson  |  September 29, 2017 at 7:54 am

    I’m skeptical that there is a bias against young people. I suspect that the bias is against those with little experience showing the ability to work at something to completion. It takes a bit of work the make it through 4 years of university. It would be interesting see what people of the same age as boot camp students who learned software through internships, part-time jobs, and summer jobs while in high school see when applying for jobs. That would help isolate for age.

    I know there is bias against older people though.

    Reply
  • 2. Bonnie  |  September 29, 2017 at 8:29 am

    Bootcamps tend to single mindedly focus on coding, often coding in just one style. Perhaps companies are looking for a wider skill set.

    Reply
  • 3. Alan Fekete  |  September 30, 2017 at 7:32 pm

    In a university, I expect that the aims for computing graduates would be quite different from the employment-ready skills that are the aim of a bootcamp. A university curriculum should aim for ensuring many extra things that make a Bachelor’s degree holder (eg critical thinking, abstraction, connecting theory to practice, awareness of risk and how it can be mitigated, ethical issues, awareness of the gaps in current knowledge and how ongoing research is creating new knowledge, etc) but on the other hand, it would not be likely that a university could deliver graduates who were immediately matched to any particular industry platform; instead, I expect a graduate should get offered training by their employer which builds on their general experiences (of processes, languages, tools, technologies) and allows the graduate to come up-to-speed with details of the particular ecosystem, toolset etc that the employer expects. For example, a university database class would teach SQL concepts, but not necessarily the details of working with the platform-specific aspects of Oracle or MS SQLServer.

    Saying the same word “computing” for the knowledge/skills/attributes of a Bachelor’s holder, and a bootcamp completer, seems to me to risk confusing very different things.

    I would hope that many employers want (and are willing to invest in) the long-term value-add thinking and learning characteristics of a Bachelor’s graduate, not the drop-in-to-immediate-use code deliverer that a bootcamp might produce.

    Reply

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