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Higher Ed Shake Up
More of the Education World Should Look Like This

The traditional four-year college model puts all the risk on the consumer: Students borrow to make huge tuition payments, and may be forced into default if they can’t find a well-paying job after graduation. But a number of coding academies are experimenting with a different concept: The educational institution should have skin in the game.

From the WSJ:

Guarantees may be a scary prospect for four-year colleges, but they are built into the business model of the new and rapidly growing for-profit coding boot camps, which depends on students seeing a solid return on their investment.

Udacity, a Silicon Valley-based online course provider last year launched a deal on a nano-credential—find a job in six months or get your tuition back. The program cost is between $2,000 and $3,000.

The Flatiron School, a coding boot camp in New York City, guarantees its students will receive a full-time job offer in the field within six months of graduation or they get their money back. The Learners Guild in Oakland pays each student $1,500 a month to take a 10-month coding course and only gets paid the $25,000 tuition once the student graduates and is employed in a tech job, making at least $50,000 a year.

Cheaper alternatives to college with a guaranteed job offer? More of this, please. It’s not a serious liberal arts education, but then neither is most of the thin gruel served up at many four year, high-priced colleges. Ten months of code camp beats four years of ‘business communications’.

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  • Gary Hemminger

    This is pretty weak actually. The only reason they can make this guarantee is that if you know how to code and cannot get a job, you are a total dunce or unwilling to move to where the jobs are located. This is not a model that is going to extend to anything but assured jobs, where a guarantee isn’t needed anyway The only good thing is that hopefully stupid people will flock to these because of the guarantee. But if they haven’t figured out that coding knowledge leads to a job, they are probably humanity majors anyway.

    • Proverbs1618

      You know, not 4everybody can become a coder. While I agree with your point that the pool of wanna be coders in Silicon Valley is pretty self-selective, it’s still nice to know there’s some safety net.

      • D4x

        No worry. The usual Ivanka-backlash will trigger a boycott of coding camps: “Where Is Ivanka Trump? First Daughter To Learn Coding With Daughter Arabella This Summer …“We’re excited to learn this incredibly important new language together,” she said,…“Coding truly is the language of the future.” …”
        By Seerat Chabba @crat074 On 03/29/17 AT 6:56 AM

        • Josephbleau

          “We’re all coders now!” “We speak the Language of the Future!” “My child can code!” What utter BS.

  • Angel Martin

    True excellence in any learned skill takes 10000+ hours. Four months is not enough.

    • Jim__L

      You don’t need to write code like Shakespeare wrote plays, to make yourself useful in a job. Four months is enough to get by in the basics of any language, computer languages included.

      • LarryD

        The ability to think and analyze a problem is a prerequisite, if you have that, you can become an entry-level coder in four months. But don’t stop learning about your trade, that’s how you eventually become excellent.

  • FriendlyGoat

    Something similar will work for any skill/knowledge which is in demand until the new demand falls off. Coding is kinda unique, but this model is not wildly different from “go to short-course police academy, get a job as police officer”.

  • Law schools should work like this.

  • Josephbleau

    These “coding academies” are the latest example of separating fools from money. We will look back at the tragedy of those who took an offer that was too good to be true. These “schools” will disperse the money before they have to pay the guarantee. What is a “coder?” I suggest that a “coder” needs to have a background that supports success other than a short semester in c++ and SQL. H1B guys from India are your competition and they are formidable, they will get the real jobs. I suggest that if you want to get a decent job, get a BS in a combo community college/state school, get a job as a low level programmer, get an MS at Georgia Techs online comp sci program ($7k total cost), then you have a chance to run with the bigger dogs.

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