Note: This article is from a series on change with strategic implications for higher education.
In “Dev Camps” I think I may have discovered higher education’s next-generation MOOC!
MOOC’s have generated much discussion of late, offering free learning to tens of thousands of students at a time. I was early to discuss MOOCs previously in “Part II: Why a MOOC?”, and slow to dismiss MOOCS despite many encumbrances identified to include high attrition rates, learning assessment issues, academic integrity, viable business models, missing credit and accreditation, and placement.
To be clear, it is not the encumbered MOOC itself that I saw as a major threat to higher education, but rather what MOOCs portend.
By analogy, consider that in 1995 web pages were dismissed by many as nothing more than digital brochures, capable of producing little other value. Shortly after, however, the rapid innovation and development accompanying technology disruption occurred, and ecommerce was born.
Here I liken MOOCs to early web pages, and have thus been scouting for signs of next generation iterations. Dev Camps could well be one of these signs. These intense programming experiences offer a product traditionally associated with higher education, and deliver that product at a much lower price point and time frame. Dev Camps show early promise to be successful, without burdens of accreditation, credit, or transcripts.
Dev Camps have a few catches, although previous computer programming skill is not one. Candidates must be willing to commit 1,000 hours in the nine-weeks to learning, leaving only 500 hours for “errata” (e.g., sleep). The work expectation is 80-100 hours each week. Class time alone is Monday through Friday from 9:00AM through 6:00PM. Fees do not include room or board. There are no age or nationality requirements, although less than 20% of the video-applications are accepted. Dev Camps do not pretend to be a school, and as such are not accredited, and offer no credit. They will, however, connect 90% of the students with high-paying employers. So, in a nutshell, Dev Camps bridge training to employment with laser precision, and without “all that other school-stuff.”
So, in a nutshell, Dev Camps with laser precision bridge training to employment, and without “all that other school-stuff.”
What are Dev Camps?
Dev Bootcamp is one example of computer-programming schools spreading out from San Francisco. These camps turn students into programmers in less than three months, with starting salaries between $80,000 and $100,000.
Perhaps better than universities, these programs make complete mind-body connections, and as such include “yoga, stretching, and even basic meditation and mindfulness training.” My personal experience from a two-week boot camp that did not consider this was permanent ulnar nerve damage! Computing is very tough on the body, and good habits are important.
Good news for colleges?
Dev Bootcamp’s web site states their motivation is because, “…college is broken. Recruitment is broken.” Ironically, however, there could be very good news here for agile colleges, especially in urban areas. Traditional colleges work primarily on a nine-month cycle, and have unused infrastructure sitting idle over the summer. With relatively little investment, colleges could leverage this infrastructure to offer intense learning experiences in programming and beyond.
Chea, Terence (2013) Coding boot camps promise to launch tech careers, The Associated Press, April 12, downloaded from http://apne.ws/110i4Jc
Image Credit: xymonau at RGBStock