Editor's note: The following Ideas and Creations entry was originally posted in Professor Lee's personal blog "The Digital Age" available at: http://knuth.luther.edu/~leekent/thedigitalage/posts/coding-bootcamp.html.
In a recent interview on CNN Money, college graduates are interviewed after attending a 19 week training course to become computer programmers. The course was called Dev Bootcamp and the students paid $12,000 to attend this program. They are called coders by the interviewer, but are they really prepared?
One student said that she didn't take Computer Science in college because she would not have learned web programming. That's not true at Luther College! We have been teaching web programming for close to 10 years. Web programming really consists of two pieces, Database programming and Internet programming, and we teach both at Luther. In addition, we teach a lot of other topics that help support these important skills and we prepare students for jobs in all areas of Computer Science from graduate school to jobs at Google, Microsoft, IBM, Lockheed-Martin, Medtronic, Fastenal, Federated Insurance, Epic Systems, Rockwell-Collins, and many, many other companies. Our graduates are working coast to coast and around the world.
There is no doubt that you can learn some programming skills in 19 weeks and maybe even find a job using those skills. A student in the program claims the graduates of their program are junior web developers. A Luther Computer Science graduate has been exposed to the bigger picture and understands how quickly the field changes. Luther CS graduates have the skills to teach themselves and adapt with the field. It's not clear that those with 19 weeks of experience will be able to adapt in the same way.
I think everyone should learn to program a computer, and I congratulate those in the interview that are taking that initiative. But, wouldn't it be great to attend a college where you can learn the skills you need to stay relevant in a changing tech world and not have to pay an additional $12,000 and spend another six months learning to program after college? When you factor in the lost salary that on average is costing those students $35,000 (based on an average computer programmer starting salary of $63,000 per year plus the cost of their program). Come to Luther! Graduate in four years. Study Computer Science and make a wise investment in your future!