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Tech Bootcamps as a solution to failing Education systems

It’s the latter part of the aughts, 250+ high school graduates have just gotten admission to study a prestigious medical course, their future looks promising… By the end of the next decade barely 10% of that number actually practiced that course.

 

The above illustration has become a recurring trend in Education systems globally. The Washington Post reports that only 27% of college grads in the US have a job related to their major. In the UK, 96% of university graduates say they had switched careers by the time they reached the age of 24. In Africa, the available data speaks  to the fact that fewer youths opt to invest in a tertiary degree. Rather, the majority focus on getting skilled and building a career outside the 4 walls of formal education.

 

It is worthy of note though, that formal education itself builds self-directed learners that are independent and confident, and will go out into society and give to society through leadership or through civic duties. However, the realities of the present day have advanced greatly to a point where education systems are decades away from catching up. In a report, it was postulated that the lifetime median return on investment (ROI) for the average bachelor’s degree is 287.7%; Bachelor’s degree holders do not begin to see returns until they’ve worked full-time for 15 years. 

 

Youths find themselves wondering “Is it worth it”; the barrier to entry, the time and resources expended in acquiring the degree and the reality of a mismatch between their degree and the needs of the job market. These three issues form the foundation for the emergence of the refined model of coding bootcamps

 

“A coding bootcamp is a short-term, intensive training program that teaches students practical and job-ready tech skills.”

Before we dive into how coding bootcamps easily mitigate these issues, it is worthy to mention the origin/history of these bootcamps. Interestingly the origin of coding bootcamps is accurately documented to have been in 2011 when one person posted an offer to teach 6 people to code on Hacker News. No computer science background needed, intensive learning regime and a guarantee of employment at the end of the program. 

 

 

 

Barrier to Entry 

Institutional barriers, for example, entry requirements and course timetabling have been listed as some of the restrictions for youths to pursue degree programs. However with bootcamps, the basic requirements are typically restricted to numeracy and literacy skills. In some cases, entry requirements are limited to the “spirit of inquiry” amongst the intended students. Reducing the barrier further, coding bootcamps typically provide flexible learning structures and timetabling to suit commitments of intending students thus enabling them to easily transition from whatever responsibilities they typically have. This can technically be argued as a critical determinant of career swaps amongst professionals in other fields. 

 

Time and cost (Learning curve) 

A more relatable limitation of the conventional education systems is the high financial cost as well as the duration of learning (Learning Curve). Students are required to assimilate years of research including those not directly related to the practical applications of their skills. In the process there’s an overload of knowledge with very little attention given to the application of knowledge in everyday life. Furthermore, the high cost of these programs typically leaves students with years of debts post graduation and in a bid to increase their earning power, they get more degrees and rack up more debt. Coding bootcamps on the other hand provide short term, precise,  practical  learnings (with real life applications) that comes with a promise of placements immediately after the program. In some cases (especially in high demand sectors), students earn income whilst learning new skills. 

 

Job Mismatch

By far the most important advantage of the coding bootcamps over conventional education is the career matching prospects. The transitioning of the world systems into a technology (software) driven ecosystem has created an ever increasing need for talents. The short learning curve of bootcamps provides an opportunity for students to get acquainted with the latest skills per time as the curriculum changes along with the realities of the job market. This in contrast to the curriculum review process of the conventional education systems which typically undergoes multiple reviews and institutional red tapes only to become obsolete when implemented. In one case, the output talents are well acquainted with practical applications of the latest technology and thus suited for the available jobs while in the other case, output talents enter the job market with skills that are no longer sought after.  

It’s the latter part of the aughts, 250+ high school graduates have just gotten admission to study a prestigious medical course, their future looks promising… By the end of the next decade barely 10% of that number actually practiced that course.

 

The above illustration has become a recurring trend in Education systems globally. The Washington Post reports that only 27% of college grads in the US have a job related to their major. In the UK, 96% of university graduates say they had switched careers by the time they reached the age of 24. In Africa, the available data speaks  to the fact that fewer youths opt to invest in a tertiary degree. Rather, the majority focus on getting skilled and building a career outside the 4 walls of formal education.

 

It is worthy of note though, that formal education itself builds self-directed learners that are independent and confident, and will go out into society and give to society through leadership or through civic duties. However, the realities of the present day have advanced greatly to a point where education systems are decades away from catching up. In a report, it was postulated that the lifetime median return on investment (ROI) for the average bachelor’s degree is 287.7%; Bachelor’s degree holders do not begin to see returns until they’ve worked full-time for 15 years. 

 

Youths find themselves wondering “Is it worth it”; the barrier to entry, the time and resources expended in acquiring the degree and the reality of a mismatch between their degree and the needs of the job market. These three issues form the foundation for the emergence of the refined model of coding bootcamps

 

“A coding bootcamp is a short-term, intensive training program that teaches students practical and job-ready tech skills.”

Before we dive into how coding bootcamps easily mitigate these issues, it is worthy to mention the origin/history of these bootcamps. Interestingly the origin of coding bootcamps is accurately documented to have been in 2011 when one person posted an offer to teach 6 people to code on Hacker News. No computer science background needed, intensive learning regime and a guarantee of employment at the end of the program. 

 

 

 

Barrier to Entry 

Institutional barriers, for example, entry requirements and course timetabling have been listed as some of the restrictions for youths to pursue degree programs. However with bootcamps, the basic requirements are typically restricted to numeracy and literacy skills. In some cases, entry requirements are limited to the “spirit of inquiry” amongst the intended students. Reducing the barrier further, coding bootcamps typically provide flexible learning structures and timetabling to suit commitments of intending students thus enabling them to easily transition from whatever responsibilities they typically have. This can technically be argued as a critical determinant of career swaps amongst professionals in other fields. 

 

Time and cost (Learning curve) 

A more relatable limitation of the conventional education systems is the high financial cost as well as the duration of learning (Learning Curve). Students are required to assimilate years of research including those not directly related to the practical applications of their skills. In the process there’s an overload of knowledge with very little attention given to the application of knowledge in everyday life. Furthermore, the high cost of these programs typically leaves students with years of debts post graduation and in a bid to increase their earning power, they get more degrees and rack up more debt. Coding bootcamps on the other hand provide short term, precise,  practical  learnings (with real life applications) that comes with a promise of placements immediately after the program. In some cases (especially in high demand sectors), students earn income whilst learning new skills. 

 

Job Mismatch

By far the most important advantage of the coding bootcamps over conventional education is the career matching prospects. The transitioning of the world systems into a technology (software) driven ecosystem has created an ever increasing need for talents. The short learning curve of bootcamps provides an opportunity for students to get acquainted with the latest skills per time as the curriculum changes along with the realities of the job market. This in contrast to the curriculum review process of the conventional education systems which typically undergoes multiple reviews and institutional red tapes only to become obsolete when implemented. In one case, the output talents are well acquainted with practical applications of the latest technology and thus suited for the available jobs while in the other case, output talents enter the job market with skills that are no longer sought after.  

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