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Coding Curriculum in a Box


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Students in a coding bootcamp.

Coding boot camps provide aspiring programmers with a practical education and career counseling.

Credit: Detroit Metro Times

It's a common refrain among industry experts that computer science degrees don't adequately prepare students to work in the technology industry. Computer science degrees are too theoretical and not applied enough to be useful to employers, critics say.

Coding boot camps -- intensive programs that typically cost thousands of dollars for 12 weeks or so of training -- have emerged to plug the gap between academia and industry, providing would-be programmers with a practical education and career counseling.

But for many low-income and minority students, this kind of specialized training is out of reach, said Michael Ellison, founder and CEO of CodePath.org, which started out as a corporate training company but transitioned to a nonprofit subsidized by tech companies in 2017.

The boot camp's mission is to increase diversity in tech by leveling the playing field, said Ellison. With funding from Silicon Valley giants such as Facebook, it offers in-person coding courses and internship opportunities to college students. Classes are free to students. And he said the quality is consistent across the campuses where students attend its programs.

CodePath.org currently partners with over 25 colleges, including high-profile research institutions such as Virginia Tech, Texas A&M University and Purdue University, as well as smaller colleges and historically black colleges and universities. It offers courses in iOS and Android development, as well as a preparation course for technical interviews in which candidates are required to prove their coding skills.

 

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