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Education Government The Military Programming

Should The Government Pay For Veterans To Attend Code Schools? (backchannel.com) 168

mirandakatz writes: David Molina was finishing up his 12-year time in the army when he started teaching himself to code, and started to think that he might like to pursue it professionally once his service was done. But with a wife and family, he couldn't dedicate the four years he'd need to get an undergraduate degree in computer science -- and the GI Bill, he learned, won't cover accelerated programs like code schools. So he started an organization dedicated to changing that. Operation Code is lobbying politicians to allow vets to attend code schools through the GI Bill and prepare themselves for the sorts of stable, middle-class jobs that have come to be called "blue-collar coding." Molina sees it as a serious failing that the GI Bill will cover myriad vocational programs, but not those that can prepare veterans for one of the fastest-growing industries in existence.
The issue seems to be quality. The group estimates there are already nine code schools in the U.S. which do accept GI Bill benefits -- but only "longer-standing ones that have made it through State Approving Agencies." Meanwhile, Course Report calculates 18,000 people finished coding bootcamps last year -- and that two thirds of them found a job within three months.

But I just liked how Molina described his introduction into the world of programmers. While stationed at Dover Air Force Base, he attended Baltimore's long-standing Meetup for Ruby on Rails, where "People taught me about open source. There was pizza, there was beer. They made me feel like I was at home."
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Should The Government Pay For Veterans To Attend Code Schools?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 07, 2017 @12:39PM (#54371491)

    No. New schools, even if they're "coding schools" still need to go through the normal procedures to attain recognition that they are a real school.

    • by slashkitty ( 21637 ) on Sunday May 07, 2017 @01:15PM (#54371621) Homepage
      Yeah, instead of "Coding Boot Camps", I'd call most of the "Code Mills". Maybe all they are good for is seeing if you have an affinity for programming.. not actually giving you all the skills you need to succeed.
      • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Sunday May 07, 2017 @01:26PM (#54371671)

        The school should get fully paid only after the student completes the course, gets a job, and is employed for six months. That will increase their incentive to work with local employers, teach skills that are actually in demand, and help with job placement. It will decrease their incentive to enroll people that clearly can't do the work.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          For that matter, the schools should have their tuition earnings be contingent on the increase in salary their graduates make over minimum wage. Take an average multiple of the minimum wage that each student is earning for the three years following graduation: if that number is 2 then the school should be able to keep 100% of federal financial aid paid as tuition. If that number is less than 2, they should have to divide the number by two and that should be the percent of federal financial aid paid as tuitio

        • by djinn6 ( 1868030 )

          The school should get fully paid only after the student completes the course, gets a job, and is employed for six months... It will decrease their incentive to enroll people that clearly can't do the work.

          Some of the programs do exactly that. Then they basically end up enrolling people who could already program. They force you to go through a few dozen "exercises" which are basically programming interview questions, plus several small projects. So by the time you're enrolled, you don't really need the course anymore.

      • I disagree. The skill being taught is the ability to learn programming. I'm attending a coding academy at the moment (for reasons which are becoming increasingly obscure) and no one could possibly mistake the curriculum for a complete education, but unfortunately there's essentially no place offering anything better. CS grads can probably be trusted to have learned either Java, Python, or perhaps Javascript. They can probably discuss a bit about algorithmic complexity and may know something about compilers,

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Yes, "real schools" that launder old money into credentials.

    • Yea but,,, see,,, if they went into debt for a 'real' school, they would have asked for a lot more pay. And probably would have been a lot less likely to get hired.

      How about government stop paying for all schools for a while? And let the schools educational standards and tuition pricing stand on their own merits?
  • by mspohr ( 589790 ) on Sunday May 07, 2017 @12:40PM (#54371497)

    Unfortunately, there are a lot of schools scamming veterans. They offer fairly useless courses and the government pays.
    Of course it would be good for veterans to learn coding but it should be a properly accredited school. It looks like there is a mechanism in place to properly vet (sic) schools and it should be followed.
    Pizza and beer do not necessarily make a good school.

    • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Sunday May 07, 2017 @12:55PM (#54371545) Journal

      Unfortunately, there are a lot of schools scamming veterans.

      What kind of sleazy asshole would scam a veteran and think he could get away with it?

      http://pacedm.com/2016/05/trum... [pacedm.com]

    • Unfortunately, there are a lot of schools scamming veterans. They offer fairly useless courses and the government pays.

      At the same time, the rules on what the GI Bill can be used for are really strange in some instances. For example, you can use it toward flight school to get a commercial pilot's license. You can use it for vocational school to get electrical, plumbing, etc., qualified. But you can't use it to get a Ph.D. You also can't use it to get a second degree at the same level as one you already have. Did you get a BA in general studies and now you want an engineering degree? You're on your own. Did you earn a

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Hognoxious ( 631665 )

        Does it cover foreign languages? If he wants to go into tech he should learn Hindi.

    • There are a lot of schools scamming everyone. The FTC and various state governments spend an inordinate amount of time investigating what amounts to a student loan fraud racket.

    • It's a silly question. The question should be: should the government pay for veterans to attend schools, period. If yes, then by all means also include code schools if they meet whatever criteria and standards are set.
  • I've had coworkers that were veterans and they got their masters degrees while in the military. There are apparently some really good C.S. programs like UMD that bend over backwards to accommodate their schedule and ensure credits transfer.

  • Better means to spend tax money than waste it on a border wall or more nukes!
    • Better means to spend tax money than waste it on a border wall or more nukes!

      Spending programs can not be justified just by pointing out other spending that is even stupider.

  • First we need a "coding school" that is worth a damn. For the rest of this post I am going to say programming and not coding. I hate that word. I should also say some of the best programmers I've met never went to college. If such a program is to be instituted, It's going to have to be designed by the likes of Google, Canonical, and even Microsoft. This would also have to involve companies around the nation bringing in veterans for internships while they go over self-paced curriculum. Our veterans deserve a
    • Coding School (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Tenebrousedge ( 1226584 ) <tenebrousedge@nOSpaM.gmail.com> on Sunday May 07, 2017 @09:22PM (#54373733)

      First we need a "coding school" that is worth a damn. For the rest of this post I am going to say programming and not coding.

      No, these people are certainly turning out coders and not programmers. They will know git and unit testing, but they won't know Knuth or Turing from a hole in the ground.

      If such a program is to be instituted, It's going to have to be designed by the likes of Google, Canonical, and even Microsoft.

      The industry is not interested in training its own. Otherwise there wouldn't need to be these programs. But I'm taking the words "self paced" and "internship" to mean that you haven't seriously thought about this issue. Internships are not replacements for classroom instruction, and getting someone from being a complete novice to the point where it's even worth it to pair them with a more senior dev takes quite a lot of instruction.

  • I dont get it (Score:2, Insightful)

    by JustNiz ( 692889 )

    Why do Americans apparently feel such a massive debt of gratitude is appropriate for ALL military vets?
    Apart from anything else, they chose the job.
    Where's the recognition for the police or firefighters or others who clearly face far more danger in 1 day than the average so-called vet who spent their entire enlistment (which could be as small as 2 years) in some stateside base nowhere near any actual danger?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Where's the recognition for the police or firefighters or others who clearly face far more danger

      Neither policing nor firefighting is particularly dangerous. Farmers, truck drivers, and retail clerks are all more likely to die or be injured on the job.

      The most common reason that police die on the job is traffic accidents. The second most common reason is suicide.

      Over a 30 year career, this is the number of times that most police officers fire their weapon in action: 0.

      Being a cop in real life is not like it is on TV.

      • by JustNiz ( 692889 )

        > Over a 30 year career, this is the number of times that most police officers fire their weapon in action: 0.

        I bet thats also true of nearly all navy/airforce and maybe even most army vets.

    • by chihowa ( 366380 )

      People love firefighters. You can see the appreciation ooze from everybody if you're ever at the grocery store when they show up to restock the station. There's no lack of gratitude for them. Most states in the US have special license plates for firefighters because it's something that people appreciate (even if getting one is a bit tacky).

      Cops are jerks often enough that nobody likes them. People often look ill at ease when they are around, even if they're doing nothing wrong. The only time you hear somebo

  • by twistedcubic ( 577194 ) on Sunday May 07, 2017 @01:17PM (#54371631)
    Want a Job in Silicon Valley? Keep Away From Coding Schools: https://www.bloomberg.com/news... [bloomberg.com] This isn't the whole story, of course, because there are good schools, and not all jobs are in Silicon Valley. But once the government starts providing tuition for these places, lots of these "coding schools" with low quality and high tuition will pop up everywhere.
    • When George W. signed a $3,000 tax credit for people to train for new careers after 9/11, I never heard of programming boot camps to learn computer programming quickly. I went back to community college because I already had an A.A. in General Education, so I only needed to take to two major classes per semester over a five year period while working full-time as a video game tester. I wanted to go into white box testing but went with IT Support after I graduated.
  • Not until *every* U.S. resident has access to such free education. We give these idiots enough already. We need to provide free educational services to everyone, regardless of what their past employment was.

  • hell no (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TRRosen ( 720617 ) on Sunday May 07, 2017 @01:22PM (#54371653)

    if you can't learn to code on your own you can't learn to code. This is not an industry where you can learn some skill and be done. Coders are constantly retraining themselves to handle new technologies. Maybe this little snowflake should grow up and realize millions of people actually work there way through college studying late at night after working an 8 hour shift and then taking care of there kids.

    • by notil ( 4291169 )
      Are you a veteran? If you are, I'm sure you're aware that there are unbelievable hurdles to re-integrating with civilian society, many of which can be helped with elevated community support and a steady job. True, there are many people in this country that work very hard, and you need to constantly retrain yourself and be creative to code, but vets that are reintegrating are playing by many different rules (because of serving our country!) that civilians are not: I can't see how any initiative providing s
      • by djinn6 ( 1868030 )
        A lot of the enlisted are enlisted because they couldn't go to college. Some are high school dropouts. Of course they're going to have trouble getting a regular job and living a regular life. They'd have the same problem whether they enlisted or not!
        • A lot of the enlisted are enlisted because they couldn't go to college. Some are high school dropouts. Of course they're going to have trouble getting a regular job and living a regular life. They'd have the same problem whether they enlisted or not!

          Citations with numbers to back your assertion please.

          • by djinn6 ( 1868030 )
            I was tempted to say fuck off and do your own research, but since you said "please", I looked into this a bit more.

            The military does require a High School diploma or GED to enlist now, so I was wrong about there being high school dropouts (only having a GED does technically make one a dropout but it sort of makes up for it). However, I couldn't find any number on whether they scored well on SAT or ACT tests, or whether they are college-bound.

            There are some demographics here [pewsocialtrends.org].

            Relatively few enlisted men and women are college graduates (4.1%) or have an advanced degree (0.5%). More than nine-in-ten (94.0%) are high school graduates and some of them have attended some college.

            Obviously some of this is d

    • The point of the coding school cannot be to learn how to code to a professional standard, because that takes years no matter how you approach it -- it's why we have the concept of a junior developer. The point of the coding school must be to learn how to learn how to program.

      Maybe this little snowflake should grow up and realize millions of people actually work there way through college studying late at night after working an 8 hour shift and then taking care of there kids.

      Your attitude is crap, and this statement is just as applicable to any coding school attendee. Do you imagine that it takes no time or money to attend those?

      Personally I'm not in a hurry to judge people for their choices, or to say that

  • he could have gotten a nice fat retirement check the rest of his life
  • As stated in the summary the gov't does pay for these schools and "the issue is quality". Or is it? Is our protagonist asserting these schools are unfairly being evaluated as colleges when they're essentially vocational schools focused on what's apparently become a blue collar vocation?
  • In particular for code but I think it would also benefit all ares of study I think no matter what you use the GI bill for you should be required to pass aptitude requirements to be sure you are actually suited to learning that skill and advised properly. But they can't just be paper tests but rather tests in addition to counselors that can provide exceptions to the tests. The counselors are then reviewed later to see if their exceptions were justified.

    Not everyone is suited for coding. It's a special aptit

  • Due to the growing infrastructure supporting the utilization (or if you are real engineer the misuse) of offshore coders, even formerly high rate positions are dropping to $25 per hour. Not much better than the proposed $15 per hour minimum wage for counter service jobs

  • 4 years is to long but the tech schools that are not in the 2 or 4 system need some over site.

    lanwanprofessional is one where they are not very clear on what is really costs and they have the go hear and get job that pays X just like how ITT and others did it.

  • Seriously, America needs an assortment of educated ppl. Not just white collar, but blue collar.
    As such, we need to make community colleges free (based on grades), not just to vets, but those that have graduated recently, as well as those that were laid off.
  • "Should The Government Pay For Veterans To Attend Code Schools?"
    Only if veterans of Russian Army.

    • by bongey ( 974911 )

      Actually there are US Army vets that are Russian Army vets also and they weren't defectors. My room mate was one, funniest thing he did is he didn't understand suppressive fire in a 10x10 shoot house with his m249. He unloaded 150 rounds , from the hip, at a target 6-8 feet from the wall, loud as f***k being in that room.

  • Shit, folks, the federal government can't even run its veterans' hospitals well. And you want to give it more to screw up?

    When they've gotten the hang of that existing responsibility, then it might make sense to expand their responsibilities. Not before.

  • Sure, train them for a job that is being frequently outsourced to the 3rd world.
    Then re-train them again for whatever is job fashionable. Repeat until money is exhausted.
    We need trade schools to teach skills that cant be so easily outsourced. Maybe Industrial Robot Repair,
  • Scholarships for vocational programs is one of the most useful and biggest payoff services that a government can provide. And coding schools can be extremely inexpensive as they can be largely automated and teachers outsourced to countries with reasonable labor costs. We can in fact argue if we need scholarships as such or make classes so inexpensive that a scholarship is not usually needed.

  • Being on the IT side of the house, I distinctly remember MCSE, Solaris and other for-profit bootcamps popping up towards the top of the dotcom bubble in the late 90s. They also loudly touted the fact that they accepted veterans' benefits as payment and I'm sure they made a lot of money doing this -- similar to the ITT Tech or DeVry style schools.

    I guess my question is what a coder bootcamp prepares you to do. Do they just teach one or two JavaScript frameworks like node.js or Ruby on Rails or something? Wha

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