mercredi 19 septembre 2012

Breaking Tech's Code

Wall Street Journal, August 17
In New York City, new introductory programming courses that lead to immediate job opportunities - even for candidates with no previous experience - are helping to fill the local shortage of engineers and fuel the city's technology boom. General Assembly, Codecademy and the Hatchery have designed introductory programming courses for computer science novices hopeful of changing careers to the tech sector. For the New York tech sector, the classes are a way to help fill the local shortage of engineers while the city works on longer-term solutions to build a talent pipeline for new tech start-ups. As experts point out, if New York is going to have a sustainable tech sector, it is has to be able to produce more homegrown tech talent.
These programming classes could lead to the democratization of coding. The classes offered by private educators draw everyone from Wall Street veterans to bartenders with an entrepreneurial streak. The classes aim to teach anyone and everyone to code. However, completing a class is not the equivalent of getting a computer-science degree. And graduates of classes tailored to the nonprogrammer -- which range anywhere from a single evening to four months in duration -- are unlikely to land a coveted job at a large employer like Google or Facebook. Obviously, you have to have a lot of experience and education to go to those top companies, but there are a lot of regular start-ups all over New York.
The classes are attracting tech-savvy people in transition. These are typically people who lack work experience in the tech sector and who have an undergraduate degree in a non-technical discipline, but are nonetheless familiar with computers. Still, hiring people with only months of training can be risky even for start-ups. The Hatchery, which offers beginner coding classes, is testing out an unusual model: employers hire the firm as needed for projects, while students are paid on a temporary basis for their assistance. People taking these classes hope they will make them more attractive job candidates. Skeptics of beginners' abilities should note that students in a Hatchery class won a recent hackathon, or product-building competition, in a battle against full-time developers.

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