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Development Boot Camp over College: Undergraduating

Shawn Drost

At Hack Reactor's development boot camp, we hear from a lot of developers that are frustrated with their undergraduate education, especially with respect to preparation for real-world tasks involved with building great things. We'd like to have more information about what developers actually studied during their undergraduate program, and we'd appreciate your feedback.

If you're interested in developer education, or studying development in a more pragmatic context, get in touch. Our development boot camp could be the place for you!

Update: Results!

Thanks, everyone, for responding to our poll about undergrad CS education.  (If you're just tuning in, we're Hack Reactor, a new javascript development boot camp in San Francisco.  If you're learning to program, you should apply.  If you support forward-thinking educational programs and you live in S.F., be a mentor.)

I was most surprised by how people perceived conflict between the "vocational" topics in the poll and their idealized student, the lifelong learner.  I disagree.  I'm a lifelong learner, and I can tell you that I would have been more prepared for an interesting future if I had studied more "vocational" topics in my undergrad.  I tell everyone that's coming up in the industry the same thing: "Aim for the heart of the golden age, because that's where your real education happens."

Other thoughts:

  • Responses confirmed that schools do a good job of fundamentals: data structures and algorithmic complexity were covered by ~90% of curricula.
  • Universities simply have to cover version control (50%) and software testing (55%).  Not only are they crucial tools that make their users think about code more effectively, they are amazing teaching tools.  (I was personally surprised that software testing was covered this well -- I would have eyeballed it at 30%.)
  • anusinha on HN says, "this looks more like software engineering requirements".  True, but that's kind of the point, right?  Most schools don't have software engineering majors, and most people that do CS want software engineering.  Maybe more schools should teach software engineering!
  • I was pleasantly surprised to hear about several SE programs, and it turns out I was not aware of the extent of this phenomenon.  RIT represent!

I was also surprised by the poll's conversion rate -- over 30%.  It looks like you love the heck out of polls, dear reader.  Thanks for reading, and see you next time.

(For more information on this topic, check out our latest blog, "Data Talks: Immersive Programming Schools Vs CS Degrees.")