Software boot camp coming soon for KSU students

Cameron Hoover

An online software program has partnered with Kent State and four other universities to offer online software development and coding bootcamps to its students.

Called Software Guild, the company is an “intensive, fast-paced apprenticeship program,” according to its website, where students learn programing languages such as JAVA and .NET/C# — two of the most sought after programing skills among employers.

The online courses are designed to help Kent State students prepare for entry-level positions in software development and coding. These boot camp-style courses cost around $12,000 and are typically taken part-time over the course of 10 months.

The Software Guild graduated more than 400 students in 2016, according to the company’s website; which also advertises that 95 percent of their graduates get jobs in their field within 90 days of graduation from the boot camp.

Although the courses are being pitched as a supplemental learning tool for current Kent State students, Kent State computer science professor Jonathan Maletic believes these online courses would be better suited for alumni who want to expand their skill set.

“If someone had only a little background in programming and wanted to augment their skill set to move into the technology field, this type of online course offering could be a reasonable option,” Maletic said.

Maletic believes that these sort of online courses wouldn’t appeal to a seasoned computer sciences student or graduate at Kent State due to the difference in course design.

“If a computer sciences major wanted to learn C# or Java, they would just pick up a book and figure it out in a week or so, seeing as they already have the necessary background,” he said.

Cheng-Chang Lu, also a computer science professor at Kent State, agreed with Maletic. He said that at Kent State, all aspects of computer science are taught, including programing, which he said is just one of the many tools of the trade.

“While you can learn a great deal about programming through a short bootcamp, the best way to learn about all facets of computer science would be through Kent State’s four-year program,” Lu said.

In order to be accepted to the Software Guild’s programming bootcamps, applicants must pass a general aptitude test and demonstrate basic programming knowledge.

Lu sees this as a great avenue to get more students and alumni involved in not only computer sciences as a whole, but also in Kent State’s computer science department as well.

“I don’t see Software Guild as competition, but rather as another tool to help Kent State students and alums market themselves in a growing market,” Lu said. “For juniors and seniors, an introduction to (a) computer sciences course at Kent State would greatly help them pass the Software Guild’s aptitude tests before heading to these online bootcamps.”

While he doesn’t recommend the course for computer sciences majors or graduates, Maletic said he believes the online bootcamp from the Software Guild could lay a foundation for students and alumni to market themselves for potential employment.

In addition to being a resume builder, Maletic said the bootcamp could also be good for growth in the local economy.

“If the course is popular and people enroll, it would help Kent State as an institution with an income stream. Outreach and continuing education are part of the university’s mission,” Maletic said. “But it is also beneficial to alumni who take the course and the economic development of Northeast Ohio by continuing to educate the workforce.”

The online software development and coding bootcamps are expected to launch at Kent State sometime in 2017.

Cameron Hoover is a general assignment reporter, contact him at [email protected]