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Woz Wants To Retrain You For a Career in Tech (cnet.com) 66

Steve Wozniak wants you to work in tech, and he's going to help you do it. From a report: The Apple co-founder is launching Woz U, a digital institute aimed at helping folks not only figure out what type of tech job they might be best at, but train for it. "People often are afraid to choose a technology-based career because they think they can't do it. I know they can, and I want to show them how," Wozniak said in a statement Friday. Woz U starts off as online programs, but there are plans to build campuses in 30 cities around the world. Those cities will be announced within the next 60 days, Shelly Murphy, corporate relations for Woz U told CNET. In a press statement, Wozniak said Woz U will start as an online learning platform focused on both students and companies that will eventually hire those students. Woz U is based out of Arizona, and hopes to launch physical locations for learning in more than 30 cities across the globe. At launch, the curriculum will center around computer support specialists and software developers, with courses on data science, mobile applications and cybersecurity coming in the future.
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Woz Wants To Retrain You For a Career in Tech

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  • A Noble Idea (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DaMattster ( 977781 ) on Friday October 13, 2017 @05:08PM (#55365369)
    I like Woz, I really do. He's a good and decent human being with noble intentions but the problem is not a lack of qualified people. There are lost of qualified IT professionals that are getting passed over. The problem is one of economy because enterprises are going to India, The Phillipines, China, and Singapore for their IT needs. Some of it is offshoring, some of it is outsourcing, and a great deal of it is the importation of labor. It does not make sense to train for a career that is dwindling in the US. Companies complain that they cannot find qualified people here. This is not quite the truth. It is more like they cannot find people who are willing to work for pennies on the dollar. A better use of funds for job training would be to teach people to become advanced electricians, carpenters, skilled laborers. The job growth is in the trades. The pay is even better than entry level white-collar jobs.
    • Re:A Noble Idea (Score:5, Informative)

      by Archangel Michael ( 180766 ) on Friday October 13, 2017 @05:19PM (#55365427) Journal

      I've been in IT for 30 years or so. I want to be retrained to not be in IT anymore, and its partly because of what you said. People don't care about qualifications anymore, they care about bodies, and lower cost bodies means hiring more of them, even if they are useless. It is rare that I find someone that is actually good at what they do.

      And if WOZ is training people for today's jobs, many of those jobs wont exist in 6 years.

    • Re:A Noble Idea (Score:4, Insightful)

      by jamesdood ( 468240 ) on Friday October 13, 2017 @05:24PM (#55365459)

      I was at the event last night with Woz, and I can say this is more about skill sets in developing technology that just "teaching people to write code" The focus is more on innovation and engineering, building folks with the skills to do jobs that may not even exist yet. If all you are doing is learning to code, then yes, you will be supplanted by someone who can code cheaper... You must differentiate yourself from the pack if you wish to be seen as more valued than the next person. Personally I think it will be great if this is successful as there is a dearth of skilled folks to work on cutting edge projects.

      • I am more than a little mystified about how all the reported efforts to produce more coders seems to just result in more web script monkeys and turn-the-crank process junkies. From where I sit, the kind of "deep tech" developer who possesses the skills needed for improving the basic infrastructure underpinning the information economy seems to be a vanishing species. To put it concrete terms: massive increase in Javascript hacks. Gradual die-off of C/C++ hacks.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Nobel idea? It's a for-profit school that is filling the niche that ITT once occupied before they were shut down. It sounds like its just another Phoenix University or Kaplan school which seem to exist primarily to get students to run up huge amounts of federal student loan debt. This is basically like when a celebrity lends his or her brand to some product like perfume or clothing line. The celeb has shit to do with the actual production, and I doubt Woz has any involvement with the course curriculum.

      Serio

    • Re:A Noble Idea (Score:5, Interesting)

      by 0100010001010011 ( 652467 ) on Friday October 13, 2017 @05:48PM (#55365573)

      There are lost of qualified IT professionals that are getting passed over.

      Because I don't need and IT professional. CS and IT hasn't had shift towards the trades that all other degrees have had for a while.

      When you're building a house you only need so many civil engineers and architects. At some point you need a fleet of plumbers, electricians and general contractors. That's where the engineering and IT work is at my company. Right now people are trying to cut the corner by outsourcing and it's having predictable results.

      I don't need a BS CS major. I don't even need a AS. I want a 16 year old that is eager to be in "IT" and I can converse with in English. That's it. I would hire a dozen if my manager would allow it but we're stuck outsourcing to India for the time being.

      IT and CS need to come to a realization that part of your job does not need a college education. It needs the skill sets that can be learned in 10-16 week vocational tech training. Every single other industry has a stake in that space but for some reason CS majors insist that the entirety of their job must be done by people with a CS degree.

      Hell I would hire someone that could grok Python and just write documentation. I don't even need them to understand it. Turn my trash into perfectly valid Google Style documentation. That would take a huge weight off of my shoulders and improve code around the company. Maybe they might pick up some Python on the way. That's the sort of work that tradesmen give to the grunt apprentices. Doctors have moved to train physician assistants, RNs, and a host of other positions to do most of their job so they can concentrate on what they were trained to do.

      As long as the gray beards insist that the only people that can replace them have BS degrees then the company will find the cheapest "BS" degree they can and hire them. Mechanical engineers have had mechanical engineering technologists for a while and they're amazing. It would take me twice as long to do something they do and it would be half as good. It doesn't mean I don't have a job it means I get to concentrate on the engineering.

      If you want to see CS and IT shift back to the US then you need to sell your manager on hiring 16 year olds to do your tedious work so that you can concentrate on the hard bits of it. And when those hard bits become the tedious bits, train them and move on. Rinse and repeat. If you're a manager looking for 'cheap labor' start talking to the local voctech high schools. Factor in rework and communication 'costs' and pay them well for their age. You'll come out loads ahead. They'll have relevant job experience for the future and you'll have cheap labor. If you have someone set to retire in 5 years just have the 16 year olds shadow them and do any work that they can.

      • by sootman ( 158191 )

        Very well said. Agree a thousand percent.

      • Re:A Noble Idea (Score:4, Interesting)

        by somenickname ( 1270442 ) on Friday October 13, 2017 @07:42PM (#55366101)

        I agree with you in spirit but not in practice. I work for a small company and we had a top-notch, experienced EE doing design *and* soldering work for a while. Once we hired a technician to do the soldering work, the EE's productivity increased dramatically. I don't think the same can be said for many/most software jobs. I can't hire cheap labor to do my dirty work because there is no part of the process that can be pushed onto people with underwhelming qualifications. There is no equivalent of "the guy who solders my boards".

        We hire interns whenever we can but, I've long thought that maybe I spend more time helping the intern than I would if I'd just written it myself. And, when the intern leaves, it's actually pretty common to just rewrite what they did. So, it's almost certain that they are, at best, a cheap prototype vehicle.

        The tedious work in computer science is actually what a technician is *least* qualified to do. You want a 16 year old kid to create your Makefiles? Fuck that. You want a 16 year old kid to grok your network? Fuck that. Those are hard things to do and there is a reason that people make a lot of money doing them: If you are good at doing that level of tedious stuff, you are worth a lot of money. It's actually very hard to do.

        So, no, we aren't going to see a huge surge of technicians in CS. We've already seen it. It's called offshoring. And the quality of software (and support) has dramatically decreased because of it. Cheap labor and quality software are not compatible ideas. A product that involves creative thought does not lend itself to technicians. And that's what offshoring gives you: Technicians.

        • There is no equivalent of "the guy who solders my boards".

          There absolutely is. My local voctech high school is training them.

          You want a 16 year old kid to create your Makefiles? Fuck that.

          Why not? Make is probably the first thing that I'd teach them. It drives everything else.

          You want a 16 year old kid to grok your network?

          Why not? I was about that age when I got into our school's network. Our IT admin went with 'security through obscurity'. You just had to enter your own proxy server. And at the library I found out that I could check my mail and log into IRC from the 'telnet only' card catalog machines.

          you are good at doing that level of tedious stuff, you are worth a lot of money..

          Not really.

          it's almost certain that they are, at best, a cheap prototype vehicle.

          Yeah. And if they didn't exist your 'cheap prototype' would

          • Re:A Noble Idea (Score:4, Informative)

            by somenickname ( 1270442 ) on Friday October 13, 2017 @10:23PM (#55366659)

            I genuinely admire what you're doing and really wish that a vocational "Software Engineering Drudgery" degree would be a thing but, I just don't see how it's possible. The drudgery requires just as much logic skills as the product. I would almost say that the best software teams are the ones who make their smartest guys build the infrastructure (including Makefiles, networking, etc). Everything else floats on that raft. I sure as hell don't want my raft built by a 16 year old.

            I say this as a guy who dropped out of college as a junior at the age of 18. 20 years later, my lack of degree has had *zero* effect on my ability to get a job but, I'm acutely aware of how bad I was at doing... well... anything... at the age of 18.

            I'd love to have a vocational software assistant but, software is complex enough that I barely trust experienced co-workers to write it, let alone a 16 year old kid.

      • ...but for some reason CS majors insist that the entirety of their job must be done by people with a CS degree.

        Not necessarily true. I was a CE major. Where I work there's an ME who knows far more about our system than I do. We have a new developer who's been doing a great job ramping up and her background hasn't been in CS until recently. This is changing. We should encourage it.

    • HR wants a 4 year piece of paper in CS for ADMIN work. They like to Passover people who go to schools like this. Even out side of tech this HR BS hurts trades and the trade school credits don't transfer

    • My company has been trying to hire Americans and found several good ones. Our problem is pretty much all of them don't want to move to a Midwest smaller size town (about 30,000-40,000 people). They want to be in the "big cities". We have gone to having a VERY successful intern program. We bring in about 4-6 IT interns and hire half of them every year for the last 3 years. We have been getting HIGH quality interns from local universities in the state. We have been releasing the Indian contractors we had as w

  • Not everyone is capable doing technology work. Of those who wish to that work, many choose not to, shrinking the pool of available workers even lower. I wish the powers that be would understand that. But tech is cool now, and everyone's trying to get a piece.
    • by Jzanu ( 668651 )

      It has little to do with "cool" instead this is the route to higher incomes due to disparity in valuation of productive activity. What you are talking about isn't the target either. This program has a focus on engineering applications and infrastructure work. There is still room for development in these fields and the target is much larger.

      Income inequality is rooted in differences in skill development not some imagined super power or talent and the larger world economy depends on developing workforces tha

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Agree. Even now there are too many people in tech, that are not really capable of doing what they should be doing. That leads to sub-par solutions all across the board. More of those people will just lead to even more of this. The thing that would help is finding the people who are actually good enough and empower them. But as the "business" people aren't about to relinquish power that will never happen at a large enough scale.

  • Teaching out the Woz U to get you learnin' up the wazoo.

  • but its not computer support or software design, its electrical engineering

    I really hate that people are using Tech and Technology to only talk about computer jobs (and usually the low end ones as well)

  • - to name it Wossamotta U - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

    "Our praise for you will never cease. / All hail magenta and cerise."

  • by mschuyler ( 197441 ) on Friday October 13, 2017 @07:01PM (#55365917) Homepage Journal

    Yet someone else taking advantage of Woz, I'm guessing, getting him to invest in an IT Tech University scam knowing full-well he would be enthusiastic about such an endeavor. He certainly won't be managing or really 'heading up' such a project in any meaningful way, having said more than once that he is not a 'managerial type.' I have always had the fear that one day I would awaken to the news that Woz was completely broke, having trusted glib promoters with his entire fortune.

  • Woz hasn't done anything relevant in 40 years. The few things he DID do were only brought to us by the vision and tenacity of Jobs. Everyone loves the big teddy bear and all, but he is way out of his league. He should just go back to posting hi travels on his social media, doing events, photo-ops and cameos on TV. He just needs to move along... he simply isn't relevant anymore.

If I have not seen as far as others, it is because giants were standing on my shoulders. -- Hal Abelson

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