College vs. Bootcamps

Here are the top stories for Friday, May 20, curated by The Hustle.

May 20, 2016

College? Never heard of it

Coding bootcamps are all the rage these days, and it’s pretty easy to understand the appeal. Why spend hundreds of thousands of dollars and four (albeit pretty fun) years getting a computer science degree when you can spend a few thousand bucks and three months doing essentially the same thing?

Because it’s not the same thing

Triplebyte, a company that matches engineers with startups wanted to find out the difference between bootcamps and college, so they conducted a study. The results were mixed.

Bootcamp grads match or beat college grads on practical skills (aka. understanding a problem, coming up with a solution, and rendering it in code). But when it comes algorithms, low-level systems, and how a computer actually works (aka. “deeper knowledge”), they do far worse.

In other words, bootcampers learn the practical skills necessary to be productive programmers but lack an understanding that college students pick up over time.

Which means…

“Bootcamp grads don’t make sense for all companies.. But the significant majority of companies needs programmers to solve practical problems on the web. On this axis, we’ve found bootcamp grads totally competitive.”

Overall, Triplebyte has had “roughly equivalent success” working with both groups. And while some students might still be better served by getting a traditional CS education, they believe the best bootcamp grads are on an equal playing field once they enter a life of coding.

How is this possible?

I mean, three months versus four years?! That time scale just seems way off. However, the difference in instructional time is actually not as large as it seems.

Bootcamps are intense. Students power through eight hours of work every day, usually stay late, and also work most weekends (some are six days per week).

And again, going back to the focus on practical skills, no time is wasted on “academia,” lecture hall nonsense…or rushing fraternities.


Apple’s new store is nuts

Apple is opening a store this weekend across the street from San Francisco’s Union Square Park. But this isn’t your typical clean room, iPads lying around, blue shirt-infested Apple store. It’s the future.

The store features a 6K video screen, living trees lining its new customer support section, a backyard “forum” open 24 hours a day, and free Wi-Fi (of course).

Plus…

Apple is introducing what it calls “windows,” displays designed to change with the seasons and cycle through interactive themes like iPhone photography and Apple Music. They’re hiring “creative pros” to stand at these stations and offer advice/tips depending on the theme. Go ahead, that deserves an eye roll.

There’s also the board room, a faux conference setup designed for small businesses to come and sit down with app developers and other entrepreneurs to get advice and share ideas. Pretty sure all they’re missing now is a moustached barista mouthing off about pour-over coffee.

Oh, and did we mention the store’s 42-foot sliding windows that, at the press of a button, can separate and “turn the Apple Store” into an open-faced mall of sorts? Good luck copying that, Microsoft.

Apple wants this store to be a destination…

And not just for when you need to buy a new iPhone or get a peek at their latest products. “This is more than just a store,” says Apple’s VP of retail, Angela Ahrendts. “We want people to say, ‘Hey, meet me at Apple.’”


Saving TSA from itself

TSA lines suck. They must be stopped. And finally, there are plans in place to actually do something about ‘em.

The US Department of Homeland Security recently asked airlines to waive checked baggage fees as a temporary solution to alleviate long lines…which is a sound strategy if you think about it.

If it was free, more people would check bags. Which means less bags going through security. Which means less TSA workers shouting, “Whose bag is this?! Gonna have to look through it, ma’am!” Which means quicker security checkpoints.

Here’s the problem: that’s a billion dollar ask. US airlines collected $3.8B on bag fees in 2015, alone. So, good luck getting anybody to sign off.

But American Airlines has a plan…

The airline’s chief operating officer, Robert Isom, has had enough of TSA’s sh*t. And in a letter to employees this week, he made that very much known:

“Two words: TSA lines. Right now those words evoke frustration from all of us, as well as our customers who continue to miss flights due to lines that are literally out the door.”

Isom goes on to lay out a plan where American Airlines will spend $4m to provide contract staff at TSA checkpoints. These staff members will handle non-screening roles like crowd management, so that TSA employees can focus solely on screening and security.

American will also launch a program to encourage its customers to sign up for TSA’s PreCheck program, which could reduce the number of people in security lines.

Not all heroes wear capes.


Your driver, Car, is arriving now

Yesterday, Uber said it plans to start testing its self-driving car in Pittsburgh within the next few weeks.

A driver will sit in the company’s Ford Fusion test vehicle while it’s in self-driving mode, as the car collects mapping data using its radars, laser scanners, and high-res cameras.

Why Pittsburgh?

Because the city’s home to Uber’s Advanced Technologies Center. They’ve been poaching talent from the robotics lab of Carnegie Mellon University for years to work on this self-driving technology. Guess it’s been working.

According to Uber, the development of self-driving cars has the potential to save lives. And considering 94% of the car accidents that kill 1.3m people every year involve human error, we’re buying it.

Sounds great BUT…

Is it just us or does a driver in a self-driving car picking you up sound like the recipe for the most awkward car ride ever? Now that they aren’t “driving,” seems like the perfect opportunity to discuss your life’s story…or theirs.

Do they turn around to make eye contact or bounce off the rearview mirror? Maybe a half-turn? So many questions.


Shower thoughts

(via Reddit)

  1. Most orchestras are just 1800’s cover bands.
  2. Revisiting your old university campus after you’ve graduated feels an awful lot like going back to an open-world video game after you’ve already beaten the main story and completed all side quests.
  3. When you’re a kid, staying up late makes you feel like an adult. When you’re an adult, staying up late makes you feel like a kid.
  4. Slow wifi pisses me off more than no wifi at all.
  5. When we want another’s thoughts, we say “penny for your thoughts.” When we offer up our own, we say “putting my two cents in.” We value our own opinion twice as much.

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