Google should just pay students to learn at coding bootcamps

The Googleplex courtesy of rjshade on Flickr. via a Creative Commons license.

Google recently committed to give $1 billion to nonprofits to help train American workers for high tech jobs. Given the glut of of tech coding bootcamps, wouldn’t it be easier for Google to just give the money directly to the coder bootcamps? Heck, give them money directly to the students themselves!

There’s many different bootcamps (of obviously varying quality), but let’s assume that the top few are as good at teaching coding as they say they are. Instead of a student paying $18,000 for three months at Hack Reactor, companies like Google should just give the money directly to the students as a grant for tuition. Many of these bootcamp already have rigorous admissions standards, so Google wouldn’t have to determine if the students are worthy of the grant. Google could even provide a housing stipend for students to relocate to San Francisco for the program for three months. Throw in another $10-15k for housing + food on top of it.

Basic Income is already popular in the startup community and Google could consider this an experiment in if Basic Income works. Would students with their tuition paid for them be more motivated to learn or less? Would they be more likely to slack off since they don’t have any skin in the game or would they feel obligated to work harder to prove they deserve the grant? Students would still have to work hard to graduate from the program and get a job after.

It could also help determine if getting into a huge amount of debt for four years of college is not needed for many students. If students of the future are paid to learn in a shorter course like Hack Reactor, would they learn more and be more productive than going the traditional college route. Obviously, nothing beats a four year CS degree, but it’s not the best route for every student.

The tech industry needs more workers and companies like Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, and Microsoft are doing well and sitting on piles of cash. Why not put it back into the community for people that want to learn the skills needed to work in the industry? Even if they take the grant money and take a job at a different company, they’re still contributing to the industry. Plus, they may just use their new skills to found their own startup which later gets acquired by Google. If this were to become successful enough  it could be rolled out across to many other cities, particularly non-tech hubs in cities that have been hard-hit by economic downturn.

[Edit: After submitting to Hacker News, I received the excellent comment from user ‘taylodl’ included below]:

“Why would Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, and Microsoft, all of whom can command the best programming talent in the world, want to invest in a coding bootcamp? Their interests would be better served by sponsoring Masters and Doctoral candidates who’ve already demonstrated exceptional coding abilities during their internships and show the ability to do oh so much more if only they could afford to go to graduate school. You would then commit to your sponsor for 3-5 years afterward. THAT would be a big boon to the “Big Five” development shops. And because you’re providing the best of the best with the opportunity to excel and create amazing tools and technologies, it’ll help the industry as well.”

[My thoughts on the comment] I actually think that this is an even better idea than what I had originally wrote above! The Big Five could just start paying the tuition of Computer Science majors (undergrads, grad students, and PhDs). Why not? I could see that being a huge boost to the industry. This is why I submit to HN – In spite of my initial fear to submit the article to HN, that the community will think I’m crazy. It turns out I’m not crazy enough! Love it!

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