My Son & College



  • I think I have convinced my son to skip college. Before you berate me as a bad father hear me out. He is a junior in High School. Next year he is taking the vo-tech program's programming courses for a year. If he likes it he is going to skip college and work with an organization called Launch code (www.launchcode.org) which will train him in programming land him an apprenticeship and then help him find a job, most apprenticeships turn into full time jobs. I told him he could skip all the college debt and still have in demand skills to get a good job.



  • Sounds like a plan, which most people don't even have.

    Does he have a vocation for programming?



  • @dustinb3403 well he is interested in it. That is why he will take coding next year at the vo-tech his senior year of high school. To see if he really wants to do it.



  • @penguinwrangler said in My Son & College:

    @dustinb3403 well he is interested in it. That is why he will take coding next year at the vo-tech his senior year of high school. To see if he really wants to do it.

    Honestly, my biggest concerns here are 1) that he's already so old (most programmers that we find were passionate in it by middle school) and 2) he's waiting till the school teaches it to him to find out if he is interested.

    If he was interested, ideally he'd be all over it and teaching himself right now. Skipping college is great, but we normally assume you'll start the skipping process by about age 14. And not use high school as a replacement for college, but self teaching.

    I'm all for skipping college. But it's critical to make sure that the alternative to skipping college is a solid plan. That's where college shines, if you aren't sure what else to do, it keeps you doing "something."



  • @penguinwrangler said in My Son & College:

    If he likes it he is going to skip college and work with an organization called Launch code (www.launchcode.org) ....

    This bit is a HUGE red flag...

    0_1521472659579_DeepinScreenshot_select-area_20180319101638.png

    That means that 20% of LaunchCoders went to university for the wrong degree. This suggests that nearly 100% of LaunchCoders have a degree. They are very careful to limit that already bad percentage rate to the worst possible degree for programmers (@pchiodo and I were just discussing how bad the CS degrees are three hours ago!) So this is marketing, in the very worst way.

    So there is likely just about nothing known about the success rate of LaunchCode for those without degrees, if such an insanely high percentage of their "students" have the wrong degrees and nothing more is known.



  • @penguinwrangler said in My Son & College:

    @dustinb3403 well he is interested in it. That is why he will take coding next year at the vo-tech his senior year of high school. To see if he really wants to do it.

    Why is he not doing it right now, to find that out, before spending his senior year in classes figuring it out? Classes are a terrible place to get exposed to career or job options. Programming in a class is nothing like the real world. And if it is anything like high school programming classes I've seen recently, you've got a very high chance that they won't teach programming at all. My niece just did this and her "C# programming class" never wrote a line of code. I'm pretty sure she got an A in a class and doesn't even know what programming is having taken it!



  • @penguinwrangler said in My Son & College:

    I told him he could skip all the college debt and still have in demand skills to get a good job.

    This is certainly true and there are no end of examples of people who have done this. But it's not magic. He needs to be driven, he needs to be able to teach himself, he needs to be able to build a portfolio, and he needs to get moving. His competition have been programming for years already by his age, and many are already employed. Programming is a field that doesn't wait for graduation to start hiring.



  • This programming program will also teach him about philosophy, history, literature, math and science? He will be able to talk with his peers openly at any hour of the day?
    Also, your 17 year old will probably change his mind next week. And then again the week after that. And again this afternoon.



  • @momurda said in My Son & College:

    Also, your 17 year old will probably change his mind next week. And then again the week after that. And again this afternoon.

    I've never seen someone who wanted to program do that. This is something people say to me all the time, but never have I seen it be true about someone who wanted to be a developer for real. I get it tons from people who didn't want to do anything and just went to school for CS because a teacher told them to, but those people never stay with development, no passion.



  • @momurda said in My Son & College:

    This programming program will also teach him about philosophy, history, literature, math and science? He will be able to talk with his peers openly at any hour of the day?

    Those are all things you should know coming out of high school anyway, and should be teaching yourself as a normal part of being an adult. None of those things require your teachers to teach you. Like everything else in education, college might be fine for that, but if college is the only path to that, you aren't going to get anything out of it anyway.

    How many college grads can talk philosophy, history, literature, math, and science? Very, VERY few. I know a lot of people with graduate degrees that would be downright offended if you told them they were expected to have any knowledge of any of that stuff. Literally offended. People whose title is doctor.

    Yet I know loads and loads of people who never went to college and talk all that, in depth, anytime day or night.



  • @scottalanmiller said in My Son & College:

    @penguinwrangler said in My Son & College:

    @dustinb3403 well he is interested in it. That is why he will take coding next year at the vo-tech his senior year of high school. To see if he really wants to do it.

    Why is he not doing it right now, to find that out, before spending his senior year in classes figuring it out? Classes are a terrible place to get exposed to career or job options. Programming in a class is nothing like the real world. And if it is anything like high school programming classes I've seen recently, you've got a very high chance that they won't teach programming at all. My niece just did this and her "C# programming class" never wrote a line of code. I'm pretty sure she got an A in a class and doesn't even know what programming is having taken it!

    He isn't doing it right now because he lives with his mom, who doesn't have internet access. Making it a bit harder to access the online material to learn.



  • @momurda said in My Son & College:

    Also, your 17 year old will probably change his mind next week. And then again the week after that. And again this afternoon.

    This is a bunch of shit.



  • @penguinwrangler said in My Son & College:

    He isn't doing it right now because he lives with his mom, who doesn't have internet access. Making it a bit harder to access the online material to learn.

    Wow, that's going to make for rather a challenge. However, all of us around my age learned to program without the Internet, so it is definitely possible.

    Assuming someone starting from literally nothing at all, you can get any of numerous books online on Python, Ruby, C, C++, Java, etc., for free. Download those to whatever device is handy, or just print them out! Get a Raspberry Pi or similar that can hook to a TV. $35 for the base unit, you need extremely little for programming.

    Ideal? Maybe not. But way better than learning to program with a single BASIC interpreter and the only book I had for a command reference guide on a 13" CRT and everything saved to floppy. Programming is decently accessible, even when offline.



  • @scottalanmiller said in My Son & College:

    @penguinwrangler said in My Son & College:

    @dustinb3403 well he is interested in it. That is why he will take coding next year at the vo-tech his senior year of high school. To see if he really wants to do it.

    (most programmers that we find were passionate in it by middle school) and 2)

    Who is this mystical we? It is You. Maybe some people you also know. It is not a majority of anyone.



  • @jaredbusch said in My Son & College:

    @momurda said in My Son & College:

    Also, your 17 year old will probably change his mind next week. And then again the week after that. And again this afternoon.

    This is a bunch of shit.

    I agree. Some 17 year old has done that, but treating all teens as if they are fickle and have no clue about their futures is weird. By that age, anyone that is still flitting about with their careers is at a big disadvantage, whether your plan is to manage fast food, to be a programmer, to write novels, etc. Can you change your mind after that point? Of course. But if you do, you are accepting that you are giving up the time to get ready for your career that loads of other people have.



  • @jaredbusch said in My Son & College:

    @scottalanmiller said in My Son & College:

    @penguinwrangler said in My Son & College:

    @dustinb3403 well he is interested in it. That is why he will take coding next year at the vo-tech his senior year of high school. To see if he really wants to do it.

    (most programmers that we find were passionate in it by middle school) and 2)

    Who is this mystical we? It is You. Maybe some people you also know. It is not a majority of anyone.

    Of people who really become working programmers, I've almost never met any that started later. Some try that, but leave the field. Just people looking for jobs, typically, not people passionate about it.



  • @scottalanmiller said in My Son & College:

    I'm all for skipping college. But it's critical to make sure that the alternative to skipping college is a solid plan. That's where college shines, if you aren't sure what else to do, it keeps you doing "something."

    This is very true, and it is the reason that many people need to do it. Because they have no idea what they want to do.

    The majority of people are not exceptional, or above average. That is simply not possible. That is why they are the majority.



  • @jaredbusch said in My Son & College:

    @scottalanmiller said in My Son & College:

    I'm all for skipping college. But it's critical to make sure that the alternative to skipping college is a solid plan. That's where college shines, if you aren't sure what else to do, it keeps you doing "something."

    This is very true, and it is the reason that many people need to do it. Because they have no idea what they want to do.

    The majority of people are not exceptional, or above average. That is simply not possible. That is why they are the majority.

    Correct. College is today (not traditionally, but the modern version of it) excellent for "at and moderately below average" students that have no drive, no direction, or no knowledge of what to do (plus those that want government regulated fields where college is a requirement, rather than an education.) College is all about taking the big "area under the bell curve" middle of the field and giving them direction. It used to be for the elite, unique access to information and resources that you didn't have elsewhere. Today it is the opposite, it's the generic place to put students who weren't motivated or talented or given access to things early enough and keep them out of the job pool until as late as necessary. It's highly effective for what it is actually being used for, and it makes the field even better for motivated students who learn on their own.

    The whole "teach yourself and get ahead" process only works so incredibly well because only the very top, most motivated learners bother to do it, and because college isn't bothering to offer anything unique or advanced.



  • @jaredbusch said in My Son & College:

    @momurda said in My Son & College:

    Also, your 17 year old will probably change his mind next week. And then again the week after that. And again this afternoon.

    This is a bunch of shit.

    No it isnt. I added a conditional probably at the beginning. The vast majority of people at 17 are clueless about what they want for their future, except for some nebulous 'to get a job' type goal that their parents have foisted on them.
    Just because you swear and berate people on a forum doesnt make you correct.



  • @momurda said in My Son & College:

    @jaredbusch said in My Son & College:

    @momurda said in My Son & College:

    Also, your 17 year old will probably change his mind next week. And then again the week after that. And again this afternoon.

    This is a bunch of shit.

    No it isnt. I added a conditional probably at the beginning. The vast majority of people at 17 are clueless about what they want for their future...

    Sure, but if you are talking about the vast majority you need some context...

    1. The vast majority of people can never consider working in any tech endeavor.
    2. The vast majority of people never find a career, they just have jobs (if that.)
    3. The vast majority of people are equally clueless at 40 as they are at 17.


  • @momurda said in My Son & College:

    ...except for some nebulous 'to get a job' type goal that their parents have foisted on them.

    A 17 year old is pretty clueless if they are in that kind of position at that age. 17 is WAY too old to be unsure about the future. Not ready for it, sure. But no clue? By 17 you are struggling to get into your first choice colleges. Here in Texas, college can easily start two years before 17. So for a lot of upper middling students, by 17 you are already prepping for your junior year of college. So if you are struggling to come up with a future plan by 17, you are going to start getting way behind. Sure, there are systems for making high school and college drag out to help you, but they cause the cost to skyrocket and your options to plummet.



  • One thing that I think really hurts students today is this new culture of making it "acceptable" to be older and older without any idea of what they want to do. When I was in high school, long ago, there was a pretty strong expectation that you were behind the eight ball if you weren't working a job in high school and weren't well established in your path by sixteen or seventeen. At that point, you had to have already been preparing to get into college since you were 13 (if you weren't on your path by then, you started getting held back like I did) and by fifteen your class choices were determining what college or career options would be readily available to you and you were having already to pick college vs, vocational training, by sixteen you were to be looking at specific college options, and by seventeen you needed to be applied and hopefully accepted to at least somewhere (if that was your path.)

    Today it should be way more demanding than that. With college optionally starting three to four years earlier and using college instead of high school as a more and more normal thing (it's just part of high school here in Texas now) you have to be solidly preparing for at least the broadest scope decisions by around twelve or you are losing ground even in the general sense.

    And none of that is for the super ambitious "picked a career early and are teaching themselves" kids, this is just for the generic "want to go to college for something" kids.



  • @penguinwrangler said in My Son & College:

    @dustinb3403 well he is interested in it. That is why he will take coding next year at the vo-tech his senior year of high school. To see if he really wants to do it.

    My worry would be, what if he takes a coding class, it's a really good class, he learns a lot.... and hates it? That's really awesome that he ruled it out at that point, but what then? Is he committed to a year of it at that point? What's the fall back plan to "discover another area of interest?" Is this a 99% sure he'll like programming kind of thing? Or is this a 15% "discovering his interests" kind of thing?

    It's ridiculous that schools don't teach programming universally by 14. Everyone needs to be exposed to it, and early. No one anywhere in a country like the US should have to opt in to a programming class and certainly not by high school.



  • @scottalanmiller said in My Son & College:

    Wow, that's going to make for rather a challenge. However, all of us around my age learned to program without the Internet, so it is definitely possible.

    I was around 10 years old when I got my "V-tech Pre Computer Power Pad" and was addicted to the BASIC programming program and tutorial.

    No internet on there.

    But I didn't pursue programming as a career, even though I was very interested in it as a child. Instead, I went the IT route, and have only recently got back into my interest of programming (starting with PHP).

    Anyways, I was doing my thing well before high school ended, i knew i wanted to do IT then and didn't use a class to see if I did or not.

    I went to a technical school not to figure out if I wanted to do IT or not, but because I thought I needed it to get a job. I was already well into that stuff before starting degree work.



  • @penguinwrangler

    Did he wreck desktop machines just to find out how they work when he was kid ?

    I mean if you know that he likes this and it seems he should, to get the training, but I dont mind the idea as long as he have shown to you that he loves what he does, and that will basically set him for the next decade then he can figure out anything else.



  • @penguinwrangler said in My Son & College:

    @scottalanmiller said in My Son & College:

    @penguinwrangler said in My Son & College:

    @dustinb3403 well he is interested in it. That is why he will take coding next year at the vo-tech his senior year of high school. To see if he really wants to do it.

    Why is he not doing it right now, to find that out, before spending his senior year in classes figuring it out? Classes are a terrible place to get exposed to career or job options. Programming in a class is nothing like the real world. And if it is anything like high school programming classes I've seen recently, you've got a very high chance that they won't teach programming at all. My niece just did this and her "C# programming class" never wrote a line of code. I'm pretty sure she got an A in a class and doesn't even know what programming is having taken it!

    He isn't doing it right now because he lives with his mom, who doesn't have internet access. Making it a bit harder to access the online material to learn.

    Either pay for his internet, or get him an unlimited data plan that he can use as a mobile hotspot. If he is interested in this type of tech, he needs to have the internet as resource for learning.

    I agree with what others have said. I was doing this type of stuff when I was 8 years old. 14 is late to be started doing this. Definitely get him a raspberry pi and internet connection. Otherwise he will be very behind.

    Oh and forget learning anything useful in a high school computer class. The person who is teaches it was probably a reject in the field. Otherwise they wouldn't be earning $40k a year teaching high school kids computers.



  • @irj said in My Son & College:

    Oh and forget learning anything useful in a high school computer class. The person who is teaches it was probably a reject in the field. Otherwise they wouldn't be earning $40k a year teaching high school kids computers.

    More likely getting $35K and only teaching that class on the side!



  • @scottalanmiller said in My Son & College:

    @irj said in My Son & College:

    Oh and forget learning anything useful in a high school computer class. The person who is teaches it was probably a reject in the field. Otherwise they wouldn't be earning $40k a year teaching high school kids computers.

    More likely getting $35K and only teaching that class on the side!

    Yeah. those teachers dont give two shits about the kids ....lol



  • @irj said in My Son & College:

    @scottalanmiller said in My Son & College:

    @irj said in My Son & College:

    Oh and forget learning anything useful in a high school computer class. The person who is teaches it was probably a reject in the field. Otherwise they wouldn't be earning $40k a year teaching high school kids computers.

    More likely getting $35K and only teaching that class on the side!

    Yeah. those teachers dont give two shits about the kids ....lol

    Not very likely. Mostly because even the most casual student likely has already surpassed them in job opportunities.



  • @scottalanmiller said in My Son & College:

    @irj said in My Son & College:

    @scottalanmiller said in My Son & College:

    @irj said in My Son & College:

    Oh and forget learning anything useful in a high school computer class. The person who is teaches it was probably a reject in the field. Otherwise they wouldn't be earning $40k a year teaching high school kids computers.

    More likely getting $35K and only teaching that class on the side!

    Yeah. those teachers dont give two shits about the kids ....lol

    Not very likely. Mostly because even the most casual student likely has already surpassed them in job opportunities.

    Some of the worst students in HS become teachers or cops.


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