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Two top national coding schools close within days of each other

(TECH NEWS) Despite growing popularity of coding schools, recent closures are beginning to stir up questions regarding the sustainability of the business model.



technical coding interview

We regret to inform

Coding bootcamps these days are a hot commodity, especially among those looking for an alternate pipeline into the world of software development and an above average salary. It’s the golden ticket out of working in call centers and waiting tables; it’s a game changer.


According to the latest Course Report, coding schools are expected to grow by more than 50%, however, earlier this week two well-known national coding bootcamps closed within days of each other.

Is this a premonition of what’s to come or are these simply isolated incidents?

We shall never see their like again

On July 12th Dev Boot Camp, one of the original pioneers of the bootcamp industry, announced the closure of all campuses on Facebook.

Their remaining cohorts will finish out the rest of their term and graduate in December. After which, DBC will close their doors forever.

Yesterday, The Iron Yard issued a similar statement, though not quite as telling.

Both schools ranked within the top 30 code schools in the world so you really can’t help but wonder, what’s going on?

Thinkful’s CEO and co-founder Darrell Silver expressed his sentiments surrounding Dev Bootcamp’s announcement: “[they] failed because it was acquired too early…. [i]f Kaplan had made the acquisition five or ten years later DBC would have had the chances to work this stuff out on its own dime and oversight.”

Dev Bootcamp lamented since opening in 2012 they have been striving to find a viable business model that would enable them to further their vision of high-quality, immersive coding training that is broadly accessible to a diverse population.

On top of the critical day-to-day costs of running their many campuses, they couldn’t make ends meet.

Ultimately, they were not able to find a sustainable model that would not compromise on any of those fronts.

Staying sustainable

Sources tell us that many schools operate at a loss with hopes of a future turnaround.

Luke Filipos, Founder and CEO of Austin Coding Academy expressed his take on the recent closures to AG:

“The whole coding bootcamp movement started, I think, because people were unsatisfied with the current college model — pay a bunch of money to go to a full time school and maybe get a job that can pay off the school debt.”

The Austin Coding Academy has a more flexible model than most bootcamps, offering three leveled 10-week courses spread out over a period of nine months (rather than being crammed into a 5-6 week period) and held in the evenings so students don’t have to quit their jobs to attend.

For Filipos, the full-time immersive model of most code bootcamps is simply not sustainable.

In regards to their own operating methods: “all of these things contribute to more accessible classes, lower tuition, more well-rounded graduates, and ultimately a healthier business.”

Ballooning market

With the rise in popularity to take the coding crash courses (ranging anywhere from $2,000 – $21,000), more and more bootcamps are popping up around the nation; Austin, for example, has at least sixteen.

Well, Austin had sixteen.

The market is becoming oversaturated with the different coding schools available and eventual consolidation is to be expected.

Dev Bootcamp and The Iron Yard won’t be the only two camps to close shop this year. Many believe the only long-term winners will be smaller independents operating in only one or two cities and some of the well-funded national chains with deep pockets that are backed by major universities.

Game over?

It’s a saturated industry, not only in the number of coding schools but the number of graduates searching for the junior web developer jobs as well. And none of this accounts for the instructor jobs created then destroyed by these closings.

What do these closures say to anyone interested in attending the bootcamps? Are web dev jobs just another flavor of the month? Does this make for questionable post-secondary education?

Only time will tell.


Ashe Segovia is a Staff Writer at The American Genius with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Southwestern University. A huge film nerd with a passion for acting and 80's movies and synthpop; the pop-cultural references are never-ending.

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Snap a business card pic, Microsoft app finds ’em on LinkedIn

(TECH NEWS) Microsoft Pix is teaming with LinkedIn in a neat way that will benefit networking, especially if you have any lazy bones in your body.



microsoft pix

Have you ever been watching some sort of action-adventure movie where there’s a command center with all sorts of unbelievable technology that kind of blows your mind? Well, every day we come closer and closer to living within that command center.

You may think that I’m talkin’ crazy, but check this out – there is a new technology that can scan a business card, and find the business card’s owner on LinkedIn. (Can I get a “say what????!”)

This app is courtesy of Microsoft and goes by the name Pix (it’s not new, but this function is).

The way it works is simple: Bill Jones hands you his business card, you fire up the Pix app (currently only on the iPhone. Sorry, Droids), you snap a picture of the card and the app takes the details (phone number, company, etc.) and finds Bill on LinkedIn. Bingo.

It also will automatically take that information and will create a new profile for Bill Jones within your phone’s contacts. After you scan the business card through Pix, Microsoft will ask if you want to take action.

At this point, Pix will recognize and capture phone numbers, email addresses, and URLs. If your phone is logged into LinkedIn, the apps will work together to find Bill’s profile. Part of me wants to think that this is kind of creepy but a larger part of me thinks that it’s really cool.

According to Microsoft Research’s Principal Program Manager, Josh Weisberg, “Pix is powered by AI to streamline and enhance the experience of taking a picture with a series of intelligent actions: recognizing the subject of a photo, inferring users’ intent and capturing the best quality picture.”

“It’s the combination of both understanding and intelligently acting on a users’ intent that sets Pix apart. Today’s update works with LinkedIn to add yet another intelligent dimension to Pix’s capabilities.”

Pix itself originally launched in 2016 as a way to compete against AI’s ability to edit a photo by use of exposure, focus, and color. This new integration in working with LinkedIn is a time saver, and is beneficial for those who collect business cards like candy and forget to actually do something with them.

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Walmart and the blockchain, sitting in a tree

(TECH NEWS) Say goodbye to #foodwaste with Walmart’s new smart package delivery proposal featuring everyone’s favorite pal, blockchain.




Following the trend of adding “smart” as a prefix to any word to make it futuristic, Walmart now proposes “smart packages.” The retail giant filed for a new patent to improve their shipping and package tracking process using blockchain.

Last week, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) released the application, which was filed back in August 2017.

Officially, the application notes the smart package will have “a body portion having an inner volume” and “a door coupled to the body portion” that can be open or closed to restrict or allow access to the package contents.

In other words, they’ve patented a box with a door on it that also has lots of monitoring devices.

Various iterations lay claim to all versions of said box include smart packaging utilizing a combination of monitoring devices, modular adapters, autonomous delivery vehicles, and blockchain.

Monitoring devices would regulate location tracking, inner content removal, and environmental conditions of the package like temperature and humidity. This could help reduce loss of products sensitive to environmental changes, like fresh produce.

Modular adapters perform these actions as well, and also ensure the package has access to a power source and the delivery vehicle’s security system to prevent theft.

Blockchain comes into play with a delivery encryption system, monitoring, authenticating, and registering packages. As it moves through the supply chain, packages will be registered throughout the process.

The blockchain would be hashed with private key addresses of sellers, couriers, and buyers to track the chain of custody. Every step of the shipping process would be documented, providing greater accountability and easier record keeping.

This isn’t Walmart’s first foray into the world of blockchain. Last year they teamed up with Nestle, Kroger, and other food companies in a partnership with IBM to improve food traceability with blockchain.

Walmart also took part in a similar food tracking program in China with last year as well.

And let’s not forget Walmart’s May 2017 USPTO application to use blockchain tech for package delivery via unmanned drones. Their more recent application builds on the drone idea, which also proposed tracking packages with blockchain and monitoring product conditions during delivery.

In their latest application, Walmart notes, “online customers many times seek to purchase items that may require a controlled environment and further seek to have greater security in the shipping packaging that the items are shipped in.”

Implementing blockchain and smart package monitoring as part of the shipping process could greatly reduce product loss and improve shipment tracking.

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Tech News

Experts warn of actual AI risks – we’re about to live in a sci fi movie

(TECH NEWS) A new report on AI indicates that the sci fi dystopias we’ve been dreaming up are actually possible. Within a few short years. Welp.



AI robots

Long before artificial intelligence (AI) was even a real thing, science fiction novels and films have warned us about the potentially catastrophic dangers of giving machines too much power.

Now that AI actually exists, and in fact, is fairly widespread, it may be time to consider some of the potential drawbacks and dangers of the technology, before we find ourselves in a nightmarish dystopia the likes of which we’ve only begun to imagine.

Experts from the industry as well as academia have done exactly that, in a recently released 100-page report, “The Malicious Use of Artificial Intelligence: Forecasting, Prevention, Mitigation.”

The report was written by 26 experts over the course of a two-day workshop held in the UK last month. The authors broke down the potential negative uses of artificial intelligence into three categories – physical, digital, or political.

In the digital category are listed all of the ways that hackers and other criminals can use these advancements to hack, phish, and steal information more quickly and easily. AI can be used to create fake emails and websites for stealing information, or to scan software for potential vulnerabilities much more quickly and efficiently than a human can. AI systems can even be developed specifically to fool other AI systems.

Physical uses included AI-enhanced weapons to automate military and/or terrorist attacks. Commercial drones can be fitted with artificial intelligence programs, and automated vehicles can be hacked for use as weapons. The report also warns of remote attacks, since AI weapons can be controlled from afar, and, most alarmingly, “robot swarms” – which are, horrifyingly, exactly what they sound like.

Read also: Is artificial intelligence going too far, moving too quickly?

Lastly, the report warned that artificial intelligence could be used by governments and other special interest entities to influence politics and generate propaganda.

AI systems are getting creepily good at generating faked images and videos – a skill that would make it all too easy to create propaganda from scratch. Furthermore, AI can be used to find the most important and vulnerable targets for such propaganda – a potential practice the report calls “personalized persuasion.” The technology can also be used to squash dissenting opinions by scanning the internet and removing them.

The overall message of the report is that developments in this technology are “dual use” — meaning that AI can be created that is either helpful to humans, or harmful, depending on the intentions of the people programming it.

That means that for every positive advancement in AI, there could be a villain developing a malicious use of the technology. Experts are already working on solutions, but they won’t know exactly what problems they’ll have to combat until those problems appear.

The report concludes that all of these evil-minded uses for these technologies could easily be achieved within the next five years. Buckle up.

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