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California regulator seeks to shut down 'learn to code' bootcamps (venturebeat.com)
104 points by coloneltcb on Jan 29, 2014 | hide | past | favorite | 134 comments

Reading the headline I was like WTF that sounds like government run a muck. Then I got to this part...

"The programs typically last 10 to 12 weeks. Potential recruits are often told that they have a shot at a job or internship at a competitive tech company like Facebook or Google. Tuition costs vary widely. At Hackbright Academy, it’s $15,000 for a 10 week program. Full scholarships are available, and students who land a job at a company in the Hackbright network can request a partial refund. At Hack Reactor, where tuition costs over $17,000, 99 percent of students are offered a job at companies like Adobe and Google. The average salary is over six figures, Phillips told me."

To sum up these companies are charging a lot of money (more than college tuition) while at the same time advertising extraordinary results "99% job placement" with the likes of Google and Adobe. I'm guessing that some of them are making false advertising claims with respect to the chances of landing a job and that is why there is scrutiny here. There was a similar case with cooking schools not long ago also in CA[0] After reading that paragraph I'm a lot more skeptical of these companies.


Man, I have to say that as someone who has interviewed students from these classes, I would bet a lot of money that 99% of these students aren't being hired. It made me really uncomfortable thinking about how many people in the room had just spent 15k to hack around with some people in an almost "engineering fantasy camp" type environment. I'm all for this law honestly.

I participated in App Academy. The program had strengths and weaknesses, but to their credit, they culled the class at the halfway point, and gave folks who had no chance of getting hired within a reasonable timeframe a full refund of their deposit.

There was some bait-and-switch with regard to their "free unless/until you get a job" pitch. I think the competition for students in the space is increasing pressure, and oversight is probably a necessary thing.

In my opinion, students who went on to A-list companies probably could have gotten a job without the bootcamp. But the offer is still compelling if you get a couple months of intense introduction to an in-demand framework, and don't pay anything out-of-pocket (App Academy collects when you get hired).

Culling sounds kind of like they either needed a longer course or a deeper applications pipeline. It's definitely not a thing at Hack Reactor.

As an aside, I met most of the first class of App Academy. I was really impressed with Ned's teaching as well as the progress Hugo and a couple of the others were making. It was seeing that that lead me to go to an immersive school and it was one of the best investments I've ever made.

There was a paramedic school around that was closely tied in with one of the national ambulance companies, who offered / guaranteed jobs (matching, help with recruiting, etc) to graduates, the catch being that if you were "undesirable", but a graduate nonetheless, you'd be offered a job with the company in the middle of the rural Dakotas or West Virginia or somewhere "undesirable" (apologies to those areas - more that young people trying to do the paramedic thing are usually looking for the "excitement" of big-city medicine).

If you didn't take the job, well, they'd fulfilled things, and got you a(n undesirable) job.

What happened to the students that were culled? I can't even imagine what you'd do after getting dropped from a class you paid for (even with refund). That must be tremendously demoralizing.

I also participated in App Academy, and there was no culling. The students went on to successfully find well-paying jobs in the tech industry.

I find the second sentence to be as ambiguous as possible.

> 95% of our graduates have offers or are working in tech jobs now at an average salary of $91,000.


that could even be true, but some for-profit schools are notorious for manipulating statistics like that in a variety of ways. Hiring people themselves, paying other outfits to hire them temporarily, offers of terrible jobs nobody would take, and flat-out lying.

That's not to say it's happening here, of course. I'm sure some of these programs are great. But it's something people should consider when looking at any program like this, especially unregulated ones.

> that could even be true, but some for-profit schools are notorious for manipulating statistics like that in a variety of ways.

The people from my cohort are not just statistics to me. I know them personally, and all I can say is that they are very satisfied with how things have turned out.

Also note that with App Academy, the tuition is a percentage of your first year's salary. So the company is incentivized to ensure that students get a job (and the highest paying one they can), because otherwise they don't get paid.

No offense intended; I'm glad you and your friends had a good experience. My concern is about the market in general.

I like App Academy's percentage-based approach. That's definitely putting their money where their mouth is. I think the only thing undemonstrated for me is how much difference their program makes. It'd be interesting to take their pre App-Academy resumes and put them in the hands of a good recruiter.

> I think the only thing undemonstrated for me is how much difference their program makes.

It can be difficult for people who have not experienced it to understand the sort of progress you can make in such a short period of time. I obviously can't speak as to the other hiring bootcamps, but the guided pair programming approach taken by App Academy is very effective for rapid hands-on learning. I had taken a CS class or two prior to App Academy, and the difference is night and day.

Also, there is more to the program than just technical learning. There is a 3 week hiring bootcamp, where everyone works together on the job search process, under the guidance of an App Academy hiring instructor. For people new to the tech industry, this is very effective at bringing them up to speed on how hiring works in tech.

At this point, there are many companies that employ App Academy alumni (including thoughtbot, Facebook, Vimeo, Hipmunk, Twilio, and Zendesk), and many have realized the quality of its graduates, and so whenever a new cohort is getting close to graduation, managers from those companies come to a "demo day," where students can show their capstone projects and get interviews.

I've been pair programming for more than a decade, so I definitely know how much it can help newbies. My point is more that one way they can skew the stats in their favor is by hiring people who would have been hired by those companies with or without the program. E.g., people whose issue is self esteem, or people who aren't good at self-evaluation, or people who lack the sort of personal connections that let other hard-to-evaluate candidates get their first break.

I'm not saying that's what they're doing, of course I'm just saying that in this market a strong hiring rate alone doesn't prove anything about the program.

I'm with you there. I was here for Bubble 1.0 as well, and there was a similar frenzy around hiring and job seeking.

The big difference now for me is that in 1999, the tools were much more primitive. Then, it was more plausible to me that somebody smart with a little technical training could just leap in and figure a lot out. Now, though, the technologies are much more elaborate.

They aren't being hired. I met with a bunch of Dev Bootcamp students and their number one complaint was they couldn't find jobs. Maybe I'll write a story about that.

Confirming that my sample size of X Bootcamp students have trouble finding jobs. It's still a competitive market, but it seems like there is an increased demand for skilled talent.

What seems really odd to me, is that the market for creative talent seems to want the cheapest, least skilled talent for some reason. I suspect this has something to do with how we as a culture value creative art labor versus programming labor.

those classes are all about being young white and smart if you donnot fit the bill you had better do a startup they accept 99.9 % whites

What happened in this country to personal responsibility? It's gotten so bad at this point that if a company charges what seems to be a large amount, that we justify imposing ridiculous laws just because it seems "right" or "fair." As long as these companies aren't guaranteeing 100% a job and merely advertising the statistics, it is solely on the student to decide whether or not 20k is an absurd price for a 70% (or whatever chance). If the company guarantees a job and doesn't fulfill, then you have a law suit and you recoup your money that way. There is absolutely no regulation necessary in this instance. Take responsibility for your own actions.

Edit: Downvotes? Let me clarify. I want Americans to prosper. Absolving people of the need to make sound decisions and placing the burden on the government in more and more scenarios is not going to help our populace become any wiser. If a law suit doesn't work, report them to the BBB. If that's a joke, write a post and leverage the internet to inform people of the company's malpractice. Getting the government involved hurts everyone, from the higher barrier to entry to comply with regulations, to higher consumer prices due to lack of competition for the incumbents who can afford to enter. This isn't what we stand for.

You sound like somebody who has never actually tried suing somebody.

Lawsuits are hard. They take years, are very stressful, and you generally need significant up-front capital to make them happen. Then if (if!) you win a lawsuit the cash doesn't magically appear when the judge bangs his gavel; there's a whole process for trying to extract your money. And if they have spent the money and are now broke? Well, basically, tough shit.

And of course, winning a lawsuit and recovering money doesn't actually turn back the clock on the lost time and heartache. It just means you've managed to get some of your cash back. Which may feel like a very poor return, and is certainly a waste.

And that's even before we get to the various theoretical reasons that regulation makes sense here. For example, there's an information asymmetry: these instant schools know a ton more about what they're selling than their customers do, making it much easier for them to exploit. Plus they're selling training; students, by definition, are missing a lot of important knowledge and are outsiders to the industry. The normal feedback loops of commerce work best with repeat purchases; one-time purchases greatly restrict the invisible hand's power. And if nothing else, we need a regulator to make sure that the statistics are solid.

As somebody who has hired developers in CA and will likely do so again, I think this is great. I don't want bright young people getting fucked over. I want them to enter the industry in a way that gives them a real shot at a career.

I agree, I recently had to get a lawyer to deal with a company that defrauded me. It's a huge pain in the butt and anything but fast.

Thanks for your perspective. You are correct, I have never personally sued anyone. I was given a great opportunity by one of these such programs and it has completely changed my life for the better. That's not to say all of them provide the same for all students, but I believe they deserve a fair defense at this point.

Glad to hear it. But given that, you should be strongly in favor of reasonable regulation.

These programs cost basically nothing to start, and the major qualification needed is marketing expertise, not technical or educational skill. And, as others have pointed out, the profits could be substantial.

No barrier to entry, an uneducated market susceptible to manipulation, and no easy way to evaluate product quality means that even if the early entrants are perfectly good, the incentives are such that I'd expect a lot of their competitors to be fools or scam artists, unable to deliver good results. In which case, the whole thing will get a bad reputation, harming not only a lot of students, but the programs who are doing well.

As a parallel, consider food quality and safety regulation. It's hard for a consumer to tell what's in a sausage. It's to the benefit of all quality sausage-makers to have enough regulation to make sure their competitors are all doing a reasonably good job. If any fool or criminal can jump into the business, the best case is that good producers will be trying to compete with companies using 30% dog food and old meat. But more likely is that a bunch of people will get sick, causing a giant scare where people, unable to tell good from bad, stop buying all sausage.

What happened in this country to personal responsibility?

What happened to fraud being frowned upon? If you take someone's money in exchange for something you can't follow through on, that is fraud, pure and simple. Shouting "caveat emptor" doesn't change that, and doesn't change the fact that fraud needs a remedy.

Of course fraud is frowned upon. You seem to be jumping to the conclusion that these companies are definitely up to no good. Can you provide any evidence of that anecdotal or otherwise that they are defrauding people?

The allegation seems to be they are charging a lot of money for something they can't deliver on (i.e., a promised high placement rate in well-paying jobs).

That would be fraud, and if it's happening, it's entirely OK to do something about it.

Lawsuits are not an efficient way to recoup money, and from the sound of it, they're not offering accurate statistics.

It sounds extra-ordinary to have 99% hiring rate. However it isn't as an amazing claim as it sounds.

Hack Reactor is the only boot camp to advertise this 99% hiring rate (and they weren't all at Adobe and Google...) and they have a few reasons for it:

1) There's roughly a 1 million deficit of developers in the US right now - If you can set up a website, you can get a job. If you can get a job, you will get a job in the Bay Are at some crummy startup.

2) They don't count people who aren't looking for employment afterwards. In the bay a lot of people have money and ideas but not skills and sense. A good portion of their students are startup wannabes who go on to try and start a company. If you're not directly looking for employment after the class is over, you're not included in the statistics.

3) $17,000 to get in. This cuts out all and any non-invested students. No degree, no diploma, only $17,000 and an ad. Those applying are guaranteed to believe they can succeed.

4) There's an interview process. All boot camps have interviews, however Hack Reactor has probably the strictest there is and their heaviest hitter. The interviewers aren't HR people, they're veteran developers, and they screen out anyone who isn't already employable.

5) They hire students as 'hacker-in-residence'. These are people they deem either fit to teach, or want to train more. Or both. These are now employed, for however short period of time.

These things combined, Location, Cost, Screening, Being an Employer and Selective population, all add up to being able to boast an honest 99% hiring rate. And in the end, even if it sounds amazing, again keep in mind that the market is still exploding and anyone who can set up a website and write a few scripts can get a job as a developer right now. It sounds amazing and, honestly, it is.

That's exactly what I'm thinking. If you're going to charge tuition in excess of what existing community colleges do, I think you need to expect to be regulated like one.

I just don't see how the cost structure of putting a dozen students and an instructor in a room with laptops for a week comes to ~$20000. That seems pretty suspicious.

It's not even the price that is a problem per se the problem is the extraordinary claims. It's like the Bernie Madoff of education schemes. Who wouldn't invest 15k to have a "99%" chance of getting a 6 figure job with Google? Of course when you think about it that is almost certainly a false claim but someone w/o engineering experience probably doesn't realize that.

Meanwhile, I invested $15k in a CS degree, and eventually got a six figure job at a tech company.

Canadian universities rock.

As a graduate of Hack Reactor, the one program that places 99% of its students, I find this comment offensive.

I've known students in every cohort from the first one (which was halfway finished when I started as part of the second) to the current group. I was in the interview pike at Google, a Japanese game company and a number of start-ups when I took my current position. One of my classmates took a position at Adobe. Many of my good friends from the program took jobs at YC companies. Google has been interviewing pretty much everyone from the two most recent classes. Not to mention the fact that a few students are already profitable on their group projects before even leaving: http://www.wired.com/wiredenterprise/2013/12/honeybadger/

Hack Reactor has been extremely active on Quora answering exactly how their hiring rates are calculated. The stats only include base salary and don't yet include the most recent couple of classes, which have done even better. The mean result is significantly over 100k/year and are a far better ROI than any credentialed degree I know of.

The level of transparency Hack Reactor offers is unparalleled. Their directory has been updated to include what every single student from the first three cohorts was doing before and after the program here: http://www.hackreactor.com/engineers/

I do not work for the school and have no financial incentive to say this. I've kept close to the HR network out of gratitude for what truly was a life changing inflection point for me. Doing the program was one of the very best investments I've ever made. It saddens me to see the school threatened by reactionary bureaucratic regulators and it angers me to see people like pmorici quoting their extremely conservative report on student outcomes and making accusations of false advertising.

My comment wasn't direct at Hack Reactor in particular which if you read it carefully you would realize. If they are different than the typical for profit education outfit that's great but I really doubt the state is out on some witch hunt for no reason in general.

Indeed, I too started off wondering what kind of regulation the state was interested in imposing. While the article does not mention any specific regulation, the inclusion of a "bootcamp's" claim that 12 weeks and $17,000 would get you on average a "six figure" job made it pretty clear why the state is interested. (For quick reference, keeping an average of 13 students enrolled for a year is $1M revenue, and "getting a job offer" for a "six figure" job doesn't actually make a verifiable claim that these people get or keep those jobs.)

I feel like GA's involvement was seriously underplayed, and even made to look like a more valid option than the others.

I think I know why: The author Christina Farr is really good friends with the growth/community manager of GA - Olivia Clement.

They even have a club together (Ladies Who Vino): http://i.imgur.com/JJsUmTw.png

This really seems like a problem with collusion among press and tech companies in the valley. Tough luck for anyone not included.

I'm not really pro-regulation but this might be a good thing. I feel like we're in a "bootcamp bubble" at the moment. As much as I'd like for every bootcamp to have altruistic motives, some seem like a money-grab to me. This is especially evidenced by the smaller and smaller program lengths ("Learn to code in 12 weeks" is now "Learn to code in 8 weeks" or "Learn to do a startup in 4 weeks")[1][2].

Personally, I wish California's community college system would learn to move a little faster, spend $ to hire some talented instructors, and add modern certificate programs in programming/iOS/Rails/Android/UX/DevOps/etc. It's a big system (100+) schools, extremely affordable ($46/unit + lots of financial aid), and a decent length (most certificate programs are 12-20 units or 1-2 semesters).

[1] http://www.codefellows.org/

[2] http://fitzroygsd.com/

It's interesting that you wish California would move faster and be more innovative regarding various tech-related occupations, but also support regulation of a sector that IS moving faster and being innovative.

Mind-numbing, soul-destroying, California-style bureaucracy is not the answer here.

Instead, I support self-regulation. Other industries have done it. I'd rather see prominent tech academies come together and form their own standards body.

Look, I'm fully aware what I'm asking for WRT California is a pipe dream. I just worry about the profit motive and price of the bootcamps. The jury is still out on their effectiveness and the price is out of reach for many of the people who could/should benefit from such programs. Even if they get to a point of qualifying for financial aid, are they any better than U. of Phoenix and Kaplan?

I attended and worked at a CA community college. It's an amazing and affordable public resource for low-income people, single parents, veterans, people who need to retrain, etc.

If they got creative, I'm sure they could do some great things. For example, get talented hackers to volunteer as professors in exchange for tax credits or forgiveness of student loans (I'd do that in heartbeat).

What's the difference between self regulation and collusion?

Higher education in the US is largely self-regulated via the accreditation process. The government has minimal oversight of that self-regulation, mostly through the GI bill. Self-regulation doesn't mean they collude in a bad way (though there are suspicions that the rising cost of tuition is a collusion problem). Self-regulation is a form of collusion that, when done right, is good for producers and consumers - LEED or certain organic food certifications or academic accreditation are easy ways for consumers to know what they are getting and for producers to limit the negative price and quality pressure of "lemons" (bad products) on the marketplace. And it achieves this effect without heavy handed bans that limit consumer choice.

whether the regulator has been paid off or not. seriously though,

barriers to entry, the number of competing firms, anti competitive behavior etc.

Low barriers to entry mean that if existing firms collude to artificially raise prices a new competitor may easily enter the market to undercut them.

A larger number of firms makes collusion less likely (see OPEC for example). Their attempts to collude are often met with one member state undercutting the agreed upon price and getting most of the business.

Other factors are also in play such as whether the industry is most efficiently served by a single entity as in a "natural monopoly"

"I am from government and I am here to help" I shudder every time I hear those words.

As long as people have a choice between to attend or not to attend a bootcamp I dont see how government can step in.

As long as people have a choice between to invest or not invest in Madoff's pink sheets I don't see how government can step in.

That would not be my first choice for an example of successful government regulation...

Successful, not really (though Madoff is in jail and some billions of investor money recovered), but a pretty good example of a place where regulation is necessary. Maybe a better one for this particular issue would be University of Phoenix and other for-profit colleges. I think there's been some success with these bootcamps, but what if that dries up... what then is the difference? Good intentions?

Edit: not trying to be overly harsh on the bootcamps... I think they're pretty neat and a good idea on the whole. I also don't think they should escape the protections government regulation, done properly, can provide.

I don't know, would the Madoff situation have been as bad if those hapless investors had not been able to think to themselves: "Well if this is not on the level, then why have they been operating for decades now without apparent interference or objection from government regulators?"

When government regulation is incompetent or malicious but has a positive reputation nevertheless, it can amplify harm.

investing is gambling. If the investors didn't know what they were buying they shouldn't have bought it. If they were being lied to then it's a case of fraud.

I don't see anyone who wants to bail out people who bet on losing horses in the kentucky derby.

I don't see what any of that has to do with my point.

To reiterate, the Madoff scandal was a decades-long failure of government regulation. Regulation eventually prevailed, but only after thousands of investors were defrauded. The fact that Madoff was ostensibly regulated lowered the perceived risk of investment, thereby increasing the harm that was ultimately done.

Had the SEC not been in essence vouching for Madoff, many of his victims may have been more cautious and therefore avoided becoming his victims.

It was a fraud, and the comparison with gambling is a strawman. It's not a matter of bailing people out if they take one of these crash courses and don't profit from it, it's a matter of preventing the courses from defrauding people and holding them responsible if they do.

it would have been an excellent example for self regulation if we had let the banks fail. then go into bankruptcy, the surviving banks could then purchase the assets at reduced costs, if not enough banks survived to aquire the assets we could have helped the surviving banks purchase the assets via loans to them. instead we just bailed out the shitty banks and the good banks were penalized for their shrewd investing.

Another precondition: Consumers should know what they are buying and not merely rely on what the seller is telling them. In case of investments it takes years for consumers to actually realize that they have been duped. That is why effect government regulation in banking and various other sectors matters.

In case of bootcamps it hardly takes any time to understand if you are being duped or not getting money's worth. I honestly do not see much case for government regulation in this case.

For a 12-week boot camp, it is going to take attendees a fair bit longer than 12 weeks to learn that they've been duped. A school, by definition, takes in people who don't know what they're doing.

Sure, most HNers could tell in a day that they're being duped. But most HNers don't need the boot camps in the first place to get a tech-sector job.

What is difficult for ordinary people is difficult for government too. How can government figure out the usefulness (which is a not so tangible thing) of a bootcamp ?

If government stays out of this it is likely that the bootcamps will end up giving "free one week course" etc. This is very common in India where non regulated coaching and training centers tend to give a free one day to one week course which the pupil may convert into a paid one.

Exactly, now some poor chump who finishes this bootcamp in 4 weeks thinks he is some kind of code-wizzard just because he can draw a stickman using javascript. Bootcams are modern versions of "Learn {php/c++/etc..} in 24 hours" books.

AFAIK those things are a complete waste of money.

I have read a couple of those books and liked them for learn the syntax of a language.

You miss the point.

Sure, when you have years of programming experience you can just pick up syntax and start coding. How about when you have zero experience? Not so much helpful now.

The hypothetical poor chump came out of it knowing how to draw a stickman in javascript, right? Can't be that bad then.

If "coding bootcamps" are really the new "Learn [whatever] in [X] Days", then does that imply that those book are currently regulated, or should be regulated? Should the State of California protect poor chumps from books that might artificially raise their egos?

If they buy one of those books and work through it but don't get a job, they're out of some time and maybe $30, but they have some skills now. If they go to one of those boot camps thinking they're going to get the same job as someone who did a 4 year degree at an elite school and did a ton of side projects, they're probably now out of >$10k with arguably less skill than the person who went through the books.

I'm all for the government preventing fraudulent advertising. That's one of the things they're there for.

What is the bar here?

If I sell a self-help book for many thousands of dollars and people mistakenly ascribe undeserved value to my books, is California going to attempt to step in to protect the poor chumps?

I suspect not.

There's always more to focus on than can be focused on, but if you're doing a lot of damage to people via fraudulent claims, I would hope that regulators would come down on you hard.

yep then what about 4 year factor,s they just pose a threat to degree mill,s who do the same thing the fact is you can learn to code in12 weeks to some degree i am teaching my 4 year old to code ror and he is getting it

it did c++ in 24 hours and now i am doing my own startup it got enoght c++ to hire other c++ guys to go get my money really no bs it is all about the concept

>As much as I'd like for every bootcamp to have altruistic motives, some seem like a money-grab to me.

Regulation should not ALWAYS assume a stupid citizen. Just like total surveillance might make us somewhat safer, total regulation might make things somewhat less fraudulent. But do the benefits justify the costs: bureaucracy, cementing a fast-paced industry in the molasses of government? Creating a new set of taxes, fees, and public employees?

I went to a California community college as well as a California state college.

The problem with what you are proposing is that they are already so low on classes, they can't cover the basic comp sci curriculum. This means that you are asking to add courses, which will replace what they currently have available. It is not uncommon to cancel classes with low enrollment.

The level of quality in state colleges in California is frighteningly low. I had comp engineering students ask me what constructors were in a data structures course. There is no way to make California schools teach more useful technology stacks if they cannot cover the basics.

Another thing that really annoys me in the California state college level is the apathy of the professors. You have professors who do no research that have watered down the material to an extreme degree. That same person who asked me what a class constructor was graduated with me.

It may be a great way of getting very low level programmers or even people who are looking to change professions, but you would be ruining what little comp sci core material that they still teach.

I attended an iOS bootcamp a while back. I found it to be educational, however, the amount of time you spend on coding is so low, I can't imagine anyone but a seasoned programmer benefiting from the experience.

> Personally, I wish California's community college system would learn to move a little faster, spend $ to hire some talented instructors, and add modern certificate programs in programming/iOS/Rails/Android/UX/DevOps/etc. It's a big system (100+) schools, extremely affordable ($46/unit + lots of financial aid

To expand (rather than contracting) programs, California's Community Colleges would either need to get more support from tax revenue or become less "extremely affordable".

I gather you're asking for a law to protect students from being overcharged relative to the services they're provided. But this regulation isn't intended for that, as far as I can see: http://www.bppe.ca.gov/lawsregs/ppe_act.shtml

Are there any statistics on how long it takes people to land jobs after they graduate from the larger programs?

I know a couple people who've been through them and it seems to have tapered off a bit - at least with respect to RoR bootcamps. If the students stick with it most of them can get jobs within 6 months of starting one of the programs but it seems to be a limited number who get jobs immediately after finishing.

I dont think anything has happened yet to trigger a bootcamp incident of people getting beat out of their life savings to learn how to code FORTRAN for CGI apps on gopher where anything needs to be regulated.

Point me to some of these scams, I'd say yes - it's gone the way of Devry Institute - although like anything a fool and his money is soon parted and if you really want to learn, you'll do it at a bootcamp, and a bad college or on your own impetus regardless of cash outlay.

Jeez the article itself contradicts the linkbait headline.

“Our primary goal is not to collect a fine. It is to drive them to comply with the law,” said Russ Heimerich, a spokesperson for BPPE. Heimerich is confident that these companies would lose in court if they attempt to fight BPPE.

Heimerich stressed that these bootcamps merely need to show that they are making steps toward compliance: “As long as they are making a good effort to come into compliance with the law, they fall down low on our triage of problem children. We will work with them to get them licensed and focus on more urgent matters,” Heimerich said.

This is kind of a bugaboo for me. I am continually surprised by the attitude that seems common in the tech industry that laws governing all other industries are misapplied or useless when it comes to tech. I get that the hacker culture is to beg forgiveness rather than ask permission, but sometimes this causes real hardships.

Imagine they were teaching an older generation of technology: automobile maintenance, say? Or TV repair? And I implied to graduates that they'd get jobs at GM or GE?

It is extremely difficult to check out a new, for-profit school's reputation thoroughly in terms of the success of its graduates and the quality of its instruction. There are thousands of stories of students taking on unsustainable levels of debt to go to culinary school, for example, only to work for peanuts in non-elite kitchens.

What makes software engineering exempt? Alternatively, why should bootcamps be allowed to avoid the law--which applies to all other for-profit post-secondary schools--because they teach Rails and Javascript instead of refrigerator maintenance?

At Hack Reactor, where tuition costs over $17,000, 99 percent of students are offered a job at companies like Adobe and Google.

Am I the only one who is skeptical of this? I'd really like to see the breakdown on this one..

They are doing the same thing that Devry was. They are making up statistics about job placement to justify the high tuitions. This should be punishable by the state.

99% placement is impossibly high.

I am currently a student at Hack Reactor and I can assure you that the average salary students are offered coming out of the program are a lot higher than 60-80k, and the statistics are real.

I've been very impressed with the program and highly recommend it.

If you're inclined, please refer to this Quora post for additional details:


Thanks for the information -- but this still doesn't spell out any breakdowns of who gets jobs where. This specifies that ~98% get jobs -- but at companies like Adobe and Google? I know plenty of grads from top tier bachelor CS programs at some of the highest ranked schools, and I'd still say that roughly less than half get a job offer at Google. I don't want to sound snobbish... but no doubt these guys would have a better shot than someone who began coding less than 3 months before? Until I see a breakdown it's really hard to say the quote isn't blown out of proportion.

From that GP's quora link:

We have an internal metric for measuring performance, defined as follows: "Of all those able to legally work in the United States who graduate our class with an intention of seeking software engineering work, how many are able to find such work within three months of graduating?"

I don't suppose that finding a job could be a requirement for graduation, could it? Or maybe Hack Reactor just has very rigorous graduation requirements, and most students wash out of the program after paying $15k? The link also implies that anyone who is enrolled in college or, more importantly, doesn't take part in HackReactor's job search program isn't "intending to seek software engineering work."

In short, I think they have plenty of ways to fudge a 9x% placement rate.

Well, "companies like Adobe and Google" is a meaningless statement, if you get down to it.

I'm also a current student at Hack Reactor, and while this probably won't change yours or anyone else's sentiment regarding such schools, I still feel the need to say it.

Yes, the claims are bold and certainly that could be an issue. It's certainly hard to believe the numbers stated on some of these bootcamps websites, and I'm okay with regulations and compliance, so long as they do what is intended.

You don't want to sound snobbish, but you've made a blanket statement by saying that " I know plenty of grads from top tier bachelor CS programs at some of the highest ranked schools, and I'd still say that roughly less than half get a job offer at Google. I don't want to sound snobbish... but no doubt these guys would have a better shot than someone who began coding less than 3 months before?"

It appears that you value a CS degree quite a bit, but can you tell me how often the courses you've taken in computer science are applicable to the work that you do on a daily basis?

What you may be surprised to find out is that there are people in these programs who have been software engineers, who have bachelor degrees in CS, lots of advanced degrees in the sciences, and a nice blend of smart people from top tier universities across the US and other countries. In addition to that, there are students who have programmed in other languages and in other contexts. The students who end up being a part of some of these programs have identified themselves as those with the desire to learn and to write code. A majority have learned to write code on their own for a long time. It may even surprise you that some of the BEST people are those that have never written a line of code prior the the months before doing Hack Reactor and have become experts in some frameworks with badges from those respective organizations as being members of the team, like AngularJS (Google).

A person with a CS degree from a top-tier school doesn't exactly mean the person can write software. Just because a person from a top school knows how to write C and Java doesn't mean they can immediately write web applications.

If you actually know how companies like Google, Facebook, and Microsoft hire, you likely may have come across Gayle Laakman's book, "Cracking the Coding Interview". A person can significantly increase their chances of being hired at a top-tier company by knowing how to tackle the puzzles and algorithm problems found in the book. I mention this, because a traditional CS program may or may not bring light to this material, and a person from a top-tier program could just simply miss an opportunity at a company, because he or she was never exposed to it.

I know I've already said a lot, but let me say something about Hack Reactor, because it seems that it's receiving flak for charging $17.8K. Hack Reactor provides a facility that's accessible to students at almost all times of the day with good and functional equipment to learn on. The instructors are some of the most well-respected people in the industry from Twitter, Google, Walmart Labs, Adobe, etc. I might even add that one graduated with nearly top honors in CS at one of the best programs in North America. They brought in Gayle Laakman to speak to us. We also saw Pamela Fox, who works directly with John Resig (jQuery) on the CS curriculum at Khan Academy, one of the founders of MeteorJS, and talks from founders and developers at Famo.us, Firebase, and others. They also hire out of our program. I almost forgot to mention -- when I say well-respected, I mean these are instructors AND former students that end up speaking at HTML Dev Conference, JS Conference, and are contributors to many open source projects that you may even be using. That says a lot about Hack Reactor's quality.

Whether or not I'll be able to help Hack Reactor's hiring rate and average salary claims remain to be seen, but I have no doubt that Hack Reactor delivers something invaluable to the tech community as a whole and giving people a chance they otherwise wouldn't have.

I will say this, though, personally I do know people from other programs that haven't fared well, and it certainly factored into my decision on whether or not to try one of these programs out. They're not all cut from the same cloth, therefore the types of students chosen vary, materials covered vary, and results vary. I think you'd find it comforting to know that, at least at Hack Reactor, we cover some fundamentals, like data structures, and are asked to implement them (although it is highly unlikely many do this exercise at a job), but do encounter problems where such knowledge is extremely helpful and useful. We also practice algorithms regularly to train us to become problem solvers and to recognize patterns. It's not just a language and framework and off you go... it's a lot more than what many doubters may think.

I also dropped in to call bullshit on that claim. If I had to guess, I'd say the better students (top 30%) end up at mid-tier tech companies, with salaries in the $60-$80k range.

I've seen this happen with a few different graduates of these "boot camps". The claims usually check out… on the surface.

The problem is the people who complete these boot camps don't usually have an understanding of computer science. All they learned is syntax, a popular framework, and maybe an algorithm or two. It's just enough to pass an interview (depending on the department), particularly in cases where the interviewer NEEDS to make a hire.

They get jobs at Adobe or Google as contractors and their contracts don't get renewed. Or they get a full time gig that is over there head and then get fired. I've seen it happen a lot. Far too much.

I know 4 different people who have gone through these that are constantly rotating through jobs. 6 weeks, 2 months, 6 months, etc.. They can't hack it. They will spend hours trying to complete what would be a simple task and have no idea how to read someone else's code. Their managers get extremely frustrated. Moreover, I've tried to tell these people that they need to go back and spend the time to understand CS and the fundamentals, but they don't want to. They have an expectation that they "deserve" to be paid a competitive wage because they are a "programmer."

Of course, these are just four examples. I know others who have gone through boot camps and HAVE spent the time to work backwards and understand the fundamentals. But they are, in my opinion, the exception now. Most of the boot camps out there are conditioning people to believe that, if they pay $20,000 they will be a certified computer programmer entitled to that $100k salary. The reality is that all they come away with is a good enough understanding of a language and a framework that they "code" a website.

Having seen this first hand in a number of instances, I sort of agree with the idea of trying to regulate this, because a lot of people are being taken for a ride.

It's not really hard to figure out.

Read it as "99% of the students we chose to survey and who answered our survey said they had jobs."

Survey your good students. Then throw another in there so it's not 100%.

I was in the 2nd cohort. I was interviewing at Google but cut it short to take an offer at Groupon. One of my 12 classmates took an offer at Adobe. Another was an 18 year-old English guy. Twitter wanted him but he couldn't get the visa and went back to London. He's working at Google Labs through Toaster. Another classmate abandoned his job search because he got into Tech Stars. That start-up died and he's working at Open Table. Another did his own start-up that's still going, Seedchange. Another was technical hire #1 at a funded start-up using Meteor.

The outcomes ranged from pretty good to amazing, but none were bad. Maybe you should look at the school's web page. Every single graduate is listed through whatever class they've gotten around to adding.

Me too. It probably doesn't include students who drop out. Also, it all depends what "companies like" means.

So it could mean that they get jobs at companies like Google and Adobe... such as McDonalds. That is also a company.

The current talent crunch has brought a TON of shady bootcamps to the valley that are preying on innocent hopefuls.

I even built http://schools.techendo.co/ to help people under-equipped to evaluate these schools. It's a true problem.


Related post:


it may be helpful to people who are trying to evaluate different bootcamps to attend for you to include some sort of ranking of the top-rated 'schools'

that being said, it's awesome that you made that. I'm not aware of anywhere that lets people evaluate their bootcamp experience and it'll be great if/when more people review what they went through

"At Hack Reactor, where tuition costs over $17,000, 99 percent of students are offered a job at companies like Adobe and Google."

That seems at odds with my general perception of who Google recruits and of the tough nature of their interviews... Anyone have first hand experience of going through one of these without prior tech experience and then landing a job at Google or other name-brand employers?

I am currently a senior at Hack Reactor, and I can vouch for the high quality of education and job prep that HR gives its students. The figures that HR mention are real, and we have students who are now working at places like Google.

For more information, refer to this quora post: http://www.quora.com/Hack-Reactor/What-are-some-suspected-re...

"We have students who are now working at places like Google" is nothing like the same as "99% of our graduates receive job offers from companies like Adobe and Google."

I love the line "companies like Adobe and Google".

McDonald's is a company like Adobe and Google, in the sense that it has a name and sells things.

Right, that's my thought also - what % actually at least gets an interview at Google, and what % gets hired?

Does "like Google" mean "Google, for example" or does it mean "places that are like Google, but not necessarily Google"?

I assume it is the first, not the misleading second. ;)

I think they are on to a good thing 17 k is cheaper than 100k and you save all that money you can study cs on your own no job is garanteed at 100k education anyway the problem is the university system is bullshit and to expensive this will get bigger frameworks and java script is kicking there ass c++ takes to long to learn.

The regulator wants them to follow the law, as written, by the CA Assembly. Terrible title considering the regulator simply wants them to follow the law -- and says so in the article. Don't blame the regulator here.

Most state's laws for career schools are intended to protect people against scams. So, yeah, a few truck driving schools ripped some GED holding people off. We all suffer including these guys in CA.

"If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. If it stops moving, subsidize it."

Regulators thinking they know what is best for us and cracking down on those who are vulnerable is nothing new.

Such is life in California.

"Steve Eisman, the outspoken investor whose huge wager against the subprime mortgage market was chronicled by author Michael Lewis in his bestselling book The Big Short, has set sights on a new target: for-profit colleges"


I strongly consider attending one of these boot camps, but pulled out at the last minute because I became suspicious of their claims. I’m not saying the claims were untrue, but they were grand enough to make me nervous about dropping over $10,000.

I basically did it the long way. I took as many classes as I could at my local community college (intro to cs, intro to programming, advanced programming, oop, data structures, assembly language and web development). I feel like I got a great education at the CS basics. I think I can code. I know pointers, hash tables, abstract data structures and other things that the boot camps don’t even seem to cover, but haven’t even been able to get a single interview.

Perhaps the real value in these programs is the career placement.

I have been trying learn to code for 20 years went community colleges ect went to tech skills .com ect bottom line the best way to learn is you tube and a hacker,s hear if you want to learn you don,t need to spend 20 k unless you think you need to it is a cult but they have a track and and a method. I have a need codeing system and it is the best because i show folks how to get the basics js frame works and .

Whether you like her or not, agree or disagree with her, Ayn Rand has two great relevant quotes:

"We are fast approaching the stage of the ultimate inversion: the stage where the government is free to do anything it pleases, while the citizens may act only by permission; which is the stage of the darkest periods of human history, the stage of rule by brute force."


"Government 'help' to business is just as disastrous as government persecution... the only way a government can be of service to national prosperity is by keeping its hands off."

Ayn Rand's opinions don't fit into a hybrid social system like ours. It can only be rationalized in a communist or other totalitarian society.

Can you imagine a corporation with unlimited power that is free to do anything it pleases?

We need government to regulate predatory practices. It would be great if government would step up and regulate healthcare costs and credit card providers a bit more harshly.

> Can you imagine a corporation with unlimited power that is free to do anything it pleases?

Quite easily! It is called a "government".

The government has elected representatives. It's not totalitarian.

In a state with zero government regulation, you have just as terrible atrocities.

Some governments have elected representatives; while lately very much in fashion, this is by no means a requirement.

For the first quote, you could also see this as entering a period of rule by corporations and businesses, where government is the only means for people to combat this. To quote Chomsky, in his most recent book On Anarchism: "Well, we have this huge rabid raccoon running around... it's called corporations. And there's nothing in the society right now that can protect people from that tyranny except the federal government... So, find, I think we ought to get it to do the things it can do - if you can get rid of the raccoon, great, then let's dismantle the federal government. But to say 'Okay, let's just get rid of the federal government as soon as we can', and let the private tyrannies take over everything... that's just kind of outlandish in my opinion.'"

Also, the regulations in this case are to protect consumers, not businesses. The businesses are the ones at risk of making outlandish claims (i.e. "99% of us go to work at Adobe and Google!")

>'Okay, let's just get rid of the federal government as soon as we can'

Another strawman from Chomsky knocked down!

Many anarchists/libertarians call for the destruction of corporatism as well as government. The federal government protects the largest corporations through large corporate welfare grants.

Did I ever state otherwise? It is a well known fact that Chomsky is an anarchist, and opposes both structures of power. But that is contradictory to the implications of the Ayn Rand quote above, i.e. "Let's get rid of gov't as soon as possible", for it ignores the context -- that is, businesses and corporations running amok breaking regulation. Which is also the case in the context of the article.

Also, allow me to uncover another part of the quote (which I omitted for brevity):

"...tyranny, except the federal government. Now, it doesn't protect them very well, because it's mostly run by corporations - but it still does have some limited effect - it can enforce regulatory measures under public pressures, let's say, it can reduce dangerous toxic waste disposal, it can set minimal standards on health care, and so on."

Reply: ("It massively changes the meaning...") If you say so. I feel like it changes the meaning from "Government should be dismantled only once we get rid of tyranny of corporations" to "Government is flawed because of its entanglement with corporations but should be dismantled only once we get rid of tyranny of corporations". Perhaps I didn't give enough context -- but I feel like Chomsky's well known anarchist sentiments should be enough to evidence that he is at heart - opposed to government.

Omitting that part for brevity is fairly disingenuous. It massively changes the meaning of what Chomsky was saying.

(December 1963)

Regulation for this exists.

It's called free speech and the internet. Reputation online is practically everything to the credibility of workshops or services like this. It's a real wonder that people can still use their own minds without a gauntlet for approval. There will come day for that given the technology. It'll be done under the best of intentions, of course. A fool and his money are soon parted. But so too is a fool from his freedom and choice.

That depends on what audience they target. For the high end of the market, sure, people will do a lot of research. But if you are a scam artist running a school like this, it will be relatively easy to dupe the less clueful end of the market. For example, you can set up new school every 12 weeks. Or you can fake a good on-line reputation.

Read up on the many scams that for-profit schools are running. Even some of the regulated ones are up to dubious stuff. The unregulated ones, like the "life experience degree" people, are much worse.

I share deep concerns about anything seemingly scammy.

Modeling ways in which societies can prevent more people from being exploited is one of my 'hobbies.' There are many paths that can help. The path that's most wise and ethical, I'd argue, is a route that respects more free choice and builds more groundwork for cultural conditions that are more conducive to skepticism and information-based awareness. Many of the current methods of interference, licensing, and monopolistic-fueling procedures -- often under a sheep's clothing of a supposed collective trust -- have countless damaging effects in the long run. It will overwhelm society in other negative ways to gain temporary positives in protection. It erodes progress. It often shifts access to the powerful. I won't get into it here but it's all part and parcel of fueling corporatism in general.

Distrust is critical.

Distrust should pervade consciousness. The opposite happens as a result of many current policies. People start to mindlessly believe in claims more than they already do. I believe there's a large vacuum that waits to be filled where third-party cooperatives fill the thirst that people would otherwise have for vetting trust (e.g. NGO regulatory bodies, quality/certification programs, voluntary submissions to transparency) -- given a remarkably underutilized internet -- except a great push won't happen until a tipping point occurs. The public will have to say enough is enough and reject the double-edged sword of policy. Deferring more solutions to an entity comprised of people willing and eager to wage violence and torture as a method of order: this ultimately grows insidious laws and insidious forms of reasoning as a whole.

There's a good argument that a state can have greater legitimacy when it's relegated to a role as a more supportive backbone of arbitrating claims and disputes, while vastly decreasing corporate control/protection. This would render most executives more vulnerable to loss of assets. This would naturally decrease a person's willingness to be deceptive. A bridge to this model could be as simple as first requiring disclaimers by any independent service that wishes to oppose a status quo. It would allow choice/consent. "This [entity] has not been regulated or verified by [authority]."

Grandmas, grandpas, and the like are naturally more vulnerable. No one wants people to lose their life savings due to natural mental circumstances that beget trust. I'm all for any effort that perpetuates exposure and awareness of scams and lends power to grievances.

These "bootcamps" delude students into believing they can be placed in a good job if they pay up. I've worked with graduates of these programs, and found them to be eager and optimistic, but woefully ill-prepared for professional software development.

I'd love to see more programmers, but this cash-grab bootcamp practice makes our entire industry look bad.

> eager and optimistic, but woefully ill-prepared for professional software development.

Mind elaborating on this? I'm currently going through one of these and am curious for when I am applying for my first post-bootcamp job.

Coming from the webapp world: How do you work with a team of people committing to the same repository? How do you review code? How do you find solutions to problems when they're not being spoon-fed to you in a bootcamp? What makes an application reliable? Well-designed? Scalable? When should something be improved upon, and when should it be chucked and rewritten? How can an application be hacked? How do you design DB schemas, and query them efficiently?

These are the sorts of things you implicitly trust a developer to know. The bootcamp students I've seen fail to realize that these are even issues, and get a big wake-up call to when they come up short in their first job. As a result, they struggle at the lowest rung in the ladder, as their coworkers cannot trust them to do any reliable work.

Any advice on how to develop these skills? Would it just be experience?

If so, it seems to me to be a chicken-egg scenario where it sounds like you'd need several years of experience to even get an entry-level or "lowest rung" position in the industry.

I view my "accelerator" experience as just that: an acceleration of my learning, so that I can transition (even if it is at the lowest rung) into an industry that I feel is exciting and fascinating. I view these bootcamps as being the beginning of one's education, not the end.

Speak of selling shovels during a gold rush!

These bootcamp are nothing but scams.

What happened to California? It used to be the center of counter culture, now it's biggest symbol of The Man around. It's a big terrified nanny state where everyone in charge seems to be too scared to let anyone do anything cause it might hurt them emotionally or physically.

I've never lived in California, so I may be way off, but it seems like the decline of a once defiant state is a great metaphor for the baby boomers who made it the center of the counter culture. They started off young and angry, fighting against injustice, and as they got older, the turned into the system they were fighting. They became The Man, scared of things they didn't understand and absolutely terrified of not being in control. It's like watching Citizen Kane if Charles Foster Kane was a state.

The quote "the most radical revolutionary will become a conservative the day after the revolution," seems applicable here. Are we all doomed to repeat this fate, to fight the system, accomplish our goals, then become the system as we try to hold on to what we've made?

I think you're extrapolating a bit too much. First off, those who are regulating are not those who founded tech startups. Additionally, if the general startup credo is "Move fast and break things", well, people shouldn't be surprised if they get fined.

If these schools are charging $17K tuitions and are being fined a possible $50K, that seems like a bit of a slap on the wrist. Furthermore, a lot of these regulations are in place for a reason -- and if startups want to break regulations, then they well know they're getting into shady territory. This is hardly "nanny state" behavior -- a good deal of these infractions are warranted (FDA's shutdown of 23andme, transportation on Uber and Lyft), but it varies on a case-per-case basis. I'd much rather live in a place that aired on the side of too cautious rather than just let random folk start whatever they want, causing harm to those around them.

In this case in particular, I'm glad they're regulating this stuff. We see randoms every day applying to work at our startup who have finished these hack-bootcamp things, and they frankly just don't have what it takes to work in a professional environment.

Come to Seattle. It's a tech... nirvana. ;)

Liberal social policies (pot, marriage, choice) but fiscal conservatism (no income tax). Seattle has NIMBYism, but much less so than the bay. Get this: when rents went up, they built more apartments, and lots of them - what a concept!

South Lake Union has turned into this amazing place with incubators and Amazon and Vulcan and Bio Tech all around. Amazon, a major US tech company, has a downtown campus surrounded by apartments and places to eat! Wow! Why is that rare? No need to get mad at Google's busses that shuttle workers off to the sticks -- just put the jobs next to the people and existing transit. There are also local VCs and angels too -- but if you need to raise in SF/SV, it's just an hour away.

>when rents went up, they built more apartments, and lots of them - what a concept!

We'll see if that's still true with Murray in office (hopefully it will be).

Except no gigabit internet. Good luck trying to fuel a tech boom with slow-ass comcast internet.

Not strictly true. I have 100Mbps CondoInternet for $60/mo, and could have 1Gbps for $120/mo if my home usage justified it. Availability is somewhat limited - basically, bigger upscale buildings around downtown.

Really? That one issue makes the difference? Look out, folks. Kansas City is going to be the new tech capital of the world!

Is this rant based on, well, anything?

The "center of counter culture" was a pretty small part of the state. California has always been complicated. You could fit a half-dozen European countries in its area.

What we're reading about here is a modest regulatory action taken by the state to keep an eye on a bunch of brand-new vocational education programs that are taking advantage of a gold rush atmosphere to charge people a shit-ton of money for education that is... well, unproven is the kindest thing I can say about it.

The bureaucrats were pretty clear that as long as these programs are working to comply with existing regulations, they're not going to do anything dramatic. And this is happening at a time where there's a lot of reasonable concern about naive students getting cheated by for-profit colleges. It all seems pretty reasonable to me.

I did some calculations and Californians also pay more in income tax than we do in Ontario, Canada, except we get socialized healthcare and our banks are fiscally conservative. So many things wrong with California, I'm in no rush to move to SF like other the other Canadian tech kiddies. Plus the value of the USD has been declining quickly, makes for nice salary arbitrage (roughly +9% in pay last month).

Sure, but Californians also have absurdly-low property tax rates and sales taxes as low as Texas. Prop 13 made it essentially impossible to structure taxes the way other states do, so Californians pay lots of income tax and little property tax (which is what most normal states use to fund things like schools, police and libraries).

In this case, I think the point is to protect people from being hurt financially. As best I can tell, he's essentially trying to make sure that schools live up to certain standards.

Yeah, nothing screams counter-culture like charging $19,000 for 3-month courses.

>It's a big terrified nanny state where everyone in charge seems to be too scared to let anyone do anything cause it might hurt them emotionally or physically.

California is quite left of center, a bit of America becoming like Europe. At least, for now, you can still fire, and therefore hire at will, so they haven't gone completely over the edge.

I became a little suspicious of the "learn to code" boot camps when the first of I looked at was female only. Why female only in this point in history? My conclusion; at the end of the course--the average Hacker Dude would question the cost if the education, the versaity of "I'm a Koder now, and it only took a few weeks!".

I'm not for a lot of regulation, but in this case I think these schools need a through vetting. They are not cheap, and promise a lot.

Off subject, but I'm still angry that Gov. Brown made it more difficult to become a Realestate Broker. He did away with the 4 year degree requirement, as a fast track to getting a broker's license. It's ironic that Governor Terminator saw right through the B.S., and vetoed the bill. From that point on; I never vote strictly Democratic. And yes--I'm off topic. sorry.

> Why female only in this point in history?

Of all the reasons to be suspicious of "learn to code" bootcamps, your aversion to women-only programs has me confused.

"Why female only...?": Probably because the founders of those programs would like to see more women coding. Same reason organizations like "Girls Who Code" exist. The fact that those programs are geared towards an underrepresented demographic shouldn't raise any red flags.

Honest question: Do they similarly attempt to regulate "learn to camp" [literal] camps? Do they go after/regulate GSUSA or BSA camps?

Since they are asserting that these are "post-secondary education" things, does that mean that organizations targeted at children are safe? Are organizations like Hacker Scouts in the clear?

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