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Plankalkul (Plan Calculus)1945Inventor: Konrad Zuse

An Obama-era pilot program Educational Quality through Innovative Partnerships (EQUIP) is testing eight partnerships between universities and non-traditional education providers. Students in programs can use the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to apply for low-interest loans that can be repaid based on income.

Im not going to deny that there is bias in the employer network toward college degrees. … A lot of folks in human resources rely on the presence of a college degree, said Anthony Hughes, CEO of Tech Elevator, a 14-week, $14,000 coding bootcamp that originated in Cleveland and set up its fourth shop in Pittsburgh on the North Side this year.

Jamaal Davis has a degree in philosophy. He also has a full-stack web development certification he earned online from . (Jessie Wardarski/Post-Gazette)

Josh Lucas, head of business development for the 12-week Academy Pittsburgh bootcamp in Allentown, isnt worried if graduates are getting placed in roles with the grunt work.

Many free coding resources use video to explain concepts, but these tend to present the content in a more informal manner.

Developed as a programming language for both commercial and scientific applications, Pascal became the entry point for a generation of students learning computer programming.

Used in mathematical, scientific, academic and engineering fields, Mathematica is a computing language that allows mathematical symbols for equations or functions.

At Carlow University, Mr. Davis studied philosophy. Now, that degree sits alongside a full-stack web development certification he earned online from .

Mathematica1988Inventor: Stephen Wolfram

Some days Mr. Davis didnt emerge from behind his computer screen at all and he spent most of his free time at the Hill District library learning Javascript, HTML, CSS and other languages supporting web development.

He picked up a newspaper and read an article claiming there would be an estimated 1 million open jobs in the information technology sector by 2020. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects about a31 percentincrease in software developer jobs by 2026.

The Flatiron School, a coding bootcamp based in New York City, recently settled with the states former attorney general, Eric Schneiderman. Itll pay out $375,000 for falsely advertising its job placement and graduate rates.

After signing up for , I jumped into an early section on Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), the same coding language I had been copying and pasting onto my Myspace page.

Jamaal Davis, 26, began teaching himself HTML in 2016 at the request of his former supervisor at the Carnegie Library, where he worked on community outreach. After he finished, he would lead a free, introductory course.

I distinctly recall spending hours on some now-defunct code to make skulls shower over my MySpace page. Without realizing it, I was a junior high kid playing around with computer code, or more accurately, copying and pasting it.

When I tried building my first web page from scratch more or less a list of my favorite Nirvana songs with a quick intro section it ended up looking like it belonged in the late 1990s. It was blocky and unprofessional. Perhaps a nice euphemism is charming.

Growing up a black guy in Homewood, you dont see much opportunity, Mr. Davis said. But I saw it as possible. You have to accumulate skills.

Where to find them:Common ones (which I started with) . These usually include a forum section to chat and troubleshoot with other users.

He likes his job and he doesnt feel like this is the brand of drudgery Mr. Harper warned bootcamp students might be stuck laboring over.

Code is the basis of all software, the reason you can post puppy photos on Facebook or flick tiny red cardinals on your Angry Birds app. (Jessie Wardarski/Post-Gazette)

Salary data compiled from employers who hired computer science students in 2017 shows graduates from four-year institutions can expect an average salary of $65,540, up nearly 7 percent from $61,321 in 2016. Masters recipients earn an average of $81,039 and Ph.D. graduates earn $110,841.

The rush to learn coding has driven a do-it-yourself economy.

Thinkful, the program Mr. Dailey completed, placed 64 percent and 80 percent of graduates into a full-time position after 90 and 180 days, respectively, with a $65,000 median base pay.

As an independent contractor for the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), Tim Berners-Lee wrote the first specification of HTML (HyperText Markup Language) and its first browser and server software in 1990. He is credited as the inventor of the World Wide Web.

Billed as a general purpose programming language, C++ combined the ability to map hardware features of a computer with the ability to program in high-level abstractions.

Fortran1957Inventor: John Backus, IBM

Computer scientist John Backus completes the first high-level programming language for an IBM computer, called Speedcode. A high-level programming language is strongly abstracted from the details of a computer, meaning that it can be easier to use and even hide some lower-level functions like memory management.

IBM developed the Semi-automated Business Research Environment to allow American Airlines to automate reservation bookings. It was first tested in 1960 but took over Americans booking process by 1964. SABRE gave rise to Sabre Corp., a publicly traded technology company for travel services that owns Travelocity.

Meanwhile, the report calculated 79,650 undergraduates completed computer science degrees from accredited U.S. universities in 2016, a jump from a 2015 estimate of 61,408.

The U.S. Department of Defense funded the development of the Ada language to replace many obsolete and hardware-dependent languages then in use. Ada is named for Ada, Countess of Lovelace (1815-1852), the only legitimate child of the poet Lord Byron. The countess is credited with being the first computer programmer.

Three hours spent trying to center a submission box so that visitors could enter their favorite song titles, and yet its still hanging out on the left-hand side of the page, mocking me. I also have no clue where those responses are sent. Probably nowhere.

The library has moved on to more formal attempts at teaching code. Its secured seed funding from BNY Mellon. Mr. Hensley did not disclose the amount of funding, which provides equipment and software and also pays for an instructor.

Course Report estimates the industry pulled in about $266 million in revenue last year.


In early April, he began work for New York-based immigration services provider Fragomen Worldwide, working on enhancements for internal applications. His salary increased 45 percent.

Beginners All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code was created for students at Dartmouth College who had no prior computer programming experience. It would eventually spread to other schools, globally.

By giving people tools, they can build their own criteria for free and supplement it with support from real trainers. Or have enough knowledge to avoid snake oil.

I took an aptitude test, anyway, for a new coding bootcamp on the North Side called Tech Elevator. The questions were reminiscent of the questions youd study for the logic portion of the LSAT, the entrance exam for law school. I always struggled with those.

BASIC1964Inventor: Thomas Kurtz and John Kemeny

Hopefuls looking to tap into techs opportunities must answer some key questions: Is learning to code worth the effort? Will it guarantee a job? And does the free stuff online work or is it better to pony up thousands of dollars for training?

While Mr. Dailey completed the Thinkful program between December 2016 and July 2017, it was a slog.He spent about 25 hours per week on his bootcamp assignments while balancing a full workweek.

Mr. Hughes, at the Tech Elevator bootcamp, sees things in a different light. Because there are such significant shortages [in the technology industry] … its forcing people in the recruiting world to be more comfortable with those from non-traditional backgrounds.

Hes noticed a skills gap among native Pittsburghers: The tech revolution here has disproportionately helped outsiders. He wants more people from Pittsburgh working tech in Pittsburgh.

The work week was long. My patience was not.

Graduates tend to first take temporary jobs to boost their resume. Health care providers rely on contract workers for their development work, he said, and Academy Pittsburgh graduates are often placed in these roles for six-, 12- or 18-week cycles.

Now, he builds WordPress sites as a side hustle. His customers are primarily acquaintances and small businesses. He charges about $80 to build a simple blog.

His bootcamps program is in-person and requires at least a 50- to 60-hour time commitment each week.

Ms. Monaco calls these lessons a sandbox environment because they present a lesson and some text on the left side of the screen, a text editor to code in the middle and a simulator on the right side to simulate how your code runs.

Bureau of Labor Statistics data as of May 17, 2018:

The extent to which I learned about computers in high school was limited I became questionably proficient with Excel and had a knack for typing 70 words per minute on a good day without peeking under the orange key covers that hid the letters.

Mathematician Grace Hopper completes A-O, a program that makes it possible for users to input instructions to a computer with English-like words, rather than numbers.

Course Report found in 2016 that bootcamp graduates had anaverage salary of$66,887, in line with bachelors grads incomputer science.

C1972Inventor: Dennis Ritchie and Bell Labs

He stayed up until 1 a.m. practicing coding, before waking up five hours later for an installment of his 40-hour work week.

HTML5, the most recent version of the HyperText Markup Language, is published. Its the standard for creating webpages and web applications.

Where to find them:Hunt downHackerRank. Ms. Monaco said recently the website hosted its fifth three-day challenge called Womens Code Sprint. Participants used programming knowledge to solve a challenge with a $1,750 prize at stake. Plus, companies check out HackerRank for new hire prospects.

One of 27 schools analyzed for the January-June 2017 reporting period, Tech Elevator in Cleveland, reported90.6 percentof its students graduated on time. In 90 days, 72.4 percent of graduates found full-time positions in their intended field and 93.1 did so by the six-month mark. The median annual base salary for those students was $55,000.

So can anybody code their way into a career?

Mr. Backus went on to develop Fortran, the first widely used high-level programming language, in 1957. Fortran was originally intended for scientific and engineering purposes but became a staple of computing, still in use today. Due to its powerful computing capacity, Fortran is useful in computationally intensive areas such as numerical weather prediction.

But after months of searching, he landed a job as a software engineer.

Free online resources teach students to code in a formulaic way, CMUs Mr. Harper said, though he recognizes not everyone can afford a collegiate-level computer science program.Self-taught coders and bootcamp grads may be stuck debugging a program or serving as an assistant.

There wasnt time to play guitar in the worship band at The Log Church in Banksville. Or teach Bible studies. Or work with the youth ministry.

You know how some people may go home and play video games? Ill go home and code, said Mr. Davis, who lives in North Oakland.

Its well documented in the U.S. that piles of student debt are being accumulated at four-year institutions, but many coding bootcamps arent cheap either.A 14-week bootcamp can cost $6,000 to $20,000.

What is happening more and more is this artisanal view, because people can learn and get jobs to a limited extent, he said. You get the crappy code quality you have today.

I never took up other computer languages necessary for front-end development, like Javascript, but at least now I understand how to read other peoples code to a degree. And I know how to copy and paste.

Academy Pittsburgh has analyzed data on its first three cohorts, which each had 15 students. Of those, 73 percent were placed in a relevant job within 18 months. Those students pay back a $6,000 staffing fee after they find a job.The fee is waived if they dont find one.

The Council on Integrity in Results Reporting (CIRR), a nonprofit vetting code schools, created standards for rating bootcamps.

I wanted to use my brain and not my back for my work. … The guys I work around are hurting their backs at 40, Mr. Dailey said.

Congratulations, you scored a 10 out of 12, read my results email. Thats a pretty good indicator that you have the natural aptitude to become a software developer, which is most needed in todays economy.

These are less developed, Ms. Monaco said, adding that they are environments where you can find learning modules but also contests with cash prizes to incentivize the learner.

There was no one to hold me accountable while I tried learning to code and I didnt have the resources to take out a loan for a bootcamp after graduating from the University of Pittsburgh.

The 1 a.m. nights continued to stack up. Saturdays he tried to put in at least six hours, but as he puts it, You dont always have the cognitive resources.

DesignDevelopment:Laura Malt Schneiderman

Tech Elevator has amassed a sizable network of hiring partners between cities in Ohio and now in Pittsburgh, including PNC Bank, KeyBank and Progressive, among others.

Working as a member of the United Steelworkers union is a good position, Mr. Dailey said, especially for someone without a college degree.But it wasnt what he wanted for the rest of his life.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics Post-Gazette

A book called Cracking the Coding Interview: 189 programming questions and solutions, by Gayle Laakmann McDowell is something of an SAT prep book for fledgling coders. It was also the most checked-out book from the Carnegie Library of Pittsburghs Job & Career Education Center last year.

n late 2015, Thomas Dailey, a 29-year-old steelworker from McKees Rocks, visited his dentists office and waited for the exam.

Coders are notorious for entering the job market in unanticipated ways. Mark Zuckerberg dropped out of Harvard to build social media site Facebook. Steve Jobs quit Reed College in Portland, Ore., before co-founding Apple Computer.

He is one of the masses reading the future in computer code technical languages allowing humans to communicate with computers, empowering machines to do everything from crunch numbers on marriage rates to help self-driving cars see. Code is the basis of all software, the reason you can post puppy photos on Facebook or flick tiny red cardinals on your Angry Birds app.

In April, he took a job at Goodwill, where he serves as digital skills coordinator for the nonprofits local training centers promoting job skills. Funding for the effort came, in part, from a $1 billion investment Google will dole out to nonprofits over the next five years.

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Individuals create their own stations to teach coding. Since these are in video form, theyre usually walk-throughs, not lessons with assignments.

Self taught coder Jamaal Davis has accepted a job at the Goodwill center developing digital curriculum for people needing workforce training. (Jessie Wardarski/Post-Gazette)

In 2016, Jim OKelly, the founder of a bootcamp called Devschool, was outed as Eric James OKelly, a man on the Most Wanted list of the Sheriffs Office of Clackamas County, Ore. After collecting payments from students, he disappeared for weeks.

That didnt make me a programmer.

Bob Harper, a programming language researcher at Carnegie Mellon University, said training at the university level is generally more scientific, that college students are educated on underlying principles of programming.

Maybe he could fill one ofthem, he thought.

Javascript1995Inventor: Brendan Eich

COBOL (Common Business-Oriented Language) was developed by a consortium of computer manufacturers and the Pentagon as part of a U.S. Department of Defense project to build a portable programming language for data processing with the hope that the program could run on any computer, independent of the make. COBOL is still used in legacy applications.

My website, if you want to call it that, is shaky, but its mine. It was fulfilling to finish something, even if it isnt perfect. Im just glad I didnt fork over any money.

Software developers, systems software

It seems to be an ongoing theme with newer developers, including myself, to have some impostor syndrome and feel like what were doing doesnt amount to much or we dont know what were doing, Mr. Dailey said.

Software developers, systems software

That breaks down to payments of about $480 per month. The same loan over 60 months would have a 10.99 percent interest rate. Those payments would be about $331 per month.

I quickly realized that while completing short modules spoon-fed to you on these free websites do make the user feel productive, it might not be indicative of your potential as a programmer or designer even if you complete all of the assignments (disclaimer: I did not).

Coding bootcamps alone produced 15,077 graduates in 2016, then another 22,949 in 2017, according toCourse Report, an organization cataloging industry trends. More than 90 bootcamp programs offer remote or in-person training in North America.

JavaScript, one of the core technologies behind the World Wide Web, is developed. It is widely used to make webpages interactive. While it shares a name with Java 1.0, it is not the same.

Researchfrom the National Association of Colleges and Employers suggests the higher the level of your education, the more youll earn.

Where to find them:Ms. Monaco recommendsThe Coding Trainby Daniel Shiffman. He has nearly 430,000 subscribers and a wall of videos that cover just about every angle of computer programming from the basics of learning a new language to building algorithms and data visualization.

Hes just one of many interested in learning to code.

When Mr. Hensley tasked Mr. Davis with learning HTML, it was part of the librarys first experimentation in exposing more people to coding.

C is released in 1972 and is used to rewrite the source code for the Unix operating system. With widespread use of Unix, C became popular. Its still widely used.

Where to find them:Try out Udacitys Intro to HTML and CSS module, Essential Training by m (which you can access for free with a library card) or Coding for Entrepreneurs Basic by Udemy, touted as a coding class for the non-technical founder.

Coding is like a puzzle, he said. You think about a problem and how you want to build a solution and then you write a program that puts the idea into action. Its fun, he said.

Where to find them:Check out Harvards CS50 Introduction to Computer Science course, Introduction to Computer Science and Programming Using Python from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology or Java Programming and Software Engineering Fundamentals Specialization from Duke University to start.

This video tutorial shows how to use a language called cascading style sheets (CSS), which allows a user to change the appearance of a web page.

Meanwhile, Mr. Dailey finished Thinkful in July 2017, determined to find a job that could pay off his debt. During the six months between finishing the program and the end of last year, he put out at least 60 applications.

The programs graduates are rarely placed in positions where theyre being paid less than $50,000 per year.

The Carnegie Library is gearing up to teach the community basic computer programming skills and literacy.Daniel Hensley, adult programming coordinator, said the traditional role of the library is to act as a hub not just for lending books, but for learning new skills.

Not only does a quick Google search for free online coding leave you lost at sea, with Buzzfeed-esque listicles shoving themselves at you (12 Sites That Will Teach You Coding for Free; 49 of The Best Places to Learn to Code For Free) but once I did begin practicing, I learned I had very little time to dedicate to this new endeavor.

He borrowed about $9,000 for a semi-formal coding education $6,000 through a private loan and another $3,000 from friends.

I had a really basic knowledge of many things but nothing I could combine together into a career, Mr. Dailey said. I realized I needed a curriculum and had to pay someone for it.

To borrow the $14,000 to cover Tech Elevators tuition through SkillsFund, a deferred loan with a 36-month term has an 8.99 percent interest rate.

The council requires member schools to submit information on every student in a report detailing how many graduated on time; how many accepted a full-time position in their field within six months; how many secured part-time jobs; and what the salaries are for those working in their intended field.

After a long day of work, Id try to practice around 6:30 p.m.

Mr. Davis now teaches digital skills at the center in Lawrenceville and is developing curriculum for other Goodwill training hubs in Southwestern Pennsylvania.

Were thrusting them into the middle class in 12 weeks. If that means they have to spend a year paying their dues thats better than four years for a computer science degree.

Learning how to code has come full-circle for Mr. Davis.

Java 1.01995Inventor: Sun Microsystems

Not sure what the email would have said if I scored a nine, an eight or a seven.

When I decided to learn basic front-end computer programming last December, so I could build my own website with the domain name I purchased ), I was in for a rude awakening.

Tech Elevator and Thinkful both have a relationship with SkillsFund, a loan provider for non-traditional accelerated learning programs, like coding bootcamps or even programs to acquire a commercial driving license for the trucking industry.

HTML52014Inventor: World Wide Web Consortium; Tim Berners-Lee

I needed to cook, but there was coding to practice. But what about the gym? Nah, you should be coding. Keeping my apartment from falling into disarray, or coding? Sleep? Coding?

Coding-related jobs in Pittsburgh and their pay

Theyre not usually hired in the banking industry or by large enterprise tech companies. Those have an appetite for applicants with four-year degrees.

He joined Thinkful, a coding bootcamp promising a job or your money back. Its one of dozens committed to finding learners a high-paying job for an upfront cost.

ERMA (Electronic Recording Machine, Accounting) digitized the checking process for Bank of America by creating a font computers could read. In just one hour, ERMA could process the number of accounts that would have taken a well-trained banker nearly 17 work days to complete, according to the Computer History Museum.

It was 2007. I was in the basement. Dial-up internet. AOL.

Mr. Davis isupbeat and has a full-throated laugh. Hes brimming with positive affirmations for his students:Quit beating yourself up. Theres always tomorrow. Dont take yourself so seriously.

To free users from traditional software vendors like Apple and Microsoft, the first iteration of Java released to the public was famous for allowing users to write code once and run it anywhere.

Konrad Zuse, a German civil engineer and the creator of the first binary digital computer, began developing Plan Calculus for use in engineering. It is lauded as the first algorithmic programming language. Due to WWII, this development was largely isolated from others in computer programming at the time.

Most code schools tuition costs are not eligible for traditional student loans or subsidies.

I think in the longer run [self-taught coders] are not going to have skills worth having, Mr. Harper said. Because programming is a lot of drudge work, theres a market for people to do the drudge work.

The difficulty is that we dont have a lot of people who have the knowledge to facilitate or lead the classes, he said. Were focusing more on how to self-learn.

I am definitely working on some of the simpler functionality for our applications, but it is certainly not grunt work.

While that situation may be unusual, other bootcamps might not be able to deliver on the promise of jobs.

Maybe those are some of the things he told himself when he began learning to code after all, he taught himself enough in two months to lead a class.

While they are partially intended to illustrate what class may be like for incumbent students, theyre also a launching point and guide for building your own course of study. These are commonly offered through MOOC providers edX and Coursera.

The temporary initiative by the U.S. Department of Education doesnt have any partnerships operating in Pennsylvania.

In this gig, Mr. Dailey updates systems that a company has already spent money on, that are critical for operation.

When they finish her six-month curriculum, theyll build a project to test their skills, like creating an application programming interface (API) for data visualization or cataloguing.The librarians will also offer coding programs to the public.

Valerie Monaco, who holds a masters degree in human-computer interaction from CMU, is teaching a cohort of six librarians how to program in Python.

Valerie Monaco, coding mentor in the office of programs and partnerships at Carnegie Library, has broken down the free courses into five categories to cut through the noise.

By comparison, federal fixed interest rate loans disbursed on or between July 1, 2017, and July 1, 2018, had a 4.45 percent interest rate for undergraduates, according to the office of Federal Student Aid.

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