Ideas are Cheap : Real Coding Training

This is a continuation of the Ideas are Cheap series.

We all know how much disparity there is between computer science courses in engineering colleges in India and real-world coding skills.

So how about a training institute that fills this gap?

I’m sure the first question is that how is it any different from NIIT? The difference is that it is about programming skills, not about technology. Skills such as:

  1. Reading large amounts of code – which is what really happens 90% of the time in big companies
  2. Debugging – again, maintenance and bug-fixing are the major tasks in any reasonably sized company
  3. Deployment – a hugely underestimated skill/process
  4. Unit testing
  5. Performance engineering
  6. Security aspects
  7. etc.

The best part is that this can work very well with open source. I’m thinking more in terms of the Synovel/SpiceBird model where a for-profit company is working on open source code.

This means:

  • Students get to learn real coding skills and get to see the impact of their code real-time
  • Company profits because the development is being made on their main products and not simply throwaway run-of-the-mill projects.
  • Open Source means interested students can continue contributing even after they “pass out” of the training institute.

And how different is this from Google Summer of Code? GSoc is meant for college students who are already good hackers whereas as this training is to help people become good hackers.

There are tons of ideas that can be taken up and that would be sexy enough to interest students:

  1. How about an open source desktop search application that runs on Windows?
  2. How about creating an open source equivalent of Microsoft OneNote? (or at least a converter from the proprietary .onenote format to any other open format)

Interestingly enough, the training institute can grade students on their hacking skills and eventually become a resumé goldmine for companies that require uber-coders such as the Yahoos, Googles and of course, the startups.

If someone is doing a training programme like this, let me know. I can join as a student.

11 thoughts on “Ideas are Cheap : Real Coding Training

  1. Hi Swaroop,

    Your idea is nice, but this kind of education( formal one) is true to all over the glob. Inasmuch as our education system (irrelevant to nationality) has derived from old-fashioned western countries system( historic aspects of “After Middle Ages” era) and also, because the need of “quantity of quality” was the best discrimination line to prepare next generation students, the emphasis on grades and passing the courses with flying score grades became the best possible solution. In my opinion, it was because of aversion from self-contradiction of priests. Modern humans had emphatic persist in quantity in that period of time!
    But, as any other thing, the systems changed. At the late of 70s , the BAZAR system was born. Self-taught hackers started to build things and almost after 30 years they started the firms like Y Combinator !
    You are right, and maybe this is the time to start a new and innovaive approach to education. Education of new brains to become them future hackers. In this form, what is important is well-done projects and not grades. Hackers have the capability to do this and can get this thing done too. They did more difficult stuff before and I do believe we will face new-generation educational system in close future.

  2. I am really impressed with the idea that you had tried to conveyed through this post. The thing is that the recession in the economy had badly affected may big firms in India. Hence I think this year we can expect lot of startups to be emerged, who would use Free Software(or Open Source) for making their product or services. Your idea has got a great market in India. The trainer will be happy to see money in his pocket at the same time students will also be interested to see themselves as contributors. At the same time the Free Software(or Open Source) development would also take place.

  3. Certainly Swaroop, this is a huge gap and any venture that fills it would do good.

  4. @Ramjee Yet again, this proves that “Ideas are Cheap. Execution is Everything.” :) … Piyush has the very same idea that I had in mind. But it would take some real hackers and a management-oriented techie to pull this off.

    @Vahid Yeah, the education system has been beaten to death, but I don’t think anyone, who has the power, is actively working on that.

    @Sujith @Abhinav Thanks for the vote. Now if only I can find some hackers like that with an inclination towards teaching…

  5. Very True Swaroop. As of now its like Pappu can’t code inspite of his degree. So if pappu does BE Comp Sci and Pappu can’t code then its definitely an issue. Besides I have seen and heard a lot of Pappu’s saying hey dude I can’t code I will do an MBA. Paapu could not “manage” to code after a BE and what will Pappu manage after an MBA :-)

  6. Most CS people hate coding because of how it is taught here in India. @Karthik, Pappu wants to do MBA because he does not like coding.

  7. Just to add ,coding/programming is a subset of CS.CS is quite wide than just coding.Other skills-Communication,collaboration and problem solving at design state are very important.and also other wide subjects-Information theory,Machine learning,data mining,graphics,compilers etc
    The ‘Realt coding training’ is obiviously important but if any institute gives trainings in such above mentioned areas it would be extremely useful for working professionals too.

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