Hacker schools or bootcamps are getting more and more popular. You’ll learn a programming language in 2–3 months, and you’re more or less guarantied a full-time well paying job.

If you compare this to signing up to a four-year degree at a University and getting tons of study loan, the short-cut through a hacker school is obviously tempting.

But what are the incentives to attend university, and does a “degree” from a hacker school limit you in any way?

We asked the experts.

“If you want to work go to a hacker school, if you want to work at Google, go to University”

The big pro about hacker schools is obviously that the distance from the school to work is a lot shorter, but is a person well prepared to work in a startup after graduating from a 2–3 months program?

“You can not become a CTO with just a bootcamp experience!” (Marc Alier, UPC)

CEO and co-founder at Codeworks a Barcelona bootcamp, Alessandro Zanardi, acknowledge that universities are vital for training specialists in more complex computer science areas:

We need engineers that have stronger theoretical experience. If you’re dealing with big data or artificial intelligence you need developers that have a university degree. If you want to work at Google with AI, get a Ph.D.


The university problem

Marc Collado is director at Iron Hack Barcelona, a bootcamp that also have campuses in Miami and Madrid. Even though Collado now represents a bootcamp, he himself went through a five-year University program at IQS:

The universities are too embedded in society. At Iron Hack we analyze the job market, and work towards creating a program that actually helps businesses hire a much needed workforce, and gets people into jobs.

Ludo (Marc Alier) hopes universities change the way they treat their professors and teachers, and agrees with the bootcamp hackers that there is a lot to be improved with the institution stretching thousands of years back:

The problem with University is that the professors are incentivized to be researchers, not to be good teachers. You get promoted if you’re good researcher, not if you have experience from tech companies or do a great job as a teacher.

Bootcamps do not build CTO’s

Professor Alier is grateful that bootcamps fill a whole and a demand in the market, but he wants to make one thing very clear:

I have seen examples where people have finished bootcamps, and they’re told that they can start a company. I’ll tell you this, they always screw up, always!

He continues:

You can not become a CTO with just a bootcamp experience!

Zanardi at Codeworks does not like the negativity towards the concept of screwing up:

This is a classic example of the difference between bootcamp mentality and university mentality. The best people from all sectors and industries are people that know what it’s like to fail hard.

Also Iron Hack’s Collado weighs in on the CTO statement:

A CTO needs more soft skills than hard skills, it’s about experience, recruiting, mentoring, but yes of course the guy needs to be technical, that’s for sure.

……….

The post/video/podcast was produced by Sindre Hopland & Masumi Mutsuda, the itnig media team.

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O.

On sales leadership

These are some values that I learned that define a leader:

– A leader is somebody who reaches their goals and achieves beyond their individual abilities aligned with their own values and the organization’s values. A leader without a team is not a leader. A leader works for the team, not the other way around.

– Humbleness. Leaders must get to know themselves first, acknowledge their limitations. Acknowledge they have no recipe for success (no one does). They will succeed only by being curious and trying things faster, testing, changing things again, failing again, learning as fast as possible. In sales, everybody notices when things work well, success is measured in € vs budget. A leader must embrace results with no buts and take action to reach the goals.

– A leader works harder, a leader cares about the goals more than anybody else, they took full ownership of the goals. A leader does about anything to remove bottlenecks away on his team, they assist, train, support everybody, anything it takes. They are always the best resource for their team.

– A leader will always be available for everybody in their team, for personal and professional issues. They go the extra mile. They make sure everybody knows that. They earn the team’s trust.

– A leader makes everyone aware that teamwork is not negotiable. Without a cooperative team, there’s no leader. Lone wolves kill the growing/changing organization. Growth happens only WITH the team, not at their expense.

– Leaders communicate all the time, they don’t keep things to themselves, they are honest with their team. They share good and bad. They share the why’s. They trust their team. Trust precedes process and it is the only path to grow at a scale.

– Leaders learn fast and learn mostly from their team. The team has the most valuable knowledge a leader can get, it doesn’t come from books, blog posts, degrees or mentors. The team gets the real shit from the front line. A leader listens to their teams’ impressions and ideas, they explore them all and give feedback. Leaders generate a culture of idea generation and idea sharing. Leaders stay away from guru preaching.

– It’s important to understand people’s personal and professional ultimate goals and motivations. Leaders spend time asking them on their one on ones and they think about them. They write them down. Everybody is playing the movie of their lives, a leader must find out which one is it, they make sure each team member keeps being the hero of their movie.

– Leaders always lead by example, not by title. They show real bravery. Leaders go first to battle. They call leads and close customers. They apologize to customers when the company screws up. They take the shit first. They don’t leave anyone behind. They don’t show their rank, their status, their difference, their pedigree. Startups are flat meritocratic organizations. Leaders must understand well the company goals and they put them first, they are prepared to step down, or step aside, or leave the company at any moment if needed. Company goals are what matters most. Leaders show this to everyone. Company/collective oriented leaders always thrive.

– Leaders celebrate every victory. They visibly show the pain of every defeat. They take every opportunity to show they care. They analyze why/what/how and find out always changes to be made. Then they go and make the changes. They change anything or everything, but never keep on doing what doesn’t work. They shake the whole company inside out before/when goals are not met.

– Leaders set goals that are both ambitious and achievable. They work along the team to make sure they meet the goals. They are flexible when the goals are set wrong. They are implacable when goals are not met.

Most people will never be a leader. It takes time and patience, it takes survival skills, it takes real personal strength. But after committing to all these things, things start to work. Leaders are such when and only when they brought teams to make things work, nobody becomes a leader just by trying it. True leaders make sure they don’t leave the boat until things work (as they will work, ultimately!). They don’t leave the job undone.

– Bernat Farrero CEO at Itnig