Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Programming Microsoft

MS Tackles CS Education Crisis With Popularity Contest 141

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the least-cool-wins dept.
theodp writes " The lack of education in computer science is an example of an area of particularly acute concern,' Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith told Congress (PDF) as he sold lawmakers on the need to improve 'America's access to high skilled foreign talent'. Smith added that Microsoft also wants to 'help American students and workers gain the skills needed for the jobs that will fuel the innovation economy.' Towards that end, Microsoft will award $100,000 worth of donations to five technology education nonprofits 'who teach programming and provide technical resources to those who might not otherwise get the chance.' So, how will Microsoft determine who's most worthy? With a popularity contest, of course! At the end of October, the top five vote-getting nonprofits — only Windows AzureDev Community members are eligible to vote — will split the Microsoft Money. By the way, currently in second place but trying harder is Code.org, the seemingly dual-missioned organization advised by Microsoft's Smith which has reached out to its 140,000 Facebook fans, and 17,000 Twitter followers in its quest for the $50,000 first prize."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

MS Tackles CS Education Crisis With Popularity Contest

Comments Filter:
  • by korbulon (2792438) on Wednesday July 17, 2013 @10:49AM (#44308399)

    Doesn't even pay the tuition plus living expenses for an *average* college.

    • PR on the cheap.
      • One could suggest that the H1B visa system be inserted into an area of Brad that would be anatomically improbable; I'd watch that on Pay-Per-View.
    • by gandhi_2 (1108023)

      what colleges are YOU averaging???

      • $25K/year for room, board, tuition, fees and books is typical for a state college. 4 years for a degree = $100K.
        • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

          by gandhi_2 (1108023)

          You must be an east-coast trust-fund baby if you think room and board are really part of your education.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by dcw3 (649211)

            And you must be a troll if you don't think it's part of the total package of getting a four year degree.

          • by korbulon (2792438)

            You must be an east-coast trust-fund baby if you think room and board are really part of your education.

            Well it's sure as shit ain't free.

            And with a name like "gandhi", everyone must seem an east-cost trust-fund baby.

          • You must be an east-coast trust-fund baby

            No, I'm a Texas veteran who paid for his college with a combination of participation in the VEAP program and a part time job during school, and am now giving back to my family by helping a nephew pay for his school. I know the numbers, I paid my dues. Now crawl back to your basement in shame, troll.

            • by gandhi_2 (1108023)

              Then why the cry-ass entitlement complaint about 100k?
              I used my GI Bill and ACF, and NG FTA, and worked full time during school.
              I paid my dues, and worked for what I have. Now remember not to sound like a little baby because someone is offering "only" $100,000 for school? No one owes anyone anything. God forbid people have to work for their educations.

              • Then why the cry-ass entitlement complaint about 100k?

                There was no cry-ass entitlement complaint, just a statement of fact. At first I was irritated at your stupidity, now I just feel sorry for your complete lack of comprehension and perverse need to make baseless insults. You lead a sad, pointless life.

                • by gandhi_2 (1108023)

                  We ALL lead sad an pointless lives my friend.

                  But you perpetuating the lie that people need to be handed MORE and MORE money so they can go to school? You just make things worse. Get a cheap appartment, get a job, budget, don't waste money on binge-drinking parties, enjoy the salad days. It sounds like you figured it out, I know I did. Now hold the rest of the world to the same standard.

                  • Listen jackass...he was responding to your inane post that said room and board weren't part of the cost of education. You obviously pulled that bullshit out of your ass. Any cost of attending college includes room and board.

                    And as far as entitlement goes, you had a fucking GI Bill! And no, serving in the military DOES NOT entitle you to a GI Bill.

                    Moron
                    • by gandhi_2 (1108023)

                      Acting like the world owes you some "room and board" because you go to college? If you don't go to college, you sill have to live somewhere. If you work, you still have to live somewhere.

                      "Room and board" is no more a cost of education as it is a cost of being an aspiring golf pro.

                      I provided X service in exchange for Y incentive package. Just like any job. No entitlement, just quid pro quo. Many employers offer something like that.

                      At the heart of the issue here is: no one owes you shit, even if you are going

                    • 30 second google search FTW! [collegedata.com]
                      In-state, public: $22k/year
                      Private: $43k/year
                      and yes, that includes room-and board because that's part of the cost of anything you do in life once you decide to leave the nest.
                    • Some colleges force you do live in dorms at an cost that is more then renting own you own by your self with your own bathroom.

                      The cost of college is to high and it's getting to long as well.

                      We do not need 4 year degrees for all.

                  • people need to be handed MORE and MORE money so they can go to school?

                    Sort of like high school, you mean? Last I heard, high school is still provided gratis. Really, college should also be free for the students. If these businesses were serious about addressing this supposed skills shortage, they would push for free college. And I don't mean necessarily by pumping money into universities. How about instead we stop screwing students over with all the money making schemes that infest college these days, things like required textbooks costing at least $100 each, and rapacio

                    • also college was not about teaching job skills as well.

                      The ideas of trades / tech schools have been push to the back banner and they have been roped into the degree system.

                      Now in the past high school used to be all you need for most jobs now they they do need some kind of post HS training now maybe we should extend the free school to the Community College level (Some do have the trades / tech classes) and lots of Community College are in the local areas of the high schools.

                      As for he main idea of dorm living

      • by korbulon (2792438)

        Let's take the alma mater of my favorite modern day philosopher, Dr Phil. This would be University of North Texas. Tuition and fees alone will run you $19,608. So if your living expenses exceed $5400 p.a., guess what?

        "You need to wake up!"

    • by Sponge Bath (413667) on Wednesday July 17, 2013 @10:51AM (#44308413)
      Makes you wonder how much they gave to congress for more H1Bs. A lot more than $100K for sure.
      • by iamhassi (659463) on Wednesday July 17, 2013 @11:44AM (#44308897) Journal
        Simple: give congress millions for more h1b visas, but look like you're helping Americans by having a $100,000 prize!

        Want to encourage Americans to get CS degrees? Stop shipping the jobs overseas.
        • by Shortguy881 (2883333) on Wednesday July 17, 2013 @12:29PM (#44309311)
          Its not shipping overseas if we bring the talent here via H1B visas.
          • by spike hay (534165)

            H1Bs are effectively the same thing as outsourcing. Temporary cheap labor, and then they go back to where they came from.

            Real permanent immigrants (especially skilled ones) are a net benefit as they tend to be entreprenurial and create jobs. H1Bs can't start a business. They are cheap labor benefiting corporations like MS at the expense of American workers. That's it.

            • Oh yeah, because they dont pay taxes in America on that income, and they dont contribute to society while they are here in any way, and dont buy products, groceries, gas, rent etc, while here.

              All that money goes back with them when they move home....
            • by spongman (182339)

              most of those skilled permanent residents came here first on H1B.

          • Yeah because they're hiring Americans...by going overseas...idiot...
        • by sgt_doom (655561)
          Glad to see the evolution of thought on this matter has become so postive and more and more are finally realizing that jobs offshoring, and importation of foreign visa scab workers, doesn't "create jobs" as M$ has so long claimed!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      If you're paying $100k out of pocket, you shouldn't attend. Bust your buns and apply to Stanford for a top school. All but the wealthiest of parents get a subsidy that knocks it way down. If you can't get into a top school like that, go to State U in-state. This might even mean living with your Aunt Sue in Hicksylvania; for the last year of high school; but you gotta do what you gotta do. Get creative. Get the paper and learn to program wicked circles around the other guys. You could have a degree fr

      • by K. S. Kyosuke (729550) on Wednesday July 17, 2013 @12:38PM (#44309419)

        Yes, I actually worked with a guy from Russia who got a degree when it was still Soviet. He could code you into the dumper. That's what matters.

        I hope that nobody is surprised than people from the land of actual mathematical education can program others into dumpsters.

        • Not at all... one of the few things I found impressive wrt cold war era Russia was their educational system. I've worked with a couple of Russian programmers as well, both of them more than capable.
    • by plover (150551) on Wednesday July 17, 2013 @12:03PM (#44309073) Homepage Journal

      No, it's not $100,000. It's $100,000 worth of "donations". That means they'll get licenses for 50 seats of SQL Server 2013, 100 licenses for Office 365, 80 licenses for Windows Server 2013, etc.

      If only I could have gotten my college to accept tuition payments in the forms of software licenses. "Dear Bursar's Office, please accept this voucher worth 10 licenses to install Debian."

    • Doesn't even pay the tuition plus living expenses for an *average* college.

      That certainly more than pays for tuition and living expenses for in-state residents at a public school (often above average schools).
      Spring 2013 Tuition at University of Wisconsin-Madison: $10,400/year [1]
      Which would leave $14,600/year for living expenses. More than enough.

      Non-residents have to pay $26,600/year so tuition would be nearly covered, but not living expenses. However, I think most states have an "average" public university, or reciprocity with a near by state which does. I've even heard

    • It's ironic that they are underpaying a reward to get people into a field in which people are underpaid or where salaries are stangant/declining.

      Wall St. is going to have to share the bucks or it's going to lose the bucks completely. Fun times.

    • Doesn't even pay the tuition plus living expenses for an *average* college.

      ===
      You live in the wrong country. A great university in Europe, Canada, Australia, (don't know Latin America), would be about
      $4,000 per year plus residency. A non-resident may pay up to 3 times that, but if they became residents, they would end up not paying more than the original amount.

      In my city, a student can get a two bedroom apartment for around $1000 per month. (The second room could become a study room, or could be used by a second student as a cost cutting shared living option.

      When anti-socialism

  • by GameboyRMH (1153867) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [hmryobemag]> on Wednesday July 17, 2013 @10:51AM (#44308419) Journal

    There's no shortage of skilled CS workers, just a shortage of companies willing to pay them decently.

    The goal of this effort and similar ones like FWD.us (Facebook's Wealth Demands Unlimited Slaves?) is to make sure every kid can program when they leave high school, so that you can pay entry-level programmers the same as gas station attendants.

    • by apcullen (2504324)
      We all know this here. Could Slashdot editors please start putting quotes around untruths like "CS Education Crisis" and "Technical Worker Shortage" as a matter of policy?
      • EXACTLY. I've been working contract jobs for the past year hoping to land on some permemant gig, but they keep asking me idiotic questions in the interviews like How many golf balls can fit in a school bus? [businessinsider.com]. Then I never hear from them again and they go crying about a "shortage of talent" and they run to the H1B's. I'M RIGHT HERE YOU FUCKING ASSHOLES!
        • tests in jobs as well or the test that say you are in X job and this happens and they give 2-3 answers out say 5 that may fit but you don't know there rules so it's hard to pick the right answer.

          for H1B1 no personality tests should be there as they can set it up so all people fail and then they can just give the job to the H1B1.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        We all know this here. Could Slashdot editors please start putting quotes around untruths like "CS Education Crisis" and "Technical Worker Shortage" as a matter of policy?

        Speak for yourself. I live and work in the US as a developer at a major software company, and we have a ton of open headcount. Getting applications for people who list their proficiency in a dozen languages is easy; getting candidates who can think critically and actually problem solve is damn near impossible. Anyone who thinks we have a glut of tech talent is confusing "I know Java! Hire me!" with "I understand complex systems and can build scalable things that really, really work." There is certainly

        • LMOL ok Potsy...because you're getting more then code monkeys with H1B Visas....
        • Building a truly scaleable system is not something you learn by taking an elective at University. You need software architects and you probably aren't willing to pay for them. You're right, such talent is going to be difficult to aquire. I remember working for a fairly large web portal back in the 90's; I was hired for my java AND mathematical skill while the company was still a start-up. One day one of the project managers threw a pile of resumes at me (not 'at me', he was just frustrated) and howled about

        • by guruevi (827432)

          It's relatively easy to get those people though. But you have to actually offer them at least higher than what they currently make.

          If there was truly a shortage of workers, you could easily poach droves of developers from other companies, you would get heaps of requests from people trying to jump ship. "getting candidates who can think critically and actually problem solve is damn near impossible" - True, the problem is that there are way too many developers unemployed and not enough companies that want to

    • by AmazingRuss (555076) on Wednesday July 17, 2013 @11:24AM (#44308715)

      I still don't think it will solve the problem. How are programmers gonna buy those 400k Redmond tract houses on a 40k salary?

      There are too many vultures looking to exploit the next generation, and not enough meat to go around.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      At the same time you can't teach everyone programming much like you can't teach everyone Algebra. If they can't teach high school kids Algebra, how can they master programming? NONSENSE

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Not to mention that critical thinking has been removed or dumbed down in many schools. Can't have kinds thinking for themselves.
      • You can't graduate high school without learning algebra - so presumably it's teachable (in a single phrase: "opposite operation on the opposite side"). Presumably basic programming can also be learned by anyone able to follow a few logic skills.

        What gets someone out of the grunt phase of programming is an aptitude for methodical processes (although not necessarily uncomplicated ones) and a desire to write instructions for a non-intelligent machine one step at a time.

        • You can't graduate high school without learning algebra

          Wrong. You can graduate if you spew information back on poorly-designed tests; you don't need to understand any of it. Guess what that leads to? Plenty of people not truly understanding any of the material.

        • You can pass Algebra with a "C". Do you really believe someone should be working professionally in a field where they were a "C" student? Have you ever compared how easily and quickly an "A" student does work compared to a "C" student (not to mention the fact that the "A" student actually had the correct answers)?

          People with no maths skills can be good programmers; the two skills aren't really related. However, people who have no talent for programming can't be "taught" to be good programmers -- just like s

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Z00L00K (682162)

      And there's a shortage of companies that still has a decent moral compass.

      If you want to improve and attract coders then it's important to provide a platform that is usable and cheap and that provides tools that are useful when you actually learn to code. For example you need Visual Studio Premium or Ultimate in order to get the Code Metrics feature - something that is really useful to those that aren't professional coders.

      Another problem is as mentioned - the inability to pay for skills - many organization

      • "And there's a shortage of companies that still has a decent moral compass."

        That's because they go out of business.

      • by dkleinsc (563838)

        And there's a shortage of companies that still has a decent moral compass.

        Corporations are frequently legally required to maximize profitability. So it's no surprise that between maximizing profits and decent morality, profits win.

    • by plover (150551) on Wednesday July 17, 2013 @12:05PM (#44309087) Homepage Journal

      Their goal is obviously more noble than that. They want to underpay a bunch of United States Citizens so they don't have to underpay a bunch of H1B workers. Those visas don't come cheap, you know.

    • by David_Hart (1184661) on Wednesday July 17, 2013 @12:11PM (#44309141)

      "There's no shortage of skilled CS workers, just a shortage of companies willing to pay them decently" and are willing to train them.

      There, fixed that for you. College is not about learning specific job skills which expire in 3 years, it's about learning a larger scope of skills that will stick with you throughout your career. Companies complain about a specific set of skills not being available in the marketplace and are unwilling to train or mentor graduates. Instead they go the green card route...

      • If you are looking for a weird combo of product expertise and you can search the whole world instead of just the US, then your chance of finding a skills match for that weird combo goes up about 3 times.

        I can see MS's perspective, but that's not the same as a general tech shortage. More STEM graduates won't create more weird-combo matches in the US because universities don't target specific product combos of a given company.

        Congress is too naive (or too bribed) to understand this key difference. Companies s

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Microsoft you lying sack of shit... What fucken shortage ? There's no shortage of skilled workers, only a shortage of wage slaves! I worked for a company that expected me to teach multiple H-1Bs programming skills to get functional on projects. It was easier training my dog to roll-over. I suppose they skipped some basic courses while getting degrees or just filled-in BS on the H-1B applications. After more than a year of training, upper management took the entire department, along with most of the H-1B

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by More Trouble (211162)

      Spending a big $100K on a popularity contest isn't going to ensure every kid can program. That's shut-up money, "Look, we tried, but USians just aren't up to snuff, give us more H1Bs!"

    • make sure every kid can program when they leave high school, so that you can pay entry-level programmers the same as gas station attendants

      As though the skills required to be a software engineer as as easy to master as those required to be a gas station attendant. Your paranoia is baseless.

      • Just getting kids started with programming will be enough to devalue salaries significantly. Normally companies "need" (based on where it would be taught) someone with a BSc to do things with Scary Text on a computer.

        • I'd be interested in seeing if the introduction of shop classes to normal high school curriculum deflated the salaries of mechanical engineers. If it did, then I might find what you're suggesting more plausible. I'll have to see if I can find some data on that.
    • by sgt_doom (655561)
      Or just a shortage of companies even willing to hire Americans ! ! !
    • by spongman (182339)

      watch this [youtube.com]

    • There isn't any shortage of talented CS professionals. However, HR isn't competent to tell the difference between a talented programmer (who can pick up the skills needed for the project in a matter of weeks, and turn out a quality product) and someone who is struggling to avoid being cut from the workforce and has years of experience with the particular "skillset" the employer is seeking (and will turn out a really buggy product, frequently missing deadlines).

      Foreign "talent" isn't any more competent (take

  • by Anonymous Coward

    not trying to bash computer science but - the CS diploma at my local university requires several courses in college level math like pre-calculus and trigonometry. i ended up getting a degree in information systems because i wasn't getting good grades in the college level math courses.

    • by milkasing (857326)
      Programming does not require a lot of math, but Computer Science is a branch of Math. If you wanted programing without the math, you took the right path.
      • Programming does not require a lot of math, but Computer Science is a branch of Math. If you wanted programing without the math, you took the right path.

        Some programming does not require a lot of math, but you need math to be able to do the really interesting things with programming, like simulations, graphics or games. Also, a good understanding of discrete math & logic will help you even with the programming for which you don't need a lot of math by helping you write better algorithms.

    • by OffTheLip (636691)
      The math requirement should be a part of a CS degree. When I graduated back in the 80's math through differential equations and linear algebra was a given, then you could take math electives or CS based math courses such as Algorithm Analysis. Programming courses were 1-2 hours per semester and really not the meat of the program.
  • Click: "Next". Next,Next....I Agree, and Finish; until the damn thing stops.

    Blindly download Service Pack, and pray everything works out okay.

    Be very terrified of the Command Prompt.

    With Windows 8, it's gotten even dumber. I hear that to get a programming job at Microsoft, you preferably need skills programming on Linux environments. Delicious irony.

  • What the hell are the super-rich board members of these multinational monsters doing with all their money: building indoor ski-slopes with mountains of cocaine?

  • by sl4shd0rk (755837) on Wednesday July 17, 2013 @11:09AM (#44308591)

    Fix the imbalance with minimum wage H1B visas and US unemployment rate. Also, stop offshoring your entire freaking business.

    • Call me crazy, but what if Microsoft just packs up and completely leaves the USA?. They could move all their operations to India or China, that would pretty much solve their H1B problems right?. I wouldn't mind if they left, not at all.

  • one idea... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Connie_Lingus (317691) on Wednesday July 17, 2013 @11:12AM (#44308605) Homepage

    maybe if corporations (like Microsoft for example) stopped the practice of refusing to hire developers with 25 years of experience (like myself for example) with 13 year-old drug-possession felonies (like myself for example) they wouldn't be so desperate to hire foreigners...

    • MS could pay its taxes.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by EMG at MU (1194965)

      maybe if corporations (like Microsoft for example) stopped the practice of refusing to hire developers with 25 years of experience (like myself for example) with 13 year-old drug-possession felonies (like myself for example) they wouldn't be so desperate to hire foreigners...

      I think the number of people in your scenario is not large enough to have any effect in the supply of software engineers. But since we're off topic anyways lets continue.

      I do think you have a valid point, and it is a subset of a larger problem involving rehabilitated criminals.
      In the US, the laws are setup so that any criminal mistake you make will follow you for life. There are companies whose only purpose is to scrape the internet to grab your mugshot from your pot possession arrest when you were 18

      • The whole point of having a rehabilitation based criminal justice system is to return criminals to society in a way that allows for them to rejoin society in a productive and healthy way. Attaching a stigma to them for the rest of their life is preventing them from becoming productive and healthy members of society.

        your telling me about that? we don't have a "rehabilitation based criminal justice system" we have a "punish you for the rest of your life-based" one...and your right with the public-record scrapers it doesnt even matter anymore that 1. the state never filed or 2. the judge withheld adjudication on the condition that you complete X and Y programs and probation successfully...all that matters is that on day Z the clerk of the courts' website posted that you were charged with possession of a marijuana seed

  • If the NSA had America's interest at heart, it would make Brad Smiths conversations public?
  • by tuppe666 (904118) on Wednesday July 17, 2013 @11:36AM (#44308817)

    They recently brought PM Man Bill "I have a charity" Gates our (again) to explain why he (and they) did not have to pay Tax...You know the sort of thing that pays for Education (and Hospitals..roads...etc).

    This Disgusts Me

    • They recently brought PM Man Bill "I have a charity" Gates our (again) to explain why he (and they) did not have to pay Tax...You know the sort of thing that pays for Education (and Hospitals..roads...etc).

      This Disgusts Me

      Thanks for agreeing with me. I get voted down every time I disparage his disgusting so-called "philanthropy."

    • I'm pretty sure their employees in the area pay property taxes (primary source of education, hospitals, roads, etc).

      Personally, I would much rather have legal limitations for holdings of non-living entities... and eliminate corporate taxes altogether. Nuke the corporatism and protections that go along with it. In the end, corporations never actually pay taxes, their customers do... (for the record, I'm also not a fan of property taxes either).
  • If Microsoft needs foreign talent so badly a portion of the US defense budget should be allocated to relocating Microsoft to India where it can get the talent it needs without violating US territory by opening it to one of the biggest populations in the world. Territorial integrity is an appropriate role for the Federal government and the Defense Department and MIcrosoft (and other companies like Facebook, etc.) that are clamoring for more immigration should be sent to India and barred from doing software
  • by swschrad (312009) on Wednesday July 17, 2013 @12:34PM (#44309375) Homepage Journal

    stop whining and build something. if you really want better training and are even willing to sponsor it, then hire the people when they come out. don't go running to East Sub-Nirvana for code at pennies per day and then whine there are no programmers in the shadow of the CEO's mansions.

    • by jader3rd (2222716)

      stop whining and build something. if you really want better training and are even willing to sponsor it, then hire the people when they come out. don't go running to East Sub-Nirvana for code at pennies per day and then whine there are no programmers in the shadow of the CEO's mansions.

      Companies learned that if they train somebody, that person will quit and go to the job that pays more, but doesn't train. So all of the companies are sitting around waiting for the sucker company to start training people, so they can then suck them up without having to pay for training.

  • College CS is not IT and it's not lack of education it more of over load of theory that is lacking the more hands on skills as well the full load of other college filler / fluff.

    The college system is not build for the fast moving IT field, 2-4 years pure class room is to long. lot of college professors have limited IT work back rounds. Parts of the theory are useful for low level work that most IT people do not need to know / are better off useing the same time to get more useful skills.

    There is lots of han

  • There is no "crisis" in CS education. There is a crisis in the United States for CS graduates keeping their jobs, or remaining in the middle class. This is more astroturf campaign stuff... shame on Dice Holdings.
  • worth of donations?

    Let me guess. $100,000 worth of Surface Pros and Windows Phones that retailers have been unable to sell.

    Give me a break $100,000 is nothing. This is a problem that requires far more work.

  • Another term for popularity contest is democratic voting.

  • I just have to call bullcrap whenever I hear this stuff, as M$ has never been particularly concerned where the truth is involved. Everyone who has worked there, and who is honest, will know what I mean......
  • Hi I'm involved with CoderDojo which is currently in 3rd place behind Coder.org (which is advised by Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith). If you have a few minutes, please take the time to vote at
    http://www.azuredevs.com/Programs [azuredevs.com]
    Thanks for your help.
  • ... rather than accepting the US is behind and we should import more H1B visa people.

    Of course, we all know that educating our own people, or paying them the going rate, is a waste of money; they'll just change jobs. Not like the people who are changing countries.

A rock store eventually closed down; they were taking too much for granite.

Working...