Episode 32: Lambda School: A New Approach to “Hire Ed”

October 17, 2018

Are you interested in computer science? How would you like to go to school for free and learn what you need to in just a few months? Then, check out Lambda School!

Today, we’re talking to Ben Nelson, co-founder and CTO of Lambda School, which is a 30-week online immersive computer science academy. Lambda School has more than 500 students and takes a share of future earnings instead of traditional debt. So, it's free until students get a job.

Some of the highlights of the show include:

  • Bootcamps were created to address engineering shortages and quickly move people into technical careers
  • Lambda is not explicitly a bootcamp; its 30-week program gives students more instructions and more time spent on developing a portfolio
  • Lambda also makes time to cover computer science fundamentals; teaches C, Python, Django, and relational database - not just JavaScript
  • Employers appreciate the school’s in-depth and advanced approach, which results in repeat hires
  • Lambda avoids the typical reputation of traditional for-profit educational institutions by being mission-driven and knowing its investors want ROI
  • Lambda aligns its incentives with those of students; an income share agreement means the school doesn’t make money, unless students are successful
  • Lambda’s 7-month program is less of a risk for someone later in their career; some don't have capital to support their family while going to school for 4 years
  • Lambda incentivizes healthy financial habits; after two years of repayment, students can put that money into retirement, savings, and investments
  • 5 Tracks Now Offered by Lambda: iOS development, UX, Full Stack Web development, data science, and Android development
  • Mastery Based Progression System: When you're learning something sequentially, where knowledge builds, you don't move on until you’ve mastered it
  • Lambda’s acceptance rate is around 5% and based on people who can keep up
  • Lambda works with different partner companies to help them find qualified graduates - people they want to hire


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