Mills Professors Discuss the Difference Between a Computer Science Degree and Coding Bootcamps

Oakland, CA—January 22, 2018

Over the past five years, the US has seen a major rise in the number of coding bootcamps. In a recent EdSurge article, two computer science professors explain how the MA in Interdisciplinary Computer Science (ICS) program at Mills College is different. 

“A two-year degree program is fundamentally different and far more comprehensive than a three-month vocational program,” said Professor of Computer Science Ellen Spertus who worked at Google for 11 years. While bootcamps sometimes deride the value of theory, “it’s a fallacy to think the theory you learn in CS programs is useless. If you want to process a billion web pages then you need to understand the theory.”

According to Susan Wang head of the ICS program at Mills, “A degree provides students a solid foundation in computer science enabling them to advance in their technical careers.” For those who graduate from the program, the job placement rate is impressive. Wang further notes that, “86 percent of graduates from 2008 to 2017 went on to work in the tech industry.”

Recent graduates “landed jobs at Mozilla, Stitch Fix and are getting jobs as software engineers,” says Wang. “Not contract positions, they are getting full-time positions.”

Mills was the first women’s college to offer a computer science major in 1974 and now offers a master of arts in interdisciplinary computer science and post-baccalaureate certificate programs.