Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple and speaker at Bryant University in the Spring of 2017, has launched his latest venture – Woz U. Wozniak was always into learning and tinkering perhaps more so than his former business partner Steve Jobs. Now he wants to give back. Wozniak said, “People often are afraid to choose a technology-based career because they think they can’t do it. I know they can, and I want to show them how.” This is just one of many ventures that aims at solving the shift in demand for specialized skills in the labor market as well as innovating the education marketspace. Critics cite that learning is not keeping up with the skills of today with many jobs coming into existence recently, and curriculums cannot keep up. The World Economic Forum published an article last year that mentioned the next big unicorn is most likely to be a company that is an education organization incorporating AI. Many companies are diving into the learning industry. Part of the reason for Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn was its investments in learning and subsidiaries including Lynda. The educational technology sector is booming with companies like Code Academy, Udacity, Coursea, and many boot camps. With how industries are changing and the displacement of jobs due to advanced technologies in computer vision, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and robotics this may be a blessing. Wozniak also mentioned that the goal of his company is to ‘educate and train people in employable digital sills without putting them into years of debt.’
Disadvantages of online learning is the demand for boot camp grads or certified professionals is lower than the traditional degree holder. Woz U is tackling that problem through different tactics. First it is finding its niche to help the student become, bottom-up, familiar with full stack developing specifically for data science and cybersecurity. In addition to that it will help its students with career opportunities by providing them with projects to add to their portfolio as well as resume reviews. In addition to having an online interface, the new founded venture will plant 30 brick and mortar locations around the U.S., based out of Arizona. This could be following in the steps of the disruptor, Arizona State University known for popularizing online courses. The company clearly has big plans. Wozniak hopes to spread his learning through school districts and exposing K-12 students to technology.
Students who have signed up for the program can see what the curriculum consists of. The key concepts include: Programming Foundations, Back End Foundations, Database Foundations, Front End Foundations and Frameworks, Mobile, Debugging, Agile, and Responsive Design. The related job titles they hope their students will someday hold include: Software Engineer, Computer Programmer, Web Developer, Web Application Developer, and Software Developer. All these concepts may also help supplement one’s experience or transition to a new role. The future of learning is changing with Wozniak possibly causing a positive disruption.