Category Archives: Alternative Education

Get a Job, or a Tuition Refund…Really!

tuition refund

Can you imagine any college or university making the outrageous claim of guaranteeing you a job or your tuition is completely refunded? Never happen.

But now online education startup Udacity is offering a variety of online software development courses for smartphone apps that at the end of 9 months with an investment of $299 and 10 hours of study a week AND a guarantee that students will get a job within 6 months or their money back. Students also get access to a “career concierge” to help them apply for technology jobs.

I’m skeptical that such an ambitious experiment will prove profitable for Udacity for a couple of reasons. First of all, MIT created a tool called App Inventor a few years ago that allows a user to createAndroid apps via a web browser: no coding required.  There are other no-coding options as well that don’t require the 9 months, 10 hours a week, and $299, such as Appyet and Apps Machine.

Second, if you want to try your hand at being an independent apps programmer, you don’t need a degree or certification – or have to dazzle hiring managers with your stellar personality.

Third, I still think there are variables beyond Udacity’s control and your own to make this guarantee rock solid without some type of fine print.

If you want to publish your app on any appstore/market you’ll also have to obtain developer licenses for Android($23), IOS($99), Windows Phone($99), Bada(free).

You can read more about Udacity’s plan at

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Former Fortune 500 hiring manager Donn LeVie Jr. is the author of Strategic Career Engagement (September 2015), and the book that reset the rules for successful job and career strategies:  Confessions of a Hiring Manager Rev. 2.0 (June 2012, Winner of the 2012 Global eBook Award and Winner of the 2012 International Book Award for Jobs/Careers). He leads career strategy seminars at conferences, business/trade schools, colleges and universities, and U.S. military veterans organizations.

Does your conference need a keynote speaker or a career strategies seminar for conference attendees? Donn’s 2016-2017 engagement calendar is starting to fill up…contact him directly at

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New Research Affirms Claims Made in Confessions of a Hiring Manager Rev. 2.0

In my multiple-award-winning book, Confessions of a Hiring Manager Rev 2.0 (Second Edition), I mention the trend toward getting qualified individuals out of school and into the job market quicker with the necessary skills to be productive immediately. That puts a premium on community colleges, trade and business schools, online universities, and short-term certification programs that provide core skills and knowledge that people need to hit the ground running with employers.

Tom Pauken writes in the Second Quarter 2012 issue of Texas Business Today, a publication of the Texas Workforce Commission,  that:

…Young people who have completed an industry-certified skills training program have a better opportunity to get a good-paying job than many graduates of four-year universities….Young adults with a skilled trade can get hired at entry-level positions with starting pay that is higher than that garnered by many university graduates.

Here are several examples cited by Commissioner Pauken:

  • A Texas State Technical College graduate with an associate’s degree in instrumentation in the engineering-technology field has been hired in the petrochemical industry at a starting salary of $68,000.
  • A licensed master plumber with just three years’ experience can make $75,000
  • A high-school student at the Craft Training Center in Corpus Christi received his industry certification in welding. After graduating from high school, he is now making $6,800 a month as a welder.

As one friend told me recently, who went from engineering to teaching high school: “Thank God I got laid off last year. It made me rethink my skill set and forced me to do something else–something I’ve always wanted to do, and it sure wasn’t about the money. It was about making a contribution to something more important to me and to my community. And I was able to begin teaching while I worked on my teaching certification.”