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9 October, 2018
Originally posted on 30 August, 2018
Apple Co-founder Steve Wozniak entered the technology education space last October with Woz U, an institute to close the skills gap and expand the technology talent pipeline.

What happens when 10, 15 years into a career, someone suddenly realizes they are on the wrong track? They can trudge through it for another 40-plus years until retirement or they can take a risk and find opportunity elsewhere.

Every year, thousands of people take part in technology education programs, such as coding bootcamps, to carve a spot in the digital economy. Re-education and retraining aren’t easy, but many workers who go through such programs are reaping higher salaries and new career opportunities.

Some companies are forging partnerships with higher education, such as Amazon, which recently expanded a fellowship program for research in voice technology. Others are adding an in-house bootcamp, such as WeWork, which acquired the coding academy Flatiron School last year.

Apple Co-founder Steve Wozniak entered the technology education space last year with Woz U, an institute to close the skills gap and expand the technology talent pipeline.

The program offers online education, K-12 and educator programs, enterprise training, face-to-face campus-based academies and an accelerator for elite talent. Nearing its one-year anniversary, the company is working to expand to new areas of training, bring more underrepresented populations into the technology workforce and connect new talent to employers.

Taking stock almost one year in

Since its launch in October, the platform found success domestically and abroad, according to Chris Coleman, president of Woz U. Its initial tracks — software developer, data science and cybersecurity — will soon grow to include a mobile developer program first targeting iOS-native development and later Android development.

Software development is Woz U’s largest track and includes several programming languages as well as fundamentals and core software engineering. The breadth of the track allows Woz U to tailor the tools in the program to match the demand in a given city, according to Coleman.

Adult education is the largest focus right now: Most of Woz U’s students are in the 25-35 year age range, with almost two-thirds already holding a degree and looking for a second career, Coleman said. There’s also a lot of opportunity for Woz U to partner with existing institutions that don’t have the resources they need to run a technology education program and help fill those needs.

But universities alone aren’t producing enough computer science talent to fill all the openings, and with even more digital jobs expected in coming years, alternative paths to recruitment are becoming more popular.

Like many other bootcamps, Woz U works with employers at SMBs, large enterprises and state institutions to find new technology workers a role.

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