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Steve Wozniak, also called “The Woz” and co-founder of Apple, recently launched Woz U, a tech learning platform for students and companies. The company has offices in Scottsdale, AZ and will focus on getting students hired by companies. Initially, the curriculum is for training computer support personnel and software developers. The next phase will include courses in data science, mobile app development and cyber security. The overall plan is to put up physical locations in 30 cities located all over the world.

Some of the most popular free online courses are in computer programming, computer languages, and mobile app development. Anyone from across the globe can enroll in these courses.

The concept lies in getting people trained in technology and then hired by companies. Woz U includes other platforms for companies and other enterprises to recruit people for their tech needs, train them to fit individual corporate needs, and retain the workforce via on-site programs customized for the individual corporate requirements, as well as subscription-based curricula. According to Wozniak, the company goal is educating and training people for employable skill in tech and IT without the heavy debt usually associated with a college course.

There are many online coding schools, including Udacity and Coursera, which aims to develop seasoned tech personnel out of ordinary non-tech people. However, critics have noted that companies prefer graduates of 4 year college courses instead of boot camp graduates or those who studied in vocational schools. The reason behind this is the quality of skills acquired from boot camp falls short of company requirements.

Having worked as an elementary school teacher, Wozniak believes that people are afraid of taking science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) tracks because they think they cannot do it. He believes otherwise and wants to show self-doubters how to do it. The startup will also have programs called Woz U Education for K-12 to pursue STEAM courses, as well as accelerator programs called Woz U Accelerator aimed to develop top tech talent. Woz U Accelerator, to launch in 2019, is a 12-16 month program. A mobile app rounds out the offerings, where potential students can choose which program best fits their needs.

Woz U Online

Woz U partnered with Southern Careers Institute, based in Austin, TX. It is a for-profit school with seven locations across Texas. The Woz U website has not yet posted any prices for its courses.

Online schools have a large following. Some online schools partner with established universities, or are part of the university’s Open University initiative. Like other sites on the internet, there are schools which offer free courses, and others which offer a degree course complete with diploma and accreditation. Usually these degree course offerings are for a fee. In 2015, LinkedIn bought subscription-based online education site Lynda.com. Lynda has been teaching professional development courses for more than 20 years. The acquisition was a cash-and-stock deal worth $1.5 billion, $780 million in cash and $720 million in Class A stock. LinkedIn is a free site with a premium-membership subscription model, while Lynda uses a multi-tier subscription model for its courses.

Some of the most popular free online courses are in computer programming, computer languages, and mobile app development. Anyone from across the globe can enroll in these courses. Free courses usually do not have any certifications. Certification classes have multiple modules prior to getting a certification. Most classes have a start and end date, as well as deadlines for submission of requirements. Although a student may be proficient in the course, there is still no guarantee of employment. It is up to the students to get experience on their own and get seasoned.

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