01.31.12

What can game jams learn from educational "hacker apprenticeships"?

Last week, we looked at the difficulties of programming languages, and the Atlantic this month comes to us with news on the “hacker education” front with programs like Dev Bootcamp and Hacker School. The idea is simple - short project-based programs aimed at generating real world skills. Writer Joe Moon observes:

The programs make an implicit rejection of the conventional wisdom that a profession (especially one as cerebral as programming) requires a base of abstract, academic study. While programming has always had a distinct strain of autodidacticism, this trend extends and formalizes the long-standing hacker ethic of valuing ability and accomplishments over certifications and titles. Perhaps in some sense it hardens the distinction between programming as a trade and computer science as an academic field.

This past weekend, thousands participated in the Global Game Jam to create new work in 48 hours. I’ve been to biggest one in Copenhagen and it’s a total blast, but there’s a tinge of sadness after the presentations as the work simply fades into the ether. Even great projects rarely get past the prototype stage.

The hacker programs above make their money from job placements and I wonder if similar types of professionalization for the Global Game Jam could point to a longer shelf life for these weekend projects. 

-Jamin Warren

[via The Atlantic]