back to article Lambda School, a coding bootcamp that takes a cut of your next tech salary, now takes a 30% cut in staff

The Lambda School, an online coding bootcamp based in San Francisco, on Thursday said it will lay off 65 employees, about a third of the workforce. The staff cuts follow a settlement announced earlier this week with the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation that requires the school to remove deceptive …

  1. LDS Silver badge

    Identured Servitude Agreement

    Fixed for them.

    1. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Identured Servitude Agreement

      It always amazes me how these new business just dust off an ancient and predatory practice and claim it's new & innovative.

      Income Share Agreement = Identured Servitude Agreement

      Sharing economy "gig" worker = Sharecropper

      I can't wait to see what Slavery will be modernized euphemistically into by these clowns.

      1. Alumoi Silver badge

        Re: Identured Servitude Agreement

        I can't wait to see what Slavery will be modernized euphemistically into by these clowns.

        We've had employment contract for a very long time. What's wrong with it?

        1. yetanotheraoc Silver badge

          Re: Identured Servitude Agreement

          Yes, in theory it's another employment contract and there's nothing wrong with it. But it seems some knowledgeable people have looked over the actual contracts and found there *is* something wrong with it. I haven't looked at the contracts myself, so I don't know. There's an inherent power imbalance between employer and employee, and between school and student. Clauses in the contract for forced arbitration and not being able to discharge the debt through bankruptcy not only take advantage of that imbalance, but make it worse. It's never happened to me that I've been exploited as a worker or student. That's because it happened to someone else and then laws were passed against it.

        2. LDS Silver badge

          Re: Identured Servitude Agreement

          In the US employment contracts contains clauses that would be illegal in other countries. For example here a non compete clause must pay a specific fee to the employee (too low or "symbolic" ones would make it void) , and must be restricted in "object, space and time". But for execs it can't last more than three years. So nobody here uses them for fast food employees.

          The mandatory arbitration clauses would be void as well - a contract can't remove a citizen right.

          And let's not speak about being able to actively try to hinder unionization - even using specific companies for that - which would be again illegal in most other democratic countries.

          Here also a school or training company can't ask money promising a job.

          Labor laws in US are still designed with slavery in mind.

      2. Brian Miller

        Re: Identured Servitude Agreement

        "I can't wait to see what Slavery will be modernized euphemistically into by these clowns."

        Bail bonds. I've been told by a person who worked in the "industry" that it's the closest thing to slavery that's legally permissible.

      3. Dr. G. Freeman

        Re: Identured Servitude Agreement

        "I can't wait to see what Slavery will be modernized euphemistically into by these clowns."

        Through the Jobcentre (UK), they're called "workplace trials"- where you work 40 hrs for an employer for no wages (or even travel costs) to see if you are good enough to work for them.

        Had three of the things before- one at a major grocery chain, one at a major high street discount retailer, and another at another retailer masquerading as a charity shop- each time just brought in as staff to cover shifts, then released after then 40 hours for someone else's turn.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Identured Servitude Agreement

        But, we need to, "disrupt", bro!

        It's currently acceptable in Silicon Valley tech circles (that is, Hacker News) to complain about the "unfair" monopolies that the likes of Google and Facebook currently enjoy. I like to remind them that this is the planned, deliberate end stage of their favoured business model, which is to use huge amounts of VC money to offer free products and raze the competition to the ground, and when there is no-one else left, you are free to charge what you like and act as you please.

        I suppose the nearest analogy would be a dealer giving away free samples.

      5. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Identured Servitude Agreement

        I can't wait to see what Slavery will be modernized euphemistically into by these clowns.

        "Rehabilitation." Already done.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Identured Servitude Agreement

      @LDS

      Must be a thing. Elon Musk is proposing the same thing for people to raise the cash to be able to travel to Mars.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        Re: Identured Servitude Agreement

        Of course, you'll need 'em to build your Martian Empire - what laws are applicable on Mars, after all?

  2. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Devil

    CEO Jake Conte said his biz "needed ... different types of employees"

    Incredible that businesses are so adverse to paying for training that they'd rather pay a severence package and hire other people instead, even though training is cheaper.

    1. chivo243 Silver badge

      Re: CEO Jake Conte said his biz "needed ... different types of employees"

      Putting on my D level hat, only one flaw there, investing in an unknown trainee vs hiring a trained and supposed experienced veteran...

      Taking off the D level hat, training people your own way is way better, no bad habits come from other influences.

      I think severance packages for C and D levels are a bit more expensive.

    2. karlkarl Silver badge

      Re: CEO Jake Conte said his biz "needed ... different types of employees"

      Certainly not the case for everyone but if my employer suddenly didn't need a C or C++ developer and offered to retrain me as a JQuery / Javascript guy, there could be a few outcomes:

      1) I would leave and they would employ a Javascript guy.

      2) If I really needed the money, I would accept that and retrain. However I would not have the same passion as if I was still dealing with the technology that I actively chose to learn originally.

      I think option 2) is actually fairly damaging because neither party is truely happy and yet nothing would change. My work would be crap for the employer because I don't have the same attachment. I would also not be enjoying my job.

      So this can work well if the developer is happy with any tech and not specifically attached to one. However it is very difficult to know that. If it isn't the case, actually finding that out from my employees, especially those with no other choice has proven difficult.

      Annoyingly "fire and rehire" is no good either because it doesn't give my original guy the chance to train before I hire someone else, even if they actively preferred the new proposed technology rather than their original specialisation.

    3. Snake Silver badge

      Re: CEO Jake Conte said his biz "needed ... different types of employees"

      Oh, I'll takea bet that what will *actually* happen is that only 1/2 to 2/3 of the number of employees will be hired...and the CEO will [give himself through the power of an arse-kissing board] a nice "performance bonus].

  3. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Better than regular loans

    I'll bet they are - for Lambda School.

    How is it legal to be able to arbitrairily exempt oneself from class-action lawsuits, or decide that the contract remains in force even in case of bankruptcy ? How is it that you get to decide that ?

    On the subject of bankruptcy, check this out. It's an eye-opener.

    1. Bogbody

      Re: Better than regular loans

      Video not available in my country (UK).

      Guessing it'll only cover the US of A bankruptcy arrangments??

    2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Better than regular loans

      > or decide that the contract remains in force even in case of bankruptcy ? How is it that you get to decide that ?

      The humble politicians decided that cunning law/medical students would graduate, immediately declare bankruptcy and then spend 3 years earning very little while training and then emerge from bankruptcy in time to get their $250k job leaving the humble charity of Harvard or Yale out $250K in fees.

  4. Erik4872

    ISAs weren't around back in 1999...

    ...but the bootcamp predatory education model sure was.

    Anyone who lived through the first dotcom bubble and is trying to hire right now would be blind if they didn't see parallels between now and then. Back then, tons of training houses became bootcamps overnight and really preyed on people afraid of missing out or attracted by massive salaries. At least in the US, there were lots of shady places offering MCSEs in 2 weeks to people with no experience in computers, let alone system administration. This is the exact same thing..."Tired of being a truck driver or janitor? Join our bootcamp and learn hot new JavaScript skills in just 10 weeks!" These ISAs are even worse than tricking people into student loans because I'm sure these places are hooked up with sweatshop startups looking for entry-level JavaScripters they can abuse...and there's an incentive to stay somehere if you're forced to repay the "loan" and it will become a non-dischargeable obligation if you quit.

    At least the 1999 bootcamps took your money one time. One group I remember them heavily targeting was recently separated military personnel. The US gives "GI Bill" education grants to partially pay for higher ed when you leave...so imagine being a slimy training outfit salivating at a guaranteed source of income. I'm also seeing "DevOps bootcamps" for traditional sysadmins who should know better, but are freaking out about automation and DevOps tools taking their jobs.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So what if I take this class , But abstain from accepting a career position..

    If my goal is to learn through this class for direct personal gain rather than abstracted financial gain,

    Is it then a free class? So long as I am abstain from applying the skills I learned commercially?

    Face it the more you can competently code for yourself the less dependent you are on purchasing a solution from someone else. The more you can accomplish While avoiding the economic exchange, the less loss in overhead to others

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      I think these guys had some number of years that it applied over and I assume some claw back if you got a job as a used car salesman

      The MCSE type places would guarantee a job on graduation by offering a minimum wage software support/call-center job at an outfit they had a major shareholding in.

  6. TimMaher Silver badge
    Windows

    TOPS

    Bring back TOPS.

    I took my programming course courtesy of TOPS and was receiving dole whilst doing it.

    That was 1978-9 though.

    Got employed immediately afterwards, as a junior programmer, on a decent salary.

    There again, that was a long time ago and through a Labour government that actually believed in investing in the future.

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