Employers nationally, as well as in Georgia, face an increasingly competitive market for recruiting software developers. Coding bootcamps are part of the response to this need.
A coding bootcamp is an accelerated training program focused on development skills. It’s an alternative to a traditional university degree; instead of requiring four years of classroom time, a coding bootcamp in Atlanta might last two months to a year with forty-hour weeks of immersive development work. Bootcamp courses emphasize the technical skills that participants need instead of the full range of undergraduate requirements.
Michael Newman has expertise both as a technical recruiter with Agile, and as a graduate of one of these coding bootcamps. Here, he provides insights to help employers understand this method of professional training.
It helps to know who’s enrolling in these programs. CourseReport, which conducts an annual survey of coding schools, found that the average attendee has several years of work experience and a bachelor’s degree but has never worked as a programmer.
“Most people start out in another job function but wanted to make a switch to development,” Newman says. “They might be excited about the skillset, the increase in pay, the work-life balance, or the career path.” Attendees may just prefer a shorter, less expensive route to get the training they need.
The numbers support the benefits of attending a bootcamp. CourseReport says 79.3% of graduates surveyed were employed in a job requiring the technical skills they learned. Hired.com’s “State of Software Engineers” study suggests that companies are open to programmers that come through a coding bootcamp; 57% of software engineers say they would hire a grad. Newman notes that successful candidates come through Agile’s IT staffing firm frequently.
Employers like to hire candidates with a coding bootcamp background for several reasons:
The downside of a bootcamp is that it may not provide the in-depth understanding of computer science and engineering that a four-year degree program can offer.
“Graduates are usually prepared to work in web development and web and mobile applications but not systems-side planning and projects,” Newman explains. Then, they’ll work their way to increasing levels of responsibility along the IT career path.
The following is a non-comprehensive list of programs that Agile job candidates have attended locally:
Newman gives a list of qualities that the best candidates will offer. “Top bootcamp talent will have strong portfolios of work. They can explain how they were able to build their samples. They’ll have an efficient approach, and they’ll understand the reasons behind different development choices.”
Top candidates will also have effective communication and people skills. As a result, employers may find them easier to work with if they’ve had trouble managing technical people in the past.
In the end, success for both a job seeker and an employer comes from the fit. A coding bootcamp may or may not prepare a candidate for expert backend development. There’s a difference between building off APIs and changing extensive system settings. However, a professional who can solve business problems with efficient and error-free code is a valuable asset to a programming team, regardless of whether that expertise came from a four-year program or intensive training.