According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for software developers is projected to grow 22 percent through 2022 – much faster than the average job growth rate of 11 percent – due to the major increase in demand for computer software.
Programming bootcamps have been cropping up across the country to help meet this demand, as well as close the skills gap that many claim exists between recent college graduates and workers with real-world skills.
With intense coding curriculum designed to enhance the skills of experienced coders and jumpstart those with little coding background, these coding programs could offer a real solution to companies in need of programming talent or for those looking to develop their current staff.
An Alternative Recruitment Channel
With 71 percent of CIO’s indicating they prioritize skills and experience over college degrees when making hiring decisions, bootcamps may offer a viable alternative to traditional recruiting methods such as college recruiting fairs.
“There is a big gap between computer science grads and those who have been in the field for a long time,” said Michael Choi, chief instructor and founder of Coding Dojo, a bootcamp offering courses in San Francisco and Seattle. “School doesn’t teach what happens in the real world.”
Choi has experienced this gap firsthand. As CTO and CEO of several startups, including Zurple, Spot Trender, BoomYEAH and Village 88, he realized that there was a shortage of qualified engineers with full stack skills that could efficiently and effectively bring his products to market. So he developed a program to train his own engineers and replicated that program, which now serves as the curriculum for Coding Dojo students.
In three months, Coding Dojo graduates learn three full webstacks for building web applications, including web development foundations (HTML 5/CSS3, Twitter Bootstrap, GitHub and others), LAMP, MEAN Stack, and Ruby on Rails. They code at least 50 to 70 hours per week, and advance through individual coding topics through qualifying exams that earn them belt levels, from white to black.
By the end of the program, students are able to build a front- and back-end for a website or web application of their choosing, and are required to demonstrate the application and concepts in front of fellow classmates and mentors during the bootcamp’s Demo Day.
Bootcamp students not only learn the ins and outs of front end, back end, database management, and server management, but also gain experience in soft skills like collaboration and problem solving. Coming from various backgrounds such as psychology, economics, biology, finance and language arts, in addition to those with programming backgrounds, students program in pairs and experience intensive group project-based learning.
Who Hires Bootcamp Graduates?
1. Companies with established onboarding programs and a “culture of learning,” such as Twitter and Tap Joy
2. Companies with apprenticeship programs, such as thoughtbot’s three-month paid program, in which apprentices work on projects with designers and developers, are assigned a mentor, and are either offered a position at the end of the apprenticeship, or connected with other companies
3. Startup companies with experience in managing and developing junior hires
Bootcamp grads from a variety of programs have been hired as software engineers, front-end engineers, lead data scientists, UI engineers, web developers, iOS developers, junior developers and software instructors, and have even gone on to establish their own startups.
12 Weeks to Become a Coder?
Some argue that 12 weeks doesn’t make someone a coder. However, Coding Dojo and others put measures in place to give students a better chance at success.
For example, Coding Dojo staff only accept candidates they believe are a good cultural fit for a technical role – hard working, teachable, passionate and good communicators. Applicants complete an online questionnaire, and are then screened for a follow-up Skype interview that determines whether or not they are accepted.
Coding Dojo’s career placement team also helps connect students with companies for which they are a good cultural fit.
“We underestimate what people can do in a few months,” said Choi. “If someone talented is given the right tools to fully focus, you’d be amazed at how much they can learn. “
“If companies give students who have graduated from bootcamps a chance, they will be pleasantly surprised,” Choi continued. “It’s worth taking a look and seriously pondering whether some of the applicants can meet the demands that companies have.”
Title image provided by Coding Dojo.