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Post by Rich Moy on Apr 5, 2018 12:00:00 PM

Over the last few years, coding bootcamp graduates have proven to be incredible additions to engineering teams. Still, there are plenty of widely-held beliefs about bootcamp graduates that enter the workforce. But after we looked at the results from the 2018 Global Developer Hiring Landscape, it became obvious that these beliefs are nothing more than misconceptions.

What types of professionals are graduating from coding bootcamps? How long does it take them to find jobs after completing one of these programs? What are the biggest motivators for enrolling in a bootcamp? Let’s take a closer look and debunk some of the most common misconceptions about coding bootcamp graduates.

Bootcamp Graduates Have Never Worked as Professional Developers

Bootcamp students have no experience as professional developers, right? For many graduates, that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, over 45% of developers that participated in coding bootcamps said that they were already working as developers before their programs began.

So, how does this affect your developer hiring? Think about the last batch of developer resumes that you reviewed. How long did you spend evaluating each application? If you’re like many employers, you might have only spent about six seconds scanning those resumes before forming an impression—which could be a huge mistake.

When you see a coding bootcamp on a developer’s resume, don’t assume that person is too junior for your open roles. Take a quick look at their professional experience. After all, based on what we found in this year’s Developer Survey, a large percentage of those applicants might be the tenured programmers that you’ve wanted to hire.

Bootcamp Graduates Have a Difficult Time Finding Jobs

Just like their peers with more “traditional” degrees in Computer Science and Software Development, bootcamp students are in high demand. This year, over 16% of participants said that they found a full-time position immediately after graduating.

Sure, bootcamp graduates aren't guaranteed to have a job waiting for them upon graduation. But as an employer looking to hire developers, it’s clear that your interview process shouldn’t be drastically different for bootcamp graduates, either. Whenever you’re interviewing a former bootcamp student, ask yourself if everyone involved in your process is comfortable with their technical ability. If the answer is yes, don't hesitate to extend a job offer to that person.

Students Only Attend Bootcamps to Change Careers

Jisoo Shin, a Developer here at Stack Overflow and bootcamp graduate, tells us that one of the biggest misconceptions about herself and her colleagues is that all of them attended their program to change careers. While this was the case for her, Shin tells us that some people enroll to supplement their current non-programming jobs.

“One of my classmates was a tech writer,” Shin adds. “But she didn’t want to be a programmer after we graduated. Another graduate that I know signed up to learn how to become a better Project Manager.”

Even though bootcamp graduates have a passion for learning how to write code, it’s still important to get to know each candidate as you recruit developers. What are their interests in and outside of work? What are their career goals? What motivated them to attend a coding bootcamp?

Students Need to Have a Science Background to Succeed in a Bootcamp

Whether you’re making a career change or learning new programming skills, do you need to have a background in math or science to succeed in a bootcamp setting? According to Shin, neither is a prerequisite, and she wishes that more employers didn’t make that assumption.

Still, did the students with math and science degrees stand out from their peers? Shin’s answer might surprise you. “A lot of the sharpest students in my class were writers and art majors,” she says.

This means one thing for you as an employer: When you recruit developers, focus on their ability to write quality code. Based on what we learned from Ms. Shin, some of the most talented programmers have non-traditional backgrounds. To hire the developers you need, it’s up to you to put aside some of the most common assumptions that people have about what a talented developer looks like.

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