Building a dev team
is a difficult, time-consuming and expensive process. Some will claim that it’s still possible nowadays to create a product without its online presence. But not many would dare to say that scaling that product is as doable. So basically no dev team translates into no product open for growth.
If you already have a dev team who is willing to share their knowledge and coach, investing in junior talent might be your best option. A degree in computer science still ranks high among the most commonly listed criteria for software developer jobs. Here’s why, when trying to fill the next open position in your team, broadening your target group to coding bootcamps grads might be worth considering.
They have the right mindset
One important takeaway from a good coding bootcamp is the right mindset. Approaching technical challenges that often appear to be above your skill level can be intimidating. A bootcamp grad would have gone through that process several times a day, every day, for a couple of weeks in a row. They know how to go from an empty file with a blinking cursor, through pseudo-code, to a working solution for a problem. They’ve learned that perseverance is one of the most crucial traits of a successful developer. They’ve experienced frustration, exhaustion, self-doubt and came out of it more robust; they accept that making mistakes is a part of the learning process. They don’t give up easily, know when to ask for help, understand that they are not their code — meaning that they can handle constructive criticism and are open to improvements suggestions.
They are willing to learn
People who did a coding bootcamp did so because they wanted to learn a completely new skill. Likely they’d had no to little prior coding knowledge. A good junior developer is the one who is curious, understands their own weaknesses and is eager to learn. They genuinely enjoy absorbing new information. In a field which is evolving at such a high pace, this attitude is crucial in order to stay at the cutting-edge of modern technology. Hiring someone who will keep updating their knowledge is by far more beneficial than getting an employee whose knowledge is broad at the moment of hiring, but who has no drive to keep learning.
They know how to learn
There have to be few things more frustrating than a new employee who doesn’t even try to find an answer to a problem before asking for help. Knowing how and where to look for information is key for successful learning, and a proactive approach becomes a necessity in fast-paced work environments. This is not to say that you should give up on induction and training, but that it pays off to hire people who know how to translate their eagerness to learn into furthering their education.
A good coding bootcamp will equip its students in the know-how for continuing learning after graduation. It will teach the correct tech vocabulary to ask meaningful questions and point in the direction of valuable resources. For many bootcamp grads just realizing how much they could learn in a very restricted time-frame works as an eye-opener. They recognized their own potential, so next time they face an obstacle they try to tackle it rather than giving in.
They are motivated
I’d like to think that most of bootcamp grads carefully considered what the best next move in their career would be before embarking on the journey of learning how to code. They invested time and money, sometimes quit their jobs in order to pursue this new path. They endured weeks of extremely intense training and still didn’t change their minds, they want to work as a junior developer and they want to work for you. Highly motivated employees are gold, it’s them who will let your company progress. It’s them who will commit and work their asses off to prove their value. They aren’t fooling themselves, they realize they still have a lot to catch up on, and they will put in extra effort to do so.
They come with a broader, unique portfolio
Many bootcamp graduates are people who decided on a career change after some years of working in different fields. That means that they bring a unique skill-set to the table. If you are interested in building a more diverse team who can learn from each other’s experiences, hiring bootcamp grads offers a perfect opportunity to achieve that.
It’s also the only place where fresh university grads cannot compete. Years of hands-on work experience are invaluable and offer new, sometimes unexpected approaches to problem-solving.
People who have taken different roles in diverse fields are also good at combining their disciplines into unusual duos: environment protection & software development? retail & software development? marketing & software development? law & software development? engineering & software development? tourism & software development? Depending on what market sector you are trying to conquer with your product, one of these functions can be way bigger an asset than a broad theoretical knowledge regarding database architecture (which can be caught up on later on).
Even though a university degree in computer science has undoubtedly its merits, it’s important to consider your company’s needs and capabilities when looking for junior talent. It’s worth keeping in mind all the added values that coding bootcamps graduates carry, be it experience in another field of business, strong soft skills or higher motivation. Not every bootcamp grad will be a better fit for your company than a CS grad would be. But keep your eyes open, you might find a gem where you least expect it.