Coding Bootcamps from a Hiring Perspective

November 9, 2020
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The company I work for lost 3 of our 5 developers about 2 years ago. All 3 of these guys had been with the company over 5 years, and they all left for various reasons. The 5 of us worked well together for the most part. We’ve since hired maybe a dozen replacements, and none were good enough to keep, and we had to let them go.

Please note, we’re a very small company. We have less than 20 people and are made up primarily of administration type staff. Other companies may be able to take the plunge and hire a newbie developer if they can afford it. Not us. Not at this time.

“Bootcamp Developers”

There’s this company in town called Bitwise. They’re doing great things in the community for tech. They offer up these code Bootcamp’s that teach folks how to code. The problem is, these new developers take a 4 week course and put on their resume that they’re experts. The 2 people at my company responsible for hiring, who aren’t developers by the way, get excited and hire them. A couple days in we realize not only are they not experts, but they don’t have the very basic understanding of how anything works. How can you be an expert front-end developer if you don’t know a lick about HTML? Unfortunately, after several of these developers have worked for us, we now throw out any resume that lists a Bootcamp as their only experience. We’ve been burned too many times.

Maybe this sounds harsh, but in reality, some companies require at least an Associate’s degree. Most companies will require a Bachelor’s degree. You might get lucky. You may find that company that can afford unskilled developers. However, chances are those companies are receiving a lot of applications. You’ll need to stand out somehow.

What we’re looking for

During a rare project lull, I had time to actually look at the resumes before the interviews and had a say in who we hired. I got a better understanding of what my boss wants. He wants a senior full-stack developer that was willing to work for 30k less than what an entry-level dev would make. That’s unacceptable. We can’t afford a highly skilled developer. With the pay in consideration, what I want is a dev who has passion. Someone who knows they don’t know everything but is willing to learn. And I want to see evidence of that.

If I visit a Github account for a potential hire and all I see is projects from some tutorial, then I lose interest. Anyone can follow a tutorial. Build something outside of the classroom. I don’t care about course completion certificates either. If you had to pass a test to get that certificate, tell me that! If someone had a small resume, an empty Github, but a Pluralsight (or similar) profile that shows growth and proficiency in the basic languages. I would encourage my boss to hire that person.