How Les Grossman from Tropic Thunder Manages Remote Teams With Video...
WITNESS THE 2017 SOUTH SNOWPOCOLYPSE: How Hard Is It To Be a Manager of People at McDonalds? Hard.

Can Coding Camps/Schools Get You a Job? The Real Answer Applies to All Career Changers...

In a post-Trump world where AI is increasingly eliminating jobs that aren't coming back to the states - or to earth for that matter - it's a good exercise to think about workforce development/retraining alternatives that are out there. 

Let's look at one of those alternatives that has been especially hot. Coding bootcamps, which are Code camp 12- or 14-week programs that teach software engineering - are increasingly seen as failures by those who hire software developers here in the states.  Here's the backdrop from a Bloomberg article:

"When they first became prevalent a few years ago, coding schools were heralded as the answer to the technology industry’s prayers. “We can’t get enough engineers because the field is growing so rapidly,” said Tony Fadell, the former head of Google’s Nest smart thermostat company, in a recent promotional video for a nonprofit coding school, 42. Companies complained they couldn’t hire programmers fast enough, and meanwhile, many jobseekers said they couldn’t find employment. Just give those people an engineering crash course, the reasoning went, and voila, problem solved. 

But the great promise of these schools training a new generation of skilled engineers has largely fallen flat. Coding House’s spectacular fall is an extreme case, but interviews with more than a dozen coding school graduates reveal that when they do land a job, often their engineering education doesn’t cut it. Many admit they lack the big-picture skills that employers say they want. Training them often requires hours of hand-holding by more experienced staff, employers say. The same holds true for graduates holding computer science degrees, but those employees generally have a better grasp of broader concepts and algorithms, recruiters said.

Mark Dinan, a recruiter who works with Bay Area technology companies like Salesforce, said many companies have told him they automatically disqualify coding school grads. “These tech bootcamps are a freaking joke,” he said. “My clients are looking for a solid CS [computer science] degree from a reputable university or relevant work experience.” Startups can be more flexible than established companies, he said."

The article goes on to report that 91 full-time coding bootcamps exist in the U.S. and Canada, with almost 18,000 people set to graduate from them this year. That’s up from 43 schools two years ago, and about 6,000 graduates. Tuition averages over $11,000 at non-degree granting programs that generally last around three months, but it can go as high as $21,000. Some schools take a cut of future salary instead of tuition.  

So let's say you're a former production line worker in Michigan with the right makeup for software development.  You voted for Obama in 2012 and went Trump in 2016, but you're not waiting around for anyone to save you.  You financed your tuition, took on debt and learned lots from a coding camp.  But now you can't get a job.

You've got reason to be pissed, right?

Well, no you don't.  The rise and fall of coding camps is just another chapter in book about career change.  Career changers who have had success pivoting in how they provide for themselves and their families are all similar in one important way:

Career changers never believe education will deliver a new career to them. They understand that passion and the display of work in the new field of choice - often for free - are required to get employers to take a chance on them and provide the additional investment needed to complete their transition.

Think about what I wrote above.  If you or someone you love wants/needs a career change, I'm here to tell you - don't plan on that happening if you aren't willing to do free work.  The work doesn't have to be extensive, and it doesn't have to be particularly excellent - it just needs to show that you've got some passion about making the transition you indicatied you're serious about.  You know - the transition you indicated when you applied for a job that you're not qualified to do in any way.

I mean, damn - wake up.  The world doesn't care that you got 3 months worth of education - or 4 years for that matter.

It needs to understand that you're serious about the transition you want to make and you're not some old dude that's going to crush everyone's mellow from the first day you hit the cube farm.

If you or someone you love is retraining themselves, try to help them understand that they need a simple portfolio of work they've done in their transition field of interest in addition to a coding bootcamp certificate. See my posts on portfolios here.

BONUS - listen to my friend Tim Sackett's interview of Nate Ollestad (director of recruiting at Duo Security) as they dig into coding camps and the types of candidates they produce compared to top-name schools. The question, they find, is less about what type of degree a candidate has, and more about what they're doing with it.  Click the link above to hear that interview or just use the player that appears below.

Word.

Comments

Matt Landrum

Two things:

#1 - This
"Career changers never believe education will deliver a new career to them. They understand that passion and the display of work in the new field of choice - often for free - are required to get employers to take a chance on them and provide the additional investment needed to complete their transition."

Stick a gold star on that. Especially in something like engineering. Engineers smell the imposters from a mile away. Example: What was the first Radio Shack project you did as a kid? "Umm, well, I was never really into electronics until recently". Interview over.

#2 - I still think there is a significant role 2-year colleges can provide in the high-tech realm. You really don't need a 4 year degree to program in Java. We can debate forever about how the humanities make us more well-rounded, and that's all true, but it's not for everyone. So, take thatindividual that's already passionate about something and get him/her in and out. Teach them a little theory. Expose them to a range of disciplines. Teach them some writing/comm skills, do some sort of project that makes good interview talk and send them on their way.

Programming is not the only area that comes to mind. The physical implementation portion of electronic design doesn't need a 4 year degree. It's analogous to what the draftsman does for the architect. IT? You don't need a 4 year degree unless you are interested in being exposed to marketing/business concepts as well. For some folks, a 4 year degree is great. It teaches them how to think and how to look at the world. It exposes them to many potential careers. Some folks just want to get to their adult life and do what they have always been passionate about.

Those automated delivery trucks/drones and ubers that are coming our way? We still need some tech savvy folks to implement and manage all the ecosystem and logistics associated with that.

--M

Rohini Benegal

I was lucky, I joined a digital marketing boot camp recently and after finishing it, I got my first job offer. It was good because I had a per-training on digital marketing before I joined the camp, but finally the camp itself got me the job.
Obviously no school, no institute or no camp can get you the job, it's you who have to crack it.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)