Advantages and disadvantages of hiring bootcamp grads
- Most bootcamp grads are career switchers. They're bringing previous skills and industry experience into the workplace. If you find a bootcamp grad that has worked in your industry, they could be worth their weight in gold.
- Many of them have had long tenures in leadership roles. These individuals can be promoted into team leadership and management roles quickly. Watch for people with Director and VP roles in previous companies, and fast track them into your leadership roles.
- Many of them have had extensive customer-facing experience. These people can make very effective client-facing developers, and are excellent hires for consulting firms, dev agencies, and customer-facing integration roles, and sales engineer roles. Look out for people with previous careers in hospitality, customer service, sales, and account management.
- They already understand the basics of workplace professionalism and etiquette. This is in contrast to many university grads, who are coming into the workplace with 0 years of experience under their belt.
- Bootcamp grads are self-selected for motivation and grit. They've often paid 5-figure tuitions to their coding school, which is an indicator of their seriousness and dedication to making this career switch happen. Often, they have a lot to prove to themselves and to their friends and families. Therefore, they are more likely to be highly motivated when it comes to the job search.
- They will come in for less money initially, if you need them to. But, because they are very aware of the higher-than-average salaries in software development, it's not recommended to keep them at a low salary forever; this will lead to churn. Instead, a wise manager will hire motivated individuals at a fair salary, and promote them rapidly based on fair performance reviews. It might even be a good idea to perform these reviews on a quarterly basis, and motivate these individuals with frequent but small salary hikes, in order to retain them.
- Diversity. Companies looking to meet DEI goals will find this segment of candidates a delight to work with. Coding bootcamps attract people from all backgrounds, and are an excellent source of diverse talent.
- A lack of formal software engineering training is the most obvious downside. Coding school grads are not very strong at classical algorithms and data structures. Consider whether you really need this experience, or if it's just a nice to have.
- This group is largely undifferentiated and does not know how to effectively communicate their value in a way that makes it easy to pick out the smart hires from the average. It takes care and effort to screen and vet bootcamp grads. Additionally, unlike universities, the average quality of an individual grad depends more on the skills and intelligence of the individual grad, rather than the quality of the coding school.
- A lack of experience in software development means that up-front effort is needed to accommodate these grads into your organization. This could be as simple as adjusting your hiring funnel a bit. But it could also involve a cultural shift, or hiring a subject matter expert to mentor these grads.