All coding bootcamps aren’t created equal, so finding talent in programs that align with the skills and experience valued by your organization can be a challenge.
By Tim Cannon
The future of tech talent is here, and the new generation of professionals doesn’t look anything like traditional tech talent. More individuals are graduating from coding bootcamps such as Dev Bootcamp, General Assembly and Hackbright Academy, ready to fill talent needs across the industry.
Many are skeptical that these programs can be successful in preparing professionals to be effective in the workplace. But coding bootcamps are just like traditional college programs—they can produce top and subpar talent alike. The employer is tasked with finding the best talent among them.
Here are a few steps you can take to identify the best new tech talent from coding bootcamps.
All coding bootcamps aren’t created equal. Each one will focus on different skills, programming languages and processes. Is theory or hands-on experience more important? Are specific skills essential, or do you want professionals with a broader knowledge base? Find the programs that best align with the skills and experience valued by your organization.
Research top courses and curriculums to know which programs produce the most successful aspiring tech talent. Reach out to popular coding bootcamps and speak with representatives to better understand their curriculums and teaching methods. Then, create a list of the most promising programs that meet your needs.
Hire in groups
Most coding bootcamps teach pair programming, and graduates are used to working together. If you hire a group of grads, instead of up-staffing one-by-one, they can advance and grow together.
According to a Globoforce report, employees who have quality relationships with their coworkers are more likely to be engaged and happy at work, and 89 percent say that work relationships are important to their quality of life. Bringing on a group of bootcamp grads will boost morale, as the newbies adjust to their new career.
Hiring a group of bootcamp grads will also inspire healthy competition. They will support each other, but they will also strive to learn faster, achieve more, and stand out from their peers.
Assess non-tech skills
Graduates from coding bootcamps aren’t your typical tech job seekers. Most have switched careers and are equipped with a variety of valuable non-tech skills. Evaluate which skills will help them succeed, and which are most valuable to your organization?
In information technology, the most important baseline skills are communication, writing and organizational skills, a report conducted by Burning Glass found. Yet, employers struggle to find these soft skills.
When assessing bootcamp talent, look beyond their tech credentials. Do they possess hard-to-find skills traditional tech talent often lacks? Does their past experience give them an edge?
Give them a trial run
If you’re hesitant to bring talent from coding bootcamps on full-time, start with a trial run. Use an internship or training program to gauge their skills and see how quickly they can adapt to the workplace. Alternatively, have bootcamp grads fill part-time positions. After all, a recent survey conducted by RecruitFi found that more full-time workers are looking for part-time work for a more flexible career.
Whether you use an internship program or start bootcamp grads working part-time, assess their work over time and the value they bring to the organization. If the program is successful, use it to build a steady pipeline of fresh tech talent.
Invest in potential
Graduates from coding bootcamps don’t have advanced skills or extensive experience. With their limited tech knowledge, you may be tempted to only use them for basic web app development. Even if your new bootcamp grads don’t know much else, limiting their exposure to other tech tasks is a waste of their potential.
Not offering professional growth and skill development is a loss for both employers and employees. If you expect more from bootcamp grads, invest more in their potential. Grow their skills over time, to develop the tech talent you need to complete increasingly complicated tasks.
Keeping bootcamp grads on a coding production line is a waste of talent and resources. Give them more advanced responsibilities and projects to work on, and they will work harder to deliver results.
Hiring graduates from coding bootcamps may seem like a gamble, but with the right methods, you can bring in the best new tech talent to your company.
Tim Cannon is the vice president of product management and marketing at HealthITJobs.com, a free job search resource that provides health IT professionals access to nearly 2,000 industry health IT jobs at home or on the go.
This article was originally published on 10-31-2016