• Coding bootcamps provide students with chance for a career reboot

    November 08, 2016 by
    Group of young business students working together on computers in office. Coding bootcamps provide a unique learning opportunity.

    Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

    Job seekers who are looking for change should consider this unique opportunity that provides steady career growth–in a sector where there is a shortage of workers. The opportunity? Coding bootcamps.

    Coding bootcamps are short – but intense – training opportunities focusing on teaching students in-demand technical skills. They are offered across the country.

    According to a recent report, 73% of coding bootcamp graduates surveyed were employed in a full-time job requiring the skills learned at bootcamp, with an average salary increase of 64%. Roughly half of the jobs in the top income quartile — defined as those paying $57,000 or more per year — are in occupations that commonly require applicants to have at least some coding knowledge or skill.

    Grand Circus, a technology learning institute in the heart of downtown Detroit, offers a variety of 10-week coding bootcamps that teach skills that prepare students for today’s information technology job market. Coding bootcamps have risen in popularity and are available for students throughout the United States, Canada, and other part of the world, all with different requirements, costs and training. To learn more about coding bootcamps, review this list of the best coding bootcamps in the world, or this comprehensive guide and complete coding bootcamp school list.

    Coding bootcamps fill skills gap

    “Coding bootcamps have become incredibly effective in filling some of the skills gap America is facing,” says Jennifer Cline, Senior Marketing Manager, Grand Circus. “As new technologies emerge, colleges unfortunately can’t keep up with the ever-changing demands of the industry.”

    The Grand Circus program teaches students the practical knowledge needed to launch a career in technology by focusing on both the technical and soft skills that employers are looking for. Students learn how to build functional applications and websites while developing the skills and resources to effectively find a career and work well on a team.

    Employers are noticing – 92 percent of Grand Circus grads get hired within 90 days of graduation with an average starting salary of $48,000. Each Grand Circus bootcamp costs $7,500. In Detroit alone, employers like Quicken Loans, Fathead, TitleSource and Domino’s Pizza are hungry for .NET (C#) programmers for enterprise development. Grand Circus is also one of 10 Google for Entrepreneurs tech hubs in North America, serving as a platform for start-ups and established organizations to connect. Grand Circus has also partnered with Microsoft Ventures and Amazon Web Services to provide entrepreneurs with the tools and resources they’ll need to be successful and build world-class companies.

    “One of the cool things about our coding bootcamp programs is that we’re nimble enough to change our curriculum based on the needs of today’s job market,” says Cline. “We work with more than 80 companies that hire our students. These close partnerships with tech companies allow us to constantly evaluate our curriculum while also introducing our students to some of the industry’s best opportunities.”

    In-turn, students also get support from these hiring partners. These employers host students at their offices and let them see the inner workings of an IT department, contribute to career or informational panel discussions, and provide mentoring and feedback to students.

    Coding bootcamps teach more than tech skills

    But coding bootcamps do more than just teach code and tech skills. Coding bootcamps teach students how to work in small groups – something that’s a must in the technology sector, as much of the work is project or group based and collaboration between team members is crucial. Coding bootcamps teach students problem solving, analytical, and communication/interpersonal skills – which are all important when relaying results of that project work to management. A previous background in coding, or experience in IT is not necessary. Many students are also seeking a career change, and attend coding bootcamps to shift careers.

    Learning code makes you a needed asset in today’s industry, says David Gilcher, lead resource manager at Kavaliro, a woman-owned and minority-owned firm employing more than 300 IT professionals, management, and administrative staff around the country.

    “We are finding more roles seeking out prospective candidates with development skills even if the role doesn’t require them daily,” says Gilcher.

    Infrastructure and data are two fields where scripting skills are necessary because it includes handling automation, integration, reporting, and analytics. Gilcher has clients seeking accountants with some scripting skills with Excel, utilizing development languages including VBA, Python, and JavaScript.

    “A grasp of these development skills, regardless of career field, will set job seekers apart from the competition,” says Gilcher.

    Gilcher says most employers they work with are seeking recent college graduates or boot camp graduates with skills in ASP.NET, PHP, Java, JavaScript, C#, C++, Swift, and Ruby on Rails. But in IT, the skill sets are always changing. Those who continue to learn new skills will progress the furthest in IT careers.

    “As more clients seek mobile, big data and automation solutions, new development languages will evolve or be replaced with others,” says Gilcher.

    Students who attend coding bootcamps often have a diverse and varied background. Grand Circus bootcamps – and many others across the country – are open to students of all backgrounds and experiences, not just college students, and not just for those with a college degree.

    “We’ve trained teachers, nurses, finance managers, baristas and so many other professionals to become effective developers, and then we help them land the job of their dreams,” says Cline. “Most grads go on to be junior-level developers, and take the skills we’ve provided to grow their careers long term.”

    Employers are able to attend a Student Demo Day at Grand Circus, to get a first-hand look at projects/work completed by Grand Circus students using the coding skills learned at bootcamp. Employers know coding bootcamp graduates are getting specific training in the in-demand programming languages, says Gilcher.

    “Coding bootcamps can be a great source of finding new talent,” says Gilcher.

    Networking opportunities created at coding boot camp

    Students attending coding bootcamps should focus on relationship building with instructors and classmates. These are all valuable networking contacts. Those classmates may have future openings at their companies and contact colleagues met at coding bootcamp. They may progress to manager or executive level roles, and seek to hire professionals they developed relationships with at coding bootcamp. Or, they may someday launch a startup, and seek that hard-working, talented IT professional met at coding bootcamp.

    “For those that are attending coding bootcamps, I recommend they maintain solid relationships with those they meet there because those are going to be the people that know hiring managers or will become hiring managers,” says Gilcher.

    Coding bootcamps can provide a new career path for students, and certified, trained, ready-to-work job seekers for employers.

    “It’s really a win-win for both parties,” says Cline. “We’re helping students find fulfilling careers while also providing talent that allows local companies to grow.”

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