Trust is The Secret To Getting A Job After A Coding Bootcamp

Boss hired a “full stack dev” (certificate from a bootcamp)… The FS dev had never used the browser Inspector tool before to troubleshoot (and didn’t seem to know it existed), so that was a red flag to the best of my knowledge… I’m not sure if my expectations of a Full Stack Dev are too high/unrealistic. Do bootcamps cover troubleshooting in any capacity?

– user RandoRedPanda, “Full Stack Co-worker Doesn’t Know Basic HTML/CSS”

“Do bootcamps cover troubleshooting in any capacity?” is like asking “How long is a string?” The comprehensiveness of coding bootcamps run the gamut, from six-week programs that teach the basics of JavaScript to full-blown six-month courses that layer foundational computer science, real-world scenarios, technical knowledge, individual coursework, and group collaboration. Some cover troubleshooting, some don’t.

It’s a challenge for companies to understand if a coding bootcamp candidate is prepared for the role at first glance. A coding bootcamp certificate, even ones from the best coding bootcamps out there, does not guarantee that a candidate will be able to succeed at their company. If they did, companies wouldn’t bother with interviews!

Why Companies Fear Hiring “Bad Fits”

Hiring is an eye-popping risk for companies in time and cost. The break-even point, where an employee makes the company more money than they spent in hiring that employee, is often measured in months. There’s the cost of advertising a job, the time associated with doing interviews, the insurance, employee taxes, training, mentorship time from other employees, and that’s all not to mention the salary itself.

Hiring is expensive, so when companies do it they want to do it right. Betting on a candidate who is a bad fit includes a baseline cost of turnover. That includes the costs to hire that employee, the costs to fire them, and then the costs of hiring someone else to fill that role. Above and beyond that, there’s the immense opportunity cost – what could a more fitting employee have been doing with their time? Maybe they would have built something amazing that solved a big problem the company had.

Instead, a competitor built it in the meantime.

What does it cost to hire an in-house developer? .. Recruitment costs can, in other words, amount from $28,548 to $35,685.

CodeSubmit, “Cost of Hiring A Software Developer”

This is why companies go through the rigamarole of marketing roles to candidates, reviewing reams of resumes, screening candidates to filter out bad fits, holding multiple interviews, and extending lucrative contracts to the best candidates.

Great employees are worth their weight in gold.

A Degree Is Not A Guarantee

What’s incredible about software engineering that differs from other professions is that employers aren’t as concerned with certificates, degrees, or other forms of “proof” that you have the baseline knowledge and experience to be considered for the role. Unlike doctors, lawyers, pilots, teachers, accountants, and generally most other white-collar jobs, the role that certificates and degrees hold is minimal compared to your ability to do the work.

It’s a double-edged sword: without an industry-wide agreed-upon way of certifying your credentials as a software engineer, unlike doctors and lawyers, it is much more difficult to assess your ability to do the job.

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That’s why Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Apple, and other big-name companies with legions of computer engineers typically put “four-year Computer Science degree or equivalent” as a requirement on even their most junior roles. It helps filter out the least-qualified candidates. They have the size, reputation, and checkbook that can attract talent, and requiring a four-year CS degree at an accredited college for the most junior candidates helps establish a minimum threshold of applicant capability.

Even then, that degree won’t get you a job – it will only help improve your chances at landing an interview.

A Coding Bootcamp Certificate Won’t Get You A Job

Thankfully, there are tons of potential places to work outside of those behemoths that don’t require a college degree. Most small-to-medium sized businesses and startups just want someone who can do the job and learn quickly. They want to see if you’re qualified enough to get started, and a coding bootcamp certificate is a nugget of trust in that area.

That’s the minimum threshold for any company looking to hire: does their trust that you can do the job outweigh the risk in hiring you?

That’s why the Coding Bootcamp certificate won’t get you the job, and neither will a four-year CS degree for that matter. It’s only one little piece of information that an employer can use to help weigh whether you are worth hiring. Another is the interview: how well you do in the interview goes a long way toward indicating whether you not only know your stuff technically, but if you are good at communication. Past work experience, projects, technical exercises, all of these different elements are pieces of evidence that companies use to decide if they can trust you to do the job – and trust you enough to outweigh the many risks of hiring.

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