Conquent: Without Limits
Conquent: Without Limits
Kristen Fife's Blog

Coding Bootcamp And Career Prospects

2016-01-19 09:56:24
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A friend of mine recently asked me a question about going to a coding boot camp to change careers. He wanted to know if there really was a chance he would find a job after an intensive (usually 10-16 week) hands-on workshop setting. He does not have a college degree and currently works in IT (system administration). Some programs "guarantee" you a job at the end. Personally, I consider this false advertising. Unless the code camp itself can hire their graduates, this is a promise they cannot deliver. Here is a good article that actually summarizes Code Bootcamps well.

I told him that it depends on the coding language/s he decides to pursue, what his existing background is, and what he wants to do when he finishes. In my experience, the most successful graduates of such a program already have some sort of professional technology background (which he does), and I have observed that web development has an easier time than someone trying to learn back-end or middle tier programming language. In addition, if he decides to follow this path, he would be better served to start identifying companies that would interest him and hit LinkedIn for networking purposes; managers are his best bet. I also suggested he target small, startup companies as often they have more flexibility and cultural bias to hire someone thinking "outside of the box." Larger companies may seem more attractive due to their stability, but the larger the company the more rigid and restrictive their hiring practices are, generally as it relates to government compliance issues and reporting on their hiring practices.

To help him start his search, I suggested he look up VC's (Venture Capitalists) and start targeting their portfolio pages and to hit the local tech news site that has a list of startups on it. He lives in a tech-centric area, so it should not be too difficult. Another way to start off a new career would be to work with some temporary placement agencies (Robert Half IT, Volt, etc.) It is also a good idea to start playing in coding sandboxes like Github or StackOverflow where you can do actual work alongside other people, which is priceless when looking for a new job; put your profile link on your resume right next to your contact information and LinkedIn URL.

Keep in mind that jump starting your career with an intensive training program may also mean you will take a salary hit for the first year or two, depending on where you live/work and what your coding portfolio looks like. You are (probably) leaving a job where you had gained some level of seniority and are now starting as an entry-level employee. You may expect your lifetime earnings to increase dramatically, but like any new graduate, you are going to be at the beginning stages of "proving" yourself for about 12-24 months.

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