I graduated coding bootcamp. Now what? ️
Originally published by Devon Campbell on November 28th 2018 Bradley Serlis was working in human resources at various tech companies in the Bay Area. He always felt like an outsider. The companies he worked for made really cool products, but he was so far removed from actually building those, he may as well have been working somewhere else. He longed to get closer to the product, to build something himself, and to feel like he was really part of the team. His girlfriend got an awesome job offer in Seattle, and she took it. This put Bradley at a crossroad. He was going to be moving, and he’d need to find a new job in Seattle. Rather than let his misgivings about his current line of work continue to gnaw at him, Bradley decided to take a leap. He would step outside his comfort zone in HR and change careers. He wanted to be a web developer. Seattle, being a major tech hub, seemed like the perfect place to do it. And, since he’d be looking for work anyway, this seemed like the perfect time. He’d already talked to engineers at his company and told them he wanted to be a developer. They recommended he take the path they had. Bradley took their advice and enrolled in a coding bootcamp. Bradley quit his job in January to prepare for the move. The next bootcamp cohort started in March. He paid roughly $14k toward admission and a new laptop. He then invested the next 3 months doing bootcamp full-time. Class ran 8:00am to 4:00pm every day. They usually stayed until 6:00 or 7:00 working on projects. Then, they’d design new projects on the weekends. He was working more than he had in his full-time HR job, but he was fine with that. This would all be worth it to have the life he wanted: building things instead of doing HR. He’d finally get to get his hands dirty, and maybe even improve on his HR salary. Bootcamp had prepared Bradley and his cohort that they might not get jobs right away. They said most people took 3 months. Some took up to 5 months to get those first jobs as developers. Bradley did everything they suggested after he graduated to maximize his chances of success. He’s nearly hit the 5 month mark, and still hasn’t had a single offer. He’s had close calls. Interviews, recruiters showing interest, great conversations that seemed like they could go somewhere… but didn’t. These are almost harder to handle than the immediate “no”s since his hopes soar only to come crashing down. There could be any number of explanations for Bradley’s difficulty. Maybe Bradley picked the wrong bootcamp. Maybe he’s focusing his efforts on the wrong things. Maybe he’s just not working hard enough. Those explanations are seductively simple, but I’d argue the problem goes way beyond Bradley, his bootcamp, and any other individual factors. The numbers suggest this problem is much deeper. Bootcamps and Career Transitions Despite the glowing placement numbers bootcamps tout in their marketing material, the job market is not all sunshine and rainbows for coding bootcamp grads. According to StackOverflow’s 2018 survey, only 33.8% of attendees came into bootcamp without developer jobs and were able to get developer jobs within 3 months of graduating. Survey respondents are a self-selecting group of users who are still reading StackOverflow. » Read More
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