CircleCI has roughly 100 employees and at least 10 of us are here as a result of attending a coding bootcamp. Love them or hate them, bootcamps are here to stay and they’re becoming more entrenched in the hiring pipeline. Course Report counted 30 technology-focused bootcamps in 2013. Today, they list more than 300.
We have engineers at CircleCI who attended Hack Reactor, General Assembly, Dev Bootcamp, Grace Hopper Academy, and Recurse Center, which is more like a retreat than a bootcamp but has a similar mission. I attended Hack Reactor and I’m CircleCI’s security engineer. Other bootcamp grads are front end engineers, support engineers, site reliability engineers, data scientists and product designers. One of our developer evangelists attended one too.
Getting that first job after bootcamp is notoriously difficult. After surveying the bootcamp alumni internally, here are 5 things new bootcamp grads should keep in mind:
1. Getting a job will take time. Three months and 100 applications was the benchmark when I graduated in 2015. Anecdotally, it takes longer today and requires more persistence because there are more bootcamp grads. While this might sound discouraging, the acceptance of bootcamp grads is much better than it was in 2015. Apple, Google, Amazon, Twitter and Facebook were considered near off limits. Today, all of them employ bootcamp grads and consider bootcamps another part of the pipeline.
3. Practice screen-share interviews. While most programs drill whiteboarding like shooting free throws, no one gets to that point without first sitting on the other side of a screenshare with an engineer who expects you to solve N Queens. And you’ll be using their tool, not yours. Get used to doing that before a job is on the line. So rather than more whiteboarding or trying the latest front-end framework, get really good at solving problems in one language while pairing with someone else.
4. Network and start giving back. Believe it or not, you already have a lot to teach people. Volunteer at Meetups and don’t be afraid to ask for help there too. Submit pull requests on open-source projects even if it’s just a typo in the documentation. Help other newbies who are curious about coding. Employers want to hire people who empower others.
5. Start applying for jobs. Now. Don’t spend another month polishing that senior project or learning some new thing you read about this morning on Hacker News. No matter what you think you can focus on in the next couple months, it won’t make you an engineer with a couple years of actual experience. Start applying for jobs, keep applying for jobs and don’t stop.
Looking for that perfect first (or next) job? We’re hiring!