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Alternative Education Programs
As demand for software engineers has skyrocketed and as traditional, 4-year university computer science programs have failed to keep up, a plethora of alternative education programs and bootcamps have sprung up to meet demand.
In some ways, the bootcamp industry, in its nascent stages, is the Wild West—program quality varies wildly, as does the hireability of graduates, but one of the biggest challenges of hiring from bootcamps is how hard it is to filter students because many of them have no previous experience and have the same collection of projects they did during their studies. If you’ve ever felt a bit lost when looking at a prospective internship candidate’s resume, because they simply haven’t done much yet, you’ll find that a bootcamp grad’s resume is even more sparse in most cases.
caution Not all programs are created equal. Some are known for the stack they teach, some are known for a more in-depth theoretical CS curriculum (though, odds are, it’ll still be way less computer science than you’d see at university), and some are known for not being quite good enough at anything. One of the best things you can do to vet a bootcamp is to research their placement rates and look at the employer logos on their site—is your hiring bar on par with those employers (though watch out, as you might expect, they’ll feature the shiniest brands first).
contribute We plan on improving this section with more coverage of alternative programs and bootcamps. If you know a lot about this topic and would like to write about it, please let us know.
Once you’ve chosen your pool to fish from, form a relationship with the career services team of the programs in question. Having this relationship will give you extra dimensions to choose from when deciding which grads you want to talk to. For instance, you can ask for people who studied STEM in undergrad or ask for the top X% of grads based on their performance.
Understand that any grads you hire are going to be at the junior level and will need mentorship before they can comfortably work in production. Do yourselves and them a favor and only pursue these candidates if you can honestly allocate the requisite time and patience.
This section was written by Scott Woody.
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