Human resources— particularly the recruitment of talent — in the tech sector is an area of operations that is developing as rapidly as any other in the booming digital landscape.
As more businesses “go digital” and new SaaS companies enter the ultra-competitive market, internal company operations must adapt to the rapidly changing landscape of tech recruitment, with a particular focus on who and how to hire.
According to Code.org, computing jobs are the top source of new wages in the USA alone, and there are at least 400,000 positions currently open. The quantity of these available jobs is projected to grow at twice the rate of all other jobs across every market.
With digital demand on the rise, the need for high-quality talent is also distinguished. The importance of making informed hiring decisions is just one key factor that companies must consider when budgeting.
As demand and salaries in the software-skilled sector increase, making just one weak hiring decision becomes more consequential and costly. Companies are spending more time and resources scouting talent, which also comes at a higher cost of time spent.
Bydrec reports that hiring a new developer could cost a company anywhere between $11,000 and $20,000 USD per hire. Considering that cost, the microscopic focus of managers conducting these hiring processes is of utmost importance as a cost-saving measure for any company that has full-time developers on their team.
The Rise of eLearning & Code Bootcamps
Given that workforce recruitment looks quite different now than it did in years past, the talent being recruited also looks different from before.
Now, more than ever, autodidactic skilled workers are entering the job market already having equipped themselves with the tools necessary to secure and perform well at jobs across the tech sector. Although many candidates are self-taught, there are also a fair number of developers opting to skip a formal college education and, instead, take part in one of many online learning platforms and/or coding bootcamps, such as General Assembly.
According to CareerKarma,
“Coding bootcamps have become an important source for companies looking to hire technical talent. These programs, which are short, immersive, and focused on employment, graduated upwards of 33,900 students in 2019 alone. Bootcamps exist as a sector within the broader $1.1 trillion job training industry, falling under the classification of “Certifications, Apprenticeships, and Workforce Training.” 1 The sector, overall, is worth $47 billion, according to the most recent data available.”
Additionally, the 2019 Developers Survey conducted by Stack Overflow found that 86.8% of respondents that were professional developers taught themselves a new language, framework, or tool without taking a formal course, and 60.1% had taken an online course in programming or software development. Only 49% of employed professional developers surveyed had completed a Bachelor’s Degree program, with a total of 20% having never attained a degree from a university at all.
(Source: 2019 Developers Survey, Stack Overflow)
Alongside the eLearning and coding bootcamp marketplace’s growth has come an increased interest from companies seeking to hire directly from the code bootcamps.
One such company is Salsify. Rob Gonzalez, a cofounder of the company, boasts recruitment of talent directly from code bootcamps. In an interview with ForEntrepreneurs, he mentioned recently hiring 8 graduates and went on to explain the specific reasons that this method of recruitment leads to high-quality hires.
“To understand how we’ve made Bootcamp graduates productive, it’s important to understand how we view them.
We see code bootcamp graduates as:
- Motivated. Remember, these are people who dropped everything, including whatever they studied in college, to pursue a programming career.
- Hungry. They’ve already jumped off the plane and done more in three months than any of them ever thought possible. They typically will dive in with abandon to any task given them.
- Coachable. This is in contrast to a recent graduate from MIT or Harvard, who often thinks she/he knows everything from reading some blog posts (“Ruby is stupid; you should use Node”… sigh) and can be somewhat difficult to coach into true engineering.
- Raw. Extremely raw. Three months of Bootcamp is basically zero in the grand scheme of things.
There are so many smart, enthusiastic, coachable people graduating from code bootcamps these days that, if you can find a way to utilize them productively in your company, you’ll have a competitive advantage versus simply having to compete with Google, Facebook, Apple and others for the scarce resources that are computer science majors.”
Some of the more well-known code bootcamps have met the moment by using their job placements as a marketing tool to attract more students to their programs. General Assembly, for example, displays that they are proud to have placed their graduates at large companies like Microsoft, Condé Nast, VISA, and L’Oréal on their corporate marketing website.
The pitfalls of bootcamp graduates
One common complaint about coding bootcamps and wholly self-taught candidates for software development roles is that there is no regulation or accreditation in this industry. In other words, there is no one authority that is accrediting bootcamps. Consequently, it isn’t easy (at a glance) to know the quality of any applicant based on which coding bootcamp they attended. This results in more time spent by hiring managers testing and vetting candidates that have graduated from bootcamps.
Additionally, code bootcamps do not provide on-the-job experience, a core requirement for hiring management and senior-level development talent.
Regardless of which code bootcamp or eLearning marketplace course that someone has graduated from or completed, their new ability to write quality code will not give them the hands-on experience necessary to understand industry-standard productivity tools or work on a team, which are important skills when hiring for higher-level roles.
Predictive Solutions for Hiring Properly and Staying Productive
The importance of vetting candidates— including graduates from bootcamps —has not gone unnoticed in the SaaS industry. There are several tools available to HR teams and hiring managers to make better hiring decisions and maintain productivity after onboarding.
One such example is BlueOptima’s Predictive Assessment tool, which accurately predicts workplace performance. Although they are not the only company that has developed a tool for hiring managers to use as a method of vetting candidate ability, the BlueOptima tool is unique in that it leverages large sets of data to more accurately predict which candidates are most likely to perform best in the role for which they are being hired. This saves immense amounts of time and, consequently, money being spent on hiring. It also decreases the likelihood of making a costly hiring misstep.
In addition to BlueOptima, Code Climate is one amongst several companies that have modernized code collaboration by leveraging developer analytics to provide insights into the productivity of individuals and teams of developers. This is just one way that management can improve and maintain a high productivity level on their development team(s).
In conclusion, employers should not shy away from hiring development graduates from code bootcamps. With the right tools, including BlueOptima’s, there are ample resources available to HR and management teams to hire the best talent, irrespective of the format of their education.