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A Guide to Hiring Fresh Technical Talent

A Guide to Hiring Fresh Technical Talent

We’ve watched many employers learn how to hire fresh tech talent since we started Codeup in 2013. Now that many of our grads have 18+ months of work experience, we spoke to employers to determine best practices for hiring Codeup grads. We saw some common themes that can help other employers. Here’s what they said.

Classical tech interviewing techniques (“Solve this problem without recursion on this whiteboard while we stare at you!”) aren’t always as useful.

  • “You must understand that this is a junior dev and probably has less than a year of coding experience. You must interview for aptitude and attitude. I usually perform at least 2-3 interviews, starting out with a behavioral interview, then perform a programming and problem solving interview. I usually ask a question that is not solvable (in the allotted time of the interview). I do this on purpose to see how they manage tough problems and difficult situations, from both an intellectual and emotional perspective.”
  • “The best practice is always to have the grads interview with different people in the team. Each person assess one specific area of expertise. So we normally have three interviews focus on each of the following aspects:
    1. Personality and cultural fit (previous projects/jobs, experience, drive, motivation, likes and dislikes, strengths and soft skills)
    2. Coding Assessment (In this one we try to simulate a work environment in which the interviewer is already part of the team and helps us come up with a feature/solution for a specific customer request. We go over analysis, database design, some white board coding for specific functions and sometimes even GUI design)
    3. Technical Assessment. Questions are asked about specific technologies and also we like to focus on their capstone project and what role/part they had during its development. We evaluate how well they can explain their project and the tasks that they performed.”

Hiring fresh talent requires a different mindset and approach to growing a tech organization.

  • “Early on we put new grads on pet projects – usually something internal that was a contrived project. We quickly discovered that real world projects were a much better starting point. Typically we have them start with writing automated tests, then slowly give them more demanding work as their skill sets develop.”
  • “Be honest with yourself about what your needs are and what your company is hiring for. Bootcamp grads need mentorship and time to develop and progress within an organization.”

An experienced mentor and development plan are essential.

  • “Understand that you are making an investment. If you make a wise selection and couple that with strong mentorship you can end up with great talent.”
  • “Pairing an entry-level developer with more experienced team members has worked well for us. We also like to get our newly graduated developers into real code as soon as possible. There is no better way to learn than solid keyboard time.”
  • “What has worked best so far is to get them into support tasks immediately, so they get familiar with the code, the architecture, the product and the customers and the learning curve, although a little more aggressive, is reduced. This way while fixing bugs or doing QA they learn the most complex and hidden parts of our system which triggers the right questions.“

Smart management and hiring approaches still apply.

  • “Providing a mix of focused assignments within their skills set along with some stretch assignments and mentorship maximizes their development.“
  • “Having an onboarding plan is a must with 1 month, 3 month, 6 month targets. Provide the developer with tutorials and find assignments where the tools and knowledge that they have at a particular point will allow them to succeed at completing such assignment. Furthermore, weekly 1:1’s are crucial.”
  • “With one of my hires, even though I didn’t feel very strong in their ability, I hired based on attitude with a hope that over time, they would become a better developer. I found that they (again because of their attitude) excelled with customer support, so they found their place there instead of development.”

Entry-level talent can positively impact team attitudes and fulfilment amongst senior staff

  • “Having entry-level people can be a great way to add energy to a team, and allows more senior developers the opportunity to mentor and teach their craft to others.”

We’d love to see how we can help your company grow its tech talent pipeline. Let’s talk! 

Don’t worry – Here’s the best bootcamp funding options!

Don’t worry – Here’s the best bootcamp funding options!

At Codeup we work to fully service your coding learning experience from the first day you connect with us, until well into your new career. As we see it, our students are courageously jumping into an intensely immersive experience.  We want to give you the tools you need to swim fearlessly, while learning really valuable skills.

One tool we find many of our students need is help paying for the Codeup experience. Our home-grown scholarship programs, grant/funding partners, and excellent financing options make it straight-forward and easy. We’ve worked to make sure we have the best partners so that there are no predatory lenders or sketchy unreliable customer service experiences.

We are happy to introduce you to our newest partner who can be a helpful funding resource for you. Meet Skills Fund. You’ll like them as much as we do when you see what they have to offer.

Here’s what they have to say for themselves, in their own words:


A PARTNERSHIP TO INVEST IN YOUR CODEUP EXPERIENCE & SUCCESS

Skills Fund’s goal is simple: we don’t finance students to attend crappy programs. For this reason, we work daily to build the best financing tools for leading bootcamps and their students.

  • ‣ Fixed interest rates: 8.49% for 36 months; 10.49% for 60 months
  • ‣ Finance up to $15,000 (tuition – deposit) of program costs
  • ‣ Interest-only payments while in program and for 60 days following graduation
  • ‣ Transparent loan terms: understand your interest rate before applying
  • ‣ 10 minutes to complete your application. Pre-approval within minutes.
  • ‣ Cosigner options available

CHOOSE WHAT WORKS FOR YOU

Select from 3- and 5-year loans, and only pay interest while in-course. Gain the benefit of lower monthly payments during the repayment phase.  Different packages make interest rates workable for you, in terms of duration to pay back the loans and amounts disbursed. For more information on your Skills Fund loan options, please visit the Codeup Skills Fund portal.

What is the advantage of financing and how can I use the money?

A full cash payment can place unfavorable stress on your savings, and the high Annual Percentage Rate (APR) of a credit card can quickly increase the cost of your education. Financing enables ease of payment, with low, fixed competitive interest rates that can be paid back at anytime without penalty.  You can only use the loan to directly fund your Codeup education. The loan will be disbursed to Codeup within days of starting your course. Bootcamp funding like this makes completing the program hassle-free.

Will I qualify for a Skills Fund loan or do I need a cosigner?

As long as you meet the basic underwriting criteria – you are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, have no recent bankruptcies and no history of loan default – you’ll most likely qualify for payment for your Codeup experience. You can (1) apply individually, and should you not be approved, you can reapply with a cosigner, or (2) initiate your loan process with a cosigner.


 

So there you have it!  Don’t worry if these terms sound ultra-complex. We’ll walk through every step with you because that’s our DNA – high touch, high care. We are on your team!  We want funding to be an easy part, because upgrading your life and developing your future are worth investing in!

 

 

The little week that could. And did.

The little week that could. And did.

In case you didn’t know, last week was kind of a big deal. A five-day marathon termed “Startup Week” coursed through our city, leaving a slew of entrepreneurs, students, developers and dreamers inspired in its wake. The jam-packed celebration featured over 55 speakers and 68 free events, and ended up drawing in more than 270 attendees! Not too shabby, San Antonio.

So, who’s behind all this magic, anyway?

As the chief organizer of SA Startup Week, Vanessa Paige, Operations Manager at the 80/20 Foundation, worked behind the scenes to coordinate the madness and keep things sailing smoothly. For Vanessa, last week was about building San Antonio’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and breaking down its barriers to entry:

The entire week opened up the door to learn more about starting up a venture – or just learning about an industry or topic of your choice…It gave the public a taste of entrepreneurship and access to the movers and shakers that are directly impacting the ecosystem in downtown SATX.

Job well done, Vanessa!

Another key driver of last week’s success were the sponsors and venues that came alongside Vanessa’s efforts and provided a grounds for inspiration and collaboration by opening their doors to the community,. As one such sponsor, we were able to host five events in-house! One of our favorites was a dialogue between community leaders Pat Matthews and Lorenzo Gomez. Just two CEOs engaging in a casual conversation, but with a twist: there was an audience! Bright-eyed listeners came from far and wide, simply to be in the same room as these two passionate visionaries. It. Was. Awesome. And in case you missed it, we put it on YouTube. You can thank us later.

Until next year, Startup Week!

Startup Week

Startup Week - Pat and Lorenzo

Startup Week - Millennials2

 

The results are in…Codeup Growsup was a smashing success!

The results are in…Codeup Growsup was a smashing success!

ALERT. ALERT. We’ve been feeling all warm-and-fuzzy ever since last Friday, and it won’t stop! Why is this happening?!

Hmm. Oh, yeah…Codeup Growsup was last week! We had the privilege of celebrating our new space with 130 of our nearest and dearest friends. Red carpets were strut upon, glamour shots were taken, libations were consumed, hors d’oeuvres we’re devoured, and much fun was had. In other words, it was a most delightful evening! We’re blown away by the wondrous tech community we get to be a part of here in San Antonio. So here’s a gigantic thank you to everyone who made it out, struck a pose, and strutted their stuff at last Friday’s extravaganza!

Want to see more photos from the event? Hit up our Facebook page!

Codeup helps Rails Girls help women learn to code in San Antonio

Codeup helps Rails Girls help women learn to code in San Antonio

This moment in history is exploding with stories about women breaking new ground in technology, summits of female tech leaders, and invitations for women to learn new technology skills so that IT teams and development shops can benefit from gender parity. Organizations like Rails Girls are fueling the fire by providing women and girls with the tools and community they need to learn, and to be confident with new coding skills. This week, Rails Girls is putting on a free, two-day workshop in San Antonio where they will teach women how to program using Ruby on Rails.

At Codeup, we’re all about community, collaboration, and partnership. It’s our lifeblood to be an integrated force in San Antonio’s landscape of blooming, new tech talent. We also work to fuel the dreams, goals and future potential of women in tech careers. So when we heard about the upcoming Rails Girls workshop, we only had one question, which we managed to sandwich between our fangirl squeals: Can we partner with you?!

They said yes, we cried tears of joy, and our shared mission has us both super invested in the success of the upcoming workshop. How are we investing? Well, our time, treasure, and talent are the best things we can give! Two of our esteemed team members, an instructor and one of our curriculum developers, as well as our co-founder and his team of developers, will be participating as on-site mentors to help facilitate the learning process. As educators and friends, these folks embody who we are and what we do at Codeup. Here’s their take on the weekend’s programming festivities:

Ryan Orsinger, our full-stack bootcamp instructor, says, “Rails Girls makes a global impact for gender parity in the programming community. Codeup makes an impact for gender parity in the San Antonio programming community.” It’s a perfect match of shared goals!

Ryan goes on to say that his “decision to volunteer as a coach for Rails Girls is simple. Programming is the new literacy, and everyone should have exposure and experience in this field. I’m thrilled that San Antonio will be hosting its first (of many) Rails Girls workshops.”   Agreed, Ryan.

Tarek-with-accomplice

 

Now, meet Tarek Hafez, a curriculum developer here at Codeup:
Tarek is passionate about learning and growing from the challenges he faces, and as a volunteer at Rails Girls he hopes to share his passion and knowledge with others. “I can help to motivate and inspire those I seek to mentor, as well as educate,” said Tarek, “I could not ask for a better opportunity.”

 

Another awesome supporter of Rails Girls from our community is Jason Straughan, a Codeup cofounder, our CTO, and founder and head guy in charge of everything at a Grok Interactive, a web application development company. He’s sending his developers to also mentor the event.

“Louis, Anton, and Joseph and I are going to be coaches for Rails Girls…I’m pumped,” said Josh Freeman, senior software developer and former instructor for Codeup teen summer coding camps. Not only that, Joseph is a also Codeup-grad-turned-Grok-developer! According to Josh, the developers at Grok are never done learning and studying, an ideal that “meshes well with Rails Girls, where you’re trying to train and introduce new people to programming. That’s why we jumped at the opportunity.” Although the Rails Girls workshop will only be in San Antonio for a weekend, the organization has already planted its compelling, and contagious, vision in our city.

In our coding bootcamps people come in with dreams, hopes, fears, and wonder. Can I do this? Can I really learn a new set of skills in four months, become a valuable developer, and end up with a completely new job, new life, and new trajectory? And women especially bring a different set of sensitivity and caution. We meet their wise concerns with a great confidence-building foundation of real skills to maximize their value in the tech landscape. Can I really do this? Is there room for me in the 73% tech industry? Can I make a difference?

Great questions. And we answer them with a resounding yes because we see it happen again, and again, and again.

*You may still be able to snag a spot at this weekend’s workshop! Check with railsgirlssa@gmail.com for details.

Come visit our new Codeup headquarters in downtown San Antonio.

Come visit our new Codeup headquarters in downtown San Antonio.

Tour our new Codeup headquarters in downtown San Antonio, Texas!

The front of the house:

 

And the back offices:

Now running two full-stack coding bootcamps simultaneously in our new home in the Vogue Building downtown, Codeup is filling the hiring needs of San Antonio employers by developing our next generation of web and software developers.

We teach full-stack development programs at an intense pace, so our students can upgrade their future and accelerate into their dreams.

Our environment is an inspiring epicenter of new tech talent. We love visitors!

Filling up fast!  With good reason.

Filling up fast! With good reason.

There must be a growing realization that it’s a great idea to make a career transition with the help of a bootcamp. It’s a smart way to make a real change. More and more people are coming to us everyday wanting to learn about the difference between front-end and back-end programming skills, and how they can learn them. At Codeup we teach full-stack development, which is a big deal because it truly equips our grads to be ready and adaptable to convert the skills they learn into our bootcamps into immediately useful tools for the companies that hire them. The are programing language agnostic, and able to think through the best way to solve the problems a developer might face, from a range of perspectives and methods.

Codeup produces motivated web and software developers.And with good reason! Employers want great developer talent, more, now than ever. Codeup has established a clear presence in San Antonio and beyond, with our top-notch super-focused training programs. Learning to code in a coding bootcamp is an intense and life-changing experience.  It takes people who want to accelerate into a new career and builds their skills, language, outlook and capacity to think like a developer in a very compressed timeline. And this method produces measurably great results. Results employers love!  The local business community, both high-tech entrepreneurs and industry-wide larger corporations, know that we are a great resource to help build awesome tech departments, one developer at a time.

Maybe 2016 is your time to explore your ambitions? To upgrade your options? To get up to shape for your future in a coding bootcamp. We are almost already fully enrolled for our next bootcamp, but do not dismay! As of today you can apply for the next one, which runs from March through June, or the one after that which runs May through September. codeup-software-developers-transformation

Or call Dylan, because he can help you figure out how to make it happen!  We’d all love to help you get ahead with your life, because it’s in our DNA to help make people more confident and bold and prepared to develop our future!  Our Alumni can tell you all about it!

 

 

 

Codeup and LaunchCode Partner to Help Grads Launch Careers in Coding

Codeup and LaunchCode Partner to Help Grads Launch Careers in Coding

Codeup, meet LaunchCode. LaunchCode, meet Codeup.

That’s right…we have a new partner! Codeup has recently joined forces with LaunchCode, a St. Louis-based nonprofit that uses an apprenticeship model to place motivated programmers (i.e. Codeup grads) within a vast network of potential employers. LaunchCode’s employer partner network spans over 300 companies nationwide, ranging from smaller startups to big-name companies like MasterCard, all in need of tech talent.

And that’s where we come in.

After four months of intensive bootcamp immersion, our grads have some serious skills. Thanks to this partnership, our grads will gain access to a world of job placement and paid apprenticeship opportunities so they can put their new skill set into action.

Our bootcamps are a nontraditional, effective way to learn to code. Many companies already recognize and benefit from the value of bootcamp grads, but some are still unsure of how to best integrate them into a team. One thing that makes LaunchCode an ideal partner for us is that their model creates opportunities for driven programmers, regardless of whether or not they have traditional credentials. And this model is working: over 90% of LaunchCode’s apprenticeships are converted to full-time hires within 90 days.

You may be thinking “But Codeup, don’t you already have a stellar hiring rate?”

To which we reply: Staaaahp. We’re blushing. But to answer your question, yes. While 94% of our graduates find work within 6 months, we are always aiming to increase opportunities for students post bootcamp. Before the partnership, we were working within a network of 64 partner employers, many of which are based here in San Antonio. By teaming up with LaunchCode, we’re expanding our connections beyond San Antonio, so our grads will be able to find their dream jobs not just locally, but across the nation! Pretty neat.

What The SA Tech Job Fair Says About San Antonio

What The SA Tech Job Fair Says About San Antonio

Last night, Codeup co-hosted the first San Antonio Tech Job Fair at the Geekdom Event Centre. By the numbers, it was a great success:

  • 500 RSVPs for job seekers.
  • Biggest event ever at the Geekdom Event Centre.
  • Dozens of employers recruiting. Names like Accenture, Codeup, Def-Logix, H-E-B, Labatt Food Service, Rackspace, USAA, and WP Engine.
San Antonio Tech Job Fair Crowd
San Antonio Tech Job Fair Crowd

The great news for San Antonio is that young people are indeed looking to tech careers as a path to build a rewarding future. At the same time, it’s clear that we need to do more to get those young people ready to succeed in the tech workforce.

I personally spoke to over a hundred job seekers, and my booth-mate Dylan did, too.

We talked with dozens of recent computer science grads of local colleges and universities. They wanted entry-level jobs, but when I asked, “What have you built that is real?”, they pointed to toy applications and homework assignments. The students succeeded in their coursework – the curriculum simply didn’t arm them with applied, job-ready skills.

We also spoke to employers and saw which jobs the employers were looking to fill. All of the recruiters were targeting senior and mid-level technical positions. The big company employers were searching for the same.

The line out the door at the SA Tech Job Fair
The line out the door at the SA Tech Job Fair

It’s clear that San Antonio is getting good at producing entry-level talent, but we still have a huge gap in technical ability. The main takeaway after talking to both job seekers and job givers is that the San Antonio workforce isn’t where tech employers want it to be. It’s the responsibility of both the educators and the employers to become much more involved in solving that problem.

Moving forward, there are two challenges for us as a community. First, educational programs (including Codeup) need to continue to evolve and guide talent beyond entry-level skills. Second, companies need to take talent development seriously to grow more senior talent out of these young people.

We’re working on the problem. It’s time other parts of the community stepped up as well.

Why Choose Codeup

Why Choose Codeup

Prospective students sometimes ask about how we compare to other coding education models. We think choosing Codeup should be a no-brainer.

Here’s why we’re widely considered one of the top coding bootcamps in the world:

Track Record and Transparency: We publish our student success statistics. You can see them on our website and alumni page. We’re currently at a 93% hire rate within 6 months and the mean increase in student earnings is over $15,000.

Job Refund Guarantee: Codeup is the only coding bootcamp that returns half of your tuition if you don’t find work within 6 months.

Reputation: Google us and check out our reviews online. Codeup aims for 100% student happiness, and our 5-star reviews reflect that.

Experienced Team: Our instructors have an average of 10.2 years working in the web development industry.

Craftsmanship: You’ll see the owners of our company regularly onsite, making certain that what we do is top-tier. We’re not the remote office of a large company.

If you’re interested in learning more about Codeup, we’d love for you to visit our campus in downtown San Antonio. If you’re from out of town, no problem – we’re more than happy to answer your questions over the phone at (210) 802-7289.

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