Will tech employers hire coding bootcamp graduates?

Leading tech organizations sometimes hire from the top coding bootcamps. Find out where these programs can take you.
Written by Doug Wintemute, Contributor

The top coding bootcamps provide focused and accelerated training at a lower cost than many degrees. Plus, many coding bootcamps have hiring partnerships with big-name tech companies.

Here, we look at what a top coding bootcamp can do for your employment chances and how to optimize your odds.

Will you get hired after graduating from a top coding bootcamp?

Many prospective tech professionals ask, "Are bootcamps worth it?" According to graduates' employment success and the two studies below, the answer appears to be yes. 

In their analysis of 370 bootcamps, Switchup determined the average employment rate for graduates at the Big Five tech companies was 6.03% in April 2021. 

The Council on Integrity in Results Report analyzed 24 top coding bootcamps between July and December 2021 and found 71.4% of graduates found jobs within 180 days. 

Results from several well-known programs were even higher, including Launch Academy in Boston at 77.8%, Codesmith in Los Angeles at 83.1%, and Tech Elevator in Cincinnati at 89.2%.

Roles acquired varied. Many graduates took on junior software engineer, apprentice and contractor positions, and software engineer and developer roles. 

Depending on the position and employer, bootcamp graduates may also need a computer science degree, software engineering degree, or vendor-specific tech certifications.

The top coding bootcamps may gain you access to the industry and advance your technology career. As a recent bootcamp graduate, however, you need to highlight what makes you special in your job applications to catch the eye of potential employers. 

Remember to update your resume with the skills and qualifications you acquired in the bootcamp. For example, if you also learned C# at the Java bootcamp you attended, make sure to mention that.

Customize your cover letter to the specific job opening and contextualize your most important and relevant abilities. Finally, create a diverse coding portfolio that shows your skills and interests.

A bootcamp graduate shares his job-hunting experience

A headshot of Dr. Andrew Graczyk, a white man with brown hair and eyes.

Dr. Andrew Graczyk is a graduate of The Data Incubator (TDI). He also earned his Ph.D. in economics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in December 2017. 

His research specialty in game-theoretic modeling, Bayesian statistics, and time series analysis allowed him to synthesize novel models to capture adverse incentives responsible for behavior that other models struggle to explain. 

Prior to his career in data science, he developed experience working with a wide variety of data and topics. As a senior data scientist at NNData, Dr. Graczyk applies his experience with data and theory to create robust, flexible, and holistic solutions to problems using cutting-edge machine learning and statistical techniques.

Responses have been edited for length and clarity.

ZDNet: How long did it take you to find a job in the field after graduating? 

Dr. Andrew Graczyk: I was quite fortunate to have several promising interviews upon completing my program at The Data Incubator, which culminated in several job offers. I began my first data science position about one month after completing the TDI data science fellowship.

ZDNet: How did potential employers and interviewers respond to seeing the bootcamp on your resume?

AG: I think they responded well. My first job after graduating was as a senior data scientist at Cova Strategies, where several TDI alumni were already employed in their data science team, so my employers were familiar with TDI and the data scientists that come out of its programs. 

But, even in positions where TDI alumni were not already employed, I think the presence of the bootcamp on my resume showed prospective employers that I wasn't just an academic: I was also prepared and qualified to apply my skills in an industry setting. 

ZDNet: What skills or experience gained from the bootcamp have proven most useful to your career?

AG: TDI teaches its students a lot about the specifics of data science techniques, from simple statistical models to deep learning to web-scraping to data visualizations. But, I think the most important skill I learned was how to approach a problem like a data scientist. 

What kinds of data and approaches are even appropriate for attempting to answer a certain kind of question, how to best use data that you have, how to account for the limitations of your data — those are skills that every data scientist needs to have in every project. 

Without that, you can't even formulate the right questions, let alone answer them.

ZDNet: What advice would you offer to bootcamp attendees or graduates for their future job hunt?

AG: First of all, remember that you probably know and understand a lot more than you give yourself credit for. If you can make it through a TDI program, it means that you have already passed through a rigorous selection process that requires a lot of background knowledge, to say nothing of the rigors of the program itself. 

So, don't be afraid to apply for jobs outside of your comfort zone. Just because you aren't an expert in all aspects of an industry doesn't mean you can't learn about it and understand its data science programs. 

Following from that, don't be afraid to take a job that you aren't sure you'll like. You might find you really do enjoy the work at a given company more than you expect, or that you learn something new in the process. 

At the very least, any experience is likely good early on, and you don't have to stay in any position forever. If you find a workplace to be not to your liking, it is much easier to move on to other data science positions once you have at least one on your resume.

Which major tech companies hire coding bootcamp graduates?

Graduates from the top coding bootcamps can access careers at tech companies of all sizes. The Big Five tech companies — Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, Google, and Amazon — all have a history of hiring bootcamp graduates. 

In fact, the graduate employment rates at these five tech giants only differed by .57 percentage points between coding bootcamps vs. four-year colleges, according to Switchup. 

Not only did graduates from the top coding bootcamps stack up well against the traditional colleges, but some of these programs performed better than top colleges. Here are prominent bootcamps' percentages of graduates employed at Big Five companies as of April 2021:

  • Code Fellows: 11.15%
  • App Academy: 4.71%
  • Coding Dojo: 4.40%
  • Full Stack Academy: 3.19%
  • General Assembly: 2.70%
  • Udacity: 2.39%

Do smaller tech companies hire coding bootcamp alumni?

In addition to the very large and prominent organizations, many small tech organizations seek out top coding bootcamp graduates. According to AngelList, the following companies (plus many more!) have hired bootcamp graduates in the past:

  • Vimeo: A video services platform, Vimeo allows users to create and manage videos from one place. 
  • Scribd: Subscription service Scribd hosts and provides access to millions of audiobooks, ebooks, and other documents. 
  • Skillz: Online video game platform Skillz connects iOS and Android gamers from around the world in competition. 
  • WhereTo: WhereTo provides personalized AI-based travel booking services for businesses.
  • Thinkful: Thinkful offers one-on-one coaching and mentorship and free online courses with certificates in several tech-related subjects.

In conclusion

Coding bootcamps can lead to opportunities in tech companies across the country. 

Available to inexperienced graduates looking to start their careers and experienced professionals looking to switch theirs, these focused programs may offer you the professional outcome you want without investing in a full degree. 

Use the information here to choose a coding bootcamp that meets your individual needs.

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