In “normal” times, 79% of bootcampers are employed after graduating from a coding bootcamp. But the question we hear most often in 2022? Will I get a job if I go to a coding bootcamp during the COVID pandemic? Should I “wait and see” or should I take advantage of this time to change careers? Companies like ServiceNow continue to hire bootcampers as developers because demand for their product has surged during the pandemic. Other companies like Progressive are shifting to online work and remote hiring and onboarding. Candor and Layoffs.fyi have kept real-time, 100% user-generated lists of companies that are hiring, freezing, furloughing, etc throughout the pandemic, and The New York Times posits that big tech could emerge from the coronavirus crisis even stronger than before. But the hiring landscape has undoubtedly changed and is impacting coding bootcampers, so we’re answering all your questions about whether you’ll get a job or not after bootcamp. Plus, advice from bootcampers who have landed jobs during COVID-19 about how they did it!
Here’s what the experts say!
Despite the layoffs during COVID-19, technical roles have been the most protected and stable jobs in our economy. As Codesmith instructor Phillip Troutman describes: “We're extremely fortunate in software engineering right now. There have been some changes as far as which companies are hiring engineers right now. But fundamentally, software engineering is a safe and exciting industry to be moving into. Companies are now transitioning how they do work. Zoom itself has gone from 10 million users to 200 million users in a matter of 8 weeks! What better time to be a systems admin for a company like Zoom. It's a great opportunity to work in an industry that easily works remotely.”
As brick-and-mortar companies are moving online to stay competitive, developers are even more in-demand. As Cody Miller, an instructor at LearningFuze, explains: “In the wake of this pandemic, everybody has to figure out how to continue business remotely. There's a huge influx of companies that realized that they needed to develop a better web presence and find tools to work with their clients remotely. As soon as the hiring process gets more steady, we expect a huge rise in employment going forward because of all of the companies that are going to need to put more attention into digitalization.”
Plus, changing careers into tech right now could actually afford you the opportunity to help battle COVID-19 on the front lines. As Springboard’s Head of Career Services, Patt Kwok, explains: “The COVID-19 crisis is creating a new set of needs and demands, but no matter what, there will certainly be more jobs in tech. Especially within the healthcare field, tech has plenty of potential to help improve the world to be better prepared for a future pandemic or to prevent the situation we are currently in.”
According to Sheldon (a graduate of Lighthouse Labs), an immersive bootcamp can be a really productive use of your time if you’re quarantined at home for 3-6 months: “I know a lot of people who struggle with being stuck at home during quarantine. I was grateful to have this program to put my full energy into and be productive with my time. The economic situation is unfortunate and there are less people hiring right now, but there is still opportunity. You just have to work a little harder for it.”
Coding bootcamps around the world are adapting quickly to the changing job market during COVID-19. In addition to learning remotely, we see hiring days and demo nights moving online, more emphasis placed on preparing for online interviews and the remote job search, and higher touch career services at bootcamps during Coronavirus. While the hiring process is taking longer, job offers are still on the table and we’re still seeing students make career changes into tech.
Here are a few of our favorite success stories during COVID-19:
Holberton School alum Dani was hired in her dream job as an Associate Software Engineer at HUGE. And Holberton School helped prepare her for remote onboarding, explaining: “Since I started this job during the pandemic, I have had to onboard remotely. HUGE is now using Google Classrooms for their onboarding process, and I was paired up with a Senior Engineer to help me. The onboarding process consists of challenges I have to solve within a week. These projects are actually similar to the ones Holberton School gave me.”
Flatiron School alum Alex was hired by Coat Rack Web Services as a Remote Web Engineer. She’s found that her new tech skills have an impact during COVID-19: “In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, one of our clients partnered with larger organizations to better serve individuals financially affected by the crisis. In turn, we've been able to quickly build out and deploy applications to facilitate that support. It's incredible to get to work on something that has such an impact in real time.”
Devmountain alum Josi was hired as a Developer on Citi Bank’s Rewards Micro Services Team. Josi had to learn Java for the job, but says “my advice for new developers is to not let a new language get too daunting. As long as you have the mindset, you can pick up on any coding language.”
Lighthouse Labs alum Sheldon was hired as a Full Stack Developer at e-commerce company Media Carry! Even though Media Carry is based in Scotland, Sheldon’s developer position is completely remote. “Lighthouse Labs actually referred me to Media Carry. The Lighthouse Labs career services team really went above and beyond at helping me to succeed!”
Ironhack alum Christopher studied Data Analytics at Ironhack just as COVID-19 was hitting France. He attributes his quick job search to the bootcamp: “Darewise hired me as a Data Engineer right after bootcamp. I think one of the big reasons I got this job so quickly was because the Darewise team had already met me at Ironhack. If I didn't get that opportunity, I'm not sure I would've landed a job right away.”
Jenn, Eli, and Anna offer this advice for really impressing your interviewer and new manager at a remote company:
Rithm School alum Jenn was hired as a Software Engineer by Curology after doing a remote internship. Jenn’s advice for a successful online interview? “Be aware of body language cues, and be sure you have a good internet connection. Soft skills apply in both an in-person and online interview setting. It's beyond the technical. Pay attention to your interviewer’s body language and avoid doing things that may be distracting, like touching your hair a lot. As for the technical portion, the experience online and in-person is essentially the same — you share your screen while you code or have access to a shared code editor.”
Lighthouse Labs alum Eli was hired by Cultivated Code as a remote Web Developer and had to get used to the remote onboarding process: “Cultivated Code made it clear that they will be there to help whenever I needed guidance, all I had to do was ask. If I shot them a message, they would be on a call with me in minutes. The key to onboarding and working remotely is open communication on both sides. I was initially afraid to ask too many questions or bother them, but now I know if I don't say anything, no one will know something is wrong. I had to overcome that fear. Keep in mind, though, these are the same types of obstacles I would have faced if I was working at an onsite job!”
Hackbright Academy alum Anna was hired by SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory as a Software Engineer. She has advice for other new engineers in a remote company: “My recommendation for those also starting a remote position as a new engineer is to reach out to team members, even if it’s just socializing during a lunch Zoom call. Make sure to set up a home office, follow a regular routine, and reward yourself after a long day of work in order to keep work during working hours. And don’t be afraid of your work! In the beginning, I was nervous to push some of my code to my team's github, so it was important for me to remember that I'm still a beginner engineer, and the more eyes on the work, the better I'll learn and be prepared for future tasks.”
These coding bootcamp alumni chose to do an internship after bootcamp graduation while on the hunt for their first developer job. This is an outcome that bootcampers should be prepared for during the COVID-19 job market!
After completing his Foundations year at Holberton School, Rory took a full-time internship at Lockheed Martin: “There can be insecurity coming out of a bootcamp. I worried that I wouldn't be seen as competent as a four-year computer science college student. It was a scary period between attending Holberton and finding that first job experience, so I'm really happy to have experience working as a software engineer on my resume now. It's extremely valuable. I have a lot more opportunities because of my internship. It's an official stamp of approval, even if it's just in my head.”
Devmountain alum Phoenix began a remote, three-month internship at TEKSystems while she looked for a job: “I would have preferred a full-time position right away, but I am grateful for this internship experience. My internship has helped me to become an overall better developer. It has been a great opportunity to reinforce my skills and add new ones to my resume...It could take me three to six months to find a full-time job, so why not do this in the meantime?”
While BrainStation Web Development alum John Ray was seeking his first developer job, he decided to intern for Konrad Group’s Quality Assurance team to build his skills: “QA is technically a different field than development, but I knew it was still a great opportunity. I want to be exposed to what happens in the big picture at an organization. I wanted to see what happens in a scrum meeting, what the industry code looks like, how QA works, and I knew I could apply those fundamentals I learned at BrainStation to this position...Working on the QA team, I now have an idea now of what usually breaks, what I should look up to solve problems, and what the most important aspects are. Accessibility and cross-platform compatibility are more important than I realized — my eyes have been opened!”
Flatiron School alum Bronte accepted a full-time internship with Meditab in order to build on her skills and as a way to secure a full-time developer position: "At a time like this, I think you should take any opportunity. Once you're in an internship, you're halfway there. Since I didn’t have a college degree, an internship was a great way to demonstrate my skills and learn more. I wanted to get my foot in the door and prove myself."
Metis alum Anupama offers this advice about the job hunt during a pandemic: “COVID-19 has changed the plans I had. The companies I was interested in – like Uber and Airbnb – are location-based and they are not hiring right now. I'm open to Data Scientist, Data Analyst, or any data science position that is more about making a business case than narrow technical work. I've been looking at LinkedIn and Built in LA, and I'm on TechCrunch’s mailing list to keep track of which companies are being funded.”
Springboard alum Jake recommends narrowing your job search during COVID-19: “Think about what excites you and focus on that...It's useful to focus on a subsection of machine learning that you like because that's going to allow you to develop your skills on a much deeper level. That will help you break into an industry….Specializing gives you confidence as well. When you're breaking into a new industry it doesn't make sense to try to learn it all.”
The current moment is requiring bootcamp graduates adapt their remote job search, whether that means reconfiguring your job search strategy or finding an internship to build skills and add more relevant tech experience on your resume. Know of any handy resources that have improved your own tech job search during a recession? Let us know in the comments!
Liz is the cofounder of Course Report, the most complete resource for students researching coding bootcamps. Her research has been cited in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, TechCrunch, and more. She loves breakfast tacos and spending time getting to know bootcamp alumni and founders all over the world. Check out Liz & Course Report on Twitter, Quora, and YouTube!
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