Outcomes Deep Dive


How 87% of Codesmith Grads Land Full-Time Coding Jobs

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By Liz Eggleston
Last Updated December 28, 2020

Codesmith recently reported that 87% of their grads get full-time software engineering jobs within 6 months, with an average salary of $115,000 a year. How exactly are Codesmith graduates landing the mid/senior engineering roles that they’re now known for? 

Phillip Troutman has seen first hand what makes Codesmith's coding bootcamp unique: from their admissions process to their detailed and thoughtful curriculum to the engaged alumni network. He walks us through their immersive software engineering program, how their team facilitates growth within the program, and their commitment to lifelong career support. Plus, how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted engineering jobs and how impacted alumni are still finding fulfilling careers. 

What is the goal for a Codesmith student?

Simplistically, the goal of a Codesmith student is to get a great role as a software engineer. 

However, rather than focusing on entry-level junior roles, the overarching goal of Codesmith is to move into mid- and senior-level roles.

How does Codesmith think about a student’s career before they’re admitted (ie. during the admissions process)?

A common misconception when people are first introduced to Codesmith is that they need an extensive professional or educational background to get in. Fundamentally, this is not true. 

Codesmith students come from different professional backgrounds

  • some are previous engineers or engineering-adjacent roles, along the lines of design or data analytics
  • some are graduates from other programs
  • many are just extremely dedicated self-learners 

Previous professional experience before enrollment in Codesmith is not necessary. A far more accurate measure of how well someone will do in the Codesmith program (and the industry as a whole) is having dedication and commitment to one’s own development as well as the development of others. 

The thing that I most enjoy about having such a diverse set of professional backgrounds at Codesmith is being able to facilitate this collaboration between these like-minded individuals that otherwise would never find themselves working together. For example, a scenario that sticks out to me from the LA immersive: Sam was a Stanford PhD student prior to entering the Codesmith program. Working alongside Sam you have Skylar, a 19-year-old recent high school graduate. These two are pair-programming in the same team in this collaborative synergetic atmosphere building really cool products.  It's a special atmosphere to be working in that I've never experienced anywhere else.

It is not a requirement to have a computer science background. Many of our students come from a zero-technical background. That doesn't mean it's an easy program to get into. We set a high bar to get into the program, but we also help people achieve that bar

Codesmith guides, motivates, and facilitates potential students to enter the program by offering public workshops & events and prep courses:

What are the core skills you’re looking for in applicants?

There are five core capacities that the admissions team looks for, regardless of an individual's background:

  1. Technical Communication - There is a direct correlation between how well you can communicate through code, line by line, and how well you can work in an effective capacity with another engineer/in a team setting
  2. Non-technical Communication - Coding is now more than ever a team and collaboration-based industry. Being able to communicate effectively and empathetically is no longer this "nice-to-have" skill set for an engineer, it is a necessity in this industry. 
  3. Analytical Problem-Solving Skills - Rather than how much code can be memorized, we’re looking for how good applicants are at taking large complex problems and breaking them down into more digestible pieces, then taking that bit of code and being able to apply it in interesting ways. 
  4. Engineering Approach/Best Practices in Engineering - We’re looking for how you structure code, how you debug, how good you are at referencing documentation.
  5. Programming Knowledge - We do require javascript knowledge before admittance, which can be obtained through the above workshops and prep courses.

Everything about Codesmith’s pedagogy of teaching and structure in the curriculum is designed in a way to develop and facilitate the upskilling of all five of those capacities in the program itself. 

Once a student is admitted into Codesmith, how exactly does your team structure their 12 weeks in order to set them up for their first job?

*Our Part-time Immersive Remote Program is structured differently because it’s 38 weeks long.

There are two main sections of the immersive program – the Junior and Senior sections. 

The Junior Section is 6 weeks long.

  • The first four weeks is dedicated to core technologies, in-demand technologies in the field today, like: React, Redux, Node, etc. Equally as important, the first four weeks dive into the base fundamentals of programming. Not just relying on frameworks and libraries but also Vanilla Javascript, dom manipulation, time complexity, algorithms, data structures (the classic, more computer science - focused concepts/skill sets).
  • The last two weeks of Junior section is the project phase
    • Solo project
    • Scratch project
    • Iteration project
    • There are three projects in the immersive, designed to continue the process of solidifying that core material that students were introduced to in the first four weeks:
    • Equally important, it builds out a roadmap for best practices around working with teams of engineers. We train on things like Agile development, Scrum, code review processes, and more advanced kit workflows.

The Senior Section focuses on three other major pieces of the puzzle:

  • Open Source Production Project: this is a big building block for students! It allows students to become more of an authority on a particular technology like React, GraphQL, etc. It can also provide a substantial benefit to the dev community. We have many open source products that have been built out by grads, that have received thousands of stars on github and awards in the past
  • Codesmith Hiring Program: Explores all the concepts a grad will encounter on the job, including Whiteboarding, Algorithms, System design questions, Technical phone screens, How to negotiate multiple offers
  • Advanced Concepts like Devops, Front end optimization, and Security

When you think about a few of your students who have landed the highest salaried/most senior jobs, is there something they do that stands out during the immersive bootcamp that gets them those jobs?

We encourage students to become a “T-shaped developer”

  • The top part of that T is a solid technical depth across many different full stack relevant software engineering technologies (Node, React, Vanilla Javascript, etc) 
  • The staff of that T is one technology that the student dives deep on and becomes an authority on

This helps engineers develop themselves and signal to hiring managers or other engineers in the field of the level of sophistication and problem solving they have. 

What makes a Mid or Senior Engineer:

  1. Autonomy/Autonomous Problem Solving Abilities - What sets a Junior, Mid, or Senior level engineer apart is how much an Engineering Manager has to hold the hand of another engineer in order to get a task completed. The Codesmith program is designed in such a way that students are constantly and strategically being pushed into those challenging tech oriented situations. By solving those problems in the program, they develop into more autonomous engineers.
  2. Being a Multiplier of Others - Being able to develop others. They put just as much emphasis on the development of the team around them as they do the development of themselves.

How does the Codesmith career services team work with students? When does that start and end? 

The Hiring Program officially starts in Week 8 of Codesmith, just as students are going into their Senior portion, when they start to focus on the development of their resume and the pieces that take a few weeks to solidify.

The emphasis is on:

  • Building out an engineering-focused resume
  • How to whiteboard effectively in an interview
  • How to answer tough technical questions in an interview
  • How to negotiate salaries   

After the program, the Hiring Support Team continues to work with and guide alumni. This happens through:

  • Mock interviews post-graduation
  • Continued resume development
  • Bi-weekly check-ins with entire cohorts of engineers and a Senior Advisor who offers specific guidance and attention to each students on the status of their current processes.

It doesn’t stop there; Codesmith offers lifetime career support. Graduates can return at any time and receive help with their resume, perform mock interviews, and get insight on hiring statuses. 

For example, an alumni that attended Codesmith over a year ago returned to our Career Services team after he’d been let go from his engineering role due to COVID cutbacks. We offered him resume guidance, interview practice, and mock interviews and within a couple months he received multiple engineering job offers, accepting a fullstack engineering role at IBM. In some cases, people are being let go from certain jobs only to be hired on in something better. 

How do alumni impact a student’s experience? 

Today, there are roughly 1200 Codesmith graduates, from LA, NY, and the Part-Time Immersive Program. We carve out certain networking events between current students and program alumni. Every half cycle of a cohort, recent alumni that are working in the field come in and do a Q&A panel on best practices and things they learned along the way. We also offer mock interviews with alumni to offer feedback.

However, the more meaningful interactions with alumni occur more naturally. For example, during my first Codesmith holiday party three years ago, I saw an Alumni exchanging contact information with a soon-to-be-graduated Senior. The Alumni worked at ESPN (the Senior’s dream company to work for) and offered to introduce the Senior to the hiring manager for their Engineering team, knowing they had jobs becoming available in the coming months. That kind of care and community stuck out to me. 

At the time, Codesmith was in their 20th cohort in LA and I thought this Alumni was a recent graduate; turns out, he was from the beta cohort, the very first cohort that Codesmith ever did. I was blown away by the fact that, not only did this Alumni still want to come around and be part of the Codesmith community three years after he had graduated, but he was also actively helping current students on their job search by doing referrals and introductions. 

What kinds of jobs can Codesmith alumni expect? You recently reported that 87% of Codesmith grads get full-time software engineering jobs within 6 months, with an average of $115k a year – how has that been affected by the pandemic in 2020? 

When COVID first hit we saw downsizing, which unfortunately led to some graduates losing their jobs and recent grads starting out in job search having a longer than normal process as companies slowed down their hiring processes.

However, as the year progressed and the world realized that COVID was not leaving quickly, companies had to learn how to adapt to survive. Since that realization, the engineering industry has bounced back in a big way. We’re seeing the same level of incredible outcomes from graduates and other alumni who have been furloughed or laid off from their jobs who are transitioning into new roles and companies.

For example, one of our graduates, Connor, was working for Hilton Hotels for 8-9 months when COVID hit. He unfortunately was on a team that was furloughed and he lost his job. But he came back to our hiring team and since then, within just a few months, he's been able to successfully transition into another role working for a successful devshop. 

There has been this transition from these hard-hit industries to industries that are boosted up due to the same pandemic. Companies will always be in need of strong, leadership-driven, autonomous problem-solving engineers. I don't think we're gonna see that change any time soon.

Find out more and read Codesmith reviews on Course Report. This article was produced by the Course Report team in partnership with Codesmith.

About The Author

Liz pic

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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