Their latest CIRR report shows a 91% alumni job placement rate at The Software Guild, but how exactly is The Software Guild preparing graduates for the workforce? Director of Career Services, Kipp Graham, tells us about their commitment to each bootcamper’s success, from their initial career goals to landing their first job. Plus, Kipp explains how to assess whether a company is the right fit for you and what employers are actually looking for in today’s junior developers.
Meet Our Expert: Kipp Graham, Director of Career Services at The Software Guild
At The Software Guild, the online program is broken into four badges, and when students reach the final fourth badge, they are connected with Career Services to prepare them for their job search. Since we realize that every student’s path looks different, we start with an initial conversation to identify the student’s specific career goals.
Generally, The Software Guild’s Career Services include:
At The Software Guild, we realize that resume and interview skills are personal, and that students may be apprehensive about getting feedback in those areas. I encourage our students to be proactive and keep asking their career coach for feedback on their interview skills and resume. Feedback can be tough to hear sometimes, but it will definitely help you improve your job search.
The Software Guild bootcamp graduates receive continued career support post-graduation indefinitely! We are always happy to help our graduates with any aspect in their career path.
At The Software Guild, we teach full stack Java development or full stack C# development and most of our students end up in roles that use those languages. However, a fairly large number of graduates end up hired by employers using the opposite language they studied or a completely new language. When hiring junior-level talent, many employers don't necessarily need the specific skills; they’re looking for someone who has an overall understanding of software development.
Typically, Software Guild bootcamp graduates land positions as:
Keep in mind that jobs vary depending on a student's geography, background, goals, interests, and willingness to relocate.
What’s the median salary for Software Guild graduates?
Geography is a major indicator of salary. According to The Software Guild’s last audited report, we saw a median salary of $50,000 for those in Louisville, KY and $60,000 in Minneapolis. As a founding member of CIRR, we are proud that our outcomes are reported and audited.
How much time do Software Guild graduates spend job hunting?
Our last CIRR report indicated that 70% of all our grads were placed within 90 days and 91% were employed within 180 days. Earlier in 2020, we saw a slowdown in hiring, especially for junior-level candidates, but we have since seen an uptick in the number of job openings with renewed interest in hiring junior-level developers. With all of that in mind, we tell bootcampers to plan to search for three months post-graduation for their first developer role.
Since most software development jobs have converted to remote roles, attending an online bootcamp offers invaluable skills for working in today’s tech workforce. At The Software Guild, we prepare students to work independently from home and learn how to set their own, productive pace.
Another big benefit of attending The Software Guild is being able to work a full-time or part-time job while completing the bootcamp. Being able to hold down a job while attending a bootcamp offers the opportunity for more individuals to come through the program.
The Software Guild has 450 employer partners around the country that hire our graduates. From large Fortune 500 companies to those with less than 200 employees, we have strong employer partnerships who have hired dozens of our graduates. Since The Software Guild is a tuition-based program, we don't guarantee that our students will take any job with an employer unless that employer sponsors the student to complete the program. This leaves more options for the students to find the best job for them.
What are today’s employers looking for in junior software developers?
Employers are seeking junior-level developers with a passion for software development and tech. That passion shows employers who will be a good employee and a good software developer in the long-term. Our employer partners know that the The Software Guild is not an easy program to get through. Software Guild students log over 700 hours in this program, which shows they truly have a passion for the craft.
Employers are also impressed by our graduates’ portfolios because they prove that our graduates know how to code at the professional level. Software Guild bootcampers build projects, such as full stack applications, that go beyond what recent computer science graduates may work on.
The Need for Women in Tech
There is a diversity imbalance within the tech industry, and there needs to be a greater representation of women in the software development field. All of our employer partners feel the same way and there is a big push to hire more women as software developers. At The Software Guild, we offer a $2000 Women in Tech discount on tuition to inspire women to enroll in our program and become successful developers.
We tell students: 50% of the job interview is for you. When you interview with a company, it is not just a chance for that company to figure out if you're a good fit, but a chance for you to find out if that company is a right fit for you as the candidate. We encourage our graduates to ask questions and expect our employers to be able to answer them.
Be sure to ask a lot of questions in an interview, such as:
Why should a bootcamp grad incorporate past experiences in your resume?
We encourage graduates to lean heavily into their past experience in their resume and during interviews, especially if they have a previous professional experience. What many students fail to realize when they're first stepping into software development is that very rarely will the company they’re working for specialize in software development. Often a software development job will be for another industry, such as financial, healthcare, or education. Finding a software development role in an industry that's related to your previous profession can give you a level of insight that other professionals in that area might not have and may give you an edge over other candidates.
A few years back, we had a student who was trying to turn their life around after making some mistakes in their past. They had some previous experience with computers, and before enrolling in The Software Guild, they had done everything they could to find a good job working in tech, but couldn’t break into the professional sector. Despite having no formal computer science training before The Software Guild, they worked extremely hard and did really well in the program. However, even after graduating they still struggled to get interviews because of their record. They worked with our Careers Team to persevere through it, and we personally recommended them to employers which helped this individual land their first developer job. Within a short period of time, they were promoted twice!
I share this story because it speaks to The Software Guild’s program to help people with their soft skills and prepare them to work in a professional environment. This individual was one of the few people who came to me repeatedly, looking for mock interview help, and going above and beyond asking for feedback. This person worked hard to earn a better life for themselves and got that second chance.
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