Written By Jess Feldman
With students from a wide variety of backgrounds from across the country, TrueCoders’ Career Services team steps in to prepare students for jobs that can change the trajectory of their lives. Denise Shines, Director of Career Services at TrueCoders, shares how her team helps students develop the networking, branding, and communication skills – starting in Week One on the bootcamp. Find out what you can expect throughout that TrueCoders career curriculum and why soft skills (like an eagerness to learn) are so important in the hiring process.
When do career services begin for TrueCoders students?
Career services begin during week one of the bootcamp with a seminar on resume writing. We encourage students to begin applying for jobs as soon as students have that aha! moment and realize they know what they’re doing and what jobs they’re interested in. Many of our students have been able to land an interview and a job before they even graduate from TrueCoders.
What types of career services can TrueCoders students expect?
The career services team has created a pipeline that supports students and graduates wherever they are in their careers. At TrueCoders, we prepare students to land the job they want by offering weekly seminars and one-on-one support that include:
Has your team updated these career resources in response to COVID-19?
TrueCoders was an entirely in-person bootcamp before COVID-19, and we have shifted fully online. We now have students from across the country enrolled in our online bootcamp. We have adapted to the remote world, and all of our career services are now virtual.
What types of tech roles do graduates typically land after TrueCoders?
Some students come into the bootcamp with some coding experience, while others have no programming experience whatsoever. We also enroll students who have a Computer Science or equivalent degree. Due to this diversity in backgrounds, TrueCoders students land various levels of developer roles. Most students, especially those without previous coding experience, move into Junior Developer roles post-graduation.
TrueCoders offers Web Development and Software Engineering bootcamps. Do Web Development students typically look for web developer roles, and Software Engineering students look for software engineer roles?
Not really. Web Development and Software Engineering students have landed roles in both front end and back end positions because we teach a full stack curriculum in both tracks. We encourage students to pursue the roles they are most interested in, but still provide them with a well-rounded curriculum.
Does TrueCoders help students and graduates with salary negotiation and job offer consideration?
We cover salary negotiation in our weekly classes, and we are also happy to help students with job offers and compensation packages over a phone call, email, or our Discord channel.
For example, I remember when a former student was considering two job offers. One of the jobs was based in Atlanta and the other was based in Chicago. The student and I discussed the offer and the pay, which he was very excited about as he never made this much money before. I pushed him to consider which job would be able to best support him and his family while considering the cost-of-living in either of these cities. He hadn’t initially considered this factor and it helped him make a decision that was the best fit for him.
What are employers looking for in today’s prospective employees?
Most employers that work with entry-level developers say the same thing: they want someone with a good attitude who is willing to learn and is adaptable to change. Employers understand that they can teach an employee additional technical skills, but that you can’t teach people to have a good attitude.
Does TrueCoders have partnerships with employers?
Yes and we are always looking to build more connections with employers! Our bootcamp alumni are everywhere around the country, and so we have been working to connect with employers outside of Alabama, where TrueCoders is based. These days, we now have recruiters and employers coming to us with an interest in partnering.
How important are soft skills in a technical interview?
Soft skills are very important! Top employers like prospective employees who are excited about what they’re doing in the classroom and can communicate that to them. We encourage our students to be comfortable being on camera and communicating with others because these are skills they will need to be active contributors on teams to get work done.
The tide is changing, but some employers still require a CS Degree or equivalent. Do you still encourage graduates of TrueCoders to submit their resumes for such positions?
I tell students to apply anyway because our students still land some of these jobs despite not having a four-year degree. TrueCoders students have the working skills that employers are looking for. We also have students with Computer Science and engineering degrees enroll in our bootcamp because they want to learn practical skills.
What do employers tell you that they like about TrueCoders graduates?
Developers must become full-time learners in order to keep up with changing technology, so employers like that our graduates are eager and willing to learn. Additionally, we have students from a diverse background. Oftentimes, these backgrounds offer a perspective that employers can benefit from and so they seek our graduates out.
What advice do you give your students for creating their online presence?
Know your brand! At TrueCoders, we offer a seminar on building your personal brand. First, we ask students to Google their name and see what comes up. From there, we actively work with students to create a brand that positively showcases who they are and the roles they are looking for. Some students become more active on Linkedin while others build websites that showcase their work.
Does TrueCoders support bootcamp graduates in their job search after graduation?
The goal of our career service team is to help our students pivot their careers and land jobs that oftentimes change their lives. Our alumni continue to have access to both career support and instructors after they graduate. We’re here to assist them with whatever they need, whether they are looking for a new job or need guidance in solving a technical issue.
The job market has been in flux the past year — have TrueCoders students continued landing jobs?
Absolutely! TrueCoders students have continued to share updates with us as they land jobs. Our students really put in the work in order to land their roles. They understand that attending a bootcamp and learning the information alone won’t guarantee a job. Our students land jobs by using the resources and coaching that our career services team provides and then applying them to the job search process.
Tell us your favorite student success story!
I had a student with previous work experience in banking, but he had been out of work for over a year and living in his grandmother’s basement. He enrolled in our bootcamp and came to career services to speak with me. During one of our meetings, I learned that he had just purchased a PS5 in the middle of bootcamp. I encouraged him to instead focus all of his time and energy on the bootcamp and acquire the skills he needed to find a job. We joke now about this because he currently works at Google, earns a six-figure salary, and lives in a beautiful apartment in a major U.S. city. This student was talented when he enrolled, but he wasn’t doing anything with it. When you invest in perfecting your craft and can show that you can do this work well, you will get paid for those skills!
Jess Feldman is an accomplished writer and the Content Manager at Course Report, the leading platform for career changers who are exploring coding bootcamps.
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