If you’re wondering what type of career help you’ll receive if you attend LearningFuze’s 12-week full stack coding bootcamp in Orange County, CA, look no further. We chatted with Director of Operations, Bill Cunningham, to learn more about the job placement process and how they are helping students find new roles as software developers. See why LearningFuze focuses on teaching students how to learn, find out the top technologies for Southern California employers, and what tips they have for improving a student’s online presence for potential employers!
Tell us about the career placement team at LearningFuze and how they guide students towards their first jobs?
We have a staff dedicated to the employment prep and search process led by our program manager. However, everyone at LearningFuze plays some role in the placement process given that the instructors have relationships in the marketplace and often interact at different functions in which LearningFuze participates or sponsors.
With that said, career placement is a partnership between the student and the bootcamp, and both parties need to be wholly dedicated to the process. There is some misinformation in the market that pursuing a job in a vocation where there is strong demand is relatively easy. It takes dedication and hard work just like the commitment and passion needed to learning software development. It’s about finding that company that is the right fit at the right time, and that takes work.
When does the job placement process start at LearningFuze? Do you believe that students should start the job search before they graduate?
The search portion of job placement should optimally begin once a student has completed and polished their portfolio and resume. We encourage students to not begin looking for employment until the completion of the program so that they are completely focused on learning and acquiring the necessary skills. It is important to be focused without distractions during the training so that graduates are best prepared to compete to land that dream job once the search begins.
What types of jobs are LearningFuze students prepared for when they graduate? Even though LearningFuze teaches PHP, could a student apply for a Rails job or even a front end developer job?
We teach students to think programmatically and we teach students to learn as well as gain the skills technically. This is the reason we go very deeply in the technologies in which we focus. We have had students land positions across the spectrum of development from front end to back end and across a myriad of technologies not even necessarily taught in the program. Often, companies want problem solvers and people they want to work with as much as they may want specific technologies.
The technical interview is notoriously tough. How does LearningFuze train students to get through that process?
We conduct mock interviews, resume reviews, mock whiteboard interviews with senior instructors and discuss the importance of soft skills and effective presentation in an interview. In addition, employers often come to the facility to address the students and provide valuable perspective on the importance of soft skills, culture fit, and technical skills.
Where do you suggest LearningFuze students start their job search?
We work with students on the job search in a number of different ways:
How important are meetups and networking to a LearningFuze students’ job search process?
A large percentage of positions (60% to 70%) are often never even posted, but rather the positions are in the mind of the hiring manager, or an executive at the company. Tapping into the unseen job market through networking is an important part of the process. We encourage graduates to network with the mindset of how he or she can help someone else. This magnanimous approach is much more effective and leads to stronger relationships and often helps to reduce the reluctance to network. LearningFuze hosts several Meetups and collaborates with others in the tech community to either sponsor or host different networking/educational events.
What sort of advice do you give your students for creating their online presence on LinkedIn, Twitter, or a personal portfolio site?
A job seeker’s online presence starts with LinkedIn, and graduates need to have a profile that is appealing. The profile should include a picture that is appropriate as well as contact information, projects, GitHub profile, and of course experience. Twitter profiles should also have an updated picture, background and bio, and include projects and GitHub profile. Leveraging Twitter can be equally powerful to LinkedIn in making contact with hiring managers, mentors, companies, and others. A word of caution from many employers that have come to the facility to address the students is to ensure that the online presence (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.) best represents them and does not detract from their character by containing offensive or questionable content. One of the first things that employers will do is to Google applicants to see their online presence!
Is there a Job Guarantee at LearningFuze?
LearningFuze will continue to help students until they find a position. If you successfully finish the program, you can obtain a position in the industry with the help of our employer connections and relationships. Students have the option to receive a prorated refund on their tuition up until the end of the first week of the in-class session should they not be satisfied with the program or unable to continue.
Do most LearningFuze students choose to pursue their first job in web development after graduation? How do you support entrepreneurial students?
Students have started their own business as well as landed employment as developers. For instance, Ingen Concepts was created by LearningFuze students. LearningFuze supports all graduates and we are always available to alumni to answer any questions technically or otherwise. Once we make a commitment to a student, we are all in!
In your experience, what do employers like about LearningFuze graduates? What makes LearningFuze grads different from other Orange County developers?
LearningFuze teaches very deeply in the technologies most needed in the Southern California marketplace. This is to ensure students have a sound and fundamentally strong understanding of those languages that are most critical to employment. The program emulates a worklike experience so students not only learn the technologies, but also how to function in a Dev environment. Our motto is that we want to produce students we would would want to hire in the commercial marketplace!
Once we accept a student into the program we feel strongly that we have made a commitment to that student and have an obligation to ensure that we provide the necessary resources and time so that the student is able to acquire the necessary skills. This is a partnership however, so students are equally committed and passionate about their education and the program, which leads to the best learning experience for all involved. We also have four senior level developers with commercial development experience that all instruct or assist students in their specific areas of expertise during the course of the program led by lead instructor Dan Paschal. In addition to the seniors, there are three junior level instructors to assist students during the day-to-day interaction. This leads to a very favorable student-to-teacher ratio.
Finally, the curriculum is administered through a proprietary platform so that students have access to the materials and content 24 hours a day if necessary. Given that students are essentially working on projects that are eventually used in their portfolio throughout the day, it is important that they have ready access to the instructional material.
Can you give some examples of the sort of jobs your graduates are in now?
It runs the gamut from large companies such as Intuit, Kelley Blue Book, and Nike to small to medium size companies. We’ve had students hired before leaving the program and some the day after the cohort concludes. We’ve also had students that want to take their time, or decided to start their search after tackling personal issues. Anyone that is committed, has a passion for development and problem solving, and is willing to continue to learn while putting the time can succeed!
What does a LearningFuze + Hiring Partner relationship look like?
We have developed relationships with numerous companies in the Southern California market, with students gaining employment in Orange County, LA, San Diego and the Inland Empire. Students are introduced to employers that are looking to fill positions through the LearningFuze staff at the conclusion of the program.
Have you noticed that employers are looking for a specific language or specific soft skills in LA/OC/Irvine?
Do employer partners have influence over the LearningFuze curriculum? Is there a feedback loop in place?
We are constantly talking to employers and gaining feedback on what is taught in the program to ensure the curriculum is meeting the needs of the market. LearningFuze has received valuable feedback from Kelley Blue Book, BigRentz, and Experian.
Does LearningFuze have current stats on acceptance rates, job placement stats, and average starting salary for graduates?
The hiring rate slightly varies from one cohort to the next, but approximately 96% of graduates engaged in the employment search process will be employed within 2 (2.08) months of beginning their job search.