Webinar: You survived a coding bootcamp... now what?!

By Liz Eggleston
Last Updated September 6, 2018

So you're going to graduate from a coding bootcamp – congrats! But just because you learn to code doesn't mean you're automatically handed a job as a developer. In this free webinar, a panel from two notable bootcamps – Turing School and Flatiron School – will deliver a roadmap to landing your first job after graduation.

What we cover in this webinar:

  • The current state of Junior Developer jobs – are employers really hiring from bootcamps?
  • How to run your job search once you graduate.
  • The tricks to getting a job offer (and if you should accept it).
  • Plus, our panel (Jeff from Turing School and Rebekah from Flatiron School) answers tons of viewer questions!

Our Panel:

  • Jeff Casimir, the executive director of Turing School in Denver, Colorado. He has been getting his students into developer jobs since 2012. 
  • Rebekah Rombom, the VP of Student Success at Flatiron School in New York City. Flatiron School was recently acquired by WeWork, and the bootcamp is expanding quickly with new campuses opening in London and Washington DC.
  • Liz Eggleston, Course Report


Transcript below:

Welcome Jeff and Rebekah! We’ve got lots of people tuning in live with all their questions about finding a job after bootcamp.

Jeff: I love it. I always like to tell people, bring your hardest question!

The Job Market For Junior Developers

Let's start by talking about the job market in 2018. First, is there even a job market out there for junior developers? A lot of people say that it's flooded or that no one will hire bootcampers. What are you seeing?

Rebekah: We've been seeing people get jobs at a rate of over one job per day since the beginning of the year. That doesn't mean to me that there are no jobs out there. Quite the contrary, right? All of the statistics about the gap between the need for technical talent and the lack of existing talent in the market are true. More and more companies need technologists, and colleges are not keeping up with the demands to graduate technologists as quickly as the market is growing.

As long as folks are graduating from a program like Flatiron School or like Turing and making $75,000 to $80,000 dollars, the market is not saturated. That's far and above the average starting salary for a four-year college grad. All of that said, that doesn't mean that you don't need to market yourself in order to get a job.

Like any job in any industry, employers are not going to say, "Yes, give me someone with no accredited credential and no experience." Employers want you to make a case for yourself about why your experience is akin to, or better than, that of a four-year college grad. Employers will want you make an argument about why your five years as a marketing associate, for example, makes you an incredible software engineer for a marketing company.

Just because there is a giant, yawning gap in the job market between available talent and jobs that exist, it doesn't mean that you automatically get a job. You need to make it clear that you are the right person for that job.

Arnold asks: "How prevalent is the stigma that bootcamp grads aren't good enough to be hired?"

Jeff: I definitely hear that all the time from employers. Or "we're not ready to hire junior developers right now.” The part that I take some comfort in is that their competition will hire junior developers. The market value of developers from any program – whether it's undergrad, a master's degree, or a program like Flatiron or Turing – their value versus cost graph is trending upwards, and you can either choose to hire them now or later.

We see a lot of companies who repeat hire. They are super excited – they tell us that their first hire is doing great work and they come back to hire another. That's the best endorsement we could ask for. I bet that's really common across markets – it’s not just Turing and Flatiron.

Who is hiring? What types of companies are in the market today?

Jeff: For us, it's more diverse than it's been at any point in the past. Two to three years ago, the largest group of companies that were hiring students, with rare exception, were companies with 200 or fewer employees. Now, some folks are going to your Lockheeds and Boeings and those enormous companies. There are also still a lot of two to four person startups and everything in between.

At the larger companies, their teams tend to need modernization of practices and skills and people coming out of a bootcamp program usually are strong in that. Smaller companies want somebody who's ready to work super hard (maybe too hard) and is really fired up about the work. So bootcamps can solve a lot of different problems.

Apprenticeships and Internships After Coding Bootcamp

Do you recommend internships or apprenticeships ever or do you only recommend that people go into that junior developer role when they graduate?

Rebekah: Just under half of our graduates take an apprenticeship – a full time, paid, term-limited job – that's usually paid hourly or on some sort of contract. Then somewhere between 50% to 60% of our graduates take a full-time salaried role.

Our opinion – and we're extremely transparent about this – is that you're starting your career, so you should take a job that pays and allows you to do good work with good people, demonstrate your skills, and have the opportunity to get hired either at that company or somewhere else with even more leverage in your second job opportunity. So we're very encouraging of students and employers taking a flyer on each other in an apprenticeship.

An apprenticeship is also a great way for students to demonstrate their skills. Even if they're renegotiating their salary with that same employer, you have more leverage after six months of demonstrating that you're an amazing employee than you do with no work experience in a discipline six months earlier.

Jeff: I agree – the most important thing is to get a first job. I would prefer that it's a standard full-time job. Second choice, an apprenticeship. I hate the word internship because, to me, that's like the person who does the stapling and refills. I would say that about 15% of Turing students will go into a time-limited position.

One of the interesting consequences for us is that we do this CIRR Reporting and the CIRR Framework is not friendly to internships or apprenticeships. That has actually brought down our average salary numbers. Historically, we would have only counted a full-time, salaried position in our average salary. Now we have to count the apprenticeship position as your first job, so we see our average salary decrease. But that doesn't matter for the student. I don't want my students to make a decision based on what's good for our stats, right? I think getting into those apprenticeship positions is really valuable.

And exactly as Rebekah said, at the beginning, you have zero leverage. There are lots of other people like you, and once you get an in and prove yourself, then you have some leverage.

Meghan asks: "How can bootcamp grads find internship or apprenticeships when so many have current student status as a requirement?

Rebekah: We just had a recruiter from a very large technology company speaking to our team. He said that they get two million applicants for their internship within two days of posting it. That's not a pool I want to be in.

The way we encourage our students to look for opportunities, apprenticeship, internship or a full-time job is to connect with real people. Find real people and strike up conversations and connections with them. Some call this networking. We call it connecting with people because networking has this negative connotation for some people (although I love networking).

Whatever name you use, connecting with real people is the place to look for jobs. If you look on a job board, you're getting into the opportunity in the same way as those 1,999,999 other people. What you want is to stand out. And the way that you stand out as a graduate from a program like Flatiron School or from Turing is to really tell the story: why you're passionate about programming, why your past skills are transferable and actually make you a better an addition to the team.

It’s not about where you look on the internet or which companies have the right apprenticeship programs. It's about finding the people who are going to connect with your story. That may mean someone who also made a transition into engineering from a nontraditional background, that might mean someone who is from the same tiny town as you, that may mean someone who went to your bootcamp and is really passionate about it.

If you find that person, you tell them your story, and you make a connection with them, then they're going to make an apprenticeship for you.

Jeff: If you don’t think you qualify for an apprenticeship, that's a place where I think the bootcamp itself or my staff can be helpful, where somebody reaches out on your behalf and explains Turing to them. The company has probably written up the description for the 90% case and you're not that. But those rules typically don't actually matter to the company.

Rebekah: Yeah, we have a whole team at Flatiron School that's focused exclusively on evangelizing for students. They talk to companies all day about why it might be a good idea to build an apprenticeship. Or take a flyer on them for that full-time job that requires 2-5 years of software engineering experience."

The other side of the student success team is our career coaches who work with students on doing that themselves. So for everything our partnerships team does that’s company facing, you have a career coach coaching you on how to do that same thing for yourself.

How Important is Learning Style and Curriculum?

Amy asks: "From an employer's perspective, how do they evaluate online bootcamps versus in-person bootcamps?” Rebekah, you support both online and in-person students, so I'm curious what you see.

Rebekah: I have not really heard employers articulate that they think there's a difference. Our curriculum is the same, our assessments are just as rigorous, the career services support is the same, and so we don't represent to employers that there is a difference between the graduates of the two programs. The only difference is that if the company is located in a city where we don't have a physical campus, then good news – there's a Flatiron grad for you. But we treat the programs the same internally and I haven't heard anything about employers treating them you differently in the job market.

How much does the specific technology you studied at a bootcamp matter? Can someone study Ruby at a bootcamp and then get a Java or a Go job?

Jeff: When there is a mismatch between the skills on your resume and the skills the company needs – whatever the nature of that mismatch – it means that you have to sell how to close that gap. You have to make the case. If you’re an exact match, like you went to a Java bootcamp and they’re hiring for Java jobs, then your likelihood of matching up is high.

I like to tell students and grads about the three things it takes to be successful in a job hunt: discipline, hustle, and skill. If you're graduating from a bootcamp, you better be good at what you do. The hustle piece is hard. Hustle means that you’re putting yourself into places that you don't belong and trying to find a way to be comfortable enough to get what you want.

Rebekah: If we were teaching exclusively what was most widely used in the market, that would not be Ruby. We teach Ruby and JavaScript. We think it's important that students get experience with two different languages. Then it's easy to make the argument to an employer that “I’ve learned that this pattern is a pattern across multiple languages and I'll learn the learn the same thing in Python really fast.”

I think part of selling yourself for a job in a different language that you didn't learn is selling your ability to learn quickly, selling how quickly you just learned. Best case scenario – you do a little project like building Tic-tac-toe in Java so that you're showing and not just telling the employer what you can do.

But again, no one's going to look at your resume for a Java job when you learned Ruby and JavaScript exclusively and say, "This is my perfect candidate." You might be the perfect candidate but it's your job to make that case. At Flatiron, your coach is helping you make and practice that argument, but it takes hustle.

Is there a language, a framework or a specific technology that you recommend people study after they graduate in their time between graduating and getting that first job?

Rebekah: Let your job search drive that. Ideally, you're making connections with lots of people and encountering languages and frameworks that you did not study at school. Your time is well spent if you're building little projects to demonstrate that you are indeed able to pick that language or framework up very fast.

Jeff: One of the things employers are nervous about in hiring is that when you were told what to do, you delivered. Can you deliver when you're not told what to do – when you have to figure out what to do? I see people saying, "For these two weeks I'm doing Java, the next two weeks I'm doing Python, the two weeks after that I'm doing C#." Your marginal returns are significantly downward sloping.

One of the parts that I get frustrated a bit with grads is that when they want to learn a new technology, they also try and solve a new problem. I think that's the wrong move. You either do new technology + old problem or an old technology + new problem. But don't do new technology and a new problem because you're not going to get anywhere and that's going to affect your ability to interview etc. So take a project that you already did and just re-implement it in Python, in C# or whatever.

Setting Expectations

What is the time-to-hire outlook for graduates? How long is it taking them to get hired right now?

Jeff: Our goal for this year is for every class to hit 100% job placement in 100 days. We have this very consistent graph:

  • 1/5 of students will be hired before graduation
  • 2/5 will be hired within 30 days of graduation
  • 1/5 will be hired in 30-75 days.

And then there are a couple of stragglers who are affected by illness or family. Over half the time it's the graduate’s choices in the job hunt and their willingness to engage and participate. What we see is that there are zero students who do what we ask them to do and don’t get hired within 90 days.  

So there are differences between folks who are getting jobs in 45 days versus those that take 100 plus days?

Jeff: Yes, and it's not programming skill. People misunderstand and think that the best programmers get hired first. No, no, no. It's the people who are willing to put themselves in uncomfortable situations. And when they get knocked down a little bit, they double down. The ones who go 120-plus days without getting hired are the ones who get knocked down a little bit and are like, "Oh, I need to take two weeks off. I can't do this."

I think we're getting better and better at figuring out how to preemptively support those people. It's a little weird to go to somebody before graduation and be like, "Hey, based on your work, we've seen a lot of people like you going to these extended job hunts and so let's try and intervene now." And they're like, "Me? Not me." But it's working slowly. Rebekah, are you seeing similar timelines?

Rebekah: Yeah. Someone just said a great thing to me about debugging your job search. That means ensure you're not taking shortcuts when you're in our careers program. You would never not think to debug your program if it’s not running You have to debug it. It's just part of what you do as a software engineer.

In the same way, you also have to debug your job search, which means being self-reflective, understanding how your own behavior is impacting the outcomes, what kinds of outcomes your behavior is driving, and then changing your behavior. The hardest job searches are less self-reflective about behavior or less willing to change behavior based upon the feedback you’re getting from the world.

Most successful job searchers immediately and quickly debug their job search based upon their self-reflection. And it's tough because this is the sort of the vibe you're putting out as a person. It's hard to debug that – maybe harder than it is to debug a program in the Terminal. But super successful job seekers are:

  • Really reflective about what they're doing
  • Reflective about the feedback the market is giving them on those behaviors
  • Listening to their career coaches
  • Rngaging in conversations about what they can try next
  • And making quick iterations until they see better responses from the market.

Jeff: This hooks back to saturation in the market. High-performing students talk to 8, 10, 12 companies, they interview three times, they get a job and they are off the market. The person who, as Rebekah is saying, doesn't listen to the process and the feedback,  essentially are creating noise in the system. That person might apply for 80 jobs and then the industry is affected by that. There's an overrepresentation because we oversample the folks who are struggling in their job hunt.

Daniel is an audience member who graduated from a bootcamp in April and asks: "How can I find a job coach if my bootcamp didn't offer that?"

Rebekah: When you're choosing a program, asking questions throughout the admissions process is really important. Ask what the career support looks like, what does the job search support look like? Is the school involved? How involved? We actually have a bunch of free, open source resources at No Brainer Tech Hire  – you can download an eBook about how to follow our framework – it's called the career services commitment, all the things that your job search should entail.

If you're looking for someone to assist you in a job search, there are independent coaches on the market. But you might just need an accountability partner to make a plan and understand the machinations of what you need to do. That might be a parent or a friend who's holding you accountable to doing those things every week and helping you debug, helping ask questions, what feedback did you get back from the world, and does that mean it worked or might you need to make a change?

At Flatiron School we also provide graduates with a career prep curriculum that explains how to execute those requirements and a way that’s driven by best practices. If you're doing this job search independently, do some research on what that looks like. Killer cover letters for tech, how to get a hiring manager's attention.

Jeff: The responsibility of the bootcamp can vary. Unfortunately there are some programs that say, "Once you graduate, best of luck to you." I hate to see that people are likely unprepared for entering that kind of job hunt and executing it effectively. There are books, resources, roadmaps of job searches. But those might not work for everyone.

The second struggle situation is when a student says "I'm not really willing to do the work. I've been given frameworks or provided some coaching and I don't need to do all that." That's a real dangerous situation. No one self-identifies that way or plans that, but we definitely see that scenario.

What worries me about the question is that this person is saying "Hey, can I get some feedback on this? Hey, can I get some support with this?" And the bootcamp is saying, “Mm-mh, you paid your tuition and graduated. We'll see you later." That sucks. To me, that's not ethical from a bootcamp’s standpoint.

Our stand for students is, if you're putting in, then we will always put in at least as much as you're putting in." It doesn't matter whether it's 100 days, 200 days, 400 days, second job, third job. I don't care. If you're putting in, then we're in for your success.

That's good advice for people who may not have yet chosen their bootcamp. Ask those questions about the career search and how hands-on the bootcamp is going to be in your career search. Don't be afraid to ask those types of things!

Jeff: Remember that the quality of a bootcamp can change over time. Rebekah's been doing this work at Flatiron School forever and is now are super organized. I would say that career services and career support has not always been a strength of ours at Turing School. And so there are reviews on Course Report that say like, "I loved the program. Could you use more help with my job hunt!" And we say, "You're right!"

Over time, we’ve made changes to that and I feel really happy with where our job support is now. I'd cut that both ways. If you read a review that says, "Oh, Job Services were great," I would still want to ask a question like, "Hey, I read in 2015 your job services were excellent. Are those folks still around? How's job support changed since then?"

Age and Previous Background

This was our number one most asked question: Is age a factor in getting a job? For our viewers who are 50+, should they be setting different expectations?

Rebekah: This is always the most-asked question!

Employers really value other experience. I say this and I'm not sure because I can't see your faces if you really believe me, but I've seen over a thousand jobs searches – I've been at Flatiron School for almost five years – and students who genuinely understand the skills that they have, the way that they're applicable to the software engineering role, the passion that they have developed for software engineering and the craft because they've done other stuff and they didn't feel this way about it, and how to be an employee, how to show up at work, what to wear to work, how to collaborate across teams, how to manage stakeholders, how to manage up, how to manage down, how to manage peers, I can't emphasize enough how valuable those skills are especially in a pool of applicants and other employees who are also new to this career. And maybe that's because they just graduated from college. That means that they'll have some tactical or computer science skills that you might not have, but they won't have all that experience.

To be complementary in that way is extraordinarily valuable to an employer. You have to believe it and you have to know how to articulate it. But if you can do those things, it's so valuable.

Jeff: I would look at this in age bands. Graduates who are 18 to 22, especially boys aged 18 to 22, have had the most difficult job hunt of any demographic. Even though we don’t have a ton of this demographic, they have been some of our highest performing software developers. But when you struggle to show up for things on time and need the basics of being an adult, that is not great. My number one concern in age is on the younger end.

And to an extent with Turing, we will almost not accept students under about 21, 22 or at least they have to be exceptional and not have red flags like showing up for their interview five minutes late. I think graduates in the 25 to 40 range are in the sweet spot. Exactly as Rebekah said, your first job and career are huge assets, you know how to deliver on time, and you know how to be a professional.

For people in the 40 to 60 range, there are definitely successes, but there are also extra hurdles. I think there is a conceptual problem for hiring companies to believe that this person is going to be satisfied and engage in a junior role. That a 50 year old will be really fired up about an apprenticeship. You have to counter by doubling down and saying: "I'm excited about your company, about this job, about technology and I'm in." It can definitely work.

We've had grads in their 50's be super successful. I will say also that that demographic typically struggles in the program. The demands of coming into a program like ours and putting in these absurd hours for a shorter period – only about 50% of them will make it more than halfway through the program. There are things we can do to be better about that, but there is definitely a skepticism of folks aged 40 to 70.

How to Run Your Job Search

Let's talk about actually running the job search. Federico asks: "My biggest problem post-coding bootcamp is managing myself now that my time is suddenly unstructured. Any recommendations on how to keep this opportunity from getting away from me?" How can graduates organize themselves for success when they're doing this job search alone?

Rebekah: One of the things that I mentioned earlier was that your career coach after Flatiron School acts in part as an accountability partner. That's no joke. You must:

  • Articulate your goals
  • Externalize your goals either to a piece of paper, to another person,
  • Holding yourself accountable or asking someone to hold you accountable goes a really long way.
  • Write down what you're supposed to get done or tell someone else what you're supposed to get done and then be responsible for doing it.

The second thing that we tell grads is to schedule your day as though you were at school:

  • There should be a block of time when you're coding and working on projects,
  • There should be a block of time when you're following up with conversations you had last week
  • There should be a block of time when you're sourcing contacts for new conversations from your network or from LinkedIn
  • There should be a block of time where you're writing emails to those people.
  • And you should be tracking all of this.

At Flatiron School we give you a very fancy spreadsheet tool where you track all of this so that you and your career coach together can follow up. What contacts are open, who did I not follow up with etc. So setting goals and scheduling your time just the way that your school did for you while you were in the program. It sounds simple but that's what it takes.

Jeff: Rebekah, how often does a grad beginning their job hunt talk about “burnout?”

Rebekah: We allow you to wait up to 90 days between program completion and declaring a job search start day. We hear about burnout a lot because not only is this a second kind of school experience, intensive experience, it's a completely different set of skills. You've got to turn 180 degrees, keep your skills sharp and continue challenging yourself to get better at programming, and then also learn how to maintain this set of skills.

We built in this buffer for students who feel like they needed it. I would say most students take up to 14 days off before they start their job search and a lot of times that's just a little recoup.

Jeff: We hear it a lot too. It's interesting that your time to burnout is half of what Turing’s is. Your students can get burned out in 12 weeks. Our students get burned out in 27 weeks. The reality is that burnout is a mental health condition, not a physical health condition. We pretend like it's about spending so many hours on this keyboard, yadi yada. In my opinion, that’s false.

The best way to combat fear is through consistency. I think students who set a goal to “get a job” will struggle. That's a bad goal. Because it's probably going to take you 30, 45, 60 days and in that interim, you're going to see failure, failure, failure, failure, failure.

I recommend setting out goals in four 90 minute segments.

  • One of those segments is going to be technical work prep
  • A second segment is going to be responding to new job listings
  • A third segment is going to be responding to existing conversations,
  • And a fourth segment is going to be whatever is most appropriate that day.

If you set out to accomplish "the six hours I promised myself I was going to do in an organized way," then you're like, "Okay, I didn't get a job today but I did what I set out to do." Practice succeeding, and then when you actually have the interview, you’ll succeed.

Thank you for breaking that out into manageable time throughout the day that you should be devoting to certain things. How much of that job search time should go into networking?

Rebekah: Oh, yeah. Networking encompasses a whole bunch of stuff. To me, networking includes going to meetups and setting a goal of talking to two people. As Jeff said, if you set goals that are too big and nebulous, you won’t succeed. Actually, this is exactly like writing a program. You would never say, "I'm going to make a Facebook clone," without breaking that down into many small sprints.

Even attending a meetup for networking should be broken down into "I'm going to stay for 60 minutes or through two conversations, whichever comes first." It's not "I'm going to make two contacts that are going to lead to interviews." You're going to have two conversations. But that's networking.

Another part of networking is saying "I'm going to find three people online who attend the same school as me or grew up in the same town as me and find their emails." Maybe that's what you do today if you're completely new to this and it's really hard. An enormous amount of your time should be devoted to networking.

I think one giant job search myth is that applying to jobs gets you jobs. People get jobs from people, not from job boards. All of your job application time should be redirected to networking, contacting, and engaging with humans. The job search takes an enormous amount of time, so executing and debugging all of your activities is very time consuming and you're going to spend more time on it than feels appropriate given you just spent 60 hours a week coding all day every day.

Jeff: I'm with you. Right now, I think I’m over meetups. In Denver, meetups aren't that useful because they're predominantly people from Turing or another bootcamp, and they just end up talking to each other.

My advice: the smaller the meetup the better. You're not going to find the right job in a thousand people. I think if you can get into a niche meetup, whether it's niche by location or its niche by technology where there are 20, 30, 40 people, then your chances of finding someone who's interested in helping you are much higher.

You might not find the job but you might find the person who helps you find a job. You can find your advocate. That's why I think there's a real power if you're going to a smaller market, a market where the purpose of the meet up is to try and incubate community, they're desperate for people who want to come in and join the community. When you're in New York, Chicago, SF, Denver, that's not going to happen.

Applying for Developer Jobs

We have so many amazing questions from people so I want to make sure that we get through them. Let’s do a lightning round!!

Curtis asks "Is it recommended to mention that you attended a bootcamp or should job applicants just describe their experience without disclosing that they attended the bootcamp?"

Jeff: I guess... maybe. The only time you wouldn't mention your bootcamp is if you thought the company had a bad experience with the specific program. If you knew somebody had been fired from your bootcamp at that company, then I wouldn't bring it up. Other than that, it would just sound shady.

Rebekah: Yeah. I think the bootcamp is a part of your story of how you found code, and how you got to where you are with code is the way that you learn. Maybe part of your learning was independent and self-driven on your own and part of your learning was at this bootcamp.

In any interview scenario, you don’t want to just leave a piece of information and let people draw their own conclusion from it. You want to have a really robust narrative around that piece of information. Someone shouldn't have the opportunity to say, "Oh, since you went to bootcamp, it’s a no go on your application."

You should have a whole narrative around why your bootcamp experience prepared you for this job. We don't encourage students to hide anything in their interview process. That's certainly not what they learned.

The other way doesn't make sense either. There's no job that's going to say, “Oh, you went to Flatiron, you're in. Let's go." “Oh, you graduated from Turing, congratulations. Here's the job." Sorry. I honestly wouldn't want it that way.

Rich asks: "What are the trends generally that you're seeing in salaries in 2018 and have you seen those go up or down over the years?"

Jeff: I continue to see a tremendous amount of variability. It's not predictable by market, by industry, company size. I'm concerned when a student considers an offer below $65,000. It has to be something that's a passion project, like nonprofit kind of thing or it's an apprenticeship that's 90 days and it's going to lead to a $75,000 to $80,000 job. For us, rarely 1 out of 100 students receives offers over $100,000. We really see this $65,000 to $100,000 salary range with the vast majority in the $70,000 to $85,000 range.

Michael asks: "What's the job market like for a student with an associate's degree?" And Laura asked, "Do your bootcamp graduate without college degrees find jobs? Do you see any difference based on educational background and past degrees?

Rebekah: I think it depends on the opportunity, but we have more students without college degrees than I even realize and they get the same jobs as students with four-year degrees by and large. A large percentage of our students, four-year degrees or not, will go into apprenticeships for their first experience. They're all starting out new in this industry. I think where you can get kind of some upside benefit is if you have an advanced degree that's related to the discipline in which you're now building technology. That commands a premium on the market.

We don't really see the same on the other side where you don't have a four-year degree consistently taking apprenticeships when the salaries are lower. I think the more you can match your skills and experience and existing credentials to the specifics of the job that you're doing and make yourself that much better than any other candidate the more upside you're going to gain. But we don't typically see it being a challenge if someone doesn't have a four-year degree.

Tim asks: “Should I apply for a job even though the job listing states that you need a bachelor's degree for the position? Would you tell people to still apply?”

Jeff: Almost every job listing says, "Requires 2 to 4 years of experience and a degree in computer science.” Ignore that.

Rebekah: Ignore that requirement!

The other side is that you will always get rejected from a job at which you don't meet the credentials if you just send in a resume. That’s why you have to find the hiring manager, write a great note, connect with them and mention the things that you have in common, paint the picture of why you are a great candidate. So no, you should definitely not avoid jobs for which you don't meet all the requirements. No one meets all the requirements for any job. It's a wish list.

There might be a robot looking at resumes and screening them out if they don't meet the specific credential requirements of the job. It's your job to work your way in there and get to the person who wants your story.

We talked about apprenticeships a lot in this conversation, but should you consider an hourly position – a full-time hourly, or a part-time hourly?

Jeff: I’m super into a full-time hourly job. There are a lot of scenarios where that's the only option (government contracting etc). Some of the hourly, full-time jobs are surprisingly high-paying.

I’m more worried about part-time hourly offers. The danger scenario is the grad who takes a part-time hourly job and they're going to keep job hunting. The reality is that they're not really doing either one to the fullest extent. So in 6 months, they're still doing 20 hours a week on this job and it's essentially let them off the hook for the full-time job hunt. I think if you need the money to keep the lights on, you've got do what you have to do. I'd say, if you can afford not to, I would choose not to.

Becca says: "I'm a mom to four kids, and would love to graduate and do contract work. Do you do placement for bootcampers that are looking for contract work or part-time work?”

Rebekah: At Flatiron School, the most standard job search outcome is either a full-time apprenticeship or a full-time salaried job. If a student has different goals, then that's an early conversation with your career coach before you even graduate from the program. You just build a plan to address the goals that you have. If your goal is "I want to do 20 hours a week of contract work, I want to do that contract work remotely or be a freelancer, I want to add this service to my existing design, visual design agency," you can work up a plan with your coach.

Again, if you're not a Flatiron School student or grad, find an accountability partner. Find someone to bounce these ideas off. But there is a lot of opportunity in technology for all kinds of employment structures and goals. We've definitely seen that.

Jeff: Let me say, you can be a mom and crush at a full-time job too. I want to see those expectations come up. We have students at Turing who are single moms and they're putting in these ridiculous hours (which I then feel morally questionable about) but it leads to some amazing job scenarios; full of opportunity, great work hours, great leave policies, and all that. That gives me even lower tolerance for the 20-year-old who says "Oh, man I was playing video games too late and can’t do the job search." It's like, "This lady was doing bedtime and had to work from 10 pm to 1am to make it."

I think parents know how to work hard and work efficiently. You can be super successful in a program, you can be super successful after the program and you deserve more than just doing contract work.

That's an excellent pump up speech. One last question – Rebekah and Jeff, how do you know if you should accept a job offer? Should you ever turn one down?

Rebekah: Listen, I think you should get your career started. Unless you have a moral, legal, or personal objection to this company, they're paying you for work you want to do in the discipline you want to be in, so taking that job will give you more leverage to demand more of the things that you want in your next job. A first job is an opportunity to gain leverage, and to get what you want in your second job.

Jeff: I don't like somebody turning an offer down unless they got another offer. If you've got two, three, four, then pick the one you like. It's tough because it's in our self-interest to so say, "Take your first job offer."

I can draw a pie chart of what percentage of jobs are open to you as a recent grad (1% to 2%). With 6 to 12 months of experience, it's now 5%. If you have two years experience, then 25% of jobs are open to you. The pool of jobs even at just a decent place, a place where you will be reasonably respected, reasonably compensated, have a reasonable commute and all that, two years from now, the world is open to you. So getting started is usually the right choice.

Rebekah and Jeff, thank you so much for joining us. This is all super valuable information. You laid it out really clearly. For those of you who joined and asked questions, thank you so much. You made this webinar great!

Find out more and read Turing School reviews and Flatiron School reviews on Course Report.

About The Author

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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