Where do coding bootcamp graduates really get jobs? Mobify! Mobify is an mobile eCommerce platform based in Vancouver, Canada that optimizes the shopping experience. We chatted with Laura Crawford, Mobify’s Talent Acquisition Manager, to learn more about why they’ve already hired four Lighthouse Labs graduates and look forward to hiring more. Read on to learn how Mobify focuses on hiring passionate and curious software engineers, and the types of roles these coding bootcampers are thriving in today.
Could you tell me about Mobify and your role there?
I'm the Talent Acquisition Manager at Mobify, so I lead up our recruitment initiatives from our headquarters in Vancouver, Canada. I’ve been with the company for three years now.
Mobify is a PAAS (platform-as-a-service) company. Our mobile customer engagement platform enables retailers and brands to increase conversions and win customer loyalty through mobile web, apps, push notifications, and store drivers.
How many Lighthouse Labs graduates have you hired?
We've hired four Lighthouse Labs graduates within in the last two years. Lighthouse Labs is really involved in the Vancouver tech community, which is really great. Our Mobify team attends a lot of the Vancouver tech networking events and we met Lighthouse Labs through one of those events.
What types of roles have you hired Lighthouse Labs graduates for?
Mobify has hired Lighthouse Labs graduates for junior roles that have covered a variety of different functions. One Lighthouse Labs graduate joined us as a Back End Data Engineer, one alum as a Front End Engineer for our customer success team, and one as a UI and Web Developer. Another graduate joined our customer success team as Front End Engineer and he's recently transitioned into a role as Support Engineer, assisting clients with technical issues during the builds.
It’s great that Mobify is hiring Lighthouse Labs grads for different roles. How do you usually hire your developers?
It's a really competitive market, so Mobify has a diversified recruitment strategy. We host a lot of events at our office and we encourage all of our employees to be really involved in the tech community. We want our employees attending and speaking at meetups and conferences in order to grow our network.
On our recruitment team, we do a lot of direct outreach to candidates. We have a comprehensive advertising strategy as well where we advertise all of our jobs and promote our employer brand so that we have a strong talent pipeline.
Have you noticed any differences in the process of hiring a bootcamp grad versus a graduate of a traditional computer science degree program?
Lighthouse Labs is great, and they accommodate Mobify’s hiring process. We have a unique and very thorough interview process, and Lighthouse Labs is flexible, which is fantastic. We don't have to bend our process to fit Lighthouse Labs’ needs, so it makes it really easy to work with them.
I think developers acquire skills in all sorts of different ways. Some people have been coding since they were in elementary school, and others are just starting to learn now. Then, of course, we do hire engineers with traditional academic training like degrees in engineering and computer science. We definitely have a broad range of backgrounds within our engineering department at Mobify.
What specific qualities does Mobify look for when hiring new developers?
At Mobify, we're most focused on finding passionate engineers who are naturally curious, who love the work that they do, and who are lifelong learners. We want people who are humble and egoless, who know what they don't know and work hard to fill in their knowledge gaps. In our interview process, we don’t target a specific type of educational background.
The students we've interviewed from Lighthouse Labs are typically either brand new to development because they're making a career transition, or because they've just finished secondary school and they're looking to get into the tech industry fairly quickly after they graduate. We tend to see junior skill sets coming from Lighthouse Labs.
Because the Lighthouse Labs grads have such varied backgrounds, Mobify has been able to find Lighthouse Labs talent that are a good fit for different areas of the business. Some got an undergraduate degree in math or science and then decided to go into software engineering after graduation, so they can hit the ground running in a more complex technical role. Others are coming from a design background and might need a bit more training to ramp up. Students who are making a career transition and decide they want to be involved in design and development are typically better suited for some of Mobify’s more junior positions.
Mobify is focused on looking for students who are passionate, and eager to learn and grow with the company.
Has Mobify worked with any other coding bootcamps besides Lighthouse Labs?
No, we've been really happy with Lighthouse Labs. Our engineers here have really enjoyed working with, and mentoring the Lighthouse Labs graduates. Some of our engineers have even taken that next step and taught as TAs with Lighthouse Labs in their own spare time as well.
What does Mobify’s current relationship with Lighthouse Labs look like? Do you pay a referral fee for hiring graduates?
There is no referral fee required. As a company, we want to be integrated and involved with the tech community in Vancouver. Lighthouse Labs has been great to us, so we host some events for them and offer our space for events like employer speed dating. Employer speed dating is where Lighthouse Labs graduates can meet with and talk to a whole group of employers in one evening to get a sense of what their work environments are like, and what they're looking for in their engineering hires as well.
At Lighthouse Labs, students learn Ruby on Rails. Are the Lighthouse Labs hires working in Rails or does Mobify use other languages?
How does Mobify ensure that new hires are supported during the first months at their new job?
We have a fairly thorough company-wide onboarding program that spans two weeks. Mobify places new hires in a group with other new employees; sometimes that’s a group of employees in the same functions, sometimes not, but it bodes well for camaraderie. Then, new hires have meetings with a lead from each department to learn about the business as a whole. This gives them the opportunity to meet with leadership from each of the different departments, and learn how they can work together. Mobify has department specific onboarding as well, which is just as comprehensive.
Mobify engineers work together very collaboratively. We're an Agile software development company, so there are a lot of standups and opportunities to work through problems together. Our engineers do a lot of pair programming and code review as well. It's an environment where junior hires are supported by mentors, and formally supported by their Engineering Lead as well.
Since you started hiring Lighthouse Labs graduates, have any of those new hires been promoted, or do you anticipate they will?
Some of the Lighthouse Labs graduates have moved into other roles based on their interests because we do encourage lateral movement where we can support it. One of our Lighthouse Labs graduates recently moved to San Francisco to work at Uber, which is a success story! With all of our employees, we nurture them and support them in their growth. If they're successful in their role here and they're getting promoted, that means that we’re doing a good job.
Does Mobify have a feedback loop with the bootcamp? Are you able to influence the curriculum at Lighthouse Labs if you notice that some of the dev hires are lacking in a certain area?
Yeah, definitely. Lighthouse Labs is super communicative, and they're in touch with us often to get our feedback. They're always available to talk. When we’re typically doing recruitment for junior engineers, they're one of the first organizations that we reach out to. They always have time to talk through what specifically we're looking for, and they have a very personal touch with their students as well. For example, they will make personal introductions for specific students that they think would be a good fit.
Is it safe to say that Mobify will probably hire from Lighthouse Labs in the future?
A lot of employers are testing the waters with coding bootcampers, but don't necessarily know how to navigate it. Do you have any advice to other employers who are thinking about hiring from a coding bootcamp or even from Lighthouse Labs in particular?
I think being open-minded is important. A lot of coding bootcampers come to your company with rich backgrounds and a lot of knowledge that they can leverage into being successful engineers. Just because their background may not look like the traditional software developer, doesn't mean that they can’t grow into some of your strongest engineers.
I would say the best way to find out whether bootcamp graduates area a good fit for you is to dive in and start interviewing!
Lauren is a communications and operations strategist who loves to help others find their idea of success. She is passionate about techonology education, career development, startups, and the arts. Her background includes career/youth development, public affairs, and philanthropy. She is from Richmond, VA and now currently resides in Los Angeles, CA.
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