Imagine you’re thinking of starting a Learn-To-Code bootcamp to retrain non-technical workers for impending software projects. You’ve searched the area for computer science graduates but haven’t been able to discover enough qualified applicants, therefore you’re thinking about this strategy. Using non-tech talent appears to be a practical and appealing choice. But how do you spot employees who will succeed in a rigorous reskilling program—or at least stick with it?
The hardest part of conducting a reskilling program, according to Jessica Schneider, VP-Product Development at DevelopIntelligence, can be finding applicants who are both interested in and qualified for a coding job.
You’re seeking for persons who have the skills and perseverance to switch their careers completely and quickly to software development. Bootcamps for learning to code are like sipping from a fire hose. Participants will be prepared to write code in an entry-level developer position in 14 to 16 weeks. They must possess the motivation, stamina, and patience to face a challenging learning curve.
Imagine a long-distance backpacking trip with significant elevation increase. You want people on your journey that have the drive and dedication to succeed, especially when the going gets difficult.
Finding these candidates involves three distinct phases
PHASE 1: RECRUIT
According to Allison Freedman, Implementation Program Manager of DevelopIntelligence, “start with a clear aim for the amount of people you want to recruit, as well as minimal criteria.” Track the source of the application as well so you can concentrate your efforts on those that are producing the best results.
Which demographics do you intend to reach with your Learn-To-Code bootcamp? Are you searching for employees with a specific background when hiring from the outside, such as musicians? Are you attempting to diversify the tech workforce? Exists a geographical prerequisite?
Where can you locate these applicants? via workforce development facilities? offices for university alumni websites for recruiting?
Who may apply if you intend to retrain internal candidates? Some organizations request participant recommendations from supervisors. Other businesses encourage everyone who is interested to apply.
Most importantly, how will you evaluate candidates’ dedication, aptitude, and motivation? You can learn more about a candidate’s motivations for applying to the program by asking them for short essays. What do they anticipate to gain from it? Recruiters: Is the candidate’s justification convincing, true, and realistic?
Although these candidates lack programming knowledge, you still need to evaluate their basic computer literacy. Additionally, cognitive tests can show how applicants approach and resolve issues. Do they possess the necessary ability for coding and the dedication required of Learn-To-Code students?
Some applicants will jump out in this first round of screening, and you’ll want to look at them more. Low assessment scores will cause some to fail. Or, they failed to do the required tasks by the set timeframes. Candidates are not a good fit if they lack the motivation to keep their promises throughout the recruitment phase.
“Go back to the drawing board and tweak your recruiting technique if you find you’re not receiving the correct kind of person,” advises Freedman.
PHASE 2: EVALUATE CODING BOOTCAMP APPLICANTS
There is a two-way review process. You need a sense of the prospects’ aptitude for picking up and using new abilities. Additionally, you want to provide them a preview of the program.
To “learn to code” or “learn to be a developer”: what does that mean? What subjects and curriculum are covered by a learn-to-code course? Candidates can respond to these queries and determine fit by using a well-designed evaluation phase. Is this the best chance for them at this time?
Give students a self-paced pre-work assignment or an activity to complete. This allows you to observe how applicants approach problems and provides them a sense of what they will be doing. They might not always solve the problem correctly, but you’ll get a feel of how they think about it. You should also assess their capacity to retain information.
After this assessment, a candidate’s level of excitement is a wonderful indication of how well they might fit in. According to Schneider, “By successfully completing this part of the hiring process, they’ve also shown they are devoted to learning and capable of meeting deadlines.”
You’ll have a short list of highly qualified candidates at the conclusion of this step.
PHASE 3: SELECT YOUR PARTICIPANTS
A behavioral assessment and one or more interviews make up the last stage of the hiring process.
The same is true of a bootcamp for learning to code. You want to assess commitment and fit. Consider carefully the engineering culture that candidates will enter following the retraining program.
Include a range of people—software engineers, managers, team members of the program, and at least one professional recruiter—in the interviewing process. If these interviewers give you the go-ahead, you probably have the best candidate for your program.
Consider including a grace period for opting out because for many candidates, a Learn-To-Code program signifies a significant career change. Candidates may believe they comprehend the material after going through this thorough vetting procedure. But after two weeks, they discover that the program “isn’t for me” and isn’t what they had anticipated.
For the applicant, enrolling in a coding bootcamp is a significant change. Although no one likes to see attrition, companies must prepare for it.
Making a decision can be made simpler if you are aware that you have the opportunity to withdraw without being penalized by a certain deadline. A clause that allows for opting out lessens the stress and anxiety associated with changing careers.
Things to keep in mind when recruiting for a Learn-To-Code program
Freedman recommends, “Allocate more time than you believe you need for each step in the recruiting and selection process.” “Be careful to schedule time for your selection committee to review the outcomes of each phase.”
Even if you have a tight timetable, avoid the urge to cut corners. Having the proper applicants in your bootcamp is essential if you want to maximize the return on your investment in reskilling. You want participants who will see your software projects through to completion and contribute fully.
Although recruiting for coding bootcamps is difficult, as your process is improved, it gets simpler. This kind of reskilling program is currently being used by many organizations to build a reliable candidate pipeline for prospective projects.