Ever heard about a developer bootcamp? Hire one!


So you need to hire a developer. You’re a startup, a fortune 100 enterprise, a single entrepreneur with the next huge idea.  What’s next?  Indeed.com or Hired.com? Meet-ups?  Putting a post-it note on your LinkedIn profile? Sure, all of those are pretty decent places to start but what are you trying to accomplish? What is your business or product goal?  What is it with all of these questions!?

Ok, let’s say you’re in one of two possible hiring positions: you need to augment your team or you need to build a product. Anyone who has tried to hire a developer is already whincing.  Speaking as a software developer myself, we’re all super busy and for some reason, we can’t graduate enough computer science majors in this country.  Ok, let’s look at the landscape.

Hire a full time established computer science professional.

Ok, we’ve already talked about this a bit, but let’s put some numbers behind this.  Because everyone loves numbers!  The United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the current number of software developer jobs in 2014 as over 1 million.  That means there were over a million developer jobs to be filled.  The Bureau also reports that the job growth between 2014 and 2024 will increase 17%!  That’s a must faster average growth trajectory than other possible occupations.  By the year 2020, there will be a projected demand of 1.4 million software developers.  Want to guess what the projected number of graduates by 2020 is?  An estimated 400,000 computer science graduates will enter the workforce by 2020.  I’m notoriously bad at arithmetic but I’ll do this math for you. By 2020 there will be about a million more software developer jobs than there will be software developers. 1,000,000!  That’s quite a deficit.

developer bootcamp

So, where does this leave you?  Well, you’re odds of finding a software developer just got slimmer.  I don’t care of you’re Facebook or IBM, it’s tough to find talent.

Outsource that puppy!

Ok so finding local talent is proving tough.  Can we off-shore this project?  I have been on all sides of this structure and I can stand on nearly 30 years of industry experience when I say: be careful.  When you give a developer a task to do, or a set of requirements to implement, there will be holes or gaps.  You will say: the user should be able to log into the application.  A developer will fill in: Forgot Password, Username duplications, email verification, etc.  There are hundreds of way to interpret this simple features request. A developer will fill in a boatload of assumptions when building your product. The more you culturally share with your development team, the higher the likelihood that those assumptions are going to be accurate.  If, for example, you are a U.S. based healthcare startup outsourcing your project to the Middle East, it is very likely that the healthcare domain is vastly different in India than in Chicago.  Features as simple as doctors’ office hours might derail an offshore team.  When dealing with such teams, you have to be literal and unambiguous in your requirements, leaving very little or no room for interpretation.

Wait, what’s a developer bootcamp?

Enter the modern bootcamp.  These are 8-12 week intensive learning institutions with the goal of turning non software developers into people who can build products.  These students are likely not going to be able to invert a binary tree (something I myself would have to lookup) or know how to convert decimal to hex without using Google, but know what they can do?  Code, and they love it!  These students possess two things that are crucial to their success and ultimately to yours:

A driving thirst for knowledge and self betterment.

The knowledge to build most, if not all, of your product.  

The bootcamp student will not likely have a computer science background, and that’s ok.  I have personally hired students out of: The Starter League, The Startup Institute, Dev Bootcamp, and Mobile Makers.  No matter where they come from, no matter what the instructional content or curriculum, every one of the students that I have hired share the drive and passion for learning and doing amazing work.  And they get better.  They continue learning.  And they really want to blow you away.

So, the next time you need to hire a developer, consider the person who upended their life, spent about $10,000, and now just wants to code.  Hire the person who wants to knock off out of the hemisphere for you.  Hire a bootcamp student.

Author Bio: Don has been a professional software developer in Chicago since 1990 during which time, he has had the great fortune to work at many types of companies employing varied technologies.  

A few years ago, Don decided to give back to the Chicago community.  He sought out opportunities to lend his experience to those who might benefit.  He began mentoring at the Founder Institute and then The Code Academy (now The Starter League).  In the summer of 2011, Don co-founded The Mobile Makers Academy and is the lead instructor, ushering much needed iOS development talent into new careers.  While Don is currently leading classes at The Mobile Makers Academy, he is also mentoring at Dev Bootcamp.    

Don has been an outspoken advocate for women and girls in tech, seeking to bridge the technology gap by exposing the fun and creative side of programming. He frequently mentors both high school and college students who display an interest in technology and coding.

Don is also a partner and co-founder of Eight Bit Studios.  He loves meeting new developers, seeing their tremendous potential, and giving them the opportunity to be great.  At Eight Bit Studios, Don develops software on various studio projects, careful to learn something new with each one.

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