Attending an Ivy League university means that once you enter the workforce, your resume will boast a name that carries a lot of weight with potential employers.
But coding bootcamps are still relatively young, especially when compared with three hundred-year-old universities, and employer attitudes toward them have already changed a lot in a short time. That leads to uncertainty among folks who want to become programmers: Even if a bootcamp can give me the technical skills I’ll need and help me build a professional network, will it ultimately hurt me in the job search process by signaling to employers that I’m inexperienced and don’t have a CS degree?
So we reached out to our Career Success team to ask: Does attending a coding bootcamp hurt your job prospects or help them? Should you tell potential employers you went to bootcamp or keep it to yourself?
Their response was immediate: A quality bootcamp education is an asset. You should absolutely disclose it to recruiters and hiring managers—and here are 10 powerful reasons why.
That might seem fatalistic, but if you’re a career changer—as most bootcamp students are—how else would you be qualified to work as a programmer if you hadn’t gone to a bootcamp? Sure, you could’ve gone back to school for an expensive CS degree, but instead you chose a coding bootcamp—the more affordable, efficient route from A to Z—and the hiring data we have on our grads indicates you won't be penalized for that choice.
Remember: Unlike a CS degree program, which offers mostly a conceptual understanding of programming, your time at a bootcamp will produce tangible results like advanced portfolio projects, and provide you with experience working with a team of engineers. Those are the kinds of hands-on skills employers want in their hires, so why would you hide exactly what a recruiter will be looking for?
Attending one of the longer-running coding bootcamps--all bootcamps are young compared with universities, but the more established ones have been around for 5+ years--means that past alums will already have paved the way for you when it comes to name recognition. And their hard work both during bootcamp and then out in the workforce has proved to the majority of employers that top-tier bootcamps produce strong programmers and reliable employees. Putting a coding bootcamp on your resume today is not the same as it would have been 10 or even just five years ago. Most established employers will not only be aware of coding bootcamps, but will know which ones produce results and which don’t.
In today’s tech market, skills mean more to employers than do credentials. As Fullstack Academy reported recently, most major tech CEOs have indicated they care more about what candidates can do than about what degrees candidates hold. Experience is still really important—which is why you should choose a bootcamp that emphasizes building portfolio projects. Employers are going to want you to prove your skills to them somehow, and normally your work history in the industry would serve as that proof. But when you’re new to programming, projects demonstrating your abilities are the next best thing.
As we’ve mentioned, a CS degree gives you a conceptual understanding of fundamental computer science concepts. Those don’t really change much over time—and rightly so, as they are the underpinnings of the whole industry—but the tools you’ll be working with on a day-to-day basis actually do change fairly regularly. The stack a company uses today may not be the stack they use next year, and project management tools like Basecamp, Waffle, etc. will vary by employer. It is also important to stay current with respect to the best practices, and new libraries and frameworks.
A quality bootcamp will make sure you graduate knowing how to navigate the most up-to-date tools—and they’ll do that by talking regularly with companies actively hiring junior developers to understand exactly what those companies are looking for at any given time, and then feeding that information back to an academic team that can update the curriculum quickly and responsibly.
Recruiters and hiring managers are now familiar with the demands of bootcamps. To have graduated from a bootcamp means you’re used to learning a lot in a focused way, which is a great quality for a new hire to have. In the company’s eyes, you’ll be able to dive right in to new projects and quickly learn new technologies. You’re not set in your ways as a more established programmer might be—a fact that can be a draw in and of itself.
We all know people who give up as soon as the going gets tough, but that attitude doesn’t work for programmers. Much of programming is failing repeatedly and having the persistence to look at the problem from yet another angle to find the solution. Finishing a bootcamp demonstrates you have grit, drive, passion, and self-confidence. You believed in yourself enough to take a big leap and were persistent enough to stick with your passion all the way through a very demanding educational experience. Now you’ll bring those same qualities to your new job—and the products you work on will be all the better for it.
There’s a lot of talk these days about “soft skills,” but what does that mean? Soft skills include an ability to work well with others, having emotional intelligence, being diplomatic, knowing how to resolve conflicts, and more. Having already spent time in the workforce, regardless of your position or industry, means you’ll have had time to hone those soft skills, and that’s an advantage career changers have over anyone new to the workforce.
While a CS student interacts primarily with college students and faculty, a bootcamp student studies alongside other career changers with diverse backgrounds in industries that very student might end up working in. Bootcamp students also spend time learning from instructors who've spent time working as developers and who stay fresh by continuing to create neat tech through their own projects and group collaborations! Bootcamp grads can leverage that industry know-how during the job search process.
The reality is, if you haven’t been working for several months, your resume will show it, and hiring managers will pick up on it. Sharing that you left the workforce to essentially go back to school (even if your journey took a less traditional form) and dedicate yourself to learning the skills you needed to move forward—that will show hiring managers you’ve invested time and money into this career transition and that you’re serious about the industry.
Letting go of your current career trajectory is hard after you’ve invested time and energy to get where you are. But right now Fullstack Academy is making it easier to start fresh by offering 100K in scholarships. Learn how you can be eligible to win here.