September 4, 2019

Q and A with The Tech Academy's Job Placement Team

There are countless resources available to help you learn how to code, but all your technical training will be futile if you can’t land that first developer job.

To be successful in a competitive industry, learning the technical skills needed to perform the job is only half the battle. The other half is learning how to find and land a job. Although the job search can seem intimidating and overwhelming, the right training and guidance can help you land your first developer job – and officially start your career in tech!

To make sure students have the skills and techniques needed to get hired, The Tech Academy includes a Job Placement Course at the end of each bootcamp. This course covers how to write an effective cover letter and resume, where to find the right job opportunities, white-boarding practice, mock technical and soft skills interviews, and much more! At The Tech Academy, students receive the same hands-on training during the job search as they do throughout the rest of the program.

In this Q&A with The Tech Academy’s Job Placement team, Danny Condon, Dane Bryneslon, and Ian Meltzer share what students can expect from the Job Placement Course and provide some helpful tips to anyone on the job hunt!

Give us a brief overview of the Job Placement Course at The Tech Academy.

DC: While the other courses in the bootcamp teach you the technical knowledge that you’ll be using on the job, the Job Placement Course teaches you how to get a job. As such, the course covers how to write an effective resume and cover letter; where to search for jobs and effective ways of applying; skills and practice for phone, in-person, and technical interviews; how to work with recruiters; how to stay organized during your search, and much more.

In short, it tells you everything you need to know to get a job with guidance and help from our dedicated Job Placement staff.

What kind of interview practice do students get?

IM: Students have the option of doing as many mock technical and soft-skills interviews needed to feel confident in their interview skills. We also offer weekly “round table” meetups, on campus and online, to provide additional practice to students. This allows them to hear how other students answer tough interview questions, which can be helpful.

How do interviews for developer jobs differ from more traditional interviews?

IM: On top of interpersonal skills to work with clients, customers, and/or coworkers, developer jobs also require technical skills. Interviews for developer roles often include a technical interview, in addition to a traditional interview.

DC: Technical interviews are designed to gauge the candidate’s technical knowledge and proficiency. This is accomplished in a number of ways, and varies from company to company. This could involve asking the candidate to solve coding problems on a white board in front of the interviewer, or right then and there on a computer. Sometimes, candidates are given coding assignments to solve at home within a certain timeframe. Other times, the technical interview is basically a traditional interview but with questions that test the candidate’s coding knowledge.

What companies are hiring Tech Academy graduates, and for what positions?

IM: Our graduates have landed jobs at many different companies of all sizes. From global brands, like Intel and Nike, to local startups and everything in between.

DC: Graduates typically land jobs as junior software developers, or positions that assist more experienced developers. It’s not the norm for new graduates to be in roles where they’re required to build a complex app or website from scratch all by themselves. Typically, they’re in roles that are “junior”, meaning they assist the senior or more experienced developers by taking on simpler, more time-consuming tasks, as they get more comfortable with the code base.

Other example jobs are a ”quality assurance (QA)” or “technical support engineer” role. In these positions our graduates are able to use their knowledge of coding to fix various imperfections in software as the “bugs” are discovered. Many companies start new developers in these roles of “tech support” or “QA” until the developers can confidently transition into a software developer role.

What do you think are important things to focus on when looking for a developer job?

DB: Continue to code and keep your skills sharp even while searching for jobs. Staying persistent and getting your resume in front of as many sets of eyes as you can is the best route to finding a job. Remain confident and learn from the process. Embracing failure and learning to grow from it is a vital aspect to keeping your job search moving in the right direction.

A common occurrence in job hunting is looking at a job listing, seeing a long list of requirements, and deciding not to apply because you can’t check all the boxes. What would you say to someone in that position?

DB: When applying, if it looks like you have 60% of the skills listed in the job description, apply. As a software developer, you should be able to pick up new technologies and learn new languages with relative ease. You never know, there may be a skill on your resume that other candidates don’t possess that could give you an edge, so it doesn't hurt to apply. The worst that can happen is that they say they are looking for someone else — but you’ll never know if you’re the kind of candidate they’re looking for if you never apply.

What is a common problem you see students struggle with on the job search? What advice or guidance do you give them?

DB: The most common problem is getting started. It can be a daunting task to look for a job, especially if you have doubts. Put together your portfolio and resume as best you can and just start applying! If you aren't getting many responses, look at your resume and cover letter and see where you can improve. Have someone else take a look and proofread your resume. Extra eyes help pick up minor mistakes that can have major implications if they aren't caught.

DC: Also, if you can, build a network of friends in the industry before you start searching for a job. Many of the jobs our graduates get are found through networking. This is especially true for junior developers breaking into the industry.

If you’re learning to code or doing a bootcamp, attend tech meetups and social events while you’re going through your training. At The Tech Academy, we host meetups on campus, along with alumni events, so students and graduates can network. We also show our students where they can find local tech meetups in their area and encourage them to get out there and meet people!

And above all else: persist. Keep yourself motivated and don’t stop until you’ve landed a job.

To find out more about how The Tech Academy can assist you in landing a career in technology, visit: learncodinganywhere.com


This post was sponsored by The Tech Academy. To learn more about The Tech Academy, check out their reviews on SwitchUp.

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