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7 Myths of Hiring a Programming Bootcamp Graduate

1) Good Companies Don’t Hire Them

In a little more than three years, 250+  companies like Paypal, Hubspot, EverQuote, America’s Test Kitchen, SmarterTravel, and Bullhorn have hired more than 400 Launch Academy graduates. Launch Academy grads get hired by companies of all sizes in a wide range of industries.

2) They’re only good for entry level jobs

Bootcamp graduates have taken a variety of roles, many of which have not been junior or associate level. Looking back at our graduates, they’ve taken jobs with the following titles: Software Engineer at Adharmonics, Developer at DockYard, Software Developer at BiddingForGood, and over 18 other job titles that don’t include the words like “junior” or “associate”.

3) Bootcamp graduates are young and have no professional experience.

Many students go to a bootcamp after working for a few years, having gained perspective on their skills and interests. When they graduate, they can speak an industry’s language while also being able to code the solutions to its problems. They’re capable of a variety of roles, especially when those roles leverage their prior professional experiences. Frank Weber, Director of Cyber Security at NSS Labs, is a veteran of the US Army and US Marshal’s Service where he focussed on Intelligence. Anne Kainic, Designer and Front-End Developer at AdHarmonics, worked for Aon Hewitt as a consultant. And Beth Tenorio worked as a Data Scientist before joining Vermonster. In fact, graduates of Bootcamps have previously worked in financial services, e-commerce, educational tourism, publishing, environmental consulting, scientific research labs, congressional offices, real estate development, and over 40 other professional work settings.

4) Bootcampers have unrealistic salary expectations.

This is understandable given the salary numbers that San Francisco-based bootcamps have published about their graduates. Factoring for geographic considerations, the salaries of bootcamp graduates are actually pretty standard starting rates for the areas where other bootcamps are located. In fact, when we recently surveyed our graduates who are working in Boston, we found that their average starting salaries were within $1,000 of salary guides and surveys for developers in the Boston area with less than one year of experience, and maximum and minimum salaries were commensurate with prior experience or roles as apprentices and interns.

5) Bootcamp graduates only want full time roles

Actually, many bootcamp grads look at their first position as an extension of their learning experience and are open to a variety of roles. Depending on the bootcamp, some graduates are actually more interested in apprenticeships, internships, and contract positions. These roles are appealing because the focus is more about learning, guidance, and growth, and they tend to have less pressure. At Launch, we’ve had about 30 graduates take apprenticeships, internships, and contract positions.

6) The graduates can only code in Ruby

While we teach the fundamentals by focussing on Ruby, many bootcamp grads don’t use Ruby in their jobs after graduation. In fact, graduates of Launch Academy use many languages that we don’t teach, including Python, Java, Scala, Hadoop, Cassandra, Android and yes...even .Net. Lydia Ho, Software Engineer at Quanttus, spends her days working in Java and Python. “My new job doesn’t involve any Ruby or Rails” noted Lydia in her recent blog post.

7) I have to go to Career Kickoff to recruit a bootcamp graduate.

While we’d love for you to personally visit Career Kickoff, it isn’t necessary. Instead of personally attending Career Kickoff, some hiring partners send representatives from HR, management, and even junior engineers to identify future talent. And if nobody from your organization can attend, you can still get access to our private listing of graduate profiles. We’ll share with you the background information on each graduate, along with their code samples, blogs, personal websites, and links to their final projects. We know your time is valuable, so the profiles are written to help you quickly find your next hire.

If you’re interested in attending Career Kickoff or sending someone on your behalf, you can sign up on our website. If you have questions, please feel free to email our Director of Talent Corinne Babel.

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