The Best Methods for Evaluating Coding Bootcamp Graduates

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The Best Methods for Evaluating Coding Bootcamp Graduates

Coding bootcamps are churning out grads daily, so how do you know if they'll suit your needs?

· Agile Zone ·
Free Resource

If you’re looking to hire junior developers, you’re not alone. Open job roles in web development are expected to grow 15% through 2026, which is considerably faster than nearly all other occupations. It’s a competitive hiring landscape and there aren’t enough developers to go around, which is what makes the recent uptick in graduates from coding bootcamps a huge benefit to technology companies big and small.

However, as hiring managers, how do you evaluate if a prospect’s coding bootcamp program provided them with the necessary training to be successful? Coding bootcamps are still young, and not all of them are committed to best-in-class education. If you find yourself in this position, consider two key ways to assess both a bootcamp graduate’s coding chops and their ability to work successfully alongside other developers.

Evaluate The Bootcamp Graduate’s Portfolio For Fundamental Skills

One of the best ways to begin evaluating a candidate, and see if they even have the fundamental coding skills you’re looking for, is to review the portfolio they built during the bootcamp experience.

For front-end roles, you’re especially looking for individuals with a strong grasp of creating visually-compelling experiences that users will want to engage with. This can include projects like building a responsive web page, a small interactive game or a very simple mobile app. This will allow you to assess their basic command of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript as well as more in-depth tools and languages like Bootstrap, React and React Native. Reviewing these projects will let you evaluate their understanding of responsive design, user experience, and user interfaces.

In contrast, if they will be taking on a back-end role, you’ll want to look for projects that show a strong command of server-side languages like node.js and database structures and functionality with tools like MongoDB. This will help ensure that they understand the need to optimize code as well as how to handle things like database operations, user authentication and application logic.

Of course, a graduate’s portfolio will be far more limited than a developer with years of experience. The biggest thing to focus on is that they have the basic coding languages and tools under their belt that you need, and understanding of how these tools and languages work together, and a strong sense for the day-to-day of what they will be working on.

Assess Their Ability to Collaborate With a Team

Experienced developers understand that coding is a team sport. While individual coders are responsible for lines of code, developing well-functioning, efficient code that’s part of a larger product takes a small army. From troubleshooting bugs to merging branches into production, a good deal of collaboration has to happen for everything to work smoothly.

When evaluating a coding bootcamp graduate, review who they worked with during their experience to see how well it matches the collaborative dynamic that actually happens within an organization. Graduates who attended solely online bootcamps won’t be as accustomed to working in group settings, which may indicate that they aren’t as adept at leveraging peers or more knowledgeable colleagues to help them work through bugs. Meanwhile, graduates that worked in solely offline bootcamps in a classroom setting may not be as adept at working alone and troubleshooting with the tools available at their fingertips. In contrast, graduates of hybrid bootcamps, those that mix online and offline education, are often trained to both leverage peers for bug-smashing as well as troubleshoot on their own. As a result, they are more attuned to the expectations of working in established settings as an independent contributor and as part of a larger team.

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