Cole quoteAcross the U.S., people are learning new skills in computer programming by completing accelerated learning programs. Called coding school – or  bootcamps – are a crash course in the requisite technical proficiencies to enter into the IT market. Coding schools have become popular and necessary in recent years, as there are too many job openings to be filled with the existing talent in the tech industry, and this labor gap continues to grow. Roughly 500,000 jobs remain vacant in high-tech throughout the country because there simply aren’t enough qualified people to fill them. The unemployment rate for trained tech talent is nearly zero.

You’ve heard the hype: In just a few months you can learn to code, then land your dream job. Most coding programs boast job placement rates at around 90 percent – ours is about 92 percent within three months of graduating from the program. But what is the job-hunt really like? We wanted to share some of students’ experiences to set expectations straight.

Newcomers to Skill Distillery often walk in on the first day of class, fanatical about employment numbers.

“Where are past grads working?” “How long does it take to get hired?” “How much are they making?”

But by the end of that first week, new students realize the rigor of the coursework and level of commitment they must have, and completely forget about life after graduating, instead buckling down to succeed.

Once Skill Distillery students settle in, the future-focused questions regularly return. As the end of the tunnel closes in, the class is collectively thinking about how and where they are going to apply their newly acquired skills. In addition to a deep bench of new coding skills, we work to develop soft skills – from problem-solving to teamwork and time management into our curriculum to ensure students are job-ready the moment they leave the school. Our instructors take a lot of care to assign challenging projects that mimic real-life work scenarios. “The group project gave us a fantastic opportunity to capstone our knowledge up to this point, integrating everything we had learned over the course of the prior month and challenging us to understand any weak points that required more time and attention.” said student Adam McDaniel.

It is incredibly important to create that a of urgency and collaboration because that is precisely what will be expected in a professional setting. Solely focusing on coding skills, frameworks and algorithms, isn’t enough. To be effective in genuine workforce development, programmers must adapt their know-how to other team members’ strengths and weaknesses and cater their abilities to each specific project in order to be successful. Having the experience of solving a paired programming challenge or building a project in blocks with a group and then putting together a working product and then being able describe that event to a future employer could be the edge that pushes you through an interview into a career.

Skill Distillery students have been offered jobs at Accenture, Booz Allen Hamilton and Genova Diagnostics. Past classes have been hired at iQNavigator, Rocky Mountain Arsenal and many other impressive organizations. said Skill Distillery Director Cole Frock. “Java is in such demand that we see students with real skills being hired very quickly.”

While most individuals find a position within about three months of graduating, several students in our current class (SD4) already have jobs and the program is still weeks away from completion. The time it takes to get hired has a lot to do with attitude and approach. Though students gain in-demand skills, they still need to work hard, network and apply to lots of positions to land the right job.

When you walk out the door at Skill Distillery, in addition to a wide array of fancy new skills, you will have in your hand:

  • An expertly formatted online portfolio of work to share with hopeful employers on a platform like github.
  • Mastery of building both a descriptive and technical resume.
  • Mock interviews, both technical and non-technical, under your belt geared toward helping you prepare for tough questions in real life.

Coding bootcamps provide access to valuable new technological expertise, but that’s only the beginning. When the hard work in Skill Distillery’s classrooms is over, grads are thrown into a lifetime of learning and growth in an industry that never stops changing. If you’re ready to plunge into a career that offers unlimited opportunity for growth, change and mobility, come check out our program!

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