When it comes to hiring for a new technical role, you want candidates who are exceptional, willing to learn and want to make a positive change within your business.

A few years ago, it was the norm to find technical candidates with a Computer Science (CS) degree, but now the landscape has changed and we’re seeing a world filled with bootcamp and self-taught developers. Promising to take them from rookie to pro, the number of bootcamp graduates in particular has risen 10x since 2012, with approximately 23,000 graduates in the US and Canada in 2017.

For bootcamp students, time management is key. Most courses can take anything from 12 to 16 weeks, with students learning intensively as they go. We like to think of it like learning to drive a car. Some people pass their test in a few months, and some do it in as little as 2 weeks. This kind of education varies greatly in price, from literally nothing to around £16,000, can be done from the comfort of a bedroom or in person and even the great Woz has created one.

Unlike the usual CS curriculum, bootcamp students learn by ‘doing’. Important skills like pair-programming and test-driven development are put to practise, meaning that students have a huge advantage when it comes to looking for a job after graduating - these practises are used constantly by working developers. Whilst many bootcamps are centered around JavaScript, students can choose to take a course in pretty much any language they want, including Ruby and Python. What’s more, bootcamps for those who want to do data science and UX/UI design are also popping up, meaning that there’s an accessible way for people to upskill or simply get their foot in the door of the tech sector.

For bootcamp students, learning outside of the classroom is something they do from day dot. Whether it’s reading a textbook, studying code online or even experimenting with their own code, the intensive learning environment means that they are prepped for practical work; they’re living and breathing the life of a dev. Brilliant at solving practical problems, students are likely to have created an app and have participated in real-time projects - face it: they’ve got a solid portfolio.

Some may argue that bootcamp developers have a lack of sophistication (given the short timeframe and lack of degree at the end), but that’s where our argument for skills vs CVs comes in. Ultimately, if someone has experience in something, it shouldn’t matter what their CV says or whether they hold a degree. In fact, bootcamps are a goldmine for finding your next best talent and it’s crucial to remember that whilst a lot of young people do attend, people who are upskilling or simply wish to retrain are also giving it a bash. It takes a lot of gut and discipline to be able to abandon the ‘traditional route’ and try for something new.

Overall, it’s clear that the status quo is changing. There’s nothing wrong with having a CS degree (infact, we applaud those who go down that route), but ideas behind education and higher learning is changing. Bootcamps are a brilliant gateway and are creating the next generation of tech superstars, with applicants flourishing based on their skillset instead of their CV. When hiring technical talent, it should always be based on the quality of a person’s code instead of their background; something which we champion at hackajob.

The proof is in the pudding, which is why we offer custom challenges for candidates to solve on our platform. That way, you can can see who stands out from the crowd and be sure that you’re hiring the right people to create positive change within your business.

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