Skills Building: Why You Should Hire Based on Skills Over Educational Experience

For over a century, higher education and collegiate degrees were the gateways into the professional space. skills building - coding bootcampRecently however, there has been a rise in coding bootcamps and other skills-based training programs offering newer and faster avenues for companies to obtain qualified technical talent.

Coding bootcamps take candidates with no prior technical experience and transform them into qualified tech talent in as little as three months. This model of quickly building job-ready talent has made coding bootcamps an immensely popular solution for the growing tech talent crisis.

Their success and increased demand have contributed to companies waiving their traditional, four-year degree requirements. Companies like Google, Bank of America, General Motors and IBM have already removed these qualifications to favor demonstrated skills hiring rather than diplomas.

By shifting requirements, companies are expanding and creating new, diverse tech talent pipelines to ensure steady flows of talent for the future. Despite bootcamp graduates’ apparent success, there is still some speculation on whether or not developers with a bootcamp background are as skilled as individuals with a computer science or related degree.

Continue reading as we explore the reasons companies should hire a candidate for their skills rather than their educational background and how skills-building programs are transforming talent acquisition.

Skill-based hiring is nothing new. 

In recent years, companies have begun utilizing skills assessments in their hiring process. In fact, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), found that 56 percent of employers surveyed use “pre-employment assessments” to qualify an applicant’s job-readiness skills. Furthermore, 79 percent of HR professionals using these assessments stated they’re just as, if not more important, than traditional hiring requirements. For hiring managers, this means shifting focus to skills a candidate is able to apply instead of their educational pedigree.

Along with assessments, companies are finding that coding bootcamps are producing the same, well-qualified candidates they saw in the past from traditional institutions–only at a faster rate. After hiring coding bootcamp graduates, KeyBank partnered with Tech Elevator to enrich its talent pipelines as well as future-proof its internal tech teams with reskilling. KeyBank’s partnership shows that skills-based training programs can produce high-demand tech talent.

Skill-based hiring keeps you competitive in the talent space. 

Well-known companies are leading the charge in implementing new, effective talent acquisition solutions. Companies like Google and IBM waived their degree requirements, but that’s only the start of the emerging trends.

An article from the Harvard Business Review stated, “Between 2017 and 2019, employers reduced degree requirements for 46% of middle-skill positions and 31% of high-skill positions. Among the jobs most affected were those in IT and managerial occupations, which were hard to fill during that period.”

Consider the talent sources companies are overlooking if they stay trapped in the four-year degree mentality. Furthermore, consider the amount of qualified tech talent that will join competitor teams because of degree requirements.

To stay truly competitive during the tech talent crisis and emerging digitization of the market, companies must adapt and evolve their current hiring practices or be left behind by their competitors.

Skill-based candidates are job-ready. 

Skill-based hires have more professional experience and soft skills.

Candidates from skills-based training programs like boot camps come to a role with diverse backgrounds–professionally and personally. The average coding bootcamp student has seven years of professional experience and is 31 years old. With a wide variety of experience and life experience, graduates from coding bootcamps have much to offer the tech industry.

Some coding bootcamps utilize career readiness programs to develop their students’ soft skills. Tech Elevator’s Pathway Program™ runs in parallel with the technical instruction and dedicates over 40 hours per program. Within the 40 hours are behavioral mock interviews, technical mock interviews, one on one career coaching,  employer showcases, presentations and workshops. Not only are graduates coming into a role with fresh technical knowledge, but they’re also bringing their past professional experiences and soft skills developed in the program.

Rather than having a candidate fresh out of college, companies could hire a former nurse or teacher with over 10 years of professional experience. They’re coming to an entry-level position with more than just technical skills–making them truly “job-ready” and “career-ready” candidates.

Skill-based hires have applicable skills and hands-on experience.

While coding bootcamp graduates spend less time in the classroom than their four-year degree counterparts, their time is focused solely on developing and applying skills they’ll need for their first role in tech. Coding bootcamp students are coding from the first day and averaging 800 lines of code in their program,  whereas it may take several semesters before a computer science major ever writes a line of code.

Some coding bootcamps will have capstone projects throughout the program. These projects are designed to take the skills that students learn up until that point and apply them. At the very end of the program, Tech Elevator students will complete what is called the “final capstone project.”

Final capstone projects are fully functional web applications that range from workout trackers, restaurant finders, study tools and DIY project assistants. These complex applications are another way for students to apply their skills while also showcasing their work to potential employers.

Hire job-ready graduates and explore your next talent solution. 

As companies adapt and evolve their talent acquisition practices to prepare for market changes, they are discovering the benefits of hiring coding bootcamp graduates. If you’re looking to expand, strengthen and diversify your tech talent pipelines, then register for one of Tech Elevator’s Employer Matchmaking events to meet and hire our qualified, job-ready graduates.

If you’re ready to explore ways to future-proof your workforce, reach out to our Enterprise Team and learn more about how Tech Elevator’s Reskilling Program can help develop your tech teams of the future.

Skills Building - Meredith Hendershott

Written by Meredith Hendershott, Tech Elevator’s Director of Enterprise Account Management and Delivery