If your small business has been looking for a candidate with coding experience or education, you’ve likely met with some disappointment.
It’s a very competitive field and, so far at least, small businesses have had difficulty attracting the right candidates.
Bigger companies have been able to snag the best and brightest students or those with previous experience coding. Higher salaries, big benefits packages and lavish retirement plans you can’t match on a small business budget have lured them away. So what’s a scrappy startup to do?
Well, there is an alternative to trying to hire the A-listers and all it takes is a shift in perspective.
It turns out there’s a fast-growing class of coders who may not possess the fancy degrees or all that relevant job experience. But they still may be a perfect fit for your small business.
They are coders who’ve attended what’s called a “coding bootcamp.” It’s an intensive program providing people with the skills necessary to handle certain coding jobs — even if they don’t have a fancy degree or resume listing a Silicon Valley who’s who of former employers.
Indeed has been collecting resumes from job seekers and since the beginning of the decade, has seen a 100 percent increase year over year in the number of resumes listing this kind of coding bootcamp experience.
In 2015, Indeed found that 1,000 resumes out of every million submitted listed coding bootcamp experience. Five years before that, the number barely registered on the chart (see above.)
So, what does this mean for your small business?
If you’re looking to hire someone with coding experience, you’ve probably run into the frustration of not being able to lure the right candidate. Perhaps this frustration has led you to give up the search.
But small businesses willing to look beyond the degrees and job experience may be able to find the right person — a diamond in the rough — for their job by seeking a bootcamp graduate.
Hiring Coding Bootcamp Graduates is One Answer for Your Small Business Staffing Needs
“Companies trying hard to find tech talent are realizing that non-traditional candidates often perform very well on coding challenges. If they can do that, then having a degree or experience working at a name brand company doesn’t matter so much,” says Terence Chiu, VP of Indeed Prime.
You’ve likely taken a flyer on several people who have helped your small business get to where it is today. They likely didn’t have the right experience or lacked refined skills but you took a chance and it ended up working out for you, them, and your company.
If you’re really looking for coding experience and just can’t compete with other companies seeking the top candidates, then it may be time to look for candidates in another place.
“Being open to hiring these types of ‘unusual suspects’ is a real advantage, especially if you’re a smaller business or one without a well known brand yourself,” Chiu says.
When going for this non-traditional talent, it’s important to have your job expectations clearly outlined. Though that’s important with any position you fill within your company, having a clear definition of what you expect  from these “unusual suspects” will more likely lead to finding the right person the first time.