Sharpen Your Company's Competitive Edge by Hiring the Most Motivated Tech Talent

Somebody who changes their life by putting themselves through a coding boot camp is likely just the sort of person you want on your team.

learn more about Michael Choi

By Michael Choi

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The tech industry is in a fierce competition for talent and companies of all sizes are feeling the effects of this competition for scarce tech skills. In recent years, companies have pulled out all the stops to recruit new tech employees, with appealing modern perks like paid volunteer time off (Salesforce), travel stipends (AirbnB) and paternity leave (Netflix) – but there simply aren't enough new computer science grads or experienced software engineers to go around. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, software developer jobs are projected to grow 24 percent by 2026, and a Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) survey found that eight out of 10 HR professionals say that "high-demand technical and soft skills are in short supply."

Startups and small businesses bogged down in an overcrowded market for tech talent need to get creative. To keep up, take the less-traveled path. Look for innovative ways to expand your talent pool and cultivate the next generation of tech superstars for your growing company.

With newer options available including online coding academies or in-person coding bootcamp options, skilled developers are being groomed in weeks instead of four-year programs that don't always lead to a lucrative job. Today, college is not a prerequisite to a successful career in tech. People from all education levels and career backgrounds are now able to learn multiple full stacks of the most in-demand programming languages in as little as three months. They quickly get the real-world practical skills they need to thrive as a software developer. There is even a trend of CS grads doing coding bootcamps to gain precious practical coding experience.

Students who opt for education programs that put them in jobs faster, without hefty student debt, are an untapped gold mine of talent. As such, your company no longer has to compete with big-name tech firms to hire tech talent or gain access to tech skills -- you can use alternative methods to access tech talent that is ready to hit the ground running.

Here are a few tips on how to find and hire top tech talent, without a winning a bidding war with Google:

1. Seek motivated self-starters who are trained in multiple stacks.

To keep your business competitive, hire self-starters who are highly motivated, love to keep learning and want to use their new skills to add immediate value.

Specifically, look for candidates who are well trained in multiple stacks of programming languages -- they have the relevant tech skills your company needs. These coders have the adaptable mindset to quickly learn your company's specific development environment and begin contributing immediately.

Related: Why I Learned to Code and How You Can in 3 Months

2. I will survive -- hire for resiliency.

People who independently learn to code took a risk and made a big change in their lives -- the ideal attributes for success. They have the grit and perseverance it takes to succeed in a tough, rigorous and fast-paced working environment. They walk in the door ready to add value.

Most of all, the process of learning coding skills helps people be more resilient. They have endured setbacks and kept on hustling. These are the sorts of people companies want on their team.

Related: Finding the Right Coding Bootcamp for You

3. It costs more to hire than to re-skill.

People from all career backgrounds are now interested in learning coding skills. Increasingly, they expect employers to pay for it. In a May 2018 survey by Researchscape, 90 percent of respondents said they believe employers have the primary responsibility to improve the future-forward tech skills of their workers, 39 percent believe employers should offer incentives for workers to enroll in coding boot camps outside of work, and 34 percent believe employers should invest in improving tech skills of non-tech talent.

Today's employees have different expectations than previous generations: they expect employers to directly invest in helping their people get the newest tech skills. Providing tech skills training could be a competitive advantage for your company in hiring and retaining talent. It's more cost effective to re-skill a valued employee than hire a new one.

Related: 5 Reasons Entrepreneurs Should Learn to Code

4. Learn coding yourself.

Coding skills are not just valuable for employees; several entrepreneurs have learned to code and then used their coding skills to build successful products and businesses. Learning to code helps entrepreneurs be more productive and effective in a variety of ways, from product development to recruiting and evaluating software developer talent.

Entrepreneurs who know how to code speak the language of tech more fluently. They have clearer insights and deeper understanding of the technology behind their products, like the back end of their websites or the user interface with their apps. As a startup founder or solopreneur, it's important to stay adaptable and versatile and conversant in the latest skills and technologies that are driving innovation in your industry. Taking a coding class, even if you're an established entrepreneur, can be a valuable part of your own continuing education.

Don't assume that tech talent and tech skills can only come from big-name universities or try to take on the big guns for high-priced talent. There are other options for people from all backgrounds and walks of life. These newly minted tech experts with real-world tech skills, valuable perspectives and personal resilience might be the key to helping your company grow and succeed.

Michael Choi

CEO of Coding Dojo

Michael Choi is the CEO of Coding Dojo, a leading coding bootcamp. Coding Dojo is unique in that it teaches students the skills to quickly learn any new coding language, in addition to rigorous training in three full stacks in 14 weeks.

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