Why Companies Should Create Their Own Boot Camps

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Photo by Héctor J. Rivas on Unsplash

By Eric Wise

Over the past five years, boot camps specializing in shrinking the technical skills gap have gone mainstream, with hundreds of programs running in the US and around the world. Course Report estimates that around 23,000 potential developers will graduate from these programs in 2019.

While the quality—and certainly the opinions—of boot camps vary, it’s clear that they have become an accepted way for individuals to reskill or upskill and to enter some in-demand fields.

The success of boot camp programs has led some employers that hire at scale to bring the concept in-house. Offering custom boot camp cohorts can unlock some unique advantages for the employers.

Customized Curriculum

While consumer boot camps produce excellent results, these programs take a more general approach in regards to curriculum, often picking only the most popular or convenient tools and frameworks. The least common denominator works well at setting a foundation, but if an employer uses tools and techniques that a local boot camp doesn’t cover, it will necessitate extra onboarding effort. 

By bringing a boot camp in-house, the curriculum can be tweaked to match the technical environment of the employer, thus reducing the onboarding investment. These programs also make the cultural shift of moving from the boot camp to employment easier. Savvy employers will structure project work in the boot camp to follow the same or similar processes as the company does on its teams.

Stronger Value Proposition Attracts Top Talent

It’s no secret that the majority of boot camp enrollments come from career-changers and job-seekers. It’s also no secret that a successful boot camp experience is not trivial or cheap to provide, which can make affordability a challenge. Great businesses turn these two challenges into opportunities. A white-label offering can end up attracting higher-quality candidates who crave lifelong learning.

When a boot camp is company-sponsored, there is a higher level of confidence among the applicants that employment is available for those who perform well. The company also has the opportunity to subsidize some or all of the education costs, which can grant a significant advantage to the white-label boot camp over other public offerings.

Maximizing Offer Acceptance

Many boot camps have hiring and demo days at the end of their programs. I have personally witnessed companies change their hiring process to accommodate quicker offers to exceptional candidates from consumer boot camps. These companies have learned (usually the hard way) that if they like a boot camp candidate, chances are the other employers in the room will too. The first employer to impress and get the offer out the door has a tangible advantage over those who move slowly.

In contrast, when companies bring boot camps in-house, the sponsoring company has the opportunity to interact with candidates throughout the program, take the time to pitch themselves as a quality employer, and build relationships, which maximizes the acceptance rate of offers. Given the high costs associated with hiring and retention, the in-house model can save money over traditional talent pipelines.

Reskilling Internal Talent

Education and corporate training opportunities are consistently surveyed to be drivers of employee satisfaction. Companies that have provided pathways for their incumbent workforce to earn seats in their boot camp have benefited not only in morale and loyalty but also in faster onboarding (because existing employees already understand your business and your culture). These employees can also unlock process improvement opportunities via their in-depth knowledge of aspects of the company.

There are a lot of tangible benefits to talent-hungry companies that decide to create their own custom boot camps. Doing it alone can be a daunting task, which is why an increasing number of business leaders are turning to Trilogy Education to help acquire tech talent and to reskill or upskill their workforce for high-growth careers in the digital economy.

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