Coding bootcamps are pumping out graduates, but who should hire them?

DecodeMTL is all set to showcase a new batch of programmers ready to hit the job market. The coding bootcamp’s Demo Day will happen this Friday November 25 at WeWork Place Ville Marie.

It’ll be a day of presentations, drinks and future hires ready to show companies what they’re made of. But how ready are graduates for roles in startups with highly-demanding roles? We spoke with DecodeMTL’s Kevin Khoury to find out.

Coding Bootcamps are popular 8 to 12 week programs offered by private companies that teach students computer programming in a short period of time. News outlets like Bloomberg have extolled the virtues of such services.

The demand for coding bootcamps generally reflects the shortage of adequately trained computer scientists graduating from universities and the relative demand for them from the technology sector. Coding bootcamps often provide a vocational training for a fraction of the cost of a university degree.

BlocDev Bootcamp and General Assembly remain some of the United States’ more popular options.

In Montreal DecodeMTL is an intense eight-week coding bootcamp that nets students over 400 hours of training. The training focuses on web development, specifically full stack JavaScript. Other organizations within Montreal that offer coding bootcamps include Lighthouse Labs.

“Our program is very javascript-heavy and our students are very well-prepared coming out of it,” said DecodeMTL’s Khoury.

He told MTLinTECH that 80 per cent of graduating students take on front-end developer positions using frameworks like React or Angular, building front-end code bases. The remaining students typically take on a full stack or backend role, picking up new coding languages like PHP or Python on the job. In these cases the employer will give them some new documentation and they’ll pick it up over a time.

How prepared are graduating students to jump right into a startup?

Khoury emphasized here that we should apply the brakes just a little bit. While DecodeMTL’s program constantly seeks to teach students what employers are demanding, graduates still need guidance and mentorship if they take on a job. Simply put, they can’t be expected to go from a fresh graduate to a five-year veteran in a matter of weeks.

“The reality is our program is intense and our students are awesome, but when they come out they’re still at a junior level. Employers taking them on need to understand that while they can be autonomous, they need a bit of guidance. It’s preferable that an employer hiring from our program has some sort of structure in place so that they can mentor them.”


Students at DecodeMTL

According to Lighthouse Labs CEO Jeremy Shaki, his organization has taken a unique approach in encouraging three month paid co-ops or internships for the initial graduate-employer relationship. ”

“It allows for a graduate to spend three months adapting to the specific work environment they enter and emphasizes to both sides that there is a learning adjustment. It’s a big reason for our 95 per cent placement rate for graduates, and 85 per cent of those co-ops turn into full time jobs,” he said.

Who should consider taking a coding bootcamp like DecodeMTL en route to a career in web development?

Khoury told us that it’s not recommended to jump into anything without a bit of proven interest and initiative beforehand.

“For anyone considering a career change to web development, I always suggest they try tinkering with code on their own first. There’s so many online resources like CodeAcademy. Learn the basics online and if you end up liking it and you hit a roadblock where you need to get to the next level, coming to an intense eight-week coding bootcamp like ours is the best next step.”

Meanwhile, Shaki’s Lighthouse Labs in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal says it has placed over 450 graduates across the country through a Career Services team that helps students and employers prepare for taking in a graduate.

“Our graduates are often career changers which means that they don’t need to learn how to be a professional, just a professional developer,” Shaki told MTLinTECH. “They are also people who chose a bootcamp because they are highly motivated to do this as a career, as opposed to grads from University who think they want to. When a company is setup with a Senior Developer who offers some mentorship, we are seeing intense growth.”

Ed – another coding bootcamp in Montreal is Le Wagon Montréal, a 9-week dev program that teaches technical skills (full-stack Ruby on Rails). Founded in Europe, Le Wagon has trained over 1000+ students in Europe, Lebanon, China and Brazil. 

Le Wagon is currently offering free workshops at La Gare, Notman House and Café le 5e (workshop calendar).  

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