Using Your Coding Bootcamp Experience in a Job Interview

By Jennie Giron, Riva

As tech has continued to grow as an industry, there’s a continual need for trained and qualified candidates. Insert the growing popularity of bootcamps here. Coding bootcamps are accelerated and intensive programs to learn software engineering skills and are usually short in duration. The goal of these programs is to train individuals with the skills needed to get a job in tech. Coding bootcamps are now a $309 million dollar industry and will graduate about 23,000 developers this year.

If you’ve been through one of these programs and are now in the search for a job — or have just gotten a job offer and are wondering how to leverage your bootcamp experience to ensure you get paid what you are worth — we’ve got you covered.

Below are some tips for coding bootcamp graduates to successfully negotiate for what they’re worth once they get that job offer:

1. Don’t view a coding bootcamp as a reason why you can't negotiate

Think about why you joined the coding bootcamp program. Was it so you can get a job you’re passionate about and where you can make a positive impact? Was it to improve your skills, so you can get a job that pays you well for your work? Whatever your reason, you took a step to better yourself and your life. You’ve now learned those skills and have put in the time and effort to refine them. You’ve worked hard throughout this experience and can now apply what you’ve learned to help companies grow/become more efficient/solve problems/etc. Don’t belittle your experience. Attending this program is an asset and has, hopefully, helped you gain skills to help you get to where you want to go.

2. Don't fall into the trap of accepting an offer simply because you’re told you don't have any experience ... neither does any new college graduate

So now you’ve got an offer but feel discouraged because the recruiter subtly — or maybe not so subtly — mentioned that you’re junior in the field and don’t have any experience. First of all, neither does any new college graduate, but that’s beside the point. While it may be true that you don’t have as much experience as someone seasoned in the field, you do have valuable experience (e.g. projects you’ve worked on in your program), and you bring value to the table in terms of your personal characteristics (e.g. strong worth ethic, initiative, quick learning, positive attitude, consistency and reliability, etc.). Not to mention how you bring your unique voice and perspective based on your background and experiences.

Also, think about what experience you had prior to your bootcamp program. What jobs did you hold? What courses or schooling did you attend? All of that is relevant and valuable experience. Find a way to tie in what you learned from your prior experience, even if it was in a different field, to help you in your negotiation.

3. Don't get trapped into taking work simply because they tell you you need it for your portfolio

There’s nothing worse than getting stuck doing work you’re not interested in or passionate about. Yes, you do need to build your portfolio, but it’s important to make sure you’re on the trajectory you want to be on. Gain experience wherever you can, but don’t settle — otherwise, you may experience burnout, or you might find that the experience you’ve gained locked you onto a path away from the one you’d rather be on.

Coding Bootcamp Salary

4. Riva has been able to negotiate $17.5K increases in initial job offers for coding bootcamp graduates

Read that number again. $17.5K. That’s a huge chunk of change that you can use to increase your quality of life, pay off debts or loans, save for the future, give to a charity you are passionate about, etc. According to researchers, over the course of a career, the cumulative value of missed compensation is an estimated $1 million loss (Babcock and Laschever, 2008). Don’t leave money on the table by not negotiating.

Riva was founded by a team of negotiation experts to empower everyone to successfully negotiate their job offers. With access to over 1.5 million verified salary data points, personalized email and phone scripts, and a team of dedicated negotiations experts, Riva arms you with the information you need at each step of your upcoming negotiation.

5. Get help on your negotiations — don't try to handle it on your own

Being able to advocate and negotiate for yourself successfully is a life (and leadership) skill that doesn’t only have financial ramifications but also has a positive impact throughout your life. But here’s the thing … you don’t need to do it all on your own. Even the world’s best athletes have coaches to help them improve their game. We understand that negotiating can, at times, be a stressful and overwhelming experience, and we’re here to empower you to grow your offer! Not sure how to conduct a compensation analysis to determine what an appropriate offer is for you? Don’t know how to build your case to successfully negotiate for yourself? Does the thought of asking for an increase in salary make you want to break out in a sweat? Instead of letting fear or not knowing how to negotiate stop you, choose to reach out for help.

Attending a Climb partner bootcamp and ready to get to the next stage in your career? Sign up for our free ClimbTalent career development platform to access job listings, resources and tools, mentorships, and more!

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