Twice as many students and the best IT education

How could Codecool continue a steep growth in 2021? What’s in the plans for 2022? Jozsef Boda, CEO of Codecool shares the details.

When you think about just for a moment how we expected 2021 to look like in 2020 … Well, things haven’t turned out quite as we expected then, have they?

Back then, we thought that by the end of 2021 the pandemic will be long over. After the first and then several more shocks, after the first and the second wave, with the help of the vaccines our lives can get back to some kind of a new “normal”, but at least a more stable state. Well, it didn’t quite happen like that. 

Due to waves 3 and then 4 in 2021 we were “in and out” of our school in Hungary, changing from on-campus to online education several times. In Romania, it was online with minimal breaks. While in Austria, just after opening our school and our very first group of Codecoolers starting in November, we had to switch to online classes in line with restrictions. 

But there was one big difference compared to 2020: however unexpected these sudden changes were, we were already prepared for them. We have successfully overcome unexpected challenges in 2020, too, but we weren’t even surprised in 2021. And we managed to turn them to our advantage even more efficiently – for example with further improving the online version of our flagship, full-stack programmer course, reaching much more aspiring students with it then with the offline version, available only for those living close to our schools. Who would have thought in 2019 or even 2020 that we’d get there? Not us for sure.

We have never thought we’d hire new colleagues fully online, not to mention senior managers, but we solved this, too, with no problem. Obviously, most of our graduates were hired by our partners in a fully online process, too. We grew up to the new challenges together.

In the meantime, we haven’t even noticed that we’ve entered the “new normal” we’ve been waiting for – probably because it looked a little different than what we expected. It was clear in 2020 already that things will never go back to how they were before, but we were not sure what they would end up like. By today, one thing stands out as the main characteristic of our new, post-breakout world: constant, significant change. What’s also apparent is that those who are agile enough to adapt and build on change will succeed. One simply can’t afford to wait for things to stabilise. That’s a waste of time, a losing strategy.

We’re so lucky and proud to have achieved so much in 2021, too. Let me mention just a few things:

  • We’ve placed our 2000th Codecooler at one of our hiring partners. Our first students graduated 6 years ago. We’re so happy that 80% of them are still with their first employer, the one we found for them. It’s a true confirmation of our shared success.
  • We’ve launched our very first scholarship programme, the CoderGirl Scholarship. Together with our corporate partners we want to invite and motivate many more women to start tech careers. The most talented and motivated girls and women from those applying to Codecool can now get a chance to study completely for free with us.
  • We’ve opened our very first school in Western Europe, in Austria. Together with Hungary, Poland and Romania, now we’re present in 4 countries already. Another step closer to becoming a leading IT education institute in Central Europe in 1 or 2 years, and later in the wider region. 
  • We’ve launched new open courses. The one-week “Intro to IT” Course was first introduced in Vienna, while the six-month Cyber Security Specialist Course in Budapest. We’ve launched the fully online version of our Full-Stack Developer Course in all the Codecool countries, and helped more than 300 Hungarians to new, future-proof tech careers taking our short courses, fully financed by the local government. 
  • We’ve further developed our corporate re-skilling and up-skilling training services, and launched comprehensive, tailor-made digital academies at some of our corporate partners.
  • Numbers taken out of context can only tell a part of the whole story. Still, the fact that we’ve managed to grow our revenue by 40% year-on-year in 2021, might mean something. It definitely means that we’re a stable partner for our students choosing us to help them switch to a new career, and also to our corporate partners, counting on us to boost the digital skillset of their organisation in the short and long term.

What we see is that digital transformation at companies is speeding up, now in departments and functions previously requiring only non-tech, business-side competencies. More and more capacities and skills are needed in IT, as well as in newly forming, business-side digital roles, and we can’t even come  close to meeting the market demand, due to the limited number of our graduates. We’ve managed to place each and every Codecool graduate last year who chose to take our job guarantee, while developing and delivering more fully tailor-made corporate training programs than ever before.

We would like twice as many students to  start studying with us in 2022 than in 2021. But we accept no compromise on quality, what’s more, we will further improve our courses and services, just like ourselves. 

Our Full-Stack Development Course is more than a bootcamp, and better than a university. A one-year, comprehensive programming course with a job guarantee and post-payment options not only providing a wide and deep knowledge of software development, but also a real job at one of our corporate partners. We would like to make this offer to even more ambitious and committed career-changes in 2022, so we’re extending our job guarantee to the online version of our Full-Stack Development Course in every Codecool country.

We can only be efficient and authentic at the same in what we do, if we are efficient and authentic ourselves. If all our colleagues truly believe in the mission, values and methodology of Codecool, and if they can also represent them and share them with others. The way to achieve this was different 6 years ago, when we were a young, promising start-up venture, and it is different today, when we are a mature, internationally present, and still dynamically growing scale-up company.

To increase our flexibility and innovation power despite the sudden growth of our own organisation, too, we’ve started a comprehensive mid-management development programme. And to keep up with the demand for our corporate services, a dedicated professional team will be responsible for the development and delivery of our corporate training programs and internal academy solutions from 2022.

And now that I’ve mentioned our organisation and my colleagues – let me say thank you to them for their valuable work all year in 2021. Because the thing is that it wasn’t about getting lucky. Whatever we’ve achieved as Codecool is the result of their hard work. Each and every of my Codecool colleagues has contributed to our successes with their enthusiasm, perseverance and skills, and I’m personally really grateful that I have the chance to have been working on shared goals together with them every day.

As a final conclusion, I have to say that after 2020, 2021 was another year full of challenges. The successes we’ve achieved haven’t come easy. We’ve worked for them really hard together. I admit, I got quite tired by the end of the year. I needed the holidays to recharge my batteries. 

But I’m starting the new year full of new energy and motivation, I hope you feel the same. I trust that we’ll have an as exciting and fruitful year in 2022, as we had in 2021. 

I wish a happy and successful new year to all of us, and that we make even more dreams come true, by helping even more successful, future-proof, tech careers to start, together.

Find your match – 5 tips to hire better tech talent

Still looking for the perfect junior developer? Or you’re just beginning the process of searching for a new addition to your team? We’re here to help you upgrade your recruitment practices and find great talent while you’re on the search.

The war for great tech talent is as real as ever. On top of the ever growing digital talent gap, the information you have on candidates is often insufficient. So it’s hard to make quick, yet well-balanced decisions during the hiring process.

It’s even more difficult to assess the skills of junior developers, often without a track record. They come from widely different backgrounds, often lacking professional experience, which means a lack of information for you. Do they work well in a team? Is there up-to-date, relevant knowledge behind the points you see listed on their CVs? Can they handle challenges, conflicts, and constructive feedback? All these questions left unanswered can lead to you not hiring a promising candidate and passing great developers by.

So what more can you do to find the best talent, on top of your current efforts? Read on to find our 5 tips. 

But first, let’s see the top challenges hiring managers face while recruiting juniors.

Hiring junior developers? Here are some typical challenges

From CodinGame’s latest developer survey, we learned that finding qualified developers was 2021’s biggest recruitment challenge for 61% of HR professionals. No wonder it’s difficult to recruit great junior developers either. The process isn’t easy for a number of reasons, and it’s weighed down by some typical challenges:

Job portals are useful, but have their limits

It’s natural to start searching for candidates on job portals, however, they can give an illusion that the talent pool is smaller than it actually is. Profiles don’t usually follow strict conventions and often lack information, therefore it’s difficult to compare them. And even when candidates create amazing profiles, it’s good to keep in mind that they’re able to write just about anything about themselves. Missing reliable information on candidates often results in overlooking good developers and going too far with mediocre ones.

Future potential is hard to estimate

It can be tempting to hire someone for a specific programming language that they’re a pro at currently. However, a great junior’s job is to be a motivated learner too, to be able to grow into an invaluable senior later. Someone with amazing tech skills might be the obvious first choice. Then, the same person might turn out not to have the motivation to learn or adapt to their new workplace, get frustrated by challenging projects or be hurt by or indifferent to constructive feedback. It would be amazing to see the future potential of candidates next to previous experience and studies, but it’s really difficult in a classic hiring process.

University degrees are not that relevant for tech positions

You’d assume that degrees help you filter out the best candidates. However, we learned from CodinGame’s latest developer survey that close to 80% of HR professionals around the world already recruit developers with non-academic backgrounds. Asking for a degree in today’s climate can drive away young developers. What’s more, it doesn’t really help you either

The process takes ages

Your first instinct might be to invite a candidate to as many rounds of interviews as possible. To meet your decision-makers and to get to know them as much as you can. To give them filtering assignments, or invite them to assessment centres. But jumping through too many hoops can cause applicants to lose interest in the process. They might simply move on if it’s too dragged out.

But how can you learn more about your candidates?

We already wrote about what you can expect from junior programmers on the job market today. But what if you’re still looking for the right developer in the first place?

Here are our tips:

1. Visit your candidates and check them out at work

It’s a pain point in developer recruitment that you cannot really get a realistic knowledge of your applicant’s ability to code and present until you’re working with them. The usual way to do this is through a technical interview, an on-the-spot coding exercise or an assessment center. These are great solutions, but will not always lead to accurate results.

We rather suggest you to request to watch live demos of junior programmers at a programming school. Go see demos online or in-person, or invite promising students to your premises to do demos. You can get to know candidates much better this way, and check their individual skills in terms of coding, presentation, and interpersonal skills, and select the best ones for an interview. This is also a great employer branding opportunity for you, and an amazing chance for juniors to get to know you as their future employer. 

Codecoolers demo their work to peers and hiring managers every Friday. If you’re interested to see them, reach out.

2. Pick a pro hiring partner that starts with understanding your needs

To speed up the hiring process and to make your recruitment efforts easier, it’s one of the best solutions to get a sourcing partner that really knows you, your business, and your needs. If they understand the way you do business, they’ll know what type of developer could fit in there.

Is it worth it though, to find a partner like this? Well, that’s something you have to decide for yourself. 

At Codecool, we approach every new partnership with a fresh start, asking deep-dive questions about a partner’s business, culture, hiring needs, teams, tasks, preferred hiring practices, and a lot of other topics. After a short and effective briefing we’ll make sure that you meet only the best, most fitting junior developers that match your exact requirements. 

And we are fast – you can have your new junior signing your contract in as fast as 5 days after you request one later.

3. Compare juniors based on an extended candidate profile

While external recruiters can bring you a number of developers to interview, they usually have time to talk to a candidate only once on the phone after finding them on Linkedin. This is a great starting point and can save you time. 

Still, you’ll have a higher chance of finding great employees if you pick recruiters who have an active, personal connection with the developers that they’ll recommend to you. Recruitment Managers at Codecool take the time to get to know each and every Codecool graduate personally. Based the information you shared about your requirements previously, they’ll know whom to recommend to you, and can share detailed info on each candidate‘s skills, ambitions and personality.

4. Ask to see their project portfolio

While looking for the right junior programmer, you can face a simple yet daunting problem: a junior is usually not going to be the one to present you with an extensive, jaw-dropping project portfolio. However, a portfolio is what can best showcase a programmer’s actual skills and interests, so it’s usually a super important source of information when hiring digital professionals.

Our students document all the projects that they work on during their time with us. During our flagship Full-Stack Development course, they finish 20+ lifelike Scrum development projects and 50+ individual coding challenges and assignments. They’re continuously practicing their newly learnt technical and soft skills, and get used to handling different project roles, too. What’s more, after successfully completing the course, they spend their time working on their personal ‘love projects’, which are usually even bigger and more ambitious projects compared to what they’ve been doing before.

5. Look for truly informative CVs

We all know that recruiters spend 6-8 seconds reviewing a CV before they decide on the fate of an applicant, and around 80% of CVs don’t get shortlisted at all. So it’s just natural that while looking at multiple, inherently different CVs and trying to compare them with one another, a number of great junior developers can slip through the cracks. Plus, so many details that look dull on paper could be game-changers when shown off in the right way. Not to talk about irrelevant, or fake information that some candidates put on their resumes.

Our juniors all use the same standard, concise, informative CV format, which makes it easy to compare them. It’s not just a simple CV stating facts, but an interactive showcase of their projects fuelling great conversations at technical interviews. Individual Codecooler’s work and contribution to projects can be checked in detail through the CV, and all information included is guaranteed to be 100% legit and relevant.

Tech talent recruitment can be better

If you’re looking for your next developer, consider partnering with Codecool. We have a big and active network of quality tech talents and flexible recruitment processes, offering you quick access to top talents.

Growing your teams? We can help you find your next junior who could be in your team in just a couple of days after you contact us. The complete hiring process takes 4 to 7 days for our clients, from briefing through shortlisting and interviews to sourcing agreement. You won’t be wasting time or resources, and be ready to start work with your new developers quickly and efficiently. If you’d like to hire a senior developer or a complete new team we can help with that, too. 

Don’t let your best colleagues go. We are also here if you’re interested in up-skilling or re-skilling your existing employees. We’re happy to tailor our flexible training programs to your exact needs, and turn them into your most valuable and skilled digital resources.

Your own internal digital academy powered by Codecool can cover the hiring, training and onboarding of your tech teams and colleagues, and provide continuous training for existing employees, in line with your actual strategic priorities.

Interested in what Codecool has to offer you? Let’s talk! Please be invited to visit one of our Demo Days on any Friday, too, online or in person, and check out the skills and capabilities of our students.

Hope to talk to you soon.