Growing Dev Teams Through Our Internship Program | LEARN academy

Growing Dev Teams Through Our Internship Program | LEARN academy


Chelsea: Yeah, I think that another really exciting part of it for me was that we have all these great stories from our students, which are as Matt said they’re so diverse and they’re coming from so many different backgrounds, but the other side of it is that we have these organizations that we’ve been able to help grow. And so you can see the impact on that side of it as well, that we have the ones that started out in the beginning and took on a couple interns. And maybe they kind of they hire them on and they keep going and they kind of disappear for a while, but then a year later we like get this message that’s like, “Hey, we’re hiring again, let’s come back and go through the process.” That it’s exciting to be that kind of a resource for growth on both sides. And helping them, we had one company that we worked with early on that was struggling to find somebody. They did interview after interview and were probably a year in and just couldn’t find the right fit for them. They come through our internship program, and actually that first round they didn’t get any interns, because the process … none of the students really wanted to be there. And so after that we like sat down with the CTO there and we’re like, “Okay, I think we need to talk about your interview process.” And so we helped him, like we gave him some tips, we got feedback from our students, and helped him fix that problem, because it turned out that the practice of hiring was so cold and not welcoming, and that he wasn’t even really giving a good glimpse of what the company was like to work there. And so we helped him kind of see that. And the next time around he ended up hiring two students from the program through the internship program. And then a year later came back for more when they are ready to hire. Matt: That’s awesome. Chelsea: And so it’s been a really cool experience to kind of help companies not just find talent but help them in the process of hiring and doing it in a way that’s going to allow them to build a diverse team and get different types of people in there, that’s been really cool. Rob: Almost no one has ever had a class on how to give an interview, right? We mostly just draw from our experience having had a couple interviews. And the number of times when students or alumni
are headed into an interview and the person they’re interviewing, it’s their first interview that they’ve ever conducted. And so I think that being able to talk to companies that maybe you’re struggling and say, “Hey, maybe there’s something going on with your process, like we can talk about it, right?” Like, “Oh, you throw harder and harder whiteboard challenges at the person you’re interviewing until they cry, because you want to find where their breaking point is. Well, maybe we can find another way to figure out what someone’s breaking point is by instead of actually breaking them during the interview,” right? Like, let’s try and solve that process differently. And so that’s been a really cool side part of the thing, it’s sort of outside of the scope of the in the classroom piece. But really an important part of building those partnerships. Chelsea: Well, it’s helping our eventual goal of like helping to shape the community at large, that like if we are training people that are from different backgrounds and are a really diverse group and used to working in this very like collaborative and inclusive space, if they’re then going into these interviews where the people there don’t know how to interview for that kind of job – then that’s a plug in the funnel that isn’t going to allow us to like really grow the community. So I think that what we’ve seen is that we have to help companies in that area in order for our students to be successful. And so for us, it became a really important part of the journey that if companies aren’t changing the way that they are hiring, then they aren’t going to be open to the kinds of people that we are training. And so we needed to be a part of that process. And I think that I’m excited as we grow to like continue that kind of work to make it so that companies are more open and more inclusive and more collaborative in their hiring process to help them reshape their teams. Rob: Yeah, I think it’s interesting to see especially companies that are the traditional developer shop type companies or groups in companies that aren’t that way, like for example, we have several alumni that work at Intuit as part of the design team, and the design team talk to us about the fact that they needed really technical people, but they have a hard time doing it because they’re not the main engineering focus, right? They’re not one of the developer groups, they’re the design group. And so their ability to bring folks that have a design background, who have gone through the LEARN program to have enough technical expertise to truly be boots on the ground and do that sort of intersection between the two empowers that team to move forward in a way that they couldn’t move forward with the traditional program, right? Matt: Right. Rob: They need both, you’d have to find and only hire people with dual degrees which is pretty rare, right? And so like that difference is really, really valuable. And it’s cool to see a group that has struggled with that hiring … like suddenly kind of unlock this new market, even in a company that often … like if you go to HR at Intuit often they will tell you that they don’t hire boot camp grads, and you’re like, “Really? I don’t want tattle on anybody, but …” Chelsea: You have at least four there. Rob: Yeah, so I think that that’s really cool to see companies sort of changing their song there a little bit, and that the perspective’s changing. Matt: And that’s the … well, that’s the industry as a whole is broadening and becoming more diverse, and we’ve been focused on that for more than ten years, so I think that our community is a huge part of that. Rob: One, I think that if we can help hasten the death of the whiteboard technical challenge, that that will help everybody, that … It’s the Boogeyman under the bed of every junior developer, and that ultimately it’s not the right way to find out whether somebody can code is to ask them if they’ve memorized some algorithm, and if they can draw it on a whiteboard. Matt: Right. One of the … before we … I don’t know for as in a different direction before we move away of our internship partners, one of the things that I thought of when we are talking that I’m really happy to see is that first company where you and I met is an internship partner now of LEARN, and they’ve got two of our alumni working there. So to be still contributing to their success and their growth is pretty exciting to me. Rob: You just said it because you have stock. Chelsea: I think my favorite part about that story is that they came back to us just through like our web contact form, not knowing that it was us that did it. Matt: Right. Chelsea: And I was the one that got the email and I’m talking with them, not knowing that they were the company that you guys met at. And so he and I were like having this separate conversation, and all of the sudden I was like, “Hey, Rob. I’m talking to so-and-so, what do you think about them?” And that just like open the door of like, “Oh …” They have a longer history with us than I think they even realize. Matt: Right.
Rob: It was good, and it’s really great to reconnect with people that you’ve worked with in the past and see them in different places doing different things. And so that part’s been really cool, just to watch what everyone’s doing and to be so central to the community.

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