Behind The Scenes: Our Partner Network July 19, 2018
This week, we are going to highlight the work we have been building behind the scenes: partnerships. At Rithm School, we do more than offer education to empower students to become software engineers; we work to equip each of them with contacts, experiences, and insight via our various partnerships.
Partnerships at Rithm
Partnerships are effective at providing support to students in several specific ways. First, company partnerships provide avenues of making intentional introductions for our students as they are heading into workforce. Beginning a first role as a developer can be daunting, even despite a long work history in another field, as performance and cultural expectations will be different. By fostering partnerships, we have had engineering managers and hiring managers visit Rithm and speak directly to our students on what they might expect in their roles after the cohort ends. This form of industry insight is inestimable.
We have also had the opportunity to debunk the myth that all bootcamp graduates enter the job market as woefully under-equipped developers. When these companies show up and present on data structures and algorithms, they also get to watch our developers thoughtfully work through (and solve!) problems. From that moment onward, companies grow an interest to bolster our connection, and we experience how partnerships help facilitate win-win circumstances that can lead to new avenues of adding value.
Ways Companies Can Pursue Supporting Engineers
The recurring ways companies choose to engage our students are the following four: teaching (mentioned above), mentorship, company offsite visits and hiring/interviewing opportunities.
Teaching has been one of the easiest opportunities to begin a partnership with companies. Usually, an engineering or hiring point of contact will respond to our outreach and express how they would love to send someone from the company to speak on a topic they are passionate about (i.e. the hiring process, Django, whiteboarding best practices). We typically host these talks on our campus, and we are able to offer flexible timing. For example, this past month we had a team from WePay come in around noon on a Friday. They spoke to our recent graduates for an hour, then hopped into our classrooms for breakout whiteboarding sessions. The win-win of this scenario is that several of our students were already in the process of interviewing with WePay, providing an opportunity for the visiting engineering team to rendezvous with their potential new software engineering talent.
Mentorship is another effective method of partnership. One way mentorship positively impacts our students is by providing them the opportunity to gain code review during company internships (examples here, here and here), beginning the 10th week of our program. A great example of mentorship involvement is our recent partnership with the Tech Equity Collaborative. They are bringing Rithm students together with Twilio to bring Engineers onsite, build relationships and provide impactful, tailored support with demos, resume feedback and code review.
Partnering as a mentor is a straightforward and low-effort way to give back and add value for first-year engineers who can, in turn, do the same for future engineers. It is as easy as committing to a once a week check-in, sharing a new update to your favorite technology, or suggesting a conference worth attending!
Off-site visits are another way companies can add value. Company visits provide a clear vision of what a workplace or engineering department of a company looks like. Relative to the first option of coming onsite to Rithm, inviting students off-site removes the stress involved with having to navigate to our offices in exchange for hosting a panel of recruiters or engineers to share processes at a given company and field a few questions. As a quick aside, one of the greatest natural byproducts of this approach is the brand affinity it builds with our cohorts, producing encouragement for students to practice relevant interviewing content or level up in a particular framework relevant to the visited company.
The final method of partnership is interview opportunities. As a business development team, we approach this from a perspective that benefits the partner company. An unfilled role costs a company $20,000+ a month between the cost of writing, posting a proper job description, sourcing, screening and coordinating (i.e. travel, reimbursement costs) 2-4 interviews, plus paying the staff for their time. Additionally, the staff uses bandwidth on crafting an attractive offer, negotiating with a candidate, and hopefully wooing them enough to join their team. All of this is successful if the candidate has the correct skillset, is searching for a new role, and has no superior offers to jump on. If the candidate does choose another company, it is easy to feel how this pursuit was a bit of a wash.
The advantage we pose to companies is circumventing that whole process. We equip our students with strong technical and problem solving abilities, and teach them to be coachable and receptive to our hiring partner’s technical or problem solving preferences. We have been able to pass on half a dozen strong candidates at once, significantly reducing time, effort, and cost of expensive and tedious interview processes; a true mutual benefit for all parties.
There is undoubtedly significant value in considering the various pathways to partnership that exist here at Rithm School. As a boutique coding school, we are afforded the opportunity to cap classes at 16 students, provide real work opportunities in the form of company internships, and, most importantly, to align our curriculum, methods and expectations with the companies interested in supporting our students.
If you are excited about what we’re doing, drop a line to our Partnerships Lead, Jeremy Evans-Smith, at [email protected] to get a conversation going about the best way to get your company involved in the mission of creating pathways to supporting our talented engineers.
Written by Jeremy