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Hack Reactor: A Coding School with Results
Our coding school is extremely intent on placing developers at their dream company once their 12-week course is over. Hack Reactor does this a number of ways. Today, I'm blogging during our July 12 "Hiring Day," were soon to be graduates will meet prospective employers from various established tech companies and start-ups. Thus far we've been able to attain a 98% hiring rate, and days like these play a big role in achieving that number.
Alumni from Hack Reactor have gone on to work for companies like: Groupon, Salesforce, ThoughtWorks, Reddit, Yerdle, Architect, SeedChange, Adobe, Macys, WalMArtLabs, Slideshare/LinkedIn, MIT, SmartShoot, NodePrime and more!
How Our Coding School's "Hiring Day" Works
Registrants (prospective employers) sign up for Hack Reactor's Hiring Day through our Eventbrite profile, maintained by our Director of Business Outreach. Twenty companies were represented at today's event, two more than the total number of students!
Employers showed up at 2 p.m. and spent the first thirty minutes reading through bios of all our developers, neatly put together in a Hack Reactor style year book. They settled in, chit-chatted with some staff, and asked any lingering questions about the day's scheduled activities (stuff like where to sit, break times and locations of each session).
At 2:30 p.m., students presented their group projects to employers, describing how they came up with their idea and giving a demonstration of how the finished product works. Attendees watched quietly as developers took turns discussing their creation. Once the group finished, the floor was opened up for questions.
Hack Reactor's development bootcamp instructor Larry Davis, who was there every step of the way for our developers during the project period, characterized the types of questions that employers were asking as well as their purpose.
"They're looking to gain insight into how the developers think and solve problems. Employers asked tough questions like, 'What would you have done differently if you could rebuild the framework you used?' Other questions like, 'Why did you use MongoDB?' tested the student's knowledge of various offerings and depth of understanding of the one they chose. One group was asked whether they've pitched their idea yet, which was both a nod to the developer's project idea and a way of determining if they think about the big picture."
The pictures below show the 5-minute one-on-one sessions that employers get with developers (these began at roughly 3:30 p.m.) We keep them rotating so every company has an opportunity to talk to every student.
From watching the discussions, these conversations were much more in-depth than any before them. Employers were very engaged, and the chemistry between them and our developers was evident.
Preparing for the Job Market During Coding School
Our developers have been prepped for these sort of employer interactions through tons of mock interviews and group discussions. The topic of the programming interview is on every up-and-coming developers mind. This is where the experience of our instructors comes into play.
"We've all given our fair share of interviews, and we've seen both brilliant performances and face-plants," said Davis.
"We know that brilliant performances come from knowledge and experience, so we make sure to give our students both. We have a mock interview process where we analyze the positions students are applying for and put [the students] through a couple rounds of questions ranging from common and expected to obscure and specific. At the end of the process, students have had real experience being grilled and are ready for anything.
"It's not just toy problems and mock interviews. We also pass on the tips and tricks that we've found make for great interviewees. We know what it takes to be prepared, we know how to make a good impression, and we make sure our students do to."
Hack Reactor stays involved with graduates after the program to see how many interviews they've done, and talk with them about their experiences.It's not uncommon for a graduate to come back to Hack Reactor and mention specific questions they wished they answered better during their latest round of interviews. We coach them through those specific situations, and our team diligently takes notes and updates our mock interviews accordingly.In conclusion, these examples of care, expertise and follow-up are what prospective students should be looking for to ensure they have an easy and successful transition from amateur to professional developer.Interested coders can find more program details on our website, and stay up to date on Hack Reactor happenings through our blog.