Hiring Junior Developers and Jim’s conversion from bootcamp skeptic to advocate
In Episode 6 of Stories from The Hackery, Jim Siegienski, CTO at Groups360, speaks in depth with John Wark on the availability of junior and more senior software developers in Nashville, sparking a conversation on where Nashville is now, how we can improve it, and the way to create a new mindset for companies willing to hire developers based on their problem-solving skills rather than knowing any specific programming language.
Jim talks about his experience in hiring NSS graduates as junior developers into two different start-up companies. He admits to having been a big skeptic about the value of NSS when he first heard about it and how experience with our graduates has turned him into an advocate. He talks about lessons learned in using junior developers, how he onboards juniors and what expectations should be for productivity for junior developers.
Our thanks to Jim for sharing his knowledge and experiences with the community as well as for his engagement with our students in mentoring them on interviewing and preparing them for their job searches.
Episode 6 Highlights
1:00 Jim S. introduction: Tech School as a college alternative
3:06 The Startup Scene in Nashville
3:46 Non-traditional backgrounds and CS degrees
4:40 “…why did you decide to hire a jr. developer into a startup?”
5:30 “I don’t want to be wasting high-end talent doing small tasks”
7:04 Onboarding a junior developer in a growing company
8:50 Knowing your environment and knowing the environment fit
10:00 “Year one is about getting stuff done”
10:35 Looking for two new developers “we are growing like crazy”
10:55 Demo Day is like going to the mall
12:55 “I was a skeptic when I first heard about NSS”
13:10 Junior devs from NSS are now turning into the senior devs that we need
14:15 Lessons learned from hiring juniors
15:50 NSS grads: “You can expect a lot from these students”
17:40 Groups360 tech stack and what we’re learning
19:57 Hiring juniors to work on technologies they weren’t trained on
22:30 Our goal for NSS students: problem-solvers vs. language coders
24:10 What is the business at Groups360?
25:40 Tips for interviewees
30:45 How we can work together as a city and community
32:37 Success based on the success of students
33:40 Jim’s journey: “going from that skeptic to advocate”
33:55 Closing thoughts