Is it time to rethink tech recruitment?

The _nology space: Training Entry-Level Hires Ready for the Workplace

Written by Nology Team - 17.01.20

Partnerships Manager, Ben Ridgeway, discusses why coding courses from _nology are addressing the lack of skills needed by today’s companies, and why a Computer Science degree is falling short of the mark when it comes to producing top developers.

Traditional avenues of education are failing to address the growing tech skills gap. Now, with four rounds of graduates settled into new jobs, _nology is supporting more hiring managers and Chief Technical Officers than ever before with their technical recruitment strategy. Our goal at _nology is to diversify and grow the tech talent pool. While teaching our _nologists the skills they need to find their first tech role is our primary objective, we’re set up to do one thing: help companies hire the new generation of Developers.

In 2016 the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) produced a report into the way Computer Science (CS) is taught at universities. Astonishingly, despite severe demand for technology skills, graduates with CS degrees have one of the highest unemployment rates compared to any other degree subject. In the same year the UK Commission for Employment and Skills predicted that the digital economy would have a skills gap of over half a million by 2022.

We are now smack bang in the middle of those 2016 reports and estimations, and that 2022 figure. We know the problems within our sector and have therefore been proactive in creating an opportunity for individuals in tech, regardless of their work experience or background. Designed to connect more people to the rewards and benefits of a career in technology, _nology believes the answer to sustaining the growing need for tech skills isn’t likely to be found within the three-year CS degree.

_nology has now run four courses in front end development and software fundamentals in the south west and it’s interesting to see the skills gap in action.

I talk to digital employers, large and small, week in and week out and it seems to me that there is a fundamental misunderstanding shared between both employers and CS graduates; more experience in the entry-level space. The impression I feel from the market is that it isn’t more experience, it’s both the right core persona and the ability to express the skills necessary within the software workplace. A company wants to employ someone in an entry-level role that has the enthusiasm, the problem-solving mindset (I hear this phrase more than any other) and the software skills that are relevant in practice.

Companies do have roles there for graduates specifically, as they do in other industries, yet the business will often conduct a round of interviews then look for more experience, paying a higher salary than they intended to or finding a contractor. It’s the mindset, the practical application of knowledge and the awareness of how to learn more.

_nology courses began being devised by looking at what makes an ideal junior software developer. Our mission is to solve that digital skills gap by moulding those who want to get into the software industry, regardless of their degree background, their previous career, or even whether they have a degree at all. And so, we set out to challenge the preconceptions which surround the stereotypical skill set and mindset of tech talent, to meet the growing demand across all sectors. Such a bold goal required ambitious objectives:

Anyone can apply to take a _nology course and it’s precisely that problem solving mindset, that aptitude for learning and that ambition to move into tech that comes first and foremost in our assessment process. With that, through our immersive three and four month courses, we can make serious headway into solving the misconception that it is experience that is key. Hence _nology courses look to simulate the working environment; client projects, scrum teams, pair programming, hitting coding ‘walls’ and breaking through them. It’s this skill-set that the employer is looking for.

I spoke to three companies who recently interviewed for entry level roles and found that those interviewees did not know how to operate a push and pull request. _nology teaches push and pull requests on day one then takes it from there. Our standard and bespoke courses are built around delivering software development within the industry and laying the foundations to build a career in this space.

With around 200 developers moving through our courses next year and bespoke courses running for companies too, we hope to begin to make a dent in that digital skills gap both in the South West, London and beyond.

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