It has quickly become clear as more industries experience a digital transformation that IT candidates are a critical part of the modern business hiring strategy. But finding the right people with the right skills is a challenge. And the resulting diversity concerns have left many companies looking to hire technical candidates from a broader spectrum of backgrounds and experiences. Bootcamps may just be the best thing to happen to the industry. Here’s why.

The Diversity Challenge

Technology as an industry has long suffered from a lack of diversity in its employees and in its job candidates. Many companies are invested in hiring a more diverse workforce but struggle to find the qualified candidates from diverse backgrounds. A key contributor to the industry’s lack of diversity is a lack of diversity in the traditional education and talent pipelines. While it’s true that more universities are putting a greater emphasis on STEM education for women and people of color, these demographics are often turned off from a future career in technology early on in their education. This greatly reduces the retention of these candidates within the pipeline and in the workforce later.

Traditional education programs are making strides to disrupt this trend, with secondary and university computer science programs aimed specifically at a broader demographic, but the issue of diversity remains in the short term. And more companies are looking to alternative talent pipelines to find the right people for their jobs.

Bootcamps as the Next Industry Disruptor

Coding bootcamps are rising in popularity. They are an interesting way for experienced or untrained candidates to get the skills they need to succeed in the world of tech for a lot less time and financial investment as compared to a traditional four-year college degree. Both bootcamp and apprenticeship programs have been shown to product more diverse graduates perfectly capable of succeeding in a role within the technology industry.

Bootcamps attract applicants and students from all walks of life, including all socioeconomic classes and a wide variety of different races, ethnicity, genders, ages, ability, and sexual orientation. The average age of a bootcamper is 30 years old, well into their professional career. Bootcamps are roughly 14 weeks long, with an average cost of just over $10,000. To achieve a major career shift that propels you into an in demand and well-rewarded industry, the convenience and cost of these programs are very clear.

As such, the number of people enrolling in bootcamps and apprenticeship programs is climbing. As recently as last year, the largest computer science program in the US, Coding Dojo, reported more than double the previous number of graduates walking through their doors. And those graduates are from all walks of life. 39 percent of bootcamp graduates are reported to be women in 2016, compared to a sad 14 percent in computer science degree programs at traditional universities. Considering that, your next best hire might just be a recent bootcamper.

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