Experian on Why Their Company Paid to Send Employees to Suncoast Developers Guild

September 23rd, 2019

Lauren Mabra

Marketing Coordinator @ Suncoast Developers Guild

The biggest challenge when it comes to the growth of the tech industry and the overall economy is the gap in the skills. What do we mean by this?

There is a gap in the skills needed by companies and the existing skills of the workforce. In fact, according to a report posted by McKinsey & Company, the demand for advanced tech skills is on track to continue to soar. The need for advanced IT and programming skills could grow as much as 90% by 2030.

Our mission is to teach people how to code while catering to the skyrocketing demands of the industry. This aims to help people to advance in a career that they enjoy and unlock new opportunities like more flexibility in their work schedules and higher pay. It also helps companies grow and pursue new opportunities because they have a team that's capable.

So what are we doing to narrow this gap? We work with companies directly to specialize the curriculum to their exact needs. That way, they know once their employees or sponsored students have completed the program, they will be equipped with the neccessary skills. But don't take our word for it...

We interviewed Chief Technology Officer of Clarity Services (a part of Experian), Jim James, and gained insight on why Experian paid for employees and community members to go through our code boot camp.

How did Experian get connected with Suncoast Developers Guild (SDG)?

Clarity Services was a start-up in Clearwater in 2008 and we were part of the local Ruby community where we met many of the SDG folks. We go way back! Then, Clarity was acquired by Experian and we were delighted to keep working with the Suncoast Developers Guild team.

How many students have you sponsored through the boot camp?

We have done this in a couple of ways. We have put six staff members through SDG's academy as an in-service enrichment program. We have also recruited four new team members directly from Demo Day who are still with us and doing great. We also sponsored several other students from the community for full-class scholarships who have gone on to other companies and are working amazing careers.

What was the process like for sponsoring students through the program?

The Suncoast Developers Guild part was effortless! Seeking budget, approval, and corporate support was the challenging part.

Did you have any special needs or languages that you needed the students to be trained in? If so, what were they and how did SDG work with you to ensure it would get done?

We are a Ruby shop, so SDG’s curriculum works great for us. The academic team at Suncoast Developers Guil also built a custom course for experienced Java QA developers to come up to speed in Ruby testing.

What can you say about the ability of the students you sponsored after they completed the program and started working?

Every student (in-service/fresh hire) hit the ground running. They make their first commit to our production codebase usually within their first week. But the real value is in their continued growth as developers based on the learn-to-learn foundation from their code bootcamp training.

Do the grads you hire require mentoring? What does Experian do to help guide and mentor them?

Yes, all new staff need mentoring to learn our practices and standards. We do pair programming, peer review, regular seminars in the tools and techniques at Experian.

What makes you and your team excited about hiring SDG grads?

Because they are good, talented developers!

What would you say to a fellow employer who is thinking about sponsoring a student through SDG? What can other companies expect from sponsoring students through the program?

We do two different kinds of sponsorship. The first is completely self-serving where we put existing staff through SDG classes for up-skilling or we hire new grads into our team. The second is our employee community teams sponsor candidates from the community simply to help the local industry and to level up the developer base in Tampa Bay.

Do you think code schools are changing the local tech industry? If so, how?

Code schools are changing the technology industry tremendously. Code-savvy is rapidly becoming the minimum bar for knowledge for workers across all industries. In the same way that competence in Word and Excel paved the way and created a mindset for armies of marketers, accountants, sales managers, and other data-oriented professions; code schools are helping people in all industries dig into the power of code to transform work, markets, sales, and consumer happiness.

What do you have to say about SDG’s curriculum? What updates or additions would you love to see in the future?

The SDG curriculum continues to be refined and encompasses the newest mainstream tools and approaches. Very exciting is their ability to craft custom curricula to focus on specific individual business needs.


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