Hiring a new team member feels risky, there’s no doubt about that.
The cost of salary, the time to find someone who’ll gel with the existing team and to onboard them, senior team member capacity to mentor new recruits… it all adds up. Naturally, we do everything we can to minimise the risk and protect the bottom line. Of course we do—that‘s good business.
Tech companies’ preferred way of going about this is to lean into hiring university graduates or intermediates. Considered the safer option, the knowledge and skillset gaps in these cohorts are well known so getting them up to speed is relatively predictable and straightforward. Less is known about job-readiness from other avenues like comparatively shorter or intensive courses and career changers.
Often short courses seem, quite simply, too short to be of value. How could someone’s learning after just five months be on par with someone who has studied for three plus years? What’s more, there’s a sense of graduates having been pre-vetted by institutions like universities suggesting they’re likely to be a more comfortable choice.
But it’s only a sense. Talk to most teams, and they’ll tell you a university degree doesn’t necessarily make a valuable employee. More often than not, it‘s a person’s drive, motivation to learn and willingness, and capacity, to adapt to change that’ll enable them to thrive within your team, adding immense value to your output.
University students and intermediates stand to tick all these boxes, but intensive course graduates do too.
University students may have been working towards the end goal for longer and intermediates are already embedded and comfortable in the tech sector, but in an industry that’s powered by agile thinking, status quo and comfort zones aren’t particularly relevant.
Agile thinking is born of agile living and this is where short course graduates have the potential to match the potential of their traditionally-educated counterparts, provided the intensive course is up to pace. How can employers pinpoint high quality courses? Look for things like NZQA accreditation, course tutors with tangible industry experience of their own, a high job employment rate for graduates, and partnerships—internships and the like—with industry leaders.
Any education pathway demands determination, diligence and grit but shorter doesn’t necessarily mean cruisier.
High quality short courses are ‘short’ only in duration often involving an intense training schedule that demands students demonstrate the ability to learn quickly, plus the initiative and discipline to put in the required hours of self-study. Hyper-organisation is also required, particularly when students are balancing their studies with a full-time job, family commitments or similar, which is frequently the case.
Short or intensive course graduates have actively pivoted outside their comfort zone—the very definition of agile—and, in the case of Mission Ready graduates, their efforts have been validated by the industry via 10 weeks of mentored industry experience with established tech companies like Datacom, Vector, Foodstuffs, AIA, Countdown, Merkle, and Spark, meaning they know their stuff.
Any new employee, regardless of their prior education or career pathway, will require some level of onboarding and training, but career changers in particular bring with them the cross-industry experience and transferable skills— interpersonal, leadership, and prior study—companies are crying out for. What’s more, bringing on juniors gives seniors the growth opportunities they crave, providing the chance to mentor and guide, and hone their leadership skills in the process.
All four hiring pools—university students, intermediates, career changers and short or intensive course graduates—are sources of serious tech talent. While employers are more familiar with the education pathways of university students and intermediates, career changers and short or intensive course graduates have just as much to offer.
Looking to hire? Don’t make the process harder than it needs to be. Ask for access to our Hot List and choose from Mission Ready’s high calibre graduates.
: Edmond Dantès