Career Skills: How We Help Students Find and Negotiate Their First Engineering Jobs

Like the rest of the Hack Reactor curriculum, our job search instruction doesn’t do the work for you, but it makes your work maximally effective. The combination of our curriculum, coaching and personalized support is what allows our students to consistently convert their hard-earned skills into a highly desirable job, typically as a mid-level software engineer.

“The students are the drivers,” says Hack Reactor Head of Outcomes Crew Spence. “We are the GPS, so to speak.”

To carry that metaphor a little further, students decide where they want to go in terms of their careers, and our Outcomes Team helps them get there. That might mean a certain type of work (i.e. back-end, full-stack), a type of company (i.e. startup, established player) or a certain field (i.e. IoT, gaming).

“You need to know what you want,” says Spence. “But if you’re still figuring that out, we’ll ask the right questions to show where you are leaning. We have a generalized plan that gets modified 1-on-1 to what you need. Let’s say you are interested in MedTech. We might suggest a MedTech meetup and have you walk away with 5 people’s business cards.”

The hard work of our Outcomes Coaches helps students focus on taking productive steps toward their goal. It also sometimes leads to appreciative mail like this one, received by Outcomes Coach Crista Coven:

“I spent $50,000 on grad school and had a personal career counselor that made probably 1/5th the impact that you did on my job search,” writes now-employed Hack Reactor Remote graduate Jason Holtkamp. “Specifically, you do a great job of showing that you care about your students and showing empathy when we get discouraged. Knowing that there is an expert who knows you well, wants the best for you, and is always able to provide advice takes about 90% of the stress out of the process.”

Prior to the actual job search, students receive tailored resume support and crowdsourcing. By looking over each other’s resumes, students fine tune each one while generating ideas for their own. Students also learn soft skills and negotiation etiquette, like how to approach discussion of salaries.

Employers have developed a number of approaches and interview types to separate the most qualified candidates, and our outcomes curriculum exposes students to all the most common interview formats so that they are prepared to let their skills shine through. Our Outcomes Team works with students to address any roadblocks they are running into, such as difficulty progressing from phone screens to onsite interviews.

“The job assistance has been fantastic,” writes another recent Hack Reactor Remote grad, Lucas Hawes. “I graduated Hack Reactor and am in the job search, and feel I have the skills to negotiate effectively.”

With the personalized support of experienced career counselors, Hack Reactor graduates successfully chart their futures. This final step in the course allows graduates to take the skills they have gained and leverage them into a powerful career transition. To quote Alejandro D’Alessandro, a graduate of Hack Reactor Austin who loves his new career, “the value of actually loving your job cannot be overstated!”

Ready to get started on your new career? We are now offering a free, self-paced course, designed to prepare you for Hack Reactor.

Read more:

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Alum’s Journey Shows How to Turn Grit Into a Coding Career

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