BeCode provides inclusive coding bootcamps across Belgium with a simple mission: to close the skill gap and bring people with the motivation and skills into paying coding jobs. With 23% of Belgian youth unemployed and 30.000 vacancies in Belgium by 2020, the goal is ambitious. And Alexandre Plennevaux, Head of Pedagogy, needed one thing most of all: to find motivated trainers to help the team on their mission.
Identifying a Variety of Developers With Customer-Facing Experience
“We believe it is a question of access. Among the people we train, there is so much dormant talent.” Alexandre Plennevaux, the head of the coaching team at BeCode, tells us. So it was the company's goal to provide people from all backgrounds the learning environment to get themselves ready for the workplace. Becoming autodidacts is something Plennevaux emphasizes, “We don’t train; we coach them to teach themselves.” Over 7 months, a class of 25-28 students learns to work on real-life industry problems. Two coaches guide each group. With offices in Brussels, Antwerp, Charleroi, Liège, and Gent, it is those coaches that BeCode needed to hire urgently.
“We need people with real industry experience. At the same time, they need to be passionate about teaching and helping people grow.” Plennevaux needed to find people who believed in the coding school’s mission.
Since the start of 2017, BeCode has grown its team to 15 coaches. Stack Overflow has been a big help in this. On the company page, the group describes their idea of teachers as Sherpas. Plennevaux laughs, “We never provide an answer; we support people in googling.” However, the teaching methods used by the team have a proven success record. They also place focus on kindness and collaboration.
“More than the programming itself, we teach the skill of working in a team. For example, we only move on to a new challenge after everyone has mastered it.” So teaching others as soon as you understand something is built-in. “It’s challenging for our coaches, but we create an atmosphere where they stand in front of the class, saying, ‘You and I, we are in this together.’ It’s all about trust.”
It works. Through Stack Overflow Talent, the team advertises the roles for Web Development and AI/Data Science Trainers. Through the candidate search, Plennevaux had the option to target people directly, especially since they need teachers not only in Brussels but locally across Gent, Antwerpen, Charleroi, and Liège.
BeCode was able to hire three trainers through Stack Overflow. To Plennevaux, the ideal candidate needs these skill sets: “As with our students, we don’t care about diplomas. To be a trainer at BeCode, you need to want to help people grow, and you need to be able to code, have great soft skills, and the ability to manage a group. Past professional experience of any kind that can validate those skill sets are very relevant.” The social impact is very attractive to people. Challenging at times, yet rewarding as Plennevaux himself knows from being a coach: “A developer’s day consists of many cycles from self-doubt to the dopamine rush you get from solving a problem. And then repeat. As a teacher, you see this with your students every day. And especially with students who would have never imagined themselves becoming developers. It is very rewarding.” After running the successful program for web developers for three years, the team is now branching out into seven months-long bootcamps for data science and machine learning. And as part of the Simplon network, they are looking to open more programs across Belgium.
Learn more about BeCodes mission in the interview with Alexandre Plennevaux, Head of Pedagogy.