We’re writing this post to announce to the community a brand-new initiative for MLH that we’re excited about, but that we felt needed some explanation and some context. This Spring, we’ll be piloting our first paid course, and we wanted to tell you all why we’re doing that and where it came from. We hope you’ll come along on this journey with us – check out the story below.
At MLH, we’ve helped hundreds of thousands of hackers launch their careers in technology with the skills and network they gain from our hackathons. Since 2020, we’ve helped over a thousand early-career developers take their first steps into Open Source, Production and Site Reliability Engineering, and Web3 Engineering with our MLH Fellowship tracks. Now, we want to find ways to help our community members take one of the most intimidating leaps out there – the job search.
Why Job Search Support
One thing we’ve learned across the last 4 years of running the MLH Fellowship is that the skills needed to land a job and the skills needed to be a great developer are not the same. Our hackers, and MLH Fellows, are incredibly talented developers, but will often struggle with how to present their skills in the job market. How do you convince an HR recruiter that your hackathon project is evidence of your skills? How does the question “where do you see yourself in five years?” have anything to do with how well you could do a job right now? The job search requires a different approach and set of skills – ones that can be learned, but that your average early-career developer hasn’t been taught.
OK, how can MLH help?
We’ve worked with dozens of employers and tech companies to understand what they are looking for when they make an early-career hire. We’ve seen our MLH Fellows get hired at companies large and small and we’ve found patterns in what makes them successful. And of course, our Fellowship admissions team has done thousands of behavioral and technical interviews and we’re very familiar with both the do’s and don’ts of those challenges.
Furthermore, we’ve heard from our community members throughout the last year about how difficult it is to break into the industry as an early career developer right now. In just the last week (at time of writing), news broke that by some estimates, only 700 new tech jobs were added in the last year. That’s compared to 267,000 the year prior. It’s clear that our community is struggling in some very real ways given this dynamic, and given all of the expertise we have about becoming a successful early-career developer, we knew we had to address it.
We’ve created a program that we call Hack Your Hiring. This course will run for four weeks (February 12th through March 8th), and will cover all of the major milestones of launching a job search, including:
- Drafting your resume and cover letter
- Professionalizing your online presence
- Learning the do’s and don’ts of behavioral interviewing
- Crafting compelling answers to common interview questions
- Practicing the core skills of technical interviewing
Now as I mentioned above, here’s the part that’s different from what we’ve done before – we’re charging $299 for this four week course.
Pay? For an MLH experience?
We have always measured our success by the number of hackers we empower, and the reality is that a course of this kind – focused entirely on your individual job search, using professional expertise and personalized feedback – is only sustainable and effective as a paid product. To give the kind of guidance and support that most job seekers need, we need talented staff members to check in with participants, software to track their progress, and well-designed assets to deliver materials. All of that comes with costs that we need to cover to make this program viable. Our typical model at MLH is to have our company partners fund these kinds of products, but given that we’re trying to help hackers apply for roles across the industry, and not at one specific company, that model doesn’t work here, even if there was a partner interested in sponsoring us.
That said, we’ve worked hard to keep the price as low as possible. We’ve found similar programs that charge as much as $2,500 for one month of job search support – well outside of what the average student or early-career developer is able to afford. We believe that MLH can provide a high quality and personalized experience at a much more achievable price point for our community members. And we believe that our community is full of motivated individuals who will see the benefit of learning job search skills from a company that has been there for them. Win win win.
But perhaps the most compelling benefit we can offer in a paid program is accountability.
Why Accountability Matters
Why do folks work with personal trainers, or sign up for fitness classes, or join running clubs when they want to build an exercise habit? A person could achieve that goal without any of that scaffolding – with nothing more than a pair of sneakers. But isn’t everything a bit easier when you have someone beside you? A personal trainer refines your technique, a fitness class inspires habit-forming regularity, and a running club surrounds you with a community of people all trying to achieve the same thing you are. Suddenly that goal feels a lot closer!
We’ve seen this dynamic at hackathons over and over again – great projects get built and prizes are won not by an individual having a great idea but by the power of structure and community.
The whole community is showing up for just this weekend – I’m inspired! I’m working with this small group of hackers – I can’t let them down! There’s a cool prize I want to win – I’d better hustle!
And it’s not just in our community – there’s research that’s been done indicating that the simple act of committing to another person that you’re going to accomplish something – creating accountability – makes you more than 50% more likely to achieve that goal. So the structure of our Hack Your Hiring course is built entirely around creating accountability.
OK, I’m with you. What’s happening next?
This Spring, we’re launching a beta test of our Hack Your Hiring program. This course will run for four weeks (February 12th through March 8th, 5pm Eastern Mon/Wed/Fri), and will cover all of the major milestones of launching a job search as mentioned above. Our beta testers will receive personalized feedback on their portfolios from our Fellowship team, who have shepherded thousands of applicants through our admissions process. They are led by Amanda D’Avria, our Head of the MLH Fellowship. She has nearly 20 years of experience as a hiring manager and has interviewed thousands of candidates across a variety of roles and industries.
All in all, our beta testers will get access to approximately 25 hours of material (synchronous and asynchronous) to help them get the best possible start on their job search. We are limiting this pilot program to the first 30 sign-ups.
As always, we want to hear from you and collect your thoughts on this. Invitations to sign up for Hack Your Hiring will be going out to selected community members in the coming days. If you want to share your reactions, you can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let’s take this next big step together!