Why I love the Accenture Tech Bootcamp
June 2, 2021
Luke Higgins developed the Accenture Tech Bootcamp as an alternative to traditional interviews. Accenture’s myWizard lead on why Bootcamp is important, how it’s evolved over the last five years and what he’s looking for in the next generation of Accenture recruits.
I came up with the idea of Tech Bootcamp five years ago and I still go to every single event. These days, we’re running about 8 Bootcamps a year. There’s a real groundswell of support. We have around 600-800 applicants for each 50-100 person session.
Bootcamp came about because I thought we needed to change the way we recruited. I didn’t like interview format. I felt an hour wasn’t long enough for us to really get to know the candidate – or for them to demonstrate their capabilities.
I wanted to give candidates a better experience. Something that wasn’t just pass/fail. Something they’d learn from – that would give them useful insights and skills even if didn’t turn into a job at Accenture. I wanted to give back to the next generation in our industry community.
We thought if we could work with people for a week. Show them what it's like to actually work on our project teams. Discover their aptitude for learning. Watch them work in a team. We’d get a better feeling for the candidates themselves – and they’d have a better idea of whether they wanted to work with us.
The result is Accenture Tech Bootcamp – a 4-day, experiential gathering where you learn new technology, meet industry experts, hear from Accenture executives about their career journeys, solve problems in a small team (working with Accenture mentors) and get to experience the working environment.
Meanwhile, we get to know you and find out it we’re a good match. You don’t have to be a hard core coder. Anyone with an interest in technology, design and innovation can come along.
What I found fascinating was the number of young women and LGBTQIA+ individuals who showed up to try technology for the first time. Bootcamp is an environment they feel comfortable in. These participants experienced a huge amount of success, and many chose to join our team – which was fantastic.
Over the years, we’ve adapted the Bootcamp format. In the early days, we were a bit ambitious with the projects. Now they’re much more achievable in the time frame. It’s not a 4-day hackathon! We’ve also incorporated more fun, sport and social activities, so we can really get to know people. And we include guest speakers from folks like Salesforce who talk about what’s new, what’s over the horizon and answer your questions.
My favourite bit is judging, when I get to see what the teams have produced. It’s always mind blowing to see what they can accomplish. I usually do the keynote at the beginning, talk about my career and what I’ve learnt the hard way – so maybe you can avoid that! And I try to touch base with as many people as possible throughout the week.
It’s always great to see how excited our participants are, how much they enjoy the experience, how much they learn – particularly people with no coding background. It’s so cool then they discover it’s not that hard. You can almost see the doors of opportunity opening up in front of them.
I just think technology is going to be so pervasive in the future that, no matter what your background, you need to know how to work with tech and what it can do. Having that basic knowledge is going to be so important and such a versatile skill. And there are just not enough people with those capabilities.
I’m super-impressed with this generation. They’re more digitally native than mine. When they look at a problem, they don’t see the constraints I do – and they solve it differently. Often in a much better way! I really learn from them.
I also love their commitment for the greater good. That’s critical to this generation. They’ll do their job, but they also need an avenue where they can contribute to society. It’s not just about your day job, its how we can use technology to make improvements to the community we live within.
What am I looking for in a candidate?
The ability to communicate well and present your ideas with enthusiasm and energy. But I don’t want the person with the loudest voice. I’m interested in: Do you work well in a team? Do you support, teach and enable others? Are you creative? Are you inquisitive? Do you have the grit to persist through a problem – and the grace to solve it as a team?
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