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How Coding Bootcamps are Breaking The Mold with Ruben Harris, CEO of Career Karma

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“There’s a difference between a job, a career, and a calling.” — Ruben Harris

Ruben Harris is the CEO of Career Karma, an app that matches people to coding bootcamps and gives them support for the rest of their careers. Prior to co-founding Career Karma, Ruben and his co-founders worked across many different fields from education, to health care, to politics and finance— and Ruben documented all of his experiences in blog posts. After receiving thousands of emails asking him for advice on how to break into tech, Ruben co-founded the Breaking Into Startups podcast. Eventually, this project sparked his desire to create a real product, Career Karma, that prepares workers for the fourth industrial revolution. 

Coding bootcamps allow individuals to become programmers at a much faster pace than traditional computer science education. There are many coding bootcamps, but from teaching styles to acceptance paths, they are very different from each other. With the Career Karma app, users are matched with the bootcamp that fits their lifestyle and goals. There’s also a networking component that helps the new software engineers connect with mentors and peers across the industry. 

Coding bootcamps may be the fundamental education in Career Karma, but technology is changing every field. Ruben recognizes this and is working to expand Career Karma’s offerings.

“We decided to focus on software engineering first, the reason being that, people keep referring to the tech industry as separate from everything else. But, the tech industry is no longer an industry anymore. It’s everything. If you’re not tech-driven, you’re either going to die or survive for a few years and adapt to the next thing and become tech-driven.”

On this episode, Ruben sits down with Stephanie to discuss the unique difference he’s making for software engineers during their job hunt, lessons he’s learned over his career, and finding the right education that aligns with your career choice.

P.S. Thanks to our partner, b8ta, this week we will be giving away three Pocketalk voice translators. The Pocketalk supports up to 74 languages and uses built-in mobile data to provide two-way foreign language translations in real time. Enter the giveaway here for a chance to win!

Quotes from Ruben:

“What’s not going to change over the next five years is people wanting to know what jobs exist, where to go to get the training for those jobs and to connect with people that can guide them during that process. We are always going to be laser focused on that. If bootcamps today are what is training people, great, if it’s something else tomorrow, we can always point them to whatever the next thing is.”

“We believe that to prepare the workers for the fourth industrial revolution, it requires you to work collaboratively. There is not going to be one school that trains the entire world.”

“If you’re going to go to college, pick the major that’s going to get you the right outcome so you can sustain the cost of what you paid for.”

“I don’t believe in the whole lonely at the top idea. I want to make sure that during my lifetime, with every single person that I meet, if they want help, they will become greater than me and the best way for me to reach people in a fast way is through radio, music, podcasts, video, etc.”

“One of my superpowers has always been to be able to reach any influencer, anybody that’s historically unreachable. I’ve always been able to establish a good relationship with them.”

[On the subject of doing events and networking through Career Karma] “It’s very important for us to always stay rooted with people as we grow. To this day, I still do 100-200 calls a day to understand what’s going on.”

“The biggest thing that I’m trying to work on as a leader is communication. I think for me it’s extremely important to be an excellent listener and fully understand the situation before I respond.”

“Even when I’m not wrong, I take the blame. I’m comfortable being the one that gets the negative hit, if necessary. I don’t see it as negative; problems are opportunities.”



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