Making a career change is tough. Finding high quality hires for a start up is tough. Good thing the tough get going at General Assembly, a global education company teaching in-demand skills across data, design, business, and technology. That’s where Luke Ruth, Fundrise’s head of front-end development, found our newest hire while helping to teach a course this past year.
Caitlin Daitch was working for a web development agency in Washington, DC as a project manager when she decided to pursue her long-held interest in the technical side of her projects. She turned to General Assembly after a friend recommended their immersive courses. There she started with an introductory course on front-end web development, which Luke happened to be an instructor for at the time. Pretty soon, she was hooked, and decided in class that she wanted to make a career change.
Luke started teaching at General Assembly back in 2014. He decided to teach there because he loves building websites, and he wanted to give back. He says, “Programming never came naturally to me. I had to work really hard at it and I remember how frustrating those early days were. I wanted to give back to the web development community and let people know - don’t worry, it gets easier.”
Caitlin immediately stood out in the introductory course. Luke recalls that she was full of questions and always made time to attend office hours. Clearly she had the same attitude toward development that he had at the beginning of his own career. That proclivity to “stick to it” is something Fundrise (and every startup) prizes in an employee.
When she decided to enroll in the full-time web development course this past February, Caitlin knew that would mean leaving her job and forging a new path. When the job hunt began, she turned to Luke for advice on getting started. Over coffee she realized that working at Fundrise was exactly the type of job she was looking for. She followed up with Luke after they met and the rest is history.
Caitlin is now on our product team as a front-end web developer. She cites General Assembly’s immersive program and Luke’s teaching ability as the foundation for her skills: “Luke was a phenomenal teacher, and definitely influenced my decision to become a developer. I felt well prepared to be interviewing for entry-level positions towards the end of my time in the immersive program, and I’m having a great time in my first full-time position as a developer!”
General Assembly has helped Fundrise find a solution to one of the biggest hiring challenges faced by startups and big companies alike: supply. The demand for talented, hard working developers greatly exceeds what the market provides right now, which means there’s intense competition for the best of the best. That dynamic can make any company want to rush through the hiring process, but it’s important to remember to hire for attitude as well as aptitude.
Here at Fundrise we put a strong emphasis on maintaining our company culture while we grow our team. We could pay a recruitment agency to find the right people, but fees can be exorbitant—in the realm of 15-25% of a candidate’s yearly salary. Avoiding those fees while finding more amazing people to add to our team is a win-win. With General Assembly’s help, we were able to do just that.