Admissions Spotlight

Admissions at Hack Reactor: What You Need to Know

Jess Feldman

Written By Jess Feldman

Jennifer Inglis

Edited By Jennifer Inglis

Last updated on March 26, 2024

Course Report strives to create the most trust-worthy content about coding bootcamps. Read more about Course Report’s Editorial Policy and How We Make Money.

Whether you’re a total coding beginner or have been self-teaching for a while, Hack Reactor has a bootcamp for you! Enrollment Sales Manager, Jeffrey Pryor, illuminates the application process for the full-time beginner and intermediate programs, including what’s involved in the basic prep course and how to prove yourself in the assessment interviews. With a median compensation of $80,000-$80,500 for full-time beginner and intermediate active track students, find out how Hack Reactor is setting students up for tech career success starting with the admission process!

Hack Reactor’s 3-Step Admissions Process

Hack Reactor offers two different programs, a Beginner Coding Bootcamp and an Intermediate Coding Bootcamp. Each bootcamp has a slightly different admissions process, but they start the same. 

The beginner full-time program’s admissions process:

  1. Complete a 15-minute Criteria Cognitive Aptitude Test (CCAT).
  2. Complete the program application and select your desired start date.
  3. Complete a non-technical admissions interview.

The intermediate full-time program’s admissions process:

  1. Complete a 15-minute Criteria CognitiveAptitude Test (CCAT).
  2. Complete the program application and select your desired start date. 
  3. Complete a 20-minute JavaScript coding challenge to ensure you understand JavaScript fundamentals before scheduling and completing a technical admissions assessment (TAA).

For both programs, applicants are guided through the steps of the admissions process through the admissions portal. The team helps applicants  from the aptitude test stage of the process, all the way up to when they’re completing the checklist of items needed  before the start of the bootcamp! 

How long does the application process at Hack Reactor typically take?

For those applying to the Beginner program, everything is completed asynchronously, so it really depends on the applicant. If someone is thoughtfully prepared, they can complete the Hack Reactor admissions process in a day!

For applicants to the Intermediate program, the admissions process typically takes 1-3 months, depending on the applicant’s experience level. The Technical Admissions Assessment for our Intermediate applicants is not asynchronous.  

We encourage people to prepare for their application. We also always encourage attendance in one of our info sessions before taking the admissions interview. 

What is the admissions interview like for Hack Reactor’s beginner program?

The admissions interview for the beginner program is non-technical, but we do encourage applicants to prepare before taking it. Overall, it’s structured like a job interview. We're preparing them for the types of questions that they will receive when they're in the most important part of our program: the job search phase. 

We’ll ask questions about their working style: 

  • Are they independent or collaborative? 
  • What is their interest in learning new things?
  • Do they understand how they learn best? 
  • Do they understand how they'll support themselves financially during the bootcamp? 

It’s critical to thoughtfully plan for the time committed to this program, practice self-care, and commit to the rigor of an intense training experience with this type of structured program.

If an applicant doesn’t pass any of the assessments, can they take them again?

For the aptitude test: If someone doesn't meet our bar of entry, they can retake it in three months. Keep in mind that the aptitude test is not meant to be studied for — it’s to test your aptitude at that point in time. 

For the beginner admissions interview: If someone doesn't pass, they can retake it in six months. Applicants will get feedback from our team if they fail the interview, so they can feel more prepared if they choose to retake it.

For the technical admissions assessment (TAA): This is the final admissions step for the intermediate program, and applicants have three opportunities to take and pass it, but they’ll need to take two weeks in between each attempt. 

It’s common not to pass the technical assessment on the first try and we encourage applicants to schedule a call with my team. We will reach out to the applicant with detailed notes from their assessment to highlight  areas that they need to study and focus on for their next attempt. They will get guidance on what to study before retaking. 

Technical Skills vs Soft Skills: What You Need to Get In

The beginner program is designed for those with no coding knowledge

To get into the intermediate program you need to know how to:

  • Use a for-loop to access every third element in an array in reverse order.
  • Read and write values from an object's property using dot notation and another mechanism.
  • Identify misplaced variable declarations to fix code.

Is there an ideal Hack Reactor applicant?

We welcome all levels of coding experience and diverse backgrounds! Whether you're new to coding or you've been teaching yourself to code, there's a home for you in one of the Hack Reactor programs. 

Ideal applicants for either the beginner or intermediate program should: 

  • Have soft skills (detailed below!) outside of coding fundamentals. 
  • Have a growth mindset and fully understand that this is a challenging and rewarding process. 
  • Understand the field of software engineering and seek a program where they’re collaborating with peers. 
  • Have the grit to navigate the intense schedule of this program and the job search upon graduation.

Who are the typical applicants at Hack Reactor?

We see a mix of applicants! We've seen more career transitioners, especially since 2020. Many of those students were working in healthcare or wanted to transition to jobs where they would have the opportunity to work remotely. We do still have incoming students who have been coding for some time, as well as people who have a sibling or a friend who is a Hack Reactor graduate. They have seen the impact of our bootcamp and they're really excited to do it themselves!

What kinds of soft skills is Hack Reactor looking for in applicants? 

When it comes to soft skills, applicants are measured in seven different areas:

  1. Communication. Knowing the code is not enough! It’s important to be able to communicate the coding process. 
  2. Confidence in the ability to accomplish a task.
  3. Coordination. We are looking for an applicant’s ability to plan, monitor, and complete tasks within a specific timeframe. 
  4. Control. We want to see an applicant’s ability to diagnose and solve their own bugs. 
  5. Composure. We want our students to be able to remain calm and have a positive attitude when things go wrong, especially when collaborating in peer programming.
  6. Commitment. Our students understand how to stay on task, ignore distractions, act on feedback, and recover from setbacks! 
  7. Collaboration. Being able to work with others to achieve common goals is very important at Hack Reactor. Our programs are set up with a lot of pair programming, which reflects the collaboration needed in the field.

How selective is Hack Reactor? 

Since the acceptance rate fluctuates, we focus on preparing applicants with as much information as we can before they take each step of the admissions process. Our goal is to ensure that once people have completed these steps and have been accepted into the program, we feel confident – and they should feel confident – that they are prepared to be successful in our program.

Can a beginner apply for the intermediate program?

We do have beginners go through the intermediate program! If they do, they may need more time to study beforehand. We have free basic prep material that is tailored to helping applicants who want to enroll in our intermediate program. Depending on their experience level, it might take them 1-3 months of studying to prepare for and pass the admissions assessment. 

If someone is unsure which bootcamp is the best for them, can they apply to both the beginner and intermediate programs?

Prospective students are able to apply for both programs if they have some coding knowledge and want to get into the intermediate program. In that case, only one aptitude test is necessary. In our program application, we ask about the applicant’s coding experience level. We give them examples of levels of experience, so they can see where they fall on the spectrum.

What’s your advice for a complete beginner who wants to enroll at Hack Reactor?

Our beginner program was designed for those with zero to beginner programming experience.

If you have the motivation to commit to this program, you are welcome to join us. Even people who have gone through higher-level education programs will find the schedule of a bootcamp is intense. You will be learning for long periods of time, and people may not have ever experienced  that type of learning before Hack Reactor. Even if you have a job with similar hours to our programs, you're likely not learning constantly in your job; you usually have a short training period and then go through the motions of the scope of the work. The bootcamp is a unique learning experience and we want to make sure that people feel prepared for that. 

What’s your advice for an intermediate coder who wants to enroll at Hack Reactor?

Prepare and apply for your desired cohort earlier than later. The pace of the intermediate program is fast and we want incoming students to be ready for that. They're going to be diving into a rigorous schedule, and the knowledge comes at them really quickly! There is a lot of what we call “productive struggle” in that program. 

To have the best possible experience, we recommend students secure their seat 8-12 weeks in advance. There is required pre-course work for the intermediate program that takes 90-120 hours to complete, and we release it 12 weeks in advance. In the Intermediate precourse, students will work on:

  • Development environment, setup, version control with Git, and debugging with Chrome developer tools.
  • Intermediate JavaScript concepts like automated testing, higher order functions, and recursion.
  • An intro to front end development, like HTML and CSS.

If students secure their seats early, they have more time to work through the required material, which makes for a smoother onboarding experience.

Does Hack Reactor offer a prep course?

Anyone can access our free basic prep material! It is self-paced and designed for people interested in the intermediate program. The material is broken into different modules and focuses on the fundamentals of JavaScript. The timing of modules really depends on the pace of the person. Someone could get through one module per week, but they would need to dedicate a fair amount of time to complete it.

Once you've completed Module Two in basic prep, you should be at a place where you can successfully complete the coding challenge required for our intermediate program. Once you've completed Module Three, you should be at a place where you can attempt your TAA. We have structured guidance for folks who may not immediately know if they're ready to take the TAA, and we can point them to our in-house resources. 

Are there opportunities for incoming students and applicants to connect with the Hack Reactor community?

The beginner program has a live online event before the start of the bootcamp, where we release course primers, which encourage students to review computer literacy and high school math before the program. It’s also a great time to meet one another, plus some of our program delivery team, and get invited to a Slack workspace where students can start connecting with classmates.

When students are onboarded for the intermediate pre-course, they join a Slack channel with other cohort mates. We have a wonderful pre-course manager who has office hours available. He posts updates and communicates deadlines so that they know how they're pacing. This gives our incoming students full visibility on what they need to complete and when they need to complete it. 

The setup of the pre-course is not going to feel like the actual bootcamp because students are working through this independently to build skills. They can book office hours with our pre-course manager if they need assistance. We do encourage people to get to know each other and find local Meetups for camaraderie.

The Types of Tech Jobs Hack Reactor Graduates Land

We break outcomes data into two categories (active track versus passive track), which helps us understand what it takes for someone to land a job in software engineering in this market. Our active track represents graduates who apply to an average of at least 10 jobs per week during their job search phase. Our passive track represents graduates who apply to fewer than 10 jobs per week during their job search phase. 

We saw an $80,000 median compensation for our active track graduates in the beginner program and an $80,500 median compensation for our active track graduates in our intermediate program!

The top five most common job titles that our graduates land are:

  • Software Engineer
  • Full Stack Engineer
  • Software Developer
  • Web Developer
  • Developer

Find out more and read Hack Reactor reviews on Course Report. This article was produced by the Course Report team in partnership with Hack Reactor.

About The Author

Jess Feldman

Jess Feldman

Jess Feldman is an accomplished writer and the Content Manager at Course Report, the leading platform for career changers who are exploring coding bootcamps. With a background in writing, teaching, and social media management, Jess plays a pivotal role in helping Course Report readers make informed decisions about their educational journey.

Also on Course Report

Get our FREE Ultimate Guide to Paying for a Bootcamp

By submitting this form, you agree to receive email marketing from Course Report.

Get Matched in Minutes

Just tell us who you are and what you’re searching for, we’ll handle the rest.

Match Me