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App Academy vs Flatiron School: Your Ultimate Guide

Harry Hantel

Written By Harry Hantel

Last updated on September 15, 2015

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We explore the differences and similarities between App Academy and Flatiron School, two of the best coding bootcamps in the US. What type of student is each bootcamp best for? What's the culture like at each school? How does job placement compare? All of these questions answered and more!

Curriculum & Culture

Both App Academy and Flatiron School have curricula based around Ruby on Rails and JavaScript technologies.

Flatiron School offers courses in Web Development and iOS Mobile Development. The school offers certain fun, non-coding activities, but they stress that much of their energy goes towards quality assurance for their curriculum to give students the best coding education possible. The emphasis is on getting students to love coding so that they will continue to pursue it. That also means involving students in the coding community with industry speakers and Meetups.

App Academy only teaches Web Development, but with the expectation that students will learn about how to think like a programmer and apply their skills in other ways. The program is fairly straightforward in its intentions. App Academy is referred to on its website as an “immersive, full-time, web development, and job placement program in San Francisco and New York City.”  The program is meant to teach web development skills with the purpose of getting graduates jobs.


Paying for Flatiron School and App Academy

The Flatiron School has a traditional pay structure for all of their courses. It’s $15,000 for either Web Development or iOS Mobile Development. There’s also the NYC Development Fellowship for NYC residents making less than $50,000 a year and covers a 22 week Web Development course.

In the past, Flatiron has offered tuition rebates to students who have been hired through the job placement program. Rebates ranged from $3,000-$4,000.

App Academy does not charge up front tuition. Instead, you are required to pay a placement fee only if you find a developer job after the program. The placement fee is 18% of your first year salary, payable over the first 6 months of your job. There is a $5000 refundable deposit to reserve your spot in the program, but the deposit can be lessened in exchange for a higher placement fee.


Location + Time Commitment

App Academy is a 12 week program offered in San Francisco and New York. The program promises more than 500 hours of instruction over its entirety. Students are expected to commit 90-100 hours per week total.

Flatiron School is located in Manhattan in New York City, with another campus in Brooklyn for the NYC Development Fellowship. Students are required to be on campus Monday to Friday, 9 am to 6 pm. Before beginning the program, students must complete 150 hours of pre-work.


Teaching Approach

App Academy’s program is lab-based, and they actively seek to minimize lecture time. 90% of the program is spent building projects with assistance and guidance from instructors. Similarly, nearly all of the programming time is spent pair-programming. There are also weekly assessments that are very challenging.

Flatiron has a similar focus on pair-programming, however, Flatiron students will be in lecture for 3-4 hours a day at the beginning of the program along with a few hours of labs and assignments. Later on there will be only 1-2 hours of lecture as students begin to work on projects. Students are required to maintain an active technical blog throughout the program and give at least one technical presentation at a meetup.


Flatiron School Acceptance Rate vs App Academy Acceptance Rate

App Academy is extremely competitive, accepting slightly less than 5% of applicants.

Flatiron School isn’t much more forgiving, with an acceptance rate around 6%.


Job Placement at App Academy vs Flatiron School

According to Flatiron School’s most recent Jobs Report (November 2014), 91% of the bootcamp’s job seeking graduates were placed within 120 days of graduation.

App Academy claims a 98% placement rate and average salary of $98,000 (NYC) or $105,000 (SF).


Alumni Networks

App Academy’s alumni have a lot of great things to say about the program. That said, the emphasis on job placement and employer partnerships means that networks for alumni are not as important to the program.

Flatiron School places a large emphasis on their community and their workspace. They host speakers from the tech industry as well as Meetups, which gives students a chance to network with other students and alumni as well as outside companies.


The Application Process

For App Academy, candidates submit an application and then receive a coding exercise and preparation materials in the mail. Candidates may be required to take a second coding exercise. The final step is the interview, which is followed by an admissions decision within two days. Keep in mind that App Academy publishes all of their prep materials and coding challenges on GitHub!

The Flatiron School application process is made up of three main components. First, the application itself. Second, there is a 20-30 minute phone interview. Finally, if the interview goes well, there is a coding challenge. After the coding challenge, candidates will go over the results with someone from Flatiron School. Candidates are encouraged to apply early as applications are rolling.


The App Academy Interview vs Flatiron Interview

We previously covered the App Academy interview process in full detail here, but what you need to know is that there will be a live coding challenge that involves pair-programming with an interviewer as well as a mini-interview, possibly over Skype.

As mentioned above, the Flatiron School interview is 20 to 30 minutes. It is not a technical interview, instead it is for culture fit and for candidates to ask questions about Flatiron. Interviews are conducted by an instructor and a founder.


App Academy Reviews vs Flatiron Reviews

Our main takeaways from reading reviews of App Academy are:

  • App Academy is a no frills, extremely challenging deep dive into coding
  • App Academy absolutely delivers on their placement and salary promises

The main takeaways from reviews of Flatiron School are:

  • Flatiron School has great teachers and is structured well
  • Flatiron School has a supportive, engaging community that is as helpful as the teachers

More Reading

About The Author

Harry Hantel

Harry Hantel

Harry Hantel is a recruiter, researcher, and writer with experience placing senior level professionals in a wide array of industries. As the Community Manager at Course Report, Harry developed expertise in subjects like iOS Bootcamps, bootcamp scholarships, data science bootcamps, and more.

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