Other differences between the two coding bootcamps are that Hack Reactor offers a Remote Beta program, for students who want to complete the whole course online, and MakerSquare offers the Masters beta program, an advanced 8-week course for experienced developers. Co-founder Shawn Drost also pointed out that MakerSquare has a dev house in Austin, and Hack Reactor has an Alumni Lounge in San Francisco.
MakerSquare: $16,920. The price has increased since 2014 when it was $13,880. It is the same price in all locations – Austin, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Hack Reactor: $17,780. The price has not changed since 2013. Hack Reactor’s campus is in San Francisco.
Both coding bootcamp programs are 12 weeks full time onsite. They have the same hours: 9am to 8pm, Monday to Saturday.
Both MakerSquare and Hack Reactor require pre-work before starting the in-person course.
MakerSquare: 100 hours remote
Hack Reactor: 8 weeks part time remote
MakerSquare students also have access to the school’s old Ruby on Rails curriculum while they are there, although this will not be taught.
Hack Reactor describes the curriculum as being designed to mimic a real job environment, with a focus on how to learn any new technologies that a task may require, and constantly evolves in response to feedback from employers and alumni.
Both programs also cover soft skills like effective communication, workflow management, product development and implementation, application deployment, and team dynamics.
Although the curricula are the same, the teaching approaches at MakerSquare and Hack Reactor are slightly different.
In the past, key lectures at MakerSquare were primarily delivered by video, says co-founder of Hack Reactor Shawn Drost, who is now COO at Reactor Core. A MakerSquare alumni who graduated in 2015 said, “85% of the time, they are video lectures. Most of these video lectures are pre-recorded lessons that were given at Hack Reactor.” MakerSquare co-founder Harsh Patel told Course Report that as of February 2016, MakerSquare now delivers key lectures live in-person, along with some supporting video lectures which have live follow-up Q&A sessions with instructors.
At Hack Reactor, students learn through a sequence of targeted lectures, structured assignments and collaborative projects. Students regularly work in pairs.
Reactor Core told Course Report that both Hack Reactor and MakerSquare use mostly live lectures and supplement learning with video lectures.
Some students say the atmosphere is more “chill” at Makersquare. Makersquare graduate Ryan James said he chose Makersquare over Hack Reactor because it was more relaxed, with a chill vibe. Another MakerSquare graduate Jeff Louie said the environment at MakerSquare was both serious and relaxing, and that “during lunch time and at the end of the day, people would just hang out and talk or play ping pong and darts.”
Hack Reactor graduates regularly say the program is extremely intense. Graduate Austin Liu said the pace is really quick, and if you fall behind, you have to work even harder to catch up. Hack Reactor graduate Zach advised, “be prepared to work incredibly hard... The more effort you put in the better your results will be.”
Reactor Core Chief Research Officer Phillip Alexander told Course Report that Hack Reactor students are very driven, often staying up till 2am, hacking on intense and complex projects. Phillip says Hack Reactor is like an experimental testing ground for cutting edge education, so people who want to study in an unpolished, but innovative environment are suited to Hack Reactor.
Both Hack Reactor and MakerSquare are part of the Reactor Core Hiring Network, which has partnerships with over 300 companies including Microsoft, Intuit, Chase, and Slack.
Shawn Drost says: “All partner schools have identical job search support curriculum/process (but are administered by different people). The hiring days for all partner schools are run by the same team.”
MakerSquare claims to have a 96% job placement rate within three months of graduation, and average graduate salaries of $106,000 in San Francisco, $92,000 in Los Angeles, and $75,000 in Austin. MakerSquare hosts a Career Day at the end of every cohort, and provides ongoing graduate career support to help students get interviews with partner companies.
Hack Reactor claims to have a 99% job placement rate within three months of graduation, and an average graduate salary of $105,000. Hack Reactor Remote Beta job placement is 95%, with an average salary of $94,000.
Realistically, each school likely has different reputations and hiring networks depending on the city. One MakerSquare graduate from San Francisco suggested in October 2015: “go to Hack Reactor over MakerSquare because even though they share the same curriculum, the job network is Hack Reactor’s and Hack Reactor has a much better reputation.” Another MakerSquare graduate disagreed, citing that “people ‘in the know’ realize the curriculum [at both schools] are the same and that attendance is really based off timing.”
MakerSquare CEO Harsh Patel says both schools have the same admissions standards and the same programming challenge and technical interview.
In the end, we can give you the facts, but scouring reviews is the best way to get a feel for each school. Here are some highlights:
Hack Reactor vs. MakerSquare