How Hack Reactor Gets Graduates Hired

Jess Feldman

Written By Jess Feldman

Last updated on May 23, 2023

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More than 12,000 alumni have graduated from Hack Reactor with average starting salaries of ~$100,000. Thanks to their dedicated Career Services & Partnerships team, directed by Crew Spence, Hack Reactor alumni are connected with a variety of companies and industries. Hack Reactor graduates support each other in an alumni Slack channel, where jobs are shared as well as the triumphs and tribulations of the job search. Crew breaks down why employers love hiring Hack Reactor grads and how Hack Reactor grads are faring in the current tech job market.

Meet the Expert: Crew Spence

  • As Director of Career Services & Partnerships at Hack Reactor, Crew oversees the team that manages the career services managers, who directly interface with students. 
  • Crew is involved in the Hack Reactor curriculum and its iteration, and how to measure outcomes on new products so that students get what they came for. Crew creates reports for student outcomes that are audited by a third party. 
  • Crew is also responsible for building and maintaining the software packages that students and staff use. 

Career Services at Hack Reactor

The career services team is in communication with students from day one of the program. During the bootcamp, students regularly hear from us to help with resume support, but toward the end of the program is when we heavily focus on the job search so they’re prepared after they graduate. 

The career services curriculum starts with defining your personal brand — a narrative you can use when someone prompts you to “Tell me about yourself.” It not only highlights what you can bring to the company both technically and personally, but also includes something about you that makes you stand out. 

We use that personal narrative to build deliverables that you’ll need for your job search. Students learn how to incorporate their personal narrative into their resume, LinkedIn, GitHub, and GitLab, which are imperative to getting a foot in the door anywhere!

We also prepare them for what goes on in interviews, so they’re congruent when the time comes. We discuss strategies for improving their conversion rates, and how to succeed in technical screens.

Does Hack Reactor help students with negotiation and compensation?

Yes! During the program, the Careers team gives more general guidance. There’s a curriculum to follow and we offer asynchronous resume guidance during the program. After you graduate, you stay in touch with us and get 1:1 support from career services managers to get guidance as you're on the job search. This can lead to strategizing with someone to negotiate a salary. We don’t negotiate for you, but we operate as a sounding board with the wisdom of someone who’s been through the process thousands of times. 

Can Hack Reactor graduates reach out to the Careers team for support? 

Career Services focuses intensely on graduates for the 180-day period immediately following graduation. They can submit help desk tickets, and we meet 1:1 regularly. The support slows down 180 days after graduation.

That said, Career Services is always available to chat on our Slack channel and weekly meetings. We may not have the same bandwidth as when you were first starting your job search, but we respond to every message we get. The other great thing is the support of the alumni network! Our alumni have gone through the process, learned from career services, and have their own advice they can offer, which is invaluable.

What is the careers team like at Hack Reactor?

Currently, we have 25 people on the career services & partnerships team, and 15 of them are career services managers. The heaviest amount of 1:1 support students get is in that first six week period of their job search, which is why we have enough career service managers to support people getting their career off the ground. Hack Reactor graduates can always call on the career services team to get support. We also have a way of tracking how students are doing on their job search, so we can reach out to them if we see they’re needing some support. 

Landing a Tech Job after Hack Reactor

Typically, Hack Reactor grads get hired as junior-to-mid-level full stack or front end software engineers. Every once in a while, though, we see a recent graduate land a back end role or even a senior-level role based on their previous experience!

What is the median salary for Hack Reactor graduates?

We're committed to only publishing audited numbers, where a third party looks at that data and verifies it. Based on our current outcomes report, the median salary of Hack Reactor graduates is $100,000, based on the report of 94% of graduates. 

We’re also proud to say that the median compensation increase for our graduates is $37,967, meaning their salary went up by that much from their previous compensation. The salary payout after graduating is a gamechanger! 

Have you noticed a change in hiring rates In the current job market? 

We are noticing that hiring rates are slower in this market. Even before the market was volatile, there was always a certain number of people who would get their job 182 days after graduation, a couple days after we stopped reporting. This report would offer assurance that graduates still get hired and that it just takes longer sometimes. While there are more people looking for jobs on the market, there are still more jobs than there are people to fill those jobs, so ultimately people do get those jobs. The other aspect of paying attention to the bad news is that it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. 

These recent layoffs in tech are not primarily affecting engineers, and since it’s tech, there are other vertical markets that are still hiring engineers. We’re showing students that it’s in their best interest to be out there, getting in front of people, and applying. Part of the reason for the delay in hiring is not just that there are more people on the market, but that people don’t feel confident enough to apply. We work with students a lot on their mindset. 

In the future, we’re looking to implement another report that tracks how graduates did six months after the bootcamp, then report on them again with the next batch of students that graduate six months later to see how they’re doing a year out.

Hack Reactor’s Employee Partnerships

Hack Reactor partners with major corporations and small companies alike to match our graduates with a good fit. When you’re new to tech, you may assume the jobs are all in FAANG companies, but there’s tech in all these other industries, like medtech, biotech, greentech, and fintech. Major companies we partner with include Google, Airbnb, Asana, JPMorgan Chase, Travelers, State Farm, John Deere, and Wells Fargo. 

We're not charging these employer partners to get access to our students. We just want to try to make the connection and do what's right for the student. We will happily take a partnership call from a scrappy startup, mid-level company, or a Fortune 100 company. Ultimately, we’re looking for anything we think will be good for our students.

How can Hack Reactor students engage with this employer network?

We don't do any matchmaking, but we do have people in our organization that advocate for our graduates. We want to get you in front of employers and we try to make it as easy as possible for you to talk to them: 

  • We offer a Collaborative Job Board. We use Huntr, a software platform where we post jobs with our partners, so they can see what jobs are available right now with Hack Reactor partners, and they can track their job search so we can look for trends and spot areas where we can help. 
  • Partners looking for tech talent may pitch themselves to our students. What people don’t realize is that there's still plenty of people out there having a hard time finding tech talent.

What are employers looking for today’s developers and tech professionals? 

Employers are looking for folks with modern knowledge of software engineering technologies — it’s not as important to know a specific tech stack or coding language. They are looking for someone with a fundamental understanding of how software engineers build tools. Do you know what you’re doing here? Do you understand how this works? Then you can get caught up to speed on the specifics of their company. 

In your experience, what do employers like about Hack Reactor graduates?

At Hack Reactor, we not only teach students how to use modern frameworks and technologies, but we're also teaching them how to work through problem-solving, ticketing systems, sprints, and team workflows. This may set our students apart from other job candidates who may not have practical experience or have gone to other programs. 

These sorts of things are built into our program so that it's not just that a graduate knows how to build software — they know how to build it in the team. They know about things like workflows and version control. They’ll be able to pick up quickly on how the team works. Being able to learn information quickly is another major asset of Hack Reactor grads. Our students sometimes think that we invented sprints or standups, and then they get their first job and realize that’s what dev teams actually do!

Showcasing Your Skills as a Hack Reactor Graduate

Hack Reactor portfolios will contain a combination of structured projects and freedom to explore. Typically, Hack Reactor grads are able to show they can do full stack development, like putting together a server, how to deploy, and how to manage a database. Students have simulated a microservice architecture tool and will understand the architectural principles of how to deploy. Through the bootcamp, our students may start to dive into the thing that interests them most. It's sort of a choose-your-own-adventure program, but there are certain baselines. 

How do you recommend students incorporate their past work and education experiences into their portfolio?

There are two ways you can incorporate past experience that at first glance might not be relevant:

  1. Human relation — This is something that is interesting to a human being and might make people remember you. For example: One student was a magician on cruise ships before enrolling at Hack Reactor. We found a way to incorporate that into their personal narrative to demonstrate that they were qualified and memorable! 
  2. Relevance — People who have a background in a certain field may be able to land a tech role in that same field. For example, if you were in finance as an accountant or banker, you may want to target fintech companies after graduating. If you were in customer service or retail, that can easily translate to a tech job in e-commerce. 

What’s your advice for those who may have gaps in their resume due to caretaking or illness? 

That's becoming sort of more accepted broadly in this industry. I don't know about all industries, but I think if you're trying to get a job as an engineer, people tend to be more understanding. Even sites like LinkedIn are starting to have an option to indicate that you took a break. We don’t want students to be afraid of talking about it. Maybe there are also things you learned during that break that you can incorporate in your resume and personal narrative — it may not be related to coding but it’s related to interpersonal skills that might translate. For example: If you have a toddler, you probably learned a lot about communicating, teaching someone something, and patience!

The Hack Reactor Alumni Network

Hack Reactor has over 12,000 alumni at this point! We have a robust Slack channel that we encourage graduates to use to network with people they think are interesting. I also host weekly webinars with Hack Reactor alumni where graduates can reconnect and talk about the job search. Sometimes people are nervous to reach out because they’re asking for something, but as long as it’s mutual, usually people are happy to connect and expand their network. Many alumni come back and talk to students to share their story and what it’s like on the job. 

Some people have been on the job now for six months and could talk about the job search and what it's like being a new developer. Since Hack Reactor has been around for a decade, we now have alumni who can share their insights from 10 years of working in the industry and what it’s like to become a senior developer or architect. 

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.

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