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Actualize

Chicago, Online

Actualize

Avg Rating:4.91 ( 443 reviews )

Actualize is a 12-week software development bootcamp in Chicago and online throughout the US, offering both part-time and full-time options. Instructors with professional educational experience teach students full stack web development including Ruby, Rails, JavaScript, VueJS, SQL, and Git. Both the in-person and online programs use the same immersive, instruction-driven curriculum, with the Online Live classes conducted in real time with video conferencing. Actualize has a deeply integrated “Job Hacking” curriculum focused on the personal branding and networking skills necessary to land a new job, which Actualize feels is just as important as learning to code.

After the 12-week program, students have the option to join its unique Career Support program, which has contains additional training for Job Hacking, a job accountability group, and team projects to add to one’s portfolio.

To apply, students can submit an application via the website, then go through a series of two interviews with an admissions advisor. There are no coding challenges, but students must complete 4 weeks of prework before the program starts.

The daytime course takes place Mondays through Fridays, while the part-time course takes place on Sundays and weeknights, designed to allow the working person to attend a coding bootcamp while still working a daytime job.

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  • Web Development

    Apply
    AngularJS, CSS, Git, HTML, JavaScript, Rails, Ruby, SQL
    In PersonPart Time16 Weeks
    Start Date None scheduled
    Cost$14,900
    Class size15
    LocationChicago, Online
    Financing
    DepositN/A
    Tuition PlansAsk for details about payment plans.
    Getting in
    Minimum Skill LevelBeginner
    Prep WorkSome introductory work given several weeks in advance of the start of the program.
    Placement TestNo
    InterviewYes
  • Evan  User Photo
    Evan • Graduate Verified via GitHub
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    Actualize is one bootcamp among many with ostensibly comparable curricula. The course currently focuses on Ruby on Rails for backend and Vue.js (Vue 3) for frontend development, though they're always making tweaks and updates to stay current. It's organized very rationally into three sections: pre-work, live instruction, and the job search. Live instruction is typically the 'meat' of what people are looking for in coding bootcamp, often giving less consideration to incoming skill level or the real-life challenge of finding a job after the live course.

    The staff at Actualize are available to guide and support you all the way through, whether you're coming in with significant coding knowledge or none. Pre-work is self-paced and teaches fundamentals of Ruby programming. Live instruction is taught by one of several lead instructors (who may or may not have some great terrible jokes for the class) with additional TAs available to answer questions, and goes into some level of depth on backend and frontend web development. I was in a cohort of 12 and there was nearly always one TA in class with us, which is a significantly better student-to-teacher ratio than some other programs I researched.

    Live instruction was somewhat less intensive than I expected, but there's a good deal of suggested/optional homework to both review in-class material and explore topics in more depth, if you have the time and/or energy for it. I'm moving into the job search phase now, which includes specific instruction along with one-on-one support for as long as you need.

    Sure, I could likely have learned much of this material on my own from various online resources, but if you get overwhelmed with the universe of material that's out there, don't know where to start, need to be held accountable by real human beings or just know you do better in class settings, this might be for you. I can't speak to the full extent of career support at this point, but the knowledge that I will have access to career advisors and the Actualize alumni community for as long as I need, I have a feeling that will be a truly invaluable resource.


  • Brittney  User Photo
    Brittney • Graduate Verified via GitHub
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    I chose Actualize because they emphasized long-term learning over teaching too many technologies in the short term. I'm leaving the bootcamp with strong foundational knowledge I can use to learn new technologies independently. I found that to be a lot more valuable than getting exposed to too many things and not understanding how to continue learning independently post-bootcamp. Our instructor also took the time to gauge how we were feeling about certain topics and would spend an extra day diving a little deeper if we needed. Our feedback, confusion, and questions were taken seriously, and he took the time to thoroughly explains things to us or change up the schedule a little to fit our needs.

    During the bootcamp, I experienced varying levels of doubt/imposter syndrome in myself and the work I was completing. The best choice I made was to voice these concerns with my instructor, teaching assistants, and career advisor. No matter how many times I reached out, they were incredibly supportive and encouraging. They really helped with putting my fears into perspective so I could grow past them. Although it's not an easy process, I felt as though I had the right people in my corner to bolster me up when needed, and I'm incredibly thankful for that. 

    I would recommend Actualize to anyone who wants to enter a bootcamp with a strong support system of instructors, teaching assistants, and career advisors to foster long-term success. 
  • Great Experience
    - 5/20/2022
    Davis Peck  User Photo
    Davis Peck • Software Engineer • Graduate Verified via GitHub
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    This Actualize Bootcamp is a great way to get your foot into the door for web developing jobs. I took the class with very little experience, and with the help of my teacher and career advisor, I am more confident than ever in this field and companies are noticing me more than ever. 
  • Brandon Lin  User Photo
    Brandon Lin • Graduate • Verified via LinkedIn
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    For anyone on the fence - let this be the sign that you should do it. It is amazing how much you can accomplish in a few short months. 

    I thought about attending a bootcamp for a few years, and over that time considered a number of bootcamps that operate in Chicago. Going in, my criteria were:
    - Able to attend in person
    - Full time
    - Focus on a single stack of technologies due to the short duration of a bootcamp

    Quite a few bootcamps met these criteria. COVID restrictions meant that no programs were offering in-person, so I went for their live virtual classes and was happy with the experience. What set Actualize apart for me was their focus on education. Their website states that they are educators first. While I can't compare with other bootcamps having only attended Actualize, I can attest that the instructors are excellent at communicating and reinforcing complex topics to people from a wide range of backgrounds. Our cohort had teenagers and people with grandchildren, people with CS backgrounds and folks who had never coded before joining. The instructors are engaging, passionate, knowledgable, and have plenty of real-world experience to share.

    The curriculum is well designed for newcomers to writing software: 
    - Ruby is a great choice for first-time coders as it is not burdened by verbose syntax - this focuses students on picking up fundamentals like conditionals, arrays, hashes, loops, etc. rather than debugging where they missed a closing punctuation. It is a language designed to read like english, which is super approachable and fun to code in. This gets you started, and further into class you can explore other languages more easily.
    - The program focuses on a small set of languages and reinforces fundamentals through repetition, building your knowledge up until you are proficient with a stack. Some other bootcamps promise to teach you many different popular languages, rather than going deep into a few. Actualize equips you with the ability to pick up other languages as needed (aka when you are getting paid at a job). 
    - Each week there is "job hacking" - dedicated career advisors coach you through the steps needed to get a job and succeed after bootcamp ends. Resume writing, personal websites, interviewing, types of employers, etc. are all things they help you with.
    - Post bootcamp, graduates continue to attend a course dedicated to practicing data structures and algorithms and preparing you for your interviews.

    Culture wise, Actualize is a very welcoming, accommodating, and honest place to learn. There were many times that folks from my cohort considered leaving, but the supportive atmosphere and encouragement from teachers and peers kept 100% of my cohort mates through to graduation. It is a small company and the folks who work there all seem like a tight-knit family - they take care of their people, which permeates through to them taking care of their students and alumni. Alumni who have moved on to full-time positions frequently popped into class to say hello and offer their perspective, experiences, and advice. From reviewing other bootcamps there seem to be a few that are patched together to get as many students through so they can get paid - Actualize feels like the opposite of this, that their instructors would do this even if money was no object to them, they love to teach and to see their students succeed.

    Actualize doesn't prepare you just to get a job, they set you up to have a career. They teach you to be curious and explore, to be excited to code each day, and to work on whatever you might be interested in. Like pulling the cord to start an engine, you may have tried before this to learn on your own through classes or books, but yet you still haven't found success. Actualize was the pull that got the engines going for me and so many others. You can do it too!
  • Sam  User Photo
    Sam • Graduate • Verified via LinkedIn
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    For me, where I am in my life (career pivot, woman, parent, eager to learn and grow), this was absolutely the right decision--no question. And no question that this was the right place to do it. They have their shit together, they are not a scam, and it's a great place to go through a hard, huge thing. For me, this was more than just learning coding. It was learning how I learn, and fighting back against some shitty, mean-ass voices inside my own head that have lived there for too long. Because there are so many variables going into whether or not it's the right decision for you, I am hesitant to recommend the bootcamp model blindly. If you've got specific questions (like I did when I came to CourseReport to read reviews about Actualize) I would be happy to give more detail or answer questions. Find me on LinkedIn and let's chat (unless you're weird or pervy, in which case, please don't).

    One specific thing I will say: for women, or anybody who may feel like they don't belong in the dev community, listen up. Get yourself a teacher who looks at you like Amanda. She won't do the work for you, but she'll light a loving fire under your ass to see your own potential and give yourself credit for what you can do. 
     
    I am very, very grateful for this experience and proud of myself for taking the leap. 

     
  • Graduate
    - 5/20/2022
    Hector Nuno  User Photo
    Hector Nuno • Student Verified via GitHub
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    I chose this bootcamp because they were the only bootcamp that I found that had live instruction. This made a huge difference because I learn better when I have someone demonstrating things to me instead of just following instructions or doing just assignments. I like having that feedback, especially when I learn something completely new. I thought it was a great experience, I liked that we actually got to code with our instructor as she was demoing. I would recommend this bootcamp to people who need an actual instructor present to be able to learn. They are a small company, which was a big plus for me especially because bigger companies usually just want your money. The big companies don't really seem like they care about your outcomes but at Actualize you really feel like they care about your success. After graduation, they don't leave you hanging which is great. I'm writing this on my last day of the cohort and I'm planning on extensively using the job hacking resources they provide.
  • Amazing Experience
    - 5/19/2022
    Vicencio Mendez  User Photo
    Vicencio Mendez • Graduate • Verified via LinkedIn
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    I was referred to this Bootcamp by two former Actualize alumni and the only thing I regret was not joining sooner! My experience and the curriculum were superb! I couldn't imagine learning this much in such a short time. All the instructors were phenomenal, Kevin in prework, Katherine as the lead instructor, and the TAs.All were always more than willing to help and go over anything you were stuck on. It doesn't stop there, Lisa in career services has been super helpful in my job search. I recommend enrolling if you're looking to get into web development!
  • Matthew Katz  User Photo
    Matthew Katz • Graduate • Verified via LinkedIn
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    Actualize was an amazing experience where you learn so much in such a short period of time. The program starts with a month of pre-work where you learn the fundamentals of coding syntax and data types, then from there you start the 3 months of live instruction where you learn to create full stack applications. They do a great job teaching you lots of complex concepts, in their entirety, quickly and effectively. The curriculum is excellent and my instructor was a really great teacher as well. If you are looking for a bootcamp to launch your career in tech, I couldn't think of a better place.
  • Bootcamp Grad
    - 5/19/2022
    Daniel Ibrag  User Photo
    Daniel Ibrag • Graduate Verified via GitHub
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    Overall it was a great experience, the online course was fantastic. Originally i had an expectation that the online course would be half baked and feel a bit experimental but that was not the case at all. Its hard not to recommend this bootcamp to anybody who i know that would be interested in a career as a software developer! 
  • Michael Beard  User Photo
    Michael Beard • Graduate • Verified via LinkedIn
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    I came to Actualize after reading many, many course reviews. A friend of mine is an Actualize Alum, and he recommended it highly. I will say if you're looking for something to help you start a new career in software development, this is definitely worth the money and the time. Knowledgable staff, and so helpful with learning to learn to code, and figuring out what comes next.
  • Greg West  User Photo
    Greg West • Software Engineer • Student • Verified via LinkedIn
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    Actualize enabled me to learn an incredible amount in a relatively short amount of time. Before Actualize I was learning as much as I could through self study. I was able to learn about algorithms and other puzzle-solving style coding problems, but I wasn't learning much at all about practical programming and how to BUILD things with a computer! This is where Actualize excels, and I don't think I could have learned how to build a full stack web application in even 1/10th of the time on my own. Actualize gives you the tools you need to transition into a career in web development with actual skills beyond just theoretical computer science knowledge. There's also a great job hacking program where you're guided by career counselors, and there's an extremely supportive network of people who want to see you succeed. If you're like me and are burnt out from a career that doesn't value your skills as highly as you feel you deserve, I can't recommend Actualize highly enough.  


  • Dylan Sarikas  User Photo
    Dylan Sarikas • Graduate Verified via GitHub
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    You may be interested in learning to program but confused about what a “Full Stack Developer” actually is.  Let me explain.  A Full Stack Developer is a web developer who works on both client and server software.  This is often referred to as the “Front End” and the “Back End”.  The Front End is what you see when you go to any website, how the page layout looks, how the buttons, menus, and forms all operate.  The Back End is where a lot of the logic and data for the website exists.  This would be where, for example, a website like Twitter would store all of the tweet data.  So if that sounds like a field you’d like to work in, then learning to become a Full Stack Developer would be excellent.  But Actualize also teaches general coding knowledge and just about everything you learn is transferable to another programming language.

    It was a great experience and I think the attribute that sets Actualize apart from other, larger coding bootcamp is how much they actually care about you.  I had two friends who before me went to the two largest coding bootcamps and while they also enjoyed their experiences, we all agreed that Actualize cared the most about our personal success.  This is most evident with the “Job Hacking” that takes place at least once a week that really prepares you to step into the world of a programmer after bootcamp.  There are career counselors who meet with you personally 1-on-1 several times after the course of the bootcamp to get to know you and really tailor a plan to help you land a job, because that’s what this is really all about. 

Thanks!