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Actualize

Chicago, Online

Actualize

Avg Rating:4.92 ( 378 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$13,900
    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
  • Ryan  User Photo
    Ryan • Graduate Verified via GitHub
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    Actualize delivered on everything that I expected going into the bootcamp. The curriculum was very effective in giving me a solid foundation of skills and concepts. But most importantly I feel empowered to go out and learn any language or skill that I feel passionate about or interested in. Dani was a great instructor and provided the right balance of guidance and instruction paired with the opportunity to solve problems and tackle challenges on our own using the skills we learned.
  • 10/10 experience
    - 7/16/2021
    Ian  User Photo
    Ian • Student Verified via GitHub
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    I just finished the Day section of Actualize coding bootcamp with Dani as my instructor. Prior to joining Actualize I worked in education, and then in media. 

    I decided it was time for a career change, and to really do something beneficial to myself and my future. In High School I had taken some basic coding courses in C++/HTML/CSS, and tried to pursue Computer Science in college. However, I was not great at the math and science that a 4 year CS degree includes, and so I switched majors to education. 

    Fast forward many years to 2020, I had been working as (and still do) a video editor. While I enjoy the work, I really wanted a career with some consistency and staying power. I told myself, and some friends, that I was going to join a coding bootcamp. I did my research, I built out an Excel spreadsheet with all the bootcamps I was considering, and I landed on Actualize.

    I chose Actualize 1) because of the flexibility in the schedule, a day or a night section, and the day section allowed me to continue working in the mornings and 2) because of their mission statement regarding hiring educators first and coding second. Coming from an education background I understood the importance of having an instructor that could really teach the material in an effective way.

    I'm so glad I chose Actualize. I feel like I had a great experience all around, and learned so much information in such a short amount of time (and was able to retain all of it!). The career support once a week built into the curriculum was also helpful in getting me to start thinking about what my life would be like when the bootcamp ended, and I feel very prepared to continue on in my journey into the tech world. I'll never stop learning, and I'll always keep working on new and interesting ideas.
  • Jeff S.  User Photo
    Jeff S. • Graduate • Verified via LinkedIn
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    tldr; sign up for Actualize, they are absolutely everything they claim to be. You will graduate with a solid foundation to start your career in development!

    I've taken pride at being self-taught at many things. But I struggled to teach myself programming beyond a basic level for quite a while. I spent more time trying to decide which language to learn than on just picking one (spoiler alert: it doesn't matter, just pick one and move on!). I'd skip over the fundamentals just to hack together code on a deadline for small parts of my job without understanding what I was doing at all. But the program at Actualize was completely worthwhile and feel like it has prepared me for a life of learning in Web Development.

    Actualize started with the fundamentals without ever feeling simplistic. The pre-work was engaging and well structured. The live instruction was phenomenal and was a great balance of technical instruction, career coaching, habit forming and developing strong problem solving skills. It moved at a great pace and jumped between instruction and exercises but constantly pushed (forced?) me to keep learning, something that is hard to maintain on your own. The curriculum was well rounded and the group work was a great way to practice collaborative project-based coding. The capstone project was where everything we were taught came together and I was astounded at how much I had actually learned and was able to pull off. It also taught me how to focus under pressure, search out resources, pick my priorities and work up against a hard development deadline.

    I was hesitant to pay for a coding bootcamp and thought "I can just teach myself with some online courses". But the reality is there's no way I could have learned this much material and covered such a broad array of coding and computer science concepts in any coherent way on my own. Not to mention you have little to no support when going the self-teaching route. But at Actualize during exercises I received help on things that could have taken me hours or days to figure out on my own - leaving time to reinforce the skills I was building while still exploring more advanced concepts. The deadlines and group projects were very effective at cementing my knowledge and forcing me to learn and think on the fly.

    Overall a phenomenal experience and I would highly recommend you sign up right now or visit one of their classes to see what its like for yourself. But save some time, quit debating and just sign up for Actualize. There will be plenty of time for self teaching after you graduate but at least you'll be able to start off on a solid foundation with a network of resources to take with you, and that's a huge advantage.
  • John  User Photo
    John • Student Verified via GitHub
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    Realized halfway through that the founder's partner was the admissions coordinator who helped me sign up, My instructor was actually also the dean, and I was lucky enough to present my code to the founder for my final. Instructors were available for advice well past class class time, with the aforementioned dean pulling very late nights to be ready for finals week. TA's and pre-work instructors were incredibly helpful and friendly. I took the whole class online and hope to meet up with classmates and Instructors soon.
  • Excellent Program
    - 7/16/2021
    Josh  User Photo
    Josh • Graduate Verified via GitHub
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    The number one reason I picked Actualize was because of what I had heard about their career support. I am writing this review on my last day of class and I already have a job, but even if I didn't, the career support is phenomenal and continues long after graduation.

    Our instructor, Peter, was great. Before I started this class, I had never written a line of code in my life, but I now feel prepared to enter the profession.
  • Great Program!
    - 7/16/2021
    Randy R  User Photo
    Randy R • Graduate Verified via GitHub
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    If you are looking to start your career in Web Development (Full Stack) this is a great school to learn from! I had Peter Jang as an instructor and he was great! Lisa the Career development instructor was super SUPER beneficial. Everyone at Actualize was very knowledgable and patient with me. I also really appreciated the online part-time course because it was Live on camera where you can actually speak to the instructor and ask questions. 

    Definitely recommend. 
  • Mark Francisco  User Photo
    Mark Francisco • Graduate • Verified via LinkedIn
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    When i was a prospective student looking coding bootcamps, reading the reviews was a big help in the decision-making process. I just completed the Actualize program recently, so here are some thoughts and opinions based on my own experience:

    Pros:
    -i feel that the teachers, TAs, and career advisors have been really supportive. it's easy to get in touch with someone if you have questions. the cohorts are smaller and the career support team works with you to understand your personalized goals. My class was 14 students from a wide variety of backgrounds and interests. The lectures are held live and recorded in case you need to reference back to something later.
    -our instructor did a really good job of creating an engaging and fun classroom environment. it made it easy to get to know the other people in the class. there's a lot of group collaboration and pair programming. of course the bootcamp was a grind at times, but going to class was always something i looked forward to.
    -the online daytime class is 5 hours/day M-F with a few breaks. this is less classroom time than some other bootcamps. This ended up being a plus for me, since it helped me avoid the sense of burnout that can come with being in a classroom environment all day. I liked having the live class time, taking a break, then reinforcing concepts and diving into the homework at night.
    -Ruby on Rails and Vue were good languages to learn and be introduced to first.

    Cons:
    -expensive. there are for sure cheaper ways you could go about learning web development fundamentals. For me personally though, the structure and the support of a group learning environment was really valuable and really helped me build on my skills.
    -fast-paced: it can be a bit overwhelming sometimes to understand all the concepts coming at you rapid fire. i'd recommend you try to dive into some basic programming concepts if you can before you start the program.
    -just know that you're not going to learn everything you need to know in the 12 weeks. you're going to have to keep learning and building on the foundation of knowledge that you gain in the class.


    TLDR: recent student. would recommend. 5 ruby gems / 5.
  • Lil  User Photo
    Lil • Graduate • Verified via LinkedIn
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    Short version:  Balanced, well-paced curriculum with a HUGE focus on supporting students on their learning path AND beyond. 

    If you're looking to learn programming languages remotely and aren't sure if you'd be missing out on some part of the in class experience, Actualize has figured it out. They had zoom classes pre-pandemic and it really shows,  it doesn't feel like a rushed transfer from in-person learning like some classes might. The classes are small (mine had 14 students for 1 instructor and 2 TAs), the exercises make use of the online component of the class (you are learning a computing language after all), and you will leave feeling a real comradery with a new community.

    I have friends who went through other classes at the same time as I did and while they had problems feeling like they were lost in the sea of new material, Actualize never made me feel overwhelmed.  You do learn A LOT, but its not just thrown at you.  Our instructors and career supervisors were overwhelming supportive and provide plenty of tools to help students along their path. The class is 5 hours (with an hour of breaks throughout) and THERE IS homework but not so much as to eat up all your time. I can only speak for myself but most assignments took about 20-30 minutes to complete. Its well paced, with plenty of time to grasp the new subjects-- to the point I'm shocked at how much I actually learned.

    The main reason I joined a bootcamp was that I kept getting stuck, bored, or frustrated with learning independently and I wanted to speak to an actual human person about it. Instead, I got to talk to qualified instructors AND a dozen new friends going through the same experience.  My class was about half women, including the teacher (something I was worried going in as a lady-in-tech) but obviously that will depend on the year. But the social aspect was everything it could be in a class, and that was a delight.

    I wholeheartedly recommend Actualize!
  • Daniel  User Photo
    Daniel • Graduate • Verified via LinkedIn
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    If you are BRAND-NEW to programming, then this must be at the top of your list. 5hrs a day + hw is much more manageable than other bootcamps that have you going 8hrs a day + hw + projects. How can you truly learn while being overwhelmed for 4 straight months? With Actualize, it is undoubtedly very challenging, but it never felt overwhelming, and I felt I learned way more this way. 
    The faculty, teachers and TA's are all genuine people that actually care about you. My cohort were also very kind and accepting people. As someone who actually has some programming experience going into it, I was blown away with how much I learned and the connections I made along the way. Plus the price is unbeatable for the quality of education you're getting. 
    I JUST graduated, and I feel so much more confident now to enter the work force. Seriously, this is the one! Your mental health and wallet will thank you!
  • James Boyette  User Photo
    James Boyette • Graduate • Verified via LinkedIn
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    The bottom line: if every new experience, risk, and attempt to learn were this good … I'd probably go outside a lot more. 
     
    Seriously. I had all of (what I imagine are) the standards questions and fears: is coding too hard in general? Will this company take my money and run? What am I getting myself in to? I googled, read two articles on "what to know if you wanna do a bootcamp," found course report, and starting reading reviews. Actualize's reviewers said: 
    1) they'd worried about these things too, BUT had read the reviewers before them and been assured, "It's definitely the right choice," 
    2) they listened, took the bootcamp, and were back to confidently report, "Yes - it actually deserves its hype" … and why?
    3) This bootcamp cares about you. And more importantly, the amazing people that work here care about *teaching*. Honest, No kidding - "We're former M.A.'s and Dr.'s in education" teaching. 
     
    As a former teacher myself, I was definitely in "ok - prove it!" mode when I signed up. … that lasted ?two days? Everyone's kind, the staff are hilarious, and the lessons just make sense. My list is frankly too long - I can't say enough good things! But Seth D. (review: "Worth It!" from 5/7/2021) and Eric Lee ("Reviews don't lie" - also 5/7/2021) sum it up well. 
     
    Go ahead and enroll. Or keep reading a few more of these to see what we all think as alumnus. And, if you end up needing a final push like I did: get in touch with them. After I talked to a rep, a teacher, and a career advisor … the two days was excessive!
  • Eric Lee  User Photo
    Eric Lee • Student Verified via GitHub
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    Choosing the right coding bootcamp can be very challenging as there are so many now. I watched, read, researched all the curriculums and reviews and Actualize did not disappoint. 
    The most common reviews on typical coding bootcamps are that the instructors are recent graduates and cannot teach nor code. They basically just read the powerpoint slides and you have to do your own research.
    The instructors at Actualize are highly skilled coders and they all have teaching backgrounds. It does come with a hefty price for an online bootcamp but you get what you pay for. Get loans just like I did. Actualize coding bootcamp had the best score overall and it lives up to it. 

    What you'll get out of this camp:
    -Capstone Project as your portfolio.
    -A solid coding foundation.
    -Knowing where to find answers and skills to teach yourself.

    What you shouldn't expect:
    -Guaranteed high paying first job.
    -Become an expert coder when you finish the bootcamp.

    At the end, you get what you put into it.


  • Worth It!
    - 5/7/2021
    Seth D  User Photo
    Seth D • Graduate Verified via GitHub
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    Trust what you've been reading. As an educator, I was looking for a place that knew what they were doing, not a training program, but a program that would teach. Brian, a former high school educator himself, did just that. The program is designed with a perfect balance of independent-based inquiry and direct instruction -- all of which is very intentional and proven to work. I've learned more, and have been given that challenge that I was seeking, in these 12 weeks than I have in a really really long time.

    Mixed in with the excellent instruction are intentional moments of reflection designed to let you soak in the vast amount of skills you have attained in such a short period of time. This made the experience much more valuable and sustainable -- helping you realize that no matter how difficult development is, you're learning a ton along the way.

    For those of you, like I was, looking at multiple camps and researching the perks and price of each -- pick this one. Seriously.

Thanks!