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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
  • Owen   User Photo
    Owen • Actualize - Alumni • Graduate • Verified via LinkedIn
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    I literally found a family in Actualize. Peter was my lead instructor and he is so so so passionate about teaching code. He's a Chicago native like myself. The whole team including Kevin our TA was just phenomenal in my education. I came into this program with zero knowledge of coding. I went from knowing absolutely nothing to having a solid foundation to work with. Leaving this bootcamp it doesn't mean i'm suddenly a master at code. If you're a fan of Naruto I'm probably a Chunin or a high level Genin after going thru this bootcamp. Which speaks volumes at just how this program is structured. I took the evening course because I have a 9-5 but part of the reason why I did this bootcamp was so I can leave my 9-5 that is a dead-end job, for something more meaningful like the world of software engineering offers. If you're looking to go from knowing absolutely nothing to becoming a ready to work entry level developer, I highly encourage you to check this bootcamp out. 
  • Ryan  User Photo
    Ryan • Graduate • Verified via LinkedIn
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    Warning: small novel ahead...

    Like you, I was doing as much research on bootcamps that I could. There are so many out there now. How do I choose the right one? How will I know if I’ve learned enough? Does the bootcamp care about me or are they just trying to raise their statistics? I’m writing this review as I would’ve liked to see in my bootcamp search months ago. I’m going to go into a lot of detail about what the course looks like, and hopefully help you decide if Actualize is right or wrong for you, and why. Here we go:

    My background: 

    I’ve worked in retail basically my entire life since I was 16. I’m 35 now. I never knew what I wanted to do with my life and never knew how to find the direction I wanted to take. My brother and friend did a bootcamp about 5 years ago that really opened my eyes to other possibilities outside of retail. But the biggest thorn in my side of making the leap was: can I really do this? Me, of such a lowly work background, with no real programming skills to speak of and a college degree that is pretty much meaningless? Actualize has shown me that the answer is yes.

    About the bootcamp: 

    In about 17 weeks (including prework) I’ve gone from barely knowing how to open a file on a mac to being able to create my own full fledged application that I feel pretty confident about putting in my portfolio. You spend the first 5 weeks learning pure Ruby language mostly at your own pace - this is called the prework. Each week you are required to complete a number of small exercises (that become bigger as the weeks go on) which are then graded by a pre-work instructor. Two times a week the instructor will hold an office-hours zoom call to ask questions, and you can reach out to your instructor pretty much anytime through Slack (a messaging program used by people in tech). This part, for me, was the very beginning of things feeling real. But not fully real yet because this is done, more or less, at your own pace.

    In-class portion:

    It is about 12 weeks of daily class where you will be in your virtual classroom with your teacher and a TA. You pick up where you left off in some of the pre-work, then you start learning about the Ruby on Rails framework along with all the applications you’ll be using to be successful in the class. Every day, there is homework regarding the lecture of the day that is due before class begins the next day. Class is generally a small mini lecture on something new (you watch your instructor do an example), then you follow up doing it on your own. The beautiful thing about doing this kind of class over zoom is the ability to share screens. During the exercises, all students share their screens and the instructor and TA can “watch over the shoulder” of all students in the class. I really liked this feature. 

    The culmination of the 12 weeks live instruction is a Capstone Project that you begin planning on week 5. This is meant to be a portfolio piece that you can show off to future employers. It incorporates everything you’ve learned. You spend a lot of time working on this (basically a month-ish of class time).

    During the 12 weeks, every Monday there is job-related work that is incorporated. From here, with the help of the job-hacking team, you will build up your LinkedIn, perfect your resume and start applying to jobs and asking for informational interviews. After the 12 weeks, there is one more week of classes dedicated to job searching. From there, you are mostly on your own, though you do have a community of people to fall back on for questions and advice.

    Languages/Skills Learned:

    Actualize teaches you a Ruby on Rails backend with a VueJS frontend. From what I’ve gathered from numerous small interviews I’ve done, these are not the most in-demand languages or frameworks. That isn’t to say that there are no jobs in this niche, but there are just less of them. The nice thing about Ruby and Rails are their overall simplicity to teaching and learning. It’s clear that these are picked to be taught because they are the easiest to digest in the short time that we have. However, I believe a lot of critics would say focusing on these particular languages isn’t the best use of your time due to their lack of popularity, and that is a fair argument. Actualize believes that once you pick up these languages, you can teach yourself almost any language. After 17 weeks, I would agree with that sentiment.

    Why pick Actualize?

    I picked Actualize because I felt they were the most welcoming and the most comforting bootcamp I talked to. I truly feel that my instructor, my TA, and the job-hacking team are all people that legitimately care about me and my success and want to help me get there. It feels warm. To me, that is a big deal. The sense of community and camaraderie I felt among people in my cohort is huge, and though most bootcamps will give you this feeling, Actualize gives it to you just a little bit more. 

    Another benefit is that there is a lot of discussion about not only the technical challenges we all will be facing leaving the bootcamp, but also the mental challenges. I appreciate these lectures and discussions because mental pressure in web development is a real thing and I feel the precursor we received to these issues will help me deal with it. 

    Closing:

    In short, I felt my time and money was well spent enrolling in this bootcamp. I feel I have the initial skills needed to begin working in a completely new field. I have a large network of top-quality people and friends to support me. These are all of the things I didn’t have before, and for that, this guy from the retail world is grateful. 

    TL;DR: Actualize cares about you and your success and treat you like family. You get a lot of resources and support throughout the bootcamp. Though the languages might not be the most relevant, you’ll still be equipped to start applying to jobs.

  • Wendy  User Photo
    Wendy • Graduate Verified via GitHub
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    When I decided to enroll in a coding bootcamp, I did a ton of research to figure out which would be the right fit. I am so glad I chose Actualize - it really lived up to my expectations. The focus on education and on teaching students to teach themselves was especially effective and valuable. I worried that as I moved through the course and piled more and more information on top of what I had already learned, I might get overwhelmed, but on the contrary, I found my learning accelerated because there was constant reinforcement and practice, and I became more comfortable with self-teaching as we went along. My teacher and TA were engaging and helpful, the rest of the Actualize staff was fully dedicated to each student's success, and I really enjoyed my cohort and the sense of community and camaraderie. I also really appreciated the online format - it was seamless, convenient, effective, and in these pandemic times, safe. As with anything, you will get out what you put into it. If you are serious about becoming a developer and have the willingness and ability to put in the work, Actualize can get you there.
  • Arthur Peterson-Veatch  User Photo
    Arthur Peterson-Veatch • Graduate • Verified via LinkedIn
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    I applied to Actualize to broaden my coding knowledge and keep me moving towards my interests while I was in a gap year that I took from college during the coronavirus pandemic. I wasn't entering it to get a job, I wasn't even entering the bootcamp to learn skills directly for the career I want. Actualize is mainly a web development bootcamp. I want to be a game developer. While I knew that it probably wouldn't work directly towards my goals, it was close enough in the vein of what I wanted for me to apply. I wasn't sure how much I would genuinely enjoy the curriculum or how well it would be able to tie into my future. 

    However, Actualize blew me away. I loved every second of being in the bootcamp, due to my excellent instructor, TA, and the well thought out curriculum, not only do I have a better grasp on coding, I also have a better grasp on the structure of most applications, I have a better grasp on how to teach myself new skills, I have a better grasp on how to get a job, I have a deeper interest in websites and their development, I have made about 15 new and hopefully longstanding friends. The curriculum at actualize will help you understand how, and why to do certain things, and the faculty will guide you along the way and help you when you feel like you're stumbling. Another incredible piece of this bootcamp is the "job hacking" curriculum, I am in a unique position where I am not sure whether I will be seeking a job after I finish the camp. Despite this, the career support curriculum felt relevant and helpful and has deepened my understanding of how to market myself even in situations that might not be directly related to a job search. If you are interested at all in coding, I doubt there is any place better to at least get a start, and maybe even more, than actualize.
  • Jose Z  User Photo
    Jose Z • Graduate • Verified via LinkedIn
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    This is a Awesome bootcamp, I was a beginner entering the course and now I feel more confident with my coding skills. You really have to put in the work. It's not easy but at the same time it is not out of this world. They have an excellent curriculum and great Instructors and T.A's.
  • Lisa S.  User Photo
    Lisa S. • Student • Verified via LinkedIn
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    I debated between big, well-known bootcamps and ultimately committed to Actualize. The main reason, and I can say this even more as a grad, is the unmatched community and support. You get weekly checkins and support from career advisors, an instructor and a TA who will go above and beyond to aid you on this journey, and classmates who will become your new, trusted friends. Material is taught in a way that gets you to truly understand the material and teaches you the skills beyond the bootcamp to learn a new language all on your own. So give this bootcamp a chance because it was an irreplaceable experience for me.
  • Just Do It!
    - 1/15/2021
    Ambar K.  User Photo
    Ambar K. • Student • Verified via LinkedIn
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    I am a researcher when it comes to any decision, but especially when it comes to a big life decision. After deciding to change careers to coding, I did hours of research, review reading, and talking to different programs to figure out which would be the best option.  I work full-time, so having a night option was important. An important piece was to avoid a program that consisted of mostly pre-recorded videos where students are left to their own devices. I wanted a class setting where you can learn and grow with other students and have a teacher/program that actually cares about your success. That is exactly what I found at Actualize. From the start of pre-work and continuing after you finish the course, you are supported. Brian is an amazing teacher and mentor! The course is challenging but still fun and very rewarding. Honestly, the whole Actualize team is amazing, shout out to Kevin, Lisa, Alex, Lauryn, Bart,  and Jay!
  • Jimmy Jonsson  User Photo
    Jimmy Jonsson • Graduate • Verified via LinkedIn
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    After ten years of working in hospitality, I felt like I wanted to develop new skills and change my line of work. This brought me to decide on attending the Actualize coding Bootcamp. Being part of this Bootcamp was an extremely positive experience. I barely had any familiarity with programming and even before finishing the course, I felt like had learned and developed several skills and strategies. Now that I've graduated I feel like I've opened a door to a learning environment where I can constantly keep on growing and build on what I've learned.

    The Actualize team was very flexible and helpful in many ways from the very beginning. Which was something that I really appreciated. Making this investment in myself is something I would do again mainly due to the experience I had with the Actualize team. Everyone, including the pre-work instructor, the TA's, the lead instructors, and career support assistants are all very helpful and believe that the students are fully capable of managing the material and tools that are provided.

    I would definitely encourage anyone to enroll in their program. Especially if you have very little knowledge of coding or programming. Like I mentioned I had almost no experience in this field and graduating with a new skill set will only help me find a job as well as opportunities! and continue to build new skills in the future.

  • Erin  User Photo
    Erin Verified via GitHub
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    I looked into several different bootcamps and ending up choosing Actualize. I am so glad I did! Actualize feels like a family and they truly want you to succeed. I was in the evening/online cohort with Brian, who I would highly recommend. Not only does he know his stuff, he is an amazing teacher with a great sense of humor. He is easily approachable and was always willing to help us out, while at the same time challenging us and preparing us for our new career. The job hunting guidance they provide us with is excellent. Lisa and Alex are amazing and work hard to help us find a great job, I wish I would have had that when I graduated from college! I would highly recommend Actualize to anyone who is motivated to learn how to code. 
  • Tyler W  User Photo
    Tyler W • Graduate • Verified via LinkedIn
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    My journey with Actualize from start to finish has been such a breath of fresh air. The pre-work section was incredibly informative and really helped me get comfortable with coding before getting fully into the course. As for the course itself, I can't say enough good things about Brian, one of the teachers. He was an incredible teacher who never made me feel bad or dumb if I was slow to grasp a topic. He has a very clear and concise way of teaching and it's an extremely fun environment. The curriculum was great as well. I felt like I learned a ton, but not too much to be stressed out. The pacing was great and each day built on the previous lessons learned. By the end of the course, I genuinely felt like a developer. Now I'm confident that I'll be able to keep learning and growing on my programming journey.  And I can't wait to land a job 
  • Great Experience!
    - 11/23/2020
    Mendy Cohen  User Photo
    Mendy Cohen • Student • Verified via LinkedIn
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    I chose Actualize after researching many different coding bootcamps and finding that Actualize matched what I was looking for, a bootcamp with an emphasis on teaching its students how to learn and think like a software engineer and a staff that is available to work with you on all aspects from coding to learning how to conduct your job search.
    The four-week pre-work was an excellent preparation for the 12-week online course that was to come and all throughout the course I felt a very strong sense of intentional teaching. From how our instructor built up the lessons and structured homework assignments to how the TAs interacted with us, it was apparent that the curriculum and its delivery were masterfully designed with the intention to provide us with the resources needed to begin a new career.
    I sensed that the approach at Actualize is genuine. Between the instructor and TAs there was a very good teacher to student ratio and I think they truly live up to the teaching philosophy described on their site.
  • James W.  User Photo
    James W. • Graduate • Verified via LinkedIn
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    Like most people reading these, I spent hours upon hours researching and sifting through reviews after choosing the bootcamp route. Narrowing my choices, Actualize stayed at the top because of their emphasis on learning how to learn and developing the mindset of a software engineer.

    That philosophy stayed true throughout the cohort. Instead of having code thrown at us to memorize with or without comprehending, the curriculum is designed to understand the logic behind the code and put it to practice. That made a huge difference with it being a lot of information in a short amount of time. Additionally, and maybe most importantly, we learned how to problem solve and develop the skills to learn any programming language, much like the actual job of a developer. 

    Our instructor, Dani, was very knowledgable in not just coding but also the current industry from her real world experience. She and the TA's (who were extremely helpful Actualize grads) were always available to answer questions, guide us in the right direction, and make us think our way through concepts and issues. They also have career support that begins early in the cohort and continues after graduation, and the career counselor, Lisa, is readily available and helps keep you accountable.

    While you can't learn everything within a few months, you can go from barely able to use an app to creating one, and leave with the skills to learn languages and frameworks beyond what's used for the class. 

Thanks!