Alchemy Code Lab
The application process involves a long-form questionnaire detailing the applicant's work, educational background, and coding experience, along with informational and technical interviews. Students must complete 25+ hours of bootcamp prep before class starts.
Alchemy Code Lab seeks to collaborate with the experts and organizations that are powering Portland’s tech community, providing insider access to the industry. Career development support is provided to all students and alumni, both in the classroom and in one-on-one coaching. Students will establish a compelling online brand, network, and resume featuring professional knowledge, experience, and practices gained during the course, and will be able to demonstrate the skills to drive a successful job search.
Alchemy Code Lab (formerly Code Fellows PDX) is powered by Code Fellows.
Recent Alchemy Code Lab Reviews: Rating 4.97
Recent Alchemy Code Lab News
Deposit 0 FinancingThis is a free class; n/a Tuition Plans n/a Refund / Guarantee n/a Scholarship n/a
Minimum Skill Level Beginner, self taught, CS degree new graduates Prep Work Requires pre-work (provided after registration) Placement Test No Interview No
More Start DatesAugust 31, 2020 - Portland Apply by August 27, 2020
OnlineFull Time40 Hours/week21 Weeks
Start Date September 21, 2020 Cost $24,000 Class size 30 Location PortlandOnline-Live training, Excellent curriculum, and all day access to expert instruction and your cohort. Great tech careers start with strong trajectories. Alchemy's professional software development training program launches grads toward exponential opportunity and salary growth. Whether you've never looked at code or have already completed a bootcamp or online course prior, Alchemy graduates emerge as industry-ready software developers after 6 months of rigorous, in-person training from industry-experienced Senior Development instruction.
Deposit 1000 FinancingIncome Share Agreement (ISA), and
Tuition Plans Installments, ISA, GI Bill, and private lending Refund / Guarantee pro-rated per the State of Oregon's recommended refund schedule Scholarship Multiple diversity scholarships available! Kindly inquire with admissions.
More Start DatesSeptember 21, 2020 - Portland Apply by August 20, 2020January 4, 2021 - Portland Apply by December 4, 2020
Alchemy Code Lab Reviews
32 reviews sorted by:
(TL;DR at bottom)
Backstory: I have a degree in business, approximately a decade of work experience in an unrelated industry, and I made a personal choice to switch to something I've always been very interested in: software development.
Prior development experience: None, really. A lifetime ago I dabbled in HTML, Adobe's creative suite, Flash, and Dreamweaver (while it was still under Macromedia, if you're old enough to remember that). I maintained a few basic web sites but it was hobby stuff at best. I should note this was long before Wordpress, CMS, YouTube, the abundance of online tutorials, etc. and while the passion was real, this prior experience didn't impact my success in the program.
How I found it: Like you, I ended up here (e.g. CourseReport, SwitchUp) among other sites reviewing different bootcamp programs. I came across Code Fellows in the Seattle market while I was actually searching for online bootcamps. That led me to Alchemy as they were once affiliated with Code Fellows (ACL is fully separate now and running it's own thing here in PDX).
The reviews were encouraging and I quickly realized that for my preferred learning style and desired timeframe, I would need to commit full-time to an in-person program. I did not tour any of the other code schools in Portland (I only reviewed their online materials and/or reviews) but I've heard plenty of great things and met awesome people that attended other schools. In the end though, Alchemy was clearly the choice for me once I was introduced to the owners and the space.
The experience: Marty and Megan (ACL owners) put their heart and soul in to this school. The right attitudes, levels of support needed, staffing, and relevance of the material is constantly evaluated when making changes to the school or curriculum. On the career and networking side of things, Shannon has been an amazing addition to ACL--she started when my cohort began last year--and she has also been instrumental in the success of grads getting hired at awesome companies around PDX, time and time again.
Like the industry in general, the program is not necessarily meant for everyone. Marty and Megan do their best in advance to ask the right questions of interested candidates and ensure the rigorous nature of 'bootcamp-style learning' is clear to all prospects. They are fair-minded in all that they do and as someone who has spent almost a year with them, I can say they value people, diversity, and student outcomes above all else; if you think about it, their success quite literally depends on your success.
The other side of things: Programming is hard. Technology moves fast. Bootcamps are not a slower-paced program like University. While candidates with 'non-traditional backgrounds' will at times struggle with the material, it is incredibly rewarding watching your ideas and code come to life. Even after the program, what you learn today will likely be going 'out of style' or become obselete tomorrow (or a few months, a few years, whatever) and you will likely need to continue learning while managing a career, a personal life, and all the other things that require your attention. That's true of most developers, regardless of how they got their start.
In terms of what you learn, how you learn it, etc. I'll just encourage you to set up a call or visit to the school. The material and methods of delivery are constantly evolving (in a positive way!) so your cohort will learn differently than mine did. Marty is an incredibly talented developer with years of experience as a software architect so he's always aiming to improve the program. Ryan, Lead Instructor has been amazing to work with and he's an amazing developer as well so you're in good hands.
TL;DR: Alchemy was exactly the program I was looking for. I went through the program and five months later had two offers, one of which was my top choice for entering the market here in PDX (title of Software Engineer).
Full disclosure: As I write this I am currently a TA at Alchemy Code Lab for the remainder of the week. I completed the program around October 2018 and spent the following months TAing the next cohort to help reinforce concepts, mentor, and keep 'close to the code' during the slow holiday season while applying for jobs. I have no doubt that you could be employed in less than 5 months with the right dedication to the job application process (Shannon can share other student success stories with you so feel free to ask her!).
If you're ready for a change and willing to give it all that you have, make the call. Good luck!
Alchemy's main assets are its co-founders, Marty and Megan, who remain incredibly dedicated to the school's mission and advancement. Marty is constantly improving the curriculum to remain cutting edge in tech's fast-paced environment, and either personally teaches each course or has carefully vetted the instructor. Megan helms the school's culture, constantly steering towards more inclusion, diversity, and productive professionalism, and personally helped me find extra funding to pay my tuition. The result is a really cozy and productive environment, where you are constantly being pushed further as a developer, but equally surrounded by resources to support and encourage you.
I had the great fortune to work with Shannon, the career counselor, who works overtime spreading Alchemy's reputation and making networking connections for each student, personally. She helped me get multiple contracting positions after graduation, and eventually my full-time position.
But really, the reason to go to choose Alchemy Code Lab is its curriculum. You will not find a more intensive or competitive code school in Portland. I have been told many times since graduating how impressive my skills are, and how myself and other Alchemy grads are consistently exceptional. I am a huge advocate for the school and my classmates, who are impressive, diverse and growing into a wonderful community in the Portland area. I highly recommend the program to anyone invested in changing Tech culture, and who is willing to work hard.
- Web Developer- 3/31/2018Jennifer A Elton • Graduate • Course: Career Track: Designer UX Engineer • Campus: Portland • Verified via LinkedIn
When I started, I knew nothing about coding, I came from a non-tech industry. This program, from fundamentals to career tract was what I needed to get a solid understanding of web development. This is a rigorous coarse that requires a dedication to learning.
All of the Instructors at Alchemy Code Labs have years of web development experience and it shows in their passion for code and teaching. The TA's have a deep understanding of the coarse work and are dedicated to helping students. The career service staff helped me with a resume, LinkdIn account and a game plan on my job search.
The number one priority of Alchemy staff, from school director to TA's, is your success. With that said, be prepaired to work very hard. Everything you need to become a highly developed web designer is available to you, but you have to do the work.
- Toughest, most advanced code school in Portland- 1/17/2018Maryus Martsyalis • Graduate • Campus: Portland • Verified via LinkedIn
If you want to get a job and willing to work for it, you will love this place.
They really push you. There was close supervision during entire program. we had 2 TAs and an experienced instructor for 11 students at the final 2 months of the program. TAs and instructors change from course to course. I had 2 instructors: Marty Nelson and Sera Joy and they were phenomenal. I would strongly recommend checking out the instructors at any school before applying there. Some of the TA's where amazing, but even if they aren't brilliant they will still be helpful and work through problems and documentation with you.
Since Graduating i met a lot of graduates from other code schools like Epicodus and The Tech Academy. Both are shorter in duration and they have much looser and less intense schedule. They also cover a lot of different Techs and languages. You'll do a a little of everything there. In contrast ACL is more specialized and indepth. Cant speak for Python course but JS track was very advanced compared to others. You will learn a lot of cutting edge tech in modern web: React, Redux, MongoDB, end to end testing and so on. You will be expected to be proficient at latest version of JS (ES6) and things like async-await. The result is that you will know these JS and especially React well enough to contribute to companies right after graduation which I think is the main point of trade schools.
Most importantly their job search support is awesome! they have two full time employees to help you search for work and introduce you to potential employers. Its also a nice community, Im still in touch from fellow students and staff from Alchemy code, and come in to the office to work with fellow graduates weekly.
On a side note I would really recomend doing your reaserch on job placement and starting salleries before aplying to code school. Statistics can be tricky and what each code school considers employment is different. so dont be afraid to ask concrete questions. like "how much do they earn, how quickly did they find a job, do you caunt short term contracts or minimally paid internships as a "job". My reaserch lead me to ACL but do your own, you are programmer now independent reaserch is part of the job!
P.S they have cavalier King Charles as a code school pet!!!!
I can't say enough amazing things about the staff at ACL. The instructors are so dang smart and the TA's are incredible helpful. I never felt like I was doing this by myself, I always felt like I had the entire staff on my team.
TL/DR; I had no experience in code, came in, and after six months of hard work, four months of job searching, I have more than doubled the salary I had at my last job. The community, connections, and support you get at Alchemy are unparalleled. If you can, GO HERE!
Before Alchemy, I worked in the nonprofit world as a community engagement coordinator doing everything from volunteer management, event planning, and social media management. I took one class in college doing basic HTML/CSS - so no experience jumping in.
Alchemy Code Lab is unlike any other community I have been apart of. And that's what it is - a community. The support, authenticity, and comraderie of the students, instructors, and TAs alike is unique and incredible.
When I first came into the program (as a huge introvert) everyone was welcoming and kind. Folx from the cohort above me took the time to mentor and chat with the new bootcampers and offer advice. When someone gets a job, everyone celebrates, even if there were people competing for the same position.
It's hard to put into words, but the genuine support of everyone is overwhelming.
Coming from a background not in tech and only with basic HTML/CSS skills, I was still able to succeed. The prep work that they provide for you is essential for your success. Do. The. Prep. Work. Bootcamp is a whirlwind and the pace is fast - it's a bootcamp. BUT you have amazing resources to keep you going.
Bootcamp I and II are all JS fundamentals and a taste of Firebase. Career Track is Express, Node, MongoDB, React/Redux. It definitely ramps up once you start career track, but again - it's a bootcamp. Still, all of the staff are a great resource for you in case you are struggling and might need a little extra help. Still, if you keep with it and love to code, you will be successful!
Willingness to collaborate is essential to your success. At the end of Bootcamp I and II and twice in Career Track, you have about a week and a small group to code an app of your choosing. I highly recommend stopping by to a final project presentation to see what you could do by the end of the program - it is truly impressive.
The instructors and TAs are amazing. There is a willingness to adapt, to see what works and what doesn't, to hear feedback and respond. Marty and Ryan have real world experience that can give you insight into the why behind the code. You can tell they are passionate about code and about teaching. They really put the time in to make sure everyone can be successful at Alchemy. STILL they are approachable! From Ryan and Marty's dad jokes to quirky puns and overall humor, it is not all serious. We do have fun, too!
TAs are the best! Normally they are recent grads with a lot of passion for code and positivity to help you get through those rough days. They always take the time to provide feedback on your code and tips on how to keep getting better.
SHANNON! Shannon (the career services director) is incredible and goes out of her way to make connections happen! During Career Track there is a week long career focused program that Shannon sets up, bringing in speakers to give tips on interviewing, salary negotiations, onboarding, body language, elevator pitches, and more. You have the opportunity to do mock interviews with some senior devs and engineers in Portland and gain a ton of great feedback.
Whiteboarding was always something that I dreaded as a srtudent, but throughout Career Track you get hands on practice going up to the whiteboard and practicing in groups and solo.
TA or App Lab - There are employment opportunities for grads once you graduate - come back as a Teaching Assistant for the program or join App Lab and get hands on experience coding for an actual business.
Connections - The connections you get from the ALCHEMY community are unparalleled. I got a few interviews and eventually my job from my connections with Alchemy alums.
Alchemy Code Lab hosts some meetups at their location (PDX Node, DonutJS, Women Who Code, Kotlin, Python, etc.) so there is ample opportunity to meet folx from the tech community and make connections. I recommend coming on the last Friday of the month for a social hour where former grads, current students, staff, and other connections come to mingle.
But the money...
I know, but hear me out. Coming from a nonprofit salary, I hear you. I received scholarships both through Alchemy and Women Who Code. Others in my cohort used loans and scholarships to afford it. It is possible! Reach out and see what your options are before you say no.
For a $20k investment, I more than doubled the salary I was making at my last job AND I built confidence and a community for life.
I attended Alchemy from September 2016 to January 2017. It was a very different school than it is today and I'm very impressed by the changes they've made.
I'll start with the things they did well. My cohort was fantastic! The people I met in that class are still friends of mine and they really helped me get through the course. I think this is due to the culture of pair programming and collaboration that Alchemy teaches. And it's very applicable to real world software development as well. The instructors were top notch and taught me the foundational skills I use every day on the job.
When I attended the curriculum was a bit dated. We learned jQuery and Angular 1.x. I'm very happy to learn that they've replaced both frameworks with more modern vue and react. This is an important change as the industry moves towards these more popular frameworks. I also didn't have a lot of assistance in the job search, but that's also something that has vastly improved since my time at Alchemy. This is super important because Alchemy is very in touch with what skills are currently desired and they're willing to change their curriculum to support their students.
Overall it was a fantasic experience and it started me on a career that I love. I enjoy going to work every day which is not something I've experienced before.
I became a developer because I didn’t want to teach anymore. I chose Alchemy because it seemed like an incredibly comprehensive program when compared to the other options in PDX. I was sold when I went to visit it in person. left that in-person visit under the impression that this program and those who ran it actually cared about their students and their well-being far beyond just the dollar signs I’m sure other places would’ve see on our heads. They’re also the sister company of Code Fellows up in Seattle, so I figured their great reputation had to have some merit to it hah.
The school definitely prepared me to enter a job as a software engineer. The topics covered in the short 6 months turned out to be quite spot on in terms of what would be useful or relevant once joining the workforce. Also, the instructors are incredible. Ryan, who teaches the 3 month Career Track portion, is a GENIUS, but also happens to be the best teacher I’ve ever had in life, in any context. He has this incredible ability to explain any programming topic, no matter how complex or difficult it is, in a manageable way that actually leads you to a solid understanding. Of course you can’t learn everything in that short amount of time, but Alchemy gave me a SOLID foundation that I’ve been able to build off of as I continue to learn in my job.
Side note, I got a legit job as a fullstack JS dev in an awesome Portland company within two weeks of graduating. Cheers ya’ll. I definitely would recommend Alchemy Code Lab above all the other Portland options.
I worked as a software developer for many years in an old, proprietary IBM system. My job allowed me to work from home, and my kids were a primary focus during those years, so I was content to stay with the job even though my tech skills were growing stale. Eventually, my family reached the point where I felt I could focus more on my career, and I began to look for ways to make a change.
I researched several programs to update my skills, including on-line code schools, PSU's New Beginnings program, and in-person schools. Eventually, I decided I wanted an in-person, all-day program (to help me brush up on those interpersonal skills that might have gotten a little rusty after all those years working from home) with a fast-paced, in-depth, rigorous curriculum (I wasn't a beginner) that would give me immediately marketable and current skills. Alchemy seemed to meet all those criteria, and had (bonus!) a friendly, inclusive, and welcoming atmosphere. Alchemy lived up to my expectations in all areas. Despite my background in software, I was never bored or under-challenged. The frequent paired and group projects were an excellent way to re-learn how to code with other people, and I found my skills to be reasonably in demand once I graduated. After about two months of job hunting, I got two offers, both for jobs I was excited to take at a salary higher than I had anticipated.
Alchemy instructors are experienced software developers, not recent code-school grads. My instructors were Marty (a co-owner) and Ryan (lead instructor), and both of them are extremely smart and knowledgeable developers. I never got the feeling that they were teaching out of their depth. Their fluency with and mastery of what they were teaching was always apparent.
The TAs (recent grads) are an excellent addition to the program. They provide lots of help, feedback, and encouragement. And being a TA can be a very rewarding experience. It's a great way to build your competence and confidence with the material as you look for a job.
Alchemy is a pleasant place to spend a lot of time. It's clean, bright, organized, has lots of plants and even a couple of resident dogs. Megan (co-owner) works hard to make sure the physical space supports and accommodates all the action that takes place there.
Alchemy solicits student feedback every week (and sometimes every day!), and they take suggestions and criticism very seriously. They are very flexible and never afraid to experiment with new ways of doing things.
Shannon, the career counselor, is the perfect person for the role. She works hard to connect with Portland employers and be an evangelist for what Alchemy grads can provide. She brings in knowledgeable speakers to share their expertise about the job-hunting and on-boarding processes. And she provides great support to individual students before and after they graduate, not only helping with writing resumes and cover letters, but also encouraging the under-confident, prodding the procrastinator, and soothing the anxious.
It's a lot of work. Don't come here until you have the freedom to devote yourself entirely to learning. Especially toward the end, there were weekends where I had extra time only to get a little exercise and have meals with my family. All other time was devoted to software projects!
The open-source software world moves fast, and to keep up, the curriculum at Alchemy is constantly being updated and modified. Every cohort will feel that they are guinea pigs in at least one area. The alternative would be a canned, stagnant curriculum -- easier, yes, but less valuable.
Alchemy is the full package. I have no doubt I made the right choice.
The program is full time and intense, it seems to go at breakneck speed and asks a lot of the students. It is hard work to keep up, but the result is amazing! I find myself able to talk conceptually about code and implementation options with senior developers at work on a surprisingly complex level. Based on comments and feedback from peers and superiors, I can only attribute this to the rigorous program at Alchemy Code Lab.
Other than resume help, networking suggestions, introductions to members of the local development community, and continuing education resources, there wasn't much in the way of Job Assistance when I graduated. I have kept in touch with the folks at the school, though, and they have a wonderful drive to continually improve on what they already offer. That being said, they have been making inroads at many local tech companies and host a large number of community events at their space.
I can't stress enough how glad I am that I chose to go with Alchemy Code Lab. There are graduates of other bootcamps who found that they were un-prepared to head into the job market, and they are coming here afterwards to get better equipped and understand the concepts on a more fundamental level. The instructors are incredibly knowledgeable, and every month or so we would be thrown into a Project Week which would result in a Full Stack App of our own creation that would be useable after the program in our personal portfolios and resumes.
They have a great Career Services department that truly helps you in securing that job after graduation as well as opportunities to TA or work in their App Lab making real-world production Apps for clients who come to Alchemy to bring their ideas to market. I really do feel like this is the most advanced and competent bootcamp you will find in Portland, let alone anywhere.