Additionally, Codesmith is committed to strengthening and growing a broad and deep community of software engineers from all backgrounds, and thus offers scholarships for women, minorities, and veterans to help bridge the gap.
Recent Codesmith News
- Your 2017 #LearnToCode New Year’s Resolution
- Episode 8: October 2016 Coding Bootcamp News Roundup + Podcast
- Founder Spotlight: Will Sentance of Codesmith
Recent Codesmith Reviews: Rating 4.94
Software Engineering Immersive Program
The curriculum covers computer science, core programming concepts, and fullstack web development using React and Node. Students learn through pair-programming, building projects and lectures that go under the hood of concepts.
- Codesmith offers scholarships for talented people from underrepresented backgrounds. Codesmith also offers a small number of Dean's scholarships where Codesmith will contribute 25% of fees to candidates in need
- Minimum Skill Level
- Prior Computer science and programming skills necessary
- Prep Work
- 4 weeks
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TL;DR - There's no TL;DR version of my review. Those who have what it takes to get into Codesmith are hungry for information, and are not put off by reading to gain insight.
Before you begin with my review, you deserve to know that my review will be of a different perspective than most reviews you'll read, as upon graduation I did not follow through with my original plan of searching for a software engineering position at various companies that I originally had my eye on. I instead found that my fondness and infatuation with Codesmith's community had grown to a fully-blossomed love-affair that prompted me to apply to the fellowship. Being fortunate enough to be chosen not only as fellow but later on as Technical Lead, I am now still at Codesmith holding the latter position. I impart upon you the perspective of a former student and current staff member.
In every metric by which it can be judged, the engineering hub known as Codesmith performs with outstanding results. I hold this as a fact, after receiving feedback from various alumni--including my cohort-mates, who have embarked on career-paths that most of them did not think were possible only a few months ago. But metrics can be easily obtained from other sources, so I'll assume that the circumstances that led to your eyes absorbing my review involve a desire to gain a sense of the immeasurable. Thus, I will omit the statistics and contents of the curriculum, in favor of conveying the intangible aspects of my journey that began more than six months ago.
Throughout more Meetup events at the residency, I would eventually meet even more faces that would become part of my cohort, and thus part of a group of friends that I cannot see as anything less than life-long. After a second Hard Parts attendance and applying to the program (with encouragement from a then-junior during drinks after the Meetup), I gained acceptance to the September 2016 cohort. There was still more than a month before our start date, and I planned on taking advantage of the time to prepare myself for the upcoming immersive experience.
During this month prior to the first day, I invited four others who were part of my cohort to sleep over at my place to watch an 8-hour Kyle Simpson live broadcast that began at 7am the next day. I did not anticipate the readiness with which they accepted the offer. They were as dedicated to learn as anyone I had met my entire life, and I had already been through college with people who fell asleep with their heads on keyboards and books.
As atypical as this dedication to growth is among most people, it was strikingly commonplace among the characters I would meet once school began at Codesmith. In fact, not a single person lacked this trait. Throughout the many unit modules and projects of the curriculum, it had become clear that the interview process was marked with such selectiveness that no one was accepted unless they exhibited the grit and commitment that would often persist well beyond the daily schedule, and into the late hours of the night.
Past mid-December, when the applications for the fellowship were released, the staff announced that there were two positions open. There were twenty-five members of my cohort, and many of us applied to take on the position of the individuals who had chosen to dedicate themselves to helping students instead of immediately searching for six-figure salaries. Knowing how many well-qualified applicants there were, I was humbled to be one of the two chosen fellows.
In the ensuing three months, I came to grow much more than I had anticipated, like the previous three months. Being charged with many duties relating to the growth of the engineering hub and of the pupils, I came to gain a higher understanding of my thinking process through introspection. This enabled me to describe my problem-solving strategy to the student body much more effectively. I had not experienced such a literal and real incarnation of the phrase "Learn through teaching."
After becoming part of the staff, I now see how real the dedication to every student really is. I had caught of a glimpse of it when I applied to the program and subsequently heard (during the acceptance call) my own quotes that helped the staff know how I would fit into the community. I first thought it must have taken a lot of effort to keep up with the mental, emotional, and academic well-being of every student. But now as a mentor, I believe it would take a lot of effort not to watch over every student carefully, as they are all part of a community that I help shape and foster.
Throughout all of my years on this Earth, I have never seen such a marriage of dedication and community like that which has been exemplified in all of my previous six months, having been a student and a fellow at Codesmith. Having been graced with the opportunity to become Technical Lead, ending this review seems oddly inappropriate, as my time at Codesmith has not ended. But delaying the submission of this review would be just as inappropriate, as one of the many things that my experience with the Codesmith community has taught me is that there is no reason for delay.
So many life choices in the course of my forty-five years... some brilliant, others... not so brilliant.
Circumstances led to one not-so-brilliant move as I dropped out of school after the tenth grade. I then spent a couple of years living on and off the street (and the 'off' wasn't so very removed). From a little town in Alabama to Atlanta to New Orleans, I made my way on the kindness of strangers and by plying my questionable needle-and-thread tattooing expertise.
I remember listening to Pink Floyd a lot back then. There's a lovely song on 'Dark Side of the Moon' called Time. I'm sure you've heard it. There's a few lines from that song that haunted me as a young street urchin:
You are young and life is long / And there is time to kill today
And then one day you find / Ten years have got behind you
No one told you when to run / You missed the starting gun
I certainly didn't want to miss the starting gun, but it felt like I'd just been dealt a bad hand in life. And then, a wise friend that I met during that time gave me some valuable advice. "Schno", he said, "there's two types of people in the world: those that are controlled by their environment and those that control their environment. It's your choice which of those you will be. All you have to do is make that choice and take action on it."
Such a simple thing to say. It worked. I decided to change my environment. This led to many adventures over many years that spanned the globe. I joined the Navy, then worked in movies, which brought me to LA. Then in 1996 I pivoted sharp to begin my career as a developer, first at NASDAQ, and then in the phone sex industry (of all things). An unfortunate lay-off in 2014 had me turning to acting, (and then quickly on to) VoIP, and finally... I came to CodeSmith.
I know that's what you've come here to read about. Before I leave my review, I just want to reiterate that profound and simple message to you, dear reader. If it feels like you've been dealt a bad hand and you're not sure what path to take to move forward: All you have to do is make that choice and take action on it.
I had always thought of coding as wizardry… you could take a thought, a concept, and then by applying an arcane language, you could manifest all manner of wondrous things that made people's lives better. Over the years I'd lost a bit of that perspective. Codesmith has re-ignited my intellectual curiosity and the passion to explore it.
The course is very challenging. They foster a very real standard for excellence and that resonates through each student. This isn't the kind of place to 'get by'. It's the kind of place that changes your life.
For a detailed accounting of my time there, please check out the weekly blog I kept while I was a student.
And if you find yourself in Los Angeles with a free Thursday night, do yourself a favor. It may just be the first step on a grand, new adventure.
- Incredibly high standards for quality of achievement, work ethic, technical and non-technical communication as practiced by both their graduates and staff
- 3-4% acceptance rate
- Not scaled or franchised = total dedication to each student
- Recent grads are having the highest student outcomes for salary offers in the nation
- Cool workspace centered in "Silicon Beach" (just call it Playa Vista)
Compared to other programs
I was looking for the best program in terms of academic quality and hiring support. I open to move, but being a father, I also had a limited amount of time so a two-year masters program was not an option.
I narrowed down my search to App Academy, Hack Reactor, and Codesmith. Codesmith stood out for having the most modern stack of technologies covered, the enthusiasm their graduates had for the program, and the student production projects were far more advanced than any program including the universities including projects that have revieved media coverage and recognized by leaders in technology.
The application and interviewing process
The interview process is less about judging what you know and more about demonstrating your ability to communicate through tough challenges and your passion to push through. I was able to learn which areas I needed to work on in case I needed to try again. They always welcome retrying.
Work, life, culture
There were real sacrifices including a pause on work and social life and very limited time with my family. On the other hand, I could see no other way to have a career transformation than this. Also, it was all temporary and the internal support from Codesmith was always there for me.
Going through this journey with a community of like-minded individuals was beyond fun. You get the opportunity to work with talented, driven people who are on your same path and equally dedicated to reaching success. Everyday was filled with team wins and high-fives that kept us pushing forward to bigger challenges.
The regular ping-pong breaks and walks to nearby restaurants and bars in the tech-savvy Playa Vista area was also pretty vital in keeping us sane, too.
In addition to a highly selective hiring day, Codesmith has an entire team of entrepreneurs and hiring support staff that are a phone call away that help alumni with networking, negotiations, and interviews. Alumni also have access to office space and interview prep after graduating.
Recent graduates are finding themselves in senior level engineering positions at Microsoft, Amazon, LinkedIn, Nike, WalmartLabs, TBWA Chiat Day, NFL, etc. with salary offers well over six figures. When adjusting to costs-of-living, Codesmith’s recent grads boast the most successful salary offers in the nation.
This program is not for everyone. With a 3-4% acceptance rate, Codesmith diligently picks only the most passionate, driven, and valuable team-focused individuals who are willing to work towards aspirations beyond any other program. There was a lot of lost sleep, and even sometimes tears, but ultimately I feel truly honored to be a part of a industry leading community who I always plan on always contributing to. Though only two-years old, I’m looking forward to see them progress as they produce the future leaders of software engineering.
In retrospective, choosing to come to Codesmith was the best decision I could have made. The curriculum and hiring preparation are as rigorous as anything I've seen, which can probably be expected. The focus that they put on community and supporting each other makes for an incredibly positive experience. Everybody at Codesmith (students and staff) supports each other far more than what I have experienced at other jobs or educational institutions.
But make no mistake, this is a very productive work environment and they expect a lot from you during the 12 weeks. The quality and scope of the production projects are substantial, and in addition to the fantastic experience, I have something to show that I am very excited to talk to future employers and other people about.
TL;DR: Codesmith is an amazing program that will help you to make the transition into being a leading software engineer. The curriculum is excellent, the staff is top-notch, and the community and culture are second to none.
With that out of the way, let's talk specifics about the curriculum, instruction, community, and hiring support.
Before I made this transition into Software Engineering, I spent 6 years as a high school teacher teaching math, physics, principles of engineering, and computer science principles, and I have been consistently amazed by how much Codesmith gets right, pedagogically speaking.
One of the most important things that I learned during my time as a high school teacher is: The one who is thinking is the one who is learning. In a typical lecture, the teacher is the one who is thinking, but when students learn by doing, it is the students who are thinking. Codesmith students spend the bulk of the time during the first four weeks pair-programming on code challenges, which range from algorithm and data-structure challenges, to browser-based games, to REST-ful API development. Although a help-desk is available, they do not hold your hand at all, and a significant emphasis is placed on students being self-sufficient by seeking out advice from their peers, Google, Stack Overflow, and other resources. This can be frustrating at times, but it is important to understand that time spent struggling through confusion is not wasted. In fact, that is when you are learning the most, and you will get through it with the help of the supportive, caring community that they build. Which brings me to...
One of the things that really stood out to me about Codesmith when I was first looking in to coding bootcamps is how hard they work to build an inclusive, inviting, and supportive community between current students, professional engineers, and amateur programming enthusiasts. When selecting who will be admitted into the program, they focus not just on the person's technical skill, but on their communication skills, empathy, and culture fit as well. The 12 week program is very demanding, and the level of support that I felt from the staff and my fellow students was what allowed me to grow as much as I did in the program.
A lot of time is spent on hiring preparation and support during the last 6 weeks of the program. However, what really stood out to me about the hiring support was what happened after the program was over. I reached out to Will, Eric, and Hira frequently to ask them for advice specific to my situation, and they were always very responsive and willing to put the time into helping me personally. I also found that Codesmith alumni were always very excited to talk to people just coming out of the program and to share what their experience was like getting their first software engineering positions. If you take the time to reach out to the staff and alumni, they will be more than happy to give you candid, helpful advice about your particular situation.
The 12 week program was extremely challenging. However, it has helped me to make a major change in my life in just a few short months, and the amount of support that I felt from the community was incredible. It was a huge risk, and I'm extremely glad that I did it!
I graduated in January from Codesmith. It was hard, and frustrating at times but the community that Codesmith has built makes the experience worth it. I accepted a position in a different state near family within 2 months of graduating. Their curriculum is fantastic, job assitance aka Eric and Hira was there every step when I had questions or needed help. Dan is an absolutely fantastic instructor, tons of experience and a pleasure to talk to all the time and run ideas by. Overall I met tons of great people that still talk in slack every day. Most of us i'd say are hired already or are getting interviews. I feel confident I can join an engineering team and make an impact.
Engineering best practices are taught through building and diligent problem solving, not by the typical question and answer approach. For some people, this may be perceived as a downside, but for ambitious programmers, it's an amazing environment that comes very close to simulating a real work environment.
They have top-notch hiring support and place a ton of focus on the job search over the last half of the program, and also encourage alumni to use their facilities (including a dedicated alumni room) after graduating. I feel like I could go on and on about all the positives from my time at Codesmith, but instead, I'll conclude by saying that if you love coding and are serious about advancing your career (this means willing to put in the work and perservering through struggle), then you will not regret coming to Codesmith.
This is gonna be short and honest-
Codesmith is a great school that I would highly recommend to anyone trying to break into the industry. Curriculum is up-to-date and taught well. I learned a ton and received all the assistance I wanted in my job search.
That being said, I don't agree with everyone who gives Codesmith a straight five stars. I think they do that because they know how competitive the coding bootcamp space is, but I doubt there is a program out there that is perfect and deserves perfect scores.
The head instuctor is the best, but I think my cohort that graduated in January was the biggest they had ever had, and because of this we had to rely on each other for help more so than instructors or fellows (probably true even for small cohorts). To be honest, beyond the first half of the program the fellows weren't really helpful.
There are a couple of other small gripes I have with Codesmith but they aren't worth mentioning. The positives outweigh the negatives and I think if you are the right type of candidate you can gain a lot from the program.
I am a recent Codesmith graduate and soon I will begin work there as a fellow. The curriculum is fast-paced, thoughtfully constructed, and relevant to the current job market. The instructors are experienced, eloquent communicators who routinely go above and beyond their duties. The same can be said of the rest of the staff as well. I remember visiting Codesmith as a recent applicant and asking for help setting up a linter for my code editor (exciting!) The lead instructor had just finished a meeting and was packing his things to go home for the evening but agreed to stay late to sit with me and figure out my issue. What sets Codesmith apart, and what has inspired me to stay, is this type of commitment within the community.
From the beginning of the application process there is a strong emphasis on the development of not only leading software engineers but leaders in general. This includes expectations that students, staff, and alumni look out for, support, and push one another, and the bonds that have formed as a result will remain strong long after my time at Codesmith has passed. It is amazing how we as a cohort went from a collection of individuals to one family in such a brief time. It may sound cliche but that is my most important takeaway from my time as a student at Codesmith -- I have a group of people I know I can always go to and who can always come to me for anything. That, and after more 16-hour days than I could keep track of, I am pretty sure I can do anything. Oh, and I have the skills to land a mid to senior position at the leading tech companies in the world, as one cohort after another prove through their hard work and hiring results.
Codesmith was everything I had expected it to be and more. I was very worried at first because there weren't as many reviews for Codesmith as there were for other schools, but I really liked the modern frameworks that Codesmith was teaching. I decided to check out one of their weekly Meetups just to get a feel about what it's like and immediately, I knew that this school was for me. The school is super super fast paced and overwhelming, but I can say without a doubt that I became a better engineer because of it. The community was great and very supportive. The people that I've met at Codesmith will continue to be life long friends even after the program. I couldn't have asked for a better school to accelerate my growth. :)
If you're motivated and want to break into tech as an engineer, Codesmith is an excellent option. My cohort finished in January, and two weeks later I had competing job offers with salaries and job responsibilities in line with those that Codesmith advertises.
As a qualifier, I did have some prior programming experience and studied a technical subject in school (zero web development or formal computer science, though). Nevertheless, there were others in my cohort with far less technical backgrounds who saw similar otucomes. It's been about 2 and 1/2 months now, and the majority of my cohort is hired. Still, I highly recommend learning as much as you can before Codesmith. If you come in with more knowledge, you'll probably find it easier to get a ton out of the experience.
Many of the other reviews have accurately covered aspects such as the staff's support and availability, the curriculum, the community, and the challenging time commitment -- I agree with everything that's been said there. In my opinion, there are two things Codesmith does that set it apart and allow for such good outcomes:
2) They select people who genuinely enjoy learning and are drawn to the approach I mentioned in the above point. You can make a lot more progress faster if you're immersed in a group of people who are all motivated to learn, help each other out, and go explore "under the hood" (a phrase youll hear quite often there). Codesmith excels in putting together groups of people who willl push each other to improve.
If you're interested in technology and have thought about transitioning to engineerig, I highly recommend Codesmith.
I decided to set my expectations accordingly and wasn't really expecting much more than an internship or Jr. position out of the program. Ecstatic to report however that I am making exactly what Codesmith promised at a cutting-edge startup in Los Angeles. Don't get me wrong, the hiring process is rough, really rough. Not even the Codesmith staff telling you it’s rough will prepare you for how rough it is, however they do a stellar job setting you in the right frame of mind to survive. My advice is to treat every single interview like a practice run, because it's the only way you can handle that level of confrontation and rejection. It took me 8 weeks of aggressive job search and 6 final round rejections before I got my dream offer.
Why Codesmith is the best in LA
I have to say that the community at Codesmith is unlike anything I've ever experienced. The staff is amazing, but your cohort mates are really what bring the program all together. Being surrounded by a community of people eager to learn and teach as much as they can is contagious and an incredibly effective way of taking a crash course in something. Its also nice that Codesmith is fairly small, because you get direct access to job support, the CEO, technical leads, and technical mentors 24/7. All you have to do is approach them. This is immensely important and unique to Codesmith.
Last thing I want to say is that this review is coming from someone who was on the lower half of our cohort's technical aptitude. There were some really smart people in my cohort. Throughout your experience, you will hear success stories of former graduates. I remember thinking that I would never be one of those stories, because I wasn't as quick as everyone else, It took me 3 interviews to even be accepted into the program. Very happy with my experience at Codesmith and consider it to be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made :)
Full Disclosure: I have a (rather old) Electrical Engineering Degree from USC, and have been dabbling in coding for a long time. Prior to enrolling in Codesmith, I had been teaching myself with free? on-line courses for about a year and a half, with the goal of becoming a software engineer. I used codeacademy, cousera, nodeschool, and freecodecamp, and would highly recommend completing at least the freecodecamp front-end developer certification before applying to Codesmith.
Outcome: I got competing job offers about 6-weeks after graduation and ended up with a position that exceeded my expectations.
The energy and environs do a great job of getting one in the mindset of constant collaboration and explosive growth - it's about 75% start-up, with a small side of dorm life, and just a touch of actual boot-camp via the 70+ hour weeks (if you are the type to leave early, that is). That said, the core team does a pretty consistently amazing job of doing their best to make everyone as comfortable as possible in what is necessarily a sometimes stressful and monotonous (those hours again) environment.
Be prepared to learn as much from your cohort-mates (and learn by teaching them) as you do from the instruction - not because the instruction is lacking in material, but because there is so much to be absorbed that you will find yourself creating your own mental models and comparing them to your peers on subjects that were covered in lecture, but you couldn't grok at the time. This accelerated lecture-and-self-study format is very well-managed, which brings us to…
In addition to the actual technical curriculum, the entire experience is impeccably crafted to provide the right nudges at the proper moments to catapult a particular kind of individual to heights they never thought possible. The admissions process also seem to do an impressive job of screening for the 'right' kind of person that will benefit from the program in their admissions process, which is important, because your success will depend on the success of your cohort-mates.
This is hands-down Codesmith's greatest asset. Many of the alumni still come to visit and participate, and they are all now capable, empathetic engineers who provide a great example and relate-able stories to new devs. The culture fostered by them, the fellows and LTMs, and the core team is one of unquestioned mutual support and desire to succeed - I honestly felt that everyone there believed in me and wanted to see me achieve my goals.
The real heroes at Codesmith are the core operations team for their ownership of the program and complete dedication to each and every member of every cohort. If just about anything is wrong, Victoria can and will make it right.
The star of the show, finally, is Will, who performs countless acts of voodoo to make the whole thing happen. These include a genuine, contagious belief in the mission which gives him the power to inspire almost on cue, a demonstrably super-human name recall ability, and a charmingly British fondness for giving memorable toasts when they are needed. If he is offering you kool-aid, drink it. Every time.
Codesmith is a great place to advance your coding skills to the level of a mid/senior level developer. The staff does an excellent job of pushing students' problem solving skills while making sure you are kept abreast to the latest web technologies. The community built around the institution is really fantastic. There is no shortage of former students/mentors that you can go to with real world questions and insight into life as a coder; and it seems like the CEO still knows every student's name thats ever attended the program. I think one of Codesmith's major differentiators is the quality of their hiring program. They will not stop working with you until you are hired, it doesn't matter how many days/weeks/months ago your class ended. When you get accepted into Codesmith it's not just for 3 months, it's for a lifetime. The network of excellent, smart, driven people that you become a part of will no doubt be vital to you for years to come. As an alumni, you can always go to Codesmith to work on a project, get so advice from one of the staff, or just talk with other devs.
If you are serious about advancing your programming skills to a professional level, I definitely recommend taking a look at Codesmith.
- Moved from NY to LA to attend Codesmith
- Worked 5 years prior at home automation tech company as a software engineer
- Graduated as part of May '16 Cohort 7 class
- Accepted six figure salary job offer as frontend developer within 2 weeks of graduating Codesmith
Excellent Community & Culture
I think the two things that made my experience so great with Codesmith was the community and culture thriving there. From the very beginning, we were taught that our experience for the next 3 months wasn't going to be dictated simply by what we each of us could individually accomplish and learn. No, our experience was going to be heavily inspired by what we could accomplish and build together as a cohort. Codesmith did an outstanding job making sure that we were always thinking about how to "level up" each other via many different approaches such as pair programming to work on solving problems with a partner or simply creating a space where people could freely exchange ideas and dialogue with one another without fear of judgement.
Great Learning Environment
The academic knowledge that Codesmith teaches to get you up to speed with current technologies and more importantly their emphasis on honing your ability to think like an engineer, I think, are also what makes Codesmith a great program to quickly develop yourself into a great software engineer. The pace of learning is fast, but they also ensure that you succeed in the program. You'll become familiarized and well-equipped with the technologies and skills necessary to succeed as a developer today.
Exceptional Job Search & Hiring Support
Hiring Day was an exciting experience and a great way to conclude the program. There were many top tech companies present there including the company which I eventually joined. Codesmith was extremely supportive in this process by helping us prepare well in advance. And to top that off, Codesmith also provided post graduation support, doing regular weekly checkups of how we are doing in our job search process and providing helpful advice to guide us towards the job we're looking for.
Codesmith certainly exceeded my expectations of how much I could get out of such a short condensed program. I'm really happy to have been a part of it and to have had the fortune of meeting some really bright, like-minded, compassionate people, both the staff and cohortmates alike. If I had to do it all over again, I'd jump on it in a heartbeat.
1. pushes you to expect more out of yourself and your classmates than you probably thought previously possible or were used to in previous walks of life (students regularly work until midnight)
2. thoroughly exposes you to the mindset of a true problem-solving software engineer
3. puts you through an exhaustive hiring program full of whiteboarding sessions, mock interviews, multiple resume iterations, and Github and social media profile preparation (THEY WANT TO GET YOU HIRED), all throughout the second half of the program so that you have all the tools you need the minute you graduate. All of that is in addition to dedicated post-graduation hiring support featuring regular check-ins, follow-up lectures and on-site discussions. Though Codesmith boasts great hiring numbers, a student does occasionally struggle to get a job. I can say with certainty that this is not for lack of trying by the CS staff. In the rare case that a graduate hasn’t found employment, they are still strategizing with that person to get him/her hired months out of the program.
To be clear, this is not a program that places you into a job. They do open their expansive network to students, which includes a hiring day event at the end of the program that regularly leads to a handful of phone screens and on-sites, but the rest is up to you. They give you all the tools to succeed, and then some. You have to have the confidence, the drive and the ability to translate everything you learn over those 3 months into the career you want.
Nothing in life is guaranteed.
Codesmith is no different and they can't guarantee you a job, but they give you the best opportunity in trying to get one. They can only show you the door and show you opportunites, but it is up to you to take those opportunites, if you don't, then you miss your chance. If you think Codesmith is a program that will hold your hand the whole way, then stop now and dont apply to Codesmith. This program is only for the ones who really want to be great software engineers and make a difference in the community and to push themselves and others to be the best they can be. I will not sugar coat it, this program is tough and very intense, but what you get out of it are skills and techniques that are priceless. Having the ability to code, gives you the freedom to now take ideas and bring them to life with just your mind and a laptop (not many other skills you learn today can have that sort of benefit).
Codesmith isnt just teaching their students how to code for three months and get a job. They are trying to teach you a lifestyle of how to learn and keep learning. Since languages will always be changing and new technology will be discovered, software engineers have to learn to adapt and Codesmith helps you do just that. If you are applying to Codesmith here are some expectations that you need to keep in mind.
The Codesmith program is 3 months and budget in another 1- 3 months for looking for a job. Just because you finish the program DOES NOT mean you are finished. You have really only just begun! The job search starts once the program is done and it ends up being even more time intensive than the course because of all the jobs that Codesmith encourages you to apply to weekly. This work is all for your benefit though because the main reason most people will be doing the program is to get a software engineering job at the end. So, DO NOT take a vacation after the program, wait until you have SIGNED your offer! Like I said earlier, Codesmith can't guarantee you a job, you have to put in the work like everyone else to get a job. However, you havea benefit over the competition who didn't do Codesmith, the training and coaching for coding interviews and whiteboarding that Codsemith offers on top of many other things you will have learned once you have finished the program! I felt so prepared and confident going into interviews even though I had never had a software engineering job or even job experience in software until I started the program. On top of all the hours of practice interviews and whiteboarding sessions, Codesmith also has a Hiring Day event where 20-30 companies come and watch you showcase your final projects and go through lightning interviews with you. Some students even get onsite interviews from many of these companies! Just because you do get this event DOES NOT mean you stop applying for jobs outside of the hiring partners that come to the event. This is where many people might feel discouraged if they don't get an interview with one of the hiring partners but you CAN NOT give up! You have to keep pushing through and all of your classmates are supporting you and using their networks to help everyone get jobs. Everyone in my cohort was supportive and reached out to anyone they knew who were hiring software engineers. Codesmith creates THIS community and thats what sets it apart from many of the other bootcamps.
Codesmith is a program like nothing else I have ever experienced. Being surrounded by other students who wanted to learn how to code just as badly as I did, really pushed all of us to strive for success. Codesmith gives you the best learning environment and their curriculum is only getting better due to their iterative process from cohort to cohort. If you are willing to put everything you have into this program, then Codesmith is the right place for you and your life will forever be changed.
I wanted to add more detail to my initial review.
My time as a student was stressful, but rewarding. I was constantly trying to cram info into my brain at a rapid pace, and sometimes it was overwhelming, but I had some really solid people around me to help me through it. They would constantly take me on food dates, which really helped to relieve the pressure.
Circles were also helpful. Circles are where you talk about how you're feeling with other students and a member of staff, and they help you get through whatever troubles you're having. I wish they had it more as a student, because it was always nice to vent, but I still appreciate having it at all.
Aside from the emotional stress, I loved my time here. The bonfires, the relay races, the people... I miss it all. Codesmith has really outdone itself by consistently bringing in beautiful people who are not only smart, but empathetic.
Life at Codesmith was tough, but because of that, I'll never forget it.
Wow. Just... wow. This program was something else. Before I came here I remember I was lacking confidence in my ability to bring something to life with code, as well as a sense of belonging. Now, flip both upside-down. I feel like I could code anything. I can design API's, websites, databases - everything. And if I can't right now, Codesmith trained me to figure it out. To put my head down and solve the problem. This skill is so difficult to teach, but Codesmith figured out how to do it. Don't forget about the sense of belonging, though. That piece is crucial, too.
The people I've met at Codesmith are all insanely brilliant. Not only that, but they're also extremely humble, and just good people. They'll stay up for hours with you late into the night to help you figure out that problem you just can't wrap your head around. They're family to me in all honesty.
Overall, Codesmith has given me a family I know I can always count on, and additionally, it made me hireable. That's exactly what they promise, and they kept it.
I graduated September 20, 2016 and was hired exactly one month later, on October 19. I make almost twice now what I made managing accounts at a PR/advertising firm and am immensely satisfied with where my career is and with my decision to attend Codesmith. Without the program I would never have been able to make it to where I am, hence the five star review.
That said, there are a few things I wish I had known going in. These points are meant to be helpful to potential students and are a reflection of my own experience.
Although the program lasts for three months, the time commitment that they tell you to prepare for is actually six months total -- three months of program plus three months post-graduation to find a job. So budget that in.
Throughout the course, I never felt 100% prepared or felt like I was able to complete any of the coursework to a level that totally satisfied me. The pace was incredibly fast and there was never enough time to learn everything thoroughly or in-depth enough to make me feel relieved, like ‘oh I got this’. I think the program could be more effective if it was longer.
When you come out, there is a huge gap in tech experience between the mid-level jobs you are going for and the years of experience you have. How to efficiently and effectively bridge this gap was never adequately answered, in my opinion, and depended a lot on the individual. In my case, I was able to get a mid-level salary due to the fact that the job I got specifically required agency experience, which I already had. That said, the Codesmith staff is super supportive and will be by your side through the entire process. Also, I know other graduates for whom this particular issue wasn’t a problem for them.
Those things aside, the program does work and I am immensely pleased to have gone through it. Like other reviews here, I’ll iterate that it’s not easy and that no one hands you a job once you graduate; the onus is really on the individual to maximize the tools they are given. But the staff is really supportive and they do a phenomenal job at proactively fostering and maintaining a positive and community-oriented learning environment. As one of three female students in a class of 17 I was a little apprehensive of a ‘bro-grammer’ culture but from day one Codesmith made it clear that there was a zero-tolerance policy for anything outside of a supportive and respectful atmosphere. I would absolutely recommend Codesmith, especially to other women. We need more females in tech!
I had always loved the problem solving and engineering creativity and freedom afforded by software, and it's hard to know what it truly takes to get it to the next, professional level. It is somewhat of a leap of faith to drop everything and go all in on learning a new skill. But if coding is something you truly enjoy, Codesmith provides an excellent environment for massively accelerating that process. That is for many reasons, and I believe the most important are the people involved there. The staff is truly dedicated to getting everyone to the next level, and just as importantly, you will learn and be pushed by the students you are learning with. This is hugely important, and I believe they do an excellent job of finding highly intelligent students who really want to learn.
With that being said, they cannot do everything for you. You must show up ready to go and ready to push yourself as hard as you ever have. Learning new skills takes time, dedication, and tons of practice along with the perserverance to keep pushing past inevitable hurdles and barriers. This will really never stop, and if you think it will, software might not be the right field for you. But if you bring that energy, you will be shocked at the things you can do. Codesmith provides an excellent engineering environment. If you love coding, building, learning, and people, I can't imagine a much better place for accelerating your personal devlelopment. I think the other reviews have accurately portrayed the day-to-day life there.
I graduated and am now working at a Bay Area company that I got into contact with through the Codesmith hiring partners. I love it there and am continuing to push myself very hard to grow as an engineer. I had multiple hiring offers in SoCal and NorCal within a few weeks of graduating and am excited about the talented, compassionate network of folks I've met in the program.
Codesmith is the real deal. It's very challenging and rigorous but you get out of it everything you put in, and more. My cohort had 13 graduates and we all were super motivated and dedicated to learning as much as we possibly could over the 3 months. Teamwork and personal drive are crucial to succeeding in this program. I not only made Codesmith my number one life priority, I made it my only priority and I now have an awesome job that I love.
The most valuable skills you learn at Codesmith are how to attack problems and efficiently search for answers. They do an amazing job of prepping students for interviews so you feel ready and prepared to hit the ground running after graduation. Their hiring day is also unlike any other bootcamp’s. They introduce students to some of the top companies and startups in the area, and many of these intros quickly turn into on-sites.
My only advice prior to attending Codesmith is to do your homework and make sure you’re truly passionate about coding because learning at such an accelerated pace is no easy feat. If you put in the work and are excited by the idea of learning with and from your peers, you will leave Codesmith with invaluable skills and the job of your dreams.
A bit of background about me. I graduated from UCLA with an Applied Mathematics B.S degree in December 2015, had a total of 2 C++ classes and that was the extent of my software engineering experience . I found Codesmith through a friend and visited JS The Hard Parts on a few Thursdays. I immediately felt the energy that people there had, I am not sure if this is just the software engineering culture but Codesmith just had that vibe that everyone wanted to be there. I now have my first job out of college as a software engineer. I graduated from Codesmith (August 2016) and I got hired two weeks after hiring day by one of the hiring day partners.
Before I go on about my experience at Codesmith I would like to add an exception. That is, this program is only for certain people and those people are the ones who are 110% dedicated to learning, growing, and giving it their all. This is not some ‘chill’ bootcamp where you can just hangout and mess around and then expect to get a job, if you put in the effort the results will come. Now saying that, I put my life on hold for 4 months (two weeks before and after the program) and dedicated more than 80 hours some weeks to my learning and my projects. You don’t need to do that but you do need to be motivated and completely bought in to what they are teaching you because if you don’t, you won’t get all that they have to offer.
Make sure to eat a decent breakfast before you get there because once you are there the hack hours starts after the 5 minute stand up at 9am. You don’t want to skip out on any of the hack hours. I was one of few that would bring their own lunch and dinner. I used my Sundays to get laundry done, make lunch and dinner for the week, and then relax a little bit. I would make sure to have some type of caffeine right before the lectures as most of the times your lectures could fall right after lunch, aka food coma. Besides that, I had a good flow and think everyone should be able to manage their time with only the one day off, like I said before you just have to be completely focused.
As a recent UCLA grad I learned from my math professors who were the genius people wanted for their research and were not the best teachers. This is not how codesmith is. The lead instructor was a very good teacher and he is also brilliant. Make sure to utilize him and any other people there, they literally are there for you so make sure to annoy them with as many questions as possible.
Also my experience from my math classes was that everything was based on a ranking and if you did better than your classmates you received a higher grade. The one thing that was so different and amazing was that there was still the competitive nature at codesmith, you always wanted to show the best projects or get as far as you could on all of the modules. But never was there a time where anyone wished a classmate wouldn’t do as well as them, but everyone was held accountable and we all pushed each other. This was by far one the the best aspects of Codesmith.
If you don’t know already, Codesmith hosts JS The Hard Parts on Thursdays and they are also becoming one of the biggest meet ups in LA for React and Node. There is great opportunity to meet a whole slew of different people with different experiences and endless amounts of networking. Definitely take advantage of this but do not make this your priority while in the program because you should be focusing on learning and retaining everything.
I can honestly say I would not have been able to get any decent job without Codesmith’s help with my job prep. The mock interviews and resume building were the best help I have ever received in terms of job prep. The job search process is just that, a process, and they did an incredible job prepping me for that process. As long as you’re a hard working, compassionate, empathic, and personable person, you won’t have a hard time getting a job even if your experience is low, i.e. I have never had a real job before, and now I am a software engineer making 6 figures. Incredible to be able to say that and I owe it all to Codesmith.
Who are you?
I’m an EMT, Berkeley grad, and returned Peace Corps volunteer that joined the Codesmith program at the end of my 2-year service in the highlands of Guatemala.
Did it work?
I’ll be starting as a front-end web developer with a Codesmith hiring partner in Santa Barbara next week. I received two other offers some time after I accepted my current position.
There are a number of reasons, but a lot of them are already covered in previous reviews. Rather than echo, I’ll pull a Steve Jobs, get obsessive and detail-oriented, and try to cover topics that are smaller in scope but provide insight to someone who hasn’t necessarily attended the school.
There are benefits to having a CEO that is a strong and constant presence. Besides frequently handling business at the school:
Will was there to set the cultural tone of our class on day 1 -- as a cohort, we succeed together or not at all.
He gave a variety of different lectures on topics like object-oriented programming, technical blogging, and interviewing expectations throughout the weeks.
Will was with us to give a kick-off presentation for our first hackathon together.
He was there halfway through the program for one-on-one sessions.
He was there on our Hiring Day to open the floor for our thesis project presentations.
Two weeks after the program concluded, Will was there personally answering questions when the school brought our cohort in for job hunt updates.
Granted he’s not there every single day, he is available to you. Will might be encouraging a tech firm to attend hiring day or interviewing with journalists to discuss Codesmith’s philosophies, but I won’t hesitate to say that if I were to email him now as a graduate 3 months out, he would respond within a day.
CULTURE & COMMUNITY
It’s that moment when the fellows have been gone for hours. It’s 1:30 AM. You’re hammering away at a chrome extension with a partner and neither of you know how to proceed. Or maybe, you’ve invested an hour and your map method still isn’t working in Cheerio (protip: read docs and check the parameters). You know everyone’s exhausted and short on time, but you need the help, and you have to ask for it. These stressful situations are when culture really comes into play.
The community is focused on unconditional support. Expect to have it here, and expect to give it here. Let me give you a few examples.
I was working on a module with the avid surfer / Boeing engineer of our group, and we nail another exercise together. It’s looking like we might be on track to finish early. Get home. Break from the 80ish hour weeks. The first thing he asks is, “How do you feel about checking up on everyone else and seeing if they need a hand? It won’t take long.”
For a hackathon, we’re given about 6 hours (including lunch) to ad-hoc something functional. An experienced software engineer in our cohort has his eureka moment, bypasses problems with CORS and network requests with some proxy workaround, and has an hour and a half to make his project work. He then gets peppered with questions by cohort-mates. “Hey, how’d you get that proxy to work?” “Could you give me a hand with flexbox?” He carves out even more of his time to help. So much so that he presents an unfinished project (which I know for a fact he could’ve completed).
I could go on and on about the small details that made the culture so magical, but it really is a matter of seeing it in action for yourself. Visit the campus. Have a conversation with a few current students. You’ll understand.
FEEDBACK ON FEEDBACK ON FEEDBACK
If you bring up a concern, it will be considered. During the first 6 weeks, feedback is given to Victoria, director of operations. Every two days as a group, you’ll review the recently completed core modules and lectures. “Please split the testing and build tools module into two separate days.” Lo and behold, the next cohort has two days for the two modules. “Can we get more cheez-its in the kitchen?” And like magic, it appears. “Reviewing our React module with ES6 syntax when we learned with ES5 syntax? BAD.” You get the idea.
The feedback doesn’t end when sessions end either. After graduating, when I saw staff at a tech fair, I started chatting with Victoria. We were talking about the implications of increasing class sizes, and she said, “It’s great that you care. What do you think we should do?” She and her coworkers are open to criticism and change not because their job tells them it’s important for company development from 9-5. They sincerely want what’s best for students.
With all of that in mind, obviously not all suggestions will be implemented (there are still parts of the curriculum in ES5 and parts in ES6, there still might be grammatical errors in exercises, etc.), but it will be for a combination of reasons -- other low-hanging fruit to take care of, impact of changes, etc.
It’s interesting that the website doesn’t immediately mention this, but there is a support network when the program finishes.
A week after graduation, the entire cohort is brought back to campus for school updates, discussions about job-search apprehensions, and personal meetings with Hira.
There are check-in calls with Hira every two weeks after the on-campus meeting. She reaches out to track your progress, mental well-being, and again, answer any lingering questions. And the best part? She always follows through. “You’ve got an offer? I’ll get you in touch with Eric.” And the day after, I’m having a conversation with Eric. “Ah! AngelList messages can be tricky. Send over some of your examples and I’ll check them out.” A day after I send them, she replies. Here’s part of the email.
No problem Jeremy, that's what I'm here for!
Some notes on your messages:
The personal touch is great. You're really highlighting your passion for what the company is doing, I wouldn't change anything there.
Ultimately, the company wants to know what YOU can do for THEM. It's great that you have a learning mindset, and seek first to understand, but try to throw in a phrase about why you're qualified. Is there a particular stack they're working in that you're a boss at? Did you work on a technical project that is somewhat similar to what they're focused on?”
You aren’t the product of some easy-bake oven. Codesmith doesn’t “set it and forget it.” The job hunt was one of the more difficult parts of the journey, and it's genuinely nice to be able to rely on staff for solid guidance.
Bro. Now I have even more questions.
Feel free to get in touch!
Our latest on Codesmith
It’s that time again! A time to reflect on the year that is coming to an end, and a time to plan for what the New Year has in store. While it may be easy to beat yourself up about certain unmet goals, one thing is for sure: you made it through another year! And we bet you accomplished more than you think. Maybe you finished your first Codecademy class, made a 30-day Github commit streak, or maybe you even took a bootcamp prep course – so let’s cheers to that! But if learning to code is still at the top of your Resolutions List, then taking the plunge into a coding bootcamp may be the best way to officially cross it off. We’ve compiled a list of stellar schools offering full-time, part-time, and online courses with start dates at the top of the year. Five of these bootcamps even have scholarship money ready to dish out to aspiring coders like you.Continue Reading →
Welcome to the October 2016 Course Report monthly coding bootcamp news roundup! Each month, we look at all the happenings from the coding bootcamp world from new bootcamps to fundraising announcements, to interesting trends. This month we are also covering our Women In Tech Snapchat takeover! Other trends include new developments in the industry, new outcomes reports and why those are important, new investments in bootcamps, and of course, new coding schools and campuses.Continue Reading →
Will Sentance is co-founder and CEO at Codesmith, a full stack coding bootcamp in Los Angeles that launched in fall 2015. Before that, he worked as a software engineer, and started his own e-commerce platform. Will says learning to code changed his life, and he wanted to pass that experience and knowledge on to others. Will explains the Codesmith curriculum, what Codesmith looks for in students, and how to prepare for the interview. Also find out what sort of jobs Codesmith graduates are getting!
What were you doing before you decided to found Codesmith bootcamp?
I worked as a Software Engineer at Gem, which is now a Hiring Partner at Codesmith. Before that, I was CEO and cofounder of Ownly, a social e-commerce platform I started while studying at Harvard. Gem is doing some really transformative work in the Bitcoin and Blockchain space for developers– we were finalists at Techcrunch Disrupt. It's a model for Codesmith graduates– exceptional technical talent yet great communicators. I loved the team there.
Why did you want to start a Los Angeles coding bootcamp?
Coding changed my life and the lives of significant people around me. It gave us the ability to build the ideas we dreamt up. People learn to code for many reasons from aspiring doctors who want to change medical document processes to people who love solving puzzles. I love getting to see all of these backgrounds come together to support each other in the program.
Many coding bootcamps these days have been founded by graduates of other bootcamps. After attending Hack Reactor, what did you think was important to keep about the bootcamp model and what did you iterate on?
There are distinct differences. At the end of the Codesmith program, we have our hiring event where companies from across the US come on site to interview graduates. This is very distinctive and is part of why the graduate outcomes are so strong.
The community of Codesmith Los Angeles is also extraordinarily tight-knit, with cohorts of 15 (two running at the same time) selected from over 300 applications. It plays out in the average leaving time each night– most people leave the campus close to midnight, six days a week!
What is the admission process like?
We look for people who have great potential in problem-solving and communication (both technical and non-technical). Before the admissions interview, there's a basic coding challenge online and special harder challenges given out at many of the free classes each week. If you complete these harder challenges, you're guaranteed to get an interview.
Your first interview looks at your interests and commitment to supporting others. This is followed by a technical interview. There you will work through various coding challenges, and we work with you as you navigate through. It's like a mini session of Codesmith.
How are graduates performing in the real world?
The graduates are doing remarkably well. They are doing everything from developing an organic grocery marketplace at Thrive Market, to a life-changing charitable platform at Omaze, to supporting 20m+ football fans at the NFL. By the end of the year, over 200 Codesmith grads will be out building great things with code. Graduates receive offers averaging $103.5k, with 92% hired within in 4 months– mostly in LA and SF. Companies like Whisper, Hautelook and others have hired multiple grads– that's a wonderful sign of the impact the grads are having at each company.
What types of final projects have Codesmith students built?
Students build a portfolio of four projects while at Codesmith– the final being the 'Production Project'. Students have built applications for clients including the Los Angeles School District and the University of Michigan Hospital.
Some of the most impactful projects have been tools and libraries for developers like React Monocle and React-D3 library. These developer projects have trended on Github and Hacker News and are now being used by thousands of developers including Hiring Partners of Codesmith.
Why is it so important for students to actually launch their apps in the real world?
Launching a project gives students production experience– handling user issues, bugs and requiring students to work as professional developers as opposed to working on artificial 'bootcamp' projects. It really makes the graduates stand out– it's a big part of why 95% of graduates join companies as mid-level developers or above.
What is the current class makeup in terms of gender, race, background? Is it diverse?
Students come from a wide range of backgrounds. While many have STEM experience or even Computer Science degrees, there are also students who were creative writing majors or didn't attend college at all!
We have scholarships for students from backgrounds that are underrepresented in technology, and we work closely with Girl Develop it and Women Who Code on free classes and curriculum to help show people that they can aspire to Codesmith whatever their background. But we have to do more.
How do you attract a diverse applicant pool to Codesmith– is that important to you as a founder?
It is crucial. In the coming years, more and more leaders of firms will come from a software engineering background. We have an opportunity to give people from all backgrounds that path to leadership. In November, we are starting a new Women in Technology Speaker Series and new scholarships in partnership with leading technology firms– to further attract a diversity of applications.
How should new students approach Codesmith?
We have high expectations for applicants in their interviews, but we also have an extraordinarily supportive community which is ready to help you reach your potential and prepare for your application. Join us for any of the classes in person or online– whether or not you end up at Codesmith, you'll find your partners in crime to code with.
How does the CodeSmith experience prepare students for job interviews?
Companies expect a lot from Codesmith graduates. They're going to be offering six-figure salaries so they expect people who are capable of solving problems without too much supervision.
The program is designed to prepare graduates for exactly these demands. To do this, the curriculum pushes you to perform at a level that impresses seasoned engineers, both through professional engineering best practices, and a structure that is heavily project-based. This makes you ready for deep technical discussions and challenges at interviews
The second half of the program moves into dedicated job-search preparation– through mock interviews, resume and online profile development– all culminating in Hiring Day.
Tell us about your employer partnerships.
We have a network of over 250 Hiring Partners who are required to have a strong engineering culture and who hire mid-level and above developers. A select group joins onsite for Hiring Day for multiple streamlined interviews. Nearly half of our graduates get offers from companies they met at Hiring Day.
Have you been through the regulatory process with the BPPE in California? Is it important that you become accredited?
The regulatory system is outdated for sure but efforts are being made to develop a new approach. In the meantime, we have begun the process of getting officially accredited by BPPE
What’s next for Codesmith? Are there plans to expand geographically, or to expand the curriculum?
I believe we've barely scratched the surface of the number of people we can bring the ability to code to, as well as the number of organizations and industries that can be transformed by engineers who can lead. I want our alumni to continue to develop as leaders in tech after they graduate. So we're working on new ways to give our alumni all the support they need to make that happen.
Many competitive coding bootcamps require a certain level of coding knowledge or background in order to be accepted into their programs- whether they’re looking for past experience on your resume or require that you pass a coding challenge. For a beginner, it can be tough to get the experience that a selective bootcamp looks for in the application process. There are many ways to learn basic coding (including teaching yourself) but if you want to make sure you’re covering the right material and quickly, then a bootcamp prep program may be for you.Continue Reading →
Move over tinsel town and make some space in the greater Los Angeles area for some of the finest coding programs in the country. While LA once paled in comparison to San Francisco when it came to the sheer quantity of bootcamps, we've seen a surge in LA coding bootcamps this year. Currently, there are 11 code schools with campuses in LA's "Silicon Beach" that all bring a unique take on web development training.Continue Reading →
Welcome to the June News Roundup, your monthly news digest full of the most interesting articles and announcements in the bootcamp space. Do you want something considered for the next News Roundup? Submit announcements of new courses, scholarships, or open jobs at your school!Continue Reading →