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 4.95
Software Engineering Immersive Program
- 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
In PersonFull Time
In PersonFull Time
Application Deadline:June 23, 2017
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Codesmith is about people. People and code.
Before Joining Codesmith
In mid-2016, I found myself in the middle of coding hell. I was a junior-level dev working or projects that went live before they should have, in an environment that lacked engineering best practices, without the skills I needed to keep up or even understand fully what was going on. In short, I needed a change.
That change came about serendipitously, when I learned about Codesmith, a coding immersive program, from a an acquaintance at a mutual friend’s party. He was starting Codesmith just that next week and everything he said about it sounded exactly like what I was thirsting for. Full stack, Mongo, Postgres, Angular, ReactJs, Node, Fundamentals, Fundamentals, Fundamentals. Not only that, but the school was in Playa Vista, literally 15 minutes from where I worked in Culver City.
The double doors of the elevator opened up and I had an immediate “yes” feeling when I stepped onto the top floor. I signed in after a warm welcome and joined my fellow meetupers in the main lecture room.
The rest of the night was a series of “yeses.” Will Sentence, the CEO — “yes.” The community of developers — “yes.” The electricity of those in the program, and the knowledge they had — “yes.” But most importantly, I left that night with fundamentals — insights into programming — that I never had before. “Callbacks”, “Higher-order functions,” the “Closure (the closed over variable environment),” variable environment, the call-stack, hoisting, execution context, thread of execution, …, it goes on.
As I left, exhausted, I reflected on my wobbly coding ability and thought, “How can I con my way into Codesmith?” It felt like a matter of survival. I NEEDED this.
I didn’t make it into Codesmith after my first interview. I made it after the second one, after postponing it an additional week for some additional intense studying on the feedback I received from the first.
After waiting nervously by the phone one Thursday afternoon, my phone rang. It was Will Sentence. I was in.
The Codesmith Experience
If you want to truly learn a foreign language what do you do? You immerse yourself in it. You go to a country that speaks the language and you stay there until you know it — until it becomes so much apart of you that you think in it.
Codesmith is a software immersive program that turns junior devs into mid-level devs and mid-level devs into senior. It demands a level of intensity that only those passionate about problem solving in code are able to sustain. The average week was Monday through Friday, 9 am sharp to 10pm, and Saturday, 9am to 5pm.
Codesmith is the most selective coding program in the country. This means that your peers are not only scary smart, but also some of the best community-focused, supportive people you’ll meet in your life. This is a necessary part of the program. Just as if you are to learn a foreign language, you have to be able to “talk” code, internalize it. I only understood some of the nuances of coding because of the in-depth conversations I had with my peers. Everyone had an insight and a different way of explaining every concept. To learn to code you have to “boil the ocean,” but if a partner already boiled a concept, you’ll just need to boil a pond. These conversations are invaluable.
Codesmith hires seasoned battle-tested engineers as instructors. Our instructor was Dan Carr, a brilliant seasoned engineer with years of experience and relationships with some of the most prestigious companies on the planet. Not only did he have a vast coding instinct, but a “gut” ability to communicate his understanding in every lecture. On top of his innate teaching ability, he is truly one of the coolest, approachable dudes you will ever meet. He puts his students first and is always open to dialogue, even (maybe even especially) post-graduation.
In our feedback to Codesmith, our was response about Dan was always, “give him a raise.” He is truly one of the highlights of my experience at Codesmith.
Each lecture, as can be expected, is followed by a project to apply the concepts learned in a concrete way. This is where the “sweat and blood” goes. These projects are NOT easy.
It’s been said about Codesmith that not only does it teaches you to code, it teaches you to learn. It is here that concepts move beyond ideas and become emotions. If you and your partner spend 45 minutes of frustration on a problem and finally succeed, you will both remember the story of that problem. It will no longer be a transient concept, like one of those you memorized to pass a test, but an ingrained part of yourself that you “feel” in your gut. Each lecture is followed by a challenge that will make you an independent problem solver. This “sweat equity” turns knowledge into understanding.
The Final Project
The course ends with a final project. You are broken off into groups and together you come up with ideas to present to the staff and your peers. The criteria for an acceptable final project can be summed up as, “Is it impossible?” If the answer is yes, then you’ll be allowed to proceed. There is no such thing as a CRUD (a simple web app) app being allowed as a final project. To be an engineer is to approach problems that do not currently have a solution. These projects are of senior engineer level, and are tools that provide solutions to problems that engineers face out in the field.
My team’s project, for example, was deploying a library for developers to easily create a database on the distributed blockchain technology, Ethereum.
It was here that our knowledge was solidified and we became surgeons with code as our scalpel.
I entered Codesmith as a junior-level dev, having minor on-the-job experience in coding, and after three months (~1,000 hours later) was able to secure a mid-level (100K+) position shortly (about 3 weeks) after graduation.
Part of the job search was networking via meetups and speaking to graduates from other coding programs. I was politely silent as I listened to them vent about their “horrible, competitive, non-supportive peers” and how “we’re junior devs, there’s nothing we can do.”
Codesmith was genuinely a life changer for me. It helped me make one of the toughest transitions in my life. I went into Codesmith as a junior dev and came out a mid-level dev, as promised. I know for a fact, instinctually, that Codesmith was the best choice I could have made in a school. The other schools’ curriculums are either too soft or the culture is too cold.
Codesmith is about pain. To succeed, you have to be sincere about your intention to make a certain but drastic change in your life.
A few months after graduation, I find myself reflecting, “How do I measure up to my co-workers who may have a more traditional path to engineering? Am I on par with these other mid-level engineers that I work with.” The answer is a resounding “yes.” I am able to contribute to the team at the same or, often, better level than they can. Codesmith instilled an intuition in me that other developers may not have.
There are a lot of factors in success. If I could boil them down, I would name attitude, focus, and education. Codesmith provides the education element. The rest is up to you.
TL;DR Codesmith is dificult from start to finish. It is not easy, but for every hour you spend it will reward you 10 fold. It will take serious time, determination, and motivation, but it is worth it in the long run.
Codesmith was without a doubt the best decision I have made in a very long time. It was not an easy process or stress free. This program is not for the feint of heart. It is a fight to get admitted. Then it is an even bigger fight to make it through. But this is what makes Codesmith the amazing place that it is.
First getting in requires lots of time and dedication. I was previously a juniorish or lower front end developer. Just to get in, I was working 30 hours a week studying and teaching myself. Trying to make sure I hit the bar. When it happened I was ecstatic. I was through the roof happy. I got through the precourse work and then it was time to start.
I got there and day 1 the work started. Every person in the room was there because they were highly motivated, wanted to better themselves and equally cared about every other person in the room. I don't think any one person in my cohort could have gotten through if it wasn't for the community that Codesmith fights to cultivate. Every single person is not there just for themselves, we were there for eachother. We were a team. We didn't compete with eachother. We helped eachother. Any time that one of us struggled, before we could ask for help someone that was excelling in the current days sprint would be over to help out. The program runs from 9 am to 8 pm Monday through Friday and on Saturday from 9 am to 4:30 pm. But I think I showed up around 8:15 every day and there were always at least a few other people that were already there. And leaving at 8, it never happened. We weren't required to stay, but we became a family. After 8, we would still code, but it was social. We would play ping pong, relax, code more, hang out, just talk about life. It was a common occurence that no one would leave before 10. And it was just because we all wanted to spend time together. Six months later, I still talk to just about everyone in my cohort weekly. We grew a bond in three months that I didn't know was possible.
After Codesmith, I became an engineer in residence for three months and then did some independent contract development work for them for 6 weeks after that. I'm not going to talk much about the fellowship other than to say it was an amazing experience. And if you do end up choosing Codesmith, I highly recommend applying for the position.
Final thoughts, Codesmith is not easy. It is a lot of long and stressful days. But the education, team, and community are bar none of the highest possible quality.
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.
Codesmith was a life changer for me. You will be exposed to the most in-demand technologies out there but you will not be hand-held. If you want to be a high level professional in 3 months you should expect to put in some work.
What Codesmith offers is a system to help you rapidly approach your potential in this field. It’s intense but there is so much information that you need to have a grasp of. A very valuable thing you will learn here is programming fundamentals, principles that will help you succeed regardless of what frameworks or stacks you are working with.
You will also be (rigorously) prepared for the job search (mock interviews, white boarding, salary negotiation, etc). The end of the program is marked by a hiring day where you get interviews with several prospective employers and possibly get an offer right out of the program.
I would do this again in a heartbeat. It’s a true investment in yourself and well worth the short-term sacrifice. You will meet some incredible people and the instruction is top notch. 100% recommended
Codesmith is truly a transformative experience. Prior to Codesmith I didn't have a technical background or any prior tech experience, and was looking for a career change. I began to assess all my options available to make the switch to a new career in tech. There were the numerous for-profit trade/career colleges, most of which seem great at first, but then as you dig deeper are very gimmicky, poor quality, and most are extremely expensive. Of course there's the traditional route of going to a community college & a state school or university, but being in my mid twenties, the extended time it takes to complete a degree, plus the limited career help and lack of modern in demand technologies, was not an investment I was willing to start. I decided I would continue working and self-studying in my free time with ambitions of making the switch on my own. The amount of resource online these days is amazing but starting out it can be very daunting. Without any prior programming experience, knowing what to look for, what to learn, and the quality of what you were learning was rough and a very slow process.
The reason I favored Codesmith over the others was that it was clear it wasn't another coding bootcamp. Codesmith is an immersive residency and has 3 core values that sets it apart. Complete dedication to every student, an autonomous and deep understanding for learning, and a devotation for the community. Community is such a huge aspect of Codesmith and one of the many things I loved most about Codesmith. Codesmith hosts and sponsors many weekly and monthly events, is always looking to give back to the tech community in LA and beyond, and is an extremely diverse and inclusive space. Plus the alumni support is great and very connected, and they even have multiple times throughout the program when alumni comeback and share their stories of life during and after Codesmith.
The team and staff are amazing. Everyone is extremely nice, thoughtful and there to help you succeed. I felt comfortable sharing and expressing any concerns or feelings throughout the program. The curriculum is top-notch and well rounded. It still amazes me the amount of content I learned in a short amount of time. Spending six days a week and more then eleven hours a day onsite, it becomes more then just a program or school, you become a tight knit family with your classmates, the staff and the other cohort. Everyone is there with the mindset to help one another, and so should be your mindset going in.
With all that said, Codesmith is intense. It is challenging, tough, inspiring, motivating, and rewarding. Codesmith is an extremely fast-paced fully immersive program and is very demanding. Best way to succeed is to fully dedicate yourself for 3 months and make the tough sacrifices necessary to give your all during the program. This is truly one of those kind of experience when "the more you put into it, is the more you will get out of it". Take full advantage of everything offered, your classmates, the instructors, the staff, the connections, the networking, the events and will be amazed at how far you've made it.
Your journey doesn't stop either after program. It is key you keep the same intensity going during the job search phase. A wonderful standout experience at Codesmith is the hiring day event. It provides such an awesome space to meet companies to network and jump start your hiring process. It is vital to stay in touch with the staff at Codesmith during your job search for endless amounts of support and guidance they provide to help you improve your interviewing and networking skills.
If your looking for an experience that offers top-tier challenges & curriculum, a thriving community, and a location that is in the heart of it all and only a few miles from the beach, you'll find it and more with Codesmith.
I went to Codesmith from August to October of 2016. Honestly, it was the best decision I ever made. Not only was I able to get the skills I needed to become a professional software developer, but I was able to meet some of the most intelligent, humble and interesting people. In addition to your fellow students being magnificent, the staff at Codesmith is always happy to help you out with whatever you need, be it emotional or intellectual support.
If your goal is to find a bootcamp that will help you learn the skills you need to be a web developer, look no further. There isn't a better option out there.
A few weeks out from completing Codesmith, I've fully realized the impact this program had on my life, and I want to share with those who may find themselves in a similar posotion. Before attending, I had a B.S. in Electrical engineering, some programming experience from undergrad/codeacademy/etc, but no projects built to demonstrate my skills. I had been struggling for over a year to land any kind of software development position. My resume was rife with the rookie mistakes many make -- too vague descriptions, not technically challenging, no underlying story marketing myself as a software engineer. My interview skills were weak, I would lack confidence in my answers and be lost for words when salary negotiations came up. Furthermore, my answers to the technical interview questions were often just wrong!
This all changed thanks to Codesmith and I'm happy to report I'm currently in negotiations for software developer positions at two companies which came to our hiring day! Codesmith will teach you the technical and career development skills you need, plus support you throughout the hiring process.
This is probably all the review you're looking for, but read on for more details :)
The most unique things about Codesmith are the tight knit, brilliant Community and the proven Pedagogy. Your cohortmates will absoutely become your family. You spend many hours solving problems and supporting eachother through demanding challenges. Of course we work hard, and we also play hard! Thursday nights are a chance to socialize and let loose -- really any time is good to challenge someone to a ping pong or Magic the Gathering match. It's a lot of fun being there, I miss it!
The pedagogy takes you through basic software engineering skills all the way up through react/redux workflows and advanced git. The steps are mostly the same throughout -- get a high-level overview of the topic from an expert lecturer, then struggle to build something with that new skill. This is highly effective!
I hope this helps you make the right decision for your future as a software engineer.
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.
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 →