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Codesmith

Los Angeles, New York City, New York City, Online

Codesmith

Avg Rating:4.89 ( 312 reviews )

Codesmith offers a full-time, 12-week full stack software engineering bootcamp in Los Angeles and New York City. Codesmith is a selective, need-blind program focusing largely on computer science and full-stack JavaScript, with an emphasis on technologies like React, Redux, Node, build tools, Dev Ops and machine learning. This program enables Codesmith students (known as Residents) to build open-source projects, with the aim of moving into positions as skilled software engineers. Codesmith Residents become engineers, not technicians, through a deep understanding of advanced JavaScript practices, fundamental computer science concepts (such as algorithms and data structures), and object-oriented and functional programming. Codesmith helps residents develop strong problem-solving abilities and technical communication skills – valued capacities in a software engineer.

The Codesmith admissions process involves a written application with optional coding questions, a nontechnical interview, and a technical interview. Codesmith offers a number of free resources for preparing for the admissions process including in-person and online coding workshops, a 2-week online prep course (CS Prep), and an online JavaScript learning platform (CSX).

Codesmith offers an extensive hiring support program that guides Residents through whiteboarding, advanced technical interview practice, resume and profile development, and interview and networking strategies. Support continues upon graduation with bi-weekly check-ins and, after offers, negotiation support. Overall, 25% of graduates receive offers for Senior Engineer positions and above, and about 70% receive offers for Mid-level Engineer roles.

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  • CS Prep

    Apply
    JavaScript, jQuery, Algorithms, Front End
    OnlinePart Time15 Hours/week2 Weeks
    Start Date December 9, 2019
    Cost$750
    Class sizeN/A
    LocationOnline
    CS Prep is a structured program that teaches core JavaScript concepts and engineering best practices. CS Prep will help you develop a deep, yet intuitive understanding of JavaScript and prepare you for your Codesmith technical interview or for interviews for other software engineering roles. CS Prep is a 2-week remote course that includes live online instruction, daily problem-solving workshops, office hours with engineering mentors, and extensive technical interview practice.
    Financing
    DepositNo deposit
    Financing
    We offer tuition payment plans and many scholarships for the course. The tuition you pay for CS Prep will roll over to the Software Engineering Immersive tuition.
    Tuition PlansWe offer case by case payment plans, please reach out to csprep@codesmith.io with questions!
    Refund / GuaranteeIf you pass the CS Prep assessment you are guaranteed a technical interview with our full time Codesmith Program. Refunds for the course are available and distributed on a case by case basis.
    ScholarshipWe offer multiple scholarships to CS Prep, with many students paying no tuition at all. You can apply for the women in software engineering scholarship, Dean's scholarship, or minorities in tech scholarship.
    Getting in
    Minimum Skill LevelSuitable for beginners who are ready to level up to intermediate and advanced material.
    Prep WorkWe recommend some familiarity with the content in the Precourse Unit on CSX - our free online learning platform - https://csx.codesmith.io/.
    Placement TestNo
    InterviewYes
    More Start Dates
    December 9, 2019 - Online Apply by November 25, 2019
  • JavaScript for Beginners

    Apply
    JavaScript
    OnlinePart Time6 Hours/week2 Weeks
    Start Date November 30, 2019
    Cost$300
    Class sizeN/A
    LocationOnline
    JavaScript for Beginners is a 12-hour, remote program consisting of two consecutive Saturday sessions. The program is designed for those with no previous coding experience and will teach JavaScript fundamentals and how coding works. The program offers students a launching point to continue their JavaScript studies, prepare for our more advanced programs, and build a future in software engineering.
    Financing
    DepositNo Deposit
    Financing
    This course has scholarships available, and the tuition you pay for JavaScript for Beginners rolls over and can be applied towards the tuition of our more advanced programs.
    Tuition PlansWe offer case-by-case payment plans, please reach out to jsforbeginners@codesmith.io with questions!
    Refund / GuaranteeRefunds for the course are available and distributed on a case-by-case basis.
    ScholarshipWe offer multiple scholarships to JavaScript for Beginners, with many students paying no tuition at all. You can apply for the women in software engineering scholarship, Dean's scholarship, or minorities in tech scholarship.
    Getting in
    Minimum Skill LevelThis course is designed for those with no coding experience!
    Prep WorkWe recommend completing Part 1 of the Precourse on CSX, our free online learning platform, before you start the course: https://csx.codesmith.io/units/precourse
    Placement TestNo
    InterviewNo
    More Start Dates
    November 30, 2019 - Online Apply by November 25, 2019
  • Software Engineering Immersive Program

    Apply
    Start Date November 25, 2019
    Cost$18,800
    Class sizeN/A
    LocationNew York City, Los Angeles
    The Codesmith program teaches computer science, full-stack JavaScript (notably React and Node), software architecture, Dev Ops, and machine learning, preparing graduates for mid to senior engineering positions. The course also features preparatory material, extensive hiring preparation, and ongoing support with students’ job searches.
    Financing
    Deposit$2300
    Financing
    We have financing partnerships available as well as case by case payment plans! Please email hello@codesmith.io with questions.
    Refund / GuaranteeRefunds are distributed on a case by case basis but are available.
    ScholarshipCodesmith offers 4 types of scholarships -those to students underrepresented in the technology community, women in software engineering scholarship, Dean's scholarships, as well as scholarships to prior bootcamp grads.
    Getting in
    Minimum Skill LevelPrior computer science and programming skills necessary - many applicants are self taught through our free weekly JS workshops/online prep course.
    Prep Work4 weeks
    Placement TestNo
    InterviewYes
    More Start Dates
    November 25, 2019 - Los Angeles Apply by November 25, 2019
    December 16, 2019 - New York City Apply by December 16, 2019

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  • Hubert  User Photo
    Hubert • Software Engineer • Graduate Verified via LinkedIn
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    I'm writing this review as I finally cleared my background check for my mid-level offer after 1 month of graduating from Codesmith in order to shine light for those who are in my position 4 months ago.

    In that sense, I'll speak to what I wish I would have read before making the leap to Codesmith. If you're reading this, you've probably narrowed down your choices to the top bootcamps - Fullstack, HR, App Academy - but maybe you've heard of Codesmith or went to JS the Hard Parts. That was me and I was ready to go to Fullstack until I went to one workshop and immediately changed my mind. 

    To me the big 3 differentiators of Codesmith are:

    1. Results.

    In the end, that's what we care about right? Codesmith has been consistently getting its graduates 6 figure salaries and now they have the audited data to prove it. If you go to CIRR, you can see their average salary way over any bootcamp in NY, and I believe the US. Some bootcamps even started leaving off their results because of how bad it's gotten. As I recently interviewed, I can speak to why - the industry is getting fierce as bootcamps and colleges are churning out more and more grads. While other bootcamps stayed complacent, Codesmith innovated - as the hiring program is phenomenal and is not comparable to anything else offered. Other bootcamps just tell you to make your resume look pretty and give you mock interviews but Codesmith's hiring program seriously prepares you to not only pass the interviews, but to get the interviews - which is the most important part. Coming out of a bootcamp, especially with no experience, you're already going to have a hard time getting interviews but not Codesmith grads. Some people in my cohort had to disable their notifications because they were getting spammed with interview requests by recruiters.

    2. Community

    Well, now you're probably wondering if Codesmith has such great results, why aren't they as well known as all the others? Well, its because Codesmith doesn't go for guerilla marketing like others. When I was googling coding terms, and even now, I couldn't go 5 minutes without seeing a Fullstack Academy ad. When I finished Hack Reactor Prep, I couldn't go 5 days without seeing an email reminder telling me to sign up for the next cohort. Why? Because those bootcamps were acquired and are incentivized work to increase their bottom line and churn out grads. I didn't want to feel like I was just another face in a sea of students. Codesmith doesn't do guerilla marketing and keeps its cohorts small, having only 2 in person running at each time. One in their senior phase, to mentor the juniors, who are in the beginning phase. That way education quality is upheld, more individual attention can be given, and everyone forms lasting relationships.

    3. Project

    If you check out the Codesmith projects, you'll realize why grads get only mid level offers or higher. Instead of building some slack/airbnb clone or some random thing no one will ever use, grads are building developer tools that people actually use. Trust me - when your interviewer hears that your project was starred by core team members of the framework you're USING - I promise you they'll be impressed.

    In the end, if you work hard enough, you can join the Codesmith family of software engineers, all whose lives have been changed by this experience. I encourage anyone out there learning to code to keep working hard, and come to a Thursday night workshop at Codesmith and see what it really is all about!

  • Adele C.  User Photo
    Adele C. • Graduate Verified via GitHub
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    I first came across Codesmith through their free JavaScript Hard parts meetups (which I highly recommend you go and check out) and the first thing that impressed me early on was the clarity and interactive teaching style of Phil (Lead in NYC) and Will (CEO) on advanced topics such as async & promises, closures, higher-order functions. Going to these meetups helped tremendously in my decision to go to Codesmith as you get a preview of the lectures, people (a lot of the cohort comes from the meetups) and environment. To give a better context to my review, I focused on three things during my decision process for picking a coding bootcamp:

    1. The quality of the education- I came to coding with zero background in computer science and made a complete career change, so this was important not only because of the cost of the program, but I needed to be able to digest advanced topics in a short amount of time.
    2. Job assistance – I needed a program that can also jumpstart my career in this industry since I left a good job to study and commit to a 13 program and couldn’t afford to not get a job quickly or start on an entry level  (More on this later, but Codesmith has a hiring program that’s included in your time there and is worth the price alone)
    3. The community –  I needed to be challenged and be with like-minded and supportive people. There are plenty of group projects and pair-programming so the people surrounding you are important. Also, you are spending every ounce of your time there (Codesmith is 6 days a week, from 9am to 8pm (officially) but most usually stay until 10-11pm+). Additionally, the girl ratio was also a concern for me (In my cohort there was 4 out 16).  

    Needless to say Codesmith exceed my expectations and hit all of major concerns. To start with the curriculum, every day for the first hour of the day you have an algorithm problem and the approach lecture for the problem the day before. You spend the first 4 weeks doing 2 day units which consist of lectures, skill-builders (solo-work) and pair-programing unit challenges. Most of your “learning” comes from these pair-programing challenges which encourage you to problem-solve by struggling and talking out things with your partner. (There is a clear focus on technical communication.) There’s also constructive feedback after each session so you’re constantly improving your teamwork and coding skills. An important note: things are not hand-fed to you. This approach makes you a capable of learning new things really quickly but just know that you will go through a confidence rollercoaster during the course of the program (Will even has a chart that he provides the on the first day). The rest of the program consist of the project phase (3 short term ones and your production project, which will take 4-5 weeks).  These are great way to experiment, dive deep, and build your expertise in certain technologies. They are all impressive (check out Codesmith’s website for examples) and a notable experience to talk about when on an interview.

    What makes the program so powerful is that the community of the instructors, fellows, the non-technical staff, and the rest of the cohort. Every person is expertly selected to preserve the Codesmith community and culture, and, I’ve never seen a more dedicated and caring workforce. The teaching fellows are there to do the approach lectures and to support you throughout the entire process and they spend hours with you going over material, questions you may have, and even theorizing about a particular approach or current hot topic. There are also periodical check-ins with the staff on how you are doing with the program, and they are always available to you to resolve any issues you may have. A new cohort starts every six weeks, and Juniors and Seniors are in the same space, so you’ll get plenty of opportunity to meet/network/mentor with more developers before and after you.  The small class size, long hours, and plenty of group projects makes it easy to bond with your cohort group. It was only 90 days but it felt like we were together for many years. There’s also a great alumni network that’s available online and in person (there were always a few alumni visiting during my time there).

    Towards the end of the program they start the hiring program which has on-going support after graduation and is led by Will and Eric. It’s another thing that sets Codesmith apart from the rest. They give you knowledge and practice on building your resume, how to interview, how to approach the job search, and how to negotiate salary (Listen to Eric on this –  he coaches you what to say and what to expect and it is 100% on point). There are mock interviews, and check-ins, and slack channels that will be your coding and job-search bible. On top of that, there’s always someone on staff (or fellow cohort mates) to guide you throughout the whole process.

    You can read about the outcomes report on Codesmith here (https://cirr.org/data) and certainly do your research (got to meetups and info sessions) but I can honestly say that Codesmith changed my life.  Its staff, approach to education, and community are top notch. It was definitely one of the toughest things I’ve done but it was also one of the most rewarding. The hesitation toward joining such an intense program is valid but if you commit yourself to those 90 days, Codesmith will change your life. I am sure it.     

  • Dan Wu  User Photo
    Dan Wu • Student Verified via GitHub
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    Steer clear of Codesmith if you're not ready to be challenged! Over 12 grueling weeks, you will be primed to tackle algorithmic challenges and pick up new web technologies (React/Redux/SQL/noSQL) at breakneck pace. The fact that each member of my cohort was able to hold his/her own - despite the unrelenting pace of the curriculum - is testament to the dedication of and empowerment fostered by the instructors and teaching staff who give the program its momentum. Career-wise, the support I have received from Codesmith (in addition to the numerous networking opportunities during the course of the program) has been invaluable and will be very encouraging for those seeking opportunities in the software dev market for the first time.

    As a side note, consider taking the associated 2-week CSPrep program before tackling the 12-week program head-on; I myself enrolled in it and could not have found a better way to ready myself for the Javascript curriculum that's the cornerstone of the Codesmith program.

  • A Rewarding Choice
    - 5/12/2019
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    Jonah • Graduate Verified via LinkedIn
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    As many other have noted, Codesmith’s 12-week course is both an extremely challenging and extremely rewarding journey. The aspect that made it possible was the unbelievable assistance from the community. The unflagging support from both the staff and fellow students make the long hours (10-12 hours day, if not more) manageable — enjoyable even — and it never feels like you’re alone during any part of the marathon.

    The structured pace is fast, but at no point did I feel left behind because there is always someone willing to review curriculum material. The onus of mastery falls on the initiative of the student (additional long hours or weekend work), but Codesmith mentors and teachers do an amazing job of making themselves available.

    The production project portion of the program forces students to think outside the box and interact with their team in a similar way that they might in the real world. The graphQL migration tool my team built was a crucial learning experience and huge talking point during my job search and interviews.

    With so many bootcamp options available, it can be difficult to gauge the flavor of each and whether a course might be right for you. Codesmith’s CS Prep and free CSX course is a great way to get a sense of the culture and curriculum. I would heartily recommend Codesmith to someone looking to level-up in fullstack development and it was one of the best educational/career decisions I’ve ever made.

  • Steven  User Photo
    Steven • Graduate Verified via GitHub
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    I came across Codesmith after attending one of their free Javascript the Hard Parts Thursday classes and I was immediately hooked. The instructors such as Will and Phil are outstanding, their ability to break down these giant topics into smaller chunks in a form that anyone can understand is phenomenal. The community is also very inviting and determined in the growth of everyone in the class. After attending several JSHP classes, I decided it was time to enroll in their next cohort and this was one of the best decisions of my life.

    To define Codesmith as just a coding boot camp would be an understatement. It is a software engineering residency. The first six weeks of the program are the junior phase where you learn new topics in two-day units. The units consist of about 10% lecture and 90% programming with a partner. I was a little put off by this idea at first, but as the days went on I realized that the best way to learn is to struggle through the material together with less hand-holding as possible. You can still request help from the existing fellows and seniors in the program if you ever get stuck but they are there to help you think and guide you rather than blatantly give you the answer. The topics that are covered are always current with the latest and greatest. During my time we covered algorithms, data structures, DOM Manipulation, React, Node, PostgreSQL, Mongo, and Testing, to name a few. Near the end of the junior phase, you will have an opportunity to work on different projects using the technologies you have learned thus far. In addition to all of these units, we had a number of extra activities like weekly family dinners, circles, hackathons, and Thursday night drinks. This all helped bring the cohorts together and made it feel like we were all part of one team.

    The six weeks of the course focus a big production project that you and your group come up with during ideation week of the program and hiring support. During this time you are encouraged to include technologies that you have not learned thus far to include in your project. It was a bit overwhelming at first to apply new technologies to our projects, but the first six weeks taught me a very valuable lesson which is learning how to learn, knowing what to do when you get stuck. Through our research were able to overcome any blocks that we encountered at a much faster pace than I thought we could.

    Comparing myself to before I started this program and I realized how much I have grown as an engineer, a mentor, and just overall being okay with not knowing everything but also having the ability to overcome blocks. Now I'm not saying it's easy, there were very long strenuous days and a lot of material to go over, but if you're committed to growing as an empathetic and confident engineer then there is no better place than Codesmith. If you're still on the fence I would recommend attending their JavaScipt the Hard Parts classes and I will promise you will not be disappointed.

  • Resident
    - 5/3/2019
    Ed Ryan  User Photo
    Ed Ryan • Resident • Graduate Verified via GitHub
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    Given that one understands the personal commitment required, I reccomend Codesmith wholeheartedly. Five reasons why:

    1. There's a hiring day. Nothing compares to sitting down and doing a real interview. Eight companies came by.  A hiring day gives you incomparable experience.

    2. I got to work on specific cutting-edge technologies. Of note: testing with Jest and Enzyme. Dockerization. Learning to navigate AWS.

    3. The production project. The project ideas come from the students themselves. The teachers approve ideas, but do not supply them. I worked on a testing and mocking tool for gRPCs. I worked at least 13 hours a day, six days a week, for 5 weeks. Usually about 15 hours. I learned a ton, and I'm proud of what I made. We self-learned about RPC systems, protobufs, HTTP2 - all sorts of nonsense. There is no course for these things. Only documentation. Reading it gave me depth and experience. We wanted a professional, responsive UI and our team broke our backs make it clean and fast.

    4. The people. I put in an insane amount of time. My teammates matched me hour-for-hour. The level of dedication and commitment is very very high.

    5. Sensitivity is valued. There is strong support for underrepresented groups in tech. Codesmith tries very hard to foster a positive environment for its students, and I think it shows. Instructors and staff explicitly make themselves available when students feel uncomfortable or stressed. Staff check in with each student individually on a regular basis.

    You get what you put into the program. It is not for everyone. There was laughter, tears. It was usually fun and very hard. An absurd experience, and intense. For me, absolutely worth it. For most, the Codesmith system works. People are getting good jobs coming out of the program.

    Some cons - the program is getting too large. Cohorts in LA are much too large, in my opinion. It is too loud and they need more bathrooms. You need a certain amount of self-reliance. The instructors do the best they can, but they can not be there for everyone. The program heavily benefits people who thrive in situations where questions are vague and demand that people seek their own solutions. You are paying 17k to be asked questions - not to be given answers. This seems like poor teaching practice. As someone who has real, formal training in the classroom - I vouch for approach to teaching, with reservations. It fosters creativity, but it is badly frustrating, and it feels awful to fail constantly.

    A very high reccomendation with strong reservations.

  • Wisdom Liu  User Photo
    Wisdom Liu • Graduate Verified via LinkedIn
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    I was pushed to my limits and beyond. They taught me data structures, React/Redux, Node/Express, SQL and NoSQL databases, and much more. It's crazy how far I've come from no technical experience to now being a fullstack Software Engineer. I'm grateful for the opportunity I was given here and will never forget the experience. 

    This is not a typical bootcamp - it's literally a residency. I've gained invaluable skills here and developed a close relationship with each of my classmates in my cohort.

    Their hiring program is amazing - they really want you to get the best offer possible - and as with everything else they teach, it's a very in-depth program.

  • Julian  User Photo
    Julian • Graduate Verified via GitHub
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    Looking back on the last 3 months, I can safely say that joining the Codesmith community has been one of the best experiences of my life. It was a remarkable journey of rewarding challenges that taught me so much not just about programming, but about myself.

    When I first decided to pursue coding, I did a lot of research looking into the many programs New York City had to offer. I remember the pivotal moment when a friend of mine suggested Codesmith’s “JavaScript the Hard Parts” class offered every Thursday evening, because attending that first class changed everything.

    I found a community of supportive, passionate people who fostered an environment of collaboration and growth, the likes of which I had never seen anywhere else.

    When I was accepted into the 3 month program, I found the excitement and passion for problem solving to be infectious, and I felt invigorated every day to push myself harder, and learn as much as I possibly could.

    The instructors are amazing. Not only do they have an incredible wealth of knowledge, but they also possess the ability to dynamically teach it to others, and I think that’s very important to note.  The most important thing you gain from your Codesmith residency though, is the tool chest to learn anything. You are fundamentally trained to be able to figure your way through any technical block, and this is an invaluable skill.

    Maybe you’re wondering… does it really work? Can I really get a job afterwards? The numbers don’t lie, and the answer is yes. The average salary is around 120k and my cohort is seeing these offers and better ones already. It’s only been a few weeks since we graduated.

    My advice to you: Go for a visit on a Thursday evening and meet everyone. You’ll see what I mean. I can’t recommend it enough!

  • Andy  User Photo
    Andy • Graduate Verified via GitHub
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    Sometimes it's hard to know if you made the right choice until you look back on it and I can say for 100% certainty that going Codesmith was one of the best decisions I made!

    Of course, I didn't go through all the other schools/bootcamps but I did a lot of extensive research on all the options before deciding on Codesmith. Why I ultimately decided Codesmith was the right fit for me was... 1. The smaller class sizes allow you to receive more attention and bond with classmates 2. The production project (building projects that help the developer community) 3. Phil, Will, Dave, and all the other Instructors/fellows... you can replace curriculum but you can't replace great instructors!

    When I was initially interviewing for other bootcamps, I felt like I was one of just another person of incoming students. Phil and Will, on the other hand, made me feel like I was part of a community and I really felt they cared about my personal growth above all else. 

    The curriculum was amazing but more than that the community was the best thing about Codesmith! I've learned a lot from my fellow classmates and the energy that everyone brings is what Codesmith strives to cultivate.

    Was it worth the price? Well, whether you find a job or not, you grow in every way possible. So in short answer... yes! What are you waiting for? ;)

  • Jonathan  User Photo
    Jonathan • Graduate Verified via GitHub
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    If you're in a rush here is the information you want:
    After completing the residency at Codesmith I received multiple offers of which the lowest was $120k. This is an objective fact. No smoke, no mirrors.

    Another objective fact: my first offer was 13 days after I entered the market.

    With that said, I want to be very clear about the end goal here. It is not about money. The end goal is mastery of your craft. It just so happens that companies will pay well for people who can demonstrate dedication to their craft. I couldn't command a 100k+ salary before completing the Codesmith residency. Afterwards I had a few options to choose from.
    _______
    About Codesmith:

    Codesmith is about finding your limits and pushing past them. If you can consistently do that every day for the duration of the program and continue doing so in the job market then you can expect great offers. You get out what you put in. If you don’t put in the effort don’t expect stellar results.

    With that said, there is no version of the universe where I earned as many offers without the team at Codesmith. From the top down Will and his team will prepare you for the demands of a job market that wants mid and senior level engineers. Codesmith is three-fold; it is one part becoming a better engineer, another part becoming a better person, and third part becoming a better interviewee. Each aspect of that is assessed before you’re admitted, and each part is worked on during the residency. You have the opportunity and the support to improve but again it is up to you to act on it.

    Secondly, Codesmith is not a bootcamp.

    I know because I went to a bootcamp prior to Codesmith, as have many Codesmith residents.

    There is nothing else out there like Codesmith. It gets lumped into the pile with the rest because bootcamps are the closest thing. Codesmith is a residency. Unlike other residencies Codesmith makes sure that all of it’s engineers are on the same page. There is a 4 week curriculum in which you are thrown into the deep-end of full-stack Javascript. This is so that each engineer there has the same toolkit to collaborate and build projects together. And building projects is what you do for the remainder of the residency. Even during the 4 week curriculum you are building applications, just piecemeal with each piece of technology building upon previous units.

    The day to day at codesmith is: you show up at 9am and keep coding until 8pm. It is not uncommon to see people stay even later and in fact most do. You get practical hands on experience building scalable applications and even more important you get hands on experience collaborating with other engineers with varying degrees of experience. It is truly a transformative experience.

    At a bootcamp you spend 75% or more of your time observing or coding along to something. Of the 1000+ hours at Codesmith less than 5% of that is spent in a lecture setting. You are actively building products the entire time. There is support for when you need help but the majority of the time you are working in pods to build scalable applications. The goal is to overcome problems yourself with the help of your team, just how you would in the real world. That may sound intimidating or intense but know that the team at Codesmith is incredibly supportive. 

    From the beginning they are highly selective about who is allowed into the program. Codesmith doesn’t just screen for determined and talented engineers, it also screens for nice people. A very talented engineer who is rude or hard to get along with will not be able to join a cohort at Codesmith. This is something that makes the 3 months in this environment not just bearable, but outright enjoyable. The staff go above and beyond to make sure the environment remains a positive one and there are activities built into the schedule to help prevent residents from burning out. 

    So how are the results overall?
    Well, from my Cohort of 12 only 3 have spent more than 3 months looking for jobs.
    Compare that to my bootcamp experience where I had a cohort of 23 and after 6 months only 4 people had full-time jobs in tech. Nobody from my previous bootcamp cohort got offered more than 70k. Not one. The lowest offer from my Codesmith cohort was 80k and that same person also got a 90k offer.
    I don’t want it to seem like I am only focused on money. I bring it up because Codesmith costs money to join, it is an investment in yourself and I want to show that it pays off financially. 

    Beyond the financial payoff my confidence to create, collaborate, and contribute as an engineer have increased exponentially. Before Codesmith I had some difficulty learning new libraries or technologies. I didn’t know how to get information from documentation. If I had to learn something new I had to watch somebody on Youtube or Udemy teach me and then try my best to replicate that. Then once I replicated it perfectly I would branch out slowly until something broke and then I’d have to watch more youtube videos until I figured it out. Now I just read the documentation and figure it out in a few minutes. 

    Everything is excellent from start to finish. Once you finish the program at Codesmith there is unparalleled support. There is staff available to polish your interviewing skills and even negotiate offers. There is nothing else like it. 

    I remember being in my previous bootcamp and talking to alums who were in the market after graduating. Some of them had been in the market for months. The bootcamp I attended said the job search could take up to a year after finishing the program. The grads I talked to were looking for junior roles in the 60- 80k range. Anything higher than that was unheard of and many, fatigued emotionally and financially from the long job search, were willing to go even lower than that.

    My first Hard Parts meetup was on recursion being lead by the Senior Engineer at Codesmith. At the time I had a vague idea about how recursion works but by the time I walked out it was clear as day. I knew I had to learn more. I started talking to some of the residents and graduates and they started talking about their job processes. Some of them were getting offers the same week they graduated for more than 100k. I didn’t think that it was possible but the more people I talked to the more I kept hearing the same things. At that point I decided to apply. I figured if I didn’t get in then at least I knew that I tried. I was rejected on my first attempt but on my second attempt (a month later, studying the whole time) I was offered a spot in one of the cohorts.

    Before starting the program I thought that Codesmith residents must have been super-human engineers. But now that I've completed it I know they weren’t, they were just dedicated to their craft. Being a part of my cohort at Codesmith was the first time in my life I was surrounded by people equally as driven as I am. I’m a little spoiled now as a result.
    _________

    Shoutout to Will, Phil, Ryan, Olivia, Jac, Dave, Sam, Schno, Haley, Jenny, Mircea, Saim, Chris, Alesi, Ryan, Christine, & Joel. 10/10 would recommend.

  • Julie Beak  User Photo
    Julie Beak • Student Verified via GitHub
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    If you are planning to join a coding bootcamp, consider CS Prep course seriously!

    took CS Prep this February to prepare myself get in Codesmith immersive program. I can tell you confidently it is so worth it. Codesmith is very famouse of just getting in is so hard. Before I did CS Prep, I took another prep course from other bootcamp, which was 100% online. I mean, CS Prep is also online course but they do it on live, not recorded lectures. Our instructor, Ryan, did a phenomenon job, took care of every single students, was very patient, and tried answer all the questions we had no matter how late it was or how many times we asked same quesitons. I was accepted into the Immersive on my first try!! I built solid foundational Javascript knowledge and was taught how to do proper technical communication. Every class you do pair programming that can help you to practice your technical communication. It can be very difficult if you have never done before, but once you get used to, you will understand how important it is!  You also can send a video of your technical communication to Ryan, he will watch it no matter how long it is and will give you a solid feedback. I can't say thank you enough to all the staffs of Codesmith and Ryan! 

     

  • Eugene  User Photo
    Eugene • Graduate Verified via GitHub
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    I'm writing the review I would like to have seen here before making my decision. If you're skeptical about the idea of attending a three month program like Codesmith after graduating with a technical degree, I hope this review helps you.

    Before attending Codesmith at NYC, I was a fresh graduate looking for work. I studied Computer Science as an undergrad and I had finished with a general set of skills. However I never learned about software engineering or the ways to approach building a project on my own. I never learned about best coding practices. I didn't have a body of work that showcased what I had been learning for the past four years.

    I spent a couple of months self-studying. I took courses on Udemy learning JavaScript libraries like React and Redux, and was able to build some small projects. However, I hit a block where I wasn't learning as quickly as I was when I started. So I reached out to find other developers through Meetup and found myself at Hard Parts. The consistent delivery of energy and extensive explanation of fundamental concepts had me coming back every week. At some point, I had attended all of the workshops they had to offer, and during my time there I was seriously considering attending Codesmith as a resident. I was on the fence about it for a while, because I felt that it wouldn't have been necessary given my background. I wanted some more information about the program so I hung around and spoke with the current cohorts and engineering fellows. Everyone I asked was very receptive and gave me the ins and outs of the program and its potential tradeoffs. I really admired the community Codesmith fostered. I finally decided for that I wanted to be a resident, and ultimately a part of a community of developers who were driven and loved to build things.

    Codesmith is all about collective learning. For the first six weeks we pair program every day, switching pairs every two days. The first thing I had noticed about the material is how quickly information was introduced. We spent the first week learning fundamental algorithms and data structures (subjects I wasn't exposed to until two years into university). After that week, my cohort mates, without any exposure to algorithms coming in, were already taking time and space complexity into consideration when solving coding problems. They were also thinking about how to optimize their solutions. What also got me going was constantly being around people who enjoyed discussing JavaScript concepts, web development and project ideas they had.

    After the first six weeks, we get to ideate on a production project idea with a team. In my opinion this is the most important phase in the course. You spend the first six weeks learning all about and using web libraries like React, Redux, MongoDB, Node and Express, and you’re given an opportunity to use those tools to build an application from scratch. Most importantly, you do so with the cohort mates you’ve been growing and learning with. I learned the most during the production phase because it provided me with experience of being on a team, and working in a Git flow. For my team, we had common disagreements about the problems we wanted to solve, the technologies we wanted to use, and our workflow. Meeting up as a team, discussing these issues and resolving them are important experiences that both help you grow as a developer, and as a team player.

    You can only learn so much by sitting at home and developing projects on your own. I’d say the most important things I got out of the program were the experiences I had with other developers that I could speak to. I believe that being able to talk about problems you were introduced to with other people and how you overcame them as a team can take you a long way. Codesmith was definitely the right choice for me. It definitely provided me with exactly the components I needed to land the job that I have now. Even after graduating Codesmith, I have the support of the mentors and the students I’ve built relationships with during my time there.

  • David  User Photo
    David • Graduate Verified via GitHub
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    Simply put, Codesmith is a cut above the rest.


    I came from a background of electronic music production, some decent experience with JavaScript, SQL, and aside from that, a largely non-technical background. After working hard and doing pretty much nothing but coding in my spare time preparing to get into Codesmith throughout 2018, I joined in the October 2018 cohort. I was hoping it would be a life-changing experience - it delivered 100%.


    More than just teaching you how to use the most in-demand languages/frameworks/libraries, Codesmith teaches you how to solve problems. It builds that muscle for walking up to a wall of code and/or problems that you may have no idea how to solve, and teaches you to calmly dissect it, piece by piece and solve the problem at hand. Doing this over and over, time and time again, is what prepares you for that mid to senior level engineering role.


    Codesmith is extremely effective at curating a group of residents who are passionate and willing to make this their top priority. It is not easy to get into Codesmith, and this careful vetting process shows. My cohort was filled with brilliant engineers who were not only driven to improve their skills as engineers, but equally invested in helping to grow the skills of all those around them. In turn, the result is that everyone levels up together, and lifelong friends are made in the process.


    Curriculum includes Algorithms, Data Structures, Big O notation, JavaScript, React, Redux, Webpack, Node, SQL, noSQL, etc. The program is very challenging, and takes the approach of giving you a "birds eye view" overview lecture, and then throwing you into the deep end to build with what you've just learned about. This process can be extremely challenging, frustrating, and definitely made me doubt myself at times, but in the end, was incredibly effective in improving my problem solving skills, technical communication, and making me more comfortable being uncomfortable.


    The hiring program at Codesmith is one of the main aspects that sets Codesmith apart from any other coding residency I looked into. A strong emphasis is placed on considering not just what technologies you know, but why you specifically chose to use these technologies over other available options, what the tradeoffs were, and strengthening your technical communication to effectively communicate these decisions in a mature and thoughtful way. From whiteboarding and mock interviews, to SDI's, one-on-one salary negotiation, multiple resume and online profile reviews, and a unique, results-driven approach to applying for jobs, Codesmith sticks with you when it gets real after graduation. Lifetime hiring support is provided - I did two mock-interviews after graduating that were both instrumental in helping me to land the offer in LA I just accepted for a full stack engineer position.


    Lastly, I would like to speak on the lifelong friends and colleagues I met at Codesmith. Upon graduation, two of my cohort mates and I decided to form a slack channel to hold each other accountable and check in with each other throughout the job search process. We made sure to touch base every day, and shared things we were learning throughout each technical interview we encountered. I am proud to say that all three of us have landed 125k+ positions within a month and a half of graduating.


    It is possible! Make the sacrifices, make this your top priority, and you can do it! Codesmith has the roadmap laid out - you just have to make the commitment, work harder than you ever have before, and make it happen. If I can do it, so can you 🤘

  • Jason Ou  User Photo
    Jason Ou • Software Engineer • Graduate Verified via LinkedIn
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    I graduated from college in 2017 where I majored in Finance/Economics and minored in CS. I tried management consulting for a year, but realized that the parts of the job that excited me the most were related to computer science, so I self taught myself HTML/CSS/JS as far as I could. 

    But when it came to applying to jobs, I found that my experience just wasn't enough. So I applied to Codesmith on a whim, and it turned out to be the best decision I could have made. I was making $75k as a consultant, and was interviewing for junior positions that would have paid ~$80k, but even these positions I wasn't passing the phone screens. 

    After putting in a few months of hard work at Codesmith, I received a contract offer with JPM for $60/hr! And now, a few months later, I've leveraged my experience here into a full time position with American Express for $130k, and I have another final round interview with Amazon for $160k!!! (omg)

    These numbers are absolutely not something I ever ever ever thought I would be making but its all been possible thanks to Codesmith. 

    Going into the program, I was already fairly comfortable with web engineering since I had self taught and I studied CS in college, but the breadth and depth of the Codesmith experience let me take that to the next level. 

  • CS Prep
    - 3/12/2019
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    Nat • Applicant Verified via GitHub
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    I took CS Prep this February and it was a very fulfilling experience. I will start by saying that after taking CS Prep, I was passed my technical interview and was accepted into the Immersive on my first try. CS Prep provided me with a solid foundational Javascript knowledge and taught me the technical communication skills that were necessary not only to be admitted to the program, but to begin to think and work like an engineer. Each day of class for about an hour, we pair program which is a great exercise in learning to be a better communicator. Our instructor Ryan kept class interesting and informative and was always willing to provide extra help and guidance. The group project that we did at the end of the course was my first experience building something from scratch in Javascript and while it was challenging, it’s very rewarding to now have something to show my Javascript abilities. Some of us in the class who were based in LA met up outside of class to pair program and study together so the prep class was good at fostering a sense of community as well.

  • Wisdom Liu  User Photo
    Wisdom Liu • Student Verified via GitHub
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    This place changed my life.

    I spent a lot of time trying to decide which school to attend to become a software engineer. I looked at General Assembly, Hack reactor, and Thinkful. None of these compared to the Codesmith learning experience offered in just their free lectures (JS Easy parts and JS Hard parts).

    I would strongly reccomend this school for anyone who really wants to understand practical applications of computer science to the core. Their curriculum is challenging and will probably be one of the hardest things you'll learn, but the reward in the end is worth it.

  • Sam Silver  User Photo
    Sam Silver Verified via LinkedIn
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    Trying to navigate your way to the RIGHT bootcamp in 2019 is a lonely, confusing place to be. Codesmith's CS Prep course, along with their free CSX courses and free streamed/in-person "Javascript the Hard Parts" are a great way to get to know the culture and pedagogy of Codesmith. I've been accepted to most of the top bootcamps and have had my eye on the space for more than a while. My experience in CS Prep confirms my suspicious that Codesmith's curriculum, pedagogy, and culture are unmatched in the 12-16 week bootcamp space.

    Ryan Trontz, the teacher for CS Prep, has a long history of teaching subjects from Economics to Mathematics to Programming. He HIMSELF is a relatively recent product of Codesmith's SWE immersive. He's able to both zoom deeply in on topics to give you a step-by-step understanding of how the JS Engine works AND zoom out to give you a contextual understanding of where X tool fits into a SWE's workflow. If you're considering Codesmith or another top-tier bootcamp, I recommend CS Prep wholeheartedly.

  • bry  User Photo
    bry • Software Engineer • Graduate Verified via GitHub
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    My experience with Codesmith started with despair and self doubt. Before interviewing at Codesmith, I have been self studying for a couple months. I reached Codewars Kata 6, I finished Fullstack Prep in a week, I completed Hack Reactor's online program, and just to add another layer of security, I finished CSX before I applied. I thought I was a shoe in, and boy was I wrong. I was completely crushed in the first interview, got close to being accepted by the second one, and I was wondering if I could ever get in, and maybe I should just go with other programs. At the end, I gave myself a hard dead line, and the rest was just the beginning.

    Codesmith is going to push you out of your comfort zone. If you are naturally curious (aka console.log blobs just to see what it says, or try to use Node to build your own containers), then you are in luck. You will find other engineers who are equally curious. By the way, do you know the difference between setTimeout, IO callbacks, setImmediate, and Promises? What if I told you they go into different queues and a lot of other people have it wrong thinking there's only one? Codesmith will not teach you those things, but if you have an inquisitive mind, you will naturally gravitate to find those answers with like minded engineers.

    It is normal that different people have different preference. It's not good or bad, but simple preference. If you require detailed instructions (like a classroom setting or tutorial type walkthrough), then Codesmith will be disastrous for you. You will absolutely hate it because the only instructions you get are very high level. No one will say, declare a function here with three parameters, and you loop here, then you return here. You are supposed to extend your knowledge to unknown areas like a true engineer.

    Do you think building a functional CRUD app is a big achievement? At Codesmith, residents build CRUD apps as dummy data for projects. Before I began, I never thought of achieving the level of of engineering capability that I am now, but I can honestly say, if you love pushing it, if you love to break things and see what happens, Codesmith is definitely the right place for you.

  • CSPrep
    - 2/28/2019
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    Jaime Gonzalez • Graduate Verified via GitHub
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    Before I decided to join CSPrep I was using the CSX site offered by Codesmith to understand what's needed for their immersive program. I didn't realize that what I was lacking in wasn't my ability to learn, but how I could communicate to other developers. 

    CSPrep is a nine day course spread into 2 weeks. It allowed me to collaborate with others who had the same goals which made it so much easier to develop my technical communication.

    The course emphasized working with others over knowing the material as the goal is to learn independently. 

    The instructor Ryan is also an amazing person who has a background in education which is apparent in his drive to help his students understand the curriculum and to be able to expand it further even after the course and continues to offer advice after the course ends.

    Coming out of this class I learned how to explain myself as well as how JavaScript works under the hood and honestly I have learned more in the two weeks than I have in the 3 years of self teaching. 

    I recommend this course to those who are seeking to apply to any bootcamp and want to improve their ability to not just learn new JavaScript concepts but why they work as diagramming problems takes up a good amount of the class time.

    I also recommend to spend the Thursday off at Codesmith's free lectures to supplement one's ability to grasp new concepts and apply them as pair programming exercises occur for each session. It also gives people the chance to meet others taking the CSPrep course.

    And to conclude, I strongly urge to look into the scholarships they offer as the tuition will be transferred to the immersive program so there's nothing to lose when taking CSPrep and if anything, the people who take the class will grow regardless of the initial skill level.

  • alyswerdlova  User Photo
    alyswerdlova Verified via LinkedIn
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    Completing Codesmith's 12-week program was one of the hardest--and most rewarding--things I've ever done. I had completed an immersive program somewhere else before going to Codesmith, and the difference was like night and day. Codesmith's curriculum takes you deep down into computer science fundamentals and under-the-hood JavaScript in a way other programs do not. The quality of instruction is top-notch, too.

    The 12 weeks are very intense: there's no doubt about it. But you will learn. A lot! The staff will make sure of it. If they see you're falling behind, they will work with you one-on-one for whatever amount of time it takes to make sure your understanding is up to speed. There's no falling through the cracks here.

    It's also one of the most supportive and welcoming communities I've ever had the privilege of being a part of. From the CEO, Will Sentance, on down, every single person truly cares about seeing you succeed, and will do what's necessary to set you up for success before, during, and after the program. 

    I can’t say enough good things about Codesmith. If you have the opportunity to enroll, then I suggest you take it!

  • greg shamalta  User Photo
    greg shamalta • Lead Frontend Engineer • Graduate Verified via LinkedIn
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    Overall a great experience. I had previously taken another boot camp which wasn't as immersive or as in depth. This program pretty much felt like part 102 to their 101. It is a lifestyle for those 3 months. It is high demand but comes with a great return if you dedicate yourself to it. Prep is big, the testing to get accepted is very stringent but the more you can cover before going in the more you will take out when you walk away. This is due to the massive amount of material you go over while you are there. I would recommend it to my closest friends and have... 

  • Marlon Wiprud  User Photo
    Marlon Wiprud • Graduate Verified via LinkedIn
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    As a recent Codesmith graduate, I can say with certainty that spending the past 3 months in the challenging, immersive, and transfomative process that Codesmith provides was one of the best decisions I have ever made, both for my personal growth as well as my career. They have a meticoulously crafted program that continously iterates upon itself to make improvements with every new cohort. The staff truly care about the success and well-being of every resident, and do everything in their power to help you get the absolute most of the program that you possibly can.

    The instruction is one of a kind, and ensures that you understand concepts that will bring you to a new level of software engineering. Codesmith, like other great programs, will teach you javascript fundamentals and modern frameworks that are commonly used in top companies. But the truly unique trait  that I believe is the most important aspect one can gain from the 3-month experience, is building the mental framework for continous technical progression as an engineer. By the end of the program, you will find yourself diving into new technologies with enthusiasm that may have seemed out of your technical depth only a short time ago. This would not be possible without the culture that is fostered by the Codesmith community, which encourages you to push yourself every day and supports you through the ups and downs of an intense learning process.

    The application process is not easy. I personally had to spend a lot of time studying, and interviewed multiple times in order to get accepted to the program. If you see this as daunting, I would lend you the perspective that this ensures that once admitted, you will be surrounded by a group of dedicated, hard-working individuals who are commited to the success of the group and themselves.

    All-in-all, Codesmith was an amazing experience and I could not recommend it enough to anyone who is considering attending an immersive program.

     

  • Hari  User Photo
    Hari • Graduate Verified via GitHub
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    While I was searching for the best software engineer residency program, Codesmith’s JS Hard Parts caught my attention.
     
    Their hardparts lecture was an eye opening experience overall due to their simple and organized explanations.
    I finally understood the “Why” and the “How” behind my code and was able to implement them throughout my algorithm problems using technical communication.
     
    It was all or none. Either I wanted to be a software engineer and live my dream or continue my job that I didn’t have any passion for... 
     
    I made a quick decision to quit my job and dedicated the next 6 months to solely focus on building my future and career (3 months to study and pass Codesmith's interview and the other 3 months to face the immersive 12-week program at Codesmith).
     
    Since day one of Codesmith immersive program until now, I have not once regretted my choice, but rather thought this was the best decision that I made in my life.
     
    Yes, it was extremely long and painful hours that I invested at Codesmith— Waking up at 6am and arriving back home at midnight for 6 days in a week was intense. However, all the hard work and effort that I put in was for ME. It’s the best present I could give myself, and accomplishing these goals that I set has been the most rewarding moment. I wanted change. I wanted challenge. I needed my innerself to be uncomfortable so that I could grow as a developer and as a person.
     
    Codesmith support is there 100% of the time. You have to ask and seek for this.
    As cliche as it may sound, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.
    I used the Codesmith facility as if it was my house. I asked the fellows and the lead technical mentor for help and support.
     
    Codesmith has a system in place. Believe in the system and put your 100% into the program.
    Just warning you… you will feel overwhelmed and bombarded with loads of materials.  This is the way to learn.
    The whole 12-week program is planned out. You have to go through the struggle and pain to grow and become an engineer who can debug, code review, and listen to peers to code efficiently. Once you know how to enjoy the emotional rollercoaster, you will be successful.
     
    There is no guarantee in anything in life. However, I can guarantee that you will receive the best support even after the cohort is finished. Coming out of Codesmith, I got a job offer in a mere one month after completing the program. Within that one month, I scheduled multiple mock interview sessions with the lead technical mentor (Sam Goldberg, thank you Sam!!! ).
     
    I cannot thank Codesmith enough for believing in me and always reminding me that it is possible. I overcame countless instances of imposter syndrome to become an optimistic and self-rewarding person.
     
    All in all, Codesmith is the best program in all aspects: system, community, and after-support. 
  • Lee Rogers  User Photo
    Lee Rogers • Graduate Verified via GitHub
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    I had a very good experience at Codesmith. There were a few areas where I personally saw some room for improvement, which I will discuss below, but overall it's certainly an excellent program. Here are my thoughts on its strengths as well as just some things to be aware of as you decide if CS is right for you.
     
    First off, the culture at CS is amazing. Everyone is super friendly and supportive of each other as they go through this sometimes stressful/intense learning process. While I feel lucky to have worked with such a great group of people at CS I also know it wasn't luck: CS takes an active role in shaping the culture, carefully choosing who to admit and then setting expectations about being empathetic and putting others before yourself. From there it takes on a life of its own, as the positive energy creates more positive energy. You will work many long, difficult hours at CS, but it won't really feel that way because it's such a supportive, fun environment to be in. The importance of this cannot be overstated.
     
    The other remarkable thing about CS, and this actually encompasses a range of topics, is how great it is at dealing with all the intangibles around coding and finding work. It's about turning you into a software engineer, which means shaping who you are as a person. They help you manage 'imposter syndrome,' while learning to accept and embrace the struggle that comes with working on difficult challenges. Beyond that they offer a lot of great advice on how to present yourself to maximize your odds of finding a good job, and what employers are actually looking for (as distinct from what they might say they are looking for), helping you to present yourself as that perfect 'fit.' There's a lot about managing people's perceptions... part of that is, frankly, helping you create the impression you have more experience/expertise than you actually have, without actually lying. If you wanted to be cynical you could call this deceitful... But let's be honest: this is the real world we live in. It's not fair, and people often make decisions for shallow, unconscious reasons. CS helps you find every possible way to prime employers' expectations to see you in a certain light and tip the odds of success in your favor.
     
    As we learned these psychological tricks I couldn't help but consider how the CS program was also trying to shape our own perceptions as students. They try to make you feel that upon leaving CS you are now ready for top-level coding jobs... somewhat regardless of where you may actually be in terms of your skill/knowledge level. I think the thinking behind this is that employers are hiring people based on subtle cues that they pick up from the applicant, and that if you are confident in your abilities they will pick up on that and will be more likely to hire you.  (And after that, you'll figure it out... It's what you did at CS after all.)  For this reason it's important that you see yourself as an advanced level engineer, and truly believe it. If you believe it, it will become true. Indeed every step of your journey at CS is about convincing you to believe in your own abilities.  
     
    Codesmith has a very specific teaching style, which they use in a sort of one-size-fits-all kind of way... Essentially they don't really 'teach' at all, but rather have you figure it out yourself. They feel strongly it's the only way to really learn this stuff. During the first part of the program there are lectures to provide a super high level overview of material (for example, the purpose of a framework) without getting into any actual specifics about the code. You are paired with someone to work on a related challenge and the two of you basically try to figure it out together.  This often involves using online tutorials or Youtube videos or whatever to try to figure out what's going on. In that sense you might think, "well this is what I was already doing before I came to CS!" 
     
    There are a few important differences though: You will work way harder than you would on your own, and you will be working alongside a great group of students in the same boat, all helping each other. Certainly no 'meetup' could substitute for the community of learners you'll find yourself working with at CS. So it's more that CS is providing an optimal environment for learning than it is that they're teaching you, per se. The students who figure things out first often end up showing the others what to do, so actually it is your classmates that do most of the 'teaching' in that regard... I think those students probably get the most out of the program, as teaching others is the best way to solidify one's own understanding. 
     
    It's worth noting that Codesmith is really not at all like the Hard Parts lectures. Those involve getting into the nitty-gritty of javascript, with the teacher typically asking lots of questions to students, really keeping you on your toes and making sure you're following along. (Will Sentance, the co-founder of CS, is particularly great at this) When I did the Hard Parts I thought "Aha! This is exactly what I need!" In the program itself, however, teachers don't really call on students much or get into many details.  It's more: here's a slide show for a high level overview... now go figure it out. One advantage of this is it's how the real world is: no one will be holding your hand. If you can do it here, you will be able to do it out there as well. But it can also be frustrating, especially if you were expecting to be taught how to code.
     
    Having worked as an educator, the traditional conception of education has three basic steps: the teacher shows students how to do something, the teacher assists as students try it themselves, and finally the teacher has students do it all on their own without help. (aka "gradual release of responsibility")  Udemy classes and other online tutorials typically don't get past step one, which is a major limitation on their effectiveness.  Codesmith, on the other hand, pretty much just skips straight to step three. It's basically a "sink or swim" approach.
     
    They emphasize that if you are struggling that is itself a success: You are training yourself to keep trying and not give up even when you feel stuck. ("Building that muscle") And I think there's something to that: Surely a big part of what employers are looking for is people with the patience, persistence and determination to work through difficult challenges. It can be frustrating though when you feel lost, because no one's going to really make sure you're getting it. Personally I found myself struggling a lot. 
     
    During the first part of the program Mondays start with an assessment that tests your understanding of the previous week's material, which you will then hear back about on Saturday. If you did not do well someone will go over the assessment with you before you leave for your (one day) weekend. Those one-on-one sessions can be very helpful... I would actually say those were some of the most productive times for me at CS in terms of furthering my learning. I do wish they had occurred in a more timely manner though.
     
    The latter portion of the program is basically all group work on projects. If you know enough to be able to contribute you can learn a lot because it's real coding, and the things you learn along the way, as you hit blocks and work through them, will likely stick. Personally I think I would have benefited more from more structured lessons, along the lines of Hard Parts, that drilled in all the basic skills until they're second nature, with such lessons gradually giving way to more independent work... rather than just being set loose on these big projects. "Rote learning" is not sexy by any means, but I actually felt CS could have used some of it.  There's just a lot of vocabulary and syntax you need to know. It seems like a 'boot camp' environment would be the ideal environment to really drill that stuff in.
     
    The CS curriculum provides a brief introduction to a number of coding areas, but they keep things moving along quickly. They want to get you working on the deep stuff that's going to look really impressive on your resume as soon as possible.  This points to an important distinction: the goal of CS is to not exactly to teach you how to code, but to help you land a great job. The two goals are of course related, but where they diverge CS is focused on the latter.  They want to help you come off as that 'rare unicorn' who has somehow taken to coding so naturally you could instantly move into working in super challenging areas. Employers will be so impressed at the challenges you've been pursuing that they will just assume you must also be solid on all the basics.  
     
    And, frankly, if you had to choose between being great at coding and having a great coding job, which would you choose? Probably the latter... the reason you want to be great at coding is probably so that you can get that great job. Well that's exactly what CS is going to help you do.  Along the way you will pick up some coding skills, but the idea is that once you get that great job you will essentially be able to figure out what you need to know on the job. This will be possible in part because you have confidence in your own ability to figure out whatever challenge is thrown at you. And in truth the coding skills required for success will constantly be changing as technology evolves anyway, so knowing particular skills is less important than having the confidence, patience and persistence to figure things out. So, the focus on just landing the job does make some sense.
     
    The mantra from CS instructors is 'trust the process,' basically implying 'we've got this figured out.' Along with that is the implication that the process only works if you 'trust' it... that is, you believe it will work. Apparently there was one cohort where one student felt strongly that Codesmith's approach to teaching was wrong and who managed to convince the rest of his cohort of this.  This cohort didn't get as much out of their time there and was then significantly less successful in finding work after graduation than other cohorts. I can believe it. So much of life is about attitude, beliefs, expectations, etc. So it makes sense that CS is very vigilant about keeping everyone onboard the program and clamping down on any sort of negativity or 'dissent.'  I think this is done with the best interest of students in mind. 
     
    Where it becomes a little tricky is if it doesn't allow for the curriculum or teaching methods to be questioned, thereby preventing improvements. I feel like more could be done to make sure everyone is progressing and to find ways to meet the needs of different types of learners. At no point, for example, do they ask students for feedback about how the program could be improved, which surprised me (also true for CS Prep, btw). I think they just don't want to encourage any negative thinking about the program, so that everyone will feel like they got the best possible education and therefore go into the job hunt with confidence. It's understandable, but I think they'd be able to make the program even better if they were soliciting constructive criticism to guide future iterations on the curriculum.
     
    Despite these concerns my experience at CS was overall very positive. Hopefully this provides a realistic sense of what Codesmith is all about to help you decide if it's right for you. While I heard other students privately raise some of the same issues I never once heard anyone say they regretted their decision to enroll. A number of people went so far as to describe it as a life-changing experience even. 
     
    Personally if I had to go back and decide whether to do it over again I think I would, BUT I would wait and spend more time studying before enrolling. I enrolled as someone without any computer science background, really only having done some Udemy classes, the Hard Parts lectures and CS Prep.  I knew the CSX material backwards and forwards and could write a 'reduce' function in my sleep, but I didn't know much beyond javascript. In retrospect I wish I had been more comfortable writing CRUD apps (if you don't know, look it up) before I got to CS, so I could spend less time learning the basics and more on the advanced features we were supposed to be working on. 
     
    As it was I spent a lot time during the day struggling with things far over my head, often feeling like I was spinning my wheels, while spending nights trying to catch up on the basics. I certainly learned WAY more than I would have just studying on my own for those 13 weeks. Coming out of it, though, I'm currently working on solidifying the skills I was introduced to at CS, that are listed on my resume, so that hopefully I will feel comfortable using/discussiong them in an interview situation. That's not exactly where I was hoping to be at this point, although I'm optimistic I will get where I need to be.
     
    I would especially recommend Codesmith to people who already have some computer science experience, whether from school or work. It is possible to come in relatively 'cold' and succeed (I saw people do it), but it's much harder. I would at least find out the frameworks/technologies/etc covered in the curriculum and try to do a Udemy class or something on each one before starting the program. You're going to be figuring most of it out yourself anyway, so might as well get a head start on that. 
     
    I am a very recent graduate and have yet to really begin my job search in earnest... So far the job search support does seem very good though. They definitely don't just forget about you after you're "done." If things go as they say to expect and I eventually land the kind of job they are saying we should be able to get, then by all means this program will have been worth every penny and more. Certainly many alums have done very well. 
     
    Overall, if you are looking to do a 'boot camp' style program (a term they don't actually use, btw) you should definitely consider Codesmith. It's not a boot camp in the sense that they're going to drill coding skills into you, but it is in the sense that it aims to shape you as a person, instilling you with confidence and a problem-solving mindset. They encourage you to think like a software engineer, and think of yourself as a software engineer... confident you can figure out whatever's thrown at you, because you've done it before. The idea is that if you can make that paradigm shift in your head, the rest (i.e. learning specific skills) will follow in due course.
     
    And in the process you will become part of a great community. It's a sometimes stressful, even grueling experience... but one that's also full of a lot of joy, camaraderie and discovery.  I know it's a time in my life that I will always remember fondly.
  • CS Prep Review
    - 1/31/2019
    Ray Yao  User Photo
    Ray Yao • Student Verified via GitHub
    Overall Experience:
    Curriculum:
    Instructors:
    Job Assistance:
    N/A

    I loved how detailed the course was in diagramming code. Seeing code diagrammed step-by-step really helped me understand the fundamentals of what was going on. I definitely could not have learned any of this myself.

Student Outcomes


87%
On-Time Graduation Rate
87%
In-Field Employed
$117,500
Median Salary

180 Day Employment Breakdown:

Full-time employee
87%
Full-time apprenticeship, internship or contract position
0%
Hired by school in-field
0%

Started a new company or venture after graduation
0%
Short-term contract or part-time position
0%
Hired by school out of field
0%
Out of field
0%

Still seeking a job
13%
Not still seeking a job
0%

Non reporting
0%

Salary Breakdown:

100% of job obtainers reported salaries.

Notes & Caveats:

We continue to be impressed by our grads as the majority (68%) accept offers of over $110k, ranking Codesmith LA the highest median starting salary for CIRR-member programs.

For transparency, here is the breakdown of our graduates earning over $110k from 7/01/2018 - 12/31/2018:
  • $110-120k: 17.9%
  • $120-130k: 16.1%
  • $130-140k: 14.3%
  • >$140k: 19.6%

Thanks!