In addition to its core curriculum, 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.
Graduates of Codesmith typically earn between $95k and $120k (average salary $103k), build projects that have been featured at Google I/O earning 20,000+ Github stars and are advised by top engineers from Netflix, Facebook, and Google. Graduates are transforming healthcare at Heal and Impact Health, mental health at UCLA, and drone technology at Airmap, while others work on large systems at the top technology companies in the country including Amazon, Microsoft, and LinkedIn.
Recent Codesmith News
- What is Machine Learning? A Primer with Codesmith
- Your 2017 #LearnToCode New Year’s Resolution
- Episode 8: October 2016 Coding Bootcamp News Roundup + Podcast
Recent Codesmith Reviews: Rating 4.97
Software Engineering Immersive Program
Application Deadline:October 6, 2017
- 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
Machine Learning Alumni Program
The Codesmith Machine Learning Alumni Program is an intensive part-time program for Codesmith Alumni focused on in-depth learning of the theory, algorithms, and libraries used by machine learning engineers in the field, with a focus on developing real-world machine learning portfolio projects. Topics include: Data visualization, Data introspection and manipulation techniques, Python data science libraries, Classification, Regression, and clustering machine learning algorithms, Artificial Neural Networks, and more. This program is currently only for Codesmith Alumni.
- Minimum Skill Level
- Completion of Codesmith Software Engineering Immersive
- Placement Test
- Prep Work
- Precourse covering Python and Introduction to Machine Learning
- Minimum Skill Level
- Beginner - Intermediate
New York City
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
91 reviews sorted by:
- Only Applicants, Students, and Graduates are permitted to leave reviews on Course Report.
- Post clear, valuable, and honest information that will be useful and informative to future coding bootcampers. Think about what your bootcamp excelled at and what might have been better.
- Be nice to others; don't attack others.
- Use good grammar and check your spelling.
- Don't post reviews on behalf of other students or impersonate any person, or falsely state or otherwise misrepresent your affiliation with a person or entity.
- Don't spam or post fake reviews intended to boost or lower ratings.
- Don't post or link to content that is sexually explicit.
- Don't post or link to content that is abusive or hateful or threatens or harasses others.
- Please do not submit duplicate or multiple reviews. These will be deleted. Email moderators to revise a review or click the link in the email you receive when submitting a review.
- Please note that we reserve the right to review and remove commentary that violates our policies.
I am a graduate of Codesmith’s 3rd cohort that ran from Oct 2015 - Jan 2016. I also worked as an engineering fellow after graduation until April 2016. As of May 2016, I’ll be employed with an e-commerce startup in Marina del Rey as a UI Engineer.
Going to a bootcamp was a huge decision for me and one that I spent a lot of time agonizing over. I knew that I wanted an advanced level program like Hack Reactor, but the catch was that I needed to stay in Los Angeles for financial and personal reasons.
When I attended my first JS The Hard Parts meetup at Codesmith, I was blown away. I had already made up my mind to attend another awesome full-time bootcamp in LA and was prepping for their interview in a couple weeks - Codesmith put a huge wrench in those plans. For one,
Will Sentance, the CTO, is an incredible teacher that makes complicated concepts accessible for people that are new to programming. Secondly, every student and person on staff that I spoke to was so down-to-earth and friendly that I immediately felt comfortable in this new environment.
Why did I choose Codesmith?
I was accepted into Codesmith and the other bootcamp in LA that I interviewed with. I received a partial scholarship to attend Codesmith, but I had already made up my mind either way.
Here were the deciding factors:
Rigorous curriculum and excellent instructors that would put me in the best possible position to get hired after graduation. I liked their emphasis on learning computer science fundamental and algorithms that not all the other programs were offering, and I knew that Will Sentance would be teaching a lot of these fundamental classes. Andy (aka the Code Whisperer) conducted a great admission interview - he challenged me to optimize my code and when I got stuck, he nudged me in the right direction. The interview itself revealed how challenging the coursework would be (a stark contrast to the other interview that I had).
Community and support - I felt like Codesmith saw potential in me that I couldn’t even see for myself at times. The staff was incredibly supportive, which revealed what I didn’t realize that I needed in a bootcamp - I wanted to learn in a caring, supportive environment. I could not imagine another bootcamp that could do this as well.
Did Codesmith meet my expectations?
Absolutely. I wanted a program that had a rigorous curriculum and I got it - more than what I could process at times (which was a good thing - though it was frustrating in the moment). The community and support that I received was amazing. I don’t know if I could’ve pushed through all the challenging times without it. When I needed someone to talk to, I could always find someone to empathize with my situation and help me move through it.
What can they improve on?
Communication and Organization - last minute schedule changes were frustrating at times. They did let us know that it was because they were constantly iterating on the program to improve our experience. From a student perspective though, it sometimes led to confusion - i.e. anticipating a lecture, but having it moved to the afternoon.
What exceeded my expectations?
How much they were paying attention to pair programming dynamics - i.e. people steamrolling or students shutting down. Unless you’ve been doing pair programming for more than 3 hours with someone, can you fully understand how important this is. When students consistently had a bad experience with someone during pair programming, they made sure to rectify the situation and help everyone grow and learn in the process. We all came out better communicators and team players because of this.
Hiring day was spectacular. I would’ve been perfectly happy with about 10 hiring partners given that our class size was on the smaller side, however, I was blown away when we had 25 companies in attendance: Whisper, Disney, Tool of NA, Black Tux… We all got in-person interviews after hiring day, which ultimately led to the full-time position that I’ll be starting soon.
Overall, it was an amazing experience. I could not have been as successful in my career transition without Codesmith. For a little taste of the culture and community, see my goodbye/thank you video to Codesmith. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xy74rtmI64Q
I am a recent graduate and current fellow at Codesmith. Deciding to attend Codesmith was one of the best, if not the best, decisions of my life! I went from knowing minimal jQuery programming to truly being able to build anything I can think of (seriously). Even though they focus on Node, React, Angular, Databases, JS Fundamentals etc., what they are really teaching you are the tools needed to go and learn any technology in an extremely efficient manner. For example, my group's final production project required Three.js and WebGL, technologies not specifically taught here. Thanks to the fundamentals, tools and ideas we gained in the first 7 weeks we were able to quickly get up to speed with those technologies and create an amazing project before our cohort ended. Also, the culture at Codesmith is second to none. Everyone is focused on helping each other and growing together, part of the reason you can learn so much here in such a short amount of time. The hours are long, the concepts aren't easy and your going to challenge yourself like you never have before. However, if you stick with it you'll be awesomely rewarded with these skills. Getting through to the project period and seeing what you can actually build is an extremely rewarding experience. If you get accepted to Codesmith, I highly recommend attending. You won’t regret it!
Back in January 2015 I decided to move from NYC to LA. I was a consultant for the world's largest technology consulting firm and really wasn't feeling it. After struggling to learn Web Dev on my own for the longest time, I decided to quit my six-figure job, move across the country and enroll in Codesmith. I was part of Cohort 3 running from Oct '15 to Jan '16.
Codesmith has transformed my career path in the course of 3 months. It is truly an immersive program, dedicated to teaching fullstack web development. The program is very challenging, in terms of pace and substance, which includes teaching fundamental computer science concepts, Angular and React frameworks, using Node to implement a backend, creating and managing a database, and much more. There is also quite a bit of support for graduates which consists of additional lectures on various topics and tons of job support. Codesmith has since become a second home for me, which can be accounted for by the special culture it engulfs you into.
Originally posted on Yelp : Link
I really encourage everyone to check out Codesmith. Whether you are looking for a program to learn software engineering or you are new and want to meet people who are just starting like yourself. Check it out, it's a great environment, and it is extremely friendly and welcoming.
This review was originally posted on Yelp, available here: Anshu S.'s review of Codesmith
If I had to choose a word to describe my experience at Codesmith it would be: transformative. I first heard about the program by reading the CTO, Will Sentance's answer to a question on Quora: quora.com/Are-there-any-…
A friend of mine from high school was interning with Codesmith for the summer and posted about their weekly "Build with Code" sessions which they host in Codesmith HQ Thursdays. I had no plans that day and decided to go, if nothing else but to support a fellow Falcon. I was treated to a lecture by Will on the fundamentals of web development and walked through a tutorial on incorporating video-chat to a web app using Icecomm. At the start of the lecture, Will asked us a series of questions to gauge our level of experience. The only one I got was "Do you know what a variable is?"
That was the extent of my programming knowledge when I started the 8-week academy at Codesmith in the summer of 2015. I am a political economy major at the University of Southern California and my only experience with programming had been a 2-unit Java course that I hastily withdrew from. By the end of Codesmith, however, I had developed a full-stack application that had been a dream of mine for years: an interactive tool for USC students to plan their curriculum over four years. See: class-map.herokuapp.com I also built a snake game, an integrated calendar-chat app, and an alarm-clock that posted messages to a Slack channel via web-hooks when you pressed Snooze.
In addition, Codesmith provides access to the industry through a series of guest lectures which are open to the public. I personally saw Tom Occhino, one of the lead React engineers at Facebook, speak and they recently hosted Netflix tech lead Jafar Husain. The team behind Codesmith is committed to helping every cohort achieve their career goals.
If you are still undecided, I would recommend going to one their weekly meetups and meeting the people behind Codesmith who are all extremely talented and approachable. It's a decision you won't regret, I guarantee it.
I was part of Codesmith's 2nd cohort that went from late June to the end of September in 2015. During that time I've met, worked with, and befriended several intelligent, hardworking, awesome people. I can honestly say that, having gone here, I've changed my life for the better.
I didn't have much of a coding background at all before coming here, but after my 3+ months at Codesmith I feel confident and happy in my abilities. Before applying, be aware that this is a VERY strenuous course; you will be here 60+ hours a week for 12 weeks learning exactly what you need to learn to build a strong foundation and break into the industry.
That being said, the staff is extremely compassionate and dedicated to the success of the students. If you have the passion and work ethic to push through the challenge, Codesmith can be a very rewarding experience.
If you aren't quite sure if Codesmith, or even becoming a software engineer is for you, then I highly recommend that you check out one of the many free Meetup events that Codesmith hosts:
Beginners and experienced coders are welcome to come learn and meet with the teachers and students.
In the Los Angeles area I really can't image that there is anywhere better to learn how to code. Codesmith is devoted to providing the best possible experience and supporting the growing community.
I had just graduated from college with a B.S. in computer science when I stumbled upon Codesmith. Looking to get some web development experience, I decided to take the course and am very happy I did so.
As many people will tell you, there is a gap between industry expectations and what you learn through computer science classes and projects. This is a gap that can be largely filled by experience, and Codesmith does just that. At Codesmith, you receive a balance of computer science fundamentals and practical skills. Among other things, you will become intimately familiar with data structures, basic algorithms (sorting and path-finding) and Big O analysis. You will use what you learn in development so that you have practical skills to accompany the theory.
The web-development curriculum provides excellent exposure to full stack web development. At Codesmith you will learn many things the hard way first, for example, learning to use Node to set up servers without any frameworks before learning to use Express or Hapi. This will give you a deeper understanding of both what’s going on underneath the hood, and in the bigger picture of your application.
One of my favorite things about Codesmith is that they value holistic growth, meaning you won’t just be taught to be a developer who can create websites with ready-made tools. You will be encouraged to become an engineer, who can architect systems beyond websites, and to modify or create your own tools as you see fit. You won’t just be an engineer with team experience. You will be encouraged to lead through empathy, and follow industry workflow with version control and testing. Additionally, Codesmith holds “tutorials” where you will have moderated discussions on tech. One of my favorite discussions was on Client side vs Server side rendering. You will be encouraged to form a strong understanding of whatever technologies you’ve been exposed to so that you can communicate your thoughts coherently to laymen, as well as anyone else in the industry.
It does take commitment and hard work on your part, but if you want to be a full-stack developer and like what you have heard so far, I recommend checking out Codesmith to find out more.
I am a recent graduate of Codesmith, and it was an incredibly rewarding experience. I came to Codesmith looking to make a career change, and the experience was way more than I expected.
Beyond the coding - there is an incredible community at Codesmith. Guest speakers from major companies like Facebook, Netflix, NFL.com and NPM just to name a few were great additions. Most importantly, the friends you make, and relationships you build are amazing. The engineers/instructors are genuinely invested in your development as an engineer and are always willing to go the extra mile to help you. If you want to learn something - they will help you get there!!
Learning by building is the approach at Codesmith, and it's effective. The first weeks of the program cover computer science fundamentals like algorithms, data structures, APIs, and databases, but they are taught via coding challenges and mini projects that merge theory with real world application. Some topics come more easily than others, and some days require an inhumane volume of coffee to finally debug an application, but the rate of concentrated learning is unlike anything I've ever experienced before. The remainder of the program is dedicated to working in teams on group projects. The Codesmith engineers kick off each day with hack hours as well which help you continually hone your coding chops.
The building is spacious and crackling with a palpable feeling of enthusiasm and hard work. Everyone is there to help, and you can feel it. I highly recommend the Codesmith program.
Currently, there are only a few bootcamps located in Los Angeles. I have attended meetups and online questionnaires at a few of them e.g MakerSquare, General Assembly, and Codesmith. My favorite of all is Codesmith for the following reasons...
BTW, if you don't want to read this article, you can watch a video summary below... :)
They also teach you how to think like an engineer, and give you that mindset so that you can invent and build the projects that you want to.
There are 3 key components that adhere to Codesmith. They are Community, Curriculum, and Passion. Now these aren’t necessarily mantras of Codesmith themselves, rather what I have noticed in attendance of their meetups, and this is one of the reasons that I am fascinated by being there and around that energy. Which in turn, leads me to the first component...
Talking of energy, It’s probably safe to say that it is highly unfathomable to know what it must have been like being around in the beginning of Apple, or Facebook, or any other major company that started similarly, but the feeling that I get being around Codesmith is what I would imagine that experience to be.
- The people! Everyone is so nice and welcoming. They make you really feel like you are a part of the family.
- The Environment! The building is like a spaceship. It’s really cool! When you get off of the elevator you are met by these multicolored, fluorescent lights that resemble something from the future. The whole area is one large circle with several nooks and cranny’s for you to explore. The views are also great. There are balconies with a panoramic view of water and a large portion of Silicon Beach.
This is one of the things that sets Codesmith apart from everyone else in the software education realm. Also what places them at the forefront of technology because they are using what is now on the forefront of technology. The core of their Front-End curriculum is with React.js. WHAT???
- Distributed Systems and Some Machine Learning! Seriously, it couldn’t be better. These are the things that are powering the technology around us all today, including, but not limited to Gmail, iCloud and Google knowing what you want to search before you finish typing. No one is teaching these things in any bootcamp or program currently.
Here is a photo of the curriculum for a more in depth view:
One of the most important features of Codesmith and everyone there is that they are endlessly passionate about what they are doing. It’s highly evident in everything that they do. They actually want to help everyone bring their dreams to fruition, to build the projects and companies that they envision, and change the world for the better. This fact is something that I cannot stress enough. I only mention this because I have been to some of the meetups at other places like MakerSquare and I cannot say the same things. I really can’t even say anything remotely close, and I don’t want to go into a barrage of Makersquare or anything like that. This was simply my experience and mine alone, but it was quite uncomfortable. When I walked in everyone just kind of had an attitude and they weren’t welcoming. Everything seemed fabricated. You could tell that at the end of the day this place is just a business and they seem to only care about one thing: money. That is not an environment that I welcome, nor should anyone else. With Codesmith it’s different, not just for the aforementioned reasons alone, but also I am beyond enamored with the devotion of everyone involved. It’s a really special place and I suggest that everyone experience it for themselves.
Build With Code
After the lecture, you are split up to pair program. I know you may be thinking... "I don’t want to pair program! I won't go just because of that," but It really is great! Not only can you possibly make a new friend, but you also get the chance to see how other people think, and how they arrive at a solution. That is invaluable in itself because it can help you approach a problem differently one day. When you are pair programming the EIR’s (Engineers in Residence) come in and walk around to offer their assistance to anyone if they get stuck and also to answer any other questions you may have. These guys are really great. Super friendly and helpful. Will then wraps up with a summary to help solidify all that you have learned and then you can wander around the facilities, grab some drinks and food, and hang out and talk with everyone there. If you don’t want to do any of that, you don’t have to, but I can’t recommend that you should enough.
I hope that I am able to clear a few things up for anyone, and if not you can message me or get in touch and I will gladly answer any questions about my experience. If I can’t answer those questions Joseph at Codesmith is also a really great guy and he will be glad to help you. Below are some links to where you can find information on the topics I covered here in the postings...
- Build With Code - Los Angeles
- React Native | A framework for building native apps using React
It's tough for me to write this because it almost sounds contrived, but I love Codesmith most because, it's become my home.
I am currently enrolled in Codesmith's 12-week immersive program. We have just finished week 4 and I am excited to get started on the project portion in just 2 more short weeks. I can't say enough good things about this place. The community is the kind where we spend Sunday together even though it's not part of the program. The people are amazing, passionate and incredibly smart. I haven't felt this happy, excited and welcomed in years.
It's tough to recognize the progress you're making while immersed in the program because you're comparing where you are today to where you were yesterday. Fortunately, every now and then you get a reminder of just how far you've come. The most recent moment for me was just after presenting my first full-stack project when a student in the junior cohort asked me to help him with understanding hash functions.
Before entering codesmith I was barely understanding closures and callbacks and I didn't even know what a hash function was or what it could be used for. Now I'm deploying a full stack application to Heroku and using a hash function in conjunction with a database to implement my own authentication! It's an amazing feeling!
In short, I love this place. I'm learning a ton and If you're serious about becoming a full-stack engineer, apply today!
A deeper dive on the experience here:
Things I love about the program:
The community here is amazing. Everybody is super friendly, hard-working and always willing to help you understand a concept.
The instructors here are top notch. Will Sentance, the CTO teaches a bunch of the tough concept lectures. I don't know if it's his british accent or friendly demeanor, but I find him incredibly easy to learn from. Even with my ADD, he keeps my attention and his explanations are really really clear.
The pace I'm learning
When you start the course there is a large disparity in the knowledge between students with a computer science background and those without. Coming from economics and business, I was really far behind! After the first few weeks, however, the disparity is much smaller and you start learning things like React and Angular - topics that nobody has seen yet. Although I don't expect to understand computer science theory as well as some of my fellow students, I'm just as good as them at building apps!
Thursday night happy hours
This is an incredibly hard program. Everybody here is really driven to succeed. People stay late every night to finish their projects or study up on concepts they're struggling with, but on Thursday nights we party... It's awesome.
Things I get frustrated with:
Workload is very heavy
I understand why the workload is so heavy. We're going from 20% to a full-stack engineer in twelve weeks. There really isn't an easy way to do this.
Hours are really long
We work 12 hours a day, minimum. My typical day starts at 8:55 AM and ends around 10 PM. Again, I understand this is necessary, but I do miss free time.
Things I have a love-hate relationship with:
If you haven't pair programmed yet, you should. Find a friend who is about the same level of programming as you and pair! There is more to it than this, but essentially you don't touch the keyboard ("navigator") and they take directions from you ("driver"). After twenty minutes, switch roles. This is likely going to be an incredibly frustrating experience for both parties. However, it is absolutely the best way to accelerate your learning. I love learning quickly, but in the moment I get frustrated because I just want the answer!
The Socratic method of teaching
The Socratic method of teaching essentially boils down to this: the instructor does not give answers they just ask you questions to guide you to the right answer. This is super effective because it forces you to make the connection yourself. Pretty much all law schools teach this way as well as Harvard, Darden, and Tuck Business Schools.
The most intense part about the program, IMO, is the brainstorming week to come up with ideas for our senior project. This segment exposes us to vast amount of web technologies and trends. This gave us perspective on how big the web dev ecosystem is and what's possible.
Overall, I like the method and approach Codesmith is using, it trains people to be autonomous problem solving engineers, a skill employers value greatly.
I made a huge gamble to choose Codesmith over other coding programs in the Bay Area. Roughly 9 months later after "graduating", I'm in massive and crippling debt with very little to show for it. My portfolio can't even make it past any recruiter. I'm no longer even looking for a developer job and I'm working minimum wage to make ends meet.
The curriculum may have changed since I finished but at the time Redux was not taught; you absolutely can not call yourself a React developer unless you know either Redux or Flux architecture.
The little interview practice we had was not helpful because we gave it to eachother. How are we supposed to know what to ask for and what to avoid if we've never interviewed and hired actual candidates?
I'm in the Bay Area; companies, start-ups don't care about Codesmith and there is a non-existant network here. Will told me that 25% of hiring partners were from the Bay Area but they all seemed to have failed to show up for my hiring day. That career network and React was why I decided to study at Codesmith.
However, it took nagging and months until I was finally connected to 3 companies; 1 of which never called despite organizing a meeting and the other required that I have experience in RoR while keeping me on a thread for nearly 2 months.
I don't even qualify for Internships or jr. positions apparently and most of the advice I was given did not help me; in fact, it seemed to have done more harm than good because nearly all recruiters found my resume misleading and so I never made it past that round. Again, we were providing resume feedback to eachother and received little professional resume tailoring.
I think I actually only had 4 technical phone screens and 1 on-site in my entire search.
Take it with a grain of salt when you hear success stories of people who graduated from here. It's a good program only if you're looking to relocate to LA where the bar is significantly lower.
Response From: Will Sentance of Codesmith
Keep up the hard work and I’m looking forward to hearing back from you to my email
Our latest on Codesmith
Everyone seems to be talking about Machine Learning. But what is Machine Learning, and do you really need a PhD in Math to master it? LA coding bootcamp Codesmith has recently added a machine learning unit to their core program, and will soon launch an entire Machine Learning Bootcamp. We asked Codesmith’s Director of Machine Learning, Weylin Wagnon, where to spot machine learning in everyday products, why knowledge of machine learning is useful for software developers, and what the job market is like for developers with machine learning skills.
- Machine learning is a subset of AI, where a computer uses data and previous experiences to predict outcomes
- Machine learning tasks include those which used to be done by humans such as fraud prediction and ad placement
- Any task that is currently tedious for humans but still requires some creative decision-making is a target for machine learning software.
- Codesmith is teaching machine learning with a code-first attitude, by introducing the concept to students as a new tool and a new library
- Software engineers who know how to interact with machine learning systems are future-proofing their skills
What’s your experience in machine learning?
I run a cryptocurrency mining farm, where we manage mining for our clients who want to invest in cryptocurrency. It’s very complicated to set up and do at scale, so we streamline the machine learning process.
What is machine learning?
In general, Machine Learning is equal parts math, statistics, computer science, and voodoo. Machine learning is very different from the traditional software engineering or programming paradigm. In computer science, you provide a set of rules and input data to make some kind of output. In machine learning, you switch that around. You input data and input the answer you want to see, and the machine figures out the rules required to get that answer. It is a little bit magical, it’s pretty challenging, but with a clear approach to understanding machine learning, it is possible to do extraordinary things with these tools.
How is machine learning different from artificial intelligence?
The standard general purpose computer is not intelligent. Artificial intelligence gives the machine some automated behavior that we consider “smart.” Machine learning is a subset of Artificial Intelligence and requires learning from previous data. As humans, we use our previous memories to influence our future behavior; machines can learn from previous data to do the same thing. Overall, AI doesn’t imply data alone, whereas machine learning is all about data.
Where do we see Machine Learning in the real world? Can you give us some examples?
Anything that is currently tedious to do for people but requires some kind of creative decision making is a target for machine learning software. Most of the cutting edge machine learning projects are coming from large companies that have huge data sets. For example:
- Google Photos and Apple Photos dynamically identifying faces in pictures and auto-tagging people.
- Shazam, which identifies songs, has been greatly enhanced through machine learning.
- Speech systems like Siri, Google Home, and Alexa, are all good examples of machine learning ability.
- Fraud reporting, which used to be done by humans perusing financial records, but is now accomplished with algorithms.
- Some core business uses have been around for a while – 10 years ago, machine learning was used to predict which advertisement a user would click on, and we still use advanced neural networks for the same task today.
How can machine learning be useful for a software developer?
Machine learning exists in an application ecosystem (like an API). So even if a developer doesn’t want to touch the whole backend of an application, they are still going to have to interact with some of these systems. Having at least an understanding of the concepts behind machine learning can be valuable in the long run when designing systems.
Any exposure to machine learning is a really good mark on your resume. Having interacted with such machine intelligence systems shows that you have a strong competency with current and future technologies.
Why has Codesmith decided to add Machine Learning to the curriculum?
Google I/O’s last conference (and every main stage) was fully focused on AI and machine learning at all times – it’s a significant trend.
You need to be able to work with large amounts of data, be a smart programmer, understand neural networks, and have machine learning skills if you want to build the next generation of tech products. And if you don’t, you’ll be left behind over the next 10 to 15 years. It’s hard to observe the future of jobs and not be scared of how machine learning is taking over; I think the best way to stem that tide is to get into the field yourself.
Tell us about the new machine learning unit at Codesmith and how you came up with the course.
We are now offering an entire unit within Codesmith’s core software engineering residency, plus a six-week stand-alone course for alumni and experienced coders. I just finished teaching the unit. It’s not a complete course, but it does give students all the tools they need to go forward in machine learning. We ran a beta-version of our six-week course for alumni, got a lot of feedback, and are iterating right now for our public course. It’s exciting to push software engineers on the right path. Machine learning is something that will be hard to avoid in the future so it’s really valuable to get into the space right now.
I spent a long time researching before writing the curriculum. I paired up with Kush Kumar, part of the USC Machine Learning Department, who is a stellar expert in the field. Combining his expertise with my teaching background, we forged the content together.
Can you really teach machine learning at a coding bootcamp? How do you fit such a vast topic into a short course?
We teach machine learning in the last quarter at Codesmith, so that students have the most experience and can gain the most from it. As we go through Codesmith, the pace of students’ comprehension accelerates, so they get used to picking up new information fast.
The core Codesmith unit is focused on teaching students about general machine learning ideas, providing a framework to think about machine learning, and defining terms that we’ll see a lot. We are focused on coding best practices first. Then, we’re fitting machine learning into the curriculum as a new tool and a new library, and not as a fundamentally alien concept.
We do a deep dive into re-engineering some machine learning algorithms so we can see it’s not just magic. But on this level, you don’t have to engineer everything yourself. We teach libraries like Pandas to enact a lot of complex behavior very quickly. The program is mainly project focused as we go through, and we also practice pair programming.
Students also learn some DevOps, neural networks, and Tensorflow. By the end of the unit, they’ll have covered the vast majority of the machine learning field and will be able to autonomously create projects.
What is the job demand like for machine learning skills?
In LA, job listings mentioning machine learning often offer salaries 10% to 30% higher than regular software engineering roles. The goal of our program is not to produce data scientists, data analysts, or data engineers – we’re aiming to graduate engineers who can build advanced programming products and meet the needs of a “machine learning software engineer” job listing. Companies are getting very competitive as the demand for machine learning engineers grows faster than the supply. The main source of machine learning talent comes from master’s degree or PhD programs, so it’s a challenge for companies to find enough engineers to rapidly prototype machine learning products. In addition to being in great demand, machine learning skills are a great accent to any software engineering role.
Is there anything you’ve had to leave out of the Codesmith machine learning curriculum?
We don’t cover neural network libraries in our Codesmith unit, but we can provide resources for students who are interested in learning more, and we highly encourage alumni to take the full machine learning course.
We always hear that you don’t have to be a math whiz to be a good programmer, but do you need math skills to do machine learning?
In the machine learning unit, we don’t focus a lot on math. People get the idea that machine learning is only about math because of Andrew Ng’s popular Machine Learning course from Stanford, which is all focused on the calculus derivation of different algorithms, and how to implement them. But that knowledge is not required to build machine learning projects – most of it is already wrapped up in libraries. So your math ability doesn’t impact your ability to implement machine learning systems.
However, at some point in your career, you may want to develop new machine learning processes, and then that math and algorithms research will help you. But in general, it’s not as big of a requirement as people think.
What’s an example of the sort of machine learning projects that students would work on at Codesmith?
At Codesmith, we mainly focus on portfolio projects. Having a significant portfolio of work is so important to getting hired in machine learning. Students work on projects which involve making graphs that convey information, getting insights from data, and then presenting the insights in a way that’s understandable for less technical people.
Who is teaching this new unit? How will you train your instructors to teach this new machine learning unit? Or will you hire new instructors?
So far I’ve been the sole instructor along with our advisory member Kushaan. I am hoping to continue contributing as long as I am able, plus we have some super talented engineers who have been studying machine learning on their own and have attended all of our machine learning courses. We like to take a multifaceted approach – we have really talented teachers, engineers, and people with math backgrounds, and it’s through all of us working together that we can make it work. It’s a community approach.
How often does the Codesmith team update or add new units to the curriculum like this?
We reevaluate the curriculum after every graduating class and talk about whether topics are still relevant, and whether we can improve. We add content often, like new lectures, or individual focuses, but rarely whole units. So this is exciting!
Can students in both LA and NYC campuses learn machine learning?
So far, we’ve only taught machine learning at the LA campus. Our first NYC cohort starts in two weeks, and we hope to also offer machine learning there eventually. Stay tuned for our separate machine learning course, which we are hoping to launch in the near future.
Are there resources or meetups you recommend for machine learning beginners?
The best machine learning resource for beginners is a YouTube channel called Welch Labs. He’s a fantastic teacher and makes the subject really dynamic. You can learn about the field and the core concepts behind it, without requiring advanced math.
There are also plenty of online courses and interactive online portals. I don’t particularly like those, but some people benefit from them as an introduction to concepts. Those online courses can make you feel like you’ve accomplished and learned a lot, but you have no autonomy, and having to define a task for yourself afterward can be really challenging. I think an interactive course where you build projects is the best option.
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 →