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.
Recent Codesmith Reviews: Rating 4.87
Recent Codesmith News
- Increasing the Visibility of Women in Tech after Codesmith
- What is AWS? A Guide to Amazon Web Services for Beginners
- New Year, New Career? Learning to Code in 2019!
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OnlinePart Time6 Hours/week2 Weeks
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More Start DatesAugust 10, 2019 - OnlineApply by July 31, 2019September 7, 2019 - OnlineApply by August 28, 2019October 5, 2019 - OnlineApply by September 25, 2019November 2, 2019 - OnlineApply by October 23, 2019November 2, 2019 - OnlineApply by October 23, 2019
In PersonFull Time60 Hours/week12 Weeks
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I'll keep it short since I can't say much more than the other reviewers have already said:
Codesmith was the right decision for me. I graduated with a Math/CS degree and was unsure about whether any of these coiding programs would be useful for me, but I eventually decided on attending Codesmith and I'm so glad I did! The vibe and energy from the people there was always positive, always friendly, and always collaborative. I was free to ask for help and work with others on what I had trouble with and at the same time other could always come to me with their questions as well. And that was important because the program was dense and without that kind of community, I couldn't learned what I did, and I wouldn't have been able to built what I did. It felt like we were all in this together and trying to raise each other up to become the best engineers possible.
My experience in the program was incredibly valuable and I would choose to do it again in a heartbeat!
When I joined Codesmith, I was a cs grad trying to reach for roles that are typically not possible to attain by people who are fresh out of college. I wanted to have the skills and the confidence to be taken seriously when applying for positions that aren't just entry level software engineering roles. I am passionate about engineering and knew that I could do better than performing mindless bug fixes and task/maintanence level engineering. I wanted to build new systems and apply cutting edge technology to real world applications.
The community aspect of Codesmith is one of the biggest contributors to the success of all the students that go through the program. You will be surrounded by highly motivated people and learn how to work in teams, mentor others, and work through difficult and interesting challenges together (just like in a real world environment!). AND you make a bunch of really cool friends throughout the program and beyond!
I have to say Codesmith helped me attain all the things I wanted in my career as a Software Engineer. The skills they teach allows you to be able to reach for higher roles solving actually interesting problems as well as have people take you more seriously as an engineer. You get to learn how to learn, how to design solid systems by building, pick up popularly used technologies, and create real projects. There are also various levels of soft skills that you will inadvertently pick up as well as lots of tools for doing well in interviews.
Coming out of Codesmith, in the interview process, I felt that I was taken more seriously than before. Interviewers got excited when I talked about the projects that I created at CodeSmith, especially the senior project that we built as a team (a realtime subscription system for GraphQL before it was even implemented officially in the GraphQL specification and before Apollo released such functionality!). Most of the offers I recieved after the program were well within and above the range of salaries offered to most Codesmith students.
One year later, I am confident in saying that I was able to apply pretty much everything I learned at Codesmith to excel and make a solid impact here at the company I currently work at. I have been an integral part of designing and creating several new backend systems, migrating our backend to microservices, developing an in house branded UI Component library using all the latest and greatest React tooling, and building lots of new features in our product.
Was it worth it? Hell yeah it was worth it! and it was LOADS of fun! It is important that you take this time to work hard and make the most of the experience. It's not magic where you just go through the program and you come out it being able to be treated like a senior engineer. Work hard, get sleep, eat well, read lots, and dive deep into the topics that you learn (and the topics you don't learn!). If you take the time to make the most out of your Codesmith experience, you will come out of it surprising EVERYONE you talk to. I was really inspired by the growth of all my peers at Codesmith who came from non-technical backgrounds. They worked hard, grew to be excellent engineers, and many of them are making waves at the places the landed afterwards.
Enrolling in Codesmith is one of the best investments I’ve made. I had some tech experience, but wanted to make a hard turn into software development. I didn’t want to spend a year in self-study or take a junior position where I wasn’t challenged to grow beyond my limits. This program challenged my limits everyday for three months and grew my knowledge and skill to the level I needed to pursue and make that hard turn into software development.
I came to Codesmith after several stints of personal projects and self-study. A night of self-study might have included me crouching over a computer in my living room for a few hours trying to get a web server to accept requests while pretending to watch the Bachelor with my girlfriend. The first successful response would lead to an audible, “Yes!,“ at which point I’d feel a sense of a accomplishment, shut the laptop as if it were an interruption to normal life, and get back to the Bachelor (don’t judge). Stack overflow articles and trial/error would have given me a concept of what was going on under the hood, but a lot of the learning actually comes after hacking together a solution. For three months Codesmith takes over your life. There are no interruptions to learning how to code - getting to the audible ‘Yes!’ becomes the first step of solving a problem instead of the last. Instead of closing the laptop, you take it with you to the classroom and start connecting the dots of why it worked like it did and digging deeper into the underlying architecture so the next project you’re focused on optimization as opposed to just getting something working.
The program is structured from a day-to-day perspective but retains a loose and agile feel to it - include its immersive aspect and you’re forced to make the program your own. Instead of simply experiencing a curriculum, you become part of the curriculum - on any given day you can be the student, the teacher, or even the intangible glue that holds your cohort together in times of stress. Looking back at the experience, this was incredibly motivating and helped drive everyone to keep their endurance and tenacity at the crazy levels needed to conquer each day’s/week’s goals. The Codesmith staff also did a great job of bringing the experience of many previous cohorts to bear in helping students navigate problem areas.
I’ll end the review like I started it - Codesmith is a great investment in yourself. That said, it’s not for the faint of heart. This investment is not only tuition and time but also the energy and dedication put into it. The program gives you all the tools and support to succeed - and really pushes you to make the most out of it. If you have a natural curiosity and urge to learn and legitimately give it 110%, you’ll grow enormously.
Initially, I was pretty skeptical - how could I learn the skills required to change careers in only a few months? Two weeks after my cohort finished, I had signed a six figure job offer, and within my first week I felt confident about the code I contributed to the team.
At Codesmith, you're surrounded by highly motivated people, and that environment encourages growth, exploration, and learning. You'll quickly become used to the minimum 12 hour days, but also find yourself frequently working even longer. The curriculum is modern, and is frequently being updated to cover the latest frameworks and libraries.
The Codesmith team works very hard to motivate and encourage you to work as hard as you can. This is especially true during the project phase, when they set strict stanardards for building a high quality open source project. To me, this is one of the key areas that makes Codesmith stand out from the rest- it encourages you to go deep into unique programming concepts and features, giving you the confidence to speak to these in depth during interviews.
Additionally, the team also works very hard with everyone to help you build a great resume to make you stand out, prepares you for the tech interview process, and at negotiating your best offer.
My one complaint, is that (in my opinion) some of the material is not taught well. This was especially frustrating for me after going from a series of very high quality lectures to some very poor ones- however, you quickly discover the real learning is not from the instructors or the lecture material, but from learning how to learn on your own and in the small groups you work in.
A large portion of Codesmith is focused around pair programming, which really teaches you visualize a problem before you blindly start coding. Technical communication is a term you will hear a lot, and after a few weeks into the program you will become very good and articulating your strategies. Through pair programming, you are exposed to lots of different ideas from your partners, which further expands the way you think about the problem you're facing.
If you are thinking about making the jump - be sure to seriously consider Codesmith. Yes, it's expensive, but for almost everyone it pays for itself within one year. I would recommend Codesmith to anyone I know looking to make the switch. Codesmith was one of the funnest and most productive three months of my life, and all of these reviews of it being a "life changing" experience are completely accurate.
I'm going to assume you've read some of the other reviews, and you know about Codesmith's curriculumn (<3 React), it's fantastic culture (I miss Thursday drinks), and it's inclusive community. I'll focus on my journey.
Spoilers: Codesmith transformed my life too. Today, I find myself thriving at a job that felt beyond my reach only a year ago. Software development can be a pain in the ass sometimes, but my experience at Codesmith helped me learn to approach every challenge as a learning opportunity to dive deeper into how things work instead of just patch them together to get them to work. Codesmith is not a traditional learning environment where you are fed all of the information you need to learn and your only job is to absorb and regurgitate it. In order to thrive there, you need to be willing to dive into the deep end, struggle a lot, and learn how to overcome many obstacles on your own. On the flip side, if you dedicate yourself wholly to the process for 3 months, it can change your life.
Codesmith really helped foster a hunger to learn more about the software engineering field. Not only did they help me grasp full-stack concepts, I have made great friends. Their program also has great outreach and I was actually able to land my fulltime position through their "Hiring Day" event. Highly recommend it for those that are willing to put in the work.
There are tons of coding bootcamps, but only a small percentage of those schools have the potential to substantially accelerate your career. Codesmith is, without a doubt, in this latter category, and I'd be shocked if there's another coding school as effective as Codesmith.
Had I relied on self-study, it would have taken me at least another year to get to the position I'm in today (and I'm a relatively studious/disciplined person). The Codesmith community and resources are invaluable, and these things just can't be replicated by studying on your own. I'm extremely happy with my decision to attend Codesmith.
Me, before: Technical, non-software-engineering role at a software company. Engineering (non-CS) MS and BS from UCLA (Go Bruins). Very very little JS web dev experience.
Me, now: Software Engineer in LA. Making 67% more than I was before. Doing lots of JS web dev and kicking ass.
Thoughts: Codesmith is an amzing way to get 1000+ hours of guided, designed, supported time learning a useful, in-demand set of skills to get hired as a software engineer. It's super fun, too.
I think Codesmith's effectiveness is shown in my hiring experience. We set up profiles for platforms like AngelList near the end of the program and I got a handful of outreach messages from companies nearly immediately. Two turned into interviews, one into an onsite and an senior dev offer before I even graduated. I spent the three weeks after graduation ~50% applying to jobs and ~50% interviewing/preparing for interviews, getting 5 offers in that time. Every onsite interview I had turned into an offer. I accepted one within a month of graduating.
I think part of my success comes from my technical background and fancy degrees (I didn't put Codesmith on my resume), but I wasn't having many results from these kind of companies in my immediately-previous job search. Codesmith set me up with the skills, confidence, polish and support that made the hiring process actually kind of fun.
I will keep this short, as there are many other reviews talking about the curriculum in depth and the amazing resources that Codesmith provides. My review will be about what I gained the most during my time there.
Codesmith is a valuable investment in yourself and your future. During Codesmith, I genuinely learned how to learn and now I am confident that I will excel at any software postition that I enter. My background is in Civil Engineering and I previously coded in Java, but I had never experienced this level of intense learning until now.
Codesmith got the philosophy right and you are surrounded by people who are asking in-depth questions about the most interesting emerging technologies. A small group of students, engaged instructors, and projects that challenge you to think critically... this is what all school should be like!!
I did get a great job at a startup working on the technologies that I love (React), but what I really got was a new mindset on software that will take me far. Shout-out to the Codesmith staff, keep it up!
Codesmith will be tough to get in to and tough to complete! You will be a mid-to-senior level software engineer by the time you graduate with a production-level project on your resume. The Codesmith team will go above and beyond to provide the highest quality education and help you find an amazing job with an amazing salary. The hours will be long, but the people you will spend your days with are amazing, both personally and professionally.
Acceptance to Codesmith is an educational journey in itself. You must already have some solid foundational programming knowledge just to make it through the interview process. The acceptance rate is lower than that of most Ivy Leagues (~4%). I attended a bootcamp long before I found Codesmith, which puts me in the rare position to be able to draw from actual experience in order to compare Codesmith to other programs. Looking back, I realize that all the knowledge I gained from that bootcamp really only prepared me to be eligible to interview with Codesmith. In addition to the substantive Codesmith interview, there is also a cultural interview. This ensures that the people you spend the next 3.5 months with are people that will facilitate your success as much as the staff and curriculum will.
The curriculum that I experienced in my previous bootcamp provided me with a great coding foundation that made me a great junior developer; however, the knowledge that I acquired there was not sufficient to elevate me to the skill level necessary to join the highly competitive work force as a mid-to-senior level software engineer.
Codesmith residents are held to an extraordinarily high standard of technical excellence and communication. The curriculum is extremely challenging and vigorous. We learned the essentials of computer science (algorithms, design patterns, big O notation), as well as the latest technologies such as React and Redux. As challenging as the coursework is, however, you are not on your own. The one-on-one support from the resident fellows is incredible (think TAs, but they care a lot more). Each person on the staff at Codesmith does everything within their power to ensure success during and after the program.
During the second half of the program, we build production-level projects in small teams. These projects are the best projects coming out of immersive programs in both caliber and quality. Production projects from Codesmith have been acknowledged by the inventor of Redux, Dan Abramov (React Monocle), featured at the Google I/O developer conference (web-dsp) and, on more than one occasion, drawn enormous interest from the React community. My own team's project, Reactide, was the #1 trending app on Github and gained over 5,000 Github stars in the first week of its release. None of these projects were promoted in any significant way; they have all stood on their own merit and ingenuity.
Day to day
An average day at Codesmith consisted of a daily coding challenge, multiple lectures, a lot of pairing, more lectures, and the occasional game of nerf war! What surprised me most about Codesmith was the time commitment required to complete the program. At a minimum, we were there for about 10-14 hours per day, 6 days per week, which is far greater than the time commitment required at a traditional bootcamp. The extra time adds up to at least 2-3 weeks more than you will get anywhere else. The days passed rather quickly, however, given the high expectations and quantity of work required of each of us each day. As I said before: this program isn't for those on the fence about their engineering career!
My cohort was a really fun, hardworking, collaborative and supportive cast of characters. Completing a program consisting of over 1,000 hours together created a strong bond between us as a group. To this day, we continue to help and support one another by answering coding questions, giving one another job leads, or just solving interesting challenges together. We even go camping as a group, now and again.
Finding a job, no matter how substantively prepared you are, can be an arduous undertaking. During the last few weeks at Codesmith, there is a lot of focus on preparing for job interviews (including rigorous mock interviews and white-boarding), perfecting your resume, and developing job hunt strategies. This support does not stop when the program ends (as is the case with traditional bootcamps). After completing my previous bootcamp, I was grossly unprepared for the job hunt with absolutely no support from the staff after graduation. This is absolutely not the case at Codesmith. If anything, support in the job hunt increases post-graduation. Staff from Codesmith continued to help me research jobs, prepare for interviews, and keep my coding skills sharp long after graduation day. They even helped me negotiate my salary when I received my first offer. Codesmith students routinely receive offers right out of Codesmith that are $100,000 or more, which is anywhere from 1.5 to 2 times what you will receive as a junior developer coming out of other immersive programs. I can attest to both numbers from experience as my current salary is literally double the salary I was offered after my other bootcamp.
Not long after I graduated from Codesmith, I landed my dream job. I'm a software engineer (with a highly competitive salary) in New York City, building software to help cities and organizations provide coordinated public services for veterans, families, and low-income individuals.
If you are able to be accepted to Codesmith, go! Do not hesitate! It will be the best decision you can make for your career.
It's not easy, and you won't be spoonfed knowlege, but if you are willing to put in the work, you won't regret choosing Codesmith.
As a recent graduate of one of our nations leading liberal arts colleges, I can honestly say that codesmith, and not my undergraduate education, was the most invigorating and fulfilling learning experience of my life. Four things (listed in no particular order) make Codesmith great:
Codesmith's CEO, Will Sentance, heavily emphasizes the importance of building a warm and supportive learning community. The entire staff reflects this attitude. I moved from Chicago to enroll in Codesmith, and was initially worried about having a small support network in LA. My fears dissipated day one at family dinner, a weekly group dinner where everyone in the Codesmith community (alumni included!) are welcome to dine together and shoutout other community members for their successes and kind actions.
The engineering and teaching staff often stay beyond work hours because they enjoy helping Codesmith residents. The engineering staff have a strong and unified pedagogical approach - they subtly guide residents towards asking the right questions, but avoid directly providing residents with a specific approach to a problem. While this teaching style can be frustrating at times, it taught me to ask the right questions and is ultimately responsible for the tremendous growth I experienced in 12 weeks.
The core staff, who work on hiring support (I'll focus on this later), organize events and meetups, addmissions, and a variety of other behind-the-scenes work, are always happy to take time out of their day to talk with Codesmith residents about how they are doing both academically and emotionally. After all, such an intense program can be draining at times, and the support of the staff is instrumental in making sure every resident completes the program ready to be hired as a mid-senior level engineer.
Codesmith is highly selective. As a result, I was surrounded by smart and dedicated engineers with a diverse set of backgrounds. Codesmith doesn't only look for technical prowess, though. They are careful only to admit compassionate and thoughtful communicators - people that will be strong team members. After all, the majority of work in Codesmith is done in pairs or small groups. This exposed me to a variety of approaches to problem solving. I learned faster as a result of my peers, and gained invaluable experience as part of an engineering team. My fellow residents would often organize informal lectures or study groups outside of class time to help bring everyone up to speed in subjects they excelled in.
Curriculum / Production project
The Codesmith core staff have weekly checkins with alumni to ensure they are making good progress in their job searches. All students go through multiple drafts of their resumes, which are reviewed by Will's scrupulous eye. Residents go through rounds of practice whiteboarding sessions and interviews with both staff and other reseidents. And in the last week of the program, each resident has the opportunity to kick off their job search by interviewing with multiple hiring partners. Additionally, Codesmith has a hiring support team member, Eric, who is dedicated to providing students with interview and application strategies and giving residents advice in negotiating better packages once they have received job offers.
I was accepted to both Codesmith and Hack Reactor (LA). Hack Reactor certainly appears to be a strong program. Yet Codesmith's emphasis on creating a community of engineers and learners, the incredible quality of open source projects produced by Codesmith residents, and the teaching style of the engineering staff made Codesmith the clear option for me.
An intense program that will challenge and push you mentally and even emotionally at times. Fast-paced but balanced with a fun atmosphere, you will grow in many ways. Check out Hard Parts to get a sense of the community and to see if it could be a good fit. Talk to a range of current students and graduates.
I am very grateful for the people I met during my time there. The best coding bootcamp experience I've ever had. Other things I miss: the patio for watching sunsets and bagels for days.
I'm going to have to keep this short, as I really need to get going to work this morning - to my full-time job as a full-stack software engineer. Codesmith, like most things in life, will give back as much as you put into it. I firmly believe it's the best program you can go to, but obviously I haven't been to any other immersive programs. However, there are a few things I can say for certain (with as much objectivity as possible):
2) The quality of the production (final) projects are better than any I've seen out of other programs. This is important, because if you are career-changer like me, this will be your most prominent item on your resume. My team's production project web-dsp was demo'd on the mainstage at the Google I/O developer conference (and they found us, we didn't contact anyone). Another team's project, Reactide, was a #1 trending Github repository for weeks.
3) They care about your outcome. The job search process is no fun for anyone, especially if rejection stings. There's support along the way even after the program is done, and the final weeks of the program are really geared towards making sure you have the tools you need to succeed.
On a subjective level, I feel like I've made lifelong friends with people from the process, which is obviously invaluable. And I had a good bit of fun while really expanding my scope of knowledge and ability each day of the program. If you're able to get in to Codesmith, just do it!
You can learn coding from anywhere, from online to books to in the classroom, but what differentiates Codesmith from the others is its people. When you go to a Codesmith class, you are given individual attention, when you ask a question, no question is too stupid, no age is an issue and no experience is an issue.
Every class I have attended the instructors spent at least 15 minutes helping students understand concepts that were being reviewed, and not just asking “does everyone understand,” but rather asking confused looking people to explain what they don’t understand then clarifying. Even technologies the instructors unfamiliar with, they would say, “Let’s look this up” and then looked up the technologies for the class and their own knowledge, showing that they are always learning too. The focus on understanding more and filling in gaps of knowledge rather than just memorization and getting though the material was what stood out for me.
Interactive > Power point > Interactive > Power point > Research > Interactive > Short Power Point > Interactive
Where Interactive can be anything from a problem to a presentation to a pop quiz to a quest speaker to a Q&A. Also questions can be asked by the instructors at any time so the classes keeps you on your toes.
One of the best decisions I ever made in my life is going to Codesmith. Back in 2016, I actually got accepted into all the top 3 boot camps in CA: Hack Reactor at SF, App Academy and Codesmith. I didn't even consider others because all the other boot camps including Hack Reactor at LA (but in reality MarketSquare) are nowhere near those top boot camps.
App Academy could be as cheap as $5k if you don’t get a job. For me, not getting a job was never an option anyway.
Did I choose Codesmith because I think I would fail at Hack Reactor or App Academy? No, definitely not. Becoming a software engineer is a choice that I made and I knew that if I worked hard enough then no matter where I started from, I would become successful.
I knew at Codesmith I would have to work hard. But if you want to become a software engineer and don't want to work hard, that is impossible. Everyone at Codesmith, even the brightest (ESPECIALLY the brightest) worked super hard every night. To me and my cohort mate, 11 pm was too early to go home. (Definitely not for the parking police).
However, if you want your job search to be a much nicer experience, Codesmith has a strong support team who will go all the way just to make sure that all of your correspondences are written beautifully. Thank Haley, Hira and all the staff who have been making my job search process much easier.
Why did I choose Codesmith?
1. A graduate from Codesmith LA with an average of 100k compared to a 100k in San Francisco is very different. San Francisco has a higher cost of living.
2. Codesmith costs less than other two.
3. Codesmith projects have reached new height. Check out Reactide with 7k stars on GitHub or webDSP. Guess where those projects were made.
4. Codesmith class sizes are much smaller than the other two. Look at Hack Reactor's video and see if every student has a seat. On top of that, there isn’t enough support from the staff after graduation.
5. Codesmith really cares more about student success than other programs, and will do whatever they can to help you. I was an out-of-state student who wanted to change my life. Codesmithhelped me and continues to help me so much that I truly believe that there is no other program who would even consider doing the same thing.
Let's talk about transforming yourself. You very well may be at the initial steps I was only a few short months ago. What's in consideration is an arena of challenge, unfamiliarity, and creativity.
I wince from the urge to say the word 'given' when referring to Codesmith. It isn't a word that is necessarily bad. Yet it draws unnecessary focus and doesn't reflect what you ultimately gain from such an experience. Nonetheless I will start with what Codesmith does in fact "provide".
1) An intensive multidimensional curriculum
2) Exceptional professional advice
3) Career support and networking
The underlying brilliance of Codesmith however is missed in this simple list. Codesmith more so than any other verb cultivates marvelous things in the individuals who attend the program. This is of course because the Codesmith environment and community is ingrained with an altruistic spirit to propel others.
If you were in search of a big reveal in to why Codesmith is a superb choice - this is it. In the field of accelerated learning Codesmith reaches the greatest of heights by living the words "We are all excellent, and we will grow to be more excellent." It is a beautiful thing.
Codesmith brings its residents in as family. This is an enormous backbone of support you may never see outside of your very own family. As it must, the program unleashes the gamut of web and software development obstacles. This is never an exciting part when I am talking about Codesmith. I am of the believe that the spoken material can be learned quite isolated with only the right handful of books. Torturous yet possible. What develops as you grind unit by unit is ability of course. As you take in your surroundings you realize the community is at your finger tips. When you stumble then stumble and your ready to not take another thrust up you are brought up by your cohort mates. Finally, when you have seen so much of the process that looking back you see the pattern of challenge, resilience, and accomplishment you realize a tremendous confidence.
Codesmith is a great whirlwind. I have probably not given justice to what I truly believe it is. Though what I know it is not is a magic door to success. Be prepared to join something that deserves your all if you attend Codesmith. It is a place that you should make the most of and that will be so many levels past the industry curriculum.
Two things really stuck with after graduating from Codesmith – 1) the process is sometimes much more important than the end result, and 2) having a caring community makes any challenge seem possible.
Codesmith chooses to teach through doing rather than through lecture – which may seem frustrating at first, especially if you’re more used to the academic life, but yields amazing results as long as you stick with it. By being forced to dig through the documentation and online resources (you basically become a Google master) to find what you’re looking for, you end up having a deeper understanding of the material than if you had just listened to a lecture. You also pick up a lot of other information along the way. What might’ve been an assignment on React might somehow lead to learning how to utilize a browser’s local cache. The beauty in it is that it all is somehow connected, so every bit you pick up might be useful in the future.
But, just because Codesmith teaches by doing, doesn’t mean that you’re on your own. Throughout most of the program, you’ll be paired up with another cohort mate as the two of you work your way through each unit. There are also Fellows (former graduates) who will help guide you when you’re truly stuck. At first I was a little skeptical of being guided by those who just finished the program a few weeks ago, but I quickly grew to appreciate them, not only because of the vast knowledge they provided, but also because of the empathy they were able to provide, having gone through the program themselves. Which brings me to my second point – the community.
TL;DR – you’ll struggle, you’ll think you aren’t smart enough, you’ll get angry and frustrated. But stick it through, and remember that your cohort mates and the Codesmith staff are always there for you. In a blink of an eye, you’ll find yourself helping someone else with something that you struggled with just a few weeks ago, and you’ll see the fear lift from their eyes. And that…that is a great feeling.
The Codesmith process is not for everyone - which is why it has longer hours than other programs but offers a more extensive curriculum, a final project phase where some student projects have received 4000+ stars on Github, and a culture that fosters teamwork and a striving for excellence.
From day one you are thrown into a world of problem solving. Guided by top teachers you are introduced to new concepts and then work through a well thought out curriculum in 2 day sprints. The sprints always seemed to hit the middle ground of difficulty with most students having just enough time to refactor their code and walk through it with fellow students. At any point in time (even staying past their work hours till 11pm most nights) Codesmith staff is available to guide you to the solution through the Socratic method. Instead of just giving you an answer the staff engages you in a back and forth conversation until you feel the slight warmth of a lightbulb above your head.
You'll do these sprints by pair programming with another student in your class and this is where you learn the soft skills that will allow you to excel in the workplace. Former bartenders work with ex investment bankers, students fresh out of college with an engineering degree code alongside former salespeople - this is how you grow your empathy, technical and personal communication skills and openness to others' ways of thinking.
All bootcamps will promise you the world, Codesmith included. It's up to you as an individual to take advantage of what is being offered to you. After careful consideration I decided Codesmith had the most to offer me. As a result I went from beginning to learn how to code on my own in September, joining the November cohort and receiving a job offer three weeks after graduation.
If you had asked me if I thought I would have been programming professional a year ago the answer would be no. Yet here I am thanks to the Codesmith ethos and the people it brings together. When looking to join a bootcamp understand that who you will be going to class with every day is just as important as the class itself. If you talk to anyone at Codesmith you'll immediately understand why the application process is more rigorous than other schools. As they tell you about the long nights they spent building developer tools or learning about data structures you'll see the grin on their face as they reminisce about the experience.
I found my love for programming while studying at UCLA. I had taken a few classes in C++ but I kept telling myself that it was too late to change my major. During my senior year, I was fortunate to be given the opportunity to deploy a website that is still hosted by UCLA, but I still kept telling myself that it was too late. I tried searching for an entry-level programming job coming out of college, but without a CS degree, it seemed nearly impossible. And so, I decided to chase my other dream and become a sushi chef. Fast forward a year later and I find myself itching to code.
The 13-Week Immersive
Life after Codesmith
Finding a job is never easy. But two weeks out of the program and I am now employed at a company that I'm super excited to be at. People may tell you that it's impossible to come out of a bootcamp and get hired as a software engineer making 6 figures... well they're right. But Codesmith is NOT a bootcamp. Codesmith is an engineering residency. It's a place where aspiring engineers can grow into seasoned software developers.
If you're considering a bootcamp, do yourself a favor and don't mistake Codesmith for one. For the money, good bootcamps take in new comers, hobbyists, and amateurs and do wonders in preparing them for entry level junior roles. By contrast, Codesmith does this for free. If you want a junior role, start coming to Codesmith where they've cultivated a community created by and for engineers. Regular discussions and workshops expounding on topics from fundamentals to advanced software engineering topics are offered free of charge on a weekly basis. Free of charge. Several times a week. Every week. For free. Meet other like-minded people passionate about engineering. Learn from them and you can teach yourself how to code and probably get a job if you're keen.
If you want to take the next step in your career as a software engineer, as I did, prepare rigorously for the Codesmith admission process and submit an application. Prepare to fail the interview, study, and apply again. Even through failure, you've improved yourself ten-fold. But if you've truly dedicated yourself and committed to becoming the type of engineer who can solve any problem, you might get a chance of a life time.
To offer my own experience, which is shared by many, I was a self-taught programmer with a non-technical background (accounting and non-profit administration). In terms of academic performance, I was about average, something I take pride in given the level of ability among my peers, which included experienced engineers, recent cs graduates, and some 'non-technical' folks like me. In terms of projects, my team developed an application commissioned by a real company for its userbase. Afterward, I was lucky enough to earn a fellowship, where I had the opportunity to contribute as an engineer and mentor others. When my fellowship ended, I prepared myself to begin a full-fledged job search which I thought would last up to an additional three months. But instead, I received my first offer from a Codesmith hiring partner exactly one day after and I'm now happily employed as a full stack engineer earning a competitive salary.
Simply put, the program works and I changed my life by deciding to come here. Just do yourself a favor and check it out for yourself. See you there.
Codesmith is about people. People and code.
Before Joining Codesmith
In mid-2016, I found myself in the middle of coding hell. I was a junior-level dev working or projects that went live before they should have, in an environment that lacked engineering best practices, without the skills I needed to keep up or even understand fully what was going on. In short, I needed a change.
That change came about serendipitously, when I learned about Codesmith, a coding immersive program, from a an acquaintance at a mutual friend’s party. He was starting Codesmith just that next week and everything he said about it sounded exactly like what I was thirsting for. Full stack, Mongo, Postgres, Angular, ReactJs, Node, Fundamentals, Fundamentals, Fundamentals. Not only that, but the school was in Playa Vista, literally 15 minutes from where I worked in Culver City.
The double doors of the elevator opened up and I had an immediate “yes” feeling when I stepped onto the top floor. I signed in after a warm welcome and joined my fellow meetupers in the main lecture room.
The rest of the night was a series of “yeses.” Will Sentence, the CEO — “yes.” The community of developers — “yes.” The electricity of those in the program, and the knowledge they had — “yes.” But most importantly, I left that night with fundamentals — insights into programming — that I never had before. “Callbacks”, “Higher-order functions,” the “Closure (the closed over variable environment),” variable environment, the call-stack, hoisting, execution context, thread of execution, …, it goes on.
As I left, exhausted, I reflected on my wobbly coding ability and thought, “How can I con my way into Codesmith?” It felt like a matter of survival. I NEEDED this.
I didn’t make it into Codesmith after my first interview. I made it after the second one, after postponing it an additional week for some additional intense studying on the feedback I received from the first.
After waiting nervously by the phone one Thursday afternoon, my phone rang. It was Will Sentence. I was in.
The Codesmith Experience
If you want to truly learn a foreign language what do you do? You immerse yourself in it. You go to a country that speaks the language and you stay there until you know it — until it becomes so much apart of you that you think in it.
Codesmith is a software immersive program that turns junior devs into mid-level devs and mid-level devs into senior. It demands a level of intensity that only those passionate about problem solving in code are able to sustain. The average week was Monday through Friday, 9 am sharp to 10pm, and Saturday, 9am to 5pm.
Codesmith is the most selective coding program in the country. This means that your peers are not only scary smart, but also some of the best community-focused, supportive people you’ll meet in your life. This is a necessary part of the program. Just as if you are to learn a foreign language, you have to be able to “talk” code, internalize it. I only understood some of the nuances of coding because of the in-depth conversations I had with my peers. Everyone had an insight and a different way of explaining every concept. To learn to code you have to “boil the ocean,” but if a partner already boiled a concept, you’ll just need to boil a pond. These conversations are invaluable.
Codesmith hires seasoned battle-tested engineers as instructors. Our instructor was Dan Carr, a brilliant seasoned engineer with years of experience and relationships with some of the most prestigious companies on the planet. Not only did he have a vast coding instinct, but a “gut” ability to communicate his understanding in every lecture. On top of his innate teaching ability, he is truly one of the coolest, approachable dudes you will ever meet. He puts his students first and is always open to dialogue, even (maybe even especially) post-graduation.
In our feedback to Codesmith, our was response about Dan was always, “give him a raise.” He is truly one of the highlights of my experience at Codesmith.
Each lecture, as can be expected, is followed by a project to apply the concepts learned in a concrete way. This is where the “sweat and blood” goes. These projects are NOT easy.
It’s been said about Codesmith that not only does it teaches you to code, it teaches you to learn. It is here that concepts move beyond ideas and become emotions. If you and your partner spend 45 minutes of frustration on a problem and finally succeed, you will both remember the story of that problem. It will no longer be a transient concept, like one of those you memorized to pass a test, but an ingrained part of yourself that you “feel” in your gut. Each lecture is followed by a challenge that will make you an independent problem solver. This “sweat equity” turns knowledge into understanding.
The Final Project
The course ends with a final project. You are broken off into groups and together you come up with ideas to present to the staff and your peers. The criteria for an acceptable final project can be summed up as, “Is it impossible?” If the answer is yes, then you’ll be allowed to proceed. There is no such thing as a CRUD (a simple web app) app being allowed as a final project. To be an engineer is to approach problems that do not currently have a solution. These projects are of senior engineer level, and are tools that provide solutions to problems that engineers face out in the field.
My team’s project, for example, was deploying a library for developers to easily create a database on the distributed blockchain technology, Ethereum.
It was here that our knowledge was solidified and we became surgeons with code as our scalpel.
I entered Codesmith as a junior-level dev, having minor on-the-job experience in coding, and after three months (~1,000 hours later) was able to secure a mid-level (100K+) position shortly (about 3 weeks) after graduation.
Part of the job search was networking via meetups and speaking to graduates from other coding programs. I was politely silent as I listened to them vent about their “horrible, competitive, non-supportive peers” and how “we’re junior devs, there’s nothing we can do.”
Codesmith was genuinely a life changer for me. It helped me make one of the toughest transitions in my life. I went into Codesmith as a junior dev and came out a mid-level dev, as promised. I know for a fact, instinctually, that Codesmith was the best choice I could have made in a school. The other schools’ curriculums are either too soft or the culture is too cold.
Codesmith is about pain. To succeed, you have to be sincere about your intention to make a certain but drastic change in your life.
A few months after graduation, I find myself reflecting, “How do I measure up to my co-workers who may have a more traditional path to engineering? Am I on par with these other mid-level engineers that I work with.” The answer is a resounding “yes.” I am able to contribute to the team at the same or, often, better level than they can. Codesmith instilled an intuition in me that other developers may not have.
There are a lot of factors in success. If I could boil them down, I would name attitude, focus, and education. Codesmith provides the education element. The rest is up to you.
On-Time Graduation Rate
180 Day Employment Breakdown:
Notes & Caveats:
For transparency, here are the starting salary breakdowns of our graduates from 1/01/2018 - 6/30/2018:
- $110,000 - 119,999: 17.5%
- $120,000 - 129,999: 17.5%
- $130,000 - 139,999: 10%
- $140,000+ : 2.5%