Recent Codify Academy News
- Learn Web Development at these 10 Part-Time Bootcamps
- Codify Academy Women in Tech Panel: Land Your First Tech Job
- February Coding Bootcamp News Roundup
Recent Codify Academy Reviews: Rating 4.42
Front End Development
In 16 weeks, we're going to transform you into a fully fledged front end developer with a great portfolio, no matter your starting point. You'll be able to manipulate websites and online tools like a pro. We'll also help you find a job in your prefered sector when you're finished with the course.
- Minimum Skill Level
Hybrid (Online & In-person)
Front End Development
In 16 weeks, we're going to transform you into a fully fledged front end developer with a great portfolio, no matter your starting point. You'll be able to manipulate websites and online tools like a pro. We'll also help you find a job in your prefered sector when you're finished with the course.
- Minimum Skill Level
$500 Codify Academy Scholarship
Course Report is excited to offer an exclusive Codify Academy scholarship for $500 off tuition!
Offer is only valid for new applicants. Applicants who have already submitted an application cannot claim this scholarship.
- Front End Development (San Francisco)
Codify Academy Reviews
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I just finished this course and the experience has been fantastic. Before I joined Codify I researched different bootcamps and I needed a school that was flexible to my work schedule and Codify delivered. I was offered all the tools needed to succeed. Everything we need is made available to us and me having absolutely no prior coding experience before, to now I feel a whole lot more confident of my abilities and have a plethora of projects finished and my portfolio that is looking very snazzy! I am amazed of what is possible now and it is all thanks to Codify Academy!
Matt has built an incredible company with his brothers, and his ability to teach others (in a positive and engaging fashion) is wonderfully infectious- he gets the best out of his students. Towards the end of our coding Bootcamp, Matt was our career counselor mentor and provided us with invaluable game plans to ensure our job hunt success after the program. Codify Academy feels more like a family than anything else and that’s a testament to the owners’ visions. I would highly recommend Matt, Codify Academy and any project that Matt is affiliated with!
I worked hard every single day, constantly pushed my limits on projects, built a portfolio of 10 websites/apps and had interviews by week 14. Life Changing Experience at the Best Bootcamp Price in San Francisco. What are you waiting for?
First of all, I am not getting paid from Codify to do Sales or Marketing. I do work with them on talking to prospects & grads, answering questions, sharing my story! I went through their program and got hired within a month after, for $80k a year, by a company called Blue Rocket, in SF, with no prior coding experience. My developer journey has ever since been absolutely amazing! Last week i was a speaker at a tech conference, sharing what i had build using node.js and IBM Watson. A SPEAKER! ME! 1.5 years after i had started Codify. Absolutely friggin' awesome!!!
I would also like to point out that Codify also offers a full refund if you don't get hired within 6 months and you went to the hiring events and followed their advice on resume building, interview questions etc. So it all depends on how much work you put into!! They do strongly advice to not take any unpaid dev jobs or internships. Your first job will be the hardest one to get and a lot of grads just give up. That's why i am here, helping build a community, that inspires and supports prospects & grads!
Why do i care so much? Because Codify (and the staff!!) has enabled me to live a life that i have always wanted, right when it was literally the worst. I was broke (making that immigrant minimum wage woo!), super unhappy, no jobs in sight with my ops focused job experience, with very little money left in the bank.
I met Sam (one of the founders, used to be an insurance broker) in my co living place (i used to live with 60 tech people all making $$$ while building cool stuff-- i was very envious lol), when he attended one of our "tech talks" where we would discuss what everyone in the house was working on. He brought along a whole class (!!) of current students that wanted to get involved. I got the chance to talk to them, which has lead me to apply on the website the next day. I went to the in person meeting, and met Matt (his other brother, used to work as dispatcher) only to be told that they have another brother, Chris (used to be a waiter) who also founded the company. I loved it!! I felt like they KNOW how frustrated life can be when you don't love what you do but you feel like you're trapped in your life path bc you can't afford to get out of it.
So i signed up! I was super duper excited, finally I'm getting out of my hamster wheel!!... until about 2 days after. My bf ran into a guy during a hiring event and he claimed CA would be a scam. My heart broke, of course. I reached back out to Sam, wanting to drop out of the course (remember, i was broke, i literally put my last money into it). He knew exactly who i was talking about and shared the full story. Aha. A computer scientist. He dropped out. Of course he wouldn't like the program! Codify is the opposite of a school. No theory (or very little), just building. It feels more like private teacher + therapist + hiring marathons. I spend so many late nights at the office that they would order me food so i would still be healthy, lol. I mean, who does that?! I wanted to quit so many times. The "getting hired" part seemed just impossible. but the mentors (incl. founders) were there for me, no matter how late at night or how many panic attacks i experienced.
I will be forever grateful! Codify is a small school, so if i can help get the word out there by sharing my story over and over again, then so be it.
This review might take 5 minutes of your time but will definitely save you thousands of dollars and a shitty experience.
If you still have doubts and concerns after reading this review, feel free to contact me for a chat.
I started just like you. I was searching for a bootcamp to make a transition in my career and met with lots of different bootcamps, one of them being Codify Academy, so I had an initial meeting with Sam Brody, one of the three co-founders. At your first meeting, you will recognize a pattern at this bootcamp and especially in Sam. He’s a salesman. He will sugar-coat every word that comes out of his mouth, all so that you decide to put your valuable and hard-working money and time at their bootcamp… but don’t fall for this. The value and impact you get from this bootcamp are very minimal if any at all.
Having said that, this bootcamp has lots of loopholes that they say they are “trying to fix” such as inexperienced instructors, weak course material (their book is a copy/paste from W3Schools, for real…), weak jobs program (they tell you to copy a template resume and make it yours, use a template cover letter and use it as-is, and copy a template website portfolio from the internet while you’re supposed to create an original since you’re already a developer and can do all of this by yourself, especially the website portfolio part). Do yourself a favor and don’t drop thousands of dollars to be their guinea pig. If you plan to do this, I’m down for a chat and teach you what they teach for one-tenths of their tuition. Their classes are much like hangouts, in which the lead mentor (as Codify Academy likes to call main instructors) provides a set of exercises to warm up for 30-45 minutes, then you are on your own for the remaining 2 hours. Ask yourself if that’s what you would like to pay thousand of dollars for. In all honesty, if I were to do it again, I would try to stay far away from Codify. To be objective, less than 20 graduates out of 160+ got a job within 6 months of graduation. That’s less than 15%…
Codify Academy’s misleading advertisements mentions that its bootcamp have “industry experienced lead mentors” teaching their classes. NOT TRUE AT ALL EITHER. Experienced instructors were the main reason I joined Codify, but ended up disappointed when I found out CA recent students were teaching these courses. Most courses are taught by CA recent students, most of them don’t have industry experience. Nothing wrong with this, but if you’re serious about your education and career, and value your time and money, don’t sign up for this bootcamp. What you learn is little, if anything. The reason CA students teach these courses are because they say they can’t afford industry experienced instructors. CA targets vulnerable low-income people looking for a quick way to make big money, so Codify advertises and promises heaven, but when you get there you see the reality of what they offer: dirt. To be honest, Sam Brody knows about this and mentioned it during one of our meetings. The founders are in this for the short-term, for the money and their main goal is to get more students (students = money), but rarely to improve their course materials and projects. This is the reason they don’t invest in hiring experienced instructors (they say it’s too expensive and don’t have the money) because filling up their pockets is more important than your time, education and career.
In conclusion, I would highly suggest you stay as far away as possible from this bootcamp or program if you are looking to break into the web development field since you will be better off buying affordable courses from Udemy; searching, reading and learning from Google resources and articles; learning from W3Schools; going to web development meet-ups; doing FreeCodeCamp; signing up to Treehouse or Udacity's nanodegrees; or simply reading books and watching YouTube web development videos to improve your web dev skills. Seriously, I highly suggest you stay as far away as possible from Codify Academy and a shitty experience.
PS: I was in your position a few months ago. I read every single internet review about Codify Academy, its legitimacy, and still gave them an opportunity to prove me wrong, but ended up disappointed as many of you will feel by the middle or end of the program if you decide to join. If you truly value your time, money, education and career, you should consider investing it more wisely somewhere else.
This is the review I wish I had read while researching and considering joining a bootcamp, especially Codify Academy.
To start, I am a grad and I was just hired for my first web developer job!!!
I'm super pumped to get started and can't thank the codify team enough. Everyone put in so much time with me I felt like part of a family.
Here's basically how the course works:
1. You prep for class by watching videos and reading (I'd recommend coding a bit too).
2. You attend class and learn to use what you just studied in real world applications. If you don't prep, it's hard to follow along, a mistake I made once.
3. You start applying for jobs when you feel ready, this could be week 1 or week 16, it's up to you. But the mentors will push you to apply earlier which I would recommend now that I've gone through the hiring process. They're not kidding when they say the sooner you apply the sooner you'll get hired.
4. They help you put together your portfolio, resume, cover letter, and all your online stuff (linkedin, github, codepen, etc.).
5. Then you start applying. If you don't get interviews they help figure out why. Once you start getting interviews, they help with interview prep. For me, they helped me with phone interviewing and in person interviewing both technical and not technical. If you're really worried about the interview process I know other students who paid for other professional help which worked well for them too. They basically doubled down on the professional interview help. If you have the money, why not right?
6. You get hired and celebrate like me!!!
If you read this and end up going to codify you've made the right choice :)
I have a lot of friends who are web developers. Some of them graduated from other boot camps and others taught themselves. One of them went to codify and told me all about their program.
I have a family and couldn't afford any other boot camp. I needed to work to pay rent, which is why i went with codify. I'm so happy i did. I work as a developer now making almost 3 times what I made at my last job.
From what I gather, most boot camps can help you get hired if you put the work in, you just have to find the right one for you. If you work full time, then codify is your best option. They're serious when they say their course never ends. Matt's helping me get my second developer job right now, and I'm aiming for 6 figures!
The codify team is great and if you put in the work you're going to get hired!
Finally got around to doing one of these, sorry it took so long Brody brothers
To start, I just want to say thank you for creating this amazing experience. I tried learning on my own and know that I could never have done it without the support of you guys and all the mentors!
I took this course after I lost my high paying job and had to settle for a sales job that I did not like in the least.
I was really hesitant like most of my classmates because it seems like it's too good to be true. But it actually is. I was hired and so were the classmates that I stayed in contact with.
That's not to say that by signing up for this course everyone will get hired. On the contrary, signing up is just the first step in a long race or marathon as the mentors like to remind us.
It all comes down to how much time you are willing to put in and how much fun your willing to sacrifice for the sake of getting a high paying job/career.
I've gone through and read some of the bad reviews, and know that it has to do with a lack of effort on their part. If you're going to sign up, take it seriously. You are paying thousands of dollars, so why skip class or not do the projects?
If you are serious about changing your life like I did, ignore the slackers and schedule a call with them or check out their open house events.
Codify Academy, also known as CA, claims to be a “Part Time Program that Teaches You How to Become a Front End Developer in 16 Weeks”. But half-way through my time at the program, 6 out 12 of my classmates had dropped out due to the bad experience they were having. By the end of the course, only 4 of the 12 students remained.
With two weeks left to finish the course I decided to withdraw after they offered me and my classmate a “job” as UNPAID TA’s for their incoming classes. I had 2 issues with this.
1. This seems to imply that they do not value their own graduates worth if they do not feel the need to pay them.
2. The quality of of their mentors and TA’s. If I accepted the position, I could have been your TA with no computer science degree and zero teaching experience. My coding skills may be enough for a internship or junior web development job, but there’s no way I have any business teaching in a class room.
CA deleted me from their program's Slack (community messaging board) and threatened to sue me for punitive damages if I shared this review with my fellow classmates. In 7 days I went from being a star student being asked to work for them, to CA threatening to sue me. Many other students have had tried voicing their concerns on Slack about the legitimacy of the program. In response they made us all sign contracts in hopes to silence us.
Be wary when reading other posted reviews. Many of them are from CA staff members. One of the most widely used review and testimonial works for CA’s sales and marketing.
The instructors (or mentors, as CA calls them) are former students and not the “experienced industry mentors” as advertised. Most don’t have Computer Science degrees and have never held jobs at tech companies. The mentors in my class were just former CA students from less than a year ago who, apparently, couldn’t get hired anywhere else after their graduation from the academy. Though they were unfit to be a lead mentor they were fantastic group of friendly guys.
Each class was supposed to have 3 mentors, but my class had only 2, if both showed up. Classsates brought their concerns to the founders and were told another mentor would be added, but that promise went unfulfilled.
During a meeting with one of the founders, he said CA couldn’t afford quality instructors because they target low-income students and paying a qualified instructor would raise costs.
They know their own book is a bad resource. In fact, page one of CA’s book states that W3Schools (a free online resource) is a better resource of knowledge. There is one chapter in CA’s book for each week of the academy, so 16 chapters for 16 weeks. But some pages consist of just a few sentences of text and a generic stock photo to fill up space.
Many times the book just states the method without any explanation of its use or how it works. It doesn’t even show the result of the method. For that, you are referred to page numbers in John Duckett’s book (another outside resource). A mentor disclosed to me that the book was worthless and that they are going to discontinue the use of it and keep everything online.
The YouTube videos intended to go with each chapter are just as incomplete. Some videos are as short as 7 minutes for a whole week’s worth of material.
I quickly realized that I had to supplement all of the academy’s teaching materials with outside resources if I wanted to learn anything.
CA makes a lot of too-good-to-be-true statements about the job assistance they provide graduates and the jobs graduates will get. They weren’t able to answer me when I asked if just ONE graduate had gotten a job in the last two months. There’s about a couple dozen that appear to have gotten jobs. That however is out of the hundreds who had joined is CA and the 150 who completed it. Ask CA to prove that 100+ of their graduates have relevant jobs in the field. You won’t get any because their job placement rates are exaggerated and manipulated.
It’s hard to compare CA’s cost with other bootcamps like Hack Reactor, General Assembly, Dev Bootcamp, etc., because those bootcamps are approved institutions with the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education. Codify Academy is NOT an approved institution.
I awarded one extra star because CA does offer 24-month payment plans and only $300 down to start. Plus, many of my classmates were able to negotiate their tuition down.
The best part of the program is their convenient location downtown. It’s a short walk from the Montgomery St. Station. Getting into CA is a bit of a hassle. You have to check in with security in the lobby and then you have to contact someone from CA to come down to get you to let you in the elevator. Usually this takes less than 5 minutes but on occasion it can take longer.
CA has two tiny sales and marketing offices on the 15th floor. There’s no dedicated spot for CA students to study. A common area with tables and chairs is shared with the other dozen businesses on the floor. Classes take place on various floors throughout the building, which CA rents out by the hour.
Response From: Matt Brody of Codify Academy
Just in case anyone reads this who is thinking about hiring you or researching you online, we want to list out some of the awesome accomplishments you had while you were here, because you worked diligently and that should be recognized.
You always came in with a friendly smiling personality, which is difficult to do as taking 16 weeks to intensely learn a new skill can wear on anybody.
When you started bringing in freelance clients for yourself and Richard (while you were still students), we were more than happy to open up our space to you guys. We were incredibly impressed that you were able to go out and start your own business from scratch.
We loved watching you take the time out of your day to help other students who were not as advanced as you. Which is why we were hoping you would help out as a TA.
I know you were not able to start the jobs program because of the withdrawal but we really do believe in your potential, we would be more than happy to sit down with you one on one again and plot out a course where you could start the jobs program and get hired.
I have pasted the Grit Guarantee below so you can see that as long as you complete a set number of items and are still not hired in 6 months you get a full refund.
Otherwise please feel free to call us at 415-530-1557.
GRIT GUARANTEE. This Contract will terminate automatically upon completion by Codify Academy of the Services required by this Contract. Students that have not been hired within 6 months after the 16th week of technical training are entitled to a full refund provided they have completed the requirements outlined in student graduation criteria.
STUDENT GRADUATION CRITERIA. The following is required and expected of the student:
Complete 100% of pre-work before coming to first class
Read and/or code for a minimum of 20 hours per week
Complete one project per week
Post each completed project to Facebook via Codepen
Pull and Push to Github at least once a day (starting week 3)
Create a Portfolio - complete portfolio checklist by week 12 in order to graduate and receive certificate
Post 6 projects into that portfolio by week 12
Attend at least 14 of the 16 in-person classes - can't miss 2 in a row
developer profile (portfolio and linkedIn) completed and approved @ week 12
Company Intro Files (resume and cover letter) reviewed and completed @ week 12
Track applications on excel sheet @ 20 applications per week starting 13
Attend 12 Interview Preparation sessions (at least 1 biweekly)
My friend recommended this course to me. He told me all about it and it seemed like something I could do too.
He was hired just 2 months after completing the course, so I had high hopes.
It was definitely difficult, I must have studied at least 20 hours every week. But it paid off in the end, I got hired before the class even ended.
There are some things you need to know before signing up though. It's perfect for someone who's working full-time if you're willing to put the time in. When they tell you 10-15 hours of practice a week, they're not kidding. So expect to work really hard. If you don't have that much time, you should stick to online learning.
The mentors are great. They pushed us to be so much better than we thought we could. Big shout out to Chris for all the help he gave me personally!
They offer open office hours where you can go in and work 6 days a week. Take advantage of this as much as you can.
The course was completely hands on, which was great because that's the best way I learn.
There are a lot of other boot camps out there and you should definitely shop around. But something about these guys was different than the rest, so be sure to put them on your list of boot camps to check out.
Codify academy provided the atmosphere I needed having zero experience in the field prior to attending. The decision to take this leap was daunting for me, and Codify provided the support, knowledge, and environment that allowed me to see that my goals were more than achievable. The mentors are there for you whether it's in class or when not in class. They make sure that you get the help and support you need to learn the foundations of Front End development.
They are not professional. They let you start without the appropiate information prior your start. They leave you in the air for few days.
Horrible communication with them.
I dont recommend them. You can find the same course cheaper somewhere else with real proffesional people.
This is my experience.
Response From: Matt Brody of Codify Academy
Please let me know how we can make this right, my cell is (925) 876-3287.
They said that will refund me my money in a month. Obviously the want to make interest out of my money.
There is no company that I am aware of that take a month to give you YOUR money.
This definetely shows the kind of company that it is.
I would not trust them.
Response From: Matt Brody of Codify Academy
All of our contracts allow for a 30 day refund and we stop charging as soon as you declare that you're dropping out of the course. You should not have been charged again and should definitely not have been charged additional interest. If you were, please reach out to me about it as soon as you can, (925) 876-3287.
I was a part of the Codify Academy program for 16 week course. Chris was my mentor. This 16 week journey was amazing. I got to learn so much from the mentor as well as the peers. They have a well drafted course. Each and every element of the course is instrumental in today'd job roles. As this is a weekend only course, so you will have to put in a lot of HARD WORK yourself in learning the new language or new framework. The best part is, that these guys are extremely flexible with any kind of assistance that you may want. You could also visit them during office hours for the week days to have your dounts cleared. The mentors are super swift in replying to your Emails. Although there is no Job Assistance program but they surely will help you in building your profile, resume, Cover letter, Linked In profile etc.
I first joined Codify Academy because it was the least expensive bootcamp I found. Didn't think much of it, but, after the first session I quickly realized it was going to be an intense 4 months of grinding. If I wanted to be a good developer, I was going to have to put a lot of hours into the course. The mentors are all available if you ever need any help. If one cannot assist you right away, you can contact another and they'll be able to follow up with your problem. They emphazise trying to figure things out on your own through web research and the books they provide, but if you get really stuck, they will guide you through and they'll make sure you understand the steps before you continue. One thing about the mentors is that they treat you as a friend, not just another student. They want you to feel comfortable with them and they want you to succeed.
I was lucky enought to have gotten hired by a tech company before my program ended. I presented myself as a web developer who decided to pursue a different career and having Codify Academy on my back and knowledge about coding definitely added value to my resume.
If you want a career change into the tech world, I definitely recommend joining Codify Academy, especially if you still need to work. Their part time (open office) model allows you the flexibility in getting the time in to work on your coding. There are so many careers in tech and having knowledge of programming will bump you on top of the line.
Codify Academy was a great and intense 16 week program. For cheaper than what a semester at your typical college cost, you'll learn top of the line programming skills that will qualify you for multiple well paying front-end developer jobs as well as freelancing for people who need a flexible schedule. Even after graduation, mentors are readily available to help with interview prep and projects to insure your long-term success.
If you're serious about becoming a developer and career advancement, Codify is definitely the place for you.
I was a project manager and sales consultant for a sign company. There was no opportunity for advancement and higher compensation so I knew I had to make a change. That’s when I came across Codify’s website. I didn’t know anything about coding before I attended Codify Academy. With their mentorship, I learned the fundamentals of front end web development. 2 months after completing the course, I got a job as a front end web developer/designer and I am also in charge of my company’s creative department.
Like any course, you get out of it what you put into it. And you will have to put a lot into it if you want to get a job. Its intense, and it isn’t easy. Taking advantage of your time in class and with your coding mentor is key. You also might be lucky enough to work on real-life projects that provides you with the opportunity to showcase your new web dev skills and add to your portfolio. In my opinion, one of the best parts of Codify is that you can still seek advise from your mentors and have a place to work on your projects even after you complete the course.
If you are thinking about attending Codify Academy, I recommend doing so, but know that you will need to work your tail off to be successful. With Codify’s help, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be.
16 weeks of useful industry knowledge to get you going in your new carrier. Mentors always available to guide and motivate you through the ups and downs. Focused current curriculm to get you a job quick!
I am now nurturing my career and freelance business.
Codify Academy is a great program for becoming a developer. I never thought I'd be coding as much as I do now, and now it's all I can do. Thanks to Codify I learned how to program in just 16 weeks! Definitely taking the time to see if the program fits you, whether you're looking for a career change or just want to learn something new.
I have a small background in programming with C++ and Ruby but Codify Academy has, by far, been the most educational experience of my life so far not only because the mentors are an immense help but because they teach the right skills that are required in today's job market. See Codify as an investment in your future as a web developer if this is really what you want to do. Sure the ad says you'll earn x-amount once the course is done but you really have to invest as much time as your as investing money. I work 40+ hours a week and go to school during the week and still made time for codify and all of the projects. By no means was working full-time, going to school, and doing codify easy. There were countless nights where I would come home from work and pull all-nighters because I wanted to fully understand everything that we were learning during the course and I believe that was key to attending codify. You have to have a true passion for coding or else you won't get to where you want to be by the end of this course. I want to emphasize that Sam, Matt, Chris and all of their student-mentors are the best mentors that you could have for a program like this because they honestly want to see all of their students succeed and find jobs. Instead of telling you how to fix something, they will ask you open-ended questions so that you can help yourself figure out the problem. If you want to make a career change and are willing to put in the work or if you want to expand your skills as a programmer/developer then Codify Academy is the place for you!
CodifyAcademy is definitely a bootcamp i would recommend to anyone. It definitely worked out for me. Very flexible that fit my super busy work schedule. The mentors are great chris, matt and sam is very helpful, full of encouragement, positive atitude and will do everything they can to help you succeed from the begining of the course to even after landing your dream job as a web developer but even with the help of the awesome mentors its still you get what you put in and you definitely have to put in alot of work. I say average 20 hours a week self study but keep in mind its only 16 weeks. Codify location enviroment is great it gives you that sense of how it'll be like in the work field, downtown SF, tall buildings, open space and kitchen, couches, panarama view and even a ping pong table when you want to take a little break from all that stuyding! You will have the full support from the staff and other students around you because everyone goal is the same for all to succeed.
Codify Academy is an awesome bootcamp that you get what you put into it. The mentors are genuinley there to help with any questions you have and check in on your progress. The curriculum is very fast paced and will have to spend the time learning it. I like that the class is on a weekend because I'm busy during the week. The class is a total of 10 students and I recommend to pair up with another to study. Office hours are crucial to have your questions answered and get projects done. Fundamentals are important. Don't be expected to know everything. You can always be working on something to better your skills from fixing your projects to building your portfolio.
I would recommend Codify Academy to anyone that wants to learn a new skill and has an interest in coding.
I couldn’t have found a better school that fit me and my style of learning. With no technical background, I was hesitant about their promise to help find employment and learn code in a matter of a few weeks, but it’s true. People have left the program with jobs they love and finishing my last month, I already feel like this program has given me the tools and support needed to jumpstart my career in tech.
When you begin, you’ll have a mentor that stays with you from start to finish, but I’ve honestly felt like i’ve had four teachers helping me progress and genuinely interested in my work. It also doesn’t hurt to have teachers you can play ping pong with or drink with during one of their workshops. Yes, the place has ping pong tables and free beer on tap.
I’ve attended other events on meetup where other part-time bootcamp students felt their only way towards employment was another bootcamp. Knowing I felt more confident with applying reassured me that I made the right choice. With CA, these guys are and have been there every step of the way and I’m happy I took a chance on them.
Our latest on Codify Academy
(updated August 2016)Continue Reading →
Codify Academy, a hybrid front-end bootcamp with locations in New York & San Francisco (and expanding!) recently hosted their first Women in Tech event featuring a panel of impressive female leaders and business owners in New York. The panel was well-attended by women and men hoping to make the transition to startups from non-profits, corporate work, and finance. We learned a ton from this spectacular group of women- from the skills you need to join a startup tomorrow (and how exactly to get them), to the blogs and Twitter accounts you should be following today. Kanwal Jehan, the marketing director for Codify Academy, moderated the panel, and now shares this advice with the Course Report community!
CEO of Startup Institute
About Diane: I’m a serial entrepreneur on my third company. The company that I founded in 2000 was called Communispace, which helped brands listen to and get advice from their consumers by building online communities. About six months ago, I decided it was time for me to do something new, and I’m now CEO of Startup Institute. Some of our fabulous graduates are right up here on the 10th floor of this building. Startup Institute basically helps the 70% of college graduates who are either underemployed or miserable in their jobs get the skills, mindset and network to have the job and the life that they love. I actually live in Boston, but I spend a lot of time here in New York.
My Superpower: I’d like to be able to read people’s minds. I’ve spent thirteen years trying to help big companies read the minds and hearts of their consumers and I think it would be amazing to be able to do that with my very own superpower.
On the skills someone needs to enter the startup space: There’s a great quote that I love from Warren Buffett: “If your IQ is 150, sell 30 points because you only need to be smart enough.” I see that every day. There are some skills that are the ticket to entry. If you want to work in tech, you should understand the language of tech and have some technical skill. “Technical marketing” is so important these days. When I grew up in marketing, I learned the "Four Ps" and I learned branding; that is not marketing in 2015! Marketing is HTML, CSS, Google Analytics, Data Management, SEO, etc. You have to have some level of technical understanding and skill. If you don't have those skills, you can take courses. You don’t have to be an expert, because you’re going to learn a lot on the job.
CEO of In Your Corner
About Bea: I am the founder and CEO of In Your Corner. We are a marketplace for human happiness. We connect clients from all over the world with licensed therapists, life coaches and guided meditation teachers.
My Superpower: My fun fact is that I’m the first black woman from the United States to be accepted into Y Combinator. I’m really happy to speak here tonight because you can’t be what you can’t see. This is really selfish, but if I had a superpower I would like to sleep more. I would love to sleep 10 hours every day.
How I found my first mentor: There are two requirements for being a founder. You have to be shameless and you have to be fearless. I think the idea of ‘having a mentor’ is a lot more formalized than it needs to be. People get the idea that you have this Mr. Miyagi character and he likes you and trusts you. In reality, you’ll get an email and beg your mentor to help you and they calm you down and help you get through it. I made everybody my mentor. You want to make it easy for people to work with you. Don’t say, “Let me pick your brain.” Everybody hates that. Just say something like, “Hey, I’d love to take you to drinks.” My first mentor was Cindy Gallop, who has two startups: If We Ran the World and Make Love Not Porn.
Why I started In Your Corner: I say I’m a two-time entrepreneur: my first one didn’t go great. The reason I started In Your Corner for online therapy is because after my first company failed, I was really depressed. And even though I’m a therapist and all my friends were therapists, I still didn’t want anybody to know. Also, because I’d sunk all of my money, when I went back to my office job, I had to waive my right to health insurance because I couldn’t afford the extra $100 being taken out of my check. I couldn’t get a therapist through my insurance even though I wanted to. I realized that I was an advocate for this space and a practitioner in this space, and it was still so hard for me to deal with all these clunky, frustrating steps. It must be that much harder for the average person. The reason my first company failed was because I didn’t know the market. It was a company for stay-at-home moms. I was 25 and didn’t know anything!
On Shark Tank: I actually got accepted on Shark Tank after casting had closed. The best advice I can give as far as getting into Y-Combinator or getting on TV, anything that seems really hard to do: just make it so they can’t say no. In my application video, we did a whole bunch of silly things: my set was purple, I wore all purple. Just make a really good story, you have to learn how to talk to users and talk to investors- both sides of the market. I got really good at selling myself and selling therapy. I got casted after that, but I will say, it didn’t go great. You can see it online.
Product Manager, Moda Operandi & Founder, TechFestClub
About Mia: I’m a “slasher.” I do one thing “slash” another thing. My day job is a Product Manager for a luxury fashion retailer, Moda Operandi. My other job, which is more of a passion project for me, is that I run TechFestClub, which is a meetup for women in tech. The company I work for is a startup, four years old, and 99% women. Working in a startup founded by women and run by women is really exciting and interesting. And then also, on the side, empowering other women to take that first step into tech or to continue their education in tech and doing it in a manageable way with morning meetups and outreach and community work and things like that is sort of my passion.
My Superpower: My superpower would be a truth serum sort of a thing, so that anyone I’m talking to I could flip a switch in my mind and they would have to tell me the truth about whatever it is that they’re saying, so there’s no nuance and there’s no pretense in the conversation.
How General Assembly bootcamp helped build a new Product team: I did the General Assembly course for product management. I was in a unique situation because I was on a product team, which was a new team to this big company that didn’t understand what product was and didn’t understand it’s function. I actually did the bootcamp with three of our team members and our boss just so that we could adopt a cohesive vocabulary and understanding of what our team was going to be doing and then be ambassadors for our own team outward to the company. Personally, it was really helpful because it gave our team a drum to march to. It gave us a foundational understanding of what we should be doing.
On utilizing a bootcamp's alumni network: I have been hosting all the TechFestClub meetups at General Assembly, and the reason I’ve been able to do that is I have the connections through the General Assembly alumni network. They were very willing to take a chance on anyone who came out of one of their programs. That network that you gain after taking those classes and the people you meet from the class or in the broader network from bootcamps like Codify or Startup Institute. All of that stuff helps you build your network within the community anyway, and so whatever it is that you do next, they’re going to support you in that.
On transitioning to a startup from a large corporation: The biggest thing is understanding the culture and being an easy person to work with. The company’s mission isn’t going to be static. The better you understand the mission of that moment, the better you can adapt and provide your skillset and change the hat you’re wearing in that moment to adapt to your surroundings. Be easy to get along with and not being high maintenance, and bring those skills to the table.
People Ops for yPlan
About Jess: I’m going to steal the term “slasher” from Mia because that’s really fun. I started in the startup space in 2011 with Airbnb; I wanted to travel the world and they were remote and that was awesome. I started there and I met an incredible group of people and it led me into finding my mentor, which is greatly important when you’re in this space; finding a mentor that you can really jive with who’s going to be open and transparent with you. Anyway, I started consulting with a company called StoreFront and helping them with their growth plans in New York City and then YPlan found me. I was the first US employee at YPlan and I took on so many different roles, kind of like a Swiss Army Knife. I was their photo editor, I ran their business operations, I lead their human resources payroll and benefits and now I’m starting my own company. Fun fact, I’m kind of a street gold junkie, I love hunting random finds and flipping those on Craigslist.
My Superpower: Teleporting, so I could go to the tropics whenever I want.
What skills do you need to get into a startup? When you’re making a career change or entering the startup space for the first time, confidence is a huge part of it. Be super passionate, do your research on the company, understand what their mission is because you’re building a business with them. You’re not just an employee at a startup. You’re owning it and you’re part of their story. It’s huge to understand that, and to be really excited and motivated by that. Think about how to spin your past experiences in a creative way. Market yourself! There are so many people that say, “I really like to do project management, but I’ve never been a project manager.” Well, I can tell you, you’ve managed projects in the past, and there are things that you’ve done that you can parlay into a future setting for yourself. Don’t be afraid to mix it up a little bit and then just be you and be kind and really show your interest. I think that’s really what founders and hiring managers want to see.
CEO of Lover.ly
About Kellee: I’m the founder and CEO of Lover.ly, a wedding planning site and app. We help brides find ideas, attire, and things to buy for their wedding. As of three weeks ago, we just launched our first eight bridal collections- bridesmaids’ dresses, little white dresses, decor, stationery, jewelry, everything for your wedding. Fun fact, I am one of five kids, and four of the five of us are entrepreneurs.
My Superpower: If I had a superpower, it would also be to teleport because all of my family is in LA. Also, to not be late to meetings, which I tend to have a problem with because I overcommit a little bit.
How did you find mentors in tech? When I first started working on Lover.ly, I had just moved to New York. I literally hit reset on my life. I would come to events like this one and talk to anyone and everyone. I told everyone I was starting a company and it was going to change the wedding industry and I kind of faked it until I guess I’ve made it. My first mentors were just my peers; people who were a couple months ahead of me, and anyone who would go to coffee with me and give me feedback. I started stalking gracefully, other entrepreneurs and former CEOs and investors who would give me feedback on my idea. Everyone gives you a lot of advice, but the things that I kept hearing over and over again resonated with me. Those original mentors ended up being my seed investors for the first $500,000 that I raised. Now it’s evolved, and seven months ago I hired my mentor to be the president of my company.
The skills you need to get started in tech: We’re hiring right now for designers, engineers, and merchandisers, so I’m going through this right now. Really, what we look at is the intersection of your interest and your skillset. What are you passionate about? What gets you excited every single day? And then, what are you good at? I don’t have job descriptions broken out because it’s really about the person that you bring in and how they are going to adapt into your organization. For example, I have a girl who started doing ad operations and now she’s running our e-commerce merchandising, and it’s just because she really liked fashion. She never thought she’d apply for that job, but she was good at it, and she gravitated towards it. In a startup, you’re looking for people who are passionate, but also who are very adaptable because shit changes really fast. You have to be really adaptable and you have to be likable. You have to treat people with respect and be nice. In the four years at Lover.ly, we’ve transitioned brilliant, brilliant engineers out of the organization just because they weren’t nice and they didn’t treat people with respect. I didn’t give up my high paying job to work with a bunch of jerks.
What are the traits that startups look for in an applicant?
Diane: We did a big research project and asked a couple hundred executives to tell us about the person in their company that they would absolutely like to clone and who do you wish that you had never hired? Here are the six things that came out of that:
- Somebody who doesn’t freak out when things are ambiguous and stressful. Who can be cool as a cucumber when the shit hits the fan? If you need a job description, forget it. If you can’t work without structure, then you’re probably not made to work at a startup.
- Somebody who is a learner and has thick skin, so you can handle feedback.
- The third trait is passion.
- The fourth trait is just grit. Staying until midnight and figuring this out because you’re just that determined. I think part of that grit is just not getting bogged down in process. The ability to take action, to take a small step even when you’re not really sure what to do.
- The fifth trait is collaboration, being able to work with other people.
- The last one is putting the company and the mission before yourself.
I currently work in CPG (Consumer Packaged Goods). For those of us who that tech is our passion, what’s the best way to make the pitch when were coming from a non-technical background?
Kellee: At Lover.ly, we were a completely digital company and now we’re starting to sell products. Nobody in our organization knows anything about supply chain, and we actually are looking for experience in CPG. Do your research on companies that are either in transition or potentially could use your skillset. When you apply, show that in the cover letter. If someone does the research, and actually says, “Hi, I’m a human. This is how I think I can help your organization. I would love to come and talk to you about it.” That person always gets a meeting because they humanize themselves. They tell you that they care about your company and they have ideas for how to leverage their skillsets. A lot of people say it’s a numbers game, but I’ve had someone walk in who I wasn’t even hiring for and before she left I asked her, “Can you start on Monday? I need someone to run our office.” It’s just about letting people know, and when you’re working with a cover letter or 150 characters on LinkedIn, you’ve got to get creative in how you can quickly give them, “This is who I am. This is what I can do. I love your company. I’d love to meet you.”
Diane: I want to give you some data on that. I just posted a job for Head of Marketing on LinkedIn. Within 48 hours, I had 300 profiles. Out of the 300, 2 people said, “Look, I think my background is a fit, but I just want you to know, I love your company. I’ve been following you, here are the top 42 things that I love.” How can you resist that? How can you resist somebody who loves your company instead of loves themselves?
I’m a developer at a digital health company. We are a small startup, but we are growing. Mia, you talked a little bit about scaling your team- we’re also trying to figure out what our environment should be like in our office, and simultaneously hiring really fast. What advice can you give?
Mia: When I was at Ann Taylor, which is a much bigger company than I’m at now, we created a mission statement for what we wanted to do internally and then we had our own guiding principles for how we wanted to present the product team to the rest of the company. Through that thought work, we thought about: “What do we care about? What do we like doing? How do we want to present ourselves to the company? What do we want our relationship with the tech team to be? What do we want our relationship with the business teams to be? What do we want our relationship with finance and CRM to be?” Establishing that allowed us to also establish the culture.
We also just became really good friends and the culture came out of our friendship. The people that I worked with at Ann Taylor are my best friends. I see them all the time. I don’t know that it’s necessarily highlighted in talks like these when you’re thinking about your career, but having good friends at work is something that has always made work fun for me. It makes your culture a more fun culture.
Have a mission statement, but also put in the effort. Even if you’re tired and all of your coworkers are going for drinks, just go. Just go for one drink. It’s worth it. You’ll bond just in that half an hour and that’s important as well.
Jessica: I would upvote that 110%. That’s excellent advice. Create that mission statement. It’s so key. Writing it down is everything. You’ve codified it and can pass it on to someone else. They can absorb it and then it grows that way.
Bea: And everyone on the team can recite the mission statement, so you can sell it that way and pass it on.
Diane: I also think you need to figure out what your values are, meaning what do we do to get to the point where we’re successful? What really matters around here? How do we want to treat each other? How do we want to make decisions? What do we actually all share in common? And then you can hire for great values that are consistent with what you’re looking for. You can train people on the rest.
I’m curious what you are reading. How do you stay up to date in the tech community?
Kellee: When I first started, I knew nothing about technology or fundraising. I started reading blogs:
- Mark Suster’s Both Sides of the Table
- Fred Wilson’s AVC. AVC has MBA Mondays, a whole series about starting companies.
- Twitter specifically for news- I follow people that I respect and I like and I see what they’re tweeting and what they’re sharing. I have them curate my reading list. Following really smart people on Twitter that you like whether it’s CEOs or engineers or designers or investors and seeing what they’re talking about and what they’re sharing.
- A lot of the big media companies glamorize and glorify startups, but they don’t talk about the nitty gritty of how hard it is. So Quora or blogs tend to be a little bit more honest and real.
Jessica: I also set Google Alerts for any company or investor series that I’m following. Set alerts for yourself so that you get pinged whenever there’s breaking news.
Mia: Because I work in the eCommerce side of fashion, I can speak to a lot of fashion resources. The ones that I read most religiously are:
- The Business of Fashion
- shop.org is really good, especially for the tech side because it’s all about eCommerce.
- Smashing Magazine has an eCommerce section
- Broadsheet, which is a women-in-leadership newsletter. I’m a big believer in newsletters because the internet is messy and a newsletter is organized in your inbox for you.
Diane: Don’t get too narrow! You can be great at tech by not just reading tech. A friend of mine just launched a new app called BriefMe, which shows the top 10 articles in real time. You need to know what’s going on in the world or you’ll get tunnel vision.
Bea: I really like Seth Godin’s blog. It’s just so pure. It’s really solid advice. Another resource that I really like for everything (not just tech) is Quora.
This question is specifically for Bea and Diane, who mentioned that they’ve had failed startups in the past. Why did these startups fail and what lessons did you learn?
Bea: First, not having domain expertise. I’m a firm believer that money doesn’t make things happen, people make things happen. So you really have to know your space and that’s why my first company failed. The site was for stay-at-home moms and I realize now that if I was a stay-at-home mom I wouldn’t have wanted to do any of that shit. I would’ve taken a nap!
Another piece of advice: know your competitors. A lot of people like to say they don’t have any competitors and they’re “first to market.” Set a Google Alert for your own company, and a Google Alert for competitors. Not to compare yourself to them, but to help form your strategy and avoid being too similar.
Coming from big companies, we’re all talking about how it’s hard to be successful in a startup, but you have to really lean in to it. I think I’ve read that everybody who left Facebook and started their own company, their companies failed. It’s because they were insulated from all the nitty gritty, hard shit. They were expecting ping-pong tables and massages on Fridays. Make mistakes, make something people want, and talk to users. A lot of people get really soft and they don’t want to hear any criticism. I wouldn’t launch any new product without a focus group. Plan, but be ready to break things.
Diane: I raised $20 million for my first company- we were building collaborative software and everybody loved what we were doing and they were buying it, but no one was using it. We started running out of money and the internet bubble burst and September 11th happened. What happened is: a) I didn’t quit and b) I had a lucky day. My biggest success was a huge failure. I was sitting in Kansas City with a client from Wal-Mart who was about to launch our product. He said to me, “Diane, I love what you’re doing, but I’m just worried that none of my team is going to use the software. I think I might have a better idea.” He did have a better idea and it worked. Most successful companies pivot. Don’t give up when it’s not working the first time. I know a lot of startups that didn’t work because they just quit too early.
You’ve talked a lot about qualities you need to work at a startup, but these things are really hard to display in a resume, in a few words. Have you met people who you saw effectively display those qualities?
Jessica: You can say so much in a cover letter- a lot of personality can come through. Follow a company on Twitter, show up to their happy hours, make your face and your name known. Say little fun facts about yourself, so that when somebody is reviewing resumes remembers meeting you. It’s not comfortable at first, but drop that security blanket and just charge forward.
Kellee: It’s also really helpful if you can get a warm introduction if you know someone who works at the company. When there are 300 resumes coming in, having that connection instantly helps.
Bea: And introduce yourself before the company is hiring. When our COO, Emily, applied, I didn’t have time to hire her. Emily said, “Why don’t you just let me take a look at your HelpDesk.” When I woke up, there were labels everywhere and she had a great idea. Show them what it will be like to work with you. Everybody wants to work with someone who’s going to make things easier for them. Sometimes you don’t even know the problem that you have before that person gets there. As much as people hate on corporate 9 to 5 jobs, you still know these systems. Come in and put those systems in place immediately. Make people’s lives easier.
Kellee: I actually got most of my interviews through tweeting the founder of companies. Even if I didn’t get that job, I still got that meeting and got see if I wanted to work with them. Twitter is really powerful, so build your personal brand through Twitter and Facebook. Create your portfolio and, if you need to, join bootcamps like Startup Institute, Codify Academy, or General Assembly.
Thanks so much to the panelists and to Codify Academy for hosting and sharing this incredible advice with the Course Report community! Interested in learning more about Codify Academy? Check out their School Page on Course Report or the Codify Academy website here!
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