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Hack Reactor

Austin, Boulder, Denver, Los Angeles, New York City, Online, Phoenix, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle

Hack Reactor

Avg Rating:4.71 ( 302 reviews )

Founded in 2012, Hack Reactor is a 12-week immersive coding school providing software engineering education, career placement services, and a network of professional peers. Hack Reactor has campuses in San Francisco, Austin, Los Angeles, and New York City, as well as an online, remote immersive (full-time and part-time)​. During the first six weeks at Hack Reactor, students learn the fundamentals of development, full stack JavaScript and are introduced to developer tools and technologies. In the final six weeks, students work on personal and group projects, using the skills they have learned, and learning more. After 800+ hours of curriculum, students graduate as full-stack software engineers and JavaScript programmers.

Hack Reactor’s immersive program is known for demanding a starting skill set beyond that of a beginner, so the applicants should allow 2 to 4 months for the admissions process. Applicants should start by enrolling in one of Hack Reactor's free or paid prep programs to learn the basics of JavaScript and prepare for Hack Reactor's technical interview. The technical interview lasts an hour and covers coding problems in JavaScript related to the prep course curriculum. After passing the technical interview, students begin Hack Reactor's 80-hour precourse.

Job preparation is integrated into the curriculum, and students will build an online presence, resume and LinkedIn profile by graduation. Hack Reactor places alumni in mid-to-senior level positions at companies in tech, including Google, Salesforce & Microsoft, with an average graduate salary of $105K (2017 San Francisco student outcomes survey; 81% survey response rate).

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  • Full-Time Software Engineering Immersive

    Apply
    MySQL, AngularJS, MongoDB, HTML, Git, JavaScript, jQuery, CSS, Express.js, React.js, Node.js, Front End
    In PersonFull Time40 Hours/week12 Weeks
    Start Date Rolling Start Date
    Cost$17,980
    Class sizeN/A
    LocationDenver, Seattle, Phoenix, Boulder, New York City, Los Angeles, Austin, San Francisco, San Jose, Online
    The Hack Reactor immersive coding bootcamp is focused on building autonomous, fully capable software engineers. Every unit in our curriculum has been pored over numerous times to optimize for educational power and efficiency. The first half of the course is often described as “drinking from a firehose” because of how much information it packs in. In the second half, you use your new skills to build projects, while learning new technologies on the fly. By the end you will be an autonomous engineer, capable of tackling unique, unfamiliar problems and building complex applications.
    Financing
    DepositAfter you have been accepted, a small deposit is required in order to secure your spot in the class.
    Financing
    Around half of our students receive help in financing their Hack Reactor journey. We work with lending companies like Ascent Funding and Climb Credit that understand the investment you are making in yourself.
    Tuition PlansFinancing options are available.
    Refund / GuaranteeNo
    Scholarship$1.3MM Hack Reactor Scholarship Fund - visit www.hackreactor.com/scholarships to apply!
    Getting in
    Minimum Skill LevelStudents need to demonstrate they are: fluent with JavaScript fundamentals, able to think like an engineer, are driven learners and empathic communicators. We have a free prep program to help you develop these skills.
    Prep WorkHack Reactor focuses on merit, not prior experience. We provide prep programs for students from any background to study and pass admissions. Take our free self-paced online prep program or a live online prep class to prepare.
    Placement TestYes
    InterviewYes
  • Remote Full-time Software Engineering Immersive

    Apply
    OnlineFull Time40 Hours/week12 Weeks
    Start Date None scheduled
    Cost$17,980
    Class sizeN/A
    LocationOnline
    Financing
    DepositAfter you have been accepted, a small deposit is required in order to secure your spot in the class.
    Financing
    Around half of our students receive help in financing their Hack Reactor journey. We work with lending companies like Ascent Funding and Climb Credit that understand the investment you are making in yourself.
    Getting in
    Minimum Skill LevelN/A
    Prep Workhttps://www.hackreactor.com/prep-programs
    Placement TestYes
    InterviewYes
  • Remote Part-Time Software Engineering Immersive

    Apply
    MySQL, AngularJS, HTML, JavaScript, jQuery, CSS, Express.js, React.js, Node.js, Front End
    OnlinePart Time20 Hours/week36 Weeks
    Start Date Rolling Start Date
    Cost$17,980
    Class sizeN/A
    LocationOnline
    Learn full-stack engineering over nine months. Same Hack Reactor curriculum, program and quality - no need to quit your job. Class is held live online with two weeknights and one half-Saturday per week plus required independent study.
    Financing
    DepositAfter you have been accepted, a small deposit is required in order to secure your spot in the class.
    Financing
    Around half of our students receive help in financing their Hack Reactor journey. We work with lending companies like Ascent Funding and Climb Credit that understand the investment you are making in yourself.
    Tuition PlansApplicants who would otherwise be unable to attend Hack Reactor may split their tuition into installments and finish paying a portion of tuition up to six months after graduation.
    Refund / GuaranteeNo
    Scholarship$1.3MM Hack Reactor Scholarship Fund - visit www.hackreactor.com/scholarships to apply!
    Getting in
    Minimum Skill LevelStudents need to demonstrate they are: fluent with JavaScript fundamentals, able to think like an engineer, are driven learners and empathic communicators. We have a free prep program to help you develop these skills.
    Prep WorkHack Reactor focuses on merit, not prior experience. We provide prep programs for students from any background to study and pass admissions. Take our free self-paced online prep program or a live online prep class to prepare.
    Placement TestYes
    InterviewYes
  • Cary Meskell • Graduate
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    Hack Reactor consistently met or exceeded my expectations over the course of the program. They start with an emphasis on the fundamentals of javascript and move on to provide a thorough walkthrough of the full stack over the first 6 weeks. From there, students enter a project period where they have the freedom to adopt new technologies for their apps or to further expand on technologies covered earlier in the course.

    As a whole, I felt that Hack Reactor delivered a complete package. I found the curriculum to be very well constructed and taught by passionate instructors that take students' concerns very seriously. If students feel that they need extra help on a subject, they can submit a help request or schedule time with their tech mentor. Hack Reactor even takes care to assign a counselor to each class that helps to provide emotional support and general guidance. Students are frequently asked to give honest feedback about anything on their minds, which helps to form a stronger curriculum moving forward. In addition to the normal curriculum, tech talks are often held after-hours where industry professionals or alumni present on new technologies and developments.

    I was initially skeptical of 'bootcamps', as most people are, but after speaking with an old friend who had found success after taking the course, I decided to take the plunge. Looking back on it now, I'm glad I did. I am now a capable sotware engineer with the right tools and the know-how to use them effectively in the industry today!

  • Vincent Barilla • Graduate
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    Hack Reactor is extremely attentive to our feedback as students, using what we say to improve, refine, and polish its curriculum. This iterative approach to education makes so much sense for we engineers who will, for our careers, employ an iterative approach to problem solving. As good as the course is now, it'll only get better through the efforts and commitment of its admin and staff. 

    Also, the people you meet there are amazing, coming from all walks of life, all sharing common traits of extreme motivation and being very bright -- and often hilarious, I laughed a ton while working nonstop. 

    Give it a shot!

    Also, as a last word of advice: I definitely think my experience was optimized by coming into the program with a solid background in non-JavaScript languages, and then also having taken a month or so to develop some projects using vanilla JavaScript and Node (and HTML and CSS). Even though you will learn everything you need to know to succed by completing the mandatory Precourse curriculum before your start date, having a headstart on JavaScript fundamentals, with a focus on common data structures, will be extremely valuable. 

  • Greatest Place Ever
    - 10/22/2016
    Dan Snyder • Graduate
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    When I first heard about this program, I didn't know what to expect, and I was a little skeptical. I read some reviews and decided to try Fulcrum out. I started to really enjoy what I was learning and could tell that the staff really cared about my understanding. I decided to take the plunge and found whatever means I could to gather the tuition funds. Making that plunge was one of the best decisions of my life. This program was well worth it and, maybe even worth a little more. The curriculum is top notch, and it really helps to get you up to speed with the rest of the industry. The staff and the students make it one of the most welcoming learning environments I have ever been apart of. If you have the chance to go to this program then GO! You will be doing yourself a disservice if you get in and don't go! 

  • Michael Wong • Graduate
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    At first l was skeptical. I wasn't sure what to expect but my sister who had found recent success doing a different bootcamp told me to apply here and that "it's the best". I'm really glad that I took her advice. I am honestly amazed at what I have accomplished in 3 months and can't wait to make the HR community proud out in the industry. Aside from an amazing curriculum, HRs staff and support are unparalleled. They really care... like truely care not only about your success but mental and physical wellbeing as well. I'm already recommending this program to many of my friends! HR in my opinion is the industry standard when it comes to teaching their students how to become productive software engineers. 

  • Brian Kilrain • Graduate
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    I'm graduating today and couldn't be happier with the investment I made 3 months ago. For the sake of full disclosure, I'll mention that I was chosen, and happily agreed, to take one of the Hacker in Residence slots for my cohort. So some might say I'm biased... but I'd respond that I'm in the best position to speak about Hack Reactor as I have the perspective of a student and a freshly minted temporary employee.

    Reviewing from a high level, Hack Reactor is an intense, immersive experience in coding. My cohort and I were quite green at the start of our term... now we are capable software engineers. Since we haven't really ramped up the job search yet (that'll start next week), that might seem like a dubious statement. But we all feel prepared to take on the challenge because we've spent the last three months tackling problems that seemed, at first glance, impossible. Anecdotally, of the previous cohort who graduated 7 weeks ago, about half already have jobs in the industry.

    When I was mulling over which bootcamp to attend (or if I should even attend one at all), I thought all the reviews for Hack Reactor sounded like the folks writing them were brainwashed. I found it hard to believe so many students could gush about how great the school was. It seemed like a trick. But here I am, doing the thing.

    HR is divided into two 6-week portions dubbed junior portion and senior portion. For most of the first half, our time is divided into short sprints where we focus on learning a different technology or programming concept. I remember around week 3 or 4, I was mentally and emotionally drained each night as I crawled into bed. My head throbbed and I dreamt about coding and frontend frameworks. I spent all my waking hours at school and saw my wife and daughter only briefly in the mornings if they were up. It was the worst... but I knew it was a small sacrifice. You get out of it what you put in.

    The entire second half was spent working on various projects. It was in this portion where we put our new knowledge to work while also learning more in depth about system design and achitecturing apps to scale. My cohort's thesis projects included technologies like WebRTC, machine learning, block chain, Python, computer vision, IoT... one group coerced Amazon's Alexa into a daily journeling device. It's crazy what people accomplished. 

    It was during the senior portion, as well, that they prepped us all for the job hunt. The outcomes staff worked with us to clean up our digital selves (linkedin, angellist, etc) as well as making sure we had the soft skills necessary to get past each step in the the interview process. 

    Some folks in my cohort were unhappy with the second half. They thought there wasn't as much value since we weren't in lecture or churning through new curriculum as much as the first half. While I can see their point, I also remember how annoyed I was when my group had to pause our work to attend a lecture... even though the content of said lecture was crucial to some aspect of programming or the job hunt. So... could we have just as easily sat in the nearest cafe and coded on our own? Probably. But we would have lacked the guidance of the technical mentors as well as all the more dev ops-y lectures towards the end of the course. Plus... I learn by doing, not by sitting in a lecture. I'm far better prepared for applying for jobs now, instead of having to spend time after the course is over practicing my new skills.

    In addition to the regular curriculum, there are some bonuses that HR provides. We study a new toy problem everyday which helps all the students prepare for the types of technical interview questions we'll see in the wild. The alumni network is incredible and all grads get job hunt support for life. Probably the best thing about HR, though, are the people here. The students are all diverse, smart and driven. I could accomplish more just by rubbing shoulders with these incredible people each day. The staff are super devoted. They sometimes stayed late to help us after hours... or they'd come out for a drink after a particularly tough day.

    Finally, the leadership of the company has created a teaching philosophy that works wonders and they stick to those principles. I know bootcamps have a reputation for being fly-by-night money-making machines. While it was clear that Hack Reactor was a business, I always felt that our accomplishment was their top priority. This was especially evident when a much admired, non-technical staff-member quit their job during our cohort to study and take a stab at the entrance interview. This person had worked at the company for many years, had intimate knowledge of non-student-facing procedures and culture... and they decided the time and money were worth it.

    Wow... look at me. I'm one of those gushing reviewers and I kind of feel bad that I can't be more objective. But this place is the real deal. If you are on the fence, go for it. Study study study to pass that entrance interview and keep trying if you don't get in the first go around. 

  • Marco • Student
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    I have been on a wild ride of my life for the last 3 months and it only seemed to get crazier and crazier. Your journey begins once you have been accepted and start working on the precourse. The estimated time to complete this was said to be 70 hours, but many of my peers and I have agreed that it takes over 100+. Usually you have 4 weeks to complete the precourse, but if you have a late acceptance like me, you may have less. I struggled a lot, but this struggle helped me relate to my peers and become really good friends with them. The best part of this program is the amount of awesome people that you get to know, grow with, and love. The amount of material covered in the first 6 weeks was pretty crazy and intense. You spend the first week strengthening your Javascript and the rest learning new concepts, libraries, and frameworks. Luckily, we were guided by very awesome and intelligent tech mentors who helped us develop our own approach to reaching a solution. One thing to note is that Hack Reactor isn't a magical place where you suddenly have to knowledge and skillset to be a software engineer. You will have to drive and motivate yourself to learn and struggle uncomfortably. Even though the first 6 weeks was difficult and the 2nd half of the program is much less guided, this was immensely more difficult for me. This is the project phase of program where you build full stack applications in a team. My groups built very ambitious apps in an incredibly short amount of time. I have been on such an awesome journey with some of the most incredible people. I felt like I have learned and grown so much because of the program and the only thing I hate about it is that my time here was so short. I am not sure how I am going to feel once i graduate today and no longer see the people I spent 13 hours a day with. I love cohort HR47!
  • Bill • Graduate
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    This is a phenomenal program.  I went through a Masters in Information Systems and an MBA degree, and went out to the bay and couldn't get a job in a start-up, because I didn't have the proper skills.  Because of this, I went to Hack Reactor and within a week of graduation got a high paying job in a startup.  

  • Elliot Plant • Software Engineer • Graduate
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    Going to Hack Reactor was without a doubt the best decision I've made in my career, and one of the best decisions I've made in my life. Their curriculum is great, their teachers are even better, and the space is amazing. Above all that is the atmosphere of energy they maintain to keep you motivated to learn every single moment of every day. The people - both the staff and the students - are all stoked 24/7. You'll learn an incredible ammount, but you'll always leave the hacking space wanting to learn even more.

    One aspect of HR that I didn't expect was how much I would love the people in my cohort. I expected to learn javascript, but I ended up learning javascript and making some amazing friends.

    There's no reason not to apply to Hack Reactor, but if you've been accepted and you're on the fence about going, here's a couple thoughts on how you should weigh your options: Do you LOVE to code? Do you stay up late building things just to make them work a little better? Do you feel like you have a billion ideas crawling around in your head and if only you knew how to code you'd build them all next week? If you answered yes to those questions, definitely sign up. On the flip side, here are some more questions for you: Does writing code make you tired? Do you get frustrated when things aren't going your way? Do you hate when other people give you pointers and advice? If you said yes to those, you should consider a career in something other than tech.

    I realize that Hack Reactor is a very large financial commitment, but if you can get the resources in a responsible way, then I highly recommend applying. It changed the trajectory of my life in a way that I never could have imagined at my previous job, and I really hope it can do the same for you.

  • Nori Maki Arare • Graduate
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    A quick reminder: Hack Reactor was created in late 2012 by DevBootcamp grads.

    In this article I’ll review the curriculum of the bootcamp and the reality graduates are facing.

    The curriculum.

    ~45 per class 90 per floor. 180 at any given time. The “Elite” program generates a cool $3.56M every 3 month.

    The first week is here to set your expectations, they have hours of lectures specifically on what to expect for the next 11 weeks. They offer you to drop out within the first week with a refund, minus the $2K+ deposit you paid. Ironically the number of lectures drops dramatically after the first week. After which lectures are every other day, 1 hour long each, for the first 6weeks. The second 6 weeks you’re basically learning on your own.

    The material is divided in “sprints”, you have to understand and remember the topic in 2 days, hacking through it, while paired with another student. After a 2 day sprint you see a rushed video you’re supposed to learn from, if you need help during the sprints you get in queue to get help from a recent graduate who himself barely knows the material to help you.

    To resume: You’re getting an hour long lecture, after which you have two days to work on the new topic, after which you get a 1h long video of the instructor explaining how he would have solved the assignment. (apparently that’s worth 20K)

    The students assigned to help during the sprints have graduated just before you started. They offer certain students to work part time as instructional help for 3 month after they graduated. Unfortunately they are not experts. They do not know best practices that comes with real work experience, that they don’t have.

    Mind you, the first 6 weeks (instructional weeks) you have to use 4 years old mac mini, plugged in to a shamefully slow internet. With wireless peripherals that keep breaking all the while you’re trying to hack your way through the curriculum. You would expect more for the price you’re paying.

    The third month you’ll work on your thesis project with a team chosen for you. You’ll receive endless lectures on how to find a job and how to present yourself. They have squeezed the actual technical teaching time to the first 6 weeks. The second half is cruise control.

    The reality.

    Learning one language isn’t enough. There are too many bootcamp grads nowadays, people want you to know more than one paradigm. Hack Reactor only teaches javascript. And a lot of veteran programmers, however wrong they might be, regard it as a lesser language. For an “Elite program” I would have expected to learn at least one additional language, maybe a back end one such as Python or Java. It would make grads much more competitive in the job search.

    The reason you don’t see bad reviews is the alumni program, they invite you to meet your old classmates in “reunions” about once a year and they promise they’ll help you review your resume at anytime in the future should you decide to go back on the job hunt. But between us grads, we talk about how overpriced the program was. I even had an interview where the interviewer happened to be a hack reactor graduate, he was complaining about the latter.

    The idea itself is becoming outdated. They just updated their outcomes data going from 99% of grads find a job in 3 months, to 98% of grads find a job in 6 month that just does not seem reasonable by any standards.

    Another observation, most people who get in, are already qualified people, with top university degrees. These very people will now take up to 6 month to find a full stack job with this pseudo degree.

    In reality anyone actively looking for a job can find one within 6 month. These statistics are really there to wow you, but after a short analysis, you realize how little is means.

    I was lucky to have found a job after a couple month but I know dozens of intelligent graduates who are currently still looking for a job several months after graduation. Having Hack Reactor on their resume might actually repel potential employers, not because of the name but simply because it’s a bootcamp. Most employers don’t know the difference between bootcamps.

    They have just increased the tuition by $2,000 it now is $19,780. Why increase tuition knowing the cost hasn’t changed but your outcomes stats have worsened ? I’m guessing they want to cash in as much as they can while they can.

    I felt the need to write this for potential students who are interested in the program. I wish, that myself, read something like this before signing up. You should know what you’re getting into. In my opinion, it’s not worth the price. Study the material yourself (see the medium article by Andrew Charlebois) or join a cheaper bootcamp. You’ll learn the same and you’ll be $20K richer.

    I have included the current curriculum (publicly available at the time of publishing) to give you an idea of what the program teaches.

    Technical learning part of the program ~6 weeks

    • Orientation and Precourse Review
    • Data Modeling and Classes
    • Data Structures and Complexity Analysis
    • Inheritance Patterns
    • Algorithms
    • D3
    • Browser apps, jQuery, and AJAX
    • MVC and Backbone
    • ES6, APIs, and React
    • Servers and Node
    • Server-side Techniques
    • Databases
    • Authentication
    • Deployment
    • Angular
    • MVP Project
    • Greenfield Project
    • Technical Assessment (full day assessment on what you learned for the first 6 weeks)
    • Solo Week (one week off)

    Thesis project part of the program, lectures are now all about job search ~6 weeks

    • Senior Schedule Begins
    • Legacy Project
    • Post Development
    • Professional Resume
    • Thesis Project Kickoff / Thesis Sprint 1
    • Thesis Sprint 2
    • Thesis Sprint 3
    • Thesis Sprint 4
    • Thesis Sprint 5
    • Thesis Sprint 6
    • Thesis Sprint 7
    • Thesis Sprint 8
    • Thesis Sprint 9
    • Thesis Sprint 10
    • Thesis Sprint 11
    • Thesis Sprint 12
    • Hiring Sprint
    • Career Search Sprint

    If you want to make a successful bootcamp just follow the recipe: 1. Go to a bootcamp yourself to learn the tricks 2. Hire smart people to help you with student’s moral support, and designing a curriculum 3. Use guerilla marketing and tech blogs to raise attention 4. Only let in people who could already get a job without coming to the bootcamp 5. Publish numbers like 99% get a job or 3% acceptance rate by manipulating the fine print.

    TL,DR.

    Hack Reactor is not the best learning program out there, they’re trying to save a concept that was working 2 years ago and that is no more. Their promises aren’t as appealing as they used to be, and it’s definitely not worth the $19,780 that they are asking.

    If you have any questions about my experience or would like to know more, feel free to message me. I encourage all recent Hack Reactor graduates to write about their own experiences to raise awareness about the program.

    Nori Maki Arare

  • Zac • Hacker in Residence • Graduate
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    A little over six months ago my brother, a developer in SF, pushed this "Heack Reactor Remote Beta" bootcamp at me. He'd pushed various classes at me before, but this was the first I could take it from my home in MN, and with friendly-looking lending partners to help pay for it, I didn't really have any excuse not to apply. So I did. And after cramming the material they emailed me for a couple of weeks, I interviewed and somehow was accepted.

     

    Hack Reactor is one of the best things I have ever done with my life. They took me from someone who was good with computers and kind of knew how to code ("Look, I made it say 'Hello World' in the console!"), to an engineer. Full stop. Tell me what you want me to build. I can build it. The curriculum is fantastic. It makes you fluent in JavaScript by throwing you at real world problems over and over, and giving you just enough help to stay afloat. It was a tough three months, but ultimately I thrived on the challenge. I have yet to start my job search, but I have absolute confidence in my abilities, and I don't expect to be searching long.

     

    I'd also like to take a moment to respond to a couple of the negative reviews left by people who have had issues with the admissions process. It is a tough process. It has to be. The expectations for you on day one at Hack Reactor will be very high. And while the faculty is very supportive, and if they accepted you they have every intention of seeing you to the finish line, the nature of the course is a little sink-or-swim. You will have to perform at a very high level immediately. But the upside is, that by making their admissions process so challenging, they can have confidence in every one of their students.

     

    So I'm sorry that some people have had a bad admissions experience, and it's possible that some aspects could have been handled a little better, but some of what has been said is just blatantly untrue. Most importantly, HR alumni who "can't find a job", are not hired as Hackers in Residence. Hiring decisions for HiRs are made before alumni even graduate. Those who do it are putting off their job search for 3 months, essentially extending their HR curriculum as a sort of paid intern, and the hiring percentages reflect this. It's also worth noting that Fulcrum is guided self-study. That may not be for everyone. On top of that, it sounds like some reviewers did not take full advantage of the resources Fulcrum makes available for extra help. If you do go the Fulcrum route, I highly recommend leaning on your mentors as much as they will allow. Finally, I'd like to say that reimplementing Underscore is writing actual in-use production code. Underscore is a library used by millions of developers. The problems you solve by rebuilding it are far closer to the sorts of problems you will encounter in the wild than most any other curriculum outside of HR proper.

  • Tony L • Applicant
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    I’d like to share my experience in Fulcrum as preparation for the Hack Reactor Onsite interview. I just passed the new interview format today after about a year of trying. I want to encourage other prospective students to keep pushing through even after big setbacks, and I do want to address some concerns that another Fulcrum student posted earlier about their bad experience.

    I have a non-technical background as a graphic designer. It takes me a lot of time and preparation as a complete beginner to understand some of the more complex things about JavaScript, especially solving problems with higher-order functions. I tried to read and solve the problems of Eloquent JavaScript’s chapters 1-5. I found the ramping of knowledge way too high after chapter 3 and really feel the book is for experienced programmers from other languages and not for complete beginners.

    I continued to struggle through Eloquent JavaScript and Codecademy exercises and applied to HR last year. I actually interviewed 3 times last year but didn’t pass. Looking back, I see that my weakness was thinking that being able to define forEach, map, reduce, filter, and reject was enough. That’s basically just the ground floor! You need to be able to solve UNKNOWN toy problems, under a time pressure, and be able to easily recall functional higher-order combinations — all while verbalizing your thoughts, which is very aggravating!

    After Fulcrum came out in late 2015, I joined the program early this year while working part-time. The Fulcrum material is a lot more rigorous than what I encountered in my prior months of self-study. It’s a much higher challenge than all those freebie lessons that litter the Internet. Codecademy and Code School give you a really false sense that you’re ready to go at bootcamps when you absolutely still just have basic understanding. (There’s too much structure and the end-of-unit problems are very easy. Can you remember what you did on those website a few days later? However, I have heard that Codecademy’s Github track is very good, and I do really like Code School’s approach to making programming more accessible.)

    The best thing I found in Fulcrum is the help of the mentors. You can schedule “office hours” with them in 15 minute blocks, and you have to pass their check-ins after key points in the curriculum. (They’re modeled after the tech interview experience, and that kind of accountability to a person who is judging your understanding is something that I don’t think you can experience through just solo studying.) 

    The mentors guided me in understanding things in functional programming that weren’t apparent when I studied on my own last year, like how you cannot break out of a forEach function. It took me several tries to pass some of the check-ins. Knowing that they’re all HR graduates, it was striking how the mentors all demonstrated their extremely high aptitude in JavaScript problem solving techniques. They know what your code is going to produce without running the code in a console! They can immediately find the errors in your thinking and gently help you to reason your way to a solution.

    As an example of the higher difficulty of toy problem you’re expected to solve, the mentors guided me to using combinations of higher order functions to iterate through an unknown amount of arrays to eliminate elements in the first array that are listed in the subsequent arrays. Very tricky stuff, and you need to know how to handle the arguments object with call() and apply().

    These kinds of “combine several concepts” programming challenges are all at a high bar in Fulcrum. They have a “MakerSquare Challenge” collection of toy problems that are pretty challenging, but I was able to solve more and more of them as the weeks went on as I tried to apply the Underbar functions that I wrote. You also get to join a Slack group that has students from all over the world, so I made some friends that were up late at night with me and early in the morning, trying to tease out a clear understanding of the concepts together. Having a community of learners that share your struggle and challenge your progress is extremely motivating!

    So, what about the criticisms of the curriculum? Yes, there are a crapload of slides. If Codecademy is at a middle school level of effort, Fulcrum is like a college level. How do you transfer the deep knowledge of fundamental concepts to brand-new students? Unfortunately, it’s going to take many, many slides to explain things at a comprehensive level. For example, there’s not much articles about execution contexts on the web, but they are explained in the Fulcrum slides as a way to grasp function scopes and why they work the way they do. 

    I do feel bad that the other Fulcrum student had a disappointing experience. I would encourage them and other prospective students to keep upping their game and go through a very high amount of practice. Being able to write every() is a “meet the minimum bar” kind of challenge. It’s part of the Underbar functions that you are required to write from scratch in Fulcrum. You can actually use reduce() to write it, but as I learned from the Fulcrum challenges, you need to combine some(), every(), contains() — and more — to gain mastery in solving unseen and challenging toy problems that prepare you for the interview.

    And no — just because the Underscore library (which Underbar is based on) is available for free on the Internet does not mean that you can understand and use those functions with ease.

    Fulcrum is based on the pre-course work that is required for accepted students who pass the technical interview. If you don’t challenge yourself to completely master the material, then you won’t be ready for the even more difficult and crazy challenges in the immersion program. Keep bulking up your programming muscles so you can feel great about being ready for the intensity! I’d definitely recommend the ReactX functional programming lesson (but that's only the beginning!) and doing at least 50 toy problems on Codewars.com (you should be able to solve some 6 kyu problems!). Some students definitely have a knack for programming and can get away with less. Not me, it took a ton of practice!

    I was past the halfway point in Fulcrum and was given the OK to do another interview. Hack Reactor Onsite changed their interview format recently to something that requires even more concepts to synthesize. I interviewed there a few weeks ago and was extremely discouraged that I didn’t pass. Even after going halfway through Fulcrum and studying for over a year, it wasn’t enough to pass the interview? #JustFeelsBadMang

    When I shared my experience with the Fulcrum director, he said I was really close and should keep trying. I was already satisfied with passing the MakerSquare interview a few days earlier, so I wasn’t going to try yet another interview at HR. But after the boost of encouragement, I studied for 2 more weeks and got word today that I passed the HR interview after 5 tries, even with the new, more difficult format!

    Yes, Fulcrum is a serious commitment of time and money, but it really pushed me beyond what I could achieve on my own. I personally do need actual people (like mentors and other students) to help me master a curriculum. I encourage all prospective students to practice a giant pile of toy problems and to not give up! Thanks for taking the time to read this, and keep on coding and breaking those keyboards!

  • Jason Menayan • Web Developer • Graduate
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    Naturally I can't compare Hack Reactor to other schools since I didn't attend them, but I can tell you about my experience (and I'm not paid to write this, or encouraged or even informed about this site by H/R, frankly). I went from being totally unfulfilled in my prior role in marketing, to thoroughly loving a career as a web developer at a company I adore. 

    The program is exceptionally selective but soon you see why: although people come from diverse backgrounds, at least a good third from non-technical backgrounds, they do structure the admissions process to pick those with a capacity to learn and enthusiasm to do so. The staff is fantastic and just as committed as the students.

    It does feel like you're drinking from a firehose for the first 6 weeks, but it's designed to be intense to get you employment-ready as quickly as possible, and to keep time spent without a paycheck to as short as possible. You learn things and practice them so quickly and often, you do feel comfortable enough with them to start building in the second half, which is where you navigate team dynamics along with putting your skills to use to build something. It's really impressive what many teams end up producing over the course of just a few, super intense weeks.

    Hack Reactor might not be for everyone, but I thought it was incredible and I remain grateful to them for granting me the opportunity to take my career in a different direction and actually enjoy what I'm doing at work.

Thanks!