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Hack Reactor

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

Hack Reactor

Avg Rating:4.68 ( 260 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).

Recent Hack Reactor Reviews: Rating 4.68

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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 None scheduled
    Cost$17,980
    Class sizeN/A
    LocationSan Francisco, Austin, Los Angeles, New York City, Denver, Seattle, Phoenix, Boulder, 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 SkillsFund 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 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 None scheduled
    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 SkillsFund 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

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Hey there! As of 11/1/16 is now Hack Reactor. If you graduated from prior to October 2016, Please leave your review for . Otherwise, please leave your review for Hack Reactor.

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  • Shawn Baker
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    Hello, Shawn here.

    I will phrase my review in two parts:

    1.

    I work in financial securities, and I rigourously research all of these bootcamp schools in the same manner that my employer pays me to research stocks.

    My analysis is that Hack Reactor is an over priced work of fiction that has a great SEO campaign and Google Adwords account that places them at the top whenever you type in "top coding bootcamps" into Google.

    They charge you almost 20k for materials that are available 100% free online.

    They have so called "Instructors" that are really just former students who were not smart enough to get a job...and the Founders are people with absolutely no verifiable professional working experience - NONE.

    If this was a stock I would short it.

    2.

    Has anyone else noticed the large amount of 5 star reviews?
    Is it just my imagination or is the Hack Reactor marketing team trying to flood this blog with fake reviews?

    There are 65 total reviews so far, and every negative review has immediately been swamped by "5 star reviews"...but they dont give their names.

    No details are provided in these 5 star reviews...no instructor names, no course reviews, not even any reports on trying to find a job.

    Thanks for proving everything I mentioned in this article, Hack Reactor marketing team :)

    Response From: Harsh Patel of Hack Reactor
    Title: COO
    Friday, Dec 09 2016
    Hi Shawn - we appreciate your honest feedback. It's one of four recent negative reviews on our Remote program, which is the worst streak in the history of our company.  Our team has learned from it and documented our action items in this post: http://www.hackreactor.com/blog/hack-reactors-response-to-recent-november-2016-course-report-reviews.  We aim to deliver an amazing program to every student, and we're sorry we didn't get there in this case.

    We would also like to correct some misconceptions that readers might wind up with. 
    1. It’s mentioned above that our Instructors are just former students who are not smart enough to get a job. Hack Reactor’s curriculum and program structure has been built by engineers with long careers in Software Development. We’re talking people who, at any given point in their career, worked as Software Engineers at Google, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Adobe, and the likes. There are many contributors to a student’s education: Curriculum developers, program developers, lecturers, instructors, technical mentors, counselors, and HiRs. Each person requires a specific skillet. For lecturers, and instructors, they have to be individuals who know the curriculum forwards and backwards, and who excel at working with students. Sometimes, those are the cream of the crop of graduates from the program. In fact, many students would tell you that they are some of the best teachers of software engineering on the planet. Statistically, out of roughly 2,000 graduates, <10 work as full time instructors across all the Hack Reactor campuses. That’s a < 0.05% hire rate. You can imagine how good they must have been to stand out amongst 2,000 peers.
    2. We want to stress that Hack Reactor never has and never will solicit or write fake reviews. I recommend that people  scroll through our 5 star reviews, there are many names associated and specific details on the course. You can also see our Google reviews which are all associated with individual google accounts. It’s also easy to see the career progression of thousands of our graduates with a LinkedIn search.

    Thank you again for leaving your thoughts. Read more about what we are doing as a result of everyone’s feedback in our blog post where we address many concerns and provide our action items.
  • Keith W. • Graduate
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    Before I joined Hack Reactor’s (formally MakerSquare) Software Engineering immersive program, I have been a front-end web developer with 8 years of working experience.  While I have learned valuable skills in that time-frame, my skill level to be an effective, multi-tooled full-stack Engineer was preventing me from moving forward as a Senior or Tech Lead.  While I have personally worked on online web developer tutorials, I was still missing two important factors: Being aware of what tech stacks the industry is doing and learning not just the tech, but the approach on how to effectively learn and understand them.

    This is where Hack Reactor helps you the most in becoming a super-competent Software Engineer.

    They teach you the core fundamentals - data structures, How JavaScript functions work “under the hood” (this is important! If you understand the logic of its library, you will have a better ability to write code), recursion, algorithmic thinking.  Then you move on to using the latest libraries and frameworks - React, Angular, Backbone.js for the front-end, and server side using Node.js, RESTful APIs, MySQL, MongoDB.  If you understand these concepts, libraries, and frameworks, it will give you the ability to transition to other technologies. This characteristic is vital in becoming a well-versed Software Engineer!

    And don’t forget the friendship and connections with your fellow cohorts!

    The full-time staff - this includes the instructors, code support team (recent graduates of the program), Technical Mentors, and even opportunities to talk with previous alum is one of its reasons why Hack Reactor is the best at what they do.  They are all extremely knowledgable and helpful, and have no second thoughts to stop and help you figure out issues you have in your code.
     
    I applied (and accepted) to join two other coding schools.  But with their mission statement and A++ staff and and awesome tech start up-like environment, I am more than happy I chose Hack Reactor.
     
    If you are looking to change your career, or you need to sharpen your current skills as a Software Engineer, take the time to speak with someone at Hack Reactor and join the team!
  • Harry K • student • Applicant
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    So whenever I write a review, I try to keep things factual and transparent...mainly because I'm just a regular non-IT guy trying to get into fulltime web development.  I've mastered HTML and CSS but its time to get serious about Immersive.

    I first contacted Hack Reactor through the number on their website.  This turned out to be a gigantic waste of time...as calls kept getting routed to someone called "MakerSquare"...and the Chinese guy who answered had no clue about any kind of Bootcamp.
    So then I contacted them through their facebook website, facebook has this live messenger type thing, kind of like live customer support.
    The lady who was typing in the chatbox let me know that most of the instructors are HIR...Hackers In Residence...which is just a fancy way of saying "Former Graduates".

    I was like, seriously?  You want me to pay 20k tuition to be trained by someone who used to work at Walmart or used to make sandwiches at Panera Bread?

    Complete and total scam...all their placement numbers on their website are un-verified and probably unrealistic.

    You can get the same education for 50% less anywhere else.

    Stay away from these guys.

    -Harry

    Response From: Harsh Patel of Hack Reactor
    Title: COO
    Friday, Dec 09 2016
    Hi Harry - thank you for taking the time to write a review. Our team has learned what we can from it and documented our action items in this post: http://www.hackreactor.com/blog/hack-reactors-response-to-recent-november-2016-course-report-reviews. We work hard to deliver an amazing program to every student, and we're sorry we didn't get there for you.
     
    We would also like to correct a couple misconceptions that readers might wind up with. 
    1. It’s mentioned that HiRs are just a fancy way of saying “former graduates”. You are right that they are fancy and former grads, but HiRs are also the top students from the cohort, the cream of the crop if you will, and are subsequently chosen to stay at HR to contribute to the experience here. HiRs are students who have gone through the curriculum successfully, and are generally ones who love helping their peers. Typically, these are students who otherwise would have had no problem in the job search. They are actively seeking to stay a part of the positive and encouraging community because they love it. 
    2. Regarding our placement numbers being un-verified and unrealistic, this is absolutely not true. The only way we can uphold the highest form of integrity, is through a third-party validation of data. In fact, in June 2016, Hack Reactor launched the Standard Student Outcomes Methodology (SSOM) as a transparent, systematic way of quantifying and reporting student outcomes. This is the first of its kind and allows bootcamps to classify each student according to clear definitions and strict documentation standards, and provides formulas for calculating placement rate, graduation rate and average graduate salary. Hack Reactor’s 2015 Audited Report was conducted in accordance to the attestation standards established by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. We invite any school to adopt this method to give honest information to prospective students. 

    Thank you again for leaving your feedback. Read more in our blog post where we address your concerns and provide our action items.

  • Kevin • Graduate
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    Hack Reactor is a life-changing program that I would recommend to anyone that is motivated willing to work hard to achieve their goals of becoming a software engineer. Throughout the first half there were times that I struggled, however as we entered the project phases in the second half, I felt prepared to learn and tackle problems without the guidance of a structured curriculum. Our cohort had a new curriculum that was changed for week 12, with more of a focus on the types of things that previous graduates had struggled with in the job searching phase. This was still a bit rough around the edges since it was new, however it was very valuable to find out the spots that needed to be improved on as I begin my own job search. Finally the best takeaway from Hack Reactor is the amazing people I met and worked with, this is what made the program special, being surrounded by motivated and like-minded people all helping each other work towards our future goals.

  • Best decision ever
    - 10/31/2016
    Julie • Software Engineer • Graduate
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    I had always wanted to make the move into web development since I discovered the internet and I had taken online classes at a local community college but was never able to actually make the move until I took this class.

    I found out about HR while reading my feeds at work after just having received my severance date.  I used what was going to be my severance check to pay for the program and was the only female in a cohort of 15.  

    It is a lot of hard work and I think you get what you put into it.  There were issues as we were the second remote cohort, but the HR team bent over backwards to help and support us.

    With respect to finding a job afterwards, I believe it was harder being remote, but through the support and persistence of certain people at HR, I was able to find a job in my home town about 8-9 weeks after graduating.  Yes I had to do the job hunt.  Yes I had to send out the resumes.  Yes I had to do the work.  But HR was checking in almost daily with me with words of encouragement and mock interviews.

    After all was said and done, I now work as a Software Engineer and my husband loves to tell people "Yea I thought this was another of her 'get rich quick schemes', but it worked!".  I love my job!

  • Simeon • Graduate
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    You'll never find a better way to invest in your career. This place attracts amazing, friendly people and the staff work painstakingly hard to foster an incredible environment for learners to thrive. It's fast paced and requires long hours and discipline but what is really important is that the entire program is structured to turn you into a learning machine, which is what a software developer will need to have a long and successful career. If you're thinking about making a career change at all, this is the place to do it!

  • Chris • Student • Student
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    Hack Reactor is a rigorous and challenging bootcamp. I learned things in an amount of time I could never dream of before joining. I met some of the most amazing and intelligent people from diverse backgrounds. Would recommend to anyone looking for a challenge.

  • Hack Reactor Review
    - 10/28/2016
    Robert Chao • Graduate
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    Good culture to provide you with the tools necessary to learn javascript and CS fundamentals. The course is no cake walk, however. Expect to spend 80+ hours a week studying/coding. Staff instruction/lectures is kept to a minumum to foster independent learning amongst students. 

  • Josephine Eng • Graduate
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    Hack Reactor is a school that cares about their student's success and well-being.  I would definitely recommend this program to anyone who wants to start a career in software engineering and thrives in a fast pace environment.  Everyone here genuinely cares about what they are doing.  Working among talented, smart, and passionate people in such an immersive program cultivates an environment for success.  I found myself more motivated than ever.  Hack Reactor also puts a lot of care, thought, and dedication into creating the best possible program that will help their students reach their full potential, and welcomes constant feedback from each person, to constantly improve and adapt to student needs.  The program is incredibly rigorous and designed to foster the kind of growth and autonomy needed to succeed in software engineering.  I entered the program expecting it to be very difficult, but what I didn't expect was how much fun I would have.  Ultimately, I came away with the skills necessary to land a job, an amazing experience, and entire cohort of friends who I genuinely cherish.

  • Wendy Cheung
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    These last three months has been the most rewarding and fun experience I had. I learned so much and I got to meet a group of awesome smart dedicated software engineers. Love my cohort, Hack Reactor knows how to pick the right students.

  • surender singh • Graduate
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    One of the life changing moment. Hack Reactor is a real software engineering school which push you hard to find your potential and apply it. I have learned so much while studing here. I would highly recommend people who believe themselve that they could be software engineers or they should have go to software school.   

  • Highly rewarding
    - 10/27/2016
    Sean • Graduate
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    Let me start off by saying that Hack Reactor is not for everyone. It costs a lot of money, takes up a lot of time and energy, and you are pretty much foregoing 3 months of your life to be without family, friends and a lot of sleep. It will be a mentally, physically, and perhaps even emotionally draining experience. However, if you are okay with all of that and feel the need to make a career switch into programming, there is no better alternative than going to Hack Reactor. 

    Personally, Hack Reactor has been a life-changing experience. I feel that if you choose to go, the people you meet at Hack Reactor will probably be the smartest, nicest and most outstanding people you will ever have the chance to meet. And not only will you be able to meet them, but you will also have the opportunity to work together and form very close, lasting friendships. 

    On top of having a great community, Hack Reactor also has an excellent curriculum and fantastic staff. Every morning you are given a toy problem to solve, and over the course of the program you will get really good at solving problems and devising algorithms. After the first 6 weeks, you will become a master at JavaScript, and over the next 6 weeks, you will have developed 4 applications of your choosing. This is guaranteed, thanks to the support provided by the staff, who always make themselves available if you seek assistance. 

    My time at Hack Reactor has been the most incredible 12 weeks of my life. If you are willing to invest the time and money, I can't think of anywhere better than this magical environment.

  • Apply and go.
    - 10/26/2016
    Mike Bordelon • Student
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    The staff: They pour their hearts into the students, curriculum and in general into HR, always looking for ways to improve. My tech mentor (shout out to Beth!) knew the curriculum inside and out and could get you going on the right path in just a few minutes if you were ever stuck. Lectures from Fred and Allen were all like mini master classes.

    The students:  Tons of smart people, many were engineers from fields other than computer engineering. My cohort in particular really bonded...like REALLY bonded, and it made being at HR 13-15 hours a day fun. There were Nerf wars, bar nights and after class toy problem sessions to help us all get through it alive. 

    Culture:  Well think about it, you’re surrounded by the same people for 3 months, coding all day, changing your lives…it’s not a typical environment. There’s a great vibe at HR, but it’s hard for me to describe.

    Job Support: I would like to update this part after I’m employed. I’m currently in the first week of the job search, and the support so far has been great. FYI, it’s been proposed to us that it’s not an easy task to find that first job and that rejection is the norm. But, after graduating HR you will have value that can be monetized, it just takes getting your foot in the door and proving yourself.

    Apply to HR, if you don’t get in immediately apply again. 

  • Nick Olszowy • Graduate
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    This place is intense. When your moment comes, will you go capture it or let it pass? I've never been pushed so hard (productively, with a lot of support) in my life. And I'm proud to say that my cohort has succeeded and it's exciting to see what we'll do now.

    I guess some others below didn't like the focus on becoming an autonomous learner, but I found this aspect of the course to be very rewarding. Since being a Software Engineer is a career in lifelong learning, it makes sense that a critical skill to gain would be independent learning. It's true that there aren't as many lectures as a traditional learning environment, but the lectures we did have were top-notch, and really focused on making sure everyone in the room was engaged and on-board. To me, it didn't matter at all that there were relatively few lectures, the rest of the material was amazing too and kept us quite busy.

    There are many other accurate reviews of the curriculum so I'll just mention that they just overhauled their last week of curriculum, focusing it to align more with the types technical challenges we are likely to face, and gave us a LOT more material to study up on going into the job search. I feel very well prepared for it and confident in my abilities, with a clear roadmap to keep preparing.

    A few things I really enjoyed learning here:

    • Asynchronous programming in Node.js and Promises
    • React Native
    • ES6 syntax
    • Pair programming
    • Docker, microservices and service-oriented architecture principles
    • Designing a RESTful API
  • 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!

Thanks!