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Hackbright Academy

Oakland, San Francisco, San Jose

Hackbright Academy

Avg Rating:4.51 ( 72 reviews )

Hackbright Academy is a software engineering school for women in San Francisco, California founded in 2012. The school offers a 12-week, immersive full-time software engineering program and a 24-week, part-time program, both of which cover the fundamentals of computer science and modern web development such as the command line, Python, JavaScript, HTML & CSS, Git, Flask, Django, pair programming, SQL/ORMS/NoSQL, and deployment. The part-time program covers the same content as the immersive program, but is designed for students who want to maintain their jobs. Hackbright also offers a 4-week part-time prep course, which teaches the foundations of programming; and a week-long immersive prep course. 

Prospective applicants will need to fill out an online application detailing their interests and personality, then complete a coding challenge and two interviews. Hackbright's ideal candidate has a desire to learn software development and has prior exposure to programming. 

Hackbright Academy provides students with mentorship, tech talks, and career services. After graduation, Hackbright Academy connects graduates with Silicon Valley companies looking to expand their engineering teams as alumnae work at companies like Amazon, Facebook, and Slack. Hackbright Academy offers deferred tuition, limited scholarships, and payment plans for qualified students. 

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  • Full-Time (12-week) Software Engineering Program

    Apply
    Start Date
    None scheduled
    Cost
    $16,895
    Class size
    35
    Location
    San Francisco
    Hackbright offers a full-time, 12-week Software Engineering Program that empowers women to become software engineers in 12 weeks. The immersive program is an intensive Monday through Friday course with classes from 10 am to 6 pm. Core instruction includes the fundamentals of computer science and modern web development such as the command line, Python, JavaScript, HTML & CSS, Git, Flask, Django, pair programming, SQL/ORMS/NOSQL, deployment and more! Students will enjoy a host of other benefits including mentorship, tech talks and career services. After graduation, Hackbright Academy connects graduates with Silicon Valley companies looking to expand their engineering teams. Graduates who accept a full-time job from one of the companies in the Hackbright network will be refunded a portion of their tuition. Payment plans are also available. Hackbright's ideal candidate has an inspired desire to learn software development and has prior exposure to programming.
    Financing
    Deposit
    $250 Non-Refundable
    Financing
    Deferred tuition, and lending via Skills Fund.Graduates of the Prep course are eligible for a $1,500 discount.
    Tuition Plans
    Hackbright Academy offers a deferred tuition program to select, eligible students. If eligible, that means no tuition payments until you are hired. Click here: http://hba.io/2ADhSeP
    Scholarship
    We have four scholarships available from our partners who are committed to changing the gender ratio in tech. Learn more: http://hba.io/2zahyUp
    Getting in
    Minimum Skill Level
    Knowledge of the following areas (in any programming language) and ability to demonstrate in a technical interview: Basic datatypes (strings, integers, booleans) and variables, conditional logic, looping, lists or arrays, and basic functions.
    Prep Work
    None, but there is a Prep Course available in order to obtain training to pass the technical interview.
    Placement Test
    Yes
    Interview
    Yes
  • Hackbright Prep Course

    Apply
    In PersonFull Time10 Hours/week3 Weeks
    Start Date
    None scheduled
    Cost
    $1,895
    Class size
    35
    Location
    San Francisco
    This is a 4-week part-time night course will teach you the basic fundamentals of programming. You will leave with a foundation in Python and be introduced to HTML, CSS, and Flask. The course is geared to those who are planning to apply to a bootcamp or considering shifting their careers.
    Financing
    Deposit
    $99 non-refundable deposit due upon enrolling
    Financing
    We are partnered with lending partner Affirm to provide alternative payment options. You can enroll in the payment program here or email finance@hackbrightacademy.com if you have questions.
    Scholarship
    WWC and Hackbright Academy are offering a full scholarship to Hackbright Prep. Learn More: http://hba.io/2zdo8JV Hackbright Academy offers partial scholarships to a limited number of students each quarter. Learn more: http://hba.io/2zd8NJj
    Getting in
    Minimum Skill Level
    Beginner - 10 hours of coding experience.
    Placement Test
    No
    Interview
    No
  • Part-Time (24-week) Software Engineering Program

    Apply
    HTML, Git, Python, JavaScript, Django, SQL, CSS, Data Structures, Algorithms
    In PersonPart Time14 Hours/week24 Weeks
    Start Date
    None scheduled
    Cost
    $16,895
    Class size
    35
    Location
    San Francisco
    The part-time software development program is stimulating, exciting and fulfilling. Our challenging curriculum is based on 5 years of training students, providing tangible feedback, and helping each individual improve throughout the learning process. Students can partake in Hackbright's life-changing Software Engineering Program while working. The Part-Time Software Engineering Program will teach you the fundamentals of computer science in addition to modern web development. This part-time program includes labs and lectures on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, plus Saturdays. One of the most in-demand languages to learn in the industry is Python – the core language of our curriculum. Companies that use Python include Google, Yelp, and Dropbox to name a few. Mastering Python here will help you start thinking like an engineer. You can feel confident that you’ll walk out of the door ready to tackle any engineering role.
    Financing
    Deposit
    250 Non- Refundable
    Financing
    We understand that your education can be a big investment and that’s why we’ve partnered with leading lending partners to provide you affordable payment alternatives. Check out the options below and please feel free to email finance@hackbrightacademy.com if you have questions! Click here to learn more.
    Tuition Plans
    No
    Refund / Guarantee
    No
    Scholarship
    No
    Getting in
    Minimum Skill Level
    40 hours of coding practice
    Prep Work
    5-10 hours remote work per week for the 3 weeks leading up to the start of course
    Placement Test
    Yes
    Interview
    Yes

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  • Anonymous • Software Engineer Intern • Graduate
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    What I love about Hackbright is the heart of the bootcamp. From day one, you can tell that they are invested in making a safe space where you feel the ability to explore. They offer structure, but they also strive to indulge your natural curiosity.

    The biggest mistake I made when I attended Hackbright was thinking that if I simply followed the coursework, I'd land a job. Very naive, I know. But! When I did land my first job in software engineering, I realized that Hackbright created something very special in my life. The connections and relationships that I built here will carry through with me for the rest of my life.

    Hackbright is not for anyone looking for a quick answer. Hackbright is for those who are willing to invest in themselves and give themselves the patience to flourish and blossom. You have to believe in yourself: Or at least be willing to learn how to believe in yourself.

    Follow your intuition. Say "yes" to every opportunity. Hackbright's mission statement isn't just some marketing ploy or buzzword. But make the effort to interview with alumna. Ask them what they got out of Hackbright. See if you're a good fit for the soft and gentle culture. (Even ambitious women have something to gain from this space: Such as female companionship and sisterhood).

    With all that said, I wish every future & prospective "lady nerd" the best on her journey :)

  • Anonymous
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    My goodness...as an avid Yelp afficionado I am ashamed that I did not read these reviews in detail before attending the HB prep program.  I did not have a good experience at all.  First, the lectures are unorganized and most of the time--the instructors did NOT seem to want to answer any questions.  instructors snapped at you or acted in a condescending manner most of the time, and/or were away every other week

     

    I am glad that they at least offered this prep program in order to give us a taste of Hackbright, rather than having us shell out $16-$18,000 for immersive program---PLEASE read these reviews and think twice.  don't get me wrong--if you already have Python experience and are a naturally gifted coder then please consider HB.  however, if you are essentially a beginner like me (although I completed codeacademy's Python course and I have a Master's degree, etc) then look elsewhere, you will feel left in the dust.  there are some instructors that are patient and good teachers but unfortunately there was just one in my co-hort

  • Graduate/Alum
    - 1/25/2018
    Anonymous • Graduate
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    Overall I learned a huge amount of valuable information at Hackbright over a short period of time, and I met so many wonderful women who also attended Hackbright who will be friends for life.  I enjoyed my time at Hackbright.  However, Hackbright has a lot of work to do before I would say that this experience is worth the hefty price tag.

    First of all - the career services portion of the program is a joke.  Pay no attention to the partners page of Hackbright's website.  The alum job board right now only has 6 jobs available that are for new grads with no software development experience.  Hackbright partners are happy to hire grads... after they have at least a year of experience as a software engineer.  As far as I'm concerned, job placement is the entire value proposition of a code bootcamp, and Hackbright fails in comparison to other bootcamps that guarantee job placement or apprenticeships.

    Since graduating almost 6 months ago, I have had ZERO assistance from Hackbright with job placement, despite the fact that I have asked for help numerous times.  I've tried applying to jobs through Hackbright partner companies and my success rate has been even lower than just applying blind on the company website.  Worst part - when I apply to companies through Hackbright, they don't even send me confirmation that they've sent my resume to the company.  It's like throwing my resume into a black hole.

    Hackbright is graduating more women into a market flooded with bootcamp grads than they can possibly hope to place.  The staff has good intentions and cares about grads a great deal, but this doesn't change the fact that the majority of recent grads are struggling HARD to find a job.

    My advice - choose a bootcamp that offers either a money back guarantee of job placement, or has an apprenticeship or internship build into their program.  

    Response From: Alice Hill of Hackbright Academy
    Title: CEO, Hackbright Academy
    Saturday, Jan 27 2018
    I was very sorry to see your review here mostly because it didn't really give me or our team a chance to respond to you personally. One thing I hope you have seen since your time at Hackbright is that every person in our organization cares passionately about our students, their successful transformation into software engineers, and changing the ratio for women in tech. This is not a 9-5 job or something we do halfheartedly. 

    We are also so proud of our talented alums, and that unique bond they develop from their time here. I thought you really said it best "I learned a huge amount of valuable information at Hackbright over a short period of time, and I met so many wonderful women who also attended Hackbright who will be friends for life."

    As the new CEO, one of the things I have been working on is the complete experience - from admissions, the actual 12 week program, and then the task of finding a job. I am focused right now on jobs, jobs, jobs - meeting with bay area employers to secure internships, getting more jobs on our portal before they hit the job boards, hosting a career fair last night (1/25/2018) with over 19 employers including Google and Apple, and making our career services model evolve into everything from mentorship and coaching, to actively helping make introductions to local employers.

    One thing we cannot control is the job market for a particular role. As the former head of the tech job board Dice.com I know always saw huge shifts in seasonality, job role demand that picks up and drops off, but our biggest advantage is our own Hackbright network of alumnae who have created entry points into many companies, as well as the demand for female engineering talent. I know we can help find ways to get you in front of hiring managers.

    I would like you to go to our alumnae slack channel and look for the #ask_alice channel. My personal email is listed there. Please email me your contact info and I will set up time for us to talk and strategize how we can help you get into a role we know you are ready for. And while job hunting is frustrating and scary, please don't let it tarnish the work our company does without giving us a way to be part of that conversation with you. 
    --Alice Hill


  • Software Engineer
    - 10/20/2017
    Anonymous • Software Engineer • Student
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    I really enjoyed my time at Hackbright. I picked Hackbright specifically because it fosters a supportive and encouraging community, and I felt I needed that to learn & grow in my career. I strongly feel that you get out what you put into this program. You should come prepared, you should do all the homework, and you should ask as many questions as possible. For me, the most valuable part of the program was access to the instructors--I was previously self-taught and the hardest thing for me was figuring out what to learn next, and what I had taught myself wrong.

    The program is geared toward almost complete beginners, and it is not a substitute for a compsci degree, so you shouldn't go in expecting a compsci program. Some days might be review for you, in which case you should seek out new challenges and broaden your knowledge. If no days are review for you, you might need to work harder to establish a foundation pf knowledge that you can build on for the rest of the program.

    Towards the end of the program, Hackbright will start teaching you algorithms and whiteboarding and preparing you for job interviews. I just want to say that interviewing for software engineering jobs is ROUGH. It is much harder than the bootcamp, and although there is a career services team that will try to help you, Hackbright cannot get you a job, you have to do that yourself, and it might take a while. You should look at their Outcomes report to get a good sense of the average first salary and time to get that first job, and be prepared for the long slog.

    Also good to mention: you will come out of this with good friends. And after a year or two, those friends will be a solid professional network.

     

     

  • Very bad school
    - 8/15/2017
    Anonymous • Student
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    1. I attended Hackbright 2016. I can say my time there was a complete loss, if you're looking for a coding bootcamp, I'd recommend looking elsewhere. Inexperienced instructors, disorganized curriculum, and lack of job support after graduation.

  • Anonymous • Student
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    During my part-time class, it was a "hit or miss", depending on your instructor and class dynamics.  My review is a bit late, but after several of my friends talked about problems with the full-time Fellowship program, I felt I could no longer stay quiet about the matter. So....here goes:

    There's plenty of blame to go around...from the typos in the curriculum, TA's who are recent grads but don't know enough to actually teach new students, lack of knowledge from some instructors and mentors, etc. The fact that Hackbright touts itself as a "feminist bootcamp" can come across as a negative. I am a female and also work in the tech industry since I left HB.  I can tell you that "man-bashing" is NOT professional; and just because I used go to Hackbright does not mean that I have instant access to a network of female engineers. Most of my contacts were found on my own, not through Hackbright.

    If you are serious about entering this profession, then I strongly suggest you take plenty of FREE online classes before making any decision to spend money on an full-time Fellowship.  You will gain knowledge and experience NOT found at HB and then be able to expand your own network.  

    Remember, you're spend MAJOR money for this Fellowship, plus you cannot work - which means you are dipping into savings to pay for cost of living...and then there's a 6-month or more job search in San Francisco/Bay Area.  Ever since HB was bought out by Capella, the program has only gotten more disorganized!  As a female, I believe we also deserve better materials and treatment from Hackbright.  Come on! There are so many boot-camps in the Bay Area...you people need to come clean and give more to your students!

  • Anonymous • Graduate
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    TLDR: I came to HB with 0 coding experience. I tried 3 different online courses to learn coding in my previous non-programming, non-tech career with no bueno. Based on my experience and what I have gathered from my classmates, friends from other bootcamps and tech companies, do not expect that "omg! I'm going to be a programmer after this bootcamp!" Expect that you'll know one way to build a website. That doesn't make you a hot Mission burrito in this town. It makes you a Chipotle buritto at best. 

    Disclaimer: This review is sarcastic and can come off as harsh; in complete opposite to HB's practice of being encouraging and believing in oneself. If you'll get angry or bitter reading negative reviews, skip this one. Also, this is meant for those who are career switching with no prior tech-industry experience.

     

    Classroom experience:

    I agree with many reviews who say that the instructors are knowledgable and are good teachers for basic programming techniques. You'll learn the basics of how to write code. You will NOT learn how to write good, scalable, or smart code. If a good CS degree holder can write it in 10 lines, you'll probably use 20-50 and your run time will be poor. When whiteboarding in interviews (or mock interviews), you'll be trying to use recursion to traverse the tree when a while loop is sufficient and then stutter, "I don't know..." when the interviewer asks for the spatial complexity. But, you'll be able to write code.

     

    Social experience:

    I understand that HB is now multiple classes per session. Each class has it's own personality. I met great ladies whom I am close friends with till today. We mainly commiserate about the state of our morale, bank accounts, and job search prospects (all dangerously low, if you're wondering). One thing that really impressed me was the diversity of women I met. Great women who work hard and deserve so much more.

     

    Career Services:

    They are great people in the career services. But I personally find them to be emotional roller coasters. They build your expectations up and then when you come head to head with reality and crash, they are nowhere to be found. Everytime they're told how difficult it is, they say, "aww, that's too bad. You need to keep trying!" After the 4th email saying that, I stopped giving them my weekly updates. I can now program my own bot to wish me good luck by text if that was all I wanted.

    Go and study with your classmates and use the online resources (someone here linked a bunch of awesome sites). Besides, with the new intakes being so large, I have no idea how they expect to provide sustainable support.

    Oh and those partner companies? Isn't great to go on on-site visits and talk to REAL engineers and get interview practice??!! Come job application time, you'll be told they're hiring people with 3+ years experience which is not surprising considering the funding situation now.

     

    Post-HB:

    HB is a safe place. After you leave, most of you are going to go feel effing terrible and great at the same time. You'll meet alums who are still job searching 6-months in and think, "Oh, that won't be me" but then wonder a week or two later if that'll be you. Go out with a clear mind and no positive expectations about how fast you're gonna be a legit programmer. That is the best start you can have. 

     

    Personal note:

    One advice I will give you if do end up going to HB: Your personal project is your own. A friend from the other class (same session) had to fight tooth and nail to get her project approved. Even then, HB refused to help her with the aspects "they warned her is over her head" but are basic things we should have learned about Python. Fortunately, her mentor helped her sort it out.

    I wish I had made something other than "[popular website] but for [another everyday item/hobby]". I am now working on a less-bootcampy project to put on my resume.

    Come project seasion, keep this in mind: Everyone is making a website/webapp. If you are front-endy, by all means, make a beautiful website. During the early years of HB, projects were augmented reality, compilers, large data sciency things, actual programs, etc. Do something to stand out from the sea of websites. Own it. Fight for it and don't give up cuz this is just the begining of the battle of entering the tech world. You'll be fighting to prove yourself even after you get your first job. Might as well get some practice in now. 

    Response From: Wendy Saccuzzo of Hackbright Academy
    Title: Director of Career Services
    Thursday, Jan 26 2017
    Thank you for sharing your feedback about your session at Hackbright Academy. Congratulations on graduating from the program and while we’re pleased to hear that you had many positive experiences, we want to learn more about your disappointing interactions with our Career Services team. We’d like to talk with you directly to make sure that you’re receiving all the support and opportunities that Hackbright has to offer both current students and graduates. Please reach out to me directly at wendy@hackbrightacademy.com so that we may chat directly. We take all student feedback seriously and are continuously working to improve every aspect of our program. 
  • Anonymous • Software Engineer • Student
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    TLDR;

    enroll if you really like coding, learning new things all the time, working hard; join the surprisingly awesome coding community

    _

    I'm in my last week of Hackbright, and looking back I see that Hackbright has been a place where I've been really empowered and inspired to try my best.  It was a great learning environment to ask questions, be surrounded by curious and hard-working people, create personal connections with people who really care, and met industry leaders who were happy to join in our learning journey because of the name Hackbright and its alums have brought for themselves.

    It was a risk, but I quit my job and enrolled in Hackbright because:

    • I enjoyed the intellectual challenge of coding (I had previously taken some computer science courses and was studying independently in my free time)
    • liked what I saw of its curriculum (more so than other bootcamps)
    • the ‘challenge’ aspect wasn’t available in my current job trajectory

    The people I've met here are some of the most resilient, tough, mature, disciplined, and admirable people I've met.  From what I've seen of the students, education team, career services, marketing, admission, the rest of the staff: Hackbright attracts diverse and phenomenal people.  You probably need to talk to one of us personally to realize this, but the more I get to know each person (especially among the students), the more amazed I become at how much each of us have overcome in the past and throughout the program to have gotten to where we are now—software engineers and leaders in our own right, but even better, with the humility, stamina, and motivation to keep on learning and improving.  And the curriculum itself is pretty demanding—10am to 6pm every day we’re learning and trying out new things, and afterwards we’re studying, even after arriving home late.

    One thing I did not expect but super duper appreciated: mentors.  From the Hackbright education team, you have an advisor who you really come to trust and admire and a whole group of instructors who help us understand the concepts and care about how you're doing.  And career services has the best advice and plan dang cool events for us.  Hackbright assigns three mentors for you who are currently working in the field, from software engineers to VP's of engineering, to even CEOs who volunteer their time to help us at the start of our software engineering careers.  They’ve been really helpful, each in their own ways.

    I would suggest that you don't apply if you're not that interested in coding/just having trouble finding a job after college.  Think of it long-term: it’s going to require a lot of work and personal initiative, not just in the three months of this program, but even after, while you’re a software engineer.  After graduating Hackbright, there shouldn’t be a point where you say “okay, I’ve learned enough.”  There are too many cool things to learn and do to become complacent.

    If you’re stuck because you really like coding but you don’t think you can do it, reach out to Hackbright and see if it’s right for you.  Even though it’s a lot of hard work, there’s a magic of excitement that comes from doing what you really like to do that makes it all worth it.  Good luck and ada ftw.

  • Worth every penny
    - 12/10/2016
    Anonymous • Student
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    The first day we started at Hackbright, we were a mix of people from both STEM and liberal arts backgrounds, previously working in tech (UI/UX designers, QA, etc.) and a huge, fascinating variety of other careers.

    Fast-forward to Demo Night, when we presented our projects to a room full of prospective companies, and we were all Software Engineers, all so impressive in our achievements, all equally capable of taking on the tech world by storm.

    This can be credited to what and how we studied.  The curriculum has been fine-tuned over the years, very responsive to tech trends and the almost-constant student feedback.  The instructors cater to our huge variety of backgrounds, getting us up-to-speed prior to the program with preparatory studies and by presenting the material in a fast-paced, but inclusive way.

    This can also be credited to the support system they have in place.  In addition to having a Career Services advisor, we had an advisor from the education staff, and both advisors checked in with us regularly and provided us the support we needed to catch up on difficult Python topics, prepare our resumes, and transition from student to developer.  They also encouraged us to lean on each other for support throughout the program, which has resulted in a tight-knit group that genuinely wants to see each other succeed.

    Following Demo Night, I've heard of many of us having interviews with companies that attended, and Career Services has gone above and beyond to ensure we all end up somewhere we will succeed.

    I went back and forth for ages on whether I should do this program, but I am so happy with my decision.

  • Anonymous • Software Engineer
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    Hackbright is such an amazing, supportive, wonderful place. I did a lot of research when choosing a bootcamp, and fell in love with Hackbright's mission statement, curriculum (cats, Harry Potter, and memes? yes please), supportive alumnae network, and Python curriculum.

    They also do a fantastic job at matching each student with 3 mentors, taking you inside of companies for informative panels, and giving you a strong network upon graduation. I am so glad I chose Hackbright, and my life will truly never be the same.

     

    My only negative feedback has to do with the admissions process. It was hell, took way too long, and there was very little timely communication. I have talked to many other women who experienced the same issues. Choosing a bootcamp is a huge life changing decision- timely communication is key!

  • Anonymous • Graduate
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    After SO MUCH research and many other options, I decided to go to Hackbright. I'm so glad I did! Remember - this is a bootcamp and not some fairy land where someone holds your hand while you learn to code. They will kick your butt but it will be worth it. They have a 3% acceptance rate for a reason. If you are even able to get in, just do it. The team is very well connected and you will find a job. Work hard, don't stop learning and show the tech world that women are amazing!

  • Dissapointed
    - 11/23/2016
    Anonymous • Student
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    I am a current student at Hackbright and will admit there are some good and bad things about this academy.  The entire operation feels more like a community center than an institution that charges students $16,000+ for the 'education'. The majority of the ed staff lack professional training and do not conduct themselves professionally. There are a few great people on the team, but there are staff members who are very unprofessional and immature. Not something you'd expect for the price you are paying. Aside from the instructors who actually have CS degrees and professional experience, the ed team consists of Hackbright graduates who act as if Hackbright is their special sorority. Highly unprofessional. The career services and other teams conduct themselves professionally, however, as a student, my interactions with them have been limited. You can tell they genuinely care about what they do. I would strongly suggest you weigh your options before attending Hackbright. They have a lot of work to do, especially with their education team. Students are not here to be judged, we're here to learn. If you can't do that with a positive disposition, you should take a lesson in client relationship management because we help fund your salaries. For an organization that claims to be inclusive, it seems to cater to one specific type of woman. The curriculum itself needs a lot of fine-tuning and they need a system that will make grading more consistent. As stated, I am disappointed with my experience at Hackbright and will say that this is solely because of the experiences I've had with the Hackbright graduates on the ed team. Tighten up and be more professional its the least you can do for the cost of tution. 

     

    Response From: Meggie Mahnken of Hackbright Academy
    Title: Instructor
    Wednesday, Nov 30 2016
    Dear Hackbright Student,

    I'm sorry to hear about your experience. Rigorous curriculum and a professional, inclusive learning environment are at the core of our educational values. I find it unacceptable that a student wouldn't feel welcome while learning at Hackbright, and I value your feedback. If there's any additional context you are able to provide, please email me at meggie@hackbrightacademy.com so we can chat directly about how we can improve our student experience.
    Sincerely,
    Meggie Mahnken
    Instructor, Hackbright Academy
  • Anonymous • Software Engineer • Student
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    Getting in was hard. Getting through the program was hard. But was it worth it? YES. I see a lot of inaccurate posts on this website and I've got to address some of them.

    Instructors: 

    The instructors have all had industry experience(seems that some people don't know that). TAs and lab instructors are mostly grads from the program who were exceptional enough to be able to assist others beyond their cohort end date. But all of them bring passion for teaching and coding that I have never seen anywhere else. They are constantly trying to give individual help and make sure everyone feels supported. Clearly, some people think they should have 24/7 assistance--but that seems like overkill. (I hear HackReactor has 24/7 support...but talk about overkill overall...). I found advising to be useful check in times with someone who wanted to listen when I had concerns or wanted more instruction on a subject. They cheered me on and seemed to deeply care.

    Tech Stack:

    The stack that they teach at Hackbright is less about the content and more about HOW to learn. About 50% of my cohort is NOT working in Python but rather in Ruby/PHP/JS. How cool is that? I didn't feel like I was an expert at Python at the end of the cohort but I think I learned as much as one could of a programming language in 3 months. On top of that, I've heard from the people I work with along with others who have worked with HBers that we write the cleanest, best documented and tested code of any bootcamp. Badass!

    Career Services:

    Ok, here's what career services does for you:

    - They meet with you during the program to get a feel for what your strengths are and what you can leverage as well as what you want to do post HB.

    - They have weekly meetings with your cohort to talk about making a great social media profile, how to identify Series A, B, C startups, how to evaluate your past experience, etc...

    - They coordinate 2 weeks of talks from industry experts in how to whiteboard, soft skills interviewing, how to negotiate, as well as field trips to partner companies for meals and whiteboarding, and introductions to partner companies who were interested in you from career day.

    - Every Monday they have job club to talk about our experiences and give more tips and tricks and keep you on track. Also, every Wednesday they have whiteboarding practice. You have access to these two nights forever.

    - They talk and work with you indivually trying to find opportunities and recruiters for you. If you get an offer, they'll coach you through your responses and negotiations.

    That's a lot, right? No, it's not a silver platter--but no bootcamp has that.

     

    Overall, it gave me the best launching pad for my career. I met the most amazing women who are inspiring and intelligent along with a great alumni network who want to hire other HBers, and the faith that even a for-profit company can be mission driven and have a heart.

    Oh, btw, only 3 people from my cohort don't have jobs as software engineers(or data engineers or security engineers) 3 months after graduating. I graduated in 2016.

  • Anonymous • Graduate
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    If you look closely at their statistics of "90% employed", they are actually from 2014. I graduated from Hackbright in June 2016, and almost 4 months later, I would say about a quarter of my group of 43 is employed. So simply, those statistics don't apply anymore, and sadly that 'quarter' of our group would include internships, non-software tech roles (like support engineer), those who went back to their old jobs, and those who had years of experience in the industry already.

    Hackbright sold out to Capella, and now the VP of education, the only truly experienced software engineer out of all the education staff, is leaving at the end of this year. All the TAs, Lab Instructors, and basically all the teachers are Hackbright graduates with no real world experience as software engineers. They only know what they've been taught at Hackbright, and when you need your questions answered, they will tell you your questions are outside of the current project or lecture. It seems a little silly to pay $16,500 for a program where the education staff can't answer your questions, which is the point of paying for more experienced mentors/teachers.

    Another thing to note is that what Hackbright teaches are some of the easier languages/techs to learn. Python, Flask, jQuery, HTML, CSS, Bootstrap - these you can learn on your own with all of the free resources online.

    Here are some resources for learning (there are dozens more, these are simply what I’ve used):

    https://www.codecademy.com/

    https://www.udacity.com/

    https://teamtreehouse.com/

     

    For learning about Computer Science Fundamentals, I recommend MIT OpenCourseWare (https://ocw.mit.edu/index.htm), and 'Cracking the Coding Interview' (you can find it on Amazon). For MIT OCW, you can scan through their list of courses, but going through their intro and algorithms classes are all you need. 'Cracking the Coding Interview' will teach/review all the Computer Science Fundamentals, give you problems to practice on, and it has great interview advice. It is considered to be THE book for beginners and experienced engineers who are trying to get a software job.

    Here are a couple websites where you can practice coding:

    https://www.hackerrank.com/

    https://www.interviewcake.com/

     

    If you are studying on your own and you think going to Hackbright will get you a job, that is simply not true - or at least it is not anymore since they sold out to Capella. For my cohort, it will probably take more than 6 months for most to get jobs, if they can even find a job within tech that is remotely connected to software. And I mean that seriously. We are all out of a lot of money, most quit their jobs and/or moved to SF for this bootcamp, and now most of us can't find a job. Paying this much money for a bootcamp is a huge decision, and can be crippling for many if it doesn't payout. And sadly, Hackbright hasn't paid out for most of us.

    Response From: Sharon Wienbar of Hackbright Academy
    Title: CEO
    Thursday, Oct 27 2016
    Dear Hackbright Grad,
    I'm deeply sorry to hear that we disappointed you. We are striving to change the ratio and although we’ve had hundreds of delighted alumnae, I felt that it was important for me to respond to you personally and to acknowledge your feedback. Our goal is to combine intellectual rigor AND a supportive, inclusive environment that lets all our students excel.

    Please allow me to address a few of your points.

    The Hackbright educational staff has a broad and deep mix of experience, including professional software development, prior teaching experience at advanced levels and other industry experience. The instructors who join our staff after completing the Hackbright Fellowship are among the most technical of our graduates from each quarter. And we invest heavily in their on-going technical training. Our instructors build the software Hackbright uses to operate. They also develop numerous outside projects, contribute to Open Source communities, host and speak at technical conferences, and host and win hackathons.

    We just published the Outcomes Report for 2014 and the first 3 quarters of 2015. We were indeed acquired by Capella, which has helped us bring a whole new level of rigor to our reporting. Unfortunately that has cost us and our community time. The report has been reviewed and certified by a third party audit firm, and has gone through in-depth legal review. That's part of a big company process....slower than a startup, but more thorough. I apologize for our delays.

    Hackbright was also licensed by the BPPE, the California regulatory authority over non-degree educational institutions. Very few other code schools have completed this process. As part of our on-going compliance we will publish annual School Performance Reports. 

    Last, I'd like to thank you for noting all the great continuing education options on the web. Many applicants to Hackbright use those, as do our grads. 

    Again, I am sorry our program did not meet your expectations. Our Career Services team is here to support you in this job search and for your technical career. "Once a Hackbright, Always a Hackbright" is our motto. I hope we can earn your respect and trust.

    Sincerely,
    Sharon Wienbar
    CEO, Hackbright Academy
  • Anonymous • Graduate
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    Overall Experience

    Overall I really enjoyed my experience at Hackbright. As the only all-female coding bootcamp in the San Francisco Bay Area, they do a great job of creating a welcoming and supportive environment for women, and the curriculum was challenging enough even for those who may have been dabbling in programming for a while before the program. It may be a cliche to say this, but students do take out of the program what they put into it, and to get the most out of Hackbright you need to be ready to put in a lot of extra work to land that first engineering job.

    Students

    With the expansion of the class into two cohorts of ~25 students each since March 2016, it's my hypothesis that the quality of the student body has deteriorated somewhat. I thought everyone in my cohort was lovely and friendly, but only half of the class were very sharp with a strong interest in coding, keeping up with the assignments, and pushing themselves to complete a challenging project that stretched their limits. The other half seemed to lag behind during lectures, asked questions that made it obvious they weren't keeping up with weekend assessments, and in some cases would act the most entitled when it came to expecting a job to be waiting for them upon graduation.

    Instructors/Curriculum

    The VP of Education and our lead instructor were both excellent, and the teaching assistants were all helpful during the lab exercises. The teaching assistants are mostly recent Hackbright Grads with no real-world engineering experience. TAs were knowledgeable enough in terms of teaching basic topics, but their limited industry experience became apparent during project time when they were not really able to provide a lot of value-added feedback or address my tougher questions and blockers.

    Job Assistance

    A lot of the negative comments from peers that I heard RE job assistance seem to come from a somewhat entitled mindset, with some believing that just because they got accepted into a competitive bootcamp and paid $16k+ in tuition that they deserve to be handed a job upon graduation. 

    I do think that Hackbright (and probably any other bootcamp) gets you 60-70% of the way to your first junior engineering job, by teaching you the basics of coding and computer science concepts (e.g., algorithms, etc), but it's up to graduates to put in the last 30-40% of sweat and effort in doing coding challenges, practicing whiteboarding, and networking your way into your first coding job. 

    From what I know, Hackbright is the only (?) coding bootcamp that assigns 2-3 industry mentors, who are all engineers with a few to many years experience who are excellent resources during final project time, as well as during job hunt time for technical interview prep and general introductions to other folks within the industry. 

  • Anonymous • Graduate
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    Similar to a previous reviewer, I'm surprised to see some of the negative recent reviews. I think, like many programs like this, how you feel coming out of it depends on how you aligned expectations going in. Overall, I went in with high hopes for learning / development, and what I considered realistic expectations for time-to-employment after graduation, and was satisfied on both fronts.

    Curriculum

    What you learn is pretty comprehensive for what you'll need in a junior engineer role - and the staff has clearly honed their schedule, lectures, etc. over many cohorts. I found lectures to be informative, easy to follow, and generally well-delivered (for more on this, see "Instructors/Staff" below). The second half of the program - building a web app - really solidifies the theoretical concepts from the first half. I will say that there *is* less time spent on the traditional comp sci / data structures than perhaps would be ideal - but I felt prepared enough at that point to feel confident studying and reviewing further on my own.

    Instructors / Staff

    Overall, my thoughts here are very positive - with a few caveats. The staff by and large are supportive, passionate, talented people - everyone from the VP of Education to the lead teacher for our cohort (who was so fabulous and inspiring) to the TA's. I will say I was less than impressed by one instructor, and that (as mentioned in prior reviews) the advising standards need work. There were advisors who provided comprehensive, detailed comments on weekly assignments and so on - vs my advisor who didn't give me a single constructive comment in the entire 10 weeks. I think standards / expectations should be better communicated here. By and large though, the staff is passionate, talented and helpful.

    Career Services

    I don't get the angst from previous reviewers here - I thought the Career Services ladies were all fabulous and very helpful. They say median time to job is 3 months, and average is more like 4. Before I decided to go, I stalked LinkedIn like crazy looking at graduates and confirmed this was the case - budgeting 3ish months to find a job if I was lucky, and up to 6 months if I was not. I don't think the expectations set by HB are unreasonable. 

    do think that your time to employment will vary based on several factors. Number one, everyone comes in with a different background - some have more coding experience, some take to the material more quickly, etc. There were people in my cohort who graduated ready to start interviewing, and others who felt like they needed time to study before diving in - this will affect your timeline. Also, Hackbright does have connections with many local partner companies - but at any given time, only a segment of them will be hiring for jr engineer roles. This is just how the industry works! You could get lucky and get in with one of them, or you might not - in the latter case, the connections you already have and are able to make (through networking events, HB alums, etc.) will be key to your success.

    I take issue with the idea that Hackbright is supposed to "find" you jobs - signed, sealed, delivered. My understanding was always that they'd provide me with a platform for learning, intros and connections to various companies, and advice about how to strategize and target my search - and they delivered on all fronts. Other than that, how quickly I got a job is based on things outside of their control (market, partner company hiring timelines, etc.). I don't think this is bootcamp specific - just that companies are careful with how and when they hire jr. developers. (That said, I had an offer 3 weeks out of program close, and many things in the pipeline).

    Summary

    I loved Hackbright, and would recommend it without reservation to anyone who felt prepared to give their time and energy to switching careers. I'd recommend doing your research beforehand, carefully considering your financial / professional situation, before you take the leap.

     

  • Great Experience
    - 9/28/2016
    Anonymous • Software Engineer • Graduate
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    TL;DR

    Hackbright provides you a great network and gives you a good starting foundation. It's up to you to continue your learning post-Hackbright and to find a job.

    Curriculum

    • A good amount of topics were taught during lectures. You have to realize because it's a bootcamp, only so much material can be covered during the program.
    • Hackbright provides you the tools to have a basic knowledge of programming and computer science fundamentals. Post-Hackbright is where you really understand the material because you have time to review on your own time.

    Instructors

    • The instructors for my cohort were great. Each instructor had their own sense of humor and it made lectures fun and interesting. 

    Project time

    • I wished there was more staff available when it came to the queue. On some days, the queue was so long that by the time I was next up, the queue would close because it was already the end of the day. 
    • It's important to seek help from mentors at this stage of the program. 

    Career Day

    • The key with Career Day is to not expect an interview. I went in with a mindset of networking. 
    • It was a great opportunity to talk about my app and I enjoyed getting to know about different companies. 
    • Again, you may or may not get an interview with some companies. Don't go in thinking that this is your only opportunity to get a job.

    Cohort

    • I was super lucky to be part of such an amazing and inclusive cohort. 
    • It's not a competition. These women will become your family. 
    • It was great being surrounded by like-minded and motivated women. 
    • Don't worry if you're introverted. Hackbright hosts Friday night socials to give you an opportunity to bond with your cohort. 

    Career Services

    • During Hackbright: Career Services was beyond amazing. They hired a new member and she was phenomenal. You could easily set up an appointment with a member of the staff. 
    • Post-Hackbright: I didn't find myself utilizing the services much. When I did have questions, the response time would vary greatly from within a day to a week. 

    Mentors

    • Hackbright provides up to three mentors per fellow.
    • Your mentors will be your saviors. 
    • They have great insights and they offer support whenever they can. 

     

  • Anonymous
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    My review is not about the engineering fellowship, but about the admission process as a heads up to future applicants.

    Hackbright Academy was the 4th bootcamp I applied to. I applied to the September cohort. Out of the four, this one left the poorest impression on me.

    The online application and coding challenge was straightforward. The notification for the first interview/scheduling it afterwards was fine as well. Everything after that was a poor experience though, especially with communication. I received an email the following day that I made it to the 2nd interview. However, over a week passed before I finally asked the admission team themselves when the 2nd interview would be. To that, they promptly sent me an email to schedule the 2nd interview. After the 2nd interview, they told me they would let me know in 2-3 days their final decision. It has been 27 days since their “2-3” days.

    The impression this application process left me was they don’t really care about their applicants. It also felt like they were either understaffed or disorganized. Sure, forgetting to update me once is forgivable, but neglecting to contact me twice? That's pretty bad (speaking in comparison to the other 4 bootcamps I have applied to since then, whom have all been prompt with their updates).

    With this experience in mind, I probably will not apply to Hackbright again in the future. 

  • Anonymous
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    IMO, Hackbright provides an excellent network for students to find jobs and gain mentorship. 

    From my experience, career services is very supportive, and they continue to check up on you and schedule individualized appointments for however long you need it. 

    I appreciated having a place to go to for support after I graduated, and I loved everyone in my cohort, who I may not have ever met, if it weren't for Hackbright. 

    Also LadyNerds, which consists of Hackbright Alumnae, provide an excellent comunity for those in need of job opportunities, or who just want to grow as software engineers. It's available to all hackbright graduates. 

    I would recommend Hackbright to those who are looking for a nourishing community and a strong network more than anything else.

    Overall, yes, the Hackbright education is good, but Hackbright's network and lifetime career services is in my opinion what sets it apart. 

  • Anonymous • Student
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    The last reviewer did a good job in summarizing my unhappiness with Hackbright. I only have the below to add:

    I graduated with the June 2016 cohort.  Only 5 girls out of our graduating class have been able to find jobs and it's been 2 months since graduation. One of them went back to Hackbright to be a lab assistant, another already had a job lined up outside of Hackbright, another picked up what she'd been doing previous to Hackbright, and I'm not sure what the remaining girls are doing. 

    By the project phase of our cohort, many of the girls were expresssing malcontent with the program. In particular, career services. If you are struggling with the material, they turn the onus onto you. Meaning, they said that you weren't doing well because you weren't working hard enough or something like that. But seriously! My advisor and my instructors never had time to answer my questions and I got the same, "We don't support tutoring." They didn't give me any personal attention. If a girl wasn't doing well, they would say that it was failure on her part. Not the instructor. And! There was never any personal attention given even if so to help that girl out. 

    They have unusual and almost unethical practices at Hackbright. At the end of every cohort/class, they offer jobs to the girls with the caveat that if they accept a job at Hackbright - they're not allowed to participate in career day. 

    And! During career day, companies are not allowed to ask the girls technical questions about their projects. This seems really shady as it would be the perfect opportunity for the girls to show off what they had learned during the Hackbright 12 week class. It serves to do two things: 1) cover Hackbright ineptness 2) protect Hackbright reputation in case the girls don't do well. I was raised to believe that the student's faults were that of the instructors. Hackbright does all sorts of things to cover itself. It doesn't stand up to the things it purports to do. 

    What really upset me the most is that career services told us all sorts of things about being able to find a job within 3-6 months of graduation. Then, a month before graduation, she tells us not to expect to find jobs soon, but it would take about a couple months of study to really 'get it down.' Some of these girls cleaned out their savings to attend Hackbright! They're owed more than the inflated marketing!!

    And! Hackbright was recently acquired by Capella University. This is an online centred learning business that 'takes advantage' of women and minorities. Much alike University of Phoenix that went down for marketing cheaper and more convenient sub-standard MBA programs and catered to women and minorities. When these demographics went for jobs, they were told their MBAs were not competitive. So now the graduates owe money from tuition and they are jobless. 

    Take your money somewhere more deserving! Hackbright is NOT!!!!

  • Anonymous
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    Hackbright Academy is an all female bootcamp which seeks to "Change the ratio," but what the start-up really does is "line their pocket books" via taking advantage of a niche market. 

    Learning Environment: 
    For $16,570, I'd expect a learning environment geared towards the individual students needs. At least this holds true for costly private institutions. Even in public institutions (community college class is roughly ~$300), students are guaranteed the professor's time by office hours, one on one appointments, or at least the tutelage of the teacher's aide. Not at Hackbright. Students are given two one and a half hour lectures daily, assigned daily homework, and weekend assessments in which none of the above are graded. They are mandatory assignments, yet none are scrutinized carefully nor corrected by the student assigned advisor. Upon requesting more individual help, we were told that the school did not support such a structure. The most I ever got was 20 minutes of tutorial per week. When I asked a question, the advisor would conveniently Google the answer and then send me the link. There is 30 minutes of advising per week for the project, but we were told it's mostly for 'strategy.' 

    Now one might argue that debugging is an important skill to master. This is true.  However, for a beginner, it is far too easy to get caught up on a programming idiosyncrasy where one might spends hours debugging as opposed to having an instructor help that student past a simple blockage point and explain what she is doing incorrectly.  In Python, it could be a silly indentation error, or forgetting a colon at the end of a loop statement. Plus, it's helpful often to 'talk through' the issue with a more experienced person. For the same amount of tuition ($16,570), Hack Reactor offers 24/7 online help to it's students. CodeAcademy Pro offers the same for 12 hours a day EST for $20/month. 

    Instruction: 
    The quality of instructor also followed the Gaussian curve at Hackbright. While there are some very gifted coders, the majority were non-industry teachers. Some of which had just graduated from the last cohort. If they did not know the answer to a question, it was often heard, "That's not within the scope of this lecture." My most poignant memory was a student asking a question and the instructor saying, "That's not within the notes" to which the student pointed out, "It is here in the notes" and pointed out the section. The instructor then answered, "I don't want to answer that right now." Seriously. An "I don't know. I will research it and get back to you" is a perfectly acceptable answer.  Or, if the instructors sometimes didn't know the answer, they just kept deflecting until the student got tired of listening to it.

    Career Services:  
    At this point, one might ask...would the $16,570 tuition merit a high return on investment in career services? Sadly, no. What 'Career Services' does is simply surf LinkedIn profiles. The student gets secretive 1:1 meetings with the career services counselor who 'coaches' them on how to hone their skills to target their employment goals. Now, what this really means is that the woman spends time surfing LinkedIn profiles for recruiters...something one can do oneself without paying $16,570. She also advises the student that she has 'connections' and not to tell the other students about them. These 'connections' are easily gotten off surfing LinkedIn profiles. 

    Additionally, Silicon Valley media has much highlighted the disparity of male to female engineers. So much so that companies are moving to sponsor diversity fairs and events in which to hire minority engineers. Hackbright career services is not attuned at all to the various Silicon Valley company sponsored diversity fairs. This is a shame considering Hackbright's slogan is to "change the ratio." One would think career services would be working extra hard with companies to truly "change the ratio." When prompted during a Q&A session, the counselor had no clue that these programs existed whatsoever. 

    There does exist a Career Day where the students can show off their projects to prospective employers. However, the catch is that Hackbright does not know who is attending the event until the day before and the companies may not be hiring. If they are hiring, what you will get is a prospective interview...but then you need the skills to pass that interview. 

    Hackbright boasts that ~90% of it's 'engineers' get hired within 3-6 months. Yet, what is the break down? Is it 3 engineers within 3 months and the rest within 6 months? And, 6 months is a LONG time to find a job. Within that 6 months, the student could have studied a lot with free online resources on her own. Don't be fooled by the marketing of these statistics. Many Hackbright graduates feel unprepared for the traditional computer science interview. 

    Financial Aid: For a school that is focused on "changing the ratio;" Hackbright only offers loans through partners, one full scholarship for one woman out of 52 women, and for the rest $500 owing to financial need. They do not offer to help look for scholarships through private funds which any solid university or community college would offer if they were truly trying to help a student out. 

    Lightning Talks:
    Students are assigned short 8 minute presentations in which they are to get up in front of their cohort and talk about a pertinent topic. The point of this is to learn to communicate technical ideas clearly and to be able to speak to an audience. While in theory this is a good idea, the talks were never critiqued by the instructors and therefore not useful to the student. What is useful is the information shared with the other ladies in the cohort when it was a good presentation. 

    Skills Readiness:
    While the program does cover many of the items that industry professionals utilize, the items are covered in breadth and not in depth. Students are only given the chance to ask questions during the lecture and once a week during an hour long 'study-hall.' Many of the graduates and current students expressed feeling unready and confused. The students are able to code simple algorithms, but when prompted 'why' and if they can optimize...many students fail in this regard. This is due to  instruction failure. 

    Mentorship: 
    One thing that Hackbright does well is assigning industry level mentors to each of it's students. These are tried and true professionals whom volunteer their time to help get students on their way to careers. My mentors in particular help with my code, project, resume evaluation, and invited me to tour their companies and network. However, I'd say this is more on the part of those individuals than Hackbright as an institution. 

    All of this makes it hard for a 12 week bootcamp graduate to compete with the many four year bachelors degree graduates from traditional computer science backgrounds. Silicon Valley suffers from no shortage of engineers from all around the world vying for engineering jobs. While it's not impossible to find a good bootcamp and to develop web savvy skills to become a full stack developer, I would recommend doing it at a school that actually has a solid curriculum and in which the instructors are competent and readily available. Good luck on your search!! 

     

     

     

  • Laural Horton • Graduate
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    I was really lucky to have been a part of the first Oakland Cohort of Hackbright and have nothing but great things to say about the instruction and the process.  Both instructors were clear and patient as I learned the ropes.  Both took time to answer all my (many) questions and reframe responses until I understood fully (even when it took a long time).  The instruction and process was clear and direct.  Perhaps the most important thing I learned is that there is so much more to learn, which seems critical to the nature of the industry.  The culture was respectful and encouraged diversity and thougthful conversation.  I feel incredibly blessed to have learned alongisde such an amazing group of women and from a dedicated faculty.  

Thanks!