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Hackbright Academy

San Francisco, San Jose

Hackbright Academy

Avg Rating:4.28 ( 39 reviews )

Student Outcomes


99%
On-Time Graduation Rate
71%
In-Field Employed
$88,000
Median Salary

180 Day Employment Breakdown:

Full-time employee
55%
Full-time apprenticeship, internship or contract position
12%
Hired by school in-field
4%

Started a new company or venture after graduation
2%
Short-term contract or part-time position
9%
Hired by school out of field
0%
Out of field
1%

Still seeking a job
11%
Not still seeking a job
1%

Non reporting
5%

Salary Breakdown:

65% of job obtainers reported salaries.

Notes & Caveats:

  • 78 enrolled students are covered in this report.
  • View Hackbright Academy's Detailed Outcomes Summary here.
  • Read more about CIRR
  • Hackbright does not guarantee a job or any particular salary level.

Recent Hackbright Academy News

Read all (36) articles about Hackbright Academy →

Recent Hackbright Academy Reviews: Rating 4.28

all (39) reviews for Hackbright Academy →

2 Campuses

San Francisco

683 Sutter St. Suite 201, San Francisco, CA 94108
Python, HTML, CSSIn PersonPart Time10 Hours/week

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.

Application Deadline:December 13, 2017

Course Details

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
Minimum Skill Level
Beginner - 10 hours of coding experience.
Python, JavaScript, HTML, Git, Django, SQL, CSSIn PersonFull Time40 Hours/week

Hackbright offers an Immersive 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.

Application Deadline:December 13, 2017

Course Details

Deposit
$250 Non-Refundable
Financing
Lending partners available, including Pave and Skills Fund to provide you multiple payment options.

Students who’ve completed our part-time course are eligible for a $1,500 discount 
Payment Plan
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
Interview
Yes
Minimum Skill Level
40 hours of coding practice
Placement Test
Yes
Prep Work
5-10 hours remote work per week for the 3 weeks leading up to the start of progrtam

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.

Course Details

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.
Payment Plan
No
Rebate
No
Scholarship
No
Interview
Yes
Minimum Skill Level
40 hours of coding practice
Placement Test
Yes
Prep Work
5-10 hours remote work per week for the 3 weeks leading up to the start of course

Review Guidelines

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9/21/2017
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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. 

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  • Inside Hackbright Prep at Netflix, San Jose

    Imogen Crispe7/20/2017

    Hackbright Academy launched an 8-week, part-time Hackbright Prep program in San Francisco in April, and is now expanding the program to the Netflix campus in San Jose, South Bay. This is the first time Hackbright Academy has offered a class outside of San Francisco – does this mean we can expect a full-time bootcamp in San Jose next? We asked Director of Part-Time Education (and Hackbright alumna) Jessica Earley-Cha what students will learn in the Prep program, why they’re excited to bring Hackbright to San Jose, and what the Netflix campus is like (apparently it smells like popcorn)!

    Q&A

    What’s your background and your role at Hackbright Academy?

    Prior to Hackbright Academy, I worked for 10 years in the non-profit sector, primarily working with female youth and adults. I decided to change my career and I graduated from Hackbright Academy's 12-week fellowship program a few years ago.

    My main role is leading the Part-Time Education Department, and we are expanding to different areas which is exciting. The idea of working with a population of women who are considering this career transition with Hackbright Academy has been really fascinating for me. I remember being in that headspace, and thinking I wanted to do this, but I didn’t know how, or what my steps should be. So my big goal in my role of redesigning the part-time curriculum has been to focus on how we give a woman the tools she needs, so she can be successful and make those choices.

    I am also involved in a lot of meetups; I’m currently the co-organizer for Google Developer Group in San Francisco, a Women Techmaker lead, a teacher for Girl Develop It, and am active with Latinos In Tech. I write technical blogs on chatasweetie, as well as co-host DevelopHerDevelopHim, a YouTube channel about tech.

    What is Hackbright Prep?

    The course is designed to help women prepare for Hackbright Academy’s 12-week immersive software engineering program. We get many women who find out about Hackbright Academy and are excited but they may not have the technical understanding to do the full-time program, or they need help figuring out if they want to invest so much money and time. Hackbright Prep is an easier, lower-risk program to take, but it’s the same style of teaching as the full-time program so students are getting an immersive experience. This course format is so in demand that people want us to go to other locations.

    Who are the women enrolling in Hackbright Prep?

    We get a lot of women enrolling who want to become software engineers. They are excited about Hackbright and they want to learn programming. We have other women who are ready for the full-time software engineering program, but want to tighten up their understanding of Python. It’s 8-weeks, twice a week in the evenings, so the women who participate can work full-time, which is really convenient.

    You launched Hackbright Prep at your San Francisco campus in April. How is it going?

    Right now we are on our second cohort in San Francisco. It’s held at the same building where we teach the full-time software engineering program, and it’s in the evening, so when the full-time students are done with their class, they go home, and our prep students come in.

    Why did Hackbright Academy decide to launch Hackbright Prep in San Jose/South Bay? Was there specific demand in that area?

    San Jose is right next to Mountain View, and that’s where huge companies like Facebook, Google, and other large tech companies are. However, we noticed there were not many resources in that area for an all female, supportive learning environment. Most tech meetups are predominantly male – the very first meetups I went to, I could count on one hand how many women were there – so it can be intimidating. We want to provide an environment where we’re all here to learn, no one will talk over you, and we’re very purposeful to set the tone of the learning environment. We all try to be mindful of others and create an optimal learning experience.

    We currently have students who drive from the South Bay area to take Hackbright Prep in San Francisco. These students have full-time jobs, they get in their cars, they drive up through traffic to get to class here at 6:45pm, stay here until 9:15pm, then drive home. So we’ve had commitment from that area before. When Netflix offered their space, it was a no-brainer. It gave us an opportunity to serve women that had been driving for hours to take the course.

    How did you get involved with Netflix?

    Netflix has been a big advocate for women in technology and they were more than happy to support the opportunity for Hackbright to expand in the South Bay.

    What is the goal of the Hackbright Prep course? Is it only for people planning to enroll in the fellowship, or can people take it just to get some basic coding skills?

    Our main focus is for those women who want to get into a bootcamp and ultimately switch careers. Hackbright Prep is geared towards women who have dabbled, and now want to take coding more seriously and build something. We don’t have a screening where we are limiting folks, but we do expect women to have about 10 hours of coding experience prior to applying for Hackbright Prep.

    How can women get those 10 hours of coding experience before the class?

    I recommend doing something online that’s free, because it’s low risk and you can dabble on your own. Check out some YouTube videos, and there are so many fantastic online learning resources, like Codecademy. Then try an in-person class, or go to a meetup, talk to people and see if it’s something you’re interested in. Ultimately, going into this field because it’s a big paycheck is not a good indicator of your long-term success. It’s more about whether you enjoy problem solving, and are excited about the work. So dip your toes in the water, and if you find you want to learn more, this Prep program is a great way to build your skills.

    How is the course structured?

    Classes are Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6:45 pm to 9:15 pm. In the last four weeks, we have Code Meetups on Sundays from 11 am to 2 pm, where students code together, and build projects.

    Hackbright Prep mimics the fellowship style of having one hour-long lecture, then an exercise. So you can learn a concept, then immediately apply it. For the exercise, students work in pairs. True learning is in actually doing things, so by talking to somebody, telling them your thought process, listening to their thought process, and coding together, the learning is exponential compared to coding on your own. This also builds community, because now you know someone better after solving a problem together.

    In the last four weeks of class, we have code workshops, which are structured a little differently. The lecture is shorter, about 30 minutes, and we talk about the problems we face. As a group we talk about the components we would need to build a particular project, then for the rest of class students are building projects. Students also build a personal project, so when they finish the course they have the skills to go home and build on their own.

    Students also have homework on the weekends, which is more of a confirmation of information, rather than learning new materials.

    What is covered in the Hackbright Prep curriculum?

    The concepts we work through are devtools, using the command line, and using an IDE virtual environment. We cover the basics of programming, primitive data structures, collections, functions, and how to organize your code. The biggest part is problem solving – how do you break a problem down into manageable pieces. We try not to focus on aspects that are unique to Python, instead we want to teach them the general concepts of programming. Python is a wonderful learning programming language as well as a powerful industry language.

    We also have the advising component. Each student is paired up with a member of the education team to go over your goals, your learning style, and to review your code. So students get one-on-one time, regardless if they want to or not. That’s something that some women want to avoid, but once they do it once, they are happy that we encouraged them. Having someone to spend time with each student and support them is key to what we do.

    Who teaches the Prep course? Are they Hackbright instructors, or Hackbright alumni?

    The majority of our education team are professional engineers. We have both alumnae and mentors from the Hackbright full-time immersive program. We also have a handful of folks from the tech industry who found out about our mission, and got in touch to ask how they can help. These engineers are doing this out of the goodness of their heart, and they enjoy it. A lot of these relationships are not just during the class, and they continue afterwards which is really nice. Students are building their networks in the course.

    Generally, we have three tiers of our education team. We have a teacher assistant, a lab instructor, and an instructor. We teach in the style that Hackbright is known for. It’s this interesting balance of serious and fun – the concepts that they are learning can be challenging, then we make it fun using silly examples. When it’s 8 pm at night and you’ve worked all day, we have to keep it a little interesting.

    It’s easy to get lost in a classroom of 30 students. We keep a ratio of 1 educator to 5 students, which is a similar ratio to the full-time immersive program. Even if students and advisors are not meeting one-on-one every class, we keep an eye on them. Each student is assigned to an Advisor so that they can ask questions about what it’s like to be an engineer and what the job looks like. We found that to be a really key component when you’re considering transitioning into a different career.

    How often do people get into Hackbright Academy after the Prep course? Do they ever apply for other bootcamps?

    We’ve only had one cohort graduate from Hackbright Prep so far, so it’s a small sample size, but it’s looking good. We’ve generally had a good ratio of admissions for students who completed our prior prep program – Intro to Programming.

    Students can definitely apply to a different bootcamp. Most other coding bootcamps teach JavaScript or Ruby. Ruby is really close to Python so that’s an easy transition, and from Python to JavaScript, there is a little bit of a learning curve. So we do have a handful who go to other bootcamps, and we’re very open to that. Part of our purpose is to give students options and information. If there is a woman who goes into coding, then I’m happy! Whether she does it with us or with somebody else, that’s more than ok.

    What is the space at Netflix like where you are holding the course?

    The Netflix campus is beautiful. When you go into any Netflix building, it smells like popcorn everywhere, and they have posters of all the shows they’ve done. The classes are held in a huge conference room, which fits 70 people. We cap our class to 30 people, and split the room into half, so half is for the lecture and the other half is for pair programming. It has huge windows, it’s gorgeous, and has all the latest gadgets. Everyone is fantastic there.

    Does the popcorn smell make everyone hungry?

    Well, what’s nice about our program is we include snacks. The last thing we want is for a woman to get out of work late, and if she is hungry, she might not come to class. So we have granola bars, oranges, and apples – that way they have no excuse not to come to class!

    If this pilot is a success, what will be your next steps? Will you launch a permanent Prep program in San Jose? Or even a campus for the fellowship?

    Our goal is to empower women all over the country so we are definitely just getting started.  

    Find out more and read Hackbright Academy reviews on Course Report. Check out the Hackbright Academy website.

    About The Author

    Imogen crispe headshot

    Imogen is a writer and content producer who loves writing about technology and education. Her background is in journalism, writing for newspapers and news websites. She grew up in England, Dubai and New Zealand, and now lives in Brooklyn, NY.

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  • Alumni Spotlight: Rebecca Saines from Hackbright Academy

    Liz Eggleston6/22/2017

    As a math and science teacher, Rebecca was always interested in using technology in the classroom, but it wasn’t until working in EdTech that she saw a career for herself as a developer. So in 2016, she enrolled at Hackbright Academy, the all-women Python bootcamp in San Francisco, to make the career change. Rebecca tells us how Hackbright Academy’s teaching style compared to traditional education, what she got from learning amongst women, and why she was admittedly picky while interviewing for her first job as a Software Engineer at Streak!

    Q&A

    What were you up to before Hackbright Academy?

    I was on the pre-med path in college before finally getting the guts to tell my family that I didn’t want to be a doctor. So naturally, I instead graduated with a degree in Spanish. But I had always had a penchant for teaching and working with kids, so I applied for Teach for America and taught middle school Math and Science in North Carolina.

    After teaching for five years, my husband George was bitten by the startup bug and we decided to move to the Bay Area. I used that move as an opportunity to transition from the classroom to...literally anything else. I ended up finding a position in customer service in an EdTech company, which is where I started to get more technical.

    When did you decide that you wanted to become a software engineer?

    I was always interested in tech in the classroom and I had always had a propensity for math and science, but it wasn't until I joined that EdTech company that I started to actually parse JSON and work with a database or an API. I kept learning those things as a customer service representative, moved on to manage the team, and then I moved into product management. As a product manager, I missed debugging and doing the technological stuff. When I realized that this piece was missing, that was a huge part of my decision to go to Hackbright Academy.

    How did you first learn to code on your own?

    The way you learn to code really depends on your learning style and also the people who are around to teach you. Interestingly, as a customer service representative, no one expected me to be very technical. But I found that I could do a much better and more efficient job if I was, so I found some engineers who were willing to help me.

    They later admitted that they only taught me because I was a quick learner and because I taught others once they had taught me. That actually brought an efficiency to the rest of the team and prevented engineers from having to answer the same question over and over again. They learned that it was to their benefit to answer my questions.

    Whatever I couldn't figure out, I would try to figure it out online first. I spent a lot of time Googling little pieces and asking for help when I ran into a wall and didn't feel like I could go any further in the debugging process.

    Did you think about going back to college or getting a masters degree instead of a coding bootcamp?

    I found that the return on investment for a coding bootcamp was so much better than going back to college, which is a much bigger monetary investment and a much longer time investment.

    Once you decided to attend a coding bootcamp did you research other bootcamps, or did you have your heart set on Hackbright?

    I decided to only look at schools in San Francisco. I had really good friends graduate from Dev Bootcamp and eventually work there, so I knew a bunch about Dev Bootcamp. Another friend went to Hack Reactor. But most of my friends had been to Hackbright Academy, and I heard from them that Hackbright offered the most in terms of career opportunities, name recognition, mission, mentoring, and pedagogy – I had my heart set on Hackbright.

    Was it important to you to learn with all women at Hackbright?

    Actually, that was the aspect I was least excited about because I've always been one of the guys. I was actually pretty terrified that I wouldn't get along with anybody, but it turns out that I could not have been more wrong and I was delighted to be proved wrong. The women in my cohort are some of the best people in the whole world and I'm so grateful to have been surrounded by each of them.

    Something interesting and unexpected was that we started recognizing and dropping the niceties that we put into place as a result of being women in the workplace. That was actually spurred on by the teachers at Hackbright. For example, one time my classmate answered a question with “I think…” and the instructor responded back, “Why are you prefacing your answer? You’re totally correct, so why don’t you just say the answer if you know it?” That’s a verbal nicety that women use in the workplace to seem less bossy and assertive.

    Together we broke down some of those niceties that we had added into our language in order to fit into a mold. I don't think that we could have accomplished that in a co-ed environment. Being in an all-women classroom started a lot of great conversations between us as a cohort and women in the workplace and even personally. I continue to inspire those conversations between me and my friends of all different genders.

    Since changing my career into tech, I had a conversation with my mom where she actually apologized for not pushing me towards computer science because it is so incredibly male dominated. I think that that's a really interesting reflection on her part. I just didn’t know that computer science was an option.

    Was it hard to get into Hackbright?

    It was not a cake walk. There was a coding challenge that I spent a long time on. I had a background in SQL, and started trying to teach myself JavaScript as my first programming language. I submitted my coding challenge in JavaScript. For me, I had the most anxiety around the video application where I had to explain my thought process about a couple of technical questions.

    With your background working in education and working for an EdTech company, what did you think of the Hackbright teaching style?

    Overall, I really loved it. From a pedagogical standpoint, there was a great mix of learning and doing. There's a huge difference between hearing about a topic and actually doing it yourself.

    When I was teaching in my own classroom, I very purposefully broke it down into I Do//We Do//You Do structure, and the most benefit to my students was when they actually got their hands dirty. I thought Hackbright allowed us time to get our hands dirty with enough structure and support that we never felt like we were flailing, which is the dangerous flipside of that teaching style. And their student to teacher ratio was very well suited to the environment.

    The only critique that I could offer is that Hackbright didn't tell us their pedagogical method until the very end of the program. Their pedagogical approach works for motivated adult learners, which essentially means that they're going to throw more information at you than you could ever possibly absorb. Then, you rely on your own passion and interest to allow you to dive deeply into a specific technology that you’re interested in.

    I knew it would be like learning from a fire hose, but since I had come from a background in traditional education, I assumed that if the information was presented, then I needed to know it. So I had this mismatch of expectations between the traditional schooling that I had received in the past and the pedagogy that they were using. It could have made it a little less stressful for me if I had known that up front, but I don’t regret the way I approached it.

    What was your favorite project that you built at Hackbright?

    We did a lot of little projects that were very structured and gave us an opportunity to dive deep into the lecture of that day. We also worked on a capstone project, which we displayed at demo night.

    My favorite project was my solo capstone project, which was called Shnerdy. Shnerdy lets users search for very specific tee-shirts. The biggest thing that I learned was how to debug my own code and move forward on my own. I learned a lot of the broad strokes from Hackbright, but then if I really wanted to dive deep, I had to figure out how to do that myself and how to implement that technology.

    What I learned through my project was how to manipulate the DOM, get specific information into a database from my front end or even transmitting information through Python on the back end.

    Did you get a job during Demo Day? What are you up to now?

    I didn't get hired from that demo day, but I found a job at a company called Streak and I absolutely love it. Streak is a Chrome extension, and it’s like a CRM for your inbox. I was very picky when I was interviewing with companies.

    I’m a Software Engineer and I’m working with a lot of JavaScript right now. Eventually, I imagine that I will dive more into the backend, which is done in Java. And right now specifically I'm doing a lot of work with their customer integration, which involves a lot of work with Streak’s support team. If a customer has a more technical question than the support team can handle, it goes through me first.

    You said you were picky about choosing your first company to work for – what stood out about Streak as a new developer?

    I wanted to work for a company where I could add value, first and foremost. The other thing I looked for was a supportive environment. And I don’t mean supportive in terms of, 'Tell, me what to do and when to do it," but supportive of my nontraditional background.

    A lot of people will tell you to hide the fact that you’re a junior developer. To me, that sounds like a really good way to be very unhappy, very quickly. So I wanted to work for a company that didn't hold my hand but also had a realistic viewpoint of where I was coming from.

    I have no regrets about being picky now. I cannot speak highly enough of the way in which Streak has incorporated my background into the role that I'm doing now to make it a good transition for me. I love the people I'm working with and I love the job I'm doing. It is incredibly challenging and I'm learning a lot. I also feel like I'm learning at a pace and a level that is appropriate to where I'm at, and in the long run, it's going to make me a really phenomenal engineer.

    Do you think that your previous background as a teacher and working in customer service has been useful in your new job as a developer?

    Absolutely. I've learned something different from each realm and each career that I've had up to this point, even though it's been very difficult. For instance, when I was transitioning out of the classroom and looking for different jobs, I cannot tell you the number of times when an interviewer said, "It's really interesting that you're interviewing for this role, especially considering that you're just a teacher."

    I have managed and taught a class of 42 thirteen-year-olds at once – I challenge anyone to do that and not learn something about managing a team. I think that those skills will continue to be important throughout the course of my career. Having been a teacher, I have a greater understanding of what makes a good student and that has been really valuable as I go back to basics and learn about being a software engineer.

    Do you feel like you learned everything you needed to know at Hackbright for your first job at Streak? What has the transition been like into the tech world?

    Hackbright Academy gave me the legitimacy to get a job as a software engineer. But given the specifics of a particular stack like JavaScript, you need to do the job in order to learn all of the integrations and tiny pieces and product decisions, in order to do that software engineering job well.

    I think Hackbright does a wonderful job teaching you as much as they can in the time window that they have. I discussed this with my CTO and one of the co-founders at Streak – I'm going to be learning at an incredible pace for at least six months.

    Have you stayed involved with Hackbright after graduating?

    Yes, and that’s a really big deal for me. I wasn't expecting to fall so completely in love with all of these women. Actually, my cohort and I have dinner every other week. And there’s usually a group of like three to eight of us, that will go to events together, which is really neat. I am also a mentor at Hackbright, which means that I am helping somebody through their current bootcamp experience. Additionally, I'm also an ambassador for Hackbright Academy, meaning that I represent them at various events when they need a voice.

    Do you want to go back to working in EdTech at some point? What are your plans for the future?

    Some of the best advice I got was from one of my mentors at Hackbright. I assumed that since I had a background in education, I would need to work in EdTech. My mentor said, "Becca, you are an engineer. Engineers are profession-agnostic. You have a great background in education and in tech, but as an engineer, you shouldn't pigeonhole yourself into one sector.” I took that advice to heart and so, no, it's not a personal goal of mine to get back into EdTech at all.

    What’s your advice to other folks thinking about doing Hackbright?

    Since graduating from Hackbright, everybody's been asking me, "So, do you like being a developer?" It's like they expect me to not be sure if I liked the career. For me, that was never something that I was concerned about because I had tried learning to code before and knew I would enjoy the technical part of this job. So my advice for anyone considering a coding bootcamp is to ask yourself, “How do you know that you'll like this?” I also say that in a slightly selfish way because there is a generalization about bootcampers that they won’t like programming and be good at their jobs, and that’s hurting the reputation of bootcamps.

    Hackbright does a great job making sure that they admit people who are passionate about being a developer. This fights that stereotype, but it's really unfortunate that a lot of folks make this incredible transition and huge financial commitment only to figure out three months into their job that they don't actually like being a developer. So I would encourage folks to figure out how they know that they're going to like programming and to go from there.

    Otherwise, I think that coding bootcamps, in general, show a really good return on investment and I would encourage anybody who is sure that they're passionate about this career to dive in.

    Find out more and read Hackbright Academy reviews on Course Report. Check out the Hackbright Academy website.

    About The Author

    Liz pic

    Liz is the cofounder of Course Report, the most complete resource for students considering a coding bootcamp. She loves breakfast tacos and spending time getting to know bootcamp alumni and founders all over the world. Check out Liz & Course Report on Twitter, Quora, and YouTube

  • How to Keep Learning After a Coding Bootcamp

    Lauren Stewart10/27/2017

    Learning to code at an intensive bootcamp takes dedication and focus. And even though you’ll reach that finish line (we promise you will!), it’s important to remember that the learning doesn’t end at graduation! Whether you’re acclimating to a new technology stack on the job, or you’ve decided to add to your skillset through online resources, there’s always room to grow. A great developer's job is never done, and the learning will continue. So how do you stay on top of the ever-evolving tech scene? We’ve collected advice from bootcamp alumni and employers in our 8 steps to keep learning after a Coding Bootcamp.

    Continue Reading →
  • Alumni Spotlight: Frances Liu of Hackbright Academy

    Imogen Crispe4/4/2017

    Frances Liu graduated with a degree in Business Analytics, then immediately enrolled at Hackbright Academy. She had gained some coding skills at college, but realized she needed more hands-on project experience to get a job in tech. Frances chose Hackbright Academy’s all women coding bootcamp for its supportive and friendly environment, and its Python curriculum. We asked Frances how her bootcamp experience compared with college, and about her new software engineering job at Teradata!

    Q&A

    What is your pre-Hackbright Academy story?

    I was a fresh college grad when I entered Hackbright Academy. I graduated in May 2016, and started Hackbright in July 2016. In college, I started out as a microbiology major, switched to computer science for a year, and then ended up graduating with a business analytics degree. I mainly focused on R, SQL, statistics, visualization, and presentation of data. I ended up going above and beyond and making my own website and interactive graphs and presentations on the web.

    My first experience with programming was when I was 6 or 7 years old. My dad had a copy of The C Programming Language in our bookshelf. I read through it and enjoyed it, but didn’t comprehend the logic behind it.

    Why did you go straight from college to a coding bootcamp?

    I had college experience but didn’t have enough project experience. My computer science and computer engineering major friends had a whole bunch of projects from their college coursework and personal endeavors. I had many internships, but it wasn’t enough to get a job. The majority of jobs in the data analytics and data science fields required Ph.D. and master’s degrees.

    Throughout college, I also didn’t have the chance to grow my network. I didn’t attend clubs, go to meetups, and wasn’t actively engaged in the community due to working full time and taking more than the maximum number of units allotted in a semester by dual enrolling in community college to finish my degree faster. Along with learning new skills, building a portfolio of projects, I felt that going to a coding bootcamp was a great way to build a network that I could tap into whenever I needed it. At the end of the day, a network of people, and relationships, are things you can’t buy.

    Did you consider majoring in computer science at college?

    I actually had an issue with the computer science classes at my college. The ratio was 10 women to 250 men in the lecture hall. That’s why I ended up choosing an all female bootcamp. I applied to App Academy and I considered Dev Bootcamp, Flatiron School, and Hack Reactor. But, ultimately, I chose Hackbright Academy because I knew how important and valuable it is to empower other women to go into engineering. After attending several female-only and co-ed events, I felt the female only events more inclusive when it comes to people of various backgrounds and experiences.

    Other than being all women, what other aspects of Hackbright Academy stood out to you?

    The fact that the curriculum was Python-based was very appealing to me. Python stood out to me when I was doing business analytics because R and Python are both very strong in the data science community. So I could always go back and work in data science/analytics. I wanted to keep my options open about going into a data science or software engineering direction, so the curriculum was a deal breaker for me.

    Some bootcamps do group projects for their final projects, but at Hackbright Academy, that solo endeavor was really important because it let me assess my skills from end to end.

    How did you pay for the tuition?

    Hackbright gave me a partial scholarship because I was in student loan debt after college. Rather than taking out money via loans, a family member loaned me money to fund the rest of my Hackbright experience, and I used my cash on hand to pay for housing, living expenses, and food.

    What was the application and interview process like for you?

    Hackbright’s initial online application is like doing a job application– they ask who you are, where you’re from, and what your background is. Then there’s a coding challenge with an unlimited amount of time to complete. Other bootcamps I applied to had time-restricted challenges. I completed the coding challenge in Python, but the Hackbright admissions team said it didn’t have to be fully functional (their goal was to see my logic and reasoning), and any language would be sufficient.

    How many people were in your cohort? Was your class diverse in terms of age, race, life and career backgrounds?

    We had 25 to 30 people, and there were a large variety of backgrounds. Some people were less experienced in coding, so it was more challenging for them, and others were ahead of the curve, or understood the material from the get go. The students ranged in age from 23 (me!) to mid 50's. One older student had a CS degree and was well versed in Fortran, but wanted to learn something new so she applied and was accepted to Hackbright. We were also diverse in terms of backgrounds and cultures. We had people with design and art backgrounds, teachers, engineers, journalists, and project managers. It was extremely diverse, which was awesome. Everyone always brought different opinions and ideas because of their background and experiences.

    What was the learning experience like at Hackbright Academy?

    For the first four to six weeks, every day was busy with lectures. From 9am to 10:30am we had a lecture, then from 10:30am to 12pm, we had an exercise to do. After lunch, we had another lecture and another exercise. Sometimes certain students needed more time with the material, so the instructors would do the formal lecture, then during the exercise and through pair programming, students could ask questions and figure out exactly what they didn’t understand.

    On Fridays, we had a study hall where the instructors would go over everything from the entire week, and you could ask any questions. If students felt confused during class, it was always clarified later on. We had homework every weekend; the homework load wasn’t crazy and it built on top of what we learned that week.

    How did learning with only women compare to your experience at college?

    I did not have a positive experience in my computer science classes at college, and as one of the only women, I felt secluded and singled out. At Hackbright Academy everything was a lot more collaborative and it was a friendly and accepting environment. You do form cliques because you bond with certain people more as everyone’s expertise coming in was a bit different. If I had a question pertinent to Python and C++, I would ask someone who had taken C++ courses. We also had formal front-end engineers in the course who brought very useful knowledge.

    What is your favorite project that you built at Hackbright Academy?

    My favorite one would be when we first started putting everything together with Flask and making a real application. It was a fairly straightforward shopping cart application with a database, backend, and front end. Prior to that, we were more focused on functional algorithms – this was the first one where we got to see the whole thing stacked together. Another favorite was when we did Markov chains. At the time I didn’t get it, and hated it, but looking back, it was pretty fun because we got to work with our first API, the Twitter API. We built a bot that posted tweets on its own, and seeing and understanding that process was very important to me.

    How did the Hackbright Academy careers team prepare you for job hunting?

    As a fresh grad I felt a lot of their advice wasn’t as pertinent to me, because I had no full-time work experience – I had only done internships.

    Hackbright’s mentorship program was one of my biggest takeaways– I still talk to my mentor today. He helps me when I have any problems at work, or with study; whatever I’m working on, he is there for me. Mentors are really invaluable.

    I found my job fairly quickly; I started applying the last two weeks of Hackbright, and had interviews lined up immediately after. I got the offer in early November and started December 5th. I could’ve started earlier, but I wanted to give myself some time to unwind.

    Congrats on your role at Teradata! What does your role involve so far?

    Teradata is a big data/analytics company for B2B. My official title for the company is software engineer. The first team I was put on was working on some new servers. Since the company was transitioning to use more Python, I quickly picked up how to read Perl to help with some “translations.” Moving forward I want to do web development and teach, so I joined Toastmasters to practice my oral speech skills. I presented at our internal Python meetup about Flask, which is what I learned at Hackbright, and it caught the attention of a CTO. He brought me onto his project, a Flask RESTful API, and transitioned into my second position.

    What kind of onboarding or training did Teradata give you?

    I didn’t do onboarding until mid-February, and it was mostly business focused because Teradata is changing their business model. For the most part I had to learn on my own.

    How do you stay involved with Hackbright Academy? Have you kept in touch with other alumni?

    The were a few things I wanted to do when I graduated – I wanted to be successful, which I defined as completing interviews and finding a job. Then I wanted to learn the nuances of being a full-time employee, since it was my first full-time job. After that, I wanted to contribute back to the community by being involved in being an ambassador, writing blog posts, and teach the community.

    What advice do you have for people making a career change through a coding bootcamp?

    A lot of people focus on, “What will this bootcamp give me, will it help me find a job?” And I feel that’s not the right way choose a bootcamp. You should look at what you want to accomplish going in, and when you graduate. I went in with the mentality of wanting to learn and build up my network. Having a network is invaluable – you can’t put a price tag on human relations. I knew I was going to be in a smaller work environment, so I could practice things like speech skills in lightning talks, and the mentor program helped me accomplish my goals.

    Remember that the learning never stops. Just because Hackbright Academy started your learning does not mean that’s it. You have to keep going. For those who do Hackbright then stop coding and practicing, they may reflect back, and say it’s not worth it. In reality, Hackbright is a valuable platform and foundation where you can start your learning and figure how you learn best.

    Find out more and read Hackbright Academy reviews on Course Report. Check out the Hackbright Academy website. If you’re a Hackbright Alumna you can also share your experience by writing a review!

    About The Author

    Imogen crispe headshot

    Imogen is a writer and content producer who loves writing about technology and education. Her background is in journalism, writing for newspapers and news websites. She grew up in England, Dubai and New Zealand, and now lives in Brooklyn, NY.

  • Alumni Spotlight: Laurel Korwin of Hackbright Academy

    Imogen Crispe3/16/2017

    After a liberal arts degree, Laurel Korwin wasn’t sure what career to pursue, so tried her hand at financial research. Living in San Francisco, she eventually transitioned into a technology company but became frustrated that she didn’t have the tech skills to solve problems. A friend told her about Hackbright Academy, so she tried out some Python and decided to enroll. Laurel explains why it was important for her to be surrounded by women while learning to code, how she budgeted to get through bootcamp, and how Hackbright Academy’s careers team worked so hard to help her get her job as a developer at Redfin!

    Q&A

    What is your pre-bootcamp story? What is your educational background and last career path?

    I studied political science and Latin American studies at the University of California, San Diego. I’ve always had a love of natural language. I graduated in 2008 and worked on a political campaign briefly, then after the election I was looking for my next steps. 2008 was the depth of the recession so there wasn’t a lot available. I ended up working at a financial research company, in an industry called corporate governance. I wrote reports on companies around the world and managed a portfolio of clients. Then I moved over to a consulting firm which provided advice to public companies, in terms of how to engage with shareholders, executive compensation, board diversity, environmental issues. That was all interesting, but it was night and day from what I thought I would be doing for a career.

    I was living in San Francisco and had many friends who worked in tech, so I was eager to explore that side of things. I eventually got a project management role at a health care tech firm, Zenefits. I worked on a cross functional team where we would liaise between internal teams, business partners, and clients to resolve big problems. It was kind of a crash course in tech, which was really interesting, but I felt like I wanted to have more agency in a technical role to build or fix things myself. That spurred me to consider Hackbright Academy, or a bootcamp. I had a friend who did Hackbright a few years earlier, so I had it in the back of my mind all along, but that was the final push that made me say, “I actually want to do this.”

    Did you try to learn on your own before you thought about a coding bootcamp? What types of resources did you use?

    I worked through some of Learn Python the Hard Way, and went to some Girl Develop It meetups, which were really fun. Yet, I felt I would learn more in a structured environment, where I was devoting all my time to learning to code. When you’re working 9am to 5pm, it’s hard to find time to devote yourself seriously to it. I felt I would have more impact and more opportunities if I had more formal training on my resume. I also told myself this could be my version of “grad school” since I hadn’t attended a more traditional one.

    Did you research other coding bootcamps or did you have your heart set on Hackbright Academy?

    I had my heart set on Hackbright Academy for a couple of reasons. As I said, a girl who had gone through it told me really good things about the program. I also really believe that single sex education can be a great thing. I went to an all girls middle school and had a great experience. I was entering an industry where the ratio of women in technical roles is so small, and would be learning all of these new and challenging things, and felt it would be a good environment to be surrounded by women. I also went to some co-ed bootcamp meetups, and felt discouraged by how students interacted. I wanted a really supportive and inclusive learning environment.

    Was it important for you that Hackbright Academy teaches Python?

    Not in particular, but I had been learning Python before I knew that it was taught at Hackbright Academy. My partner is an engineer, and from his advice, I came to the conclusion that Python is one of the most beginner friendly languages. It’s intuitive, things make sense, and there aren’t a lot of mid-advanced level concepts that you have to understand to start coding. I felt it would be a good thing to learn and build on, and it just so happened that Hackbright was teaching it.

    Did you think about going back to college to study computer science?

    I looked at a few different masters programs. What dissuaded me was that because I did not have a background in math and science, I realized I would have to do a lot of supplemental course work before I was eligible to apply. And also, although bootcamps are not cheap, an actual degree would be a bigger investment timewise and financially.

    How did you pay for the tuition? Did you use a financing partner? Did you get a scholarship? Any creative tips you can share with our readers?

    I was fortunate to have saved quite a bit of money in my past job. So I had a decent amount in the bank, and I also took out a loan from someone in my personal life. I could’ve paid the entire amount from savings, but I was cognizant of the fact that I didn’t know how long it would take me to find a job. I put together a spreadsheet looking at how much I could spend per month, because it’s not only the tuition, it’s also living expenses– you don’t get a job on day one after the bootcamp. So I made a thorough plan as to how much I could spend per month, and how long I could afford to be without a job after the program.

    What was the Hackbright interview and application process like?

    First of all, there was a written application with essay questions, then there was a coding challenge. My first interview was with a Hackbright alumna, who was really great. She and I are now connected on Linkedin, and have run into each other at many events. She asked about my background, and we looked over how I had tackled the coding challenge. After that I spoke with Dori Grant, Director of Admissions, and again talked about the coding challenge and why I used JavaScript rather than Python. We also talked about my background and what I hoped to get out of the program. I think from when I started the application to when I was accepted was about two to three weeks.

    How many people were in your cohort? Was the class diverse in terms of race, life and career backgrounds?

    My cohort was about 26 women. There was another cohort there at the same time with around the same number, but we attended classes separately, so we got to know the women in our own cohort more than the other. It was a really diverse group of people. There were people who had done finance and banking, people who had worked in architecture, people who had been teachers, all sorts of things. When I was first introduced to my cohort, I remember thinking, “This is the coolest group of women with the most interesting and diverse backgrounds and experiences.” It was really interesting to have so many different perspectives, especially at the end of the program when we were talking about careers and job searches.

    What was the learning experience like at your bootcamp— typical day and teaching style?

    The program was split into two sections, the first five weeks were lecture and pair programming intensive. We’d have lectures in the morning and the afternoon, and afterwards we’d pair on concepts we had learned that day. Lectures were on things like basic concepts in Python, different data structures, and object orientation. In the second half of the program we had lectures in the morning, then would work on our capstone projects for the rest of the day. In that section we learned about developer tool boxes: APIs, different tools you could use, as well as core CS concepts like linked lists, and recursion.

    How many instructors did you have?

    We had two lead instructors who taught the bulk of the lecture. We also had two lab instructors and two TAs. In the first five weeks the lab instructors and TAs came around as we were pair programming, helped us debug, and answered questions. It was really great. During the project season, we had a help queue where someone would come around and help you debug, and that was so nice. Sometimes in my professional life, I wish I still had the help queue.

    What was your capstone project? Was it a group project?

    We all chose our own individual projects for the last five weeks, and devoted ourselves to working on them so we could present them to companies. Mine was a cross between Pinterest and Goodreads. I really love to read so I hooked up to the Amazon API, and built a kind of social network where you could make boards to categorize books you’ve read or wanted to read. You could recommend books to your friends, look at your friends’ boards, and move books onto your own board. I thought about deploying it, but there were some legal loopholes with the Amazon API. It’s something that I actually would really like to use myself – I wish it existed! The tech stack was Python on the backend, JavaScript on the frontend, then we used Flask as the framework, a PostgreSQL database, and SQLAlchemy as the ORM (object relational mapping).

    What was it like studying in an all-female environment? How did it compare to college or other learning environments?

    It was really great. Not having had the experience of doing the same thing in a coed environment, I’m not sure exactly how different it would be. My Hackbright Academy cohort was a very supportive group of people. There were times when I got frustrated, or found certain topics harder than others, but people were very open about talking about those things. We said if we were frustrated, or if we didn’t understand something, or asked for help from a peer or TA. I definitely felt like there was a really great, open listening environment.

    How did the Hackbright Academy’s careers team prepare you for job hunting?

    They had career coffees which started in week 2. Every week a member of the career services staff would give a lecture on things like building a personal brand, or fine-tuning your resume and cover letter. Then we also had one-on-one meetings with members of career services to talk about what kinds of companies we wanted to work for, to look at our connections to see what’s feasible, and to talk about different companies Hackbright had connections with.

    We then demoed our capstone projects to various companies. After that, the official education part of the program was over, and the last two weeks were dedicated to career services. Hackbright Academy brought in a lot of guest speakers to speak about technical topics, as well as job search, and interview preparation. I found it really helpful to do interview practice nights, including technical and behavioural questions with different people in the industry.

    Congrats on your new job! Can you tell me about what you do and how you got the job?

    Redfin was a Hackbright partner company, so I met them there and started the interview process. I’m a developer on the tour automation team. Redfin, in addition to being a platform where you can search for homes, is also a real estate brokerage– we have 1,200 agents across the country who can meet with clients and take them on tours of homes. My team is building software to streamline the touring process, which is actually more complicated than people might think. It involves calendar times, home availabilities, different local partners and agents. We are working out that architecture on the backend, so that it’s easy for the customer. Our goal is to make seeing a home as easy as it is to order an Uber.

    What was the interview process like after you initially met Redfin at Hackbright?

    I loved their interview process. They contacted me and said they were interested in bringing me in for an interview. First I had a phone screening with my manager, which was a more typical coding question. They code in Java, but I went through the process in Python. Once I passed that, I went in for a full day of interviews. It was really progressive compared to other coding questions and interviews I’d seen.

    There were four panel interviews. The first one was whiteboarding a brain teaser to see how I approach a logical problem, and how my mind works. I also had to explain something technical, so with my background, I explained how health insurance works from an employer’s perspective. In the second interview, I did a code review of sample code and pointed out errors. l also talked about my project and the architecture behind it. Then there was a lunch interview, and two pair programming interviews.

    You mentioned Redfin uses Java. How do you learn a whole new programming language?

    I started learning Java when I got there. I also started a bit beforehand, doing some online tutorials on basic syntax, but I’ve learned mostly on the job and by reading books. Redfin has a wonderful onboarding process; they have a series of what they call “new hire labs” for everyone from entry level to senior engineers, to get you acclimated to their structure and how they do things. There were front end labs, back end labs, and a database schema lab, which consisted of pre-reading, online tutorials, and exercises. Those were really great, and really helped me dive in into Java and into Redfin’s giant code base that has been around for 10 years.

    How has your previous background been useful in your new job?

    I think my perspective is useful. Having worked on the side where you are using products that people put out, and asking “why is this done this way”, has inspired me to understand the people who use the software, and to make things as useful as possible in terms of UI and the way things work. There are also some transferable soft skills from my background in consulting– attention to detail, the ability to dive into something and tackle a problem without knowing anything about it, and knowing when to ask for help.

    How diverse is your team at Redfin? Are there many women?

    I’m in the San Francisco office and the diversity there is pretty great. My team is actually majority women which is pretty rare! My manager is a guy, and then we have one guy who works remotely and one guy in the office, but otherwise there are four or five women on the team. I also have two mentors whom I pair with quite a lot who are both women.

    What’s been the biggest challenge or roadblock in your journey to learn to code?

    The most challenging thing is coming from an untraditional background. Sometimes I struggle with knowing what are good questions to ask– is this something I should know or be able to find out myself? Does the way I’m phrasing or thinking about this problem make sense? There are a lot of feelings of imposter syndrome, and it’s certainly challenging to be among people who’ve studied this for years, or worked in this field for so long.

    How do you stay involved with Hackbright? Have you kept in touch with other alumnae?

    In terms of alumnae, our cohort tries to keep in close touch. We have a cohort Slack channel that we still use, and we try to do happy hours once or twice a month. As far as Hackbright itself, I’m mentoring a Hackbright student this quarter as part of Hackbright’s mentor program where they pair students with people in the industry. I also participate in the ambassadors program, where I’m on call to answer questions from prospective students and go to conferences.

    What advice do you have for people making a career change through a coding bootcamp?

    On the practical side of things, make sure you feel comfortable with your ability to get through a coding bootcamp, because it’s an expensive decision. I feel so happy with my decision, but after doing budgetary and technical pre-work I felt comfortable going through the program, and knew I would feel comfortable in the job search. So do your homework in advance to find right program that suits your needs.

    You also need to realize that there will be a lot of situations where aspects of the curriculum seem weird, confusing, complicated, or might not make sense at first glance. You have to really dive in and be challenged, and know that some things might not make sense right away. You might work on a problem for three hours and get really frustrated, then when you step away and come back to it and it makes a lot of sense. Being comfortable with being challenged and having the feeling like you don’t know how to do everything all the time is a really important thing to go in with.

    Find out more and read Hackbright Academy reviews on Course Report. Check out the Hackbright Academy website.

    About The Author

    Imogen crispe headshot

    Imogen is a writer and content producer who loves writing about technology and education. Her background is in journalism, writing for newspapers and news websites. She grew up in England, Dubai and New Zealand, and now lives in Brooklyn, NY.

  • Alumni Spotlight: Marisha Schumacher-Hodge of Hackbright Academy

    Imogen Crispe1/6/2017

    Marisha was a professional soccer player and collegiate soccer coach before she discovered a passion for coding. She taught herself the basics of web development to help with her sister’s startup, and loved the creative problem solving aspect of programming. Marisha chose to enroll at Hackbright Academy coding bootcamp in San Francisco because she wanted to be part of their women-focused network. Marisha tells us about making the decision to use a SkillsFund loan to cover the Hackbright tuition, the similarities between soccer and coding, and how she learned Java from scratch for her new job as a Software Engineer at Ellie Mae.

    Q&A

    What is your pre-Hackbright Academy story?

    I went to Boston University for undergraduate school and majored in international relations, because I was interested in studying different cultures and doing government work at that time. For most of my life, soccer has been a big passion of mine; I played soccer in college and professionally for a few years after graduating.

    After undergrad and playing pro soccer for a few teams in the US and in Europe, I went to England to get a masters degree in education and worked as a collegiate soccer coach for a couple of years at a university in Sacramento, California. I enjoyed coaching, but at the same time I felt like there was another purpose for me. I was so into soccer my whole life, but I felt like I wanted to give back in another way. My sister got into tech a few years before I did and she was always raving about how many opportunities there were in the industry. She encouraged me to work with her on a new startup idea and build a website together, which turned into an interest in coding. I considered pursuing another graduate degree, but I would have had to invest another two years of study, and even more money. I knew that people were getting jobs right out of 12-week coding bootcamps, and I thought that would be a better investment of my time. I eventually applied to Hackbright.

    What was the startup you were working on with your sister?

    My sister had already founded a couple of startups, and she had an idea to create an online resource for startup founders to share resources, tips, advice, and lessons learned. I helped her with the technical groundwork. I had never taken a computer science class before, so I had to teach myself. I always spent a lot of time on the computer outside of work, but I never thought about learning what was going on behind the scenes until working on this project with her. I used free online resources as much as possible, just to get a feel for it and build that first website. I didn’t start taking any online coding courses until I was applying for Hackbright and needed to get a foundation in Python.

    What made you passionate about coding?

    When I was an athlete, I felt like I was challenged every day, like I was problem solving and being creative, in a different realm. Aside from playing soccer, I had never really felt that same kind of passion or challenge in a job. With coding, at first glance it can sometimes seem difficult to break down an issue or design a new functionality, and I like the fact that you can be creative, problem solve, build things, and see the immediate results of what you build. That was more intellectually stimulating for me.

    Did you research other coding bootcamps or did you have your heart set on Hackbright Academy?

    My sister knew one of the founders of Hackbright Academy, so she had mentioned that to me as an option early on in my search. I started researching other coding bootcamps as well, and I ended up deciding between Hackbright and a coding bootcamp in Oakland, CA. My goal was to find a bootcamp that focused on diversity, by bringing underrepresented minority or gender groups into the tech space. After doing research and talking to alumni, I decided on Hackbright. After experiencing an all-women team environment during my soccer career, I realized in many cases that type of environment can automatically make some people feel more comfortable. They can achieve more because they are part of a team, supporting each other rather than competing with each other, which makes learning something completely new a little bit easier. I knew that I’d have a big network after graduating from Hackbright, which would probably help me land my first and second job, and be able to create lifelong connections with women on a similar path.

    Was it important for you to learn Python?

    I was still new enough to programming that I didn’t feel I had a solid grasp of what type of language I wanted to learn. I felt that just by being in that environment and learning a first coding language was enough.I did like Python because it is a functional language and more human-readable, which is why Hackbright focuses on Python as a foundational language. Plus, a lot of my classmates at Hackbright are now using it in their jobs. I ended up learning a different programming language for my job, but I think the Python curriculum at Hackbright is really good; it challenges you every day.

    How did you pay for Hackbright Academy tuition? Did you use a financing partner?

    When I joined Hackbright, I was able to put down a little bit of money, and I received a small financial scholarship from Hackbright, but I had to get a private loan from SkillsFund for the remaining tuition. Paying for the bootcamp definitely has to be a consideration for people. Depending on your financial situation and what you end up earning after the bootcamp, you might be able to pay that loan back pretty quickly. I know some students were able to pay for tuition outright or have others support them, which would, of course, be the ideal situation.  However, if you don’t have that option, taking out a loan might be a risk you have to take to put yourself in a better position. It would be great if Hackbright and other bootcamps could provide more financial assistance to those students who are talented but might not otherwise be able to afford the opportunity.

    What was the application and interview process like for you?

    The admissions process had a pretty quick turnaround since I was applying closer to the start date of a new cohort. You submit an application online, and have to complete a coding challenge. The prerequisites include taking a couple of Python courses online, which shouldn’t take too long. You have to be successful in the coding challenge and then you get interviewed by alumni of the program – every cohort has the opportunity to interview new applicants. If you pass that interview, the recruiting staff interview you and contact you with their decision.

    How many people were in your cohort? Was your class diverse in terms of race, life and career backgrounds?

    My class was very diverse in terms of career backgrounds. There were about 36 students in a cohort when I was at Hackbright (they now have two smaller cohorts running simultaneously). It’s interesting you asked about diversity because that’s something I noticed towards the end of Hackbright. My final project was related to diversity in tech, so I looked at the numbers in companies for race and gender, and as I did that, I also looked around in my cohort. There were different ethnic groups represented in my cohort, but proportionally it could have been better. In addition to gender diversity, incorporating a variety of racial and socioeconomic backgrounds into programs like Hackbright is very important for overall sustainability and improving diversity in the tech industry.

    What was the learning experience like at Hackbright Academy — share a typical day with us!

    On a typical day, we were onsite at Hackbright from 10am until 6pm, Monday through Friday. We had two lectures a day: morning and afternoon. After our lectures we do pair programming, alternating with different partners throughout the duration of the program. All the exercises and hands-on learning are done through pair programming, until we do our final solo project during the last half of the course. Hackbright does a really great job with the curriculum. They have great instructors, and with the evenings and weekends off, you have some time to further study and prepare for the next day’s material.

    Another part of Hackbright’s learning experience is that there is a good amount of time dedicated to discussion. They split up the discussions so that people who have more experience on the topic, and people with less experience can discuss things separately. That makes it less daunting to ask questions and feel comfortable about it.

    Did you notice a difference being in a learning environment with all women versus your co-ed college experience?

    I wouldn’t say it was better or worse, I just think I learn differently in those environments. Maybe it’s easier for some women who are surrounded by women to speak up, and ask the questions they want to ask. It’s just more of an open and supportive environment.

    Can you tell me about the diversity project you worked on for your final solo project?

    I was really interested in learning more about the tech landscape. Diversity in tech is such a hot topic, and has been for the last few years. Some companies have started voluntarily reporting their diversity information to the public, and I wanted to find a way for both employers and job seekers to visualize that data and see how other companies are doing. I created an application that has information about all the companies that I’ve found which have publically reported gender and ethnicity statistics. The user can play with the data, compare the companies with each other, and see how much a company’s workforce statistics are representative of the US population. Companies are ranked on how they are doing in terms of gender and ethnicity, and I also built an option for current employees to write reviews on their company. In addition, users can see news stories that are related to companies’ diversity efforts. I’ve deployed it online at diversitech.io and I’m still working on it regularly and updating it with company information.

    How did Hackbright Academy prepare you for job hunting?

    Hackbright does a really good job helping set to set the landscape for what to expect by providing tools and interview practice for the job search. Through the mentor program, each student is matched with three mentors who work in the industry and volunteer their time to help with projects, questions, and the job search. Some alumni stay connected with their mentor after they graduate from the program, which indicates what a great resource it is. I actually found my job through a referral from my mentor, so I feel very fortunate for that. Hackbright makes really strong initial connections for alumni because they have a whole network of partnerships with tech companies.

    Unless people have prior work experience in tech, it can be more challenging to find a job right away. You have to study, prepare, and learn from every interview you go on. Hackbright puts you in the mindset to learn and understand the overall picture, but it’s really up to each person to work hard and continue to develop after the program to land a job.

    What are you doing now? Tell us about your new job!

    For eight months, I’ve worked at Ellie Mae, a software company in the real estate industry which focuses on automating the loan origination process. It’s a medium-size company which has been around for 19 years. I work within the platform engineering division. I was the first junior engineer within that division, and also the first coding bootcamp alum! It’s been a really good learning experience because right now we’re upgrading, migrating, and developing new services in order to become a public-cloud based platform company. They are using a lot of new tech resources, refactoring, and creating new microservices, so it’s a really exciting time for me to join. Everyone on my team is learning something new at the same time. There are also a number of other women on the engineering team– in fact, there might even be more women than men on my team, including QA test engineers.

    You mentioned you had to learn a new language for your job. What technologies are you using at Ellie Mae and how did you ramp up?

    I had to learn Java right off the bat when I got here. We use MySQL for database management and AWS for deploying our microservices, which is another exciting technology. Even though Hackbright trained us to be full stack developers, I’m primarily working on back end development in my first role.

    During the interview process, I had to start learning Java before I went in, but for the most part I just learned by doing on the job. I started off just writing tests to understand the codebase first, then I was able to get into development pretty quickly. The pace was pretty fast on my team when I joined. I had to sink or swim with Java.

    How do you stay involved with Hackbright? Have you kept in touch with other alumni?

    I went to their 2016 holiday party recently! They have events all the time, they keep alumni up to date, and send out a bi-weekly email with alumni and other tech-related events. My cohort schedules our own events to keep in touch a few times a year. It’s only been a year since I graduated but we’ve met up pretty frequently. You tend to stay in communication with the people you’ve found a job close to, but I feel like I could still reach out to any of them – it’s still a close bond, even though it was such a short period of time.

    What advice do you have for people making a career change through a coding bootcamp?

    Make an effort to really understand the industry you’re getting into. It’s the hot thing right now to be in tech, and it’s definitely a big part of the future. But you have to try it out, build something, and work out, “Do I really like this? Do I want to be doing this all day every day?” There are people who know they do and are really passionate about it. Before switching careers and deciding, “This sounds so great,” do your due diligence. I would recommend meeting with a few people in the industry who have full-time software engineering jobs. Don’t be afraid to ask them what their typical work day is like, what their career trajectory in this industry has been like, and what they see as the great future opportunities in the tech industry.

    For me, Hackbright Academy was a great opportunity. Life is too short not to pursue your dreams and take risks, and if you are willing to do it, a coding bootcamp can be a great option. It may be a big cost in the short term, but you can reap a lot of benefits.

    Find out more and read Hackbright Academy reviews on Course Report. Check out the Hackbright Academy website.

    About The Author

    Imogen crispe headshot

    Imogen is a writer and content producer who loves writing about technology and education. Her background is in journalism, writing for newspapers and news websites. She grew up in England, Dubai and New Zealand, and now lives in Brooklyn, NY.

  • 8 Companies Who Actually Love Hiring Coding Bootcampers

    Liz Eggleston5/23/2017

    In our recent Student Outcomes survey, alumni reported that they were working in over 650 different companies! Of course, you may have read recent press citing companies like Google who apparently aren’t willing to invest in junior technical talent from coding bootcamps (we happen to know that coding bootcamp grads have been hired at Google and Salesforce, but that’s not the point)... Here we’re highlighting 8 forward-thinking companies who are psyched about the bootcamp alumni on their engineering teams. Each of these employers have hired multiple developers, and are seeing their investment pay off.

    Continue Reading →
  • How Women Navigate the Job Search at Hackbright Academy with Ronke Aderonmu

    Liz Eggleston12/8/2016

    Having worked in career services at UC Berkeley, Ronke Aderonmu joined Hackbright Academy as a Student Success Coach with a deep background in education and job success. Through career development classes, one-on-one sessions, and events with industry experts, Ronke guides students to find their ideal jobs at supportive, inclusive companies. She is passionate about Hackbright Academy’s mission to #changetheratio and coaches students through everything from impostor syndrome to salary negotiation. But Ronke’s advice isn’t exclusive to Hackbright Academy students- we recommend that any woman entering the tech industry read these tips!

    Q&A

    Tell us first about your experience in career services before you got to Hackbright Academy.

    I always knew that I wanted to work in education, creating supportive learning environments for people. I worked in marketing at an education technology startup, which gave me an inside look into the tech space. Then I transitioned to the career services department at UC Berkeley Haas Business School, working with students, getting them job interview ready, working with employers and recruiters, and doing a deep dive into the recruiting and hiring space.

    When I discovered Hackbright Academy, I thought of it as this perfect merging of my career services background, my tech experience, my education background, and my overall love of advising and supporting students. At Hackbright, I’m supporting women in the program with career education and guiding them in their job search process.

    What does the career services team at Hackbright look like? What’s your role as a Student Success Coach?

    We're growing!  Our Hackbright Academy Career Services team has Success Coaches and a Community Manager to work with our students and alumnae. Learn more about Career Services and our team here.

    I'm primarily teaching classes on career development and meeting with students one-on-one to talk about their career background and strategize to effectively find a job after they graduate from Hackbright. I also plan for our Career Services curriculum for Week 11 & 12 of Hackbright, where we invite industry experts to share job search advice, strategies and tools to prepare the women for success. Our Career Services team also provides field trips during the program, where students have the opportunity to see the inside of a tech company and connect with and learn from engineers who work there.

    We also have a Partnerships Team, that works directly with employers, developing relationships with companies who are passionate about Hackbright and want to hire our students.

    When does that career prep begin for a Hackbright student?

    This is something that definitely sets us apart from a lot of other coding bootcamps; we start from Day One, and even before. Our career services team does a pre-work assignment about social presence and personal brand that the students complete before starting the program.

    We want students to be thinking about the job search even before they get here. For a lot of women, the end goal is to find an ideal job in a supportive environment, and that takes time.

    Students send us their resumes so we can start taking a look and helping them think about that even before they get to the program. Starting on day one, we do weekly career development workshops and meetings until Week 9. Then in Week 11, we start our full career services curriculum.

    Does that mean that a student needs to know the exact job she wants before she starts at Hackbright Academy?

    There are definitely both types of students. Some know that, for example, machine learning is their dream field and Hackbright is a stepping stone to get there. We also have other students who just love coding and don’t know what the job market looks like. They don’t have an exact job title in mind when they get to Hackbright.

    Hackbright supports both types of students--helping the students who have a specific goal define the steps that they need to get there, and working with those who are exploring to figure out what aspect of engineering they really enjoy. We try to expose our students to roles in the tech space and expose them to different levels of seniority in engineering teams so they have a good sense of their options.

    Can a Hackbright student apply for a non-Python job when they graduate?

    Most Hackbright students do end up in Python roles. However, students can get jobs outside of Python.

    We have students who end up working in a very different language than Python because they've been able to show that they have this strong skillset in Python and are able to pick up new languages really quickly. There are also companies who code in a certain language, but have a language-agnostic interview process. You can interview in Python, but know that once you start that job, you'll need to pick up this other language that the team is using.

    There are also students who come to Hackbright with familiarity with other languages like Java or Ruby on Rails too. When those students finish Hackbright, they're not just applying for a Python role; they might also look into companies using the other languages that they are familiar with.

    We loved that your CEO recently pointed out that Hackbright students aren’t “placed” in jobs; they earn them. What do you expect from a Hackbright student in order to be successful?

    I love that she shared that. We're not placing students in jobs through career services. Our goal is to empower them to job search effectively. We want them to have that experience of earning their job and making things happen.

    A successful student shows grit throughout the job search process, and isn't fazed by discouragements or disappointments They hustle and advocate for themselves, finding what they need from the resources and education we’ve provided them, through their alumnae and mentor network, through the field trips and whiteboarding practice they’ve participated in, etc.

    The most successful students know when they need to ask for help, are proactive in asking for the resources they need, and take advantage of the lifetime career services we provide at Hackbright. We support our alumnae even with their second, third and more jobs after Hackbright.

    Are there specific challenges that female coding bootcampers face when they enter the job market?

    The lack of diversity in tech is problematic, and it’s the reason why our mission is to change the ratio. This lack of diversity is not exclusive just to women, but it is something that our graduates face when they dive into the job search. They might go on interviews with a company where they would be the very first woman on the team. Or they’ll ask good questions and realize that the culture on the team isn’t one that is supportive and that would allow them to learn and grow as engineers.

    We try to address and equip the women for those challenges during our career services program. We invite guest speakers to talk about how to navigate the interview process in tech; we provide tools for women to find companies where they’ll be supported and thrive in their career growth. And when they find that first job, our graduates then become the people who can speak about that experience and pave the path for future women entering the tech space.

    Do you see internal challenges i.e. impostor syndrome in your graduates? How do they combat that?

    I read an article recently that argued that impostor syndrome is sometimes used as an excuse for employers who aren’t doing enough to tackle the diversity problem in their companies. Psychologists argue that everybody (even men) have impostor syndrome, and so the rhetoric around this being just a female issue can be damaging.  So, we want our students to know that imposter syndrome is a common experience that most people have. What’s most important is how you choose to deal with those feelings when they come up.

    We encourage our students on the importance of tracking their accomplishments so they remember what they’ve done and how far they’ve come. We want to remind the women of their milestones as they go through each week at Hackbright, and we celebrate their successes during and after the program so that they keep those top of mind to counter the self-doubt and self-minimizing effects of imposter syndrome.

    Does Hackbright vet partner companies on behalf of students? What should a coding bootcamper look for in their first company?

    There are two ways that we go about that. One is that our Partnership Team vets partner companies that want to be a part of the Hackbright Academy mission. They talk personally about the company’s goals, mission, the structure of their engineering teams, their onboarding process, if they've hired from a bootcamp before, how they’re impacting diversity in their company. That helps us find companies that will be supportive for our graduates  and new engineers in the field.

    The other way we address this is by educating our graduates  on how to ask effective questions in an interview. We also stress networking, because an effective job search requires understanding the insider perspective, not just what you learn from an interview. Meeting people who are actually working at the company every day is crucial to finding out what it’s actually like to work there.

    A few great questions to ask employers:

    • What is your onboarding process like?
    • If I’m looking for answers to a question or if I want to learn a new technology, what would that process look like on your team?
    • What role does the manager of the team play at your company?

    Those are all questions that we want our students to be prepared to ask in order to tease out if a company is a right fit for them.

    Are there telltale signs that a company will be a poor fit for a woman engineer?

    A big red flag is in salary negotiation. If a company isn't being upfront with you about what they want to pay you or are paying you ridiculously below market rate, that's really concerning.

    When you talk with employees at the company, if no one is excited to be there or happy to be there, that's really concerning. High turnover rate can be a red flag. Or maybe you realize that there's no training offered, or there’s a lack of a supportive and learning culture. Or everyone looks incredibly overworked. If the company doesn't value a culture of communication and you don't see that clearly, these are all big red flags.

    Salary negotiation is a place where women get notoriously shortchanged. How do you guide students towards that $92,000 starting salary at Hackbright?

    Salary negotiation is incredibly important to changing the ratio in tech, so we work to provide adequate support for our students in this area and tackle the issue of the wage gap. If a student has an offer from a company, she can contact career services, and we talk through strategies for negotiating and evaluating the offer to make sure that it's a right fit.

    We also provide a strong education and workshop on negotiation and compensation during our career services curriculum. We bring in a salary and negotiations expert to speak on effective strategies for negotiation, how to set the right bar, how to let companies anchor, etc.

    How important have you found the alumnae network to the success of Hackbright Academy students?

    The alumnae network is definitely something that we pride ourselves on and sets Hackbright apart from other bootcamps. We have a large and growing network of over 400 graduates and women in tech.

    Going through this intensive experience together unifies the students, and then as alumnae, they have gone on to work at great companies and paved the way for future women. They’ve found out how to find a successful company, how to build and leverage an effective network, and how to make a good connection. When new Hackbright students look to their alumnae, they can see examples of how they’ve been successful. We also have Hackbright alumnae coming back to be mentors and collaborating with us in the admissions process. We have alumnae who give guest talks and panels, and they share their experience about the job search and about their day to day life in the workforce. Alumnae play an important part in our program, and we appreciate them so much.

    We also have an ambassador program that we're growing to invite alumnae to share about their jobs search experience and their bootcamp experience to empower other women who want to take that leap of faith and step into a career change in their own lives.

    We love hearing success stories. Is there a recent, inspiring success story that you can share?

    One of my favorites was a student who graduated from the program and went to our Demo Night (an event where we invite our partner companies to meet our current students). She fell in love with the culture and mission of one company at that event. They were in the education space and making an impact on accessible learning. She was so excited about them, but they were coding primarily in Ruby and not in Python.

    So this student made a commitment to dedicate three months after Hackbright to ramp up on Ruby and build another project in Ruby. She had regular check-ins with our Career Services staff -- communicating with our Director of Career Services and Alumnae Manager about ideas and plans of action she could take to maximize her job search. She stayed really active and engaged with Career Services throughout her time after Hackbright, and when she finally applied for that dream job, they were thrilled with her. For me, that story is really profound because it just shows her level of grit, her level of commitment, and her resourcefulness to make things happen for herself.

    That’s what makes for a strong and successful alumna – she goes after what she wants. She’s not letting impostor syndrome or any other obstacles stall her.

    Is there anything that we skipped that you want to make sure that we include?

    I love that I'm part of this mission to change the ratio of women in tech, and I’m really proud of the resources that we can provide for our students, so I'm glad to talk about this any day! Thank you for letting me share what we're doing at Hackbright Academy.

    Find out more and read Hackbright Academy reviews on Course Report. Check out the Hackbright Academy website.

    About The Author

    Liz pic

    Liz is the cofounder of Course Report, the most complete resource for students considering a coding bootcamp. She loves breakfast tacos and spending time getting to know bootcamp alumni and founders all over the world. Check out Liz & Course Report on Twitter, Quora, and YouTube

  • Episode 8: October 2016 Coding Bootcamp News Roundup + Podcast

    Imogen Crispe11/1/2016

    Welcome to the October 2016 Course Report monthly coding bootcamp news roundup! Each month, we look at all the happenings from the coding bootcamp world from new bootcamps to fundraising announcements, to interesting trends. This month we are also covering our Women In Tech Snapchat takeover! Other trends include new developments in the industry, new outcomes reports and why those are important, new investments in bootcamps, and of course, new coding schools and campuses.

    Continue Reading →
  • Am I the Right Candidate for a Coding Bootcamp?

    Imogen Crispe10/11/2016

    Should I do a coding bootcamp? This is a question we hear all the time, and for good reason. As more coding bootcamps launch (not to mention the rising media coverage), you’re probably wondering, “should I jump on the bandwagon and learn to code?” A recent TechCrunch article implored you not to learn to code unless you’re ready to put in the work to be great, whereas President Obama wants every student to learn computer science in high school. So what types of people are opting for coding bootcamps? And should you be one of them?

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  • Alumni Spotlight: Terri Wong of Hackbright Academy

    Imogen Crispe10/7/2016

    Terri was a graphic designer in Hong Kong, but when she moved to the Bay Area she wanted to get in on the tech scene. An advocate of #changetheratio, Terri enrolled at Hackbright Academy women’s coding bootcamp to turn herself into a unicorn bridging the divide between design and engineering. Now Terri is a UX Engineer at GoDaddy and creating beautiful, functional, intuitive user experiences. Terri tells us why she enjoyed learning with all women at Hackbright Academy, why pair programming is so important, and what it’s like being a UX Engineer.

    Q&A

    What is your pre-bootcamp story? Your educational background? Your last career path?

    I went to Hong Kong Baptist University and majored in Digital Graphic Communication, where I learned graphic design, interaction design, and 3D animation. I combined my minor in Business and picked a focus on Branding. But when I graduated I didn’t end up being a graphic designer straight away. My first job was a producer in a 3D animation production company. They needed someone who could communicate between the design side and the technical side. So my main job was being the communicator between the client who doesn’t know the technology, and the technical staff. Although I was not employed as a designer I picked up design tasks such as company branding on social media alongside my main role.

    After that job, I landed an opportunity to build a mobile app with teams in China and Hong Kong, and again, my title was not designer but Project Manager - the communicator between the iOS and Android team, and business decision makers. I also served as gatekeeper for designs and worked with Branding team to polish the campaign. My third job was at a tech startup in Hong Kong where I was finally a graphic designer, and I focused on UI for web and mobile apps.

    Why did you want to change career paths and do a coding bootcamp?

    I had recently moved to the Bay Area, and I was thinking about doing a bootcamp before I arrived because I knew the area was a tech hub. The reason I decided to switch from pure design to something more technical is because I finished another bootcamp in Hong Kong, which taught me how to build a startup from idea to company. During that process, everything went fine until I was trying to build my website. I could do really good visual UI, but I couldn’t code, and it really frustrated me. I had an idea in my head but couldn’t turn it into a product. I realized coding has an irreplaceable power, it can help me turn ideas in my head into a real product, effectively and precisely.

    As I kept reading more about Silicon Valley, and meeting people from the Bay Area at startup events, I heard that companies were looking for unicorns. A unicorn is someone who can bridge the gap between design and engineering. I realized I already had a design background, so why not acquire one more skill, coding, and make myself a unicorn? Plus, I hoped it would help me easily transition into this environment and prepare me for finding a new job when I relocate. I also did some research on career and salary. From a lifelong perspective, the leap from pure design to a unicorn role is likely to pay off well, and provide more career options.

    There are a lot of coding bootcamps in the Bay Area, what made you choose Hackbright?

    I knew about Hackbright before I moved here, from my research on bootcamps. Hackbright is special, they emphasize supporting and empowering women who are changing careers to tech. Their proposition resonated with me because I am an only child, born in China and raised in a family where they appreciate boys over girls. I grew up in an environment where it takes more effort for girls to achieve the same thing as boys. So I understand the need of having support in critical times, like during a career change. That’s why I chose Hackbright. I definitely needed that support and I needed a group of people who shared the same mission to support women.

    I want to support other women as well if I’m successful. After Hackbright, I realized a woman engineer in herself is a unicorn. I feel lucky, I know there are a lot of girls who need more support and inspiration out there, so I want to be part of the mission to change the ratio too. I also love the idea of how Hackbright connects graduates with real companies in Silicon Valley. I was excited about meeting all the companies by the end of the program, so I didn’t even ask what language they were teaching, I just jumped right in.

    Did you think about going back to college to study computer science?

    Yes, one option was going back to college to do a master’s degree. However, after some research and analysis, I realized a bootcamp would fit my situation better - it’s more cost effective because it’s less time and more job oriented. People who received master’s degrees told me it’s more theoretical and not necessarily job oriented. Since I was relocating, I needed a new job, I wanted to know more people, and make new friends, so I chose a bootcamp for now.

    How did you pay for the Hackbright tuition?

    A year before I moved to the Bay Area, I knew the Hackbright Academy tuition cost. So I made myself a one-year savings plan. I saved 50% to 80%, but there were still ongoing costs. I got support from family, especially my partner who totally supports furthering my education. He paid the rest of the tuition so I didn’t need any scholarships or financing. Thank you Danny!

    Just three weeks after I graduated, I got multiple offers, and was able to negotiate successfully. So looking back, Hackbright was a good investment, and the ROI was pretty good.

    What was the application, interview process, and coding challenge like for you?

    First up was the coding challenge. I was so nervous. Hackbright suggested we spend 30 hours learning before taking the coding challenge. I took it very seriously, I worked day and night, and did the 30 hours. The coding challenge was a classic algorithm question combined with some smaller simple questions. The reason it’s so complex is that you need to solve multiple questions before you can get to the final answer. It was interesting and not that hard, but it required research and patience. When I look back, the problem has a number of different solutions, so your answers can be different, but what they really want to know is “do you like coding, do you like solving problems?”

    After the coding challenge I had two interviews. One of which was with the nice Hackbright admissions director who answered all my questions about the support, and the mission of the program.

    How many people were in your cohort? Was your class diverse in terms of race, life and career backgrounds?

    There were 35 students in my cohort. Everyone has different backgrounds. I’m Asian and there were several more Asians. We also had African Americans, Hispanics, and other races. We are from different industries, and different stages of life. Some were moms, I was a newlywed, some were dating, so it was definitely diverse.

    What was the learning experience like at Hackbright Academy?

    Hackbright divides the program in two. The first half is lectures and lab practice, and the second half is fewer lectures with a lot of project time.

    The first half focuses on building a foundation of coding skills, understanding algorithms, and solving problems. We cover the basics, mainly focusing on Python, with a little bit of front end. Each day we have one morning lecture, one afternoon lecture, then the rest of the day is lab time and pair programming.

    In the second half of the program, we focused our time on our solo projects. I spent a long time on my project, almost 50 hours a week. If I couldn’t solve a problem with Google or online resources, I could reach out to a TA in the lab and they would come help. We still had lectures every morning about frameworks and tools we could use in our project. The last 2 weeks of the program were dedicated to career services where we had workshops, mentor meetings, mock interviews, and whiteboarding.

    How important was pair programming?

    Pair programming is very important at Hackbright for a number of reasons. It teaches you to talk through your thinking processes out loud, which is useful for whiteboarding sessions. Communicating with your coding partner is great practice for your future job, because you’ll need to work with and talk to other engineers. Pair programming also encourages you to write usable, maintainable code because you have to pass the code to someone else.

    Every day we would switch partners, so we wouldn’t work with the same person for two days in a row. The idea was to keep changing out our programming buddy to train ourselves, because every person has a different communication style. It was training and practice on how to communicate with different people, regardless of who they are.

    How many instructors or TAs did you have and how many students?

    The student to teacher ratio was 4 to 1. We had 35 students in my cohort. Now, Hackbright splits people into different cohorts and keeps the low student to teacher ratio.

    What was it like learning with only women? How did it compare to college?

    We have a lot of intimate discussions exchanging ideas and knowledge about how to deal with stress, sleep, mindfulness, and how to balance family, work, and studying. It’s a very supportive network and we all know we can’t do everything perfectly, so we embrace the idea that we have to address problems as we run into them. We know we are not superwomen, but we are becoming superwomen. It’s a safe place where we can ask for help. That’s very different from my college experience, because with boys around, you don't want to be laughed at, you don’t want to voice your problems.  

    Everyone is taking a leap by joining Hackbright. We’ve all quit our jobs, and we’re all looking for opportunities, so we’re all in the same boat. Whenever I was frustrated, everyone else was too. Everyone’s running to a deadline, everyone’s stressed. In our cohort, bubble tea was a big deal. Whenever we felt like, “no more coding for me - I cannot code, talk, or think anymore,” we’d go get bubble tea, then come back and continue working on the problem.

    What is your favorite project that you built at Hackbright?

    We had one personal project as a final project, and we had a lot of little coding assignments along the way. The projects I loved were after class homework assignments which simulated an internship at a startup called Ubermelon. Every day just after 5pm, we’d get an email from a “virtual manager”, just like in real life when your manager emails you right before you want to go home. We’d get some instructions and we’d have some tiny little tasks to finish to simulate a real life startup experience. Ubermelon is Uber for melons and is a continuous thing within Hackbright. I love that idea, it’s fun and valuable.

    How did the bootcamp prepare you for job hunting? What advice do you have for other bootcampers going through the job search?

    Towards the end of the bootcamp, we had a day to demonstrate our personal projects to potential employers. After that, there are two weeks of career services. Career services focuses on researching the companies in Silicon valley, teaching us about the hiring process, and practicing whiteboarding sessions. The whiteboarding sessions were hosted by partner companies nearby so we can learn more about them and make connections while site visiting.

    Tell us about your new job at GoDaddy!

    I joined GoDaddy in May 2016 as a UX engineer. A UX engineer’s role is designed to be a bridge between the design and engineering teams. Now that I’m able to code, I can fill the gap using both designer eyes and developer fingers, which used to be totally separate. Usually the designer and developer don’t communicate as effectively, or they argue or fight with each other because of “the gap”, but both sides are important. Designer eyes need years of professional training as a designer; developer fingers need lots of training in programming as well.

    I work closely with the UX design team and developers across product teams. I take care of interaction, craft user experience in motion and explore new frontend technologies from research, prototyping to implement. We UX Engineers try to zoom into problems that need both skills to solve and focusedly tackle them. Sometimes I also provide designs. Since I know the code base and the technologies we are using, my designs are tailor-made for our system. We also design and develop components that are reusable across the platform. We go agile and we incorporate user testings to help our team create a more delightful user experience based on the feedback we get.  

    How did you get the job?

    GoDaddy is one of the hiring partners at Hackbright. They came to our career day, but it was not my current team which was looking for candidates. They looked at my project on GitHub and I got a call from VP of Engineering. I was told they were looking for someone who can bridge design and engineering. The interview process was really fast because GoDaddy was a late comer in my pipeline. I had already been interviewing with two other companies, and I told GoDaddy it might be too late. I chose GoDaddy in the end because the CEO is really supportive of women in tech. And like when I chose Hackbright, I felt it very important to have mission alignment with the organization and myself. I graduated in April, and started the job in May.

    Tell us what a web developer’s day-to-day looks like?

    For my workflow, I work with UX Designer and PM to identify a problem, then if there’s something critical we can improve on, I will jump right into research, and see what sort of solution I can provide based on the code base, and the design direction we are heading towards. I’ll create an interactive prototype, I code it out, and a UX manager can pass the prototype on to set up a new round of user testing to see whether it makes an improvement to the user experience. If it is proven that it makes an improvement, then we can pass the new improved design to the engineering team to build it into the product. So it’s a cycle of getting feedback from the real world, then figuring out how to improve the product in an agile manner.

    Are you using the stack/programming language you learned at bootcamp or a new one?

    Our current product is in full stack JavaScript, so I don’t code Python on daily basis except for a legacy project code maintenance task. The backend is NodeJS, and the front end is React. So my daily languages are React, HTML, CSS, and basic JavaScript for prototyping. Hackbright didn’t teach React, it taught Angular, but I was looking into it myself, and trying to use it in my own projects. One of the reasons I chose GoDaddy, is my team members are big advocates of React and NodeJS. When I joined the team, I got a lot of on the job training and support on React. I was reading other engineers’ code every day, learning a lot about our React code base.

    How has your past career helped you in your new job?

    It has definitely been helpful. The decisions we make in design, how to do spacing, fonts, colors, layouts, proportion, it still helps me today when designing for web. So the only difference is I used to produce static designs, but now I can animate designs and make them interactive using code. It’s more intuitive design, everything is live, and I feel like it’s a level up. I know I can make some magic happen somewhere else beyond my design skill set. For example, CSS3 and HTML5 do things that designers cannot even imagine. So I feel more powerful right now.

    How do you stay involved with Hackbright? Have you kept in touch with other alumni?

    I recently hosted a whiteboarding session at the San Francisco GoDaddy office with two other Hackbright graduates who are now GoDaddy software engineers too. We met the current cohort and talked to the career services staff. I also went back to Hackbright to share my experience about what happened after Hackbright and last week I attended their graduation ceremony.

    It’s pretty hard to catch up with my cohort mates because everyone is spread out in the Bay Area or out of state. We have a Slack channel, and from time to time one or two girls will host a gathering.

    What advice do you have for people making a career change through a coding bootcamp?

    Ask yourself whether you’ll enjoy coding all day long. Becoming a software engineer is tempting, especially in the Bay Area where we are surrounded by tech companies. But coding is not for everyone. If you cannot sit in front of a computer and enjoy coding on a daily basis, or you are not interested in solving problems or going geeky, rethink that. But if you like to solve problems, and want to be able to build, update, and make changes to a web product, that’s what motivated me to learn. I believe that everyone can be a unicorn in their own way. Be fearless and passionate about what you believe yourself should be. Truly challenge yourself to see if you love doing this.

    Everyone has a set of talents and skills already, and finding an intersection between those skills is very important, because it will make an individual more valuable in an organization. For me it’s design and engineering. All the students who joined Hackbright have their past lives, and some professional experience already. Market yourself, position yourself so that people acknowledge your past experience.

    Get support from family and friends, because a bootcamp is very intensive. During my 12 weeks at Hackbright, Danny agreed to do all the housework so I could focus on the study during that time. I also got a lot of support from family and friends. So I would like to thank them all, especially Danny. Without such a life support team backing me, I wouldn’t have made it through the relocation and career change so smoothly. Build yourself a supporting team for your life outside of the bootcamp. You can save a lot of time and stay focused on solving the critical problems, if someone can work with you to help with daily tasks and errands. Get yourself laser-focused on the bootcamp, because you pay, you invest, and every minute counts.

    Find out more and read Hackbright Academy reviews on Course Report. Check out the Hackbright Academy website.

    About The Author

    Imogen crispe headshot

    Imogen is a writer and content producer who loves writing about technology and education. Her background is in journalism, writing for newspapers and news websites. She grew up in England, Dubai and New Zealand, and now lives in Brooklyn, NY.

  • August 2016 Coding Bootcamp News Roundup + Podcast

    Imogen Crispe8/31/2016

    Welcome to the August 2016 Course Report monthly coding bootcamp news roundup! Each month, we look at all the happenings from the coding bootcamp world from new bootcamps to big fundraising announcements, to interesting trends. This month the biggest news is the Department of Education's EQUIP pilot program to provide federal financial aid to some bootcamp students. Other trends include job placement outcomes, the gender imbalance in tech, acquisitions and investments, and paying for bootcamp. Read below or listen to our latest Coding Bootcamp News Roundup Podcast!

    Continue Reading →
  • Coding Bootcamp Prep Programs: The Ultimate Guide

    Imogen Crispe3/2/2017

    Many competitive coding bootcamps require a certain level of coding knowledge or background in order to be accepted into their programs- whether they’re looking for past experience on your resume or require that you pass a coding challenge. For a beginner, it can be tough to get the experience that a selective bootcamp looks for in the application process. There are many ways to learn basic coding (including teaching yourself) but if you want to make sure you’re covering the right material and quickly, then a bootcamp prep program may be for you.

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  • July 2016 Coding Bootcamp News Roundup + Podcast

    Imogen Crispe8/1/2016

    Welcome to the July 2016 Course Report monthly coding bootcamp news roundup! Each month we look at all the happenings from the coding bootcamp world from new bootcamps to big fundraising announcements, to interesting trends. This month the biggest trends this month are initiatives to increase the diversity in tech, some huge investments in various bootcamps, and more tech giants launching their own coding classes. Read below or listen to our latest Coding Bootcamp News Roundup Podcast!

    Continue Reading →
  • Instructor Spotlight: Bonnie Schulkin of Hackbright Academy

    Imogen Crispe7/26/2016

    Before becoming an instructor at Hackbright Academy in San Francisco, Bonnie’s career took her from astronomy, to teaching physics at a high school, then working as a developer for 11 years. She is absolutely passionate about teaching and jumped at the chance to help #changetheratio of women to men in tech by teaching at Hackbright Academy,  an all women’s coding bootcamp. Bonnie tells us about why she likes the bootcamp model of education, her interactive teaching style, and the warm sense of community at Hackbright.

    Q&A

    Tell us about your background and experience before you joined Hackbright.

    In college, I studied astrophysics and computer science, and have always been interested in teaching. I actually really wanted to go into astronomy education after college, but I ended up doing computer work for an x-ray telescope in Alabama at the Marshall Space Flight center. I spent a year there, and then an opportunity came up for me to do education work for the telescope, which was more aligned with my interests. So I worked in that position, but it turned out to be more marketing than education.

    I met some teachers at a conference who needed a physics teacher at their school. So I then interviewed and ended up teaching physics for a couple of years at an all-girls high school. I liked the all-girls environment, especially in physics. I liked that physics wasn’t something that girls didn’t do, because there were only girls and if there was a physics class, then girls were doing it.

    High school teaching is a hard job. After a couple of years, I decided to move to California to be closer to my family. I worked at a planetarium doing education work, then I ended up working for some software companies. The first company I worked for was a really great company and I worked there for 11 years. The company got sold so I started looking for another software job. I didn’t feel like I was learning as much as I wanted to, and I really missed teaching. One of my colleagues was a Hackbright alumna and she told me they had an opening so I applied!

    How did you learn to code? Did you teach yourself the fundamentals of software development?

    When I was in elementary school, my dad got an Apple 2 and taught me how to code in basic. So I was pretty interested in that, and I would make little quizzes for my brother. In high school, I spent a lot of time tutoring other students. I was more interested in teaching than coding at that point, and to be honest I am probably still more interested in teaching than I am in coding. I like coding and I do it, but I really love teaching, teaching is my passion. It wasn't until I got to college that I started writing code again.

    How did you become aware of the bootcamp model and what did you think of it?

    For a while, I thought college is probably overpriced for what you get out of it. It’s good for social development, but as far as professional development, unless you’re going into medical school or academia, it’s not a great place to learn job skills. So I really liked the bootcamp model and how it’s focused on getting people the practical skills they need to actually be a programmer.

    I definitely did have my doubts about the short amount of time, and whether people could learn to code that quickly. However, I’ve found it’s pretty effective. You give people the tools in the first half and then in the second half, they reinforce tools by working on a long project. Most women are ready to get a job when they leave, and some women have more work to do after they leave the bootcamp. Students definitely have a foundation in the fundamentals, and they’ve learned how to use other resources so they can continue learning on their own.

    What made you excited to work at Hackbright in particular?

    When I came here to interview, I could tell it was a really great place. You go into the bathroom and there are Post-Its saying “you got this” and “I believe in you.” It sounds kind of corny, but I got such a warm feeling from the place. I love that Hackbright really looks after its students’ emotional wellbeing, in addition to their academic learning. It really has a great sense of community, and when I came here I thought, “this is a community I really want to be a part of.”

    What’s your background in Python and JavaScript?

    Python and JavaScript are self taught, I learned both on the job. When I was at that software company for 11 years, I was using PHP and JavaScript, and I was just thrown into the code base. I had worked with Perl before, so PHP was fairly familiar, but I learned JavaScript just by going through the code base, experimenting, and seeing what happened. I then wanted to learn a more modern language, so I taught myself Python. I was doing build and release engineering, so I put together a build server using Python.

    What have you found is your personal teaching style?

    My teaching style is very interactive. I like to stop and quiz the students really frequently. Firstly, because it’s more interesting and fun for them if they are participating, rather than just sitting there receiving; and also because it gives me a sense of where they are. If everybody just blurts out the answer, then I know that’s something I don’t need to linger on. If there are no hands up, I know it’s something I need to work on. Then I also like to have fun when lecturing so I make a lot of jokes and hope the students laugh!

    What’s the structure of the program?

    The first five weeks of the Hackbright fellowship are different from the second five weeks. During the first five weeks, there is a lecture and then a lab in the morning, then another lecture and lab in the afternoon. The labs are all done through pair programming which we find particularly effective because it allows the students to talk about what they have learned. They need to be able to communicate verbally as well as being able to code. On Fridays, we have a study hall in the afternoon where people can either review the week’s material or learn about some advanced material.

    Then the second five weeks there is only one lecture in the morning, and the rest of day is working on independent projects. These are a big part of Hackbright and they allow students to pursue something they are interested in. Students solve real world problems, using the skills they have learned. The way I think people learn best is if I want to do this particular thing, I wonder how you do it. Every student has an advisor, so we work with them on projects, and they can ask for help in the slack channel. Students come up with project ideas themselves and then we often coach or guide them on scope.

    What’s it like teaching a group of only women?

    I’m used to teaching women from teaching at the all-girls high school. I did teach in some summer programs in college, and there I taught both girls and boys. Most of my teaching has been with all women and I like it. I think it’s probably different for adults, but in high school there is definitely less posturing and showing off to the boys or trying to be a certain way. I think most adult women are over that, but I do think it is just more of a collaborative atmosphere, and less competitive than it might be if men were present. At Hackbright, part of that has to do with all women and part of that has to do with the very deliberate work that Hackbright does to foster community.

    Is being surrounded by women in your job different from other experiences you’ve had working in tech?

    Yes. Usually my colleagues have been men, and I actually like working with men, they tend to be fairly easy to work with. I haven’t had experiences where people have been down on me because of my gender. At Hackbright, our hashtag is #changetheratio, and that is what really makes me believe in working with just women. I really do want to change the ratio, I really want it to be half women and half men in software. This is something I can contribute to here, that I wouldn’t be able to do at another school.

    How many students are you teaching at any one time? How many instructors are there?

    It’s a small group of women. We have cohorts with anywhere between 30+/- students, running simultaneously. The teacher to student ratio is 4 to 1.

    How do you and other instructors contribute to the Hackbright curriculum? How often do you update it?

    We have a very good curriculum at this point. In every cohort, one person is responsible for any particular lecture, and that person can take care of changes, or take a step back and think about how that lecture can be improved. So this week, I’m only responsible for one lecture, which is our debugging lecture. I made a small number of changes. Next week I’m responsible for the whole JavaScript arc that we are doing and I’m making a lot of changes to that. I will run those changes by the other Hackbright instructors first to make sure they feel good about them.

    How do you assess student progress?

    We have weekend assessments. Every weekend, students get one or two assessments where they do the work on their own. Then, they turn it in and their advisor reviews the assessments and gives very specific feedback. Students meet with their advisors weekly.

    What happens when students are struggling to keep up with the pace?

    I’m responsible for people I advise, so I watch them in labs and in lectures, and make sure they are keeping up. If it seems like somebody is having a hard time, then I can schedule extra time with them.

    In general, we will give students guidance about how to study on their own, and their advisor will spend time with them. I’m meeting with a student this afternoon, even though it’s not her advising time, because she had trouble with last weekend’s assessment. We scope the students’ projects based on the level they are at. So by the time we get to the second five weeks of projects, we try and set every student up for success at her own level.

    How many hours per week do students usually commit to Hackbright?

    The students are asked to be here 10am to 6pm, Monday to Friday. Then they tend to spend another hour or two in the evening on homework and review of lecture notes. On the weekends they will probably spend 6-8 hours on weekend assessments. Some of them will only work on projects during school hours, some work on their projects outside of school hours simply because they are so interested in them.

    Who is the ideal student for the bootcamp? Are Hackbright students mainly absolute beginners?

    We do require that you have some coding experience, at least 20 hours of experience before coming. We give pre-work – some online courses, reading and exercises. But in general we start pretty much from the ground up. Hackbright isn’t for somebody who has been programming for years and just wants to learn about web programming.

    We look for students who have interesting backgrounds that they can use to distinguish themselves when they are looking for jobs _ for example lawyers and accountants. We also look for students who are going to have the tenacity to stick with the program. It’s not an easy program. It’s a lot of material and not a lot of time. We really need people to be self motivated to keep up with material and to do the work necessary to be successful.

    How does Hackbright prepare students for job hunting?

    We have a great career services team. It’s a 12-week program. Ten weeks are academic and then the last two weeks are intense career development focused weeks with career services. Throughout the academic portion, students also get career service coffees every Tuesday where career services does a presentation. Students receive salary and negotiation, equity, and career development workshops, technical interview preparation, whiteboarding practice, mock interviewing, and more. We also offer field trips to tech companies and employer meet and greets during these two weeks.

    What sort of jobs are Hackbright grads prepared for when they graduate?

    Most graduates of Hackbright are prepared for junior engineering jobs. Because it’s a junior engineering job, the employers are not expecting them to be at the level of general engineer, so the employers know students need some mentoring and other support.

    Is there anything else that you want to make sure our readers know about the bootcamp?

    Every Friday night we have a social. Some of the socials are hosted by staff and some are hosted by students. It’s a really nice opportunity for the students to get to know each other better socially. We say that your first job you’ll get through Hackbright career services, but your second job you’ll get through your network, so it’s really important to form strong connections with your fellow students. Plus they're really fun! You haven't lived until you've watched a bunch of grown women playing musical chairs.

    Find out more and read Hackbright Academy reviews on Course Report. Check out the Hackbright Academy website.

    About The Author

    Imogen crispe headshot

    Imogen is a writer and content producer who loves writing about technology and education. Her background is in journalism, writing for newspapers and news websites. She grew up in England, Dubai and New Zealand, and now lives in Brooklyn, NY.

  • Alumni Spotlight: Wendy Zenone of Hackbright Academy

    Liz Eggleston7/14/2016

    Wendy Zenone is not only a Hackbright Academy success story; she’s also a testament that coding bootcamps are not a “quick fix.” Wendy’s journey shows that it takes hard work, determination, and grit to make a successful career change into tech. We chat with Wendy about her experience at Hackbright, her advice to other women breaking into the Application Security field (don’t worry, Wendy also explains what App Sec entails), and how her calculated risks are paying off.

    Q&A

    Tell us what you were up to before you started at Hackbright Academy.

    Before I got into tech, I was working as an aesthetitian at MAC Cosmetics, but that was not my dream. I had a small child at the time, the pay was low, and it was overall underwhelming. I was encouraging my son to go into tech, and I lived in Silicon Valley- I had to find a way to improve my life.

    I had gone back to school late in life, doing an online Bachelors in Communications at the University of Massachusetts. Education is very expensive, and as I started calculating, I realized it would take me six years to graduate at $1,500 a class. So I started looking at internships where I could get experience without having graduated. I found an internship at a public relations firm where we represented small Silicon Valley tech startups. I worked directly under the founder, Xenia, and she just taught me so much. I learned terminology that was very specific to tech and startups and that I had never learned before, and it opened my eyes to the possibilities in tech. At one point, we represented Zoom, when they were just starting as a video conferencing company!

    From there, I took a job at Facebook in their ads department, creating a tool that helped customers customize their ads. The role was not technical, but I worked with a team with engineers. Essentially, I sifted through ad topics to ensure that they followed our global legal policy.

    What drew you to wanting to work in Security?

    At Facebook, it was very new and exciting to be at such a big tech company, and it fueled a fire. I didn’t just want to work for the tech company, I wanted to be part of the tech team. My husband has worked in the security industry for a long time, and through osmosis, I had learned to love and appreciate cybersecurity and information security.

    I reached out to Jen Henley, who is the Director of Security Operations at Facebook, and told her about my dream. Remember that at this point, I have no formal education or tech background. Her advice to me was to get involved and volunteer with Facebook events for cybersecurity awareness month. I got more involved by volunteering, but I was still looking for the perfect position in security.  

    Eventually, I found a social media job with WhiteHat Security, an application security company. It was still in the communications marketing area, but I was able to work closely with the founder, Jeremiah Grossman. Once he found out that I wanted to do more, he said, "You should learn to code. It's magic."

    How did you factor Hackbright Academy into your journey to learn to code?

    While I was working at Facebook, I actually started my Hackbright application. Once I started at WhiteHat, I got an automated email asking me to finish the application. I talked to my husband, and we had some concerns- Hackbright is in San Francisco; it costs a lot of money; it would mean three months without a salary. But ultimately, his opinion was that coding is the future, and it’s something we needed to make happen.

    How did the Hackbright application go for you?

    The first time I applied, I got through to the second interview, but I was not accepted. When I got that rejection email, my heart just dropped. It hurts regardless of how old you are, but I was in my late-thirties, and I knew I didn't have another four months to get started!

    I wrote my interviewer an email, and said honestly, "I was very nervous. I do not feel that my interview properly conveyed who I am and my interest in Hackbright. Please just give me another chance to do another interview."  

    The Hackbright team said that they have never given someone a second interview after being declined (and they’ve since changed the process- you must reapply if you’ve been rejected), but they admired my persistence and gave me another interview. This was my last chance. I did the interview, and I was much more prepared, calmer, and had a little bit more pressure.

    Tell us a little more about that interview process- was there a coding challenge?

    The application itself was a series of essays and then a small coding challenge. When I applied, they say the coding challenge is “optional,” but here’s a tip: it wasn’t! If you skipped the coding test, it showed that you aren’t up for a challenge. Since then, the coding challenge has actually been made mandatory.

    The second interview was more technical. One of the questions was to give an example of something you’ve found very frustrating while coding. They’re looking for you to think back to even those few lines that you have written in Codecademy like, hello_world. Think about why it was difficult or confusing- maybe the terminology was confusing. I told a story about trying to learn JavaScript at a Girl Develop It course and my code would just not run; I couldn't figure it out. 30 minutes later, I found that it was a missing semicolon!

    Note: for an updated look at the Hackbright application process, check out Cracking the Bootcamp Interview: Hackbright Academy!

    What other resources did you use in your journey to learn how to code?

    Prior to Hackbright, I had taken Girl Develop It courses. I also did Codecademy and some free classes offered at Facebook.

    Why not continue with those free resources? What made a coding bootcamp worth it?

    I am a creative person, but I was not born with a super logical brain. I needed discipline, structure, and to have everything else in my life shut down so I could just focus on learning to code.

    Girl Develop It is a great resource for someone who really wants to immerse themselves for a weekend. But if you want to learn a language, you can't go to class once a week. You're going to have to move to Italy, buy bread every day and figure out how to speak the language.

    The online classes don't teach you how to structure your code from scratch or even the basic things like how to get your environment set up. At Hackbright, you’re learning everything you need to work as a developer.

    Was the fact that Hackbright Academy is all-women particularly appealing?

    I actually didn't look at any other coding bootcamps. I thought back to PE class in high school, and I thought about how there were certain activities that I felt intimidated doing in front of men. I knew I would be more comfortable in an environment learning with all women.

    I didn't grow up loving video games and building Legos. I have female friends and relatives that have that background. They love computers and games, and they are totally fine going in with a blended cohort, but for myself, I wanted that comfort of not feeling intimidated or pressured. Hackbright was better for me.

    Once you graduated from an all-female bootcamp, were you caught off guard by the “real world” gender imbalance in tech?

    There are two parts to that answer. The first part is in regards to the gender ratio. I came from a few tech companies prior, and I saw that there were very few women. My team at Facebook had only two females out of 25 people. I was used to it. Specifically, the security field has even less females in general. I was used to working with just men and so I was comfortable with it. It didn't bother me.

    Coming into my job right now, on my specific team, I'm the only woman. In the larger Info Sec organization, there are definitely fewer women than there are men. I don't personally have an issue with it, but talking to other alumni that I graduated with, it’s clear that some people can have a hard time with that transition. They can tell that it’s a boys club, and aren’t comfortable being the only female in a meeting. From my perspective, the only way that women can change that ratio is by continuing to become developers. We have to continue and push forward, and eventually there will be an even ratio.

    Did Hackbright Academy include a lot of “soft skills” training, or was it a strictly technical program?

    The first 10 weeks is a very technical program. You also have a career services meeting every Thursday and your advisor goes over your resume and job skills, how to look for a job, and update your LinkedIn. You’re also learning how to negotiate your salary. The one piece that was missing for me was preparing for what it's really like to start a job. We were prepared to write code, to understand how to build software, etc, but nobody could prepare you for your first job and you’re alone in your new company, and you feel completely inadequate.

    I actually spoke to the Hackbright team about this, and I went back to speak to Cohort 13 about how lost you can feel at your first job. I'm going on five months at Lending Club and I'm still learning a ton, but I was fortunate enough to choose a company that appreciates that I have very little experience.

    We all go in with different learning abilities, different brains, different backgrounds, so everyone goes into their first jobs differently. Some take off and fly, while others are doubting themselves, and their new career is foreign and scary.

    So where are you working now and what's your job role?

    I am an Associate Application Security Engineer at Lending Club.

    Did you feel technically prepared for your first job?

    Once you graduate, you will feel like you've been prepared enough- at least as well as they could prepare you in 12 weeks. In that 12 weeks, I learned so much that I didn't know before. I learned how to create a piece of software, what the full stack is, what a database is, how to query a SQL database.

    How did you find your first job after graduating?

    What got me to this position was acknowledging what I didn't know and having that desire to learn. A lot of companies look for that. If students graduating from any bootcamp go in with that mindset, it will make things a lot easier instead of feeling like you have to pretend.

    When I graduated, I was only the third person out of the Hackbright Academy history to go into security. The field is becoming a little more prominent at Hackbright now- for example, they have a small Security Study Group.

    One very important thing in tech is who you know. Graduates need to not only initially rely on sending in resumes, but also to network and meet people in the industry. Go to Meetups and events that are focused on what you want to do. Those connections will greatly improve the trajectory of your career going forward. My job was found by networking and not solely relying on the partner company network of Hackbright. Bootcamp grads need to lookout for themselves and learn to stand on their own without using the bootcamp as a crutch. Go out, meet people. You never know, you may connect with someone down the road for job #2 or 3!

    I think you’re the first bootcamp grad I’ve talked to who is working in Application Security! What does your job entail?

    On the application security team, we work with everyone who creates the Lending Club website and the platform- engineers, developers and the QA team. We look at internal and external applications to ensure that they are secure. We make sure the code is secure and that there aren't any holes in the applications that could allow our data to be compromised. Basically, my job is to keep the hackers out.

    How does the Security team interact with application developers? Are you involved in the entire development cycle?

    Ideally, developers work with App Sec team before they even start a project. With that being said, products need to roll out, and meet deadlines, so sometimes we'll have to jump in mid-cycle and take a look at things and advise. Unfortunately, sometimes things will get caught in the end of the cycle as well.

    Security is a mix between trying to educate and evangelize. But security is gradually becoming more prominent in companies as you see people getting hacked. We do have to convince companies that security is something you need to put time into- companies are just starting to see the benefits.

    What did Lending Club do during your first month on the job that helped you ramp up into your new role?

    When I started at Lending Club, they were very patient. They understood that I basically knew nothing. I knew Python from Hackbright but security is a whole separate field that I was not familiar with. They started giving me small projects, integrating me into little things, but not overwhelming me. For example, I had never worked with Jira, which is our ticketing system. When I first started, I was constantly in a state of sweating because I had no idea what anyone was talking about.

    During my first few weeks, I asked to be invited to every meeting that I could be invited to. I write down things that people talk about, and I Google them. Every day I learn a little bit more, and what helped me the most was being honest in the beginning about what I didn’t know. My manager, Paul, gave me that advice during my interview, and I believe that part of why I was hired was that I had that ambition, I had that drive, and they saw that.

    For other women (or people) who want to break into security, what are some good resources to get started?

    Applications Security has a group called OWASP (Net Open Web Application Security Project). On that website, there are tons of resources for people that just have questions about application security in general. It is a great resource.

    Then there are meetups all over the United States but specifically there’s one in San Francisco Bay Area with a mentorship program for those who are new to security.

    Another resource is Women in Security and Privacy (WISP), where you’re assigned to a mentorship called a “tandem.” You put in what your skills are, and they match you with someone that matches the skills that you're looking for.

    Looking back on your time at Hackbright, what is your advice to other women who want to change careers and get a technical role?

    My main advice is to ignore the self-doubt. I had a lot of self-doubt, but every time I felt that doubt, I would replace it with, “What's the worst that can happen?” Just try everything you can- from applying to jobs to internships, all they can say is no. Apply to a coding bootcamp, try Girl Develop It classes. There will be times when you feel like you don't belong there, but you’ll realize that everyone started somewhere. Every day that you stay on this new path in your life is one step closer to becoming a senior developer or senior security engineer.

    I never thought I would finish my final project at Hackbright because I felt like I never would know enough. I never thought I would be a security engineer and here I am. I still feel like I’m Jon Snow and I know nothing. But I am still here!

    To learn more, read Hackbright Academy reviews on Course Report, or check out their website here!

  • June 2016 Coding Bootcamp News Roundup + Podcast

    Imogen Crispe6/30/2016

    Welcome to the June Course Report monthly coding bootcamp news roundup! Each month we look at all the happenings from the coding bootcamp world, including new bootcamps, what we’re seeing in bootcamps internationally, outcomes, and paying for bootcamps. Plus, we released our big Bootcamp Market Sizing and Growth Report in June! Read below or listen to our latest Coding Bootcamp News Roundup Podcast!

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  • Employer Spotlight: Pat Poels, VP of Engineering at Eventbrite

    Liz Eggleston6/10/2016

    Pat Poels is the VP of Engineering at Eventbrite, and since 2012, he has hired several software engineers from Hackbright Academy, a Python coding bootcamp for women in San Francisco. Here, Pat answers all of our questions about his experience hiring from a coding bootcamp, why he values engineers with non-traditional backgrounds, and how Eventbrite helps those new hires from Hackbright keep learning and growing as engineers once they actually join the team. Watch or read our interview with Pat.

    Q&A

    Pat, tell us about your role at Eventbrite!

    Eventbrite is an online ticketing platform that works with companies in all different categories. We've been in operation for 10 years and I've been leading the Engineering team at Eventbrite for over four years. Before Eventbrite, I was at Ticketmaster for 15 years, and I’ve played Poker for a living in between. That’s a different story altogether!

    How large is the dev team at Eventbrite now?

    Our company is growing like a weed. There are 145 engineers on the team across three different offices (we have 11 offices total in 8 countries), and that ends up making up about 30% of the overall staff in Eventbrite.

    That's pretty impressive. How did you get connected with Hackbright Academy?

    Interesting story. The Girls Who Code group was having a meetup in our office, and a couple of instructors from Hackbright were teaching that class. I got a chance to meet those instructors and get close to the program, and I thought it was a terrific idea. The Hackbright team invited me to their second Grad Day to hear the pitches from their new engineers. I've been pretty attached to the program ever since.

    That second Grad Day was probably back in 2012! Since then, what roles have you hired Hackbright graduates for at Eventbrite? Is there a junior developer role at Eventbrite?

    We call that “junior developer” role a Software Engineer Level One. Most of the engineers that we've hired have been for “fullstack” roles. Some will be stronger on the front end, but for the most part they have to work on a pretty wide and various set of tasks. There are a lot of interesting problems to solve at Eventbrite, so we don't really look for a certain kind of engineer from Hackbright Academy. We're looking for people we think are a good fit for the company, people who we think are really smart and have a great potential to learn.

    Hackbright is unique in that they teach Python. Is Eventbrite also built on Python?

    Yeah. We use a lot of different databases, but for the web, we're doing our development in Python and we use Django as our framework. It doesn't hurt that when I talk with candidates from Hackbright, I get to tell them that one of the co-creators of Django actually works at Eventbrite.

    Other than Hackbright, how do you usually hire developers? What are you looking for in a new hire?

    It's really the lifeblood of a company like Eventbrite to have great engineers and to find engineers to create innovative solutions. We don’t want to do the same things that other companies have done in ticketing. We really try to exhaust every potential channel for hiring. That means having connections to universities, connecting with friends and personal referrals, past coworkers who our team knows are really brilliant, etc. Those are still our biggest channel for new hires, but we love interesting programs like Hackbright Academy as well. I don't want to hire only very senior people who've been in the industry for 10 or 15 years. I want to have a mix of new ideas and new developers as well. Hackbright is a great channel for that.  

    Do you notice differences in hiring from Hackbright Academy versus hiring from a university CS program or from recruiters?

    There's an element of fearlessness that exists for people who have self-selected into a bootcamp like Hackbright Academy. Hackbright grads haven't all necessarily had traditional schooling or backgrounds. I know about having nontraditional backgrounds because I have one myself, and I think that developers who have shown fearlessness tend to be really strong. They tend to be really great at learning and working through whatever problems they may have.

    Of the candidates that you’ve hired from Hackbright Academy, have they had CS degrees or have they been mostly non-technical before Hackbright?

    There has been a wide variety. A couple candidates have had CS degrees or were already working in the field around the periphery of tech. But for the most part, no. We've had a chance to meet and see a lot of potential candidates from Hackbright, and we've been able to find the ones who were terrific fits for us. That doesn’t mean that those candidates have had a CS background or have worked in the industry before.

    So you're not looking for one specific background, but a CS degree isn't necessarily a requirement to work in the engineering department at Eventbrite?

    No, not at all. Even with regards to knowing the Python stack. I find that a lot of our really great engineers didn't actually have Python experience when they came in the door. There are a set of things we look for in a candidate, but that has less to do with a knowing a certain technology stack or having a specific computer science background.

    What are those qualities that you’re looking for in an engineering candidate? Of the Hackbright Academy grads that you actually hired, what stood out about them?

    Every candidate's process is going to be different. Certainly, the projects that Hackbright graduates presented were really incredible, and they're learning interviewing skills so that the interviews go well. But really, we're looking for people we think have incredible potential. We use the interview to figure out who is really bright, inquisitive, hard-working, and who will fight through the hurdles that you're invariably going to hit as you're learning to become a new engineer.

    If that means that the rampup is a little bit slower because they haven't had a traditional background or because they aren't necessarily familiar with a certain technology, we're less worried about that.

    Company fit means a lot to us as well. Company culture at Eventbrite was carefully cultivated from the start, and so we make sure that candidates are people we want to work with.

    Do most Eventbrite developers work in offices or do you have remote options?  

    We have three engineering offices; one here in San Francisco, one in Mendoza, Argentina, and one in Nashville. For the most part, our engineers work in one of those three locations.

    What does the relationship look like between Eventbrite and Hackbright?

    We try to attend all of the Hackbright Academy Career Days. We also have engineers from our office mentoring in the Hackbright classroom. We have at least one engineer from our team who has mentored for pretty much every Hackbright class so far. I've also been over to talk with the students and do longer Q&As. Hackbright is a terrific program, and it's something that we want to be attached to and help further, regardless of whether or not we’re hiring engineers.

    I'm assuming that those eight hires from Hackbright Academy went through a technical interview at Eventbrite. How did they do? Have you ever thought about modifying the technical interview for coding bootcamp grads?

    It's my philosophy that if you have a one-size-fits-all interview process, you're going to miss a lot of important things on both ends of the spectrum. If you’re asking very serious, heavy questions of someone who doesn’t have a CS background, you may not expect them to do well in that interview. Even someone who has been in the industry for 15 years may not do great in an interview like that.

    You have to find ways to get answers to the right questions: How well will this candidate do at Eventbrite? What kind of potential do they have? How hungry are they to learn? Are they somebody you want to work with? You have to figure those things out in different ways based on different levels of experience. I'm not going to say that we've perfected it, but tailoring interviews is something that we've spent a long time learning how to do.  

    You mentioned that Eventbrite uses Python, which is a great fit for Hackbright Academy grads. But a bootcamp grad is going to need to continue learning when they start a new job! How are you ensuring that new hires are supported in their first few months on the job?

    This is something we’ll continue to get better at over time, but it starts with having a mentor assigned to work with you on your first day. That person is there to answer your questions.

    The environment is important as well. On a team of 145 engineers, we all know that we're successful based on the success of the rest of the team. It's not a competitive environment where you have to step on somebody else in order to get to the next rung of the ladder. We're all here to answer each other’s questions. We use Slack channels very well, so those questions get surfaced out to everyone, and you have a strong ecosystem of great engineers to help with those questions.

    Also, we've found documentation of our products and our engineering environments and processes very important. Finally, we do internal bootcamps and training pretty often on particular technologies. For example, right now we have 25 people in a room down the hall learning React, which is a technology that we're pushing into. All of these things help our existing engineers get better, and also help new engineers to onboard faster.

    It sounds like you've developed a very strong culture around learning and growing as developers. That’s awesome.

    A culture of learning makes it exciting for all of the engineers. Of course, everybody likes working for a company that's successful and growing and sees their stock price go up. But really at the core, the Hackbright candidates have shown that they enjoy learning.

    The people that we really enjoy working around the most are the ones who want to continue learning, getting better, and teaching each other. We try to create that culture here.

    Are there any interesting stories about Hackbright Academy hires who have advanced in their careers since starting at Eventbrite?

    We have a few but one story is about a candidate named Sandy Lee, who was one of the first two hires out of that second Hackbright class. She worked with us for a while and then decided that she really wanted to have a deeper understanding of computer science, and so she decided to go back to Stanford and get a Masters in Computer Science. She actually interned with us while she was going to Stanford, and she's graduating from her Master's program in June, and she's coming back to work for us which I'm super excited about.

    Do you have a feedback loop in place with Hackbright at all? If you notice that your new hires are missing a certain skill, are you able to influence the future curriculum?

    Nothing formal, but every time I go to Hackbright for a Career Day or another function, I find instructors or administrative staff to talk through what we're feeling and seeing. They're really responsive to that feedback, and they've tailored their program over time based on our feedback and, I’m sure, what they hear from all of their employers. They're pretty open and receptive to it.  

    That is something so unique about bootcamps, which you may not get with other talent sources- bootcamps are able to iterate on their curriculum so quickly.

    That’s a great point. We have a team in Mendoza, Argentina; I would love to be able to talk to the University of Mendoza and give them feedback on what their grads are learning! I get a much more direct channel for feedback with Hackbright than I do with University of Mendoza.

    Will you plan to hire from Hackbright Academy in the future?

    Oh yeah. We just hired three people from the last cohort which is the most we've hired to date. We’re pretty convinced of the effectiveness of the program. Hackbright has helped us in hiring developers quite a bit, and hopefully we're helping them as well!

    Finally, since you’ve had a great experience as a hiring partner, do you have any advice for other employers who're thinking about hiring developers from a coding bootcamp or from Hackbright Academy in particular?

    My advice to other employers is to think of this as an investment. There’s a possibility that employers may look at a bootcamp like Hackbright and say, "The learning curve is too steep; bootcamp grads don’t have the background I want, etc." But if you make the investment, you choose the right people, and you invest in them the right way, it's going to pay off. Those bootcamp grads will be worth so much more to you down the road. Think beyond the next six months; what can these new hires mean for the next six years?

    We've definitely had great success stories from the Hackbright Academy grads that we've hired. I can’t make a greater recommendation than that!

    To learn more, read Hackbright Academy reviews on Course Report, or visit the Hackbright Academy website. And check out which roles Eventbrite is hiring for today!

    About The Author

    Liz pic

    Liz is the cofounder of Course Report, the most complete resource for students considering a coding bootcamp. She loves breakfast tacos and spending time getting to know bootcamp alumni and founders all over the world. Check out Liz & Course Report on Twitter, Quora, and YouTube

  • May 2016 Coding Bootcamp News Roundup + Podcast

    Imogen Crispe5/31/2016

    Welcome to the May 2016 Course Report monthly coding bootcamp news roundup! Each month we look at all the happenings from the coding bootcamp world, from acquisitions, to new bootcamps, to collaborations with universities, and also various reports and studies. Read below or listen to our latest Coding Bootcamp News Roundup podcast.

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  • Which Coding Bootcamps Have Been Acquired?

    Liz Eggleston7/24/2017

    Since the first bootcamp acquisition in June 2014, we’ve seen several bootcamps acquired by for-profit universities and even other schools. These acquisitions and consolidations should come as no surprise. With rapid market growth in the bootcamp industry, for-profit education companies are beginning to take note. And as existing coding bootcamps think about expansion, consolidation through acquisition is certainly on the horizon. We’ll keep this chronologically-ordered list updated as bootcamps announce future acquisitions.

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  • Cracking the Bootcamp Interview: Hackbright Academy

    Liz Eggleston4/8/2016

    Hackbright Academy has been transforming driven, motivated beginners into Python developers since 2012. So what does it take to get into the selective engineering fellowship for women? We got the scoop straight from the Hackbright Admissions team- read on to learn everything you need to know about the Hackbright coding challenge, interview questions, and application process!

    Hackbright Academy Application

    How long does the Hackbright Academy application process typically take? What steps should applicants expect?

    The great news is Hackbright’s Admissions process only takes 4-6 weeks. Students should expect to receive a decision to their application in no time.  

    We have worked hard to simplify the application process and now it only consists of just a few short steps:

    • You submit a one page application for the selected term along with a coding challenge.
    • Within two weeks of Hackbright receiving your completed application, you will receive an update to your application.
    • If selected to move forward, you will be invited to interview. (There are two rounds of interviews: Round 1 interview is with an alumna and Round 2 interview is with a member of the Hackbright Team).
    • Best of all, within two to five days of your last interview, applicants will receive their final admission decision.

    What goes into the written application?

    There are two quick parts to the application and before you know it you will be done and ready for review!

    Our goal is to learn more about you, so take the time and share with us an honest and clear picture of who you are - we cannot wait to get to know more about you!

    PART I - The Application: We just need you to share with us a little information about the following topics: basic biographical information, educational background, recent employment information and “share with us a particular area of expertise in detail.”

    PART II - The Coding Challenge!

    Does Hackbright Academy require a video submission?

    We do not require a video with the application at this time. Something to keep in mind is that all of our interviews are conducted by video chat.

    Is there a coding challenge? If so what does it involve? How long should it take?

    Yes! The coding challenge is a technical problem for which you need to provide us a solution. The key to the coding challenge is not necessarily whether it’s right or wrong; it’s the logic behind attempting the challenge that we are most interested in. Be aware that we rotate coding challenges, so if you begin the application process, but do not submit, the coding challenge for the next quarter may be different. The challenge can take somewhere between 1-20 hours depending on the technical skillset of the applicant. Programming is fun and we want you to feel challenged (no pun intended) and have fun with this part of the application. Test and debug away!

    Can applicants complete the challenge in any programming language or does it have to be in Python?

    Applicants can complete the coding challenge in any language and we encourage students to complete the challenge in whatever language they are learning (or have learned). Even though Python is a big part of the Hackbright experience, choosing not to code in Python for the challenge is not a factor in determining one’s acceptance or denial. Again, don’t sweat it and have fun!

    The Hackbright Academy Interview

    How are the interviews conducted and with whom?

    All interviews are conducted online. We use different online platforms; whichever is easiest for you. As mentioned above, we request that the interviews be conducted with video. This is an opportunity for us to meet you face to face…and we can't wait to meet you!

    What sort of questions are in the interview? Can you give us a sample question?

    Both interviews are designed to be like a conversation with a friend. We keep it casual at Hackbright. The interviews are an opportunity for us to get to know you as well as for you to learn more about Hackbright. It is a two-way conversation.

    Here's a sample question: Tell us about yourself and why you decided to apply to a full-time coding bootcamp? In the interviews, we do discuss your submitted coding challenge. Candidates may want to have a copy handy when invited for an interview. Our goal is to understand your logic behind the coding challenge.

    Will interviewees need to walk through a technical problem during the interview? If so what does this involve?

    Yes but do not worry! In the interviews we discuss the coding challenge that you submitted. Something to remember is when invited to interview, to have a copy of your coding challenge ready as it will be reviewed and discussed. Again, we want to better understand the logic behind the solution you provided to us.

    How can applicants prepare for the interview? What are a few resources that you suggest applicants use to really ace the technical interview?

    The best way for you to prepare for the interview is to just relax and get a good night's sleep beforehand! Again, the interviews are meant to be a conversation and we want to get to know you as much as we want you to get to know us. Hackbright is a very much a community and we want you to be good fit for Hackbright as much as Hackbright needs to be a good fit for you. We highly recommend our applicants attend one of our Hackbright Academy Info Sessions in person or remotely to get a strong sense of the program and more Admissions tips.

    There are no specific resources that we share with students on how to prepare since it is not just a technical interview. That said, we do discuss the coding challenge with students; however, that is only one question of many in the interview.

    What are your favorite free beginner resources to learning Python?

    These are some of the resources that we recommend to our students:

    Codecademy track for Python

    Think Like a Computer Scientist. There’s a lot there. If you can identify where you’re having trouble, then go to that topic and do the exercises, otherwise I would recommend the following sections:

    Getting Accepted 

    What types of backgrounds have successful Hackbright Academy students had? Does everyone come from a technical background?

    We have women coming from diverse backgrounds and a majority of them are coming from outside the tech industry altogether. Women who tried coding, enjoy it and are ready to work hard in order to pursue software engineering as a career. You can read about some of the career transitions of Hackbright alumnae here - it’s an inspiring group!

    How do you evaluate an applicant’s future potential? What qualities are you looking for?

    When interviewing applicants we look for a number of qualities. That said, due to the amount of pair programming that is conducted in the Fellowship we look for students who are strong communicators, collaborative in nature and prefer to work in a team environment. Other qualities we look for in applicants are: resourcefulness, risk taking as well as those showing an introductory knowledge to some of the programming languages and/or relatable computer science topics.

    What is the current acceptance rate at Hackbright Academy?

    We are selective in the admission process. However, we encourage applicants not to focus on the acceptance rate, more importantly to focus on providing an in-depth and candid application highlighting yourself and your interest in coming to Hackbright.

    Are students accepted on a rolling basis?

    Yes. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, which is why we strongly encourage you to submit your application sooner rather than later. If prospective students apply late, there is a possibility that you can be waitlisted or your application may be deferred to the next term. Past cohorts have filled before the deadline date. Please note that candidates can only apply to one cohort at a time.

    Does Hackbright Academy accept international students? Do international students get student visas/tourist visas to do the program?

    We do! We accept a small number of international students into the program each term. We do not provide any visa support. Any international applicant who is admitted into the program is responsible for securing their visas to enter the US.

    Can rejected applicants reapply? If so how many times?

    Yes! We encourage applicants who were denied from previous terms to re-apply. Term over term, we have applicants who have been denied, then reapply after getting more coding experience and are then admitted into the program. There are no limitations to reapplying.

    To learn more, read Hackbright Academy reviews on Course Report, or check out their website here!

    About The Author

    Liz pic

    Liz is the cofounder of Course Report, the most complete resource for students considering a coding bootcamp. She loves breakfast tacos and spending time getting to know bootcamp alumni and founders all over the world. Check out Liz & Course Report on Twitter, Quora, and YouTube

  • Coding Bootcamp Cost Comparison: Full Stack Immersives

    Imogen Crispe7/24/2017

    How much do coding bootcamps cost? From students looking for free coding bootcamps to those wondering if an $18,000 bootcamp is worth it, we understand that cost is important to future bootcampers! While the average full-time programming bootcamp in the US costs $11,451bootcamp tuition can range from $9,000 to $21,000, and some coding bootcamps have deferred tuition. So how do you decide what to budget for? Here, we break down the costs of coding bootcamps from around the USA

    This is a cost comparison of full stack (front end and back end) in-person (on-site) immersive bootcamps that are nine weeks or longer, and many of them also include extra remote pre-work study. We have chosen courses which we think are comparable in course content – they all teach HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, plus back end languages or frameworks such as Ruby on Rails, Python, Angular, and Node.js. All schools listed here have at least one campus in the USA. To find out more about each bootcamp or read reviews, click on the links below to see their detailed Course Report pages.

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  • Live Panel: How to Pay for a Coding Bootcamp

    Liz Eggleston12/1/2017

    Coding Bootcamps are expensive. The average full-time programming bootcamp in the US costs $9,900, with some bootcamps charging up to $20,000 in tuition. We'll talk about how to calculate your ROI, available scholarships, when to use financing or payment plans, and unique payment models. We'll also explore the nitty gritty details about bootcamp loans with Zander Rafael of Climb Credit. And Hackbright Academy graduate Shannon Burns will talk about getting creative when paying for bootcamp tuition.

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  • June Coding Bootcamp News Roundup

    Harry Hantel7/1/2015

    Welcome to the June News Roundup, your monthly news digest full of the most interesting articles and announcements in the bootcamp space. Do you want something considered for the next News Roundup? Submit announcements of new courses, scholarships, or open jobs at your school!

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  • Learn Python at these 9 Web Development Bootcamps

    Harry Hantel7/27/2017

    (updated August 2016)

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  • October Bootcamp News Roundup

    Liz Eggleston11/6/2014

    Welcome to the October News Roundup, your monthly news digest full of the most interesting articles and announcements in the bootcamp space. Want your bootcamp's news to be included in the next News Roundup? Submit announcements of new courses, scholarships, or open jobs at your school!

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  • Interview with Hackbright alum (& Indiegogo engineer!) Siena Aguayo

    Liz Eggleston2/17/2014

    Siena Aguayo was a project manager at a tech company when she decided it was time to pursue programming- she chose Hackbright Academy because of the supportive community. We chat with Siena about why she chose a Python-focused school, how she prepared for interviews, and how Hackbright's women-only policy is helping change the face of the tech world. 

     

    What were you doing before you attended bootcamp?

    I was a project manager at a tech company in Sunnydale, so spent most of my time talking to clients and configuring the software to their specifications, but also some front-end development.  I always did a lot of stuff with computers growing up, and I took some Computer Science in college.  

     

    Which bootcamps did you apply to?  Why did you ultimately choose Hackbright?  

    I also applied to Dev Bootcamp.  I ultimately chose Hackbright because of the community- it became really apparent after poking around on social media, that Hackbright has an incredibly strong community and that would be a huge asset to me as I launched my career.

     

    Did the fact that Hackbright teaches Python affect your decision?

    At the time, I asked all of my engineering friends, and people were pretty neutral.  But now that I understand it more, I’m really happy that I went somewhere Python-focused and more focused on CS fundamentals than just learning Rails as a web framework.  Now, it’s going to be easy for me to pick up Ruby and Rails, whereas it might be less easy to go the other way. I think it’s probably likely that where I end up will be a Rails shop, but I’m glad that I learned Python first.

     

    What was the application process like for you?

    There were two rounds of interviews.  One was more of a culture fit, and the other was trying to gauge your technical aptitude.  There were brain teasers- they don’t put you on the spot, but they’re looking to see how well your learning style mixes with their teaching style.

     

    Ok, so you’re accepted to Hackbright- what was the pre-work like?  

    We had to use Learn Python the Hard Way. They sent it out a month before class started and said to try to get through all of it- the secret there is that nobody gets through all of it.

     

    What kind of students were in your cohort?  Did you find diversity of the group?  

    In terms of level, we pretty much evened out. We all had different levels of experience coming in; for example, I had done a lot of JavaScript at my old job.

    Hackbright has an apprentice program, so if you are a software engineer but you want to do a bootcamp, they’ll accept people with a higher level of skill. You’re learning side by side with those people. For the first half of the program, you’re pair programming- so sometimes those apprentices would want to work by themselves

     

    How large was your cohort?

    28 people. There were 5 instructors- Christian Fernandez was our lead instructor. Any bigger and it may have been a problem, but it didn’t feel that big.

     

    Did any students find that the program wasn't for them and choose not to finish?   

    We actually had the opposite. We took on a woman who had decided that GA wasn’t for her. Everyone finished. Hackbright tries really hard to not let people fall behind.

     

    What was the curriculum like?

    The first half of the program, there is a morning lecture, then we would break off into pairs and work on an assignment. Then after lunch, we might have another lecture, and more pair programming. There is a pretty solid structure.

     

    Did you (and your cohort) complete a capstone project at the end of the program?  What did you choose?   

    The whole second half of the program is doing your own personal project. I built an OCR engine from scratch for Japanese. I haven’t deployed it yet- my database got too big to deploy to free hosting options.

     

    Describe your experience after Hackbright- how did Hackbright prepare you to get a job?  

    At the end of Hackbright, during the last week, there’s a career day. It’s kind of like speed dating - you talk to each company for 7 minutes. You show them your project and try to talk about what opportunities are available at their company. Then you schedule interviews. I can’t even count how many companies I’ve interviewed with- it’s been a lot. And this past week, I got my first two job offers. (Update: Siena took a job as a developer with Indiegogo! Congrats!).

     

    Did you feel fully prepared to interview?  

    Yes, I felt really well prepared. Hackbright has an end date but it doesn’t really end. Our last day was in December, but I came in almost every day after it ended. We’ve been practicing interview questions and commiserating through the job search process.  

     

    A lot of bootcamps offer a partial refund if you end up accepting a job with one of their partner companies- was that part of your experience?  

    For my class, if you accept a job with their partner companies, you get $3000 back on your tuition. This is something that has been fluctuating.

     

    What are you up to today?  Are you working on any side projects?   

    Right now, I’m pretty focused on getting a job. I started to learn Ruby on the side.

     

    What has been your experience as a woman in the tech industry.  Do you feel it changing?  

    I definitely do. I’ve heard some comments about surrounding yourself with only fellow women being detrimental since it doesn’t mimic the real world. I feel that completely misses the point of all-female engineering schools in the first place. I feel like we’re really changing things- people are talking about the problem of women in tech a lot more. And that opens the door to talking about racial diversity and income disparity as well. I don’t think it’s a lost cause. Hackbright graduated more female engineers than both Stanford and Berkeley combined this last year.

     

    What kind of person would you recommend attend a dev bootcamp?  What kind of person won't succeed?   

    Aside from knowing that you’re good at CS, people who are comfortable in a really collaborative setting will be successful. You can be competitive, but you can’t let that get in the way of helping your classmates. Pair Programming is a huge part of the program, so you probably won’t be successful if that sounds horrible to you.

     

    Thanks Siena!

    Does Hackbright Academy sound like the school for you? Find out more on their school page or at Hackbright's website!

  • Interview with Shannon Burns, Future Hackbright Student & Founder of the CodeShannon fund!

    Liz Eggleston1/29/2014

    Shannon Burns was pleasantly surprised and financially unprepared when she was accepted to Hackbright Academy.  Coming from a low-income network, Shannon had to think fast, so she founded Hacking for Women and the CodeShannon Scholarship to finance her own education, and she’s not stopping there.  Shannon will “fund-it-forward” by donating 10% of her first year’s salary to support another woman’s coding education.  

    We talk with Shannon about her journey to Hackbright, her goals as a developer, and how her Fund-it-Forward model is going to help women around the world.

    What were you doing before you decided to apply to Hackbright?

    I got my degree at San Francisco State and I ended up getting a job at a small startup working in an attic.  One of my buddies suggested that I try computer programming, so I went to a Women Who Code event and made my first program, fell in love with it, and realized that this is what I want to do with my life.  

     

    Which bootcamps did you apply to?  Why did you ultimately choose Hackbright?  

    I spent a good six months researching coding schools- I interviewed students and teachers, checked out placement stats and average salary stats.  I had found this thing that finally fit for me, so I wanted to make sure I was preparing myself the best that I could by choosing the best school for me.

     

    How much did the all-female aspect of the camp factor into your decision?  

    When I first heard about Hackbright, I was actually really turned off.  I was concerned that it was all women, and that it wouldn’t prepare me to work in the real world, which is mostly male-dominated.  My perception didn’t change until I interviewed.  As soon as I walked into the office, all the preconceived notions that I had about being a coding school for women just melted away- it was such a positive environment, and that really sealed the deal for Hackbright for me.  I had been to Hack Reactor, App Academy, and Dev Bootcamp, but the visit to Hackbright cemented my decision.

     

    Did the fact that Hackbright teaches Python have an affect on your decision?

    At first, I studied JavaScript for six solid months to prepare for coding school.  I used a bunch of different resources (check them out on Shannon’s website) to do that.  Python was not a language that I had a lot of experience in, and I have aspirations to return to Lyft, where I currently work in a non-technical role, after school if the opportunity arises. Lyft has been very generous in their support of my goals.  They’ve donated a computer to Hacking for Women and are hosting a benefit party at their old office building in late February.  

     

    What was the application process like for you?  

    I’ve gone through the interview process for a couple of schools now, and Hackbright’s is pretty similar to the other schools.  They have an online application, and then a small coding challenge (I had to print sixes).  Their application is language-agnostic, as opposed to other schools like Hack Reactor, who’s first interview is language agnostic but the second and third require a more intermediate knowledge of JavaScript.  I didn’t hear back for months, because I missed the application deadline.  But when I did hear back, I set up a couple of interviews (just to be clear, not everyone who applies will get an interview and many do not make it past the first interview).  The first interview was with Liz, and was a cultural fit interview, to make sure they can handle being around you for 10 hours a day.  My second interview was with Christian (one of the cofounders).  And I think the whole point of that one was to get me frustrated.  It wasn’t necessarily a technical interview, but we did work through a coding problem together because I asked for one.

     

    Ok, so you’re accepted to Hackbright- what’s next?  How did you come up with the idea to use GoFundMe?

    Well, I didn’t think I was going to get in, because I had heard that Hackbright only accepts 2% of students.  So when I got in, I was in shock, and thinking about my options- how was I going to come up with a 5K deposit and 10k tuition.  At this point, I had two months.  I looked into all of the traditional methods.  Since these coding schools are so new, they’re not accredited or considered university programs, so you can’t qualify for FAFSA or government aid, and you can’t even take student loans out.  So the only loan options are to get a high-interest credit card with a very high limit, or getting a personal loan, or just asking somebody.  I come from a very low-income background, and a low income network, so there was nobody in my network who had $15k to lend me, and on top of that, I couldn’t even find a cosigner to get a bank loan.  I started crowdfunding and raised about $300.  It wasn’t working, because it didn’t make sense for me to ask people to give me money to increase my own salary, so how can I solve this issue?  It’s going to come up for a whole bunch of people, especially for women and minorities who are more likely to have lower-income networks.  

     

    So tell us about the “Fund-it-Forward” model?  

    It hit me all at once- I thought, “What if I donated 10% of my first year salary to enable someone else to go to code school too.” So now, instead of just funding myself (which I am!), after I graduate and get a job, I’ll donate 10% of my first year salary to the next woman, who can use it for coding school.  Then she donates to the woman after her, and so on.  The scholarship fund is called the CodeShannon scholarship, and the organization is called Hacking for women.  

    There’s also a mentorship aspect of the program, because I’ve noticed that there aren’t a lot of mentor relationships for women in tech.  I want to make it a community, a place to go with a lot of resources in case you don’t know where to start.  Like, don’t start with 5 languages at once!  Nobody told me that.  

    To my knowledge, this is the first “Fund-it-Forward” scholarship.  The women I know in my situation aren’t looking for handouts.  I know that so many people have contributed to me change my life for the better, and all I want to do is give that to somebody else too.  

     

    How close are you to your goal?  Why did you choose GoFundMe?

    I’m about half-way to my goal.  As of right now, I’m at $10,716, and my goal is $25,000.  Kickstarter doesn’t allow you to fundraise, and IndiGoGo charges up to 9% on top of PayPal fees.  GoFundMe’s fees were a bit less, but it was still a lot.

     

    So, not only have you decided to attend Hackbright, but are you essentially setting up a scholarship program for Hackbright?

    I want to make it very clear that this scholarship is program agnostic, and for women anywhere in the world.  I want to encourage women abroad to apply as well, because I know there are even less resources for women abroad.  So it’s not just for Hackbright, it’s for any woman who wants to go to coding school.  

     

    What are your goals after the program?

    Well, I would love to come back to Lyft,  but I’m really excited that I’m in a position where all of these doors are opening up.  Hopefully I have more than one job offer, so I can make a choice.  

     

    How can people contact you or donate to your GoFundMe campaign?

    You can donate directly on my website, www.hackingforwomen.com (preferrable).  Or you can donate on my campaign at gofundme.com/codeshannon.  If you want to follow me on twitter, i’m @karishannon and @hackingforwomen.  And I like emails too! shannon@codeshannon.com.

     

    Since we interviewed Shannon, she has already sent us an exciting update- Women Who Code has graciously offered to merge with Hacking for Women.  While the details are still being worked out, Hacking for Women officially has non-profit status and can offer tax deductions for all donations.  

    We’ll follow up with Shannon about her Fund-it-Forward campaign and her experiences at Hackbright Academy, so stay tuned!

  • Interview with Ksenia Burlachenko, Hackbright Graduate

    Liz Eggleston1/23/2014

    Ksenia Burlachenko is a Hackbright Academy graduate who completed her program in Spring 2013.  

    She now works as a Software Engineer at Perforce and considers Hackbright to be “one of the best experiences and best decisions of [her] life.”

    What were you up to before you applied to Hackbright?  

    I came to the US six years ago from Russia to study.  Before Hackbright, I had graduated with a degree in Economics from USC.  And I really loved economics- I loved problem solving and hard analytical skills, but I couldn’t see myself doing this for the rest of my life.  One of my friends just mentioned programming to me and suggested I try to pick it up.  So I tried a few courses online and I really enjoyed it, and started to consider a boot camp.  Hackbright was the first boot camp that I heard of- I applied and got accepted right away.  I looked at other Bay Area boot camps, but none of them looked as interesting as Hackbright.

     

    What was the application process like for you?

    After I filled out the online application, I got a Skype interview with one of the cofounders, David, where he asked me about my story.  Then my second interview was with Christian, the other cofounder.  That interview was more about problem-solving and logic questions.  He walked me through a technical problem and we used pair programming to approach it- I think it was about Statistics or Probability.  I ended up solving it in 20 minutes, and it was actually the first time I tried programming outloud- I realized then that I should definitely pursue it.  

     

    What was the Hackbright prework like?

    We went through Python the Hard Way.  Since most of the students have no programming experience before the class starts, it’s recommended to try to work through the book as much as possible.  I also looked through some computer science books- I wasn’t able to get through the whole thing though!

     

    Did you have a preference for learning Python?

    I did have a preference for Python.  Actually, it was more of a coincidence, because I was really considering doing something with data analysis, since data analysis and the fundamentals of research were part of my undergraduate degree.  Python is really popular in data analysis, and even though I don’t do data analysis now (in my current job), I strongly believe that Python is a better “first language” to learn.  You can pick up the fundamentals of Computer Science through Python.  I do like Ruby as well, but Python is better if you’re very new to programming.

     

    What kind of students were in your cohort?

    I’m sure you know that Hackbright is a program only for women, but everyone came from a different background.  A few from finance, a few from the East Coast, people who had established careers and some just out of college.  We all connected really well- one of the great things about Hackbright that I’m not sure if other bootcamps have is that it’s a really strong community and everyone is very supportive of each other- we share resources, job postings.  There is a huge network of alumni.  You’re spending so much time together during the class and you ultimately become best friends, and at Hackbright, I found some of my best friends.  I consider Hackbright one of the best experiences and best decisions of my life.  

     

    There are a number of online boot camps and online classes that teach Ruby and Python. Why did you choose an in-person class?

    For me, it was a very clear decision.  I think some people are really smart and disciplined and can learn and structure a program by themselves.  But I need to be with an instructor and have more human interaction.  I don’t like to be stuck and spend three days looking for an answer on stack overflow when I have an instructor who can, not necessarily give away the answer, but just lead me in approaching the problem.  I don’t think you get this with an online course.

    I learned other programming languages after Hackbright on my own, which was much easier.  But it was important to me to get my first programming experience with an instructor.  Also, Hackbright instructors are just amazing- incredibly smart and supportive.  Nobody is pitting us against each other- they really want everyone to succeed. Christian was our lead instructor, and Liz & Cynthia were assistant instructors in my program.  

     

    Can you describe the curriculum? Did you complete a project at the end?

    During the first half of the course, you learn fundamentals of computer science and utilize pair programming.  You pick small exercises and complete them with another person.  Then, for the next five weeks you work on your personal project.  My project was a bit unique, in the sense that it wasn’t a practical project- it wasn’t a web app.  I implemented a singular value decomposition from scratch in Python and applied it to movie ratings data.  Basically, it’s a prediction algorithm- and it was my first try with machine learning.  In my class, everyone had their own preferences for what they would do after Hackbright, and I thought I wanted to do data analysis, but I wasn’t sure, so I tried different things.  I realized that I like back-end development more than web development.  I got so much support from instructors figuring out what my strengths are.  

     

    Describe your experience after HackBright- how long did it take you to get a job?  Did you feel fully prepared to interview?  

    At the end of Hackbright, there’s a career day.  It’s like reverse-speed dating: each Hackbright student has their own station, and 20-30 companies switch from station to station, learning about each candidate’s projects and what they want to do.  Then, maybe after that they bring you in for interviews.  I got hired by Perforce within one month of graduation, which was a partner company with Hackbright (I actually only interviewed with Hackbright partner companies).  Right now I work as a Software Engineer.  Their policies have changed since I graduated, but when I took a job with a partner company, I got my full tuition refunded.

     

    What does your job entail now?

    I work for Perforce, which is source version control system (a similar project is Git).  The project I’m working on is called GitFusion; it’s an integration tool that let’s you use Git with Perforce on the back-end.  I really like my company and my teammates, and I’m still learning every single day, which I think is the most important part for me.  I use several operating systems, like Linux-based systems, in my new job, which is something I didn’t learn at Hackbright.  And I had to pick up Perl.

     

    Do you feel like at HB, there were specific programs geared towards combat the imposter syndrome and prepare you to be a woman in this industry?

    Absolutely.  Every week, we have tech talks, and several were focused on being a female engineer in a heavily male-oriented field, which helped a lot.  There were also sessions on how to go through an interview, present yourself, and negotiate your salary.  A year ago, I didn’t know what Python was, and I’ve made so much progress.  I always felt that for women, it’s hard to get into programming because we get discouraged and we feel like imposters.  You’ve heard of Lean In, but when you’re actually a woman experiencing it, you may not understand that it’s even happening to you.  Whereas at Hackbright, I got so much support and eventually, I realized that I really am awesome and have the skills for this.

     

    Since you’ve graduated from Hackbright, what has your experience as a woman been in the tech industry? Do you feel like the landscape is changing?

    I feel like it’s still a very male-dominated industry.  I’ve never really faced discrimination in the workplace- it’s more like little things that other people don’t notice.  For example, when someone tells you that you should be preparing more for a presentation, and you start doubting yourself.  It can slowly crawl up on you.  And I have to say that everyone at my company now is very supportive, but sometimes, when you’re socializing with engineers or at conferences, you see that it’s very male-dominated, and you have to work harder being a woman.  You’re in a battle with yourself every single day, but I still know that I should be programming and have the skills for it.

     

    Have you noticed that colleagues or companies have looked down on having a boot camp education, as opposed to a Computer Science degree?

    In the beginning, when I got hired by my company, it was a leap of faith for them.  But I think right away, I blew away any concerns that they had, and it was clear that I was going to be successful in this career.  They saw that my level of preparation and skill was just as good as someone graduating from college.  

     

    Any advice for students considering applying to Hackbright or a coding boot camp?

    I think that programming is a skill that you can learn in an intensive setting in 10 to 12 weeks.  If you learn the fundamentals and if you enjoy it, then you can learn programming.  I really don’t think that getting a masters in CS is worth it, if you want to be a web developer.  Just get your stuff together, work really intensively for 12 weeks, and you’ll be prepared to be a software engineer in this industry.  

     

    Want to learn more?  Check out Hackbright Academy on Course Report for courses, costs and reviews.  

  • HackBright Academy

    Liz Eggleston1/14/2014

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Thanks!