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Hackbright Academy

San Francisco

Hackbright Academy

Avg Rating:4.54 ( 79 reviews )

Hackbright Academy is a software engineering school for women in San Francisco, Dallas, and Lehi founded in 2012. In addition to in-person classrooms in the US, Hackbright Academy also offers their courses online. The school offers a 12-week, immersive full-time software engineering program and a 43-week, part-time program, both of which cover the fundamentals of computer science and modern web development such as the command line, Python, JavaScript, HTML & CSS, Git, Flask, Django, pair programming, SQL/ORMS/NoSQL, and deployment. The part-time program covers the same content as the immersive program, but is designed for students who want to maintain their jobs. Hackbright also offers a 4-week part-time prep course, which teaches the foundations of programming; and a week-long immersive prep course. 

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

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

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

    Apply
    Start Date None scheduled
    Cost$12,900
    Class size35
    LocationSan Francisco
    Hackbright offers a full-time, 12-week Software Engineering Program that empowers women to become software engineers in 12 weeks. The immersive program is an intensive Monday through Friday course with classes from 10 am to 6 pm. Core instruction includes the fundamentals of computer science and modern web development such as the command line, Python, JavaScript, HTML & CSS, Git, Flask, Django, pair programming, SQL/ORMS/NOSQL, deployment and more! Students will enjoy a host of other benefits including mentorship, tech talks and career services. After graduation, Hackbright Academy connects graduates with Silicon Valley companies looking to expand their engineering teams. Graduates who accept a full-time job from one of the companies in the Hackbright network will be refunded a portion of their tuition. Payment plans are also available. Hackbright's ideal candidate has an inspired desire to learn software development and has prior exposure to programming.
    Financing
    Deposit$250 Non-Refundable
    Financing
    Deferred tuition, and lending via SkillsFund and Climb.

    Graduates of the Prep course are eligible for a discount.
    Tuition PlansHackbright 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
    ScholarshipWe have four scholarships available from our partners who are committed to changing the gender ratio in tech. Learn more: http://hba.io/2zahyUp
    Getting in
    Minimum Skill LevelKnowledge of the following areas (in any programming language) and ability to demonstrate in a technical interview: Basic datatypes (strings, integers, booleans) and variables, conditional logic, looping, lists or arrays, and basic functions.
    Prep WorkNone, but there is a Prep Course available in order to obtain training to pass the technical interview.
    Placement TestYes
    InterviewYes
  • Hackbright Prep Course

    Apply
    Python
    In PersonFull Time10 Hours/week3 Weeks
    Start Date None scheduled
    Cost$249
    Class size35
    LocationSan Francisco
    This is a 4-week part-time night course will teach you the basic fundamentals of programming. You will leave with a foundation in Python and be introduced to HTML, CSS, and Flask. The course is geared to those who are planning to apply to a bootcamp or considering shifting their careers.
    Financing
    DepositN/A
    Financing
    We are partnered with lending partners SkillsFund and Climb. Please email finance@hackbrightacademy.com if you have questions.
    ScholarshipWWC and Hackbright Academy are offering a full scholarship to Hackbright Prep.
    Getting in
    Minimum Skill LevelBeginner
    Placement TestNo
    InterviewNo
  • Part-Time (24-week) Software Engineering Program

    Apply
    HTML, Git, JavaScript, Django, CSS, Data Structures, Algorithms, SQL, Python, GitHub
    In PersonPart Time14 Hours/week24 Weeks
    Start Date None scheduled
    Cost$12,900
    Class size35
    LocationSan Francisco
    The part-time software development program is stimulating, exciting and fulfilling. Our challenging curriculum is based on 5 years of training students, providing tangible feedback, and helping each individual improve throughout the learning process. Students can partake in Hackbright's life-changing Software Engineering Program while working. The Part-Time Software Engineering Program will teach you the fundamentals of computer science in addition to modern web development. This part-time program includes labs and lectures on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, plus Saturdays. One of the most in-demand languages to learn in the industry is Python – the core language of our curriculum. Companies that use Python include Google, Yelp, and Dropbox to name a few. Mastering Python here will help you start thinking like an engineer. You can feel confident that you’ll walk out of the door ready to tackle any engineering role.
    Financing
    Deposit250 Non- Refundable
    Financing
    We understand that your education can be a big investment and that’s why we’ve partnered with leading lending partners like SkillsFund to provide you affordable payment alternatives. Check out the options below and please feel free to email finance@hackbrightacademy.com if you have questions! Click here to learn more.
    Tuition PlansNo
    Refund / GuaranteeNo
    ScholarshipNo
    Getting in
    Minimum Skill Level40 hours of coding practice
    Prep Work5-10 hours remote work per week for the 3 weeks leading up to the start of course
    Placement TestYes
    InterviewYes
  • Anonymous • Graduate
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    Similar to a previous reviewer, I'm surprised to see some of the negative recent reviews. I think, like many programs like this, how you feel coming out of it depends on how you aligned expectations going in. Overall, I went in with high hopes for learning / development, and what I considered realistic expectations for time-to-employment after graduation, and was satisfied on both fronts.

    Curriculum

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

    Instructors / Staff

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

    Career Services

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

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

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

    Summary

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

     

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

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

    Curriculum

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

    Instructors

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

    Project time

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

    Career Day

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

    Cohort

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

    Career Services

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

    Mentors

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

     

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     

     

     

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

Thanks!