Make School is a leader in Computer Science education offering practical, product-based educational programs across the world that prepare students for careers in the software industry. Through a 2-year or an 8-week program, students will focus on the coding aspect of app development, while gaining exposure to other aspects of product development like paper prototyping, user experience, user testing, marketing, analytics and more. Make School invites professionals from the tech industry, game industry, and startups to talk to students about product development at their companies; and students get to visit the companies as well.
Make School’s Product College is redefining higher education with a two-year Computer Science and product development program in San Francisco, where students pay tuition through post-graduate earnings. Say hello to the future of higher education - a debt free education relevant to today's fast-paced economy. Make School’s Summer Academy teaches high school and college students how to design, code, and launch their own iPhone apps, games, and immersive Virtual Reality experiences. The 8-week program is taught in 15 locations across the U.S. and Asia. The top students in the Summer Academy receive automatic admission into Make School's Product College. In addition to their in-person programs, Make School offers free online courses, based on the same curriculum delivered at the Summer Academy.
The Make School curriculum has been used by 3 of the top 4 CS Universities. Their emphasis is on practical education and learning by doing as students will walk out of the program with a game on the App Store that they can use in lieu of a resume to demonstrate their ability to potential employers. Applicants should have basic computer science knowledge (either having taught themselves or taken a basic programming class). Objects, Classes, Class inheritance (subclasses, superclasses), Class vs. Instance Methods and Variables should all be familiar to a student applying for Make School.
Recent Make School Reviews: Rating 4.3
Recent Make School News
- April 2019 Coding Bootcamp News Roundup
- March 2019 Coding Bootcamp News Roundup
- Become a Developer at these 31 Summer Coding Bootcamps!
In PersonFull Time
- Start Date
- August 26, 2019
- Class size
- San Francisco
- Tuition Plans
- Make School's Income Share Agreement (ISA): instead of paying tuition up front, students commit to paying a percentage of their income for a certain number of years after graduating with a job that earns more than $60,000/year.
- Minimum Skill Level
- Placement Test
More Start DatesAugust 26, 2019 - San FranciscoApply by November 18, 2018
In addition to their in-person programs, Make School offers free online courses, based on the same curriculum delivered at the Summer Academy. First, you will learn Objective-C or Swift by working through step-by-step tutorials. They will guide you through the process of cloning popular apps like Flappy Bird, Notes, Instagram and Timberman. The Online Academy also includes video lectures by Make School instructors and Playground challenges. Then, you will start working on your own app/game and follow our tutorials to implement analytics, monetization and learn how to ship your app to the App Store!
- Start Date
- None scheduled
- Class size
- Minimum Skill Level
- Placement Test
Make School Reviews
10 reviews sorted by:
- Only Applicants, Students, and Graduates are permitted to leave reviews on Course Report.
- Post clear, valuable, and honest information that will be useful and informative to future coding bootcampers. Think about what your bootcamp excelled at and what might have been better.
- Be nice to others; don't attack others.
- Use good grammar and check your spelling.
- Don't post reviews on behalf of other students or impersonate any person, or falsely state or otherwise misrepresent your affiliation with a person or entity.
- Don't spam or post fake reviews intended to boost or lower ratings.
- Don't post or link to content that is sexually explicit.
- Don't post or link to content that is abusive or hateful or threatens or harasses others.
- Please do not submit duplicate or multiple reviews. These will be deleted. Email moderators to revise a review or click the link in the email you receive when submitting a review.
- Please note that we reserve the right to review and remove commentary that violates our policies.
Click here to log in or sign up and continue.
To start, I am writing this because I wish I would have done more research before attending Make School. I did not plan to ever finish the 2 year program to receive the degree in applied computer science, I just wanted to learn some cs and how to code. I'll start with the pro's and con's and then give my recommendations on what I think someone thinking of attending Make School might want to do:
- CS instructor is amazing, has a great way of explaining concepts and is passionate about teaching.
- The community is great, everyone is passionate about learning and excited about cs.
- Curriculum outside of cs is just not there yet.
- So EXPENSIVE. From my research, any state college in the nation is cheaper than Make School.
if you're thinking of attending, I would highly suggest going to a community college for a year or two first. A local community college is really cheap and in some states free. After that, apply to some traditional computer science programs and look into other options. If you have no other options, I would say go to Make School as a last resort.
The Price Scheme:
They charge 20% of your salary for 5 years and if you take the living stipend they tack on another 5% for 5 years and then another 7% for an additional 5 years. It definitely seems appealing when they tell you no tuition up-front, but think about the future in this case. This contract doesn't go away unless you make under 60k per year for 8 years. The extra 5% and 7% are owed whenever you make more than 40k per year.
Say you make 90k per year after graduating, after they take their money and then taxes (29% from federal and state if in California) are taken, you get left with $48,600 per year for the first 5 years.
I want to leave a very honest review of my time at Make School so that other people can be informed when deciding to join. To give some background, I joined the full stack web track before the school introduced the bachelors in Applied Computer Science.
The school was broken up into three parts. Computer Science, your chosen track ( my case full stack web ) and core. I am going to give my review on each of the three sections.
Overall I was very happy with the CS classes. They were taught by a very knowledgeable instructor. I really liked his method of teaching because it was aimed at making sure students learned in depth the fundamentals of CS. He was also very good at breaking down complicated topics and made sure to draw diagrams and visual examples which made data structures and algorithms simpler to understand.
Full Stack Web:
The topics that were taught were current and applicable to getting a job but HOW they were taught wasn't up to par with the CS classes. For many of my classes we were just assigned some online tutorials and not once did we do code review or go over the tutorial to see what students did right or wrong. Me and other students were upset because we felt like there wasn't a structure to the classes. I was very dissapointing because I was spending a lot of money just to read some tutorial online. I can say I learned a lot more buying a $10 course on Udemy than from that class.
The purpose was to make you prepared to get a job and an effective employee. We did exercises such as:
* Mock interviews
* How to find and approach engineers from top tech companies to learn from them and potentially have a mentor
* How to write professional emails
* A bunch of other useful stuff
The instructor was good and I can say he helped me a lot in my soft skills specially how to answer tough behavioral questions.
Overall the school was good at teaching relevant skills and I can say that if you work hard enough you can definitely end up at a great company making a lot of money. Although, the lessons were great, Make School isn't teaching magic. You can learn and become a software engineer without spending tens of thousands of dollars. Many people have done it. In fact, I met someone who was a senior engineer at a top tech company who was entirely self taught.
There are so MANY free or cheap courses online that are very high quality. MIT has free CS courses so does Harvard. Heck you could buy a few $10 courses on Udemy and get pretty much the same value ( From a technical side ). If I could do it all over again I wouldn't have gone to Make School and my wallet would be very happy but hindsight is 20/20.
In conclusion, you will learn relevant skills but the school is EXTREMELY expensive and I don't know if I can justify the price for what I learned. For that reason, I don't recommend it.
We got many instructors and students in this class, all of us come from different countries and cities and major in different fields. In this class we are effort to build our mobile APP in a specific field try to amaze the world. You can learn how to build an APP or Game, get some interesting stories and advices and you can get new friends. There's a lot of things happen in this 8 weeks.
I attended the Summer Academy and it will be an unforgettable experience. The peers that I met that love programming as much as I do to the wonderful instructors that are always there and make sure you are on track with your course load.
Thank You Make School for giving me this opportunity!
With a very small previous coding skill set, I skipped the explorer track and jumped straight into games. I did the tutorials slower than everyone else, and I felt like I didn't remember much. But once I started working on my own app, with a lot of help from the great games track instructors and looking over the tutorials I've done for guidance, I was back on track in no time. I went from almost no coding experience to having made a game I am pround of and shipping it to the app store in 8 weeks. Everyone was very friendly and there's plenty of food places nearby. Highly recommend.
I attended the Make School Summer Academy in 2015 with codeacademy tutorials as my only coding background. The academy paved a way for me to get into programming, and I'm now working at a game development company. The instructors are really helpful and I made friends that I still keep in touch with to this day. Overall a fantastic summer experience!
Yes, Make School is the future of computer science higher education. And yes, it is debt free. And yes, it has spectacular outcomes. But you already knew that by visiting the site....So, I am going to say some of the unique aspects Make School provides over any college or bootcamp!
First of all Make School is not a bootcamp. It is a college program that delivers on providing significant depth into topics but also breadth! There is a huge focus and expertise in iOS development, but there are opportunities to explore and dive deep into iOT, full stack web development, backend, scripting, AI, design, and many many more technical classes!
While technical classes are great and essential to landing a great development gig - they are not everything...and many schools and bootcamps from my understanding do not dive into other core skills - such as effective communication, productivity, and public speaking. Make School Product College does not just prepare you to be another engineer - but they give you the tools, knowledge, and practice to be a leader in the industry!
Another important aspect that Make School delivers on is product development. We do the most learning through building out complete products - Further, we learn what we should build (how to determine what people want), how we can make money with it, and how to grow the product! It is awesome to develop the technical skills, but also develop our product minded side of validating ideas, finding market fit, and then building.
The instructors are top notch and we have many industry experts come in to give talks and are available to mentor :)
I can not yet speak to my final outcome - but things look very promising and Make School is teaching us the right methodologies to succeed in finding a job and making all the right introductions at the right time.
At the end of the day - compared to my college experience Make School delivers everything and more:
Breadth + Depth
I attended Makeschool this past summer and I had barely any coding experience. After graduating the academy, I have two apps on the app store and more coming. The experience was amazing, learning things such as programming for iOS, startup life, and etc. I made so many new friends and amazing connections to the tech world that benefits me greatly!
As a high school student not from Silicon Valley, this was exactly what I needed. I learned how to build apps, which has been super useful and made me stand out. I also learned how to pitch products and I got a taste of startup life. So if you're just starting out in programming and you want to get a glimpse of a future in the startup world, go to Make School!
Our latest on Make School
Each month, the Course Report team rounds up the most interesting bootcamp industry news that we read and talked about in our office. In April, we were showered with a ton of exciting fundraising and acquisition news, ISAs (income sharing agreements) continued to be a hot topic, and coding bootcamps began getting approved for a new veterans program called VET TEC. We also saw some great diversity initiatives and scholarship opportunities for bootcamps in the US and abroad. Plus, a report from the Christensen Institute looked into bootcamps as disruptors, and two schools are planning to expand the bootcamp model into healthcare – read to the end to find out more.Continue Reading →
Our News Alerts were non-stop this month (and not just because Karlie Kloss is a new judge on Project Runway). Fullstack Academy was acquired in a deal worth potentially ~$50M, 3 pieces of legislation made their way through Congress, and 9 new bootcamps launched (don’t worry, we added them to Course Report).Continue Reading →
Oh Summer, one of the best seasons of the year! While it’s a time to relax, bask in the sun, and plan trips with family and friends, summer is also an awesome time to learn. If you’re a current student, teacher, or professional looking to learn to code, a summer bootcamp is a great opportunity to learn to code in a short time frame. Various coding bootcamps that offer summer courses to help you launch a new career in tech. Check out the following courses to help you #learntocode this Summer 2019.Continue Reading →
In February we heard some interesting debates about the ethics of data science, how bootcamps are partnering with universities, and companies like Infosys and Google, and how the number of tech education options in Africa is growing! Plus, Thinkful attempted to predict the Oscars, the Ohio Lt. Governor stopped by Tech Elevator, and women in bootcamps were recognized. We also looked at various ways to pay for bootcamp, and tips for breaking into tech. Listen to the podcast or read the roundup below.Continue Reading →
Need a rundown of everything that happened in the coding bootcamp industry this September? You’re in luck! We’ve collected all the most important news in this blog post and podcast. This month, we kept up with the status of the bootcamp industry, learned about how bootcamps are thriving in smaller markets, and explored different ways to pay for bootcamp. Plus, we added 7 new schools from around the world to the Course Report school directory! Read below or listen to our latest Coding Bootcamp News Roundup Podcast.Continue Reading →
Just as they’ve developed disruptive education tools, technology bootcamps are also adopting payment plans which allow students to pay nothing or very little until they graduate and find a job. Deferred tuition and income sharing agreements (ISAs) are becoming more widely available, and give students who don’t have $20,000 in the bank, access to life-changing learning opportunities. This guide will help you sort through the details and differentiate between the terms; plus, we’ve even helped you start your research by compiling a list of coding and data science bootcamps that offer ISAs or Deferred Tuition.Continue Reading →
Make School’s Product College is a two-year software development school which touts better preparation for students entering the working world than a college degree. We sat down with Product College Lead Adam Braus to ask about the differences between Product College and a coding bootcamp, how the Income Sharing Agreement makes the program more accessible, and the types of jobs graduates get after 2 years. Plus, find out how Product College ensures that students still get the social and emotional development of a college experience.
Pro Tip: Product College application deadline is August 13. Apply now.
Tell us about your role at Make School and Product College.
I am the Lead of the Product College at Make School. I'm like the principal of the school, which means I oversee the instructors and make sure that students are successful.
Can you give us the high-level differences between Product College and Summer Academy?
Summer Academy is a sprint, while Product College is a marathon.
The first difference is the focus on professional skills. While some Summer Academy graduates do get jobs in iOS development, the curriculum isn’t built for that. Whereas the outcome at Product College is to get a competitive software engineering job at the end of two years.
The other difference is in the curricula. Summer Academy is focused only on iOS, while Product College teaches web development and iOS, along with other “minor” concentrations. We have a Devices track, where students can learn how to make a Nest Cam clone or hack the Amazon Dash button using Raspberry Pi, and we just added a Data Science curriculum that focuses on Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.
Product College gives students a lot more breadth across technologies than bootcamps or traditional CS degrees. The best engineers are usually good at a couple of technologies.
What are you looking for in applicants for Product College?
We accept applicants who are at about the same level as the traditional coding bootcamp. We expect you to have done at least 100 hours of coding from CS classes, hackathons, and online tutorials and have a strong interest in becoming a software developer. A portfolio of one or more shipped projects really strengthens your application. Because we segment students into higher and lower levels of preparation, we can really accommodate different levels of preparedness. Some first year students even test into second year courses. we’re looking for a positive attitude, strong work ethic and teachability – the ability to take and respond to feedback positively.
Remember that our program is very intensive and two years long, so if you start with only 100 hours of experience, then you’ll still graduate with 3,000 to 4,000 hours of practice and we’re confident that you'll be able to enter into software engineering at at least an entry level, if not a mid-level position.
Is there a coding challenge in the application process?
We might ask you logic questions, and then if you're doing really well and you know some coding, we might send you a coding challenge. But most importantly, my advice is to apply! No matter your skill level, we have a strict no-weed-out policy. Anyone should apply with eagerness and tell us about your passions and your goals of being a software engineer. We want to hear about the struggles you've had teaching yourself, and our admissions officers will coach you through the preparation you need.
If you do have a lot of programming experience, then we can help your career go so much farther so much faster, and for less money than going through a traditional four-year college. We went through Y Combinator and we like to think of ourselves as a “people accelerator” — a Y Combinator for people.
Our mission isn't to reject people who don't currently meet some level or standard. Our mission is to help everyone reach their goals in tech.
Do you consider Product College a college alternative?
We 100% think of ourselves as a college. We think that other colleges are alternatives to us. We're really dedicated to our students’ success and we're flexible with our curriculum to make them successful. We’re not ideologues; we're much more of a lean startup. Anytime we get feedback from our students, we take immediate action. Right now, colleges don’t do that. We’d like to inspire traditional colleges to be more iterative.
Traditional college does not prepare you for the working world. The statistics and experiences speak for themselves. 80% of college graduates don't use their major in their subsequent career and 60% percent of graduates don't even use their degree. That's pretty damning. If your goal is to get ready for the job market, then a four-year university rarely actually helps you.
Product College really does prepare you for the working world. For example, I personally didn't learn how to write a really solid email until I was about 26 years old in my first professional job. At Product College, we have multiple email classes where we drill students on how to write fantastic, professional emails – and that’s critical for their success. We do all kinds of skills like that around professional skill building from productivity to personal finance.
What do you say to critics who wonder if younger students are missing formative “college years” by attending a college alternative?
I totally hear you. The college years – from age 18 to 22 – are important to emotional and social development. We have created an environment at Product College that is even better than current four-year colleges. Product College students still have fun and form a community. They live in student housing, have parties on the weekends, etc.
Most of our students are between 18-22, and many are 22-29. Having different age groups in our school is our secret weapon. The younger students bring vitality and endless energy to the school, and older students bring more experience and often end up being leaders and mentors in the class.
In Product College, students live and work like professionals. We ask them to work hard and to be part of our community where people trust each other. And our students rise to the occasion every time.
Oh, students are living in actual dorms?
Most of our students live on two floors of one building, so it really is like a college dorm feel.
I don't know very much about the students' social life because I'm the principal! But we have a Student Experience Lead, whose job is to make sure that students are supported and having fun too. We fund outings like camping, have a soccer team, and students form clubs (like Running Club and Drone Club).
Some of the other longer bootcamps, like 42 and Holberton, don't have traditional instructors. Are there instructors in the Product College classroom?
We believe in instructors! We have at least one instructor per every 12 students. We believe it's important to have role models and experts in the classroom unblocking students and helping them grow, but we also use very strong hands-on peer learning in our classrooms – pair programming, group work, and group discussions
Could you tell us about the new additions to the Product College curriculum?
This year we’ve added two major updates to our curriculum. First off, we’ve given every student a personal 1-1 coach who will help them develop an individualized learning plan. We’ve also seen the overwhelming interest in Data Science, Artificial Intelligence, and Machine Learning and developed an entire cycle of courses that students can enroll in at the end of their junior year or during their senior year.
Does everyone learn the same curriculum at Product College over these two years?
Everyone takes Core, which meets twice a week. In Core, students learn all the personal and professional skills that any software developer or product developer would need to know as an employee.
Student choose their tracks (ie. mobile developer, front-end developer, or back-end developer), and then take courses that get them to the level of a professional developer in that track.
Every student has a one-on-one coach that they meet with once a week to develop an individualized learning plan. They get guidance about what courses they should pick, what projects they should work on. I think that's a really powerful thing and nobody gets that in traditional college, but that's the time in your life when you really need that.
Which programming languages do students learn in those tracks?
We teach iOS in the Mobile Development Track.
Our Back End cycle is focused on Express and Node. Rails hides a lot of complexities and fundamentals so we don't teach that first, but we do offer one Rails class later.
The Front End cycle focuses on React and React Native as well so that all Product College students are able to develop mobile apps.
We try not to be too focused on the specific framework that we teach. Getting too attached to one precious framework is generally a bad practice among developers. We want to teach our students to operate at the paradigm level. It doesn’t really matter if you learn Angular 2 or React or Vue.js – they're all front-end frameworks. We choose the most popular one with our business partners in San Francisco.
Do students work with real clients and get experience at a company, or are they in the classroom for 2 years?
Students have summers off and we urge them to get an internship if they’re ready. We ask students to think about their match/reach/fallbacks. Maybe their match is getting an unpaid internship, their reach is getting a paid internship at Facebook, and their fallback is building their portfolio through side projects or collaborating with a non-profit.
There's a range of different outcomes over that summer but our goal is to get people either paid or unpaid internships for that summer.
What do your students do after they graduate? Do they become entrepreneurs or get jobs as developers?
We love everyone to be passionate about entrepreneurship. I actually teach our entrepreneurship cycle – growth and validation, scaling and raising money, how to do pitch decks, how to hire people, and what it takes to be really a successful entrepreneur. But you need to build those hard technical skills at Product College. That's the opportunity of a lifetime.
After graduation, the majority of our students work at small startups or big tech companies. We are part of the Y Combinator network and help our students connect with YC companies. We also have graduates at Apple, Facebook, Google, Tesla, Snapchat, and other large tech giants.
Bootcamps say that they teach web development and professional skills in 3 months. Why should a student invest two years at Product College instead of an easy, quick 12 weeks?
If you’re older and need to get a job sooner, you shouldn’t come to the Product College. We would recommend you to our partners at Hack Reactor and General Assembly. Product College is meant for people who want to invest at least a year in their education.
You can compare Product College with Holberton School or 42, and the difference is that you’re being taught by instructors and getting a one-on-one coach. You're just going to learn slower if you don't have instructors and that support.
Coding bootcamps can get wrapped up in their outcomes numbers, and become more committed to those than they are to their students. For us, it’s the other way around. You can't be asked to leave the Product College because you don't perform. You can only be asked to leave the Product College if you don't participate.
Why is the Income Sharing Agreement important to Product College?
The income share agreement has been part of the Product College vision from Day 1. It aligns us with the goals of our students.
If you paid upfront tuition and housing, then the entire cost adds up to ~$90,000, which is based on the Gold Standard in American education until 1987. History lesson: until 1987, the cost of a degree with living expenses was equal to the first year salary you could predictably get after graduation. In 1987, wages were stagnant and the cost of education started going up by 10% to 17% year. Now there's this huge chasm between the income you can expect to make out of school and the cost of an education. We’re winding back the clock and bringing it back to that 1987 benchmark. $90,000 is the salary of an entry-level developer in San Francisco.
Colleges hide from their accountability to get students jobs. For us, the Income Share Agreement is a forcing function to provide the best possible experience, but also provide job ready skills.
Plus, no one should ever be blocked from coming to Make School if they're a good fit – finances shouldn't come into it. Our goal is to make education accessible.
Product College is in San Francisco now – are there plans to expand?
Summer Academy has locations all over the world – we even had 30 students in Tokyo this summer! We have no plans to expand Product College to other cities. I envision the San Francisco campus growing to the size of a small college before we would open a second campus.
Anything else you’d like our readers to know?
We still have spots available for this fall and applications are open!
For some students, the traditional 12-week, full-time coding bootcamp may not seem like enough time to acquire the skills that employers want. As the coding bootcamp industry has evolved, longer coding bootcamps such as Turing, Galvanize, C4Q, Ada Developers Academy, Learner's Guild, CODE University, Holberton School, Make School, We Think Code, and 42 have emerged with courses ranging from 6 months to 5 years. These schools emphasize computer science concepts, offer apprenticeships, and provide in-depth, cutting-edge technology education, without the opportunity cost of a traditional computer science degree. Think a longer coding bootcamp could be for you? Start your research here.Continue Reading →
Ivy Xing was studying computer science in college, but realized she needed experience building her own products. So she took the summer after her junior year off to enroll in Make School’s Summer Academy iOS track. Ivy tells us about the range of backgrounds in her Make School cohort, how she built her awesome iOS game Melonace (it’s in the App Store!), and how she landed her job as an iOS engineer at Edmodo!
What were you up to before you joined Make School?
I was a Computer Science and Math double major at Bowdoin College in Maine. I took an Intro to Computer Science class in my first semester just to try it – that was my first time learning computer science – and I really liked it, so I kept taking computer science classes. I took classes like data structures, algorithms, artificial intelligence, operating systems, security, and computational geometry.
Throughout college, I had internships and research jobs related to computer science. The research job involved data mining and studying machine learning theories – I had a lot of fun. During the internship, I worked on a variety of company projects and learned a great deal. Then, I wanted to go further – I wanted a way to build my own product from scratch, instead of working on other people’s projects or doing research. So during the summer of my junior year in 2014, I went to the Make School Summer Academy.
Why did you feel you needed more coding experience on top of your computer science degree?
My college is a top-ranked liberal arts college, but it’s very small, so our computer science department only had four professors. The iOS course was only held once every year or two and was kind of outdated. While I learned a lot of theory and foundational skills, and all the courses were very good, like most other colleges, mine didn’t teach the newest technologies and industry practices.
I wanted a more practical experience building a completely shippable product under the guidance of instructors who are familiar with the mobile development industry trends and standards. I definitely got what I wanted at Make School, and taking more computer science classes in college wouldn’t have had the same effect.
There are a lot of coding bootcamps in San Francisco – did you research other coding bootcamps before choosing Make School?
I researched several programs. I was searching for general summer coding camps that teach people to build something. I chose the Make School Summer Academy after reading student testimonials and testing some of the finished products. I was really impressed with how much the students were able to achieve from not knowing computer science at all, to building the game I was enjoying on my phone. In my research, I didn’t find those product showcases or final projects with the other bootcamps, so I thought Make School was the right choice for me.
How important was it for you to learn iOS and mobile development?
The Summer Academy teaches iOS, and I focused on gaming (I’ve always played a lot of games). Among the different fields in computer science, I was most interested in AI and mobile development. I really wanted to explore mobile development because it was something that my CS degree didn’t cover well.
Who was in your Summer Academy cohort? Was it diverse in terms of gender, race, life and career backgrounds?
I was very surprised to find out how diverse my cohort was. I was expecting more people like myself – college computer science majors. Instead, I worked alongside people twice my age, students who were still in high school, young adults who had never taken a programming class, and some professional programmers. We had more guys than girls, but it was still more girls than I had ever seen in any of my computer science classes. I was pleasantly surprised that in such a diverse cohort, everyone got along well and worked together to help each other throughout the Summer Academy. People with more programming experience often voluntarily helped students who had less experience.
Can you describe the learning experience at the Summer Academy?
Throughout the first half of Make School, each day began with a tutorial, which would involve programming a small game, and we would code along with the lesson. The lead instructor taught by example – he would give us the basic concepts of how the code should work, what each line should accomplish, and then ask us to write the code and expand on the existing features. He would come over to each student to answer questions, and make sure everybody finished the tutorial before we move to the next one. We also had occasional lectures on computer science theory, so the course alternated between hands-on and iOS theory throughout the first half of the program.
Once everyone was familiar with how the game development process worked, a professional game designer came in to brainstorm with each student on our own projects. His feedback was mostly based on how long the game would take to build and whether it would be an innovative and interesting game that people would want to play. Not every student cared about making money or gaining traction on the App Store, so ultimately the choice of what to build depended on the student’s preference. We then worked on our game for the rest of the Summer Academy. Instructors would help each of us set up the basic structure and discuss how to go about building it. They guided each of us throughout the entire game building process and always made sure that we got whatever help we needed.
Tell us about the game that you built during Summer Academy!
Before I went to Make School, I was really into this game called Drop 7, an iOS grid puzzle game based on math calculations. It inspired me to build a grid puzzle game in Objective-C for the Summer Academy project. My game is called Melonace. You can find it on the App Store or see screenshots on my website: ivyxing.com. The game has an interactive user tutorial and high scores. Users place watermelons on the board and try to explode as many watermelons as possible before their number of turns ends or the screen fills up.
You actually decided to continue at Make School and attend Product College after Summer Academy. Why?
I was very happy with what I learned during Summer Academy, so I wanted to dive deeper into iOS programming. I realized that I could take one semester off from Bowdoin and still graduate on time, so I arranged with the Make School staff to take 6 months of Product College. Then I went back to Bowdoin and finished my degree on time.
At Summer Academy, I was focused on building a game, but during Product College, we went deeper into iOS, built an app, and learned some web and backend. Also, when we were building a game, the iOS experience was tied with game-specific tools like SpriteBuilder, and I wanted to learn more about iOS engineering in a more general sense. After I left, Make School extended Product College from 1 year to 2 years. They have added a lot to the curriculum like virtual reality and web tracks.
How did Make School prepare you for the job search?
The Summer Academy helped us with networking and finding jobs. The Make School staff also reached out to a bunch of companies on our behalf. They had an entire spreadsheet listing the companies interested in interviewing Make School students. If we were interested in a company, we could put our name on the spreadsheet, and those companies would email us to set up interviews.
Throughout Product College, there was a very structured careers curriculum. My cohort only had 11 students, and we were the first ever cohort of the Product College. We had weekly interview lectures, where an instructor would conduct a mock interview with a student in front of the class and demonstrate how to solve a problem. Then we did individual mock interviews where instructors would give us a problem, we’d try to solve it like in an actual interview, and they would give us feedback. That was all very helpful. Even though Product College has a lot more students now, I know that Alan (the interview instructor) still teaches students interviewing techniques in small groups and sometimes individually.
Did you find your new job through Make School?
I did find my job through Make School. The current CEO of Edmodo knew one of the Make School co-founders, Ashu, who connected me with Edmodo. I got an interview with an iOS engineer and started as an intern two years ago. After two and a half months, I was hired on full time in 2015. Then after a year, I got promoted from junior to mid-level engineer, and I’m expecting to receive a promotion to senior engineer within a few months.
Tell us about your job at Edmodo!
I’m a mid-level iOS Engineer at Edmodo, an online platform to help educators organize their digital classrooms. My team has 5 iOS engineers, and we work closely with product managers and designers.
I work on a lot of different projects, writing new features and maintaining old ones. For example, I moved a good chunk of the app to use an entirely new backend. Right now we’re doing a redesign project, which basically means rewriting most of the app from scratch. I’m currently writing 3 of the 5 major features, along with some app-wide cleanups and architecture changes. I also mentor junior engineers and do a lot of code reviews. We have a completely separate platform layer to interface with the API that’s independent from the UI logic, so I work extensively in Platform as well.
Did Make School teach you everything you needed to know for your job at Edmodo? Or have you learned a lot on the job?
When I started at Edmodo, I was mostly interested in iOS, but I’ve now learned backend development while working at Edmodo. We have micro services written in Go and we provide another service at the top layer in Ruby to access them. We use Remote Procedure protocol though Thrift to communicate between services. My mentor at Edmodo was a full-stack iOS engineer. We had one-on-one sessions every week where he would teach me design patterns, iOS, and backend.
My mentor has left Edmodo, so I’m now the go-to person when iOS devs have backend-related questions. Product College did teach some backend, so I was familiar with the basic concepts.
Looking back, do you think you could have gotten your job right after college with your computer science degree?
That’s difficult to answer. A lot of companies that hire college students won’t require deep iOS knowledge to begin with, so you can pass the interviews with basic knowledge of data structures and algorithms, as long as you have decent problem-solving and critical thinking skills. I might have passed the problem-solving during the Edmodo job interviews and been able to start as an intern. But after I started this job, I feel like everything I learned at Make School came into play and helped me get ramped up really quickly. So while there were many ways to get the job, Make School also taught me something about how to do the job.
How do you stay involved with Make School? Have you kept in touch with other alumni or done hackathons or even taught at Make School?
Yes I do! The founding class of alumni are pretty good friends, so when we are all in the Bay Area, we go out to dim sum. I also go back to Make School for events and demo nights. Some of their students are interested in the education tech field, so I talk to them about the industry. I also travel to their headquarters to conduct mock interviews with students.
What advice do you have for other computer science majors who are thinking about doing a coding bootcamp?
All coding bootcamps are not the same! Weigh all of your options before jumping in and investing a large sum of money into a bootcamp. Do research on what they say and what they have actually delivered. Keep in mind that what the school promises you won’t always come true. A lot of bootcamps sell their connections and networks, rather than the actual curriculum. In my case I chose Make School because it focuses on the product building experience, rather than promising that they’ll teach us “everything,” because that is not possible in 3 or 6 months.
Becoming a good programmer takes time, focus, and lots of practice. There is no shortcut to it, no matter what other people promise you. If you don’t already have a CS degree and you are looking for a bootcamp to become a better programmer, I would recommend taking courses on CS foundation and theory first and then find internships and/or programs like Make School Summer Academy to get practical experience. If you are totally sure you want to have a career in computer science, the current 2-year Product College program is a great college alternative.
If you're a college student, an incoming freshman, or a teacher with a summer break, you have tons of summer coding bootcamp options, as well as several code schools that continue their normal offerings in the summer months.Continue Reading →
The independent game development market has never been more alive marking this as an opportunistic time to press start learning the trade. As of March 2015, Epic’s Unreal Engine, Unity 5, and Valve’s Source 2 are all free for developers. The rise of independent game titles being funded through Kickstarter campaigns has opened the door for small groups of aspiring developers to gain funding for their creative inspirations. These game development courses will provide you with the foundation to begin turning your game concepts into playable titles. So what are you waiting for?
In Toronto, Canada Bitmaker Labs hosts a part-time introduction to game development course. The course is taught by industry professionals. Students learn to use C# along with the Unity game engine to design multi-platform titles. The course helps students get accustomed to all elements of game development including programming, rendering, animation, physics, audio, and deployment. The final project for the course is a dual analog style game. Bitmaker Labs also provides guidance on how to further develop projects and deepen skills after completion of the course.Continue Reading →
Video games might be lots of fun, but making them isn’t easy. If you want to put yourself on the road to great game design, consider these programs that put game design into the bootcamp model. Game on!
Welcome to the May 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!Continue Reading →
While programming bootcamps can offer a high return on investment, the average tuition at code school is ~$11,906, which is no small sacrifice. A number of not-for-profit and well-organized programs offer free coding bootcamps. Some of these bootcamps are funded by job placement and referral fees; others are fueled by community support and volunteers. Expect rigorous application processes and competitively low acceptance rates, but for the right applicants, there is so much to gain at these free coding bootcamps.Continue Reading →
Apple’s newest, beginner-oriented programming language Swift has made developing for the iPhone a possibility for new and experienced developers alike. iOS developers earn over $100,000 on average, so it's a perfect time to learn to program for the iPhone. With the help of one of these iOS bootcamps, you could find yourself developing mobile apps utilizing Objective-C, Cocoa Touch, and Swift.
MakeGamesWithUs is a two-month intensive program where students design, code, and ship their own iPhone games. We're happy to offer an exclusive MakeGamesWithUs scholarship: use code CourseReport for $200 off the Summer Academy!
Looking for more info? Check out our interview with founder Ashu Desai!Continue Reading →
MakeGamesWithUs started inviting users of their online curriculum into their living room to test their product in 2012. This evolved into the Summer Academy, a two-month intensive program where students design, code, and ship their own iPhone game. Past students have used their success at MakeGamesWithUS to get into Ivy League universities, land internships and jobs at companies like Facebook and Square, and have built successful games like The Deeps.
Backed by Y-Combinator and 500 Startups, MakeGamesWithUs teaches mobile development, focusing on Objective-C, Cocos2D, Git, product design, user testing, monetization, marketing and analytics. We spoke with founder Ashu Desai about the school’s selectivity, plans for expansion, and if their Summer Academy could really be a replacement for college.
This year’s Summer Academy will be held in three locations- Palo Alto, San Francisco, and New York- and it starts on June 23, so get those last-minute applications in today!
What types of students are you looking for at MakeGamesWithUs?
Last year, we ranged from ages 13-25. The core will be high-school and college students, but we do have some middle-school students who are extremely exceptional and have already started building. We’ll have people who graduated from college or want to change careers, and people who have been in the startup industry, but want to learn about programming.
You do need some programming background to start; we don’t teach students from scratch. You should have a natural interest in programming and have built something on your own. Then we get students to a place where they can actually ship something to the App Store.
Do you expect your graduates to get jobs or promotions after completing the Summer Academy?
It’s definitely helped a lot of our developers. One student got a job at a game studio in Miami. A lot have leveraged their app to get internships at companies like Square and Gameloft.
You and your cofounder, Jeremy Rossmann, both dropped out of college to start MakeGamesWithUs, and you’ve gotten some press about the Summer Academy potentially being a "college alternative?" Is that the goal?
Yes, although we’re still a ways away from that now. We think that having a successful career in software comes down to having three things: skills, credentials, and network. In terms of skills, colleges typically teach very theoretical computer science. This is useful for some jobs, but not necessarily entry-level computer programming jobs where you’re expected to get an app or a website built. The skills you learn with us are very practical. When we talk about credentials, instead of giving you a diploma, we’re saying that the app is your resume. It serves as a better credential than a GPA. Finally, a lot of universities have a very strong alumni network, but we want to do a good job of this ourselves by making sure we have a very high caliber of students in our program and alumni network.
We would like to focus on more computer science theory in the future. Today, I would see ourselves as a supplement, and in the future, an alternative.
One other point I'd like to make: my cofounder and I both dropped out of school, but I would not recommend that path to most people. We had a very unique experience growing up- we both had access to travel, unbelievable math and science curricula in high school, and were taught to speak and communicate. One of the things you go to college for is to spread your horizons and meet new types of people. I see a lot of value in college helping you with these skills.
I can see MakeGamesWithUs evolving into a “Gap Year” program, where students spend part of a year making and shipping an app, then interning at a company.
How many students will be in each cohort in this Summer Academy?
We’ll have about 50 students in each class and 4 instructors per location.
Where do you find your instructors?
First of all, every MakeGamesWithUs employee is also an instructor. As we build products for these students, we want to make sure we have a close relationship with them. The other instructors have come from our personal networks. One of our professors also teaches our MIT course, which runs on our curriculum.
What’s next for MakeGamesWithUs?
One option is to have different tracks, and bring in Web Development as well. We’d also like to expand to more cities and engage more students around the world. And finally, the “Gap Year” program is something we’re fascinated with, and a way we can leave a more lasting impact on our students. We want to provide students with life-changing education as opposed to teaching a lot of students just a little bit about coding.