Recent MakerSquare Reviews: Rating 4.41
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I was stressed out the first 3 weeks of the program (as most people are) and felt as though I was an imposter on many many occasions. Then, we had a week break for Thanksgiving 2015 during which I put some of my skills to use and did some self study to review some of the material that I had suffered through during the previous 3 weeks. After the break, I all of the sudden had a few 'ah ha' moments! I was more confident in my ability to come up with solutions to the toy problems, and I started really understanding the material presented. Then one day, during the project phase, I woke up and thought to myself, "I am a software engineer". And it was true.
I was able to get a job after one week of completion of the program at a company in Utah. The company was so impressed with what I had learned in such a short period of time, that they made me the lead of the front end team. I couldn't believe it, and still cant until this day. Someone now pays me to play with code all day. It's un believable. I would say I wasn't even in the top third of my class (all varying backgrounds before MKS) and I have had enormous success post graduation. All thanks to MKS and their amazing system.
If you're contimplating applying, just do it. Apply. Today. You'll learn something from the interview process and your motivation to become a software engineer will skyrocket. Know that, you will be discouraged, frustrated, and feel like you don't belong throughout the process. But after you get in and start learning, you'll understand quickly that you had just made the best decision of your life!
- Anonymous • Graduate • Campus: Austin
This review is for the Part-Time Front-End Web Development Course at MakerSquare.
I started the PT Front-End course this past March (2014) and spent 10 weeks, every Monday and Wednesday evening from 6:30 to 9:30, learning all about Front-End Web Development. I was a little hesitant when I first started the course because I was coming in with what I thought was relatively solid knowledge of HTML and CSS. I was worried the whole course would be one giant review of stuff I already knew and was tired of going over. I was 100% wrong!!
While we did review some things I already knew there was never, ever a moment when I didn't learn something new and valuable - even about something I thought I had already mastered. Whether it was a just a trick or a quick tip I hadn't ever learned, I left each evening feeling so excited about all I had learned and wanting to put it into action immediately. Despite feeling like I knew CSS and HTML already, going through this program at MakerSquare made me feel 100% more confident in my knowledge and skills and reassured me that I had learned from the best.
You can never know everything about front-end programming, or programming in general, because it's constantly evolving. One of the things I valued the most about this program and about MakerSquare in general is that I finally had a group that was involved in the web tech world in Austin (and all over the US). Most of my friends aren't involved in the tech community so MakerSquare was finally a major resource I could turn to in order to keep up with the ever changing tech world. I not only learned from the instructors, I also learned from my fellow classmates.
MakerSquare gave me an incredible confidence boost as well as knowledge I legitimately use everyday. I wouldn't have the skills and abilities I have today if it were not for the PT front-end program at MakerSquare. The decision to take this program has been the best decision I've ever made!!
- It was fun, educational, left me with a feeling of accomplishment, and I got to meet really cool people :)- 3/18/2016Anonymous • Graduate • Campus: Los Angeles
This review is for the June 2015 MakerPrep course.
For learning to program:
However, if you're not paying attention in class, and not actively participating to the fullest extent (this isn't college where you merely cram for the grade and doze off all the other time), then this class will be worthless to you. This class isn't for getting a certificate or diploma as there is nothing of the sort. They're not there to tell you to what to do. You're there to build your own skill and knowledge through actively working and it WILL give you a solid foundation before applying to HackReactor/MakerSquare.
They are EXTREMELY helpful and many a time they would stay behind class/weekends to help answer any questions that we had - class related or not. They are constantly iterating feedback from students and modifying the course accordingly. Any inputs you have are heard and taken seriously.
They're also patient. I did ask a lot of dumb questions and I rewarded their fantastic replies like a true politician being grilled on foreign affairs on national television - "Yes!!" with a look that would make a deer in the headlights blush. But as I mulled over their insightful replies (my same question asked in different ways), the understanding would slowly seep into the crevices of my mind along with an ancient ritual chant intended to improve the common man - "Getting strong now...Won't be long now... Gonna fly now". With each obstacle and difficulty, I slowly emerged from my shell with a desire to run on a cold Philadelphia morning, double fist pump on top of a flight of stairs, and go the distance with Apollo Creed. Being a reasonable man, I opted for the fist pump only.
Parking can be a little bit of a pain, but the metered parking outside only lasts until 6, so you won't have to pay after that! I have been told that there's also free parking a couple blocks away if you're willing to walk instead. Also, the food nearby tends to be expensive given that it's in Santa Monica. It's 15$ across the street for a single burger (organic/grassfed/etc.) I juggled a full-time job and this program AND commuted from the Pasadena area. So it is possible to do this program with a full-time job in case you're not ready to make a full-time commitment to programming. Also, if you like beer, there's also free beer for students.
Even if you don't go on to MakerSquare/HR - the value for the tuition is immense because it was fun, educational, left me with a feeling of accomplishment, and I got to meet really cool people :) and I recommend it wholeheartedly - especially if you're still on the border for deciding whether programming is right for you or you need a little push in your journey to becoming a programmer.
As for the results, I did do well on my interviews for MS/HR. Cheers!
- You will get ALOT out of this course.- 3/18/2016Anonymous • Graduate • Campus: Los Angeles
- If you are planning on attending a coding bootcamp, but aren't sure where to start, this class is the answer.- 3/18/2016Anonymous • Graduate • Campus: Los Angeles
I was a part of the August 2015 MakerPrep cohort and I cannot recommend the class enough. If you are planning on applying to MakerSquare (or any of the Hack Reactor schools) but are having trouble getting through the admissions challenge or technical interview, then this class is invaluable. I went in with almost no coding experience (other than intro HTML and CSS) and came out of the class ready to pass my technical interview with MakerSquare. The class is very quickly paced and some of the concepts may be tough for beginners to grasp, but the instructors are do a great job of making sure everyone is moving and learning at the right speed. If you are planning on attending a coding bootcamp, but aren't sure where to start, this class is the answer.
- Anonymous • Graduate • Campus: Los Angeles
- Is it worth money and the time? HELL YES.- 3/18/2016Anonymous • Graduate • Campus: Los Angeles
Review for June 2015 MakerPrep course
Who this class is NOT for
If you are looking for an easy breezy class that spoon feeds you material step by step without any ambiguity, this class is NOT for you. If you get frustrated easily by new, challenging material and tend to want quick answers instead of earning the answers yourself, this class is NOT for you.
Who this class IS FOR
The lectures and exercises that you will be tasked with will push your limits of problem solving and patience. There will be others in the class who get through the exercises easily - don't let this discourage you. Take your time making sure you understand the concepts behind the exercise and nuances of the code structure. Don't worry about making your mini-projects spectacular - learn the concepts, learn how to execute them, ask questions, then move on to the next one. The pace will be fast. Try to finish at least 60 - 80% of most of the exercises. You can always go back to finish them on Saturdays and Sundays or after the class is over.
Is it worth money and the time?
In short, HELL YES. Just suck it up for 4 weeks and do the class. Tell your friends and family that you will be busy for the next month. When you have a bad coding day (none of your code works, you feel like the stupidest person in class, you feel like you're falling behind) just SHOW UP the next day and the day after that. Just do your best and remember that you are there to learn what you don't know. You will be amazed at how far you've gone in such a short amount of time. Remember that there is a scholarship geared towards women and minorities. Apply! I got 2/3 of my tuition covered. Thanks, MakerSquare! If you have to pay full price, it's still worth it.
The instructors and staff are fantastic. They are 100% invested in your success. Everyone is friendly, approachable and knowledgeable so ASK questions. Most likely you will bond with a lot of your classmates. Get to know as many of them as you can and follow the rule of reciprocity -offer help when you see someone struggling and be willing to accept their help as well. Sometimes you just need someone else to walk through your code with in order to find some minor mistake like a missing bracket. Keep in touch and form study groups.
During the week, there is free street parking after 6:00. I never had a problem finding a spot just a block away. On Saturdays, parking is a bit trickier - get there early and park for free near 11th and California (north of Wilshire Blvd). Consider the walk your exercise for the day.
- I feel much more confident diving into projects- 3/18/2016Evan G • Graduate • Campus: Los Angeles
- I can say that I became part of the MS family- 3/18/2016Anonymous • Graduate • Campus: Austin
- Anonymous • Graduate • Campus: Austin
I took the Part Time Front End course at MakerSquare and absolutely loved it! The instructors are fantastic, knowledgeable and supportive! As a complete beginner I was really encouraged and empowered to learn more about the varied topics handled in the course! Not to mention that all my classmates were incredibly motivated and overall great friends!
Having a solid understanding of the different aspects of the world of Front End web development, do I have the confidence on working on and creating my own projects! There's still much to learn, but Maker Square provides us with a solid base of knowledge paired with great instructors and a great environment to be in! Highly recommend MKS to any wanting to learn!
- Anonymous • Graduate • Campus: Austin
Great school with good instructors, curriculum and exercises that help you evolve from 'newborn to a toddler into programming world'. I am referring to prep course that I am currently attending and enjoying. All immersive students seem to be satisfied with the boot camp program.
If you want to challenge yourself, gain new desired skills for changing job market, enjoy the logic, math ,computer science and more - try it !
( I looked up Yelp before signing up myself )
- One of the best decisions I've ever made- 3/18/2016Anonymous • Designer • Graduate • Campus: Austin
I took the Part Time Front End course at MakerSquare and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I have been a Designer for several years, but felt that improving my front-end development skills would really take me to the next level in my career.
Having taken the class, I'm not only taking on rewarding projects that are heavy on web development, but with the help of tools I learned about through the course, I was able to apply those skills directly to enhancing my professional website. I Highly recommend this course as an entry point into coding, especially if you are a designer looking to take the next step into development!
- Really impressed with how much I learned- 3/18/2016Anonymous • Graduate • Campus: Austin
I just completed MakerSquare's part-time front-end dev program.
A few things sold me on MakerSquare:
- They offered a part-time front-end dev program so I could continue working full-time and attend the evening classes.
- It felt personal. In my research, some dev schools felt more factory-like, while others (e.g. MakerSquare) had much more of a personal touch. The instructors obviously care and are extremely intelligent and helpful.
- Student/teacher ratio: My cohort had about 20 students and there were almost always ~4 instructors at each class. In addition to in-class help, our instructors were always available via email, office hours, or willing to schedule another time to meet if we requested. During class, there was always at least one instructor available to help me 1 on 1 with any issues, questions, etc. This in itself was one of the most valuable parts of the program for me.
This was a fast-paced program; so much ground is covered in the 10 weeks. It seemed a little intense at times, but I wouldn't have changed a thing. The beginning of the course actually reminded me a bit of the very first day of Spanish class - when the teacher begins class speaking entirely in Spanish to a classroom full of non-Spanish speakers. At first, the students have no idea what the teacher is saying, but over time, it somehow begins to make sense and the students are able to understand exactly what the teacher is saying.
Similarly, during the first few days of class, I think it's safe to say we were all pretty wide-eyed, hoping all those foreign words would eventually make some sort of sense ...and of course they did! Diving in head first, absorbing, researching and asking questions is the best way to take this course. It's perfectly normal to feel completely flooded with information. I promise, the farther you get into the course, the more everything makes sense. You get out exactly what you put into this program!
All of the instructors - Elyse, Alex, Mae, Flip - are all wonderful and always willing to explain things, answer questions, help you understand why you've broken the same line of code 276 times, etc. The MakerSquare instructors all seem to have a unique combination of knowledge, high expectations, patience and the ability to (calmly) explain the same thing in 37 different ways when the first 36 explanations somehow aren't registering in your brain.
Although I still have so much to learn, I learned so much more than I ever expected I would in those 10 weeks. I, without a doubt, walked away from the course with a strong understanding of front end dev and the confidence/ability to work on my own dev projects. Great staff, really impressed with how much I learned and I would take this course again in a heartbeat.
- Overall fantastic experience- 3/17/2016Mark • Software Engineer • Graduate • Campus: San Francisco
I'm gonna write this on one particular angle of deciding between different bootcamps since I a) think the other folks here give a pretty good run through of the curriculum, and b) I didn't really find good info when I was making my decision.
Ultimately I was torn between MakerSquare, Hack Reactor and App Academy. My constraint was mainly timing and MakerSquare was able to get me into an immediately start date whereas Hack Reactor would have been the next cohort. Debated just waiting since I'd heard that the Hack Reactor name is a bit better known in the Bay Area. Wasn't sure that MakerSquare even though they have the same curriculum would be the same quality.
It ended up being a lot of worrying and back and forth for nothing. The programs are pretty much identical so the difference really comes down to personality. If Hack Reactor is he Harvard of bootcamps then Makersquare is the Stanford--a little bit friendlier, more laid back, but still pretty intense. Pick the one that works best for your personality since ultimately what matters is whether you learn how to code and think like an engineer--literally nothing else matters.
Full disclosure I did my undergrad at Harvard and a masters in math at Stanford.
To the job hunting question, it's hard to tell where MakerSquare starts and my pre existing network begins. No bootcamp will really replace an existing network in the Bay Area from a place like Stanford or Berkeley or already working in tech--and there's a huge selection bias with these bootcamps as they're pretty much taking kids with already impressive backgrounds. Any bootcamp would open doors for these folks, the difference between them is marginal.
I got a job before finishing through friends and now work as a developer, so didn't really use their career services but it was nice knowing there was a safety to rely of if needed.
I moved to Austin to attend MakerSquare's sixth immersive cohort in April 2014. If I could afford it (or if they would give me a discount /wink), I would literally re-enroll in their November class and do the whole thing over again.
I think people come to a camp like MakerSquare for a variety of reasons. Some need help with technical obstacles and want to shorten the time it takes for them to learn programming. Others want to get involved with companies operating on more modern tech stacks and refresh/update their skills. And then some people come to for the true "immersive" experience -- they want to surround themselves with the energy and enthusiasm that comes with an intense learning experience like MakerSquare. I am one of those people that craves that collective energy.
I have never encountered such a creative, positive, helpful, and resourceful group of people as I have in the MakerSquare and Austin Tech communities. Looking back, every student, instructor, and staff member raised my expectations for what I now hope my team members to be like. After being "in the trenches" with said group of people, I can happily say that I sought, and found, what I was looking for in Austin.
I had three top school choices (and three other backups) when I decided to make the career change to programmer. My top three were Hacker School (now Recurse), Hack Reactor and MakerSquare. Any bootcamp worth getting into is tough to get into, so I suggest applying to at least a few. I got into MakerSquare and it made sense financially so I stopped applying elsewhere and started doing the pre-work. The thing that really impressed me about MakerSquare, from the very beginning was how nice the people were there. It also had a great looking curriculum, and rave reviews, but so did Hack Reactor. It was my interactions with people that really sold me. The staff's kindness and enthusiasm ended up being integral to my success, and I'm happy I chose MakerSquare.
The school was intense, and it wasn't all happiness and sunshine. Sometimes I felt pretty crappy about my abilities, but my fellow students were amazing people and we developed a strong bond that I think helped everyone get through it.
I was financially stressed, and wanted to get a job really fast coming out of the program, so I wasted a lot of time looking for jobs fairly early. The staff had warned us about not worrying about jobs until the last week and they ended up being completely right. Towards the end of the program they straightened out our resumes and our interviewing skills and started to connect us to potential employers. It took me a week after I finished to find my current (amazing) job as a Web Developer, one that Savrut, the main career services guy at MakerSquare pointed me at.
I had been programming before I came to MakerSquare, but MakerSquare acted as an essential bridge between the world of amateur programming and that of professional programming. It's not perfect, there are lots of things you'll have to learn on the job, but it would have been really tough (and taken a long time) to make that leap from online courses and writing programs all by myself to working as a developer at a company, without MakerSquare.
You need to bring some programming chops, intelligence and dedication. MakerSquare will take that and make you better, more useful and highly employable.
- Anonymous • Student • Campus: San Francisco
The non-faculty staff members (Career Services, Marketing, and Admissions) have all been extremely helpful. All employees seem really happy at MakerSquare - proud to be a part of this community. All employees, both faculty and non-faculty, are very thoughtful and considerate towards the students and non-student guests like me. All my interactions with MakerSquare have left me feeling like they genuinely care about me and are dedicated to empowering people like myself who are working on making a dramatic life change. I'm grateful to get to interact with MakerSquare employees and look forward to the opportunity to join such a powerful community. Writing a positive review was effortless - I could go on and on about how great MakerSquare is.
I cannot stress enough how amazing this program is and how much it changed my life.
I had narrowed down possible school choices to a select few by the time I decided to go for it, but one thing about MakerSquare that stands out above the rest is the staff. They were extremely supportive and responsive from the second I reached out to them. Chris Rhoton, who is not the managing director, not only answered all my questions immediately, even at weird hours of the night, but his answers were drenched in passion.
My thoughts about the MKS team were only confirmed by attending. Every staff member there wants you to succeed and they will go above and beyond to help you. From the fellows, to the career services team , to the instructors- they are some of the most incredible people I have ever met.
If you seriously want to become a software engineer and are ready to invest in yourself, MakerSquare is the program for you. I can honestly say it was the best decision I have ever made. :)
A little about me
Before coming to MKS I had a business degree from UC Davis. However, despite trying, I was having a hard time finding and landing a position that I was genuinely interested in. On the side I had been dabbling in basic web development courses (codecademy, code school, etc..), and wanted to improve those skills while trying to find work. I eventually came to a point where I wanted to transition into software engineering and looked to schools like MakerSquare to see if I could take my current skills (next to none) and transform them into useful and valuable skills that could help me find work. Eventually I decided to make the plunge and started studying up for the interview.
About the course
The course itself is extremely rigorous and demanding. You absolutely need to have that in mind before you you apply. This thing's a beast and takes dedication. However, it is never insurmountable because there is a strong support network of peers and instructors to help you through the course. Once you get into the flow of the program, the days will fly by because there is so much to learn and there is a lot of fun to have. Expect to learn the full gamut of JS skills, from writing front end code and learning how to use frameworks, to writing server code, querying databases, and writing tests. The beauty of the program being a full stack JS school is that you can learn all aspects of the application without ever having to switch the language you are writing in. This really allows you to focus on the concepts and and CS fundamentals that will help you grow as a programmer overall.
It's not just about programming
One of the things that is not quite as obvious about MakerSquare is that you learn so much outside of just becoming a killer JS dev. With occasional presentations, some mock interviews with a technical mentor, and being surrounded by eager minds, you will learn how to talk about technical topics with confidence. This is so valuable for when you are interviewing for jobs after the course. You will be able to communicate confidently and clearly to your interviewer.
Community is crucial here
At MKS you spend 12 hours a day, 6 days a week with the same people for 3 months straight. You will meet awesome students and develop strong friendships during the program that will last well after the course is over. I knew no one in the course before it started, but now one of my classmates is my roommate and I work with two classmates at my current job.
A bird's eye view of the transformation
In an effort to illustrate the impact of this program, I want to explain how it has affected me. Before I started, I barely knew the fundamentals of JS. I didn't even know how to loop through an object! Fast forward about a year later, after I had gone through the program and started working, and I am now a Software Engineer at Playstation Network. I am using Ember 2 and ES6 in my projects. These are all things I had never heard of or understood until I went through the program. I wouldn't have ever dreamed of getting into a place like this without a CS degree until I had gone to MKS.
MKS and you
Is MKS worth your time and money? YES! I could not recommend this program enough for people that are serious about learning web development. Whether you already have experience, or come from a completely unrelated background, you can succeed in this program. A disclaimer though. You should not reasonably expect to pay the money and go through the program and automatically expect to get an awesome job right off the bat. To really get what you want out of the program, you need to be ready to work hard, get outside of your comfort zone, and be willing to learn from your mistakes. This program is hard, but if you truly want it then you will benefit far beyond what is advertised at MKS.
Im a grad of the aforementioned Makersquare (second cohort) I now work as a Junior Developer at YouEarnedit.com. I'd say the think that made me successful is that Im a rapid learner.
I hear a lot of backlash from people who say that bootcampers cant be as good as people who have CS degrees, here is why I think its not true.
Focus + Intensity:
There's something about being able to devote 100% of your time 24 hours a day to learning, and with a complex subject like coding I think its invaluable. For me personally it allows for a deeper understanding because there is less distraction.
Sure this was just one person, but my point is that 4 years necessarily mean someone is more knowledgable.
If in the future there is something I don't know Ill just learn it using coursera or itunes U.
While I was there they would literally write the curriculum for the next day based on our feedback. While I believe they have a more fixed agenda now, I know from current students I have interact with that feedback is very important to the founders/instructors.
The Instructors are incredibly passionate about their school and their curriculum, and are often willing to go above and beyond normal expectations to see their students (past, present, and future) succeed. They have created a wonderful learning environment into a much needed field.
90% of your peers will be wonderful, caring persons with a liking for teamwork. As in any school, some personalities will slip under the radar that have no regard for professionalism. Largely, they are in the minority.
The Hackathons were the most useful weekends I spent at MakerSquare. They are what solidified my understanding of rails and how a professional dev team will operate.
The quality of life at MakerSquare is a whirlwind of learning. Be prepared to start dreaming in erb.
The career services offered by MakerSquare were 10 times more valuable to me than my alumni services offered by SHSU. Jessica is a great coach on everything from resumes to interviews to how to gracefully accept (or decline) an offer. She is impressive in her resolve and makes herself readily available through, email, phone, and office visits.
The tuition was very pricey, but the payoff has been more than worth it. I had more interviews after MakerSquare than I had received in the last two years of job hunting. I also have 100% career satisfaction. No regrets from this gal! If I had to do it all again I would in a heartbeat. Currently, I am employed by a local dev team as a Web Developer and I am learning PHP and Drupal.
In short, I'm very happy! Though I'm not programming on a daily basis, I was able to get into the St. Louis startup scene which was my main goal before enrolling at MakerSquare. I've also built a really awesome network of programmers and startup gurus in St. Louis and I believe that's thanks to MakerSquare! :-)
I joined in Winter 2013-2014 (Cohort 3 Represent!). My reason for joining originally was not initially to become a software/web developer. Rather, I wanted to be able to communicate better with programmers that I worked with. I wanted to gain better access to the startup network. And most importantly I have a lot of ideas that I wanted to explore on my own - I didn't want to have to rely on finding a developer to build my ideas and turn them into a reality. I came out of the program having learned web-development with a strong emphasis on solid software development skills.
Here's what I loved about MakerSquare:
Instructors & Culture:
They actually cared about the students and our progress and they were just all-around cool people. The culture at MakerSquare was actually a huge focus in the organization. I think what I loved most was learning how to learn all over again. I gained a new confidence that I've never had. The energy was also great, everyone had awesome ideas - from students to staff.
I would have liked to have more experience with Ruby and really learning how to code w/algorithms and such vs. w/Rails which is just teaching you the framework. From what I gather, Rails is now being treated as a detail vs. a core of what we learned. When we learned rails, it was about utilizing the framework for its ActiveRecord and quick-to-web functionality.
I would have loved a deeper problem-solving skillset through exposure to algorithms. Looks like I was one cohort shy of that. MakerSquare now integrates algorithms and algorithmic thinking from day 1.
Finally, MakerSquare was split into two nearby locations (Congress & Brazos). The extra space was nice, but it felt disconnected and I think it kept our cohort from being as close as some other cohorts have been.
I graduated from MakerSquare back in 2014. Not to be overly dramatic, but it was a transformative experience full of incredible people. I have no regrets investing in my education with MakerSquare, since it brought me to the awesome career I have today. Of course to get there, require 110% dedication and lots of struggle and hard work.
Here's why MakerSquare was stellar:
- MakerSquare cares about your success. Their hiring network is great and vast. Career staff is on point, and there to support you on this rough journey to your first coding gig. My first job after graduating, the company had a former MakerSquare instructor on my team and learned a ton from him and the team there. A few months after that, we hired 2 more MakerSquare grads and they were great team members. I imagine I'll just have more and more opportunities to bump into MakerSquare alumni in my future which is is nice.
- Amazing classmates. Of course, your experience may vary, but I absolutely loved my cohort. We grew very close and now fast forward almost 2 years later and we still stay in touch. I'm constantly amazed by my peers and where they have ended up in their careers. And I'll mention that many of them continue learning and improving their craft. I think this is a testament to the commitment of students that MakerSquare brings in. I recall one of the mentors said "It's not about whether you can code, because anybody can learn how to code. But it's whether you will stick with coding or not." All of my cohort still passionate about coding are slaying it at their careers.
- Good on selecting students that are committed to code journey. I was surrounded by peers who were willing to put in effort around the clock. This is important because even just one person who is not committed could bring a group's learning down. And choosing students who are not collaborative and willing to help each other learn also can bring down that dynamic.
- Constantly iterating and improving the program. Which mirrors the super fast pace in the industry. This is SUPER important because it's the only way to stay relevant and ensure students get placed in the appropriate jobs the industry demands. For example, my cohort in 2014 learned Ruby/Rails+JS, and now it's 100% JS. And in just the last year and half, I see the job landscape changing (I'm always curious about the jobs out there). So it's really nice to see MakerSquare constantly evolving the program to match what the industry needs.
- Curriculum focuses on coding. That's like a big "duh" but the instructors understand that constant hands-on coding is the way to learn. Instructors are highly invested in the students learning and success, and were super helpful and encouraging. I won't mention details of what the curriculum was since it will naturally evolve (see my previous point).
MakerSquare is a phenomenal program, but is not for the faint of heart. It requires 100% commitment, not just for three months, but for the next chapter of your career. Those who are serious about changing their career to something more fulfilling, I say go for it.
MakerSquare was barely okay, and okay is unacceptable when you’re paying $17,000 in cash for a 12-week experience.
MakerSquare sells itself on a premise that sounds too good to be true. Interested in becoming a software engineer? Join our highly selective school, we’ll teach you everything you need to know, and we’ll set you up with a job that pays about $105,000 in salary. Don’t believe us? Look at our 96% job placement success rate!”
Your experience at MakerSquare is broken up into two parts:
- The Group Project/Career Part. For the last seven weeks, you will work in groups to develop 2 projects in preparation for Hiring Day and get some talks/video lectures on career-related stuff. Besides a daily toy problem/whiteboarding and a rare “check-in” meeting you will not get any attention from staff at all during this time, because a new group of 20-30 students start at this time and the staff is busy with them. That’s right, for seven weeks, you’re simply working in groups with other students for about 9 hours a day. That’s it. More on this later.
I’ll break my experience up and rate them by pieces:
1) Curriculum: Almost 100% of the information is taught in the first 6 weeks. 85% of the time, they are video lectures. Most of these video lectures are times pre-recorded lessons that were given at Hack Reactor, so they are very long, sometimes unorganized, and interrupted with long pauses while the instructor waits for someone to give the correct answer. Some of these videos are actually PowerPoints you scroll through. While the curriculum does a good job of exposing you to many topics you need to know to become an engineer, the presentation was very low-par compared to what I expected for the money. EVERY SINGLE ONLINE LEARNING WEBSITE, from egghead.io to Lynda.com to CodeSchool to CodeAcademy, had much, much better videos that were easier to understand.
A few times, we would get live, very short (think 15 mins) lectures from the instructors, both of whom sometimes lacked subject expertise and could not answer certain questions when students asked them. There was a lot of “Let me get back to you on that” because the instructors simply weren’t senior level teachers or experts themselves. Sometimes, they would even teach us something incorrect, leaving the smartest students in the class to correct the teacher. Groan.
There was also no lessons at all on BackBone.js or Express.js, or React, or CSS, unit testing, the latter of which is crucial to getting your foot in the door at a tech company.
Since the answers to these sprint projects were video-recorded, you’re not able to ask questions when something confuses you. They are long videos, about 50mins-1hr, and they are not organized, there is no order, and they are not broken up into chunks which make them hard to follow. The online video system they use to show you the video is very poor and would often break, skip or reload. They would ask us to write questions we had in a spreadsheet so our class could discuss them with the teacher during a 15-min session, which was a sloppy, ineffective way to get answers.
Even though they are video lectures, you cannot watch them from home because they limit your access to them to protect their materials.
Oh, and you never, ever get any of your code graded by the staff. Nobody looks at your code except you and your partner, so good luck building your expertise or learning from your mistakes when none of the teachers corrects them for you.
Verdict: While they cover a good number of important topics, the pre-recorded live lectures and limited teacher time makes you wonder if you could have better learned it all using online options like egghead and Lynda, whose videos are much more polished.
MakerSquare has an extremely small staff and they run MakerSquare like a true start-up. In the middle of our program, our teacher (who wasn’t that knowledgable anyways) left for good because they opened a MKS in LA and he likes LA better than SF. So for the rest of the time, the other guys cycled in, but you could tell they were not prepared to teach us.
MakerSquare has about 2 teachers, 2 people running the school, 1 career person, an admissions person. Their staff is extremely small for the 50~60 students that are there, and you can feel it. During the last 7 weeks I was in the program, I received personal attention from a teacher for only 2 hours. Once is during a 1-hour mock interview and another is during a whiteboarding session. But I expected more, much more for the money.
MKS tries to make up for it by having 4-5 “teaching fellows”. These fellows are simply students who just finished the program, and stay at MKS to teach and continue building their knowledge. These are the only people who you can call on for help while working on your sprints or projects. But that’s the thing, these fellows have barely finished the program themselves, and whom, 12 weeks before, were simply applicants to MKS. They aren’t highly trained staff, so many times they weren’t able to answer questions when you’re stuck because they don’t have any experience teaching.
The staff acts like they care about feedback. Once every week, there is an hour-long feedback session where you can give feedback on the school. While the feedback was important, it often became a place for staff to make excuses for why their super selective and expensive school was being ran so poorly and has so few resources.
Verdict: Ran like a true lean start-up, you are nothing but a number to the limited few who work here.
3) Career Services
What Career Services(CS)? The CS guy told us that the job search is a numbers game, that on average for every 100 job applications you turn in, expect to get at most 2 job offers. Uhm, what?!
We had an hiring day, where about 10 companies came and we showed them our projects, but many of them dropped out at the last moment, and only a few of us actually got follow-up interviews from the hiring day. Only 2 out of 20 of us got jobs from a company at Hiring Day. The rest of the time, it was on us to turn in applications. While the CS guy did help give feedback on our resumes, that was about it. They really didn’t have any advice except “keep your pipeline full”. I expected much more from how they market the program, that they could help connect us to companies who were looking for people looking to move into engineering, but this wasn’t true.
Verdict: While they pitch their program as a school-to-hire pipeline, any job you get is a result of your own hard work. Their career/job listings portal with Hack Reactor is worthless… nobody heard back from any of those companies.
MakerSquare Is located in the bustling Financial District of San Francisco. It’s easy to get to by BART, and there are a lot of good restaurants in the area. The actual campus needs some work. Most of the chairs in the classroom are made of fabric and attached to the carpet, so they’re uncomfortable. The space is way too small for the amount of students that they are packing into the program. The men’s restroom gets pretty dirty and the toilet overflowed several times due to the number of men using it. There are a few comfortable couches but you can’t use your laptop on them, and there’s a kitchen with an eating area as well.
Here’s the pros and cons:
- Good network of motivated, smart, hard-working students looking to improve their programming skills. This can help you build some amazing projects if you work with the right team.
- Curriculum covers technologies that are in high-demand in the tech scene and important topics that you may not get exposed to if you learned on your own
- Daily toy problems and whiteboarding sessions help improve important skills needed for tech interviews
- Management tends to be supportive and tries to be positive
- Occasional guest speakers from the industry who love to visit and share important knowledge
- Good emphasis on using Github/Git to save your code, helps prepare you for the real tech world
- Sprints are modeled like real world codebases, with tests that you must pass by writing code
- Little to no support helping you find a job, which is the whole selling point of this ultra-expensive school
- No experts around to help when you get stuck
- The enormous cost
- No lessons on testing your code
- No lessons on backbone, react, or express.js, or CSS
- The space is too small for the number of students they let in
- They start new cohorts on students every 6 weeks, which means you only get 6 weeks of time learning from the teachers
- Lack of ongoing support once you graduate, nothing going on to keep you engaged as an alumni
- They are extremely cheap even though you paid them $18,000, they had a party with pizza and beer for prospective students but told us not to have any because the budget didn’t have enough money for us to eat and drink too. Yeah, really!
- Staff is very unforgiving about being absent or late. If you’re absent, they say it’s on you to figure out what you missed. Even though you paid them $18,000.
- The video lectures and solutions are poorly explained and presented. Every other online coding website has better learning materials for about 1/10000 the cost.
OVERALL GRADE: D+
Excellent course work taught by great instructors. Lots of people I've talked to about MakerSquare are skeptical about what can be learned in 12 weeks, but that skepticism all goes away when they see the projects we've built (or after a coding interview) because grads are extremely capable. The staff is genuinely interested in helping people succeed, and the students are also great to work with.