Recent MakerSquare Reviews: Rating 4.41
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I graduated from MakerSquare in December 2015 and got the first job in my life three months after that. Many friends of mine showed great interests in MKS and asked me tons of questions. Here is a list of questions one of them asked. I hope this could provide you with some help.
1. When do you attend MakerSquare?
2. What things you like and dislike about it?
In general, I like everything about it.
3. How do you like the learning environment there?
It is intense.
4. They cover lots of thing in the program, do you think you have enough time to digest and master all?
It depends on your previous background. For me, I spent a little bit time after class and I was able to keep up with the curriculum
5. How do they deal with people who fall behind in the program? How many percent of people drop out from the program?
It didn't happen in my cohort, but as I remember if it happens, they won't count you as a graduate of MakerSquare.
6. They claim they have high placement rate within three months. Are the placement result real?
I don't have the exact number of the placement rate. But based on what I learnt about the last cohort and my cohort, the placement rate is indeed high.
7. Most developer jobs required experience, how can MakerSquare help you to overcome this issue, to help you to get a job?
The job market is promising. Currently the demand is more than the supply. As long as you are willing to study hard, you should be able to find a job.
8. What advice you will give your friend before they attend MakerSquare or bootcamp in general?
Make sure you like coding. Work hard.
9. If you have to re-do the program again, what would you do differently?
10. If you have another chance, will you still choose attend MakerSquare over other bootcamp or choose another path?
I would still choose MakerSquare.
11. Overall, do you recommended MakerSquare to friends?
I attended MakerSquare in Austin and it was a consummately rewarding experience overall. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who has worked hard to build up their initial coding skills **and** realized as a result that programming is something they will enjoy doing. To make a successful go at it you really have to be okay with failure and be persistent about finding the right ways to understand and accomplish things. Those who struggle with this will have a harder time and may end up discouraged.
For me the education and guidance provided by MakerSquare was nothing short of transformational. I chronicled my progress in monthly blog updates, from deciding to do the program and attending MakerPrep to getting a rewarding job as a software developer, on my website SalmanOskooi.com . Bottom line: you get out what you put in.
I moved to the SF bay area a little less than two years ago from Beijing. My previous jobs were related to public relations, market research and real estate. Early last year, after some consideration, I decided to try software engineering and spent a few months exploring different technologies, particularly iOS/Swift. Later as I dive into web technologies, I came across Makersquare and decided to try it out. And surprisingly it turned out to be one of the best experiences that I had.
My cohort had about 25 students. They are from all kinds of industries and most of them are very very smart and talented. I felt quite fortunate to spend three months with my classmates and the amazing staff members of Makersquare. What I love about the program are:
Pairing. Pairing with different classmates helps us learn how to collaborate with others, how to use different parts of our brain by navigating and driving, and most of all, teach and learn from others. It’s a quite enjoyable process.
Toy Problems. I found myself quite enjoying the daily toy problems. Even though I can find most of the solutions quickly, the thought process to optimize and troubleshoot edge cases is even more interesting.
Group Project. I was project owner for two of the three projects. It was not easy, especially the groups were randomly assigned and the members changed after each project. We barely knew each other’s working style and we had to deliver the project in very short time. Working under extreme constraints also allows us to think fast, work hard and work smart. My thesis project is Trippian: https://github.com/trippian/trippian. We had to learn React and Neo4j while developing the app, all in THREE weeks. Even though there are a lot of things that I wish we did, in general, I’m quite happy with the result.
Classmates. The senior & junior group idea is brilliant. As a junior, besides the fellows, you can also ask questions from any of the seniors. As a senior, helping juniors understand some of problem potentially enhances his/her own knowledge. In general, it’s a very supportive environment. Everybody is super nice and helpful.
Career Support. There are many positive comments out there and I think most are true. I was able to get several offers three weeks after the graduation. Without the support from TK and other encouraging Makersquare staff, it would be so difficult. And now I’m working at Coursera as a software engineer.
There are many other things I like about Makersquare as well, such as the guest lectures, curriculum iteration, feedback-loop, fruit supply, space setup, location,etc. For anybody who is out there exploring like what I was doing last year, give it a try. It may become one of your best experience :)
- Best Decision I Ever Made- 4/10/2016Dan Corman • Software Engineer • Graduate • Campus: Austin
Attending MakerSquare was the best decision I have made in my life. Now, you might be thinking, “This guy has a hyperbolic personality and I have to take this review with a grain of salt.” Honestly, I wouldn’t blame you for that perspective. But my experience at MakerSquare was one of enlightenment, transformation, and reflection. The culture of the institution has been carefully constructed to enable individuals to struggle, learn, and thrive in a contained and safe environment - setting up students for promising careers.
This isn’t to say that MakerSquare hands this easily to students: the program isn’t for everyone. Only people who are self-starters, who have motivation, ambition, and a passion for learning and collaboration, will thrive in this environment. Thankfully, the admissions team at MakerSquare is incredibly selective. They go to great lengths to ensure that only the most capable and motivated are accepted into the program. As a result of this, I found myself surrounded by people just like me with a hunger for knowledge and an aptitude to learn. If you aren’t motived or you don’t like working with others, then this program may not be for you; furthermore, software development in general may not be for you. But if you are, then MakerSquare will provide you with a network of brilliant individuals who will stick with you throughout your career. That alone was well worth the tuition for me.
This is not to say that the program has no imperfections. MakerSquare likes to iterate over the curriculum to provide the most accurate and powerful tools to their students. While this is part of what makes its approach so effective, it can also result in processes and materials seeming a little unrefined. There were times as a student that I was frustrated by this, but looking back, I can see how this actually helped me to develop a unique skill set. I learned to conduct research autonomously and work closely with my peers as a team. I became more independent. I am now confident that no matter what real-world situation I encounter, I will be able to produce a great result. This confidence is something that I developed as a result of MakerSquare’s iterative process.
I have now been working professionally as a Software Engineer for 6 months and have a very promising career path ahead of me. I have already earned more than six times the return on investment from my tuition to MakerSquare and have never regretted my decision to attend. I encourage anyone who is confident, excited, and passionate about technology to consider MakerSquare as a powerful stepping stone to a successful career.
This program is hard work but it is very rewarding and you'll surprise yourself about how much you can learn in 3 months. It isn't a perfect program. There were moments of disorganization where it wasn't clear what we were to be doing and certain elements seemed to reveal a bit of patchwork. None of that was a deal breaker for me.
Where MKS shined was the quality of the instructors and fellows and the environment that they fostered. I met a lot of great people at MKS and learning with and from them was a truly rewarding experience.
I can't say enough good things about MakerSquare. After college, I started a career in marketing, which never truly felt 'right' to me. I wasn't ever excited going to work and counted down the minutes when I got there. I started doing a few online tutorials to learn programming and immediately fell in love with it. I'd finally found something that kept my attention for hours and something I wanted to devoted all of my time to.
I went back and forth on applying for a bootcamp for about a year. As a marketer, I knew how people would skew data to work towards their goal, so I was wary of the '96% hiring rate' that MakerSquare promoted. After reading everything about MKS online that I could, I decided to go for it. I was accepted and decided to move to Austin to attend.
MakerSquare was one of the best experiences of my life. I was surrounded by brilliant people all day every day who shared the same passion for learning that I did. There were times that we all felt frustrated, but MakerSquare helped push us through those times of uncertainty. I learned far beyond anything I could have taught myself in such a short period of time.
Just three weeks after graduating, I landed my dream job at HomeAway. I absolutely love my job, my company, and the industry. MakerSquare truly did change my life. If you're thinking about applying, do it today. It'll be the best decision you've ever made.
TL;DR - Curriculum is solid, some ancillary parts not quite there. Totally worth the money. I was a skeptic and the program proved its merit.
This is for MKS25 in San Francisco, Q4 2015.
Demographics and Social Aspects
There were 24 people in my cohort. Not 100% white hetero dudes, but could still be better. Seems to run about 20:4 male:female, and SF-esque racial diversity (meaning many different races, except African-American). Varies a bit cohort to cohort, given the small sample size. Very wide range in backgrounds, from 19-yr-old CS majors to 22-yr-old college dropouts to 25-yr-old Stanford grads to 40-yr-old musicians (I was 35/36). If you're having doubts that you'll fit in or anything, don't. Anyone can learn JS if they put in the time and effort. The staff creates a very inclusionary, accepting environment for students, and they're attempting to broaden diversity in the application/enrollment process.
Probably by luck, my cohort seemed unusually cohesive socially, and about a third or so of us still meet up weekly just to hang out. Students come from all over and most aren't local, so the social aspect is pretty important. And given the unique schedule and stress, the social aspect is important even for locals. Also: live in the city if you can. It's worth the money to avoid a long commute for those three months. Maximize your time either working or sleeping.
The literature given wasn't great at really explaining what we needed to know for the technical interview. Know your JS basics, be able to re-write many common utility functions you could find in Underscore, really learn what's meant by closure and lexical scope. Get comfortable passing functions as parameters to other functions. Don't worry about actually learning functional programming yet, and don't spend a single second on any frameworks of any sort. Just learn vanilla JS. Also, start using Sublime or a similar text editor, and learn to evaluate your code outside of a sandbox like Codecademy or Coderbyte. Be very comfortable knowing how your code will execute, and why. You will likely interview with a person and a text editor, and will notbe able to check your code in the console.
Curriculum and Feedback/"Grading"
Our program was split in two halves: the first comprised of topical two-day pair-programming sprints, and the second, a series of group projects. There's a tremendous amount of material thrown at you, and you have to get used to not being able to learn everything. You figure out what you need to know and how you can find out anything else you need, rather than rote memorization of details. Since you're either in a pair or a group, you also learn to work within that dynamic.
The curriculum put a heavy emphasis up front on JS basics and CS fundamentals (like data structures, time/space complexities, algorithmic/recursive thinking, etc.), which I think is really smart. You learn quite a bit about "why" before you start to get to abstracted away into frameworks. It's pretty unopinionated, teaching prototypal and class-based inheritance, OOP and functional programming (as they exist in JS), etc. Also there's a good emphasis on professional best practices, like Github and agile scrum and whatnot. The curriculum is full-stack, teaching Node (with and without Express), as well as SQL and NoSQL databases (with and without ORMs), creating RESTful APIs, and build tools like Grunt and Gulp.
The program is perhaps a bit slow on embracing new frameworks, but you can always learn what you want for the group projects. My cohort was still Angular 1.x heavy, which my group broke away from to learn React+Redux. Hopefully they'll incorporate some Angular 2.0 and Ember 2.0 in there as well eventually. Head of Curriculum and General Bad-ass Kyle Simpson is also working on some cool material covering things like generator functions, observables, and reactive programming.
There isn't "grading" exactly, but there are weekly "self-assessments", which are tests by another name. The staff does look at them and will pull students into extra tutoring sessions if needed for a particular topic, but aside from that there is no feedback. It's a weird "no news is good news" paradigm that I never really got used to. But students tend to know how well they did on a self-assessment, and it's a good check to see if you know the material. Note: even people who struggled on some topics worked on them and became strong engineers.
There's also time devoted to toy problems and whiteboarding, which have been prevalent in hiring (though are becoming less so, from my experience). Both are valuable, especially the whiteboarding. It's really important to be able to talk through and present a solution to a problem, rather than just muttering to oneself and scribbling out some code. This includes some one-on-one whiteboarding with an instructor, as well as a mock interview. Both were valuable, and actually kinda fun.
Throughout, but concentrated in the last week, is professional development. You'll create a new resume, think through answers to common interview questions, learn a specific job search strategy, etc. Even if you've gone through the job hunt before, it's nice to hear a software engineering specific version. And though I've personally heard complaints from companies that "bootcamp resumes / cover letters all look the same", apparently it's still effective.
The staff also seeks feedback from the students in bi-weekly feedback sessions, which we dubbed "Airing(s) of Grievances". It's a mostly-useful way to let the staff know what's working and what's not. It's nice to have a "public" forum to discuss issues as they arise, rather than only speaking with staff one-on-one. This can also be a good place for staff to explain changes in more depth; (lack of) communication was a constant frustration in our cohort, and the feedback sessions were a place to get the staff to actually address changes and the reasoning behind them. (I expect the communication issue to change for the better in the future — see next paragraph).
Overall the staff is wonderful. One of our instructors, Chris Rhoton, is now running the place, which I think means even better things are coming in the future — he's a really great guy and a strong leader. The rest of the instruction staff was similarly awesome. You can tell they really care about the material and the students, and aren't just collecting a paycheck (those paychecks would be much higher if they were still in industry!). I also really enjoyed working with Jeff, the resident "old school guy" with decades of industry experience, who concentrates on fundamentals. The program also employs former students as Fellows, which are essentially Teacher's Assistants. Our Fellows were mostly quite helpful, since they've been through the program already and know most of the common pitfalls.
Lifestyle, or How Did I Survive
I've lived in SF for a number of years, so my experience was a bit different from those coming here just for the program. I explained to my friends that I'd basically be dropping out of life for three months, which was mostly true. The schedule of 9am–8pm, six days/week, is pretty tough. But it wasn't as bad as I thought. I didn't see my friends much, but I was still able to go to shows every few weeks or so (though I became the "old guy at the show", happy when the band finished at 11pm so I could go straight to bed). I was hoping to still have somewhat normal Sundays, but between needing to catch up on sleep and needing to run the week's errands and make the week's food, it mostly didn't happen. I did manage a quick camping trip during Solo Week (the half-time week in the middle of the program), but mostly worked and slept. It's just three months.
Also: the cliché is true, you get out what you put in. You can go through doing the minimum, and you'll become a competent engineer; or you can maintain a thirst for knowledge, and you'll do some bad-ass stuff. And everyone learns at different rates. I saw some people struggle early on, put in extra hours, and become strong engineers. I saw others work insane hours, burn out, and start to get sick and miss days.
For me, "slow and steady wins the race" was a good mantra. I tried to leave at 8pm and keep a good school/life balance throughout. The most important thing is to keep up on sleep and fitness. Get a gym membership and use it during the given workout periods (I didn't do this, and should have). Leave as close to 8pm as you can each night, and try to get 8+ hrs sleep. Get groceries every Sunday, and spend a couple of hours making food for the week. Eat healthy food throughout the week and don't just get crappy fast food and work through your meals. I found that my effectiveness and happiness was tied directly to my health.
This is where I found the program is a bit lacking, but also where I think it mostly doesn't matter. There's a hiring team that works with companies to give graduates a "warm handshake" into the company, for a better chance at getting hired…in theory. In practice, at least in my cohort, this did more harm than good. We were to apply through a special job board, which would go through the hiring team and to the company. However, this never seemed to happen, and applications would be eternally "pending" with no reply from the company (who knows if they even saw the application?). After a while, some of my cohort then applied directly to the company, and did get a response. Additionally, many of the listings on the job board were outdated or just plain wrong. I'm not sure what the hiring team is actually doing, but a "warm handshake" this was not.
The prescribed strategy was also a bit "one size fits all"; while it worked well for me and many others, it was less useful for those with visa issues or other concerns. Keep in mind that the placement statistic quoted (96% percent as of Feb '16) only applies to those who follow the MKS strategy. You're welcome to job search however you like, but only those who stick to the strategy are included in that statistic.
But like I said, I think this mostly doesn't matter. The advice leading up to the job search is largely good and helpful (though be reasonable — if you don't have prior programming/engineering experience, you are not going to get hired as a "senior" anything). MakerSquare, via Tiffany/TK (who is wonderful!), was there for support and advice in the search, but I didn't really use it much. And they're upfront about it: they don't guarantee you a job. Just as with the rest of the program, you get out what you put in. I conducted my search through the typical channels (Indeed, Glassdoor, AngelList, etc) as well as my personal network, stuck to the MKS strategy, and got a job in about 4–5 weeks. It's with an interesting startup paying market rate, and I'm happy.
I went into the program to shift my career into overdrive and get a good job doing interesting work at market rate, and MakerSquare helped me accomplish all those things. I was skeptical about how much one could learn in three months, and how employable a graduate would be. While MakerSquare's not totally perfect, it was totally worth the money. I learned a tremendous amount and became an employed software engineer.
My name is Hudson Carlton and I am an engineering manager at Paypal. We hired two MakerSquare graduates to fill a couple roles: an application engineer role (non-junior) and one junior level role.
In hiring, I typically look at LinkedIn, local meetups, and recent graduates. I decided to look at MakerSquare and found qualified candidates that have the skills to learn quickly.
The graduate that I hired has on-boarded and is currently working on a project built with our KrakenJS stack.krakenjs.com
Lastly, I was asked "would I look at MakerSquare for future hiring?" My answer: Yes, I definitely will look at MakerSquare graduates when we are looking to hire again.
TL/DR: Do it!
I just finished MakerSquare at the end of January and the program was fantastic. It wasn’t perfect, but it continues to evolve. These imperfections, however, are vastly overshadowed by the unmistakable value it offers for those willing to work hard.
I do say ‘offers’ for a reason, because you get what you put into it.
You can expect to basically live and breath code for 12 weeks. I easily spent 70+ hours either at campus or at home pouring over a project or reading documentation and sleeping every once in a while, haha. You need to dive in head first and just try to absorb anything and everything and the investment will be worth it immediately.
If you aren't fully committed, you could go each day, be flooded with information and not learn a dang thing. But if you really throw yourself at the program, take everything in like a sponge, digest as much of it as you can and then throw yourself at it even harder as the topics get denser, deeper and more specific, you can't help but learn a ton. I say this because there are some who enter the program with specific things they do/don't want to learn or have preconceived ideas about what would/wouldn't be useful to them, and I think that holds them back in many cases.
Basically, be the thirstiest sponge you can be, ask questions as you encounter them, but also be willing to trust that the instructors have thought long and hard about what is important to teach you and when.
MakerSquare has promoted really high placement numbers. I am not sure the details of other cohorts, but all I know is that my classmates and I have been landing real jobs earning real paychecks; the salaries in Austin have been anywhere around 50-75k/year, generally in junior level positions.
And while I understand that all this might sound too good to be true, it's not. Becoming a developer in 12 weeks is not easy, but it's absolutely achievable.
I attended Makersquare in fall 2015, from August through October. I am a recent grad from college, and I actually studied computer science. I decided to do a coding bootcamp because after a year of working in industry, building web products, I realized I lacked a good understanding of the various frameworks and tools that are specific to web development, and my own efforts at constructing a syllabus for myself and self-learning during my free time, despite my background in comp sci, were proving to be ineffectual. It was important to me to find a coding bootcamp that had a strong syllabus that covered these various frameworks and allowed me to produce a body of work demonstrating my abilities.
I was one of three girls in my twenty two person cohort, and initially, I was a little uncomfortable by this gender ratio, but Makersquare works pretty hard to create an inclusive, no-bullshit environment, and I thought they did a decent job of it. I pretty much spent 11 hours a day, 6 days a week at this place for three months, so it was important for it not to feel like a hostile environment in any way, and I'm very grateful and relieved that this ended up being the case.
Whether you're thinking about a career change, or you're a recent grad who wants to learn a ton of stuff in a short period of time, if you're prepared to put in the hard work and time, I would highly recommend Makersquare. I'm really proud of the things I built while I was there, and looking back on those three months, I realize I achieved a remarkable amount of personal growth thanks to the people, the syllabus, and the environment. I'm really, really glad I did it. :)
MakerSquare also devotes nearly half of its program to building your own applications. These applications can be on any topic and use any technology you are interested in. The support from the MakerSquare staff does not end here, you will continually have meetings with technical mentors that will help guide you through whatever issues your group is facing and will make recommendations for how you might handle them.
The most important thing that MakerSquare will provide you during your time here is the ability to become an autonomous learner. You will continually encounter technologies that you aren’t familiar with. You learn to look at the api documentation, books, videos, or online resources. Software Engineering is an industry that is constantly evolving and you often won’t have all of the skills required for a particular job you are interested in; but because of your ability to learn quickly and autonomously you have the confidence to learn those skills which you may be lacking and excel at them.
Career services are also provided to its current students and its alumni. During your time at MakerSquare you will be given time to develop an impressive cover letter and resume, and more importantly an advocate for your job search that will help you through anything and everything during your job search. From formatting emails to a prospective company to salary negotiations, you have the support you need throughout your programming career.
MakerSquare has a great community of truly determined and caring staff. This school measures student outcomes as its beacon for success rather than enrollment rates or profits. The network of friendships that you create and the ever-growing list of alumni are invaluable to have as a software engineer.
MakerSquare is a great school, if you come prepared, willing, and determined they will undoubtedly mold you into an excellent software engineer.