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MakerSquare

Austin, Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco

MakerSquare

Avg Rating:4.41 ( 89 reviews )

MakerSquare is a 12-week immersive career accelerator program in Austin and San Francisco that aims to turn ambitious beginners looking to learn computer programming into marketable software engineers. MakerSquare's curriculum focuses solely on JavaScript with a large focus on software engineering fundamentals. NodeJS, Angular, Meteor and Express are just a few of the libraries, frameworks and platforms students work with. Additionally, throughout the program, MakerSquare hosts a variety of interactive events like mentorship night, weekly Makerstories sessions, Demos 'n' Drinks nights, hackathons, and career prep events. MakerSquare hosts a Career Day at the end of every class and also provides ongoing graduate career support to help students get interviews with partner companies. MakerSquare is looking for students who are passionate, tenacious, curious, patient and critical thinkers.

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Hey there! As of 11/1/16 MakerSquare is now Hack Reactor. If you graduated from MakerSquare prior to October 2016, Please leave your review for MakerSquare. Otherwise, please leave your review for Hack Reactor.

  • Immersive program
    - 3/23/2016
    Scott • Software Engineer • Student
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    I attended cohort 24 in Austin, TX

    First, a little bit about me. I entered Makersquare with roughly 2 years of Wordpress development experience. I was mainly self taught (aside from Comp Sci 101) through my job at a digital advertising company here in NYC. I was tired of working with Wordpress and wanted to take my dev skills to the next level, and work on some more interesting projects (I was working on click bait websites). I chose MKS because it teaches the Javascript stack, and their interview / application process was much more enjoyable than at Full Stack Academy.

    Some advice before applying: Make sure you are serious about becoming an engineer. If you are doing this because you don't know what else to do with your career, or are expecting MKS to baby you every step of the way, this may not be the right place for you. Their methods are very much geared towards "making you a better learner". While there are lectures (Gilbert is a rockstar) and solid course material, it is up to the students to work together and solve problems without very much hand holding. The senior project feels exactly like a job, where you are responsible for the product from start to finish with no set daily schedule.

    The program: It is rigorous. You WILL struggle. Do not let it get you down. There WILL be people smarter than you who will make you feel inadequate. Just remember it is not a competition! If someone is catching on faster than you, don't get discouraged... ask them for help! I always say that 95% of being a software engineer is failure. It's that 5% of aha! moments that makes it all worth it. I feel like I had a new aha! moment every single day here. It feels like you're struggling mightily, but when you get to the project phase, it's absolutely astounding how much you've learned in such a short period. Also, don't plan on having a social life during these 3 months!

    Outcome: I was able to land a job 3 weeks after i graduated, working for a former boss, making 60% more than my last job with a better title (software engineer). I was able to negotiate using the awesome tactics that student outcomes taught us. I made $10k more in 20 minutes! It's amazing how few people actually negotiate their salary. MKS does a very good job teaching you these skills. I probably have a bit of an advantage over most people coming to MKS since I had 2.5 years experience, and a strong network of former co-workers here in NYC, but with the skills gained at MKS i am confident that every who graduates is strong enough for at least a Junior level job. I joined MKS knowing I would not be using their hiring network (which is mainly Austin, LA, and SF), so I can't really comment on that.

    Negatives: MKS is not perfect, but they are always iterating and trying to improve. They are a startup, and it is apparent that they are experiencing typical startup growing pains. Also, your experience could be brought down if your cohort has some bad apples. Pretty much everyone I met was awesome, and I made some great friends, but the student body is very young, and some students are not mature enough to handle the kind of pressure involved with the program. MKS very rarely kicks anyone out, so it's possible that you'll have someone on your team not pulling their weight, dealing with emotional issues, being a jerk, or causing drama. (not all necessarily in my cohort, just what I've observed). MKS likes to spin it and say that you're going to have to deal with difficult people on the job, which is a great point, but not when we're spending a lot of money. Towards the end of my cohort, they hired someone will act as a student mediator to try to deal with these types of situations, which is a testament to how MKS listens to their students and strongly values their input.

    My advice: DO IT! It was possibly the best 3 months of my life. I've never learned so much so fast, and the outcomes are real. Just about all of my cohort is employed. Have fun, don't take it too seriously, and Always Be Committing!

  • MakerPrep Review
    - 3/22/2016
    Anonymous • Student
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    This review is for the MakerPrep program offered by MakerSquare in Feburary 2016, not their full-time immersive program.  I had originally planned to apply to MakerSquare without taking their MakerPrep program. Upon realizing that I needed some more time to prepare for the MakerSquare tech interview, I decided to take MakerPrep on the basis that the $750 fee would be contributed to the MakeSquare tuition - why not, right?  I had already decided on going forward with MakerSquare, but I wanted to get a feel for the MakerSquare environment, which seemed to put an emphasis on paired-programming, so that I could feel good about committing the full tuition and 4 full months of time.  I figured that I'd learn more Javascript and be better prepared for the tech interview in the process. The MakerPrep signup page states, "Classroom time will be split between concept lectures, live-coding along with an instructor, and collaborative, project-based work with other beginner developers."  

    The reality was that classroom time was spent with the "teacher" displaying his code on the screen, half-heartedly explaining it, and then stating, "ok, now you try".  We would then work on our own for an hour or longer.  There was no real paired-programming or "work with other beginner developers."  There was no collaborative environment--it felt like I was in Baskets Career College, receiving bad lectures and busy work--but we weren't attending a part time night class to merely pass for a certificate at the end, we were there to actually learn. There wasn't even any legitmate lecturing happening!  The teacher was unorganized and never proactively helped the students, he just sat at his desk making conversation.  Appropriately, half the class stopped attending by the end of it. I spent more time in class working through free online resources, which better prepared me for any tech interview, than working through the class material.  I am not sure if this is a fair assumption, but I decided that the MakerPrep class is a reflection of the MakerSquare program itself, and decided not to interview for their immersive program.  To anyone serious about learning the basics of programming, I'd suggest you take advantage of the numerous free online resources, all of which will do a better job of preparing you for MakerSquare or any other similar bootcamp.   

  • Ryan Hamblin • Lead Front End Engineer • Graduate
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    Before MKS I was very unhappy with my front-end developer job. I wanted to learn more, and being funneled into a Wodrpess environment with no way or direction out was killing me. I applied and was rejected on my first attempt to get in (this was after 9 months or so of learning and having attended another JavaScript based bootcamp). The second attempt I was finally allowed entrance to their program. I'm so glad that MKS vets their students this way, it made for some really solid students in my cohort. 

    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! 

    Cheers!

    -ryan

  • Anonymous • Graduate
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    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.

    In the PT front-end program we learned everything you need to know about CSS and HTML. We spent a good deal of time on JavaScript which was fantastic as this was the area I most wanted to learn more about and knew I couldn't learn it on my own (there is no substitute for being able to turn to your instructors or even fellow classmates to ask them a quick question and get help). We also spent time learning about Jekyll, Rails, jQuery, using the command line and mastering GitHub. 

    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!!

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    This review is for the June 2015 MakerPrep course.

    For learning to program:
    If you're serious about programming/webdevelopment and you're a beginner, then yes!!!  I cannot emphasize enough how much the class helped me on my journey to be a programmer.  I had done Code Academy and was slogging through Eloquent Javascript before class as I couldn't really see how everything fit together.  I didn't really have a solid programming background.  During the course, we covered HTML, CSS, Javascript, Jquery, and AJAX and how they all fit together.  Granted, you COULD learn these on your own, but MakerPrep sped the process along so much faster and the transitions between the technologies were seamless and the need for them became intuitive.  It really helps to have peers in the same position as you to bounce ideas off of and learn from each other.  AND it's comforting to see your peers struggling when you're struggling as well.

    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.

    Admin/Personnel:
    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.

    Miscellaneous Details
    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!

  • Anonymous • Graduate
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    I took the June MakersPrep course it is perfectly paced for busy people with no little to no coding experience, the staff were all knowledgable and helpful.  You will get ALOT out of this course.  If you are interested in learning javascript and/or attending Makersquare or a coding bootcamp I highly recommend this course. The staff here really passionate about coding, passing on their knowledge and working with you to learn the material.  Our instructor Doug was as knowledgable as he was patient, making sure we understood the material. Shehzan and Michael make themselves always available and are genuinely interested in helping you succeed. If you are interested in Javascript I HIGHLY recommend this course.
     

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    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
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    I graduated from the 09/15 MakerPrep Intro to Web Development and Programming course at MKS LA. I was in the same class as reviewer Andrew H below. I had virtually no prior programming experience before 07/15. As of this writing 11/15 I have been accepted into MakerSquare Immersive starting 01/16. This would absolutely not have been possible had I not taken MakerPrep. The instructors Christoph and Gabriel were stellar. Both brilliant and very helpful and complemented each other in an entertainingly odd couple sort of way. They went out of their way to make everyone feel that there are no dumb questions which is a common hindrance for a beginning programmer. MKS does tell you at several stages that your success in this course is mostly up to you and how much work you put into it. There are no tests or homework required to be turned in. The program curriculum is a continuously evolving organism which can be a confusing annoyance that was easily overcome by good instructors. This is likely due to a few factors: The MakerPrep program itself is only a few months old. The entire MakerSquare curriculum is now based on Hack Reactor's. Programming as discipline changes and updates tools, services, best practices, etc constantly. While they say this class is for absolute beginners, which it is, it is highly recommended to complete the Codecademy HTML/CSS and Javascript tracks beforehand. It starts very gradually but ramps up quickly near the end with advanced functional Javascript. I would highly recommend this course and MakerSquare as a whole.

  • Anonymous • Graduate
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    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
    You are highly motivated to learning more Javascript than you will ever learn on your own in 4 weeks. You are OK with working through a problem and being frustrated because the euphoria that you get when you finally do figure it out is so worth it! You want to get into the full-time immersive program - the prep class is a great way to get acquainted with MakerSquare and figure out what you need to do for the technical interview.

    Content
    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.     

    People
    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.   

    Parking
    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.

  • Evan G • Graduate
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    This review is for the MakerPrep class that I attended in June 2015.  It was 15 hrs/wk of class time for 4 weeks.  I thought it was a fantastic class and really accelerated my learning.  I had been learning JavaScript (JS) on my own using popular online resources but the guidance of MakerSquare staff and curriculum was a phenomenal investment of my time and money.  It was a great balance of learning javascript fundamentals along with html and css to see how it is commonly applied.  I felt the application was key because we were building projects throughout the course that reflected real world projects that use JS and now I feel much more confident diving into projects I've wanted to start but thought they were too much to bite off at my level of experience.  All the people that I worked with (Doug Calhoun, Muhammad Meigooni, Shehzan Devani) were great people and seemed truly interested in our feedback and solicited it throughout the course to ensure that we were getting the education we all wanted.

  • Anonymous • Graduate
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    I took the Front End Part-Time course at MakerSquare, I had a great experience because I was able to enhance some of the front-end skills I already had but was also able to learn new ones like JavaScript. My favorite part of MakerSquare is that one is not just another student taking their courses, I can say that I became part of the MS family and I can reach out to any of the alumni or instructors for help.

  • Anonymous • Graduate
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    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!