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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.

  • Anonymous • Graduate
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    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 )

  • Anonymous • Designer • Graduate
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    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!

  • Anonymous • Graduate
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    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.

  • Mark • Software Engineer • Graduate
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    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.

     

     

  • Ben Poon • Software Developer • Graduate
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    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.

  • Anonymous • Graduate
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    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
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    I am not a student (yet!) which perhaps provides a distanced or at least different perspective than some other Yelp reviewers. I regularly attend the weekly JavaScript Lesson taught by the MakerSquare Fellows as well as other Meetups such as Ask Me Anything events with faculty and staff. I also paid for and attended the month-long part-time Intro to Web Dev course called MakerPrep. All this to say I've had relatively extensive exposure to the MakerSquare atmosphere and personally know most of the faculty and staff despite not being a student in the full-time immersive bootcamp. 

    My experience with MakerSquare has been nothing less than amazing. This school is filled with incredibly intelligent people who are also extraordinarily compassionate and community-minded. The faculty (including the Head Instructor, Mentor, and all the Fellows) have an impressive command of JavaScript. At the same time as having irrefutable mastery of the language, they also pride themselves on constantly striving to be amazing teachers. In interacting with faculty, it's obvious that these individuals have ended up in their roles because they find teaching more fulfilling than other possible routes. They are incredibly knowledgeable and incredibly adept at relaying that knowledge to students. They are relentless in their own improvement, continually iterating over the curriculum and teaching strategy and adapting it to students learning style patterns and industry trends.

    The Fellows, who were once themselves students, have an impressive breadth and depth of Javascript/Web Dev knowledge. They also have a firm grasp of Computer Science fundamentals and, perhaps most importantly, they are all aggressive learners. The fellows have been well-trained to burn through documentation in no time and pick new things up extremely quickly. They also have a genuine curiosity in learning that shows in the eagerness to research new topics and keep pushing the boundaries of their knowledge. The bootcamp must be working to produce such highly capable Fellows.

    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.

  • Anonymous • Graduate
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    I cannot stress enough how amazing this program is and how much it changed my life. 

    Background: My undergraduate degree is in music education, and prior to moving to San Francisco I had been teaching high school music. I knew I wanted to make the jump to software engineering and after teaching myself javascript, I began researching schools. 

    Why MKS:

    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. 

    Another big reason I chose MakerSquare is the focus on javascript. If you have any interest in a front-end role, you're going to need to know Javascript, so the flexibility it allows with career choices is awesome. The curriculum is thorough and you get introduced to every important topic you need to succeed leaving the program.  I felt extremely comfortable interviewing at companies that I only dreamt about working for prior to MKS.It's organized in a way that keeps things fresh and even though you're coding all day, you don't feel drained. The second half of the curriculum provides the invaluable experience of working with teams to build full web applications.

    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. :)

  • Anonymous • Graduate
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    MakerSquare is an accelerated web development course that teaches you fundamental web dev skills with a strong focus on Javascript. I am a firm believer in the quality of this program and think that this program is absolutely worth the time and money required. This is the best investment I have made in my life, and would hold it's worth equal to that of a college degree. 

    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.

  • Anonymous • Jr. Web Developer • Graduate
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    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. 

    Anecdote here, but I just interviewed/spoke with a person about to finish a cs program and honestly could not believe how little they knew about Object Oriented programing, RESTful api design and the architectural differences between java and javascript. 
    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.

  • Anonymous • Web developer • Graduate
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    The environment at MakerSquare is one of enthusiastic learning.  It was a joy to be around intelligent, knowledge-seeking individuals, who were united under the common cause of career change and coding.  Pair programming was encouraged and students enthusiastically tutored each other throughout lessons under the watchful guidance of some dedicated instructors.  This course is completely immersive, 9-6pm, M-F, and also requires outside study as well as two weekend-long hackathons. You must be prepared for this kind of commitment coming into MakerSquare.  You will learn HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Ruby, and Rails, as well as version control, GitHub, relational databases, and so much more.

    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.

  • Anonymous • Project Manager • Graduate
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    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:

    Curriculum:

    I was impressed by how much I learned. I literally had no experience in programming and I can now build web applications that ACTUALLY work.  Not just simple interactive sites, but fully dynamic applications that work heavily with javascript on top of a rails framework.  Moreover, all of this was taught with a very clear emphasis on test driven development (from the beginning) and solid software development principles. 

    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. 

    Feedback:

    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.  

    MakerSquare still teaches web development (rails/mvc, http, javascript, etc) but now only after teaching other concepts that are applicable not just to the web, but to all software (test-driven development, SOLID principles, application boundaries, decoupling, databases, interfaces, software architecture, etc).

    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.