Recent MakerSquare Reviews: Rating 4.41
Recent MakerSquare News
- Hack Reactor + MakerSquare Rebrand: Everything You Need to Know
- Student Spotlight: Ricardo D'Alessandro of MakerSquare
- August 2016 Coding Bootcamp News Roundup + Podcast
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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.
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.
- No brainer.- 1/14/2016Garrett • Cloud Software Engineer • Graduate • Campus: Austin
When my startup blew up, I didn't know really what to do.
I tried applying for jobs in marketing, but realized I'd be starting from the bottom all over again after two years of hard work, sacrifice, and not enough pay.
When I found MakerSquare, it reignited a passion about programming that was sleeping inside me for over ten years - only I had been on the outside looking in. During my application process, I realized that 'this was what I was meant to do'.
I made amazing friends. Everyday there were tough problems, funny jokes, and good times. That made the long hours a lot easier.
Three months later, I had my first job. I doubled my salary.
One month later, I took my second job. I tripled my salary, and received a $5,000 signing bonus. I bought a new car.
There's a couple of reasons why I tell people to go to MakerSquare.
It's an amazing return on investment. Not only on starting salary, but on how quickly you can move up in earning potential.
It's a powerful skill. You can start a company, work for yourself, add value to any organization. From anywhere in the world. You just need your laptop.
It's in a great industry, in great, economically strong cities. You will be always needed.
You just need to enjoy solving puzzles and want to work hard, and sky's the limit.
To be fair, I was in one of the first cohorts, but it came with some pain. I personally believe the curriculum was poorly thought out, especially since I can look at it almost 2 years later. Of all the teachers I had, none of them are left except one of the co-founders if that is any indicator.
They tried hard, but most of the teachers had 1 year max, if any, of working experience in the field. Could they teach you the basics? Yes, but it took a lot more than that to get a job, namely 1 more year of coding every day, doing online course work, and going way passed the base coverage MKS provided.
I talked with a fellow grad half of year after the graduation, and she said that she only knew of one student from our MKS group who had a job through MKS job assistance.
I cannot speak to how it has turned out since the merger with Hack Reactor. However, I can say a lot has changed after they starting churning new students into the program every 3 weeks.
I was in an IT job and my company was laying people off like crazy. I was writing a lot of bash, powershell, and vbscripts and decided that I really enjoyed the problem solving invloved in writing code and wanted to make a career change. I rolled the dice, did the MakerSquare full-time program, and in 13 days I was in my first developer job. The difference in salary between my old job and new job is roughly what I paid to go to MakerSquare. Recently I've been in touch with their job placement people and am getting assistance finding my next developer position and I'm excited about the companies they've told me about. I couldn't be happier with my decision to attend!
- C# ASP .NET Developer- 1/11/2016Marco • C# ASP .NET Developer • Graduate
MakerSquare is an accelerated learning course that provides the tools and the means to understand the ever changing world of web development. The staff and curriculum excel at adapting to the most current and on demand technologies. By completing MakerSquare you will have a firm understanding on programming languages, access to a very competitive Career Center and a constantly growing network of Alumni.
On July 10th, 2014, I heard for the first time the word "Ruby" used as a name for a programming language by a cofounder of MakerSquare. On August 25th, 2014, I started my first day as a MakerSquare student. On November 17th, 2014, the Monday after the Friday I graduated, I became employee number 2 at an Austin-based startup writing Ruby code for a living.
A very quick transition to coding for a living is absolutely possible, as I'm a testament of it. Looking back on the time and money I've spent to learn, MakerSquare is the investment that unquestionably impacted my future as a developer to the largest degree.
To anyone looking to become a developer for a living, here's some insight into my personal MakerSquare experience and some advice my reflections leave me with:
2) Big investments are scary, as is the future, but the reward quickly outweighs the risk. I saw a great review of MakerSquare online (much like this one) and took a leap of faith on the organization. All it really took was for me to act was my want to learn and for me to allow myself to be convinced by an online review. But, while I didn't personally know anyone in or around the organization to give me an inside perspective at the time, the investment was guaranteed to pay off because I knew I would do everything I could to come out an exceptional (and employable) developer. I found out in the first week that I had made the right decision, which leads me to 3).
3) The interest to learn a similar subject brings about a community that could've otherwise never have existed. MakerSquare isn't just where I learned to code. MakerSquare is where I found the guidance and support I needed to be an exceptional (and again, employable) developer. During the course, I lived with MakerSquare students, I rode the bus to class with MakerSquare students, I ate lunch and dinner with MakerSquare students and faculty. I went to meetups and happy hours with MakerSquare students and faculty. I stayed up until the wee hours every night at coffee shops sitting across the table from MakerSquare students. For a year after I graduated, my roommates were MakerSquare students, the Lead Back End Developer of RoverPass (the startup I still work at) was a MakerSquare student. MakerSquare (at least for me) isn't just a place to learn to code, it is and always will be to me the place I found a community of people eager to learn to code, and eager to support and encourage others to learn to code.
If I write anymore, I fear you wouldn't continue reading. So, I'll finish by saying, my decision to join MakerSquare made sense for me. So often, people ask me if they should join MakerSquare or a similar school for coding. My answer is the same to you as it is to them. MakerSquare built the road, it's your job to walk down it. If it feels like the right path, then the chances are it is. If you've come to the decision that you want to learn to code and you want a career out of it, then as someone who has completely first hand knowledge of that situation, I give my full recommendation into MakerSquare. It gave me everything I wanted and more.
I came through MakerSquare ATX June-September of 2015. I cannot say enough good things about this program or the people involved in making it happen. From the founders to the instructors and the awesome people supporting the job search side, the staff is truly invested in us not only as students, but as alumni as well. The coursework is rigorous and immersive, focusing on the most up-to-date and cutting edge tech. The curriculum is constantly undergoing iterative reviews and updates, which I think is one of the reasons they are able to stay on top of the game so well. And on a personal note, the program was hard, but worth it 100%. I made some great friends, learned more than I honestly thought was possible, and ended up in a job that I absolutely love.
I would first like to say that this program was extremely difficult, more difficult than I thought, but one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I was originally between Hack Reactor and MakerSquare and decided on MakerSquare due to the smaller class sizes and after visiting the campus I felt like I would get a great deal of 1 on 1 attention.
I graduated with a double major in Philosophy and Political Science and after spending several years working in politics I wanted to make a career change. My first encounter with MakerSquare was speaking to Mike in Admissions. He was great at helping create a timeline and plan for me. He was also really upbeat and happy to answer any of my questions. He recommended that I take MakerPrep then apply to the program shortly after. All of my tuition for MakerPrep was taken off the immersive tuition, which was great! It is important to realize that MakerPrep is not designed to help you pass the technical interview, it did a great job at teaching me the basics and made Eloquent JS make a lot more sense.
The technical interview was mainly functional programming and really focused on chapter 5 of Eloquent JS. You really have to hammer down your higher order functions. My interview was done by one of their "fellows" who was a previous graduate of the program. Melinda was a great resource to ask questions and she really made me feel like this was going to be a good decision.
Once I was accepted I was sent the precourse work, which took me about 2.5 weeks to do. It was harder than the interview, but I was able to get help from one of the fellows to help make sense of it all. My advice is to give yourself enough time to really understand it. This is not something to procrastinate.
They say the program runs from 9am-8pm, but I was often there until 11 most nights. The curriculum moves really quickly, but Alex our lead instructor was amazing. He spent a ton of time with us to make sure that we understood everything. I felt like everyone in the program both staff and students were really helpful. There were times that I really felt down and didn't understand everything, but you have to trust the process. We worked mostly in pair programming for the first 6 weeks and that was really useful.
The last 6 weeks of the program we worked on 3 main projects. The first was a smaller group project that they called the greenfield project, the second was a project where we worked with legacy code and the last was the larger thesis project.
I feel like the end of the program comes up really quickly and I was initially worried about being prepared to do this for a living. Once I started working with the outcomes team I felt much more comfortable. Yes they hold us to 5 applications a day and that can be tough at times, but the more I listened to their advice the more results I saw during my job search. The helped me with my interview skills and coached me through things as basic as writing my cover letter. When I had my first offer they helped me realize that I could do better, without their advice I would have probably accepted a much lower offer. I currently work as a software engineer making 105k
The bottom line is I had a great experience and would recommend MakerSquare LA to friends or family. I feel like I made some lifelong friends in the program and I'm really happy to call myself a MakerSquare graduate.
- The best place to become a Software Engineer- 1/2/2016Richard Artoul • Software Engineer at Uber • Campus: San Francisco
Full Disclosure: I was a student at MakerSquare for three months, and I also stayed on as a fellow (essentially a teaching assistant) for a 3-month period after that.
After pursuing programming in my free time for 8 months, I realized that only learning nights and weekends wasn't going to get me where I wanted to be. I quit my job and enrolled in MakerSquare. The experience I had there was nothing short of incredible. I learned more in my first week then I did in 8 months of studying on my own.
This is going to sound cheesy, but MakerSquare changed my life. Whenever people ask me about bootcamps and which one they should attend, I always recommend MakerSquare. The experience I had was so phenomenal, especially compared to what I've heard from people who attended different schools, that I can't help but recommend it to everyone. Like all things in life worth doing, you get out of MakerSquare exactly what you put into it. Before I went to MakerSquare, I knew where I wanted to be and I had the drive and passion to get there, but I didn't know how. MakerSquare provided me a clear path, and all I had to do was put in the work.
There are three things that separate MakerSquare from other bootcamps:
2. The sense of community. MakerSquare works very hard to encourage a strong sense of community among its students and staff. Going through a coding bootcamp is a grueling process. It challenges you physically, mentally, and emotionally; but I looked forward to it everyday because of the great people I was surrounded with. Even on my worst morning, when I didn't get enough sleep the night before and I was completely drained from the non-stop 11 hour days, my mood always perked up as soon I walked through the door and saw all my friends. Very quickly, it begins to feel like family.
3. The quality of the instructors. The instructors at MakerSquare are very talented, and more importantly, passionate about what they do. Every instructor at MakerSquare turned down higher salaries in the industry because they're passionate about the work that they are doing and they believe in MakerSquare's mission. On numerous occasions, I've seen MakerSquare instructors cry after watching a student who had been struggling for months finally succeed and flourish. The instructors at MakerSquare pour their heart and souls into the students and the curriculum, and they want nothing more than to watch every single student be successful and happy in their career change.
If you really really really want to be a software engineer, and you're not afraid to work hard, then go to MakerSquare. I promise you that if you pour your hard work and passion into the program, then you will get back ten times what you put into it and come out the other side exactly where you wanted to be: a software engineer.
They Scam you for Money, It was a waste of time. I would have been better off watching YouTube Videos at Home and not wasting $17000 for 12 Weeks. The instructors were the worst. They just tell you to look everything up on Google and figure it all out for yourself. They are rude also. I will never recommend anyone in their right mind to go to Maker LA. Childish Teaching. They don't guarantee anything but say you should be getting a $120000 Job after going through 12 weeks where they lecture you half the day and send you with to pair program with another newbie to figure it all out later in the day. Then you do a stupid group project. You don't get a job after it, you are on your own to then send out 5 resumes a day at Linkedin and say you should get a Mid Level Software Engineering Job within 3-4 Months. All Lies basically. They have had 5 or more Cohorts and talk about 98% job placement, but each cohort has like 30+ packed like sardines students and so out of 150 people they can name like 3 people who have jobs, and always it's the guy working for JPL story that has a physics degree lol So if you want to waste all your money and 3 months of your time in Los Angeles and get nothing from it, make sure to go to MakerSquare.