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Operation Spark

New Orleans

Operation Spark

Avg Rating:4.0 ( 6 reviews )

Operation Spark offers a full-time, 13-week digital education immersion program for low-income individuals in New Orleans, Louisiana. Operation Spark runs intensive year-round bootcamps covering technologies like HTML/CSS, JavaScript, Node.js, and more. Operation Spark also offers apprenticeships and the opportunity for graduates of their programs to work in real production cycles for clients. In addition to the three-month, 700 hour, full-time Immersion program, Operation Spark offers a 5-week, part-time, 60 hour Intro to Programming Bootcamp. 

No past experience is required to apply. As a member of the Reactor Core network of schools, the Operation Spark curriculum was developed in part with Hack Reactor.

Recent Operation Spark Reviews: Rating 4.0

all (6) reviews for Operation Spark →

Recent Operation Spark News

  • Bootcamp

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    HTML, JavaScript, jQuery, CSS, Node.js, Front End
    In PersonFull Time4 Weeks
    Start Date None scheduled
    CostN/A
    Class sizeN/A
    LocationNew Orleans
    Our 5-week Introduction to Programming Bootcamp is a deep dive into JavaScript, functional programming, and basic web development. Bootcamp prepares students for entry into our 3 month Immersion program. The course is 3 hours a day, 5 days a week for 4 weeks at 60 hours of total instruction. Students can choose to aim for the Immersion course once completing Bootcamp or enter directly into an internship or apprenticeship. 
Prior to starting in the Intro to Programming Bootcamp, students must complete the material from the Prep program. Our Prep program helps our organization measure a student’s desire and aptitude for software engineering, while allowing them to figure out of a career in software development is something for them on their own time. As we want as many people as possible to try their hand at software development, our Prep program is free for all, and prepares students for entry into our one month Intro to Programming Bootcamp.
    Financing
    DepositN/A
    Financing
    Available through SkillsFund
    Tuition PlansYes
    ScholarshipYes
    Getting in
    Minimum Skill LevelBeginner
    Placement TestYes
    InterviewNo
  • Immersion

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    Start Date None scheduled
    CostN/A
    Class sizeN/A
    LocationNew Orleans
    During Bootcamp students have learned the foundations of programming but don’t yet have the knowledge needed to apply them in a workplace environment. Our Immersion track helps students build upon those foundations by offering comprehensive curriculum with over 700 hours of material. Throughout the course you’re gaining workplace ready skills and a deep understanding of standard developer tools such as Git, the command line, test-driven development, and debuggers. You’re also learning soft skills such as problem-solving, team collaboration, public speaking, and meeting goals and expectations. The course is in partnership with Hack Reactor and runs 11 hours a day, 6 days a week for 3 months.
    Financing
    DepositN/A
    Financing
    Available through SkillsFund
    Getting in
    Minimum Skill LevelMust have graduated from our 5-week Bootcamp
    Prep Work2 weeks of pre-course work to complete
    Placement TestYes
    InterviewYes

Shared Review

  • Anonymous • Student
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    On the surface, Operation Spark appears to be a great cause. Unlike the majority (perhaps all other) bootcamps, it is a non-profit organization, so they offer an entrance system with tiered payments so that you're not at a huge loss if you decide early on that it is not for you. Unfortunately, this and other factors might have something to do with how you'll be treated after committing at any level.

    The organization makes use of a lot of free online resources anyone can access, so most of the benefit is being around other students and having externally imposed deadlines; someone else estimating the time frame it should take you to learn each piece of what it takes to be a "software engineer". Below are the details of why I included the words "negative experience" in this review.

    In the first week of the Bootcamp phase, rather than getting started immediately spending all the time learning how to code, you'll instead be taken through an elementary school like introductory phase. You'll be asked to watch videos and read articles about how to choose an "appropriate professional" and "inoffensive" email address. Furthermore, at the beginning of every lecture you'll be barked at loudly to "arrive at class on time, pay attention, speak up, ask questions if you don't understand something", etc. The instructors take a loud, militant, and at times abusive approach to what they still think of as "teaching". And as you may have noticed from my above example of the beginning of every single day of class, it's very much like elementary school... picture the crankiest teacher you had. My personal experience with the program involved immediate disdain from my teacher, which I weathered for awhile for the sake of learning... and it ended with her losing her temper on me in a very unprofessional tirade. I connect this below to what this program is really about, and how I did not fit the profile of who Operation Spark intends to serve.

    Operation Spark, by my estimation, is an organization attempting to pluck children out of the ghetto, shock them into learning how to behave, and fast track teach them very basic coding skills. The behavioral lessons and unfriendly/unintellectaul environment take up too much time for the program to include anything about topics like algorithms, data structures, etc.

    If you are not a ghetto child left behind who is responding to your situation with destructive behaviors and needing to be saved the way psychologists have long ago shown doesn't really work, this program is not for you. Professionals from different fields, those who have been to a few days of college, or anyone who was raised with good manners and is ready to actually learn how to code, then steer clear of Operation Spark and go to a more reputable code school.

  • Andy Nguyen  User Photo
    Andy Nguyen • Graduate Verified via LinkedIn
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    As a recent grad, going through the program offered at Operation Spark was the best decision I've ever made. I use to work for a small company in New Orleans as an IT desktop support, and going from the hardware side of computers to learning how to create web applications all on my own is quite a feat.

    Yes the program itself is quite difficult, thats why the program is called immersion, but being able to offer real life skills in fullstack development, I wish I had this opportunity when I was younger.

  • Alex John Sfamurri  User Photo
    Alex John Sfamurri • Student Verified via GitHub
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    Best decision I have ever made. While I learned a lot of different theories and even multiple languages in college, non of those classes went as in depth as Operation Spark has. They also hold you to an extremely high standard, higher than many employers will to help you become not only good on your own, but also in a group. They teach everything in what feels like blocks, that you have to get through. This is a hard, challenging course, but the instructors are there to help you, not do it for you. Looking forward to progressing with the program. It has increasingly helped me find more confidence in myself as a developer, something college did not do for me. Anyone who feels this is elementary has not progressed far enough to make accurate judgment call.
  • Anonymous
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    First let me say that Op Spark's goal of diversifying the coding field is an admirable one. I fully support integrating more people of color into sectors of our economy which have been inaccessible to them due to either current racism, or the residual effects of past racism. I think programs like Operation Spark should exist in every impoverished community of minorities in our country. 

    I just wanted to clarify where I stand as I want to make sure that the issues I have with certain staff, and with a few factors pertaining to how the program is run, are not labeled as being inspired by racism. 

    My first negative experience at Operation Spark occurred on the first day of Boot Camp when encountering a young teacher, Kaelyn, who had just started teaching a few months prior, and was clearly struggling to meet the demands of her new job. Whether from her awkwardly disingenuous and pedantic tone, to the f-bombs she dropped in muffled conversation with her co-workers, to her description of herself as wanting to be a "jellyfish" so everyone would "LEAVE ME ALONE!", negative energy seemed to exude from her every orifice.

    Within the first weeks of coding several students had been shooed away from her desk when asking for help, Kaelyn claiming with a look of disgust on her lips that "that code is too messy!". It was clear that this was often her way of protecting herself from being put on the spot as several times students showed her code that was copied word for word from formal FreeCodeCamp.com documentation, yet she claimed that said students had not used appropriate syntax and therefore refused to glance at the code she was presented. Kaelyn seemed to over obsess about being exposed as not understanding certain material or not being able to decipher something as fast as certain students and would often use up valuable class time to justify her inferior approach to certain algorithms. 

    A perfect example was a case where the class was given a data set of test grades and asked to calculate (among other things) how many people had submitted an "incomplete" paper,  an incomplete test being specifically defined as one which received a score of zero. When a student attempted to correct Kaelyn's algorithm which failed to distinguish between tests that had received a low score and tests that received a zero, Kaelyn proceed to argue with said student for five minutes until she finally understood her error, and then matter-of-factly explained to the class that her approach was still correct because receiving a very low score was the same as receiving a score of zero. 

    Kaelyn's projection of her insecurities in the form of bossy, resentful criticisms of students was not the only way in which she attempted to insulate herself. It was clear that her lessons were oversimplified and taught at a deliberately slow pace so that she could avoid exerting herself beyond what was minimally required of her. 

    I can say that personally I was made to feel very unwelcome in her class and I know several other people that tried to transfer to another teacher only to find that the new class they transferred to was also taught by her. 

    Aside from the terrible experience I had with Kaelyn, I had a few other minor criticisms of the school. There seemed to be a need for courses that afforded more advanced students an opportunity to work at a faster pace as students in the top 30% of classes spent about half of their class time simply waiting around for their peers to finish assignments. 

    I also thought it a bit tacky that an article arguing that the murder of aggressive baboons has been shown necessary to bring peace to primate communities was attached to the school's mission statement - 
    https://www.nytimes.com/2004/04/13/science/no-time-for-bullies-baboons-retool-their-culture.html

    I think a school with such an admirable goal must be careful to distinguish itself from the divisive language of certain activists who claim that ALL suffering in our nation is due to DELIBERATE, ONGOING aggression, and that the only way to combat such behavior is through equally aggressive opposition. 

    All in all, the school has helped a lot of students who lack the educational background or discipline to teach themselves to code online. I applaud the leadership of certain professional staff members like Mr. Cortez who was equally helpful to anyone who consulted him. 

    If you are the type who can't study at home, or needs career counseling and perhaps some tips on assimilating into the average American office environment, I highly recommend this course - assuming you can access financial aid or afford the tuition. Otherwise, I'd probably save my $11,000 and teach myself online. 

    Personally, I decided to opt out of the program and have been able to teach myself more at home than I learned at school. FreeCodeCamp.com offers a forum  monitored by professional coders willing to answer any questions you may come up with 24/7 for FREE. Combining this with several free Youtube courses and the wealth of free coding libraries and documentation available for download online, I have felt more than equipped to complete a coding portfolio on my own, and even was able to build my own programs with more up-to-date languages than students at Op Spark (I was using React when they were still coding with Jquery : / ). 

    My intention in writing this is not to destroy Operation Spark by any means. I truly hope that a sound group of positive teachers is eventually hired and that the issue with advanced students not getting much from the program is solved. If you are not an extremely driven, resourceful, and patient student who can teach yourself at home, the program is still valuable. 

    I'll leave my criticisms at that. Good luck to all that decide to devote themselves to coding. My adventure has been arduous but extremely rewarding. I wish the same to all of you. 
  • Changed My Life
    - 8/3/2018
    Anonymous • Graduate
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    Operation Spark changed my life. Coming from a little to none coding background, I am now proud to say that I'm a Software Developer. The instructors are passionate about every student. They teach you more than just how to code, they teach you to learn for yourself. You learn full-stack web development. From the client to the server, to the database. After going through the Immersion program I am qualified to take on any task assigned to me.

  • Best Decision
    - 8/3/2018
    Anonymous • Student
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    I just finished the 3rd week of Bootcamp class and we've already learned Higher Order Functions... I've gained an IMMENSE amount of knowledge in just a couple of weeks and know for sure that by the end of Immersion, I will have condensed about five years worth of knowledge into about 4 months.

    This person who left a one star review needs to grow up. For one, saying that children are being 'plucked out of the ghetto' is extremely racist and ignores the fact that part of Operation Spark's mission is to give opportunities to low income people. Also, I'm in the same group that the previous reviewer would have been in, and I'm a college graduate in my late 20s. Nobody in my class is less than 18 years old. I'm really at a loss for who they could be talking about.

    About the militancy, I'd say YES, sometimes the instructors are hard on you but it's called Bootcamp for a reason. They're training you to be professional, arrive in a timely fashion, and present yourself professionally. Also, I'm pretty sure from that person's review, they were only present for the Pre-Course, which is a two week FREE session that has the purpose of helping you figure out if this program is for you. The only time the professional e-mail thing was mentioned was in the Precourse.

    To me, it sounds like this person is just bitter because they didn't make it to Bootcamp, which you have to test into. Reading this review incensed me because I look forward to going to class because I know every day presents a new challenge that I'm truly proud of once I accomplish it.

    For what it's worth, definitely try Operation Spark out if you're interested in programming... it's very fun and I feel like it's worth every penny.