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Prime Digital Academy

Kansas City, Minneapolis

Prime Digital Academy

Avg Rating:4.87 ( 104 reviews )

Prime Digital Academy offers an intensive, 20-week full-stack coding bootcamp and an 18-week UX design bootcamp in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Working directly with Twin Cities tech employers, Prime Digital Academy has created programs that equip emerging engineers and designers with the skills they need to make immediate contributions. Prime students learn modern technologies, practical methodologies, and critical behavioral skills through carefully crafted curriculum and real-world projects for pro-bono clients in the community. Prime’s immersive programs empower learners from diverse backgrounds to begin their new careers in months, not years.

Prime’s full-stack engineering course prepares students with the skills and hands-on experience to develop complex software to solve businesses problems. Prime’s user experience design curriculum prepares students with professional practice in research, design and prototype software that is usable and meaningful. Prime graduates have been hired by nearly 200 companies in Minnesota, and the tight-knit learning community continues long after graduation, with students participating in mentorship, community education and ongoing alumni career support.

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  • Full Stack Engineering

    Apply
    Start Date Rolling Start Date
    Cost$15,500
    Class size22
    LocationKansas City, Minneapolis
    Prime prepares our students to join the industry as entry-level software engineers through a program centered around a 14 week immersive classroom experience. We’ll use modern technologies like HTML / CSS, Javascript, AngularJS, React.js and Node.js to give you foundational knowledge in software engineering you’ll be apply in any technical environment.
    Financing
    Deposit$1500
    Financing
    36 and 60 month financing plans available from SkillsFund and Climb Credit
    Tuition PlansPay $1500 Deposit and remaining balance in Week 7
    Scholarship$500 scholarship to student of color accepted into the program. Additional Minnesota, Minneapolis, and St. Paul grant-based tuition support may be available for eligible accepted students.
    Getting in
    Minimum Skill LevelBeginner
    Prep Work6 Weeks of required, flipped-classroom study and prep assignments.
    Placement TestYes
    InterviewYes
  • User Experience Design

    Apply
    Design, User Experience Design
    In PersonFull Time65 Hours/week18 Weeks
    Start Date Rolling Start Date
    Cost$15,500
    Class size22
    LocationMinneapolis
    Prime’s 18-week immersive User Experience Design program was crafted to help people with interests in design, organization and technology build the foundational skills to start a career in user experience. Prime works hand-in-hand with industry employers to ensure that graduates are ready for the challenges of building complex experiences that are valuable for businesses and resonate with users.
    Financing
    Deposit$1500
    Financing
    36 and 60 month financing terms available from SkillsFund and Climb Credit
    Tuition PlansPay $1500 Deposit and remaining balance in Week 7
    Scholarship$500 scholarship to each person of color accepted into the program. Additional Minnesota and Minneapolis grant-based tuition support may be available for eligible accepted students.
    Getting in
    Minimum Skill LevelBeginner
    Prep Work6 Weeks of Online Pre-Work
    Placement TestYes
    InterviewYes
  • Family
    - 8/2/2016
    Anonymous • Software Engineer • Graduate
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    There are more and more bootcamps springing up in the Twin Cities, and although I cannot speak to the others in the area Prime Digital Academy is fantastic. Besides its strong association with The Nerdery, what sets it apart is the sense of community they have built. Our cohort bonded through weekly personal speeches, and community events (along with a dedicated Slack server) foster the kind of supportive and open community that a new developer needs to succeed. Without this family of support, new developers are going to flounder as they set out in their new careers. 

    Part of this community is responding to student feedback. A large portion of our cohort was having trouble grasping what they needed to from the curriculum/instruction. Prime listened to all our feedback, took corrective action, and allowed those who needed to drop down to a later cohort free of extra charge. In addition they have made changes to their curriculum and practices to make sure that if a student isn't getting what they need out of the program, the staff knows early on and can give the student the extra attention that they deserves. Even if the curriculum wasn't perfect then, Prime is constantly iterating on it to make it the best it possibly can be. 

    The best part of this curriculum is the group project portion. Groups of students are paired with businesses in the area (non-profit or otherwise) to solve a business problem with the skills that Prime teaches. The instructors are there for support, but the students are primarily responsible for gathering requirements, designing, and building the application for the client. This is invaluable experience for a new developer, for both the technical challenge of creating an app from scratch, but also for the communication and cooperative challenge of working with a real client and a small team. 

    A strength and a weakness of the program is its choice of the MEAN stack as its tech. The strength lies in that the MEAN stack is all written in javascript, so that students do not have to learn the syntax of multiple languages. MEAN stack is also more on the cutting edge... but not in the area. The Twin Cities market for MEAN stack developers is limited. .NET and Java are much more prevalent. That being said, many Prime graduates have gotten jobs in other technology stacks because they've demonstrated the aptitude and attitude to learn technology of any kind. In addition, companies in the area are slowly adopting more modern development frameworks like MEAN stack. Even with the downsides, Prime's choice of MEAN stack is overall a strength.

    Prime cares very deeply about their students' career success, and as part of the curriculum we had to work with their career consultant to refine or rewrite our resumes and set up linkedin profiles. In addition, Prime organizes a mock interview day with technical recruiters from the area, some of which have led to jobs. A career day in the final week of Prime also served as good practice for the job search to come (and also leads to jobs for some students). Even after graduation though, Prime makes all of its resources available to alumni. My key fob and wifi password work to this day, and the career consultant will always make time for graduate who asks for help in their job search (resume revision, interview prep, pep talks, etc). 

    All in all, I could not be happier with my choice to attend Prime. It has led me to career that challenges me intellectually, introduces me to super smart people, and gives me more schedule and financial flexibility than I've ever had before in my life. I can't speak to other bootcamps in the area, but I can't imagine they do all the things that Prime has done for me both during and after my time there. If you're thinking about enrolling: just do it. You will not regret it.

  • Great School
    - 8/1/2016
    Anonymous • .NET Software Developer • Graduate
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    When I was thinking about joining a coding Bootcamp, I had a lot of doubts about whether or not it was actually possible to teach someone to not only code, but think like a software engineer in such a short amount of time. Let me tell you that although those 18 weeks are extremely challenging, you can bet before you're through, somehow they'll make a dev out of you.

    The teachers and support staff are an amazing group of people. They are always extremely helpful and have more patience than I thought was humanly possible. They really are there because they want to watch you succeed and will do everything they can to make sure that you do. They were able to give me the tools needed to go out in the field with the confidence and skills needed to land a job as a software developer.

    Because this information was important to me while doing research, I'll go ahead and post it:

    Jobs applied: 50+ within a month
    Interviews: 10+
    Offers: 2
    Time of unemployment after graduation: Less than 1 month
    Occupation: .NET Software Developer
    Salary: Above school average, as of 8/1
    Time spent working on school material outside of class, per week: 20hrs. Some weeks more during personal and group projects.
    Worth it?: 100% worth it.
     

  • Anonymous • Software Developer • Graduate
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    I had an excellent experience with Prime Digital Academy. I found that the staff were phenomenal, the content was relevant to the current market, and my time was well spent. I learned so many things. The skills I learned were not limited to learning how to develop in JavaScript but extended far beyond: learning how to learn a new language, effectively collaborating with a team, becoming a better communicator, and much more. I found so much professional and personal support from the staff and my peers while attending Prime. The focus is on building skills that enable someone to find a job and be successful in the workplace, not just learning the language.

  • Anonymous • Graduate
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    I can't say enough good things about the overall experience at Prime. The staff is comprised of a just right balance of instructors and support staff to address any issues that might come up. Imposter syndrome is a thing, and Prime beautifully handles the ups and downs of learning at breakneck speed. The experience taught me how to learn quickly, and helped me fine tune my career direction. The curriculum touches on so many things, and is broad enough to help get your foot in the door somewhere. Did I mention that the staff is super supportive? They're also connected to local employers in a big way. I'm now part of a vast network of potential employers, and an army of helpful alumni. I regularily engage with current and past students and staff on a daily basis. Super valuable experience.

  • Abysmal
    - 7/18/2016
    Anonymous • Student
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    The Good

    • Prime brings in some incredible students. Pretty much everyone is friendly and interested in bettering themselves
    • It is immersive, so you really get a chance to get your hands dirty and work through some tough challenges
    • There was some gender diversity and a tiny bit of racial diversity, which I was pleasantly surprised to see
    • Toastmasters is a part of the curriculum, and I always enjoyed hearing people's speeches and participating in the weekly meetings

    The Bad

    • The prework was almost exclusively online through Code School. For the cost, it seems unfair not to create their own prework curriculum. It doesn't really prepare you to solve problems without a blueprint, so that makes it difficult once you transition into classroom instruction.
    • The instructors for my cohort had no teaching experience, and it showed. One was working on her Master's Degree, and the other was planning to and eventually did launch a business during my cohort. They also hated each other, and they never spoke outside of class hours. One instructor would often ask the class if what she was doing looked right because she was unsure. 
    • *******One of our instructors got fired during my cohort because of all of the student complaints he received. They never informed us that he was terminated. They just shifted around the instruction staff to "give us a different perspective." *******
    • There was no consistency in what was taught. They called it "agile curriculum development," but my cohort was short-changed. My cohort had one lecture on SQL while the cohort after mine learned SQL for one week and learned to setup a SQL and MongoDB database and connect it to the front end. My cohort did not get any hands-on practice with SQL. The cohort after mine learned SASS. My cohort did not. For the final project, the cohort after mine had to get their project scope reviewed and approved before they could start working on their project. In my cohort, there were several students whose scopes were never looked at and where no feedback was given. 
    • In my cohort, it was decided that one student could not graduate because she had not reached the "benchmarks" for graduation, but these "benchmarks" were never explained to anyone in our cohort. If you decide to apply, be sure to ask and get written documentation about the expectations, so you know what is required for graduation. They told this student at week 17 of 18 that she would not be graduating, despite assuring her at week 15 that she was doing just fine. Again, get written documentation. 
    • The MEAN Stack is almost completely useless in the Twin Cities, unless you only want to work in the front-end. Most companies look for people with .NET or Java experience and a college degree. Don't believe me? Do a search on Indeed. If you come from a technical background, such as graphic design, tech support,  development, etc, you will have greater success than if you have no tech background and aren't the strongest coder at the end of the program. There are companies that don't even consider Prime graduates because of how little training they have.
    • There was no discussion of data structures or algorithms, so you will struggle in your first job trying to figure out why something isn't working if it isn't exactly like problems you practiced in class. 
    • Some people from the cohort that ended in December 2015 and January 2016 are still unemployed or only recently employed. Be prepared to be out of work for 6 months after the program if you have no background in programming. Seriously. 
    • So many people struggled because of the poor instruction that 5 out of 22 students went back at least one cohort, including one person who started over completely. They present this option to go back a cohort as a benefit, but on their website, it says that they can prepare you for a software development job in 18 weeks. My cohort is proof this is not the case. Of the people that went back one cohort, 2 are still unemployed (since February 2016), and 2 work in tech support - not as developers, 1 did not graduate at all. That's almost 25% of the class. That just isn't good enough if you're charging $12,000.
    • They advertised an apprenticeship, but they did not inform any of the first 5 cohorts that they did not actually have an apprenticeship network as advertised. They claimed that we would be able to work as an apprentice for up to 5 months to get our foot in the door, but graduation came and went with no mention of said apprenticeships. For many, this was the main reason they chose Prime, and it was very upsetting to find out this option was unavailable. When they were approached about it, they said that the apprenticeship "was just part of their 'launch language' and should have been removed from the website." Oops.
    • There was only one code review throughout the entire course for my cohort, so many were left wondering how they were doing through the entire course
    • A lot of the students in my cohort were scholarship recipients, and one of my classmates overheard Taylor, Prime's Community Relations person, saying that my cohort struggled more because we were scholarship recipients and didn't work as hard.

    Proceed at your own risk. A lot of people have had great experiences at Prime, as evidenced by the positive reviews. Just keep in mind that the experience varies for everyone, and because this is a business and not an accredited institution, there is very little you can do if you disagree with their decisions or are unhappy with the quality of instruction.

  • Anonymous • Student
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    Three things I love about Prime:

    • a positive learning environment
    • high expectations and support from instructors
    • accessibility of staff and facility  

    Prime is what I wish all of my other learning experiences were.

  • Tenzin Chosang • software engineer • Graduate
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    20 weeks with great staff, teachers, and students. You're surrounded by others who are as dedicated as you are to improving and learning as much as possible. For anyone that has been self-teaching, you'll surprise yourself at the rate of how much youre learning. 

  • Tenzin Chosang • software engineer • Graduate
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    20 weeks with great staff, teachers, and students. You're surrounded by others who are as dedicated as you are to improving and learning as much as possible. For anyone that has been self-teaching, you'll surprise yourself at the rate of how much youre learning. 

Thanks!