RefactorU is a selective, 10-week, hands-on, immersive web application development bootcamp in Boulder, CO. Students will create applications and build a portfolio of projects to share with employers while developing a peer and advisor network for life. RefactorU collaborates with students to find jobs they love. Before, during, and after students' 10-week experience, RefactorU's career team works very hard to introduce students to hiring managers in the Denver/Boulder area as well as in other technology hotspots across the country.
RefactorU's curriculum is composed of a combination of front end, back end, and other technologies, tools, and skills. Graduates of the program will leave having mastered HTML5, CSS3, AngularJS, Node.js, JS, Sockets, MongoDB, JSON, command line skills, source control, deployment, pair progamming, Agile/Scrum, behavior-driven development, Sublime Text, interviewing, and more.
As of February 2016, RefactorU now offers Post-9/11 GI Bill Benefits.
Recent RefactorU Reviews: Rating 4.1
Recent RefactorU News
- Episode 9: November 2016 News Roundup + Podcast
- Alumni Spotlight: Jon Dyson of RefactorU
- Am I the Right Candidate for a Coding Bootcamp?
Start Date Rolling Start Date Cost $39 Class size N/A Location Online
Minimum Skill Level N/A Placement Test No Interview No
In PersonPart Time
Start Date Rolling Start Date Cost $49 Class size N/A Location Online
Minimum Skill Level N/A Placement Test No Interview No Start Date Rolling Start Date Cost $39 Class size N/A Location Online
Minimum Skill Level N/A Placement Test No Interview No
In PersonPart Time
Start Date Rolling Start Date Cost $99 Class size N/A Location Online
Minimum Skill Level N/A Placement Test No Interview No Start Date None scheduled Cost $13,500 Class size 25 Location Boulder
Deposit N/A Scholarship 20% for retired or active service US military personnel or spouse
Minimum Skill Level Little to no formal programming experience is fine, but pre-work must be completed prior to the start of the program. Prep Work Approximately 40 - 50 hours Placement Test No Interview Yes
In PersonPart Time
Start Date Rolling Start Date Cost $9 Class size N/A Location Online
Minimum Skill Level N/A Placement Test No Interview No Start Date Rolling Start Date Cost $69 Class size N/A Location Online
Minimum Skill Level N/A Placement Test No Interview No
In PersonPart Time
Start Date Rolling Start Date Cost $89 Class size N/A Location Online
Minimum Skill Level N/A Placement Test No Interview No
In PersonPart Time
Start Date Rolling Start Date Cost $19 Class size N/A Location Online
Minimum Skill Level N/A Placement Test No Interview No Start Date None scheduled Cost $999 Class size N/A Location BoulderThis course provides expert instruction + best-in-class curriculum with hands-on, in-depth learning. Curriculum and exercises based on RefactorU's 10-Week Full-Stack Immersive Bootcamp. Personalized help from expert developers. In-class projects and exercises. Group solution reviews. Pair programming learning structures to maximize learning opportunities. Lifetime access to RefactorU’s “Introduction to HTML” and “Introduction to CSS Development” online courses ($108 value), which includes: 18 videos with over 90 minutes of lectures and explanations. 5 practice exercises to help you master the basics. 12 external resource files.
Minimum Skill Level N/A Placement Test No Interview No
In PersonPart Time4 Weeks
Minimum Skill Level N/A Placement Test No Interview No Start Date Rolling Start Date Cost $29 Class size N/A Location Online
Minimum Skill Level N/A Placement Test No Interview No
In PersonPart Time
Start Date Rolling Start Date Cost $59 Class size N/A Location Boulder, Online
Minimum Skill Level N/A Placement Test No Interview No
In PersonPart Time
Start Date Rolling Start Date Cost $59 Class size N/A Location Online
Minimum Skill Level N/A Placement Test No Interview No
In PersonPart Time6 Hours/week3 Weeks
Start Date None scheduled Cost $999 Class size N/A Location BoulderThis course provides expert instruction + best-in-class curriculum with hands-on, in-depth learning. Curriculum and exercises based on RefactorU's 10-Week Full-Stack Bootcamp. Personalized help from expert developers. In-class projects and exercises. Group solution reviews. Pair programming learning structures to maximize learning opportunities. Lifetime access to RefactorU’s “Introduction to Node.js” and “Working with MongoDB” online courses ($88 value), which includes: 25 videos with over 2 hours of lectures and explanations. 9 exercises to help you master Node.js and MongoDB concepts. 9 external resource files.
Minimum Skill Level N/A Placement Test No Interview No
- In PersonPart Time
Start Date Rolling Start Date Cost $19 Class size N/A Location Online
Minimum Skill Level N/A Placement Test No Interview No Start Date Rolling Start Date Cost $29 Class size N/A Location Online
Minimum Skill Level N/A Placement Test No Interview No
30 reviews sorted by:
- Only Applicants, Students, and Graduates are permitted to leave reviews on Course Report.
- Post clear, valuable, and honest information that will be useful and informative to future coding bootcampers. Think about what your bootcamp excelled at and what might have been better.
- Be nice to others; don't attack others.
- Use good grammar and check your spelling.
- Don't post reviews on behalf of other students or impersonate any person, or falsely state or otherwise misrepresent your affiliation with a person or entity.
- Don't spam or post fake reviews intended to boost or lower ratings.
- Don't post or link to content that is sexually explicit.
- Don't post or link to content that is abusive or hateful or threatens or harasses others.
- Please do not submit duplicate or multiple reviews. These will be deleted. Email moderators to revise a review or click the link in the email you receive when submitting a review.
- Please note that we reserve the right to review and remove commentary that violates our policies.
Click here to log in or sign up and continue.
- Second Bootcamp I attended; happy I did- 10/26/2016Drew Conly • Junior Web Developer • Graduate • Course: Full-Stack Web Development • Campus: Boulder
My LinkedIn profile is visible and I will happily connect with any that have additional questions. I will send my personal email there if requested.
First and foremost, as I believe this particular factor distinguishes me from many that have/will attend a coding bootcamp - I attended two. The first bootcamp I attended was Turing which was, with the exception of a handful of friends I still stay in touch with, a dreadful experience. Their curriculum was taught out of order there in my opinion, you won't truly receive what you pay for, almost zero transparency upfront, and almost out of the gate it exudes a cult-like presence that became highly distracting. The owner of Turing, Jeff, effectively admitted to that he "chose me" to be a social experiment. He's shy above a common thief in my mind.
But I digress, it's been a year since I attending Turing.
When I approached RefactorU, it was on the recommendation of a former student. I didn't feel as though 6 months of my life could be spent without gainful employment as I'd just spent almost 5 with little to show for it. I request and was able to speak with Sean Daken directly.
He was extremely transparent with me and even walked me through entertaining not attending (as they're more catered to a complete beginner). After speaking with him in-depth about how the curriculum is organized, what their aim is and their philosophy in general I decided to pull the trigger.
Instructors: I can only speak for myself when I say I would love (for anything I'm trying to learn/master) to have the 1:1, Mr. Miyagi-style approach. Expectation vs. Reality? With RefactorU it was probably about as close as I could get. My instructors were Brandon Jiminez and Rob Camp. They were both extremely available and only meeting them would do justice to my description of their passion. I sincerely felt like they wanted to see everyone be successful that was putting in the work. This was a marked departure from my last bootcamp experience where it was, 'you figure it out or you can't be in our cult.' Works for me - I paid the money I did to learn to code not to drink any kool-aid.
Overall Experience: As with anything you get out what you put in. I completely ignored their 50-ish hours approach (as I would suggest anyone seeking employment in the industry to do). While I appreciated that time frame and felt it is the proper approach from a coding perspective, I attended no less than 2 Meetups per week. I spent no less than 1 day per weekend on a personal project, and I actively emailed & marketed myself over my lunch hours and in the evenings when I'd accomplished my tasks for class. I also worked out 3-5 days a week and chose to abstain from drinking. When it's 10 weeks and not 6 + months you can immediately see the light at the end of the tunnel. When you have a supportive cast it makes the time go by faster. I still speak weekly to many people from my cohort.
Job Assistance: This one was a little tough to throw 4 stars at, but Patty Kettle - their community manager is second to none. She's incredibly dedicated to what she does, if there's something that she can be doing but isn't yet - she's on it. Hands down incredible experience on that front. They also worked with me so that I was able to graduate two weeks early (with my final project completed) so that I could accept and begin my new job in development. However, my caveat on this point would be - I don't buy real estate under sea level. Meaning to say, oh wow! 98% placement in 3 months or less!?!?! Well that's just too good to be true. Oh yeah, it is. But Refactor/Sean leveled with me and told me what I already knew. It is up to YOU to get a job. Patty will do everything in her power shy of interviewing for you to try to help that process, but if you've never been to a meetup? Never cold-called or emailed a company on your own behalf? Sorry - the junior dev market is just too flooded. You're not a diamond in the rough, but you do possess a newly honed set of skills. Market them.
Here's the deal: Prior to the pursuit of web development I was in technology staffing for 5 years. I saw the curb appeal, enjoyed the challenge, and (finally) made the switch. I can't even begin to describe how humiliating, emotional draining, and frustrating my first bootcamp experience was. The lies that they tell while under the protection of "non-profit" and "social-justice focused" let them get away with murder (figuratively speaking). They've sent non-disclosure agreements to students they've "removed" so that they can continue their narrative as doing good for the world - or some trumped up cult-like SJ cause.
Fact is, I knew I'd be taking a pay cut for a bit in order to make this change. I didn't (still don't) need a cult, a club, or hazing rituals in a dungeon to feel accomplished. Non-profit or for-profit bootcamps are a business. As a student you are a customer. As a customer you have the right to demand the product and service you pay for. Instruction within set hours in a week, as much help and guidance as possible, and while positivity isn't necessarily on the menu it helps a whole hell of a lot. My first bootcamp was a bait-and-switch and mind-boggling what they've gotten away with. I'm very pleased I attended RefactorU.
Feel free to connect with me on linkedin.com/in/drewconly if you have any other questions. It can be a daunting decision; especially at over 10k no matter where you attend.
- RefactorU Review- 10/17/2016Grace Gamble • Junior Front End Web Developer • Graduate • Course: Full-Stack Web Development • Campus: Boulder
I like to think of myself as the average student that RefactorU was designed for and advertises to the public. RefactorU is designed for people who have zero web development experience, looking for a career transition. Admittedly, I was a bit thrown off when I began my cohort's boot camp as a number of my peers came to refresh their own knowledge of coding or to confirm the knowledge they had in order to pursue development. The biggest lesson I learned within those first few weeks is that I can't possibly compare myself to anyone else as a developer.
We're all constantly learning. The most I can do is to have compassion for myself and continue to use the resources at my disposal to build on my small foundation of knowledge that I gained from RefactorU. RefactorU is not designed to give anyone more than a base level understanding of web development, so that additional knowledge can be added over the course of a career. Understanding this going in will go a long way in being at ease with the process. Before starting in May, I hadn't seriously entertained the idea of a career in web development for more than a few months. This fact surprised many people, and I hope goes a long way in helping prospective students realize that pursuing this level of education is possible and obtainable, without much if any prior knowledge. Virtually all I did, aside from researching and interviewing mid-senior level web developers, was completing the pre-work.
Throughout my cohort's boot camp, I noticed a wide variety of participation, which was understandable. Coding is not for everyone, as much as it is advertised to be the case. It takes a certain amount of determination and aptitude and is not desingned for the faint of heart. I in particular definitely felt the frustrations that most of us have with such a fast immersive program, in fact I cried a number of times out of stress. Perserverance is key in order to not let the stress totally consume you.
One of my greatest allies was a peer in my cohort. He said many things that really hit home and made me feel confident. One of them was that the program was designed not to force us into becoming developers, but instead to inspire and help us succeed. Also, that it is up to us to take advantage of the resources at hand. Those resources that we pay for are the instructors and each other/our peers. This is the difference between teaching ourselves online or via other means and actually investing and paying for these boot camps. Sharing each other's knowledge is paramount to success. As an aside for legitimacy, this friend is now working with Twitter on his own project, that they are backing.
It is also worth noting that while each person learns differently, I beleive that I am proof that it is possible to be successful and get the most out of the program by working only within the 8 hour Monday through Friday schedule. During my off hours, I spent that time resuming my usual routine, ie keeping myself active, spending time with friends, making time for myself. I only spent around 5-10 hours outside of class, and that was during finals.
I couldn't be more pleased with my decision, which was quite abrupt, to choose RefactorU. I had the option to choose the other two boot camps here in Boulder and frankly hurriedly landed on RefactorU. There were definite noticeable gripes from all of my peers over the duration of the program, but the way I see it is that nothing is perfect. In order to succeed, at the end of the day, it's on you as the individual to make it happen... no one will hand you a job/career on a silver platter. You have to put in the work, the effort, to make it happen.
That is not to say that there weren't certain aspects of the program that were a bit disappointing. RefactorU boasts a strong career services program, which was honestly more than a bit inaccurate. Our career services "team" consisted of a third party who was only in house for the 30+ students one day a week and was ineffective as far as prioritizing helping students succeed and be prepared for entering the work force. I was also under the impression that RefactorU had a stronger name and standing with the local community of employers, as they boasted an employer network, and then admitted to not having a strong when at the start of my cohort's program.
RefactorU has since stepped up it's game and as of mid July, now has an impressive in house career team adamant to make a change in not only RefactorU's local reputation but also in helping students and alumni succeed professionally post graduating.
To recap a bit here... RefactorU and pursuing a career as a web developer is not for the faint of heart. It is wildly challenging and demands ample personal drive. Nothing will be handed to you on silver platter, not even when you land your first job. Your success or failure is totally up to you. Do your research, determine if this is the right move. It is not a get rich quick scheme, as many people seem to think, based on the way boot camps are advertised. Do the work, come to class, and learn from your peers and instructors that you pay for. Upon graduation, build your network. Take it easy on yourself, but make sure to put yourself out there... reach out to those companies that excite you and be confident, and yet not cocky about your new skill set, as you will have only scratched the surface as a boot camp grad.
Less than two months after graduating, I landed my first job and I am beginning my third week as a Junior Front End Web Developer, and yet I feel that I have barely scratched the surface. I am proud and excited to see where this leads. I started at RefactorU with zero knowledge of coding. If I can do that, you can too.
- RefactorU Course Review- 9/16/2016Caitlin • Web Design & Development • Graduate • Course: Full-Stack Web Development • Campus: Boulder
After researching several coding bootcamps, RefactorU fit my timeframe, location, and cost. Why did I have a positive experience? For one, I was already familiar with basic web design practices, HTML, & CSS. If you've never fiddled with Google Web Dev Tools or started CodeAcademy the weekend before starting any developer program, then you should probably ask yourself if you're going succeed at the level you want to.
Not to reiterate on several other reviews, but if anyone thought they would walk out of a 10 week course being able to spit out the next UBER, then your comically mistaken. Whether you're looking to get a degree or certificate, you still need to work your ass off to understand the concepts and drill it into your brain. It was a fun experience, but when I hit walls of getting some of the languages down, it was up to me to ask for help or find a way to get my "left-brain" to grasp it. Some students expressed they "weren't getting it" during some areas, yet during lecture or code time, I rarely heard them ask a question. Whether you're going to RefactorU, Galvanize or Touring, put your ego or self-consiousness aside and open your mouth. That's how it works in college and in a work environment. You're paying for it, right?
The instructors were great, and two of the TA's were a huge part of my "lightbulb moments" with several of the frameworks. I enjoyed how the day was divided up into a few hours of lecture and then coding. I honestly can't believe how far I've come in 10 weeks; especially after hours of personal time on YouTube and Lynda.com, you can't compare it to having an guidance and explanation at your fingertips.
What the program could improve on:
1. We spent about 4-5 weeks on the front-end. Personally, I needed more time on the back-end. The last few weeks were a bit of a blur. If I was introduced a bit earlier to Nodejs & MongoDB, I think I could have excelled and taken advantage of the curriculum during my time there.
2. Utilize the white board more during lecture. Especially, when building on new frameworks. Drawings, pictures, flowcharts, etc.
3. I don't think 'everyone' should be accepted into these programs. If you don't have basic coding concepts, no clue what "div" is or unaware there are keyboard shortcuts, then you're experience is not going to be what you hope.
Overall, it was what I had expected and great experience.
- RefactorU Review- 9/14/2016Allison • Graduate • Course: Full-Stack Web Development • Campus: Boulder
I did extensive research on Bootcamps before deciding on RefactorU. I chose RefactorU over others in the area because:
1. I love their Boulder location
2. Their program length is short (if I can learn what I need in 10 weeks, why would I pay more to be out of work for a longer period of time?)
3. Previous graduates recommended the program - the two I found and spoke with are extremely happy in their new jobs that they've had for years now
4. The cost seemed reasonable when comapred with the cost, length, and quality of education of other bootcamps
5. I sat in on a lecture and I liked the atmosphere and felt that the instructors knew what they were talking about
Now having graduated just over a month ago, here are my pros and cons:
1. I learned a ton of information in 10 weeks, which is exactly what I wanted.
2. I completed a single-page full-stack web application that I am proud of and is a huge resume booster.
3. I grew as a person. Was it easy? No. Did others in my class fail? Yes. Changing careers is difficult. You will have to do a lot of work and no matter how much you pay someone, that fact is not going to change.
4. I had a good work-life balance throughout. What they say is true - you get out what you put in. I worked hard, but I did not drown.
5. I was able to add on to the curriculum by teaching myself d3.js and fiddling with a hardware component to my project. The instructors and TA's were willing and able to help me where they could, but I took it on of my own accord.
6. Fun outings and events sponsored by RefactorU made for great group cohesion and fun! Pattie is awesome and geninuinely listens and cares.
7. Tony (no longer with RefactorU) and Rob were really great instructors! They were really engaging and knew how to convey the topic so we could easily understand. The TA's were also really helpful. I was able to ask questions when I was stuck and have it very quickly resolved, which was awesome!
1. The facilities were not quite what I was hoping for or expected considering the cost of the program. Especially after touring the cool, hip tech spaces of their competitors, it was a bit of a let-down. (Examples: The projector and screen had an issue that should have been an easy fix and yet was never fixed the entire 10-weeks even though we all complained. There is a violin studio next door as well as an accupuncturist so we had to deal with violin noise and the smell of Moxa burning - an annoying and bad smell in my opinion.)
2. RefactorU seems to be in a state of flux as a company. They did lose one of their very best instructors towards the end of my program. They have hired on new instructors and TA's so they are growing, but like I said, in a state of flux. They also seem to be outgrowing their space, and, since the facility is really sub-par, hopefully they are planning to upgrade in the near future.
Overall, I genuinely learned a lot and had a ton of fun! I've had interviews and a job offer, so things are looking up! Finding a job in a new field is hard (especially because I am being very picky!). Ten weeks is not a lot of time to learn a new topic, so unless you have previous coding experience, you should expect to be a Junior Developer starting out and maybe even consider taking an internship, just to get your foot in the door. (I also think the starting salary RefactorU boasts is a little inflated, so keep that in mind.) After you get a little experience, your salary will soar (or so I'm told).
Best wishes in your decision.
- Thomas Callahan • Software Engineer • Graduate • Course: Full-Stack Web Development • Campus: Boulder
These reviews are always a tricky thing and quite frankly I always take them with a grain of salt. In all my years I've never written a review of anything online. Unfortunately when it comes to my writing style it's sort of a "go big or go home" style so I appologize for verbosity up front.
As far as the learning to code goes I have zero regrets in my performance. If you go through the learning process and aren't faced with challenges, halted by obstacles, driven to frustration, but in the end coming away with more answers than questions, you didn’t try hard enough. I was proud to of hit all of those metrics in my experience and walk away smarter. To quote a mentor and founding father of it all:
"Writing software is a very intense, very personal thing. You have to have time to work your way through it, to understand it. Then debug it."- Vint Cerf
So why the rating levels?
To be clear this is not a "it didn’t work, woe is me review". By RefactorU standards I'm statistically a success story of their program. Most of it had to do with the expectations going into the camp. Most of those expectations are set by the marketing used by RefactorU. Marketing sets both tone and expectations of the customer segment you’re marketing to, in my case they failed on an egregious and costly level. VETERANS and GI BILL APPLICANTS LISTEN UP
EXPECTATIONS OF OVERALL EXPERIENCE:
- 1 star (Job Placement) This one I wasn't really to concerned about going in, I wasn't banking on RefactorU for the "%96 job placement in 12 weeks" but it certainly gave me a warm and fuzzy. Especially considering I was coming from the east coast. My expectation was that I had pretty good odds on getting a job in new area if I so desired to stay in Colorado. But there’s something I take issue with in their statistical reporting and it's in the fine print under the pie chart in the link above. For integrity sake it is displayed as of the date of this review:
The sample size of that %96 percent is based on
*Population size: N = 122
122 graduates as of the year 2015. Great, so we're talking roughly 117 people getting jobs within 3 months right? Wrong!
*Sample size: n = 49 (40% response rate)
40 percent!? Yeah, let that sink in for a minute. RefactorU pulled a Bryan Fantana. How does %40 of 122 graduates equate to %96 percent? At best what you can state accurately is
*of 122 graduates for year 2015 49 responded with employment inside 12 weeks
* %40 of graduates respond with job placement in 12 weeks
I'm not going to comb through all the stats but the numbers simply don't add up even when factoring percentage of the 82 graduates listed on LInkedin that include 2016 grads, or those that went on to start their own firms. I get that RefactorU is at the end of the day a for profit business so marketing has to err on the side of value proposition. But again the expectation from my experience was set months prior to me stepping in the classroom. Sure I saw the website, and maybe those numbers in fine print were there but it isn’t very clear even during the blatant sales funnel that is the pre student screening process either. For a point of comparison on transparency in graduate reporting of coding boot camps, here is a pretty good example from a not for profit code school in the Denver area. There is a lot more I can say about the red flags in this category during my time at RefactorU, including but not limited to the current ratio of employed grad from my cohort almost 12 weeks later (hint: not %96), the cohort prior to mine (18 weeks after graduation) or the number of graduates I met from cohorts as far back as 2015 at Job fairs, Boulder Startup week, meetups, tech conferences, or corporate open house. At the end of the day the issue I take with this is that this is a very risky game that RefactorU is playing with. If you market such an expectation and predicate your business on this standard, then by definition your business is offering a service that fails customers roughly %60 of the time. Even on this site where less than %15 percent of RefactorU graduates reporting, results are still markedly and numerically biased from a third party.
---------------------------------VETERANS MUST READ----------------------------------
-2 star (RefactorU accepts GIBill) This hurt the most. As I said earlier on the day of graduation I had no regret. Two weeks later however, I did and it had everything to do with RefactorU's handling of the GIBill. But let’s take a step back. I know how frustrating the GiBill and VA benefit process can be for so many, civilian, dependent, and veteran alike. For the GIBill there are some misconceptions that need to be cleared because they directly impact how you use them with institutions like RefactorU or codes schools in general.
- Myth - The GI Bill is given to all veterans of the us Armed Forces.
This is false and if you are of this mindset you are part of the problem. Chapters 30 and 33 of the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944 are known as the Montgomery and Post 9/11 GI Bill respectively. They are a voluntary financial investment asset requiring a termed payment of approximately 1 year of military pay with an optional "kicker" bonus payment after said term for US service men and women to invest. This investment asset is backed by the US Government. Rate of return is guaranteed to equal a set number of disbursements over the course of 36 months of educational training after several years of investment maturity. Meaning even after a veteran must pay into the asset it can’t be touched for several years until service members are qualified to access the benefits on its rate of return. Very much like a college 509 savings plan, or loosely based you can think of it as 401k for education but with a higher ROI. Point is, I paid an investment over time, it sits, I received a matured return on my investment that is still owned by me but controlled by the VA. I mention this to make the point that when I say I paid the insane amount I did for RefactorU it was not the amount agreed to with RefactorU. As a veteran I was not the only one victimized.
How does this apply to RefactorU's 2-month training course that they so graciously offer a %20 military discount totaling an alleged cost of $10,800?
It gets tricky but stay with me. RefactorU is not an accredited degree granting institution. As a result, disbursements are disproportional to the typical cost of semester based training. This allows, for profit, vocational institutions to file as "non traditional" Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL) with the VA. In the case of RefactorU I sent my COE paperwork in early March asking what their filing status with the VA was since they were not listed on the VA WEAMS List of Institutions as of 02/16. My goal, like most VA students who file ahead of class start date, was to have my Post/911 Chapter 33 paperwork cleared prior to April 2nd start date so that disbursement would coincide with the class/training schedule. Coming from out of state I needed to rent a place to stay and that monthly stipend for living expenses was the expected offset.
In gathering my paperwork I realized that RefactorU's %20 discount as an IHL qualifies them very clearly as a candidate for the GI Bill Yellow Ribbon Program. Again RefactorU would not disclose if they were an IHL at the time and only responded by saying "we do guarantee acceptance of the GI Bill and we are listed and registered with the Colorado Department of Higher Education" this was a red flag from the start. I pressed forward in the assumption that they would be operating as an IHL considering the CDHE registration and the dubious "U" of RefactorU.
Furthermore, I noticed that RefactorU was not listed as a Colorado Yellow Ribbon Participant (a provision within the Post 9/11 Gi Bill) ironically hurting their bottom line by doing so. To participate schools need to fill out VA Form 22-0839 and submit to VA electronically. I sent this form with the instructions, corresponding information, and volunteered to file it with the VA myself on behalf of the school in my early March email. Unfortunately, it went without response.
Upon arrival of day 1 and meeting the other veterans in my cohort (%30 of our class were vets), we all realized the school had yet to file with the VA. Anybody who deals with the VA knows the wait times. So all of us expecting that $1,800 housing stipend scheduled on the 1st of each month during training realized it wasn’t coming and we would be lucky to receive it all during the course of the 10-week training. According to the schools VA cost calculator there is clear distinction in cost between Montgomery and Post 9/11 benefits. After several joint phone calls to the VA we realized the school had not submitted the documentation to the VA until week 2 of class! As a result, we didn’t receive our benefits until 7 weeks into our 10 week class. Leaving many of us to rely on out of pocket expenses and credit during unemployment to cover living expenses. Of course this only adds to the stress of the class but it was unnecessary and easily avoidable. When it was all said and done, I later learned that not only I but the other vets in the class were charged for 8 months ($14,056) of our annual $21,085 entitlement for a 2 month class that should, even with military discount, be $10,800. Clearly there is a problem here and quite frankly it's not entirely RefactorU's fault, this is also systemically erroneous on the part of the VA, however RefacorU chose to wing it in an area they clearly weren’t qualified or experienced to handle. Most schools have a trained POC for VA administration. The fact that RefacorU decided against that and filed, while misrepresenting their status as an institution of higher learning with the VA is negligence. When your marketing roughly 8 cohorts a year with an average class size of 20-30 students which should be 200 but let’s just stick with the 122 documented as graduates at a rate of roughly $13k per student, as business you have well over 1.5 million in annual revenue to invest in a certifying official with experience in the VA but RefactorU doesn’t and I would call that Gross Negligence!
So what is the cost of RefactorU to veterans under the Post 9/11 GiBill?
- Over $14,056. dollars. Or roughly 8 months of your 12 month $21,085 annual allotment. This for a course that is 2 months at marketed cost of $10,500 to veterans.
How does a 2 month course marketed at a cost of $10,800 to veterans cost more than the actual $13,500.00 price of admission to regular students?
- This comes down to the fact that after graduation in June it was later listed and disclosed that RefactorU was registered as a "non college degree" program vs. IHL or even Trade School on the Job Vocational. Which was expected and known there was a lack of college degree but not all IHL's offer college degrees under the GI Bill and RefactorU marketed themselves as such.
The take away here is that veterans using the GI Bill pay a "premium" above the $13,500 cost to attend RefactorU.
This is ultimately why schools like ITT Tech, University of Phoenix and the several other for profit "institutions of higher learning" get mired in scandal. A result of negligent financial practices that are predatory to government backed student financial assets. Schools like RefactorU do not take the due diligence to understand the VA system and only recognize it as "guaranteed money" to the school without disclosing impact and true cost to the students.
Your best bet as a vet is to take the %20 discount and finance that through a third party which RefactorU does offer. Do not use your GI Bill with RefactorU. Or better yet, as one of the vets in our class did after realizing RefactorU was not meeting his expectations, enroll at Flatiron Community College and get a certificate from them over the course of one semester at a cost less than %60 what RefactorU charges. Except where he went to apply his Gi Bill benefit in that program the VA informed he had no more money left because RefactorU cost depleted his money unexpectedly.
EXPERIENCE OF INSTRUCTORS
-1 star (world class instructors): To be honest, I liked everyone of their instructors as people. I respect their skills as developers and they are without question brilliant folks. However, when I interviewed with schools in most cases I spoke directly with the instructor designated for the class I would be in. In almost all case they had decades of experience, multiple advanced degrees and even in the case of Iron Yard my instructor to be was former VP of Google's product development. RefactorU is growing so more talent is added to the team every day but again this is a review of my experience that exposed me to 3 instructors. The two leads, who I absolutely appreciated and respected are not world class developer or instructors for that matter. They both have, on paper, less than 5 years of documented experience as devs and are both RefactorU alumni. A company that started in 2013. So assuming they had years of experience prior to attending RefactorU, which seems prohibitive, they are by definition in any other technical trade “journeyman” level developers. Not craftsmen level, let alone master level, certainly not world class compared to other code schools. I would have been fine with this except that again in the marketing when you say you have word class instructors (and it seems to be redacted now) you set an expectation. In comparison to other code schools and my own experience in the IT sector, world class actually means something.
I was looking forward to at least a published SME, or even CIS major. 1 of the 3 actually was but he was leading another cohort and generally unavailable. He later left the company but they have been hiring great replacements that are true craftsmen of thier trade and arguably master level since!
-2 stars (classroom management and availability) As a former instructor in the military and corporate trainer I know something about classroom management. Ask any college educator or public school teacher for that matter and they will explain to you what this entails. The facilities RefactorU is housed, in combination with the lack of instructor (I’m not saying developer in this case but their experience as "instructors") ability made classroom management difficult and presented distractions throughout the 10 weeks. They recognized, attempted to fix it, but failed, as advertised, as they were learning on the job.
Availability was an issue because not only were instructors limited to about 1.5-3 hours at most of lecture in an 8-hour day, the other 5 hours of the day were generally spent playing video games or going to off-site lunches and corporate stand-up meetings during designated student hours. Again swell folks all around but not up to my expectations as advertised "world class". Even by Gladwell logic of 10k hours to achieve mastery these folks have only been "instructors" (again referencing experience as instructors not developers) for a couple years at best in a non-accredited institution that adopts zero VARK style learning modalities or education standards. "Coding Coaches" would be a more appropriatte marketing term. The TA's on the other hand I would argue are world class developers with some having 20+ years of experience but again they aren't the instructors. Huge discredit is done by underutilizing the TA's who are some of the most brilliant minds in the building.
EXPERIENCE OF CURRICULUM
- Most of curriculum was cut and paste from free open sourced learning platforms such as codecademy, udemy, audacity, codeschool, hackerank, and various other platforms I explored prior to arrival. At a cost of several thousand dollars I was expecting more proprietary and unique to RefactorU
- Clear lack of continuity between cohorts. You do and are encouraged to learn and collaborate with the other cohorts while you are there. Something that was very clear was that all of the cohorts I spoke with had varying coverage of topics. Nothing was standardized even by RefactorU's staff. You have one instructor teaching from a set IDE in one class on day 1 and the another in our class starting with a different one. Differences in using Immediately Invoked Functions, or how to setup routing in an express server should be standardized in house. Sure you're all free to choose what tools you prefer but when following along with instructors in lecture it is much easier to use the tools and practices they demo on and thusly vary the learning experience.
- Not covering all technologies advertised seems petty but look my class never covered templating or spoke about Gulp even when asked it was simply a "here’s the website with the documentation". I didn’t pay $14,500+ to be given a hyperlink. Its advertised on the front of the website and when you do learn Gulp it takes your development abilities to the next level. Additionally I was looking forward to pair programming exercises and againas advertised out of the 400+ hours I spent in class our cohort performed no less than 2 total hours of pair programming. I don't mean pair projects or group breakouts. I mean true blue Driver/Navigator pair programming. Galvanize excels at this. Again RefactorU markets this and doesnt deliver on expectation. It's disengenious at best to market something that constitutes less than %1 of your curriculum
- Lack of standards or best practices was disappointing to me. No discussion of industry best practices such as testing let alone TDD. It blew my mind that nobody once mentioned SDLC when talking about application development. Full disclosure, I tested for my CISSP in Feb and of the 8 domains I tested, I failed by 50 points in the area of application security. I knew this was because of my coding abilities and the primary driver behind choosing a code school. Secure Set was where I felt I should have been but they didn’t offer GI Bill, and I only needed to review application development, not the other 7 domains I tested fine in. In week 8 when we did start to cover authentication, even cryptography down to the use of MD5 hashing I was ecstatic and all my faith was restored. Until total subject of secure coding practices discussed in class lasted for a total of 2 hours. These are not topics you blaze through lightly. I even pulled out very basic and commonly used industry best practices such as NIST SP 800 guides. As a former NIST Guest Researcher and consultant who helped fortune 500, federal, and private sector dev teams meet these standards I think RefactorU is doing a huge disservice to themselves by not raising the bar and saying that graduates are versed in these because I was very briefly exposed to them even in RefactorU even for a fraction of the time and the instructors didnt even realize what great value they were adding. Their world class instructors simply are not familiar with such best practices due to lack of experience and even when shown to them couldn’t decipher them in plaintext.
EXPERIENCE OF JOB ASSISTANCE
- 1 star My liaison for recruiting and career counseling was often late for scheduled meetings. Things happen I get that but it can be a hindrance to balance coding time and assignment deadlines like finals when switching gears. The other red flag was when reviewing my resume, the liaison explained that mine was "to technical" in verbiage despite applying for technical roles. Top it all off with the fact the liaison was switched half way through the course and again after graduation.
-1 star This partly ties back to the statistic of %96 but also includes the sheer volume of previous cohort members I even had to compete against for jobs I applied to. In many cases I felt bad for that they had gone so long without employment and simply looked elsewhere but often found Refactor grads from several months prior out there being proactive but struggling to find work. This directly impacted my level of competiveness in the local labor pool.
WHAT WENT WELL?
The community manager Pattie Kettle is by far the hardest working person in that building and will bend over backwards, at times to her own sacrifice, to make sure your experience is successful.
Shirrone went out of her way to assist with lodging prior to my arrival since the of the 4 bedrooms in housing they offer for a marketed class size of 20-30 people you have about a %15 chance to get in there. Regardless Shirrone provided several well researched and viable alternatives. I respected that from RefactorU
Again I do respect my instructors and there’s no way I come out positive in this but I didn't spend $14K+ to make friends. Regardless Rob Camp is amazingly gifted in the area of patience when coding can be such a frustrating task. You need an even keel on hand to guide you through. Rob is that keel, refreshingly so.
My final project left something to be desired on demo day in my mind and this mostly had to do with cranial burnout from coding for close to 52 hours in the classroom the weekend before final trying to tweak and then having my web server compromised the day before final. But I didn’t really mind come demo day because quite frankly I knew the level of effort I put into it and where I could take the app as a concept to help others. Even after graduation I've done that and now a federal cyber lab I've worked with in the past picked up the concept and I will be submitting comment on the federal registrar for it. You can read more about it hear. I owe that much to my experience at RefactorU and the folks I met in Boulder.
The ingredients are there for RefactorU to be great institution. Unfortunately, like most startups, it susceptible to startup fallacies and I will say RefactorU is constantly changing and working to address its shortcomings even as they were pointed out to them on-site. I do respect the dynamic of their position but the facts are facts as stated above in my experience. More than likely you will not have this type of experience in the future with RefactorU because they are ever changing. The Devry partnership is a great step forward. their job assistance program was later completely overhauled. But unfortunately my experience left me very disappointed in expectations at such a high cost to me. For what I paid and what certainly other GIBILL vets will pay, along with the expectations that were set by RefactorU the value simply wasn’t there.
Response From: Ed Powers of RefactorUTitle: Chief Operating OfficerThursday, Sep 22 2016We’re sorry we didn’t meet your expectations, Tom. You point out several items that have concerned us as well and I’d like to comment on changes we’ve been making.
The vast majority of our alumni are satisfied with their experience and the career opportunities they enjoy as a result. That said, we aren’t perfect--no organization is--but we continually learn and improve. As you state so well, “... I will say RefactorU is constantly changing and working to address its shortcomings even as they were pointed out to them on-site... More than likely you will not have this type of experience in the future with RefactorU because they are ever changing.”
- Job Placement. As you state, we’ve recently overhauled our Career Services. The job market is getting tougher, which is why we brought on two superb resources, Gary Boley and Scott Bowman, who have a combined 17 years of experience in this field working with many higher education institutions. Through new workshops, greater employer outreach, and increased 1:1 attention, students and graduates now have far better support than they’ve ever had before. Although you have a terrific new web development job, Gary and Scott will be available to you and all RefactorU alumni, free of charge, any time you make a career change in the future.
- Outcome Statistics. We calculated our results in 2015 based on surveys to our 200+ alumni. As you point out, when compared with a census approach, random sampling can produce errors. Until recently, however, sampling was the only practical way for us to collect outcome statistics, and we computed our statistics correctly based on the observations we received. It’s important to note, however, that all coding bootcamps calculate their outcomes differently. For example, some disregard withdrawals in their numbers while others do not, and counting one student differently in a cohort of 25 can change the result by 4%. That’s why we joined forces in an outcome measurement standardization initiative to ensure prospective students can make more accurate, informed choices. You can read more about our participation at: http://blog.refactoru.com/apples-to-apples-refactoru-helps-define-industry-standards/ Along with our competitors, we are scheduled to begin reporting standarized metrics in October.
- GI Bill. We are pleased veterans can use their GI Bill benefits at RefactorU should they choose (and some don’t). While we are not required to do so, we offer all veterans a 20% discount, regardless of how they pay. We are registered as a certificate program under Chapter 33 and make no representations otherwise. We share many of the same frustrations veterans have working with the VA, however, the VA is VERY SPECIFIC that all questions about individual benefits go to them directly--we are not to be involved. What you consider “effective” cost in light of your benefits candidly doesn’t pertain to us since we’re only paid the amount we’re approved to collect ($10,800). Note that whenever we are informed of benefits funding shortfalls, we work with individual veterans to loan or finance the difference. That’s true even when veterans need help with living expenses if the VA pays at a later time or only a portion of the full amount.
- Experienced Instructors. A chronic problem facing all coding bootcamps is finding instructors with adequate work experience, know the particular stack, want to teach and are good at it. We are regulated by the Colorado Division of Private Occupational Schools and we meet state requirements for industry experience with all of our instructors. Many of our TAs, as you point out, also have extensive software development backgrounds. Of course, experience does not always make for a good instructor, which is why the task of finding the right people is so difficult. We’re happy to report that we’ve recently added four new instructors who have over 70 years of software development experience between them: Brandon Jimenez, Robert Edmonson, Charles Martin and Steve Lanaghen. All have exceptional talent and we’re excited at what the future holds.
Let us know if there’s anything else we can do for you.
- My 2cents- 8/7/2016Jeff DiPallo • Dude • Graduate • Course: Full-Stack Web Development • Campus: Boulder
I attended the May 2016 Cohort. Just finished up a couple of weeks ago.
I had an overall great experience. Perfect? No. Please, nothing is. However, I feel there are things every student at least should do: 1) Show up to class 2) Collaborate with the instructors and fellow classmates 3) Do the work 4) Show up with a final project and present something. Anything. For those who are critiquing: if you have not completed any of these? Then your evaluation of the school is shall I say fairly meaningless. I mean really. Lets move on.
I think the pace and content of a 10 week bootcamp can be intense. Rewarding, but intense. I personally have a software programming background and I was very happy for that. It helped me immensely - for me to not feel overwhelmed and to work through the exercises with a bit of confidence. My personal recommendation is if you are not technical and have zero background, either prepare very well in advance or perhaps a 6-month bootcamp is for you.
You will go through a great deal of material quickly. It seems to speed up after the mid-point. There are times when something is presented once, twice and then there is an exercise. That's it. You certainly can ask an instructor to revisit something and they will. But, really you are on the next thing and your brain is getting full. Refactor does have "break-out" groups once/week which students can pretty much ask anything (part of the curriculum or not) and you spend a couple of hours talking and going over these random topics. It is a nice review perhaps or a maybe a side topic you might want to integrate into one of your projects.
RefactorU points out that a work/life balance is very important. I love that aspect of the school. However, prepare to work a bit at night and perhaps a little on the weekends. From what I have heard, this is still nothing compared to some other bootcamps. Just remember, you will have a full stack working app by your final. That alone is a great linkedin, resume & github selling point.
Most of the instructors were great. Super approachable, knowledgeable and always willing to answer a question. My recommendation to RefactorU is to continue to hire and keep top-notch instructors with at least some industry experience.
Pattie, the communications director was always working for us, letting us know when applicable Meetups were happening around town and checking in asking us if we needed anything. She is always willing to meet and chat and has great ideas revolved around companies in the area and how to network.
RefactorU now has a dedicated full time job assistance team who thus far are awesome. They are an asset. Keep up the good work! No, they are getting you a job. You have to do the work. However, they will assist with your resume, linkedin page and job interview.
I love to study and learn new things. If I could, I would go to school for a longer time than 10 weeks. However, that is just not feasible for me. The tuition at RefactorU was lower than some. But, if you divide the tuition by the number weeks and compare to other schools, maybe it is more.
I will check back in with ya'all about my job search and job landing to give you a perspective on how companies are viewing bootcamp grads.
Thanks for reading.
- Who writes positive reviews anymore?- 8/2/2016Lance Brown • Graduate • Course: Full-Stack Web Development • Campus: Boulder
I was in the May 2016 cohort with Steve Halase and Michael McBride, featured below. First, I will address my personal experience at RefactorU, then go into more detail about the strengths and weaknesses of the course.
I will come right out and say that I enjoyed my ten weeks at RefactorU. I enjoyed the pace, I met some great people, and I learned more interesting, applicable knowledge in ten weeks than I did in any one of the eight semesters I spent at a university. The facilities leave much to be desired, sure. I forgave that on account of being a startup and the stringent relocation restrictions involved in being accepted by the GI bill, but I can see how others would be disappointed. The instructors were knowledgable and approachable. If they don't know an answer (which happens. They aren't a bunch of graybeards who have worked in depth with every language, framework and library in existence) they will guide you toward resources which may have the answer, or, more often than not, do the research themselves and get back to you later in the day. That resonated with me.
In terms of the pace, I was comfortably challenged. Outside of midterm and final prep, there's new material virtually every day; sometimes two brand new topics in one day. At no point did I feel my head was completely above water. That's how I learn best. If you like your hand to be held every step of the way, consider other options. The principle at RefactorU is to teach you as much as you need in order to teach yourself the rest. I liken it to "Here's A, B, and C. Got it? Good. Now here's an assignment for each, and two for D and F." I find that far more useful than step by step instructions. You will have at least 10 visits to StackOverflow a day, but with the baseline knowledge in place to know what's useful and pertinent. Again, if you can't find the answer, ask an instructor and they will nudge you in the right direction a few times before walking you through it if you truly are stuck.
So here's the synopsis:
- Not free
Do with this what you will. I liked it. You might not. Bootcamps aren't for everyone.
- Steven Halase • Graduate • Course: Full-Stack Web Development • Campus: Boulder
Warning: I was a grunt in the military, I'm not going to beat around the bush.
So I'm going to get a little personal here. Some people showed up for almost every day of the class (me) and others showed up for less than a week total, most of those days leaving by noon (Michael Mcbride). It might be in bad taste to name names, but I'm a pretty direct person and you're being a scumbag and misleading. I'm not sure how anyone can expect to go to a 10-week full-time course and literally show up for less than 10% of the days and expect to have learned anything. You made poor decisions and instead of owning up to them like a man, you choose to blame others. I'm a vet (as are quite a few of the other students) and I find your work ethic is troubling.
Now for an actual review:
- Very fast-paced learning that sometimes left some students feeling like they did not have adequete time to digest the material.
- There were noticable time gaps of scheduled instruction that did not actually end up happening.
- Some disconnect with styles of coding and conflicts between how one instructor would solve a problem vs another (I didn't think this was a con, as this is exactly the nature of programming. It did however confuse some of the students).
For me, those were the only problems I really saw with the course. Other students did voice concerns over the lack of teaching concepts like Test Driven Development, among other things. However, it's not like the school did not provide you with a course syllabus ("whhhaaatttt"). Guess what though, they even catered to those concerns and provided a block of instruction addressing it, even though it wasn't part of the course outline.
- If you are willing to put in the time that one would expect to put into a fast-paced 10-week immersive course you'll learn a ton. (You get out what you put in, like anything else in life.)
- Instructors were very knowledgeable, with answers to almost every question I asked. There were some fringe cases that they weren't able to answer on the spot, but did get back to me on.
- I personally liked the variation of teaching and coding styles a lot. Seeing a problem hit from different angles of attack helps you understand the nuances of the problem itself.
Overall I would recommend this course given a couple of things:
- First and foremost, expect to put in a full-time amount of work into the course. (40-50 hours a week, apparently some people don't understand what that means)
- Come ready to learn and be challenged. You will be confused at times. You will feel like suplexing your grandmother through a table at times. Figuring out solutions to abstract and open-ended problems is what coding is all about.
- Do some research on the basic concepts of computer science. They will help you tremendously in understanding how to attack problems during the course.
- Last day!- 7/21/2016Michael McBride • Michael McBride Development • Graduate • Course: Full-Stack Web Development • Campus: Boulder
What I learned:
The worst $13,500 investment of my life! That doesn't even include all the hidden financing fees. The curriculum is so bad that many people in class were paying Udemy and other online learning sites to learn the concepts.
If you are looking for a code school, do not be attracted to the 10 weeks. It is a marketing ploy.
Internet crashes and slow connections would making it impossible to learn in class.
Nearly half the class stopped coming because the instructors and curriculum were so bad.
No job guarentee.
Facilities are garbage.
Don't complain or they will cut off your job assistance and slack access.
Response From: Sean Daken of RefactorUTitle: Founder & CEOFriday, Jul 22 2016Hi Michael,
Thank you for your feedback. We appreciate your candor regarding the challenges you experienced.
Your feedback is not typical of our graduates and we would like to better understand what happened and how we can remedy the situation.
I've emailed you directly and I'm looking forward to hearing from you.
Founder & CEO
- Ten weeks is a business decision- 4/26/2016Anonymous • Graduate • Course: Full-Stack Web Development • Campus: Boulder
I was in the same cohort as "My Takeway? Confused." and I second everything from that review.
I applied to RefactorU in part because I wanted a shorter school and faster turnaround time to working. RefactorU's program is ten weeks, most similar programs are between twelve and fourteen. I assumed RefactorU had a killer curriculum that taught the same material but in less time. Wrong. Ten weeks is a business decision. In the final week a few of us students were talking to an instructor and the CEO and we said we wish we had more time in class; the CEO and instructor both confirmed that previous cohorts also wanted the course to be two weeks longer. So why don't they extend the course? I quote: "Because if RefactorU was twelve weeks it would cost the same as every other bootcamp." Think about that! That's essentially saying "We don't offer a better product than our competitors, we're just cheaper, because we give you less product." This really upsets me because it is an educational institution making a business decision that actually harms their educational product. That's prioritizing your advertising over your educational outcomes.
The oft-repeated phrase that RefactorU will turn you into a "world-class entry-level developer" is nothing but a slogan and an outright falsehood. You will not be a world-class entry-level developer, you will be an entry-level developer with serious holes in your game. You probably won't want to show your final project to prospective employers until you can put more time into it. A lot of us didn't fully grasp or know how to implement core aspects of web development; for me it was authentication, which I had to teach myself after graduation. Unit testing is another important tool in the field but we only had one cursory lecture explaining what it is. I either have to invest my own time - when I'm not earning any income - in teaching myself these things or I have to walk into interviews and say "No, I don't know how to do that."
I think the school/front-office has a general problem with soliciting genuine feedback and acting on it. The first instance of educational feedback came in week seven (of a ten-week program) because the intern happened to come outside while we were venting about the previous lecture. There was a feedback session on Monday of the final week because the front office had become aware of what a nightmare week nine was. The presentation was pretty tense. It felt more like damage control than soul-searching. I asked the CEO "In week eight students were skipping class, instructors weren't being asked for help, and then in week nine everybody is desperate for help and the instructors are slammed. I don't know how to fix that, but isn't that something to be concerned about?" The response was "Those students who have been missing class need to show up or they won't graduate." (Everyone graduated.)
In the month since graduation I've been teaching myself web development and working on my final project. I have not yet applied to any jobs. I think I gained a good foundation from RefactorU but it could have been better. My cohort probably had one of the worst experiences in school history, but it seems like those problems were there to begin with and the stress of having 1.5 full cohorts at the same time only made it worse. I don't know what other code bootcamps are like but this was my experience at RefactorU.
To be honest, this isn't even my full list of grievances with the school. I was there for ten weeks, I TA'd there another two weeks, I talked a lot with students in my cohort and the one after, I talked with staff members off the record... During finals and even weeks after graduation I'd end up in hour-long conversations with different classmates about RefactorU, about the problems, potential solutions, trying to figure out why these problems are there in the first place. I tried to keep my review limited to the school's educational experience and leave out the other nonsense.
I wanted this to be a wonderful experience and to have a really great relationship with the school, but this is how it turned out. I would rather have written a glowing review.
When the "My takeway?" review was posted everyone in the cohort got a phone call from the school. Mine went to voicemail; it was message that Fluid Consulting was still available if we wanted assistance with our job search.
Response From: Ed Powers of RefactorUTitle: COOThursday, Apr 28 2016We are sorry that the reviewer was dissatisfied with their bootcamp experience. We value and act on feedback, good or bad. However, a number of points below are factually in error. We’d like to set the record straight.1. RefactorU is a ten-week course by design. We understand the financial hardships placed on students by attending a full-time, fully immersive bootcamp. We also believe that bootcamps are simply a starting point; today’s software developers must continually learn new technologies and frameworks. That’s why we stripped away the “nice-to-have” content and replaced it with the “must-have.” Instead of focusing on computer science theory, we emphasize software engineering skills. Instead of teaching specific software development processes and testing methods (which vary by employer) we teach the fundamentals of architectural design and troubleshooting. Employers don’t expect applicants to know each and every language, framework, tool and methodology--only that they know how to code, and more importantly, how to learn and work well on teams.Our business strategy is to be the practical alternative by offering the shortest, most cost-effective path to becoming a new developer. We don’t skimp on the quality or thoroughness of the experience we deliver, and our hiring outcomes bear this out: 96% of graduates are employed within 12 weeks of graduation with a median starting salary of $65K. It’s true that some students wish they had more time, but many more prefer to finish quickly, minimize costs and begin their job search.2. We’re serious about continuous improvement. No organization is perfect. RefactorU performs at high levels and continually strives to improve. In addition to our open door policy that encourages students to share concerns and grievances at any time, we formally and anonymously survey students four times, three during the cohort and once five to six months after graduation. The entire staff meets and reviews both quantitative and qualitative input, discusses root causes, plans and implements improvements.The comments below are not correct. In the January cohort we reviewed results from the first survey during the third week. We presented results from the second survey in the sixth week. Unfortunately we shared results from the third survey about a week later than we had hoped because of internal scheduling issues and a desire to finalize our solutions before discussing them. The trouble week was #7, not #9, when we were unexpectedly short-staffed with TA’s, a situation we resolved during the remainder of the course. And since we discovered so many students in this cohort had not started working on their job searches, we modified our arrangement with Fluid Consulting to provide even more post-graduation support at our expense. We announced this change prior to graduation, and the voice mail referenced in the comment was simply a reminder.3. Students must show up and do the work. Our program is a fast-paced, self-directed, facilitated, adult learning experience. Personal responsibility and attendance matters--when students miss lectures, they imperil their outcomes. For example, when students are absent for important topics such as authentication, they must indeed learn them on their own. Missing lectures also places their final projects in jeopardy. For that reason, more than five unexcused absences may result in students failing the program, subject to the discretion of the lead instructors.Once alumni engage with prospective employers and land a job, they realize the full value of the educational experience they’ve received. Once again, the numbers bear this out. In our most recent post-graduation outcomes survey, 86% of RefactorU grads reported high confidence in their coding skills and 95% said they were leading, above average, or keeping up with their web development peers at work.
- It's ok- 2/6/2016Cody • Graduate • Course: Full-Stack Web Development • Campus: Boulder
I would like to preface this review by stating that this bootcamp offers rewards for graduating students who write reviews online. I am not accepting an award or compensation for writing this review. RefactorU is an interesting experience. Some of the instructors are excellent and some of them are not excellent. There were only three instructors for our class of 20 something students. The lessons and curriculum was well considered and thorough. I felt that a lot of effort and planning went into designing the curriculum itself, the technologies we learned were "hip" and popular. The bootcamp also scheduled a lot of extracurricular activities and "fun" to help students relax after stressful and difficult weeks of material. Overall I would say that I learned a great deal at RefactorU. Where they really let the ball drop was after graduation. There was one networking event and a career fair. Very little effort was given to assist in job placement. There was absolutely no follow-up or feedback from RefactorU regarding job placement. I'm not sure where they get their placement numbers of 96 %. After I graduated I felt very little was done to assist in my career search. This wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't something the school promised they did as part of their. I do not regret my decision to attend RefactorU as I learned a great deal and believe it will be useful in the future. I am disappointed with the lack of support after graduation and the assistance in finding career opportunities.
Learn a lot
MEAN Stack is very desirable
Cost - this is an affordable program for the amount you learn
Some instructors are excellent
Room temperature is exceedingly hot all the time
Class size is large which limits personal instruction
Lack of alumni/career support
Some instructors are not excellent
Response From: Sean Daken of RefactorUTitle: Founder & CEOSunday, Mar 27 2016Just to be clear, we do not pay for reviews. RefactorU does offer a random drawing to encourage graduates to provide feedback, good or bad. We have no control over what alumni post and we ask them to be completely candid in their evaluations.
From a career services perspective, we do not “place” graduates, nor do we guarantee jobs. In the same way we expect our students to exercise self-direction in their learning, we expect them to do the same when looking for employment.
We have recently partnered with Fluid Consulting Services, a Colorado-based technical recruiting, executive search, and candidate / career services firm. Our Career Services track offers a full suite of resources to help write resumes, update LinkedIn and GitHub profiles, prepare for technical and behavioral interviews, and shine during RefactorU-sponsored web development career fairs. These services are open to students and graduates alike. Further, we regularly and personally recommend the most promising students to our senior level contacts at Colorado tech companies.
Regarding the temperature of our classroom - yes, at the time of this writing RefactorU is located in an industrial location in Boulder, CO, and during the summer months we did experience some challenges with the A/C unit. We are actively addressing those issues. In general, our philosophy is that we'd prefer to focus on providing a great learning environment and hiring outstanding instructors rather than having the fanciest offices.
- 10 Transformational Weeks- 11/20/2015Erich • Graduate • Campus: Boulder
I went into RefactorU with a background in I.T. and a desire to switch careers into a more challenging and creative field. What I got was one of the best educational experiences of my life, great friends and professional connections, and the new career I was looking for. While no program can be perfect, this was pretty close.The instructors are top-notch, the administrative staff is actually to support you and the curriculum is well thought out and relevant to today's job marketplace.
The course is difficult and you have to really commit to pushing yourself but the reward for doing so is totally worth it.
- Worth It- 11/19/2015Eliora Horst • Graduate • Course: Full-Stack Web Development • Campus: Boulder
For only being ten weeks long, this bootcamp transformed me from a novice developer into a fully confident full-stack web developer, without making me loose my sanity in coursework. I can now create, impliment, and deploy a fully functioning website with ease, thanks to the 10 weeks at RefactorU
The instructors can be hit or miss. During my cohort, one instructor was usually unhelpful, and tended to keep to himself instead of making himself available. The other instructor was amazing - he answered questions clearly, and helped you towards an answer rather than just give it to you.
- Grit & determination will lead to success!- 11/18/2015Ria S • Graduate • Campus: Boulder
RefactorU provides 10 weeks of intense web development training. What you put in, is what you get out of it. You are accountable for doing your own work. Having said that, the lead instructors are fantastic at helping you understand concepts throughout the whole program.
Pros: Course content/coursework: The overall structure and content of the bootcamp were fantastic.
Instructors: The lead instructors are some of the most talented and knowledgable developers out there. Furthermore, the instructors were committed to seeing you learn, understand, and succeed. Not only were they highly supportive of their students, they were consistent & thorough in their teaching of concepts.
Classmates: I have met some truly incredible people in this class, that I can confidently say will be life-long friends, and helpful peers as we dive into our professional tech careers. Since instructors were often busy assisting other students (which is great, as the instructors took all the time necessary to address individual questions/problems) I found my fellow students to be a goldmine of knowledge and it was very encouraging to see other students working together and helping each other.
Model: The number of coding bootcamps has exploded over the last couple years, and this immersive model is here to stay. As a long-time fan of alternative education, RefactorU has hit the nail on the head in terms of providing a specific high-demand skill-set to anyone with the grit and determination to become a software developer.
Location: RefactorU's location in Boulder is great for those interested in working in the start-up scene in Boulder. The Denver/Boulder metro area is an emerging tech hub and a prime gateway to enter a tech career. This was also helpful for attending the many Meetups, workshops, and conferences in the area.
Cons: Student to teacher ratio. We had three instructors for a class of 33 (we are the largest class yet). This is in contrast to 18 students in the prior cohort, and there were 11 graduates in the cohort prior to that. The classroom was far too small for this many students.
Individualized attention: while the instructors were fantastic, and true champs in terms of being overloaded with students, many of us felt that we did not receive as much individual attention as we would have hoped, and this is largely attributed to the very large class size. There simply weren't enough instructors or hours in the day to get assistance with the 1:10 ratio in our class. A huge shoutout to the instructors that showed up and gave their best every day. They were as enthusiastic about seeing us succeed in week 1 as at the very end of our program.
Class distractions: with such a large class it was an exercise in zooming in on our work and blocking out distractions. The overall classroom atmosphere was far louder and more distracting than I had anticipated. While each of us is responsible for doing whatever we needed to do in order to concentrate on learning, I was hoping for a more professional (and quieter) work/study environment.
Constructive criticism for the school: I am aware that the school plans to hold two concurrent cohorts for the next set of students, but a campus expansion/relocation would greatly serve to benefit the students, and with the high growth of RefactorU, the organization as a whole. Smaller class sizes are a must, or reducing the teacher:student ratio. I have high hopes for RefactorU moving forward, and I anticipate seeing great things from my fellow classmates.
- You'll get what you put in!- 11/18/2015Tucker Kline • Graduate
RefactorU is an amazing resource if you know that what you want to do is web development. It is expensive, but if you dedicate yourself wholly to the experience and ask for help when you need it, you will absolutely get your money worth in education. The instructors are patient and kind, and the staff are helpful. Great place to learn!
- Upgrade your career at RefactorU!- 11/18/2015Sherman Drake • Graduate • Course: Full-Stack Web Development • Campus: Boulder
RefactorU is a well thought out bootcamp that prepares everyone to become Full Stack Web Developer. From the lectures, lessons, coding times, and peer group sessions, to the resume assistance, recruiter tips, and class outings RefactorU taught me how to code as well as prepare me to work with other programmers. RefactorU focuses on the languages and skills that employers are looking for. The teachers and teacher assistants are excellent in their field. The ten-week course was long enough to understand the concepts and prepare me to be productive as a web developer. I would recommend RefactorU for anyone just starting out in the workforce as well as anyone in the middle of their career that wants to go in a new direction.
- Anonymous • Graduate • Course: Full-Stack Web Development • Campus: Boulder
Everyone at RefactorU was great - the instructors, administrators, community engagement planners - they are all wonderful.
RefactorU throws a lot of information at you in a short time, but in a really well-structured way so that you actually have time to learn it all, and learn it all well. I'm astounded by how much I learned, and how dedicated the instructors were to supporting our experience: from TAs who come in on the weekends to offer help, to being responsive when not-totally-kosher sexist jokes were being made in class (hey, it's the tech industry, right?). They organize events with employers and recruiters to help you make connections. They know they only succeed when their students succeed, and they are all about that.
My only complaint is one that is probably actually being addressed - being as successful as they are, they have been growing a lot, and for my personal learning style, our class was too big. We had 33 people, and the class before us was only 13, so there were a lot more of us sharing the instructors' attention. It was also often a very loud work environment (33 people in one room), which for me usually meant having to choose between leaving and going somewhere quiet to get work done, or being in a room where I have access to help from instructors and classmates, which was a frustrating choice to have to make.
Overall, I'm glad I went and really impressed by what they accomplish as a school. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to others.
- Best Bootcamp Ever - Great City Too- 11/17/2015Anonymous • Software Engineer • Graduate
RefactorU has changed my life. I've wanted to get into development for quite some time now and took the CS courses like data structures, JAVA, C++, etc. I tried to break into the field by taking them after I got a physics degree. It just wasn't enough. RefactorU changed all that.
Not only that, but the people there started to change my life. I made what I can honestly say are life long friends. A bunch of cried when RefactorU came to an end. I can't believe it had to come to an end. Learning tech surrounded by awesome, talented people was amazing.
Now on to the good part - I got a job. I am seriously so happy. The job was what I envisioned getting - a cool job in a cool startup surrounded by extremely smart people. Sean, Vally, Sharone, and Ed were a pleasure to know and converse with and the instructors, Rob and Raphael were the smartest guys I've met in a long time.
I don't just recommend this bootcamp to learn how to code - I recommend it to change your life - both socially and financially.
- Totally recommended 10 great weeks- 11/16/2015Justin • Graduate • Course: Full-Stack Web Development • Campus: Boulder
- Greatest learning experience! Awesome instructors!- 11/16/2015Jessey Eagan • Graduate • Course: Full-Stack Web Development • Campus: Boulder
It has truly been one of the most life changing and gratifying experiences I have ever had. I have a Bachelor’s in Elementary education, but decided over the summer to make a mid-life career change. My family uprooted from Illinois in August so that I could attend RefactorU. We sold our home in IL and my in-laws graciously kept our 2 toddlers in AZ, and my husband traveled between IL, AZ, and CO while I was in school. It was a crazy ride, but I’ve found through it all that I love coding and can’t wait to start working in the field! The course was very intense and I learned so much. If I can make the commitment to change my life for the better, so can you!
- Edward K. • Graduate • Course: Full-Stack Web Development • Campus: Boulder
The Curriculum was so well designed, that by week 5 we were able to develop fully responsive, fully interactive single page applications using the angular framework along with HTML5, and CSS3; Not to mention Bootstrap and Material Design to enhance our user interface. By week 8, we were equipped to complete a full stack application using NodeJs and MangoDB.
The instructors were well prepared and flexible in adapting to each student's level of understanding. They combined lectures and practice sessions while fostering an environment of camaraderie and peer-to-peer support that was conducive to effective learning.
Students became friends and supportive of each other. The fact that the curriculum and instructors emphasized collaboration over competition, pushed everyone to give their best by recognizing each others strength and encouraging it.
I highly recommend the program!
- RefactorU: Ten Weeks to a Better Career- 11/12/2015Paula • Graduate • Course: Full-Stack Web Development • Campus: Boulder
Like many of my peers, I was drawn to RefactorU because I wanted to start a higher-paying, more enjoyable career without spending years of my life earning another degree. Even a couple weeks into their ten-week, intensive boot camp, the skeptic in me feared it was too good to be true, but I graduated last Friday and can confidently say that going to RefactorU was one of the best decisions of my life. Several of my classmates had coding jobs before the course even ended, and I am absolutely amazed when I compare the skills I have now with the skills I had from several weeks of pre-bootcamp self-teaching. I can now think up and develop an entire web application on my own, from the database and server to the user interface, and, perhaps more importantly, I know that I have the resources and knowledge to learn new technologies and tackle any coding problems I may face in the future.
Not only does RefactorU manage to teach an incredible amount of material in a short amount of time, the school also structures assignments in a way that prepares students for what a real coding job is like. The vast majority of time was spent on solo projects, but the boot camp is also peppered with several pair programming projects, in which one student writes code and the other plans and coaches, and a larger group project. We also had to do three oral presentations and practice talking about code. It's crucial--and surprisingly difficult--to be able to articulate something so thought-based, and I'm glad RefactorU emphasizes this skill. The team building and communication will definitely benefit me during technical interviews and throughout my career.
Unlike many other bootcamps, RefactorU strongly emphasizes a work-life balance. While it is true that I never had to ditch my sleep, health, and social life in lieu of unreasonable amounts of stress, what the "work-life balance" translated to, for me, was: "You are responsible for your own success." Some students chose to work late hours even after the school day ended, others spent more time socializing and attending events. Whatever the case, no one would chase me down if I needed to take a break during the day or tell me I needed to work harder if a particular subject didn't make sense right away, but the staff was always there to help and encourage. We just had to do the work.
What I loved most about being a RefactorU student was the perfect balance of structure and independence. Every week, we got a list of projects to work on after lectures, but there were no grades and no deadlines (besides for the one big group project and the two major solo projects). The lack of solid structure may be a con for some people, but, for me, it was like being told, "I believe in you." Those imagined words helped me be successful at RefactorU. So did the smart and passionate teachers, who gave clear (and oftentimes entertaining!) lectures and were there to help when I got stuck. Rob has an unshakable warm, positive attitude that makes him a great teacher in addition to being a great coder, and I enjoyed Raphael's attention to detail and clear passion for the topics he lectured on.
I can't think of a single thing about RefactorU that would dissuade me from telling any self-motivated, technically-inclined person to go there. My only complaint is that I would have preferred more early, clear communication about the specific times, dates, and expectations of project presentations, graduation day, and events in general, but I understand that RefactorU is a new business. They're always working toward finding the best way to do things and tinkering with the course load to include what is most relevant in today's tech industry, and their 96% job placement rate shows they're doing it right. If you're ready and willing to remake yourself and to dedicate yourself to learning, you'll find, like I did, that RefactorU isn't too good to be true, at all. It's real and it works.
- 10 Weeks to Success- 11/7/2015Alex • Graduate • Course: Full-Stack Web Development • Campus: Boulder
<!--?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" standalone="no"?-->In short, RefactorU has changed my life for the better as I now have a job as a Software Engineer, a job that I truly love.RefactorU is hands down the BEST bootcamp in CO! Best bang for the buck, awesome curriculum delivered by instructors that genuinely care about seeing students succeed.In a mere 10weeks, I was able to successfully transition myself from life as a Soldier in the Army to being a contributing member on a software team. Not only does RefactorU teach you how to code, you also learn how to enter the industry via a parallel carrier services track. I followed the track to the ’t’ and landed a job before the bootcamp was even over.In just ten weeks I was able to exceed the stats of both Turing and sSchool all while maintaining a solid work/life balance.So, I learned to code and landed my dream job but there’s more. I made 32 really close life-long friends, laughed more than I have in as long as I can remember. Peers help one-another rather than competing. The culture at RefactorU is centered around individual success fostered through group collaboration. Coding is incredibly social (who knew?). Students are exposed to pair-programming and working in teams early on, preparing them to work in industry.I’m 30 and finally hitting my stride thanks to RefactorU.Making the decision to attend RefactorU is the best decision that I’ve made in my life hands down.A few words about the curriculum: Learning the MEAN stack (MongoDB, Express, AngularJS, and Node.js) is the most effective way to learn the BIG-PICTURE. Principles learned at RefactorU can be applied to other languages/stacks/frameworks/technologies. The coding challenges are extremely relevant to real-world problems and aided me substantially during my interview process.RefactorU transforms non-coders into world class entry level programmers.I’m looking forward to having you join the RefactorU Alumni network.
- Great Educational Experience- 8/14/2015Peter • Programmer • Graduate • Course: Full-Stack Web Development • Campus: BoulderRefactorU provided an excellent opportunity to learn full-stack development from start-to finish from some great instructors experienced in the field. The atmosphere was always positive. Everyone (students and instructors alike) were very friendly and helpful. It was easy to get questions answered. I would recommend RefactorU to anyone looking to learn web development.
* These outcomes are not audited by Course Report. In some cases, data is audited by a third party.
RefactorU has an acceptance rate of 31%, of which 82% of accepted students enroll in a course. Of the students who enroll at RefactorU, 96% graduate. 96% are hired in technical roles within 120 days and report an average income of $64,140.