Rithm School is an 18-week full-stack web development bootcamp in San Francisco, CA. Students who attend Rithm School will gain the technical skills needed to succeed as a web developer, along with a deep understanding of the industry's conventions and best practices. Rithm School places a strong emphasis on contributing to open source software, which provides a great opportunity to experience what being a web developer is all about. Students must prepare for the full course by completing extensive pre-coursework, which will take approximately 70-100 hours to complete. For pre-work, this bootcamp provides four hours of 1:1 instruction to keep students on track. Also, the full course is capped at 16 students to ensure a tailored learning experience.
Rithm School has a team of experienced instructors with years of experience both teaching and writing curriculum. The school has partnered with companies to ensure the curriculum is not only of the highest quality, but is also relevant, enabling graduates to hit the ground running on day one. Student can also utilize the Rithm School + Skills Fund partnership to help student finance their education.
Recent Rithm School News
- 14 Alternatives to Dev Bootcamp
- Instructor Spotlight: Elie Schoppik of Rithm School
- September 2016 Coding Bootcamp News Roundup + Podcast
Recent Rithm School Reviews: Rating 4.94
Full-Time Web Development
- Payment Plan
- 1-3 year plans offered
- Rithm awards scholarships of up to $12,000 to support diversity and strong merit.
In PersonFull Time45Hours/week12 Seats
In PersonFull Time45Hours/week12 Seats
Part-Time Web Development
Rithm School Reviews
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Hi 👋 my name is Andrew Mundy. I was part of Rithm’s second cohort at the beginning of 2017. As we approach a year since the beginning of my developer journey I wanted to outline my experience. I had been living in SF and working in the bar and restaurant industry for some time. I didn’t have a college degree, I hadn’t been in touch with technology, I had a flip phone. Besides some experience with Adobe products, print design, and a little HTML- my knowledge of coding was infantile. So how did I emerge from a 4 month bootcamp and land freelance gigs, a position as a front-end engineer, and most recently join a startup as a product designer and booking meetings with VC’s pitching for millions of dollars in such a short time?
- Founders are Galvanize expats
- Small, personal cohorts. 3 instructors, 8 students.
- Curriculum included JS, Python, React
- Real world projects tackled beginning to end as a team
- Go to a free class https://www.meetup.com/rithmschool/?_cookie-check=yR93aGhYTWHrN8Wm
- Their entire curriculum is available for free here https://www.rithmschool.com/courses
No other bootcamp can provide what Rithm can. Honestly, it’s a question of whats important to the bootcamp you’re considering. Maximum efficient profit or maximum efficient developers. Who will be your instructors? Students of the previous cohort or world-class, seasoned masters? Rithm provides their entire curriculum online for free. They are not afraid of losing potential customers to themselves. They are selling a mentorship not information.
With so many bootcamps to choose from and the seemingly endless amount of Jr devs fighting to enter the workforce. The question is no longer, “I hope I have what it takes to graduate.” But instead, “How will I graduate with a competitive edge over everyone else?”
The founder / instructors include Elie, Matt, and Tim. All ex Galvanize instructors that didn’t just think there was a better way, they knew there had to be. They didn’t just think they could create the next great developer, they knew they could. The dream team lineup- Elie, a natural, legendary instructor. Matt, a published doctor of mathematics. And Tim, the personable sleeper genius, I think he’s in Mexico right now? Oh, and Whiskey the dog for moral and emotional support.
My cohort was only 8 students to 3 instructors. That meant that no question went unanswered. No person fell between the cracks. It was abundantly clear to everyone in the room if you skimmed through the previous nights homework, the level of accountability was daunting and necessary.
Our final projects included splitting the class into two groups and creating tools for UCSF and Slow Ventures. From choosing what technology stack to outlining an MVP and stretch features, we collaborated with our respective POC’s and created everything from the ground up. Halfway through completion we swapped teams and picked up where the others left off. This simulated the real world situation of walking into a brand new codebase. Going from Python’s Flask to ReactJS proved to be a challenged we were well equipped to tackle.
I never thought I was capable of learning so much so quickly. It was the perfect combination of world-class instructors, intense personal accountability, and real world projects that culminated into an experience that no other bootcamp can provide. Post graduation, I’ve talked to so many grads from other bootcamps and they are always surprised and envious of my experience. I could not recommend Rithm enough. Please, just do yourself a favor and go talk to em, they have free classes all the time. I am also more than happy to answer any further questions you may have or accompany you to any of their free classes. Hit me up! firstname.lastname@example.org
I'm a graduate from Rithm's second class, and I can unequivocally state that it was a fantastic life decision. But I've read more than my fair share of optimistic bootcamp reviews, so let me say a little why I think so highly of Rithm School. I'll try to be as objective as possible, but its pretty hard to contain how highly I think of this school and its staff.
#1 Class Size: The first reason that Rithm stands out is class size - my cohort was 8, and the current one is 14. This is in stark contrast to every other place I checked out, including the likes of Thinkful, Dev Bootcamp, Hack Reactor, and obviously every university class I've ever been in. It really can't be overstated how hard it is to learn how to code "correctly" when starting out fresh, or coming from a career transition - learning the syntax is not enough, you really need an experienced hand to show you the things you can do, but shouldn't do, and the things you should do, that may not seem obvious. And learning those things is really hard to do when you've got a class size of 40+ with 2 instructors and a few TAs forcing you to go through a support-ticket system to get help - sure you'll learn eventually, but time is the most valuable commodity, and you'll expend way more time struggling as a beginner without a helpful hand to guide you. As an autodidact, I personally love the struggle of learning something new...but its really not an optimal use of time when trying to go from student to employed on life's busy schedule.
#2 -The Instructors: Elie, Tim, and Matt are some of the best instructors I've ever had, and they shine in this high-touch, low teacher-to-student ratio environment. I learned more in one hour with Matt during a technical interview in the admission process than several hours of Stack Overflow and Google-fu - they are gifted, caring teachers willing to go the extra mile for you. I can't overemphasize how important this is - in a previous life, I was a teacher, and as a teacher it was never enough to mechanically rattle off the material to learn for the day. We all know those teachers we had that really stood out, that *cared* about our struggle, our welfare, and actually helping us to internalize and learn something. I struggled in large classes to deliver the care each of my students deserved, but here at Rithm, these gifted instructors are able to shine their brightest in helping *you* truly learn and excel. Even when you really f**k things up and basically make life really difficult for an hour after accidently rewriting git history (that's funny...kind of...you'll see :-P...or maybe not)
#3 Career Support: Probably the most important thing after actually learning the thing, you need to get a job doing the thing, and here once again Rithm is fantastic. It's a common criticism of bootcamps that they teach you, and then throw you out into the wild with next to no career support. I should make a point here that part of Rithm's program includes a class with Outco, a separate organization that is fantastic at what they do in helping you prepare for technical interviews. The two organizations work closely together to help you meet the high bar for Outco admission during your time at Rithm. The final product is top-notch technical learning that transitions into top notch CS fundamentals and interview process learning. And I still get job referrals and postings that are a fit for me from the Rithm staff, so they're not just using this as a cop-out - they're with you until you get a job.
I really can't think of any real cons to the bootcamp itself outside of .you get what you pay for, which in this case is a good deal of $$$. They do scholarships and diversity funds though, so I know there are financial options available. I kind of wish they had bathrooms that didn't echo so much, but that's just me. And one thing to be aware of is that sometimes you hear weird sounds/see questionable figures walking around the area of the Mission. I did not consider this a distraction, but rather a educational experience in the different lives others live in the city. Not everyone is as fortunate to learn and work with all the rewards tech offers, and that's something you will be reminded of here (but no, no physical threats to to be had here).
Want to learn more? Reach out to Rithm - I'm happy to provide info too as an alumni. It's a great investment in a growing area, and while I could go for days about how great the program is or how it compares to other people I've known who have attended the likes of Hack Reactor or Dev Bootcamp, the main points are that you'll learn faster and better here than anywhere else locally, and you'll receive top-notch support in getting a job afterwards. Happy coding!
Full Disclosure: I had a little coding exprience before going to Rithm School. Nothing professional, though.
When choosing a school, I started out going for the big name. I passed the technical exam and was ready to sign up. Something made me hesitate, and I decided to go through with the on-site tour before sealing the deal. I'm so glad I did. It was a puppy mill for developers. It was obvious from the way they marketed, the one-instructor-per-64-students classrooms, and more. So I checked out Rithm School and it was perfect.
You'll also be taught the most current and relevant languages and frameworks. Not some aging dinosaur language that's on its way out.
Another outstanding aspect of Rithm is that the final several weeks are spent working on real projects, with real teams. You get experience with real git flow, writing production-level code. The importance of these few weeks cannot be overstated.
I cannot speak to their upcoming job search assistance program (not sure what it's called) as it didn't exist when I went through. I went to a separate school for that. Since it was Rithm that set me up with that school, they get a 5*. I'm sure their on-site job assistance program will be just as awesome.
So did Rithm prepare me for the job market? I start my new career on Monday, with a big name in social media!
Rithm is an incredible experience, and any would-be web developer should consider attending. I did not get paid to say that. But I'll totally accept bribes to make the review even better *ahem* *ahem*
After investing my time, energy, and money at Rithm, I now have the job I was hoping to get at a salary in excess of my expectations.
Great instructors, small, lots of attention, real community feel. I think they did an excellent job in preparing me with the concepts and technology I need to understand in order to begin my career. Being a small school, I had amazing access to them - and the instructors really cared. I spent many an off-hour getting extra help from them.
I'm a graduate of Rithm School's 3rd cohort. Having done a lot of research about bootcamps before I decided to attend one, I'm convinced that Rithm School is either the best or at least at the same level as the best programs in the city. And I would wholeheartedly recommend Rithm School to anyone considering learning full-stack web development in SF.
Here are my top 4 reasons why I think so:
1. Company projects -
As far as I am aware, there is no other bootcamp that offers all graduates the opportunity to work on two full-stack, real-world projects that for external companies. This is a huge deal and something that I did not initially fully internalize. It's incredibly rewarding to be able to learn the fundamentals of web development whilst building personal web apps or small fun projects but it's even more remarkable when you can see the results of your efforts being applied to a real-world problem faced by an existing company. It's just a higher level of accountability and responsibility. You might even get the chance to interact with external developers and designers . But crucuially, this is something that recruiters will love to hear.
Once you've had some experience working on external company projects then recruiters would be more likely to think of you as a developer who can produce tangible results for their company.
2. Small class sizes
Rithm School is committed to never having class sizes greater than 15 or 16 and given they currently have 3 instructors, this works out to be roughly 5 students per instuctor. This is significantly better than all other bootcamps that I'm personally aware of. This personal touch means that you will be heard more often and you can overcome annoying stumbling blocks quicker and because each instructor has a a different background, you can often get different perspectives for solving challenging problems.
3. Curriculum + Warm ups -
Every morning at Rithm, you are given 1hour to solve a tightly-scoped technical problem. These are called warm ups. After the hour, students as well as an instructor debrief and discuss different approaches to solving this problem. I found it really useful to analyse different approaches to solving problems. This foundational training was ultimately invaluable for me when I started to work on whiteboarding problems and technical screens whilst I was interviewing!
4. The instructors
It was refreshing to be taught by developers who clearly enjoy teaching. Moreover, all students are encouraged to raise their hands to ask questions as much as possible. If asking a question in a class full of 10 people is not your style, then you can always Slack one of the instructors for 1-on-1 explanations or reviews. Furthermore, Rithm often runs part-time classes on Saturdays so if you need some additional review, then you're welcome to attend a Saturday class or meet one of the instructors during breaks.
Like any program, you will get out what you put in but the instructors are really invested in ensuring that you are more supported throughtout the course.
Overall, Rithm School provided a fantastic foundation for me enter the world of software engineering. And I'm excited to be taking those skills onto my next job at Pinterest.
I'm happy to provide more info as an alumni so feel free to reach me on LinkedIn/Twitter if you have any more questions!
I was part of Rithm’s third cohort, completing both the 6-week part-time and 13-week full-time programs. Prior to deciding to join the third cohort, I also attended a large number of Rithm’s free coding workshops.
My experience was fantastic, and I would highly recommend Rithm to anyone looking to learn more about coding and get career-ready for a job as a software engineer. Thanks to the program and all that I learned (in addition to a lot of hard work), I transitioned from a career in a completely different industry and achieved my goal of becoming a software engineer in SF!
Here are some highlights:
1) The instructors are amazing! The instructors (Elie, Matt, and Tim) are not only passionate about what they do, but they also truly care about the students and go above and beyond to help you learn. Their energy and enthusiasm comes through while they are teaching, and they explain things in a way that is very easy to understand. I always felt comfortable to ask questions, and the instructors are super knowledgeable and will support, as well as guide, you to be the best you can.
2) The class sizes are small, & it’s a great environment! One thing that really sets Rithm apart from other bootcamps is the instructor-to-student ratio, which in our class was 1:3 (i.e., 3 instructors for 9 students). Our cohort learned a ton but also had fun doing so. My experience included lots of laughing, making friends with my classmates, and fun events hosted by Rithm (like Fourth Fridays pizza social).
3) Rithm ensures you are career-ready for a job as a software engineer (e.g., through company projects)! The quality of instruction and projects during the program is top-notch, and in an industry that is ever-changing, the instructors ensure that the curriculum is up-to-date and relevant. But, one thing that makes Rithm amazing is the opportunity to apply your learning and gain invaluable real-world software engineering experience through working in teams on projects for actual companies in the final stage of the program.
If you are considering Rithm, check out their free online-content and/or attend one of their free coding workshops. Originally I was planning to only do self-study and not go to a coding school, but after testing the waters and exploring some of Rithm’s free events and curriculum, I was hooked! I am so grateful for Rithm and how much I’ve been able to learn in such a short amount of time, while having a good experience doing so.
I am a Product Manager who came to Rithm School looking to improve my technical skills. Originally, I came considered doing a full-time bootcamp. If I did decide on that route, Rithm would be one of my top choices.
The instructors are very knowledgeable about programming and are very patient with students such as myself who are not originally wired to think the way most developers do. The support I received outside of class definitely enriched my learning experience. I appreciate the instructors' teaching style where they would ask questions, so that I can work my way to the answer. This is more conducive to my learning than just giving me the answer.
The curriculum also changes based on the feedback of the students. If we wanted to spend more time on a particular topic, the instructors would adjust their lesson plan for the day.
I was fortunate enough to attend the full-time web development course at Rithm School as a part of their third cohort. I can say, with full confidence, that this was one of the best learning experiences that I've had to date. And here's why.
Learning how to learn
If you haven't done any programming in the past, you will find out that it's exceptionally difficult to learn a new programming language. In addition to this, you will have to learn how to use libraries and frameworks to make life easier when you're developing an app. Rithm's curriculum makes it much easier to pick up languages because it challenges you to think about how the language works under the hood (e.g. 'what does the "reduce" function actually do') and why it works that way. This is drilled into you in the first month of the program (along with how to debug properly) and by the end of it, I was confident enough to pick up languages, libraries and frameworks in my own time and learn them without any assistance.
Smaller class sizes
Rithm has a policy of keeping class sizes small so that there are enough instructors to help out students at all times. My cohort had 10 students and the difference was noticeable. I had heard horror stories of students at other boot camps needing to submit support requests online and having to wait for a long while before any help was given. That's not the case at Rithm. If you're stuck you can walk up to an instructor and ask for help and guidance at any time.
Nothing is learnt well unless it is applied. This rings true for programming. You can learn how to program by yourself and build your own projects but that doesn't prepare you for the reality of working at a company. That's where Rithm's company projects come in to bridged that gap. Not only will you be working with seasoned software engineers at companies, you will also be tasked with making design/structure decisions as well as planning and executing certain workflows for the company projects.
I personally found that working on these projects helped me discover and evaluate what type of software engineer I wanted to be and the types of workflows that I enjoyed in software development. This helped shaped my career aspirations and goals.
Elie, Matt and Tim are some of the best instructors that you will come across. They explain and demonstrate concepts well and take time out to ensure that information is properly absorbed before moving on. In addition, they are extremely dedicated to keeping the curriculum up-to-date to ensure that you are learning the most relevant material.
All in all, you can't go wrong if you choose Rithm. Yes, the price is a bit steep in comparison to most other boot camps but the quality of instruction that you will receive is unparalleled.
I attended Rithm as part of its third cohort, and I am so glad I did. I landed a great job offer within a month of graduating! It's amazing to me how fast I was able to make such a big pivot in my career.
I also applied to and was accepted at Hackbright, which has an excellent reputation, but several key differences led me to choose Rithm.
Small class sizes
Rithm classes are capped at about 12-16 students per class. My cohort had 10 students, and there were 3 instructors (though they've recently added a 4th). That ratio was incredible. I almost never had to wait to get an answer to a question. I could (and did) raise my hand and ask any question I had during lectures. And there was only one cohort at a time, so we really were a small and tight-knit group. I worried I would feel lost in the crowd at one of the bigger schools that is pushing several (much larger) cohorts through at the same time. I cannot emphasize enough how valuable the small class size was.
Rithm requires around 100 hours of prework before day 1 of the class. I really valued that because I felt it meant we would hit the ground running and be able to get further in our 13 weeks than we would have without the prework. And I was right! And they were available to answer questions in the weeks leading up to our class. Combine this with the fact that their program is a bit on the longer side (13 weeks compared to 10 weeks at Hackbright), and I feel like I got so much additional value.
One of the biggest differentiators of Rithm is the fact that students work on two company projects in addition to the more standard solo project that most bootcamps require. These two company projects were not only great learning opportunities, but they were also incredibly valuable during my job search. They gave me real-world experience that potential employers really valued.
Great content available online for free
Rithm also has so much great content online for free. I still refer back to it, and I find it incredibly clear and easy to understand compared to a lot of the information out there.
Outco - job search support
Rithm partners with a great job search support program aimed specifically at software engineers called Outco. Check out their Yelp reviews - they are outstanding. Let's face it, the job search sucks, especially in software. But Outco helped me get my resume in great shape in just a few days, gave me lots of practice with the advanced data structures and algorithms commonly asked about in interviews, and gave me a bunch of nontechnical advice that helped me feel better prepared for phone screens and more. It is a 5 week program immediately after Rithm, and it was a super valuable addition. I got tons of traction, and I landed my first job offer before finishing Outco. (Experiences will of course vary; I have a STEM background, which goes a long ways.)
For me, it was a much easier location to get to than most of the other bootcamps in the city. So, that was icing on the cake.
Overall, I can't recommend Rithm highly enough. If you're at all curious, I highly recommend checking out one of their free evening classes or poking around their online content. I don't think you'll be disappointed.
My name is Aric, and I graduated from Rithm 2 weeks ago.
As a 19 year old freshman majoring in Computer Science at Azusa Pacific University, I discovered that the higher education system was not for me. I quickly lost interest in my classes because quite frankly, I didn't care about what they had to offer. I wanted to go to school to learn how to code, not spend 60% of my time on Gen Eds.
Needless to say, I didn't take college seriously at all and began looking into bootcamps. At first, my goal was to go to Hack Reactor due to the flashy outcomes statistics, credibility, and overall star power that they have as a bootcamp. Everything went as planned, and I ended up getting into Hack Reactor, as well as Dev Bootcamp and Galvanize(my two backup plans).
I was feeling great, but as soon as I got in contact with these bootcamps my optimism began to fade. They seemed pushy, like they just wanted me to sign the papers and take my money, and it didn't seem like they cared about my best interest as a student. Hack Reactor was calling me almost every other day to check on the status of my decision, and when I asked more questions about the program, the admissions people were not able to answer them or fulfill my request to speak to an instructor who could.
I decided to dig around a little more online, and that's when I found Rithm. It seemed too good to be true, the small class size, experienced instructors, and amazing outcomes program through Outco. It was everything I wanted in a bootcamp, but I was unsure because Rithm was brand new at the time.
My uncertainty began to fade after my first phone call with Elie. Elie seemed like a nice guy, and he was able to answer all the questions I had about the program. I was amazed that after my previous struggles, I was able to get directly on the phone with a Lead Instructor. We scheduled a technical interview, and after the technical interview I was feeling even better. It was much more involved than the one I had done with Hack Reactor, and the fact that the Lead Instructors do the interviews shows that they really care about the quality of the students that are getting into the program. This was also my first taste of what it's like to be taught by Elie, as the interview has some pairing involved if you get caught up on a problem or can't think of a method.
When I got accepted to Rithm, I had already made the decision that it was my top choice, and I'm so glad things turned out the way they did. My time at Rithm exceeded my expectations. The small class size makes it so that it's kind of like a hybrid between a classroom experience and a mentorship, and whenever lectures weren't going on I was able to get 1 on 1 time with one of the instructors. Not to mention, these guys are the best teachers I've ever had, hands down. They all have years of experience, and it really shows through their extensive knowledge of computer science and web deveopment.
I was worried before the bootcamp that I would struggle, as I heard it can be a very difficult experience, but even though it was challenging these guys made it easily digestible by breaking down complex topics and explaining them using more 'human' terminology. Even when I didn't completely understand a new topic, I was able to go through the curriculum on my own and figure things out, or get 1 on 1 help. This was the first time in my life that I really felt challenged by education, and I fed off of the challenge and friendly competition that the bootcamp environment provides. The instructors really pushed me to become the best version of myself.
I have now built multiple Full-Stack web applications that I am extremely proud of, and I have no doubt in my mind that as I enter into Outco I will land a job and be able to contribute to a team in a big way.
Overall, choosing Rithm was the best decision of my life, and I would do things again the same way given the opportunity.
Above is my personal site, from there you can find my email, Github, and LinkedIn. Feel free to email me any specific questions you have for someone who has already gone through the program, and I will answer them as honestly as I can.
Best group of instructors that I have had the privilege of learning from. Their responsive teaching style caters to novices as well as experienced students. The best part is how well they prepare you for the job market. I was already working at my new job the Monday after graduation!
I'm a former student of Elie, Matt and Tim and these guys are the real deal. They have a great combination of instructional and professional experience in software development and truly demonstrate compassion for every student they interact with.
Given the small class size, receiving personalized instruction from this team will give any software developer the building blocks to a successful career!
Our latest on Rithm School
With the closing of Dev Bootcamp (slated for December 8, 2017), you’re probably wondering what other coding bootcamp options are out there. Dev Bootcamp changed thousands of lives, and built a great reputation with employers, so we are sad to see it go. Fortunately, there are still plenty of quality coding bootcamps in the cities where Dev Bootcamp operated. Here is a list of coding bootcamps with similar lengths, time commitments, and curriculums in the six cities where Dev Bootcamp had campuses: Austin, Chicago, New York, San Diego, San Francisco, and Seattle.Continue Reading →
Elie Schoppik is a self-taught developer, and after teaching at two coding bootcamps, he decided it was time to start his own. Along with two co-founders, Elie started Rithm School in San Francisco to provide smaller class sizes and a greater focus on the student experience. We chatted with Elie to learn about his software development teaching experience, the reasons for founding Rithm School, and his top tips for aspiring bootcampers.
How did you get started in software development?
I graduated from college in 2010 with a degree in finance and I knew nothing about programming. When I started an education company with a developer friend, I had to learn to code on the job in order to build our product. Teaching myself to code was really difficult, but I was lucky to have great mentors helping me through my learning process. I was surrounded by software engineers who guided me through the basics, and helped me learn how to write good code. That's one of the things I love the most about teaching students – it's very easy to just write code that works, but when you get into the real world, writing clean code is crucial. I try to instill in students the importance of writing good, clean code from the start.
As a founder of Rithm, what motivated you to start your own coding bootcamp?
My two co-founders, Tim Garcia, Matt Lane, and I all taught for about a year together at other coding bootcamps. We saw a lot of frustration with very large class sizes and a small number of instructors. As a teacher, it's really demoralizing to know that there are some students you just won't have the time to help. You know the student spent the time and money, and has made a commitment, but you're kind of powerless.
When we started Rithm School, we wanted to focus exclusively on very small class sizes. So we keep our classes at 12. The goal is to have a constant process of checking in with students, pairing with students, working with students daily and always knowing how they're progressing. Our fundamental theory is that for-profit education does not scale. We want to provide each student with the same interviewers, instructors, curriculum, and level of support. We're going to be constantly iterating but provide the same product and same quality.
As a self-taught developer, how do you feel about the “bootcamp” model? Did you have to be convinced of its efficacy?
I think it's a phenomenal model in general. The idea of being able to change people's careers and lives over the course of such a short period of time is unbelievable. As long as students have the mental picture of how hard it's going to be and how much work it will take, I think there's some incredible progress that can be made in this space. If they have that mindset from day one, they’ll be successful.
There are quite a lot of bootcamps in San Francisco – what makes Rithm School stand out?
First and foremost, the small classes. We keep our student to teacher ratio at 4:1, maximum. Tim, Matt, and I have experience as coding bootcamp instructors and have been teaching for over three years. Tim has a master's degree in computer science, Matt has a PhD in math, and I have teaching and industry experience, so we all bring unique perspectives to Rithm School.
We are striving to open source all of our curriculum. We have about 45% of our current curriculum available for free at rithmschool.com/courses. And at Rithm, by the time you start working with us, you have already taken advantage of some of our free online courses. Our goal is to be as transparent and honest as possible about the education that people are going to get. We focus on the student's experience, and we’re not trying to rapidly scale at this point. We want to keep our classes small, build a really good business, and provide the right kind of educational materials.
Is Rithm School working with the BPPE (Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education) in California?
Absolutely. When we first started Rithm, working with the BPPE was actually one of the most important things. We've submitted our application, and we're in the process of being approved. We actually need one year of audited financial statements, so once we’ve been operating for a year, we can submit the final application. Even though there’s a lot of bureaucracy, there's also so much value in transparency in coding bootcamps. We've seen coding bootcamps get shut down, so we respect the BPPE and what they’re doing.
Rithm School is now teaching your second student cohort. What did you learn from your first cohort?
We're always iterating on the curriculum. Our first cohort had two students and our current cohort of eight students is now working on company projects. Through our past teaching, we’ve seen what technologies are most useful for teaching and valuable to the job search. At General Assembly, I was teaching Node, Rails, and Angular – that has evolved at Rithm School to teaching Python, React and Node.
What have you learned about your own teaching style over the past three years? What can students expect in the classroom?
I try not to lecture with slides too much. Instead, I lecture in small intervals, then give students the opportunity to code. That’s the reason our classes start at 9am and end at 6pm. If you're coding all day, then you can’t do much past 6pm.
As I’ve grown as a teacher, I’ve introduced more pair programming. Our instructors actually sit behind students and pair program with them all day. Since we have a small class size, we can divide our students into three groups of four. And between each instructor, we can sit behind those groups and just watch them code all day. With pair programming, we see students’ learning accelerate so much more than in traditional lectures where students move more slowly and get bored more easily.
Since our curriculum is online and available to all students, we encourage students to read ahead to the next section and practice a couple of exercises. Then the following day we flip the classroom and work on projects most of the day.
After working with so many bootcamp students, can you tell us what makes the ideal bootcamper?
Before you enroll in a bootcamp, one of the most important things is to understand the commitment. Reading about programmers, having friends who are programmers, hearing how exciting it is, and learning about the salary potential can be wonderful. But that’s not the point. Some people really don't realize the intensity of a bootcamp until they’ve spent the time and the money, which is dangerous. It’s important that students understand what they're getting into, and that's why we have our curriculum online. You can chat with us on the site as you're working through the material, and the goal is to be really personable. I advise students to be very honest about what you're getting yourself into.
The best students have done the research and have tried coding. People who have STEM backgrounds will naturally pick this stuff up faster because they have previous exposure. But other students have been Lyft drivers, massage therapists – we've seen students from all walks of life be successful. It's really about the student’s ability to problem solve and to be intellectually honest and transparent about how you best learn.
What types of jobs are you expecting your students to be prepared for when they graduate?
We encourage our students not to have an assumption about their first job after a bootcamp. Some students graduate and are really excited to take an internship at a larger company, while other students want to start their own companies. We also have students who are interested in working in nonprofits. We don't mandate that students work with any specific company.
After 13 weeks of our program, we connect students to four weeks of intensive data structure algorithms and behavioral interview prep with a company called Outco, with whom we’ve partnered to help with this prep. The focus is to make sure students are ready for the job search – it’s a very different skill than learning to program.
Rithm School recently raised money from a venture firm called Slow Ventures with the intent of sending our grads to their portfolio companies. We expect to graduate about 60 students this year, and we have about 120 portfolio companies with Slow Ventures, plus the entire Outco network. So we have a lot of hiring companies to work with our students. We're focusing on figuring out students’ goals after class and tailoring our curriculum and projects to those goals. We respect that some students don't want to work at big tech companies.
How do you assess student progress throughout the bootcamp?
Since students are coding most of the day, towards the end of the day students will submit a pull request, push their code up to GitHub, and we review it. Having such a small class of students means that we can do pretty thorough code reviews on a regular basis. We also do more formal assessments every second or third week.
A differentiator of Rithm School is that if we find students are falling behind or we've made a mistake in the admissions process, we encourage students to apply for future cohorts, but they receive a full tuition refund. If we did something incorrectly, we should not punish them for that. They’ve made the time commitment, and we will do our best to make it work with students. At other bootcamps we saw a lack of guidance past a certain point. Rithm School is doing it differently; we really focus on the student experience. In the first six weeks, if it's not working out, we go our separate ways. If students complete our program and don't find a job in six months, then we do the same thing – students receive a full tuition refund.
For our readers who are beginners, what resources or meetups do you recommend if they're thinking about a coding bootcamp?
Do you have any other tips or suggestions for aspiring bootcampers?
Make sure you get the answers you need and meet the people you'll be working with on a daily basis as early as possible before you invest time and money. If you get an opportunity, it’s essential to know who's going to be teaching you and potentially work with that person before you make that commitment. In Rithm School’s interview process, the first phone call is with me, then you’ll speak with my co-founders and our Director of Operations.
The more you can learn on your own, the better, but there is a certain point where you’ll hit that ceiling, and you’ll need to accelerate your learning by attending a bootcamp. When Rithm School published our online courses, a lot of people questioned why we would give away our curriculum. Our response is that if you can't afford our school, or you're not able to come to the San Francisco area, who are we to stop you from learning with us? After that, if you want to accelerate your learning, and skyrocket your growth as a developer, we'll be here to help you do that.
Welcome to the September 2016 Course Report monthly coding bootcamp news roundup! Each month, we look at all the happenings from the coding bootcamp world from new bootcamps to big fundraising announcements, to interesting trends. Of course, we cover our 2016 Outcomes and Demographics Report (we spent a ton of time on this one and hope everyone gets a chance to read it)! Other trends include growth of the industry, increasing diversity in tech through bootcamps, plus news about successful bootcamp alumni, and new schools and campuses. Read below or listen to our latest Coding Bootcamp News Roundup Podcast!Continue Reading →