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Techtonica

San Francisco

Techtonica

Avg Rating:4.89 ( 9 reviews )

Techtonica is a nonprofit that provides free tech training, living and childcare stipends, laptops, and job placement and job search support to women and non-binary adults with low incomes in the U.S. Techtonica's 24-week, full-time software engineering program is made up of virtual training and six months of placement or job search support. Participants are assigned mentors and work with many experienced volunteers. The training focuses on full-stack web development using JavaScript and consists of hands-on projects built with other participants. The last month of training is customized to prepare participants for placement in jobs with Techtonica partners.

Entry to the Techtonica program is competitive — applicants should be interested, resilient, independent, inclusive, collaborative, respectful, curious, and logical. They should also ask thoughtful questions, follow instructions, give and receive feedback professionally, and have a growth mindset. Applicants must be a woman or non-binary adult, digitally literate, and earn less than the amount specified in their location and situation on the MIT Living Wage Calculator in annual household income. For more info about the program and how to apply, see https://techtonica.org/full-time-program/.

Recent Techtonica Reviews: Rating 4.89

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    • Apprenticeship

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      JavaScript
      In PersonFull Time
      Start Date None scheduled
      Cost$0
      Class sizeN/A
      LocationSan Francisco
      Students will learn full stack JavaScript, project management, UI/UX design, and data analysis.
      Financing
      DepositN/A
      Getting in
      Minimum Skill LevelN/A
      Placement TestNo
      InterviewNo
    • Michaela Parry  User Photo
      Michaela Parry • Graduate Verified via GitHub
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      Techtonica wants its participants to be successful. The staff is incredibly supportive and realistic, even when you have full-blown imposter syndrome. They are trying to #BridgeTheTechGap and help low-income women and nonbinary folks (everybody but cis-men) get into tech. Also, because the program lasts 6 months, you can still have a life outside of your computer (extra great for parents, people with other obligations, people who are trying to not burn out in tech before even getting started). In fact, they encourage you to have a work-life balance and to know what you deserve in your upcoming tech career. A year ago, I was doing something else entirely, not at all related to tech, and now I'm a Software Engineer at Sony. All you really need is to be ready and willing to work with others, to not be afraid of independent learning, and to be able to ask questions (especially when you're confused!).
    • Natalie  User Photo
      Natalie • Apprentice • Graduate Verified via GitHub
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        My overall message to people about Techtonica (women, non-binary, femme identity) is that this is a great way to get your foot in the door in tech!  There are many coding bootcamps, many of which charge *a lot* of money with no meaningful job opportunities. This does not describe Techtonica. Techtonica is not a cookie cutter academic course/bootcamp, it is a very practical preparation for the actual job. You will need to be able to self-learn with the help of the engineering manager, volunteer mentors, cohort mates, & free online resources/Etc.

          You will be guided to learn the fundamentals of software development, practice coding challenges(leading up to leetcode), and will build up a portfolio of projects!!!

      PROS 

      • Free of charge. Yes, you do not pay a dime...and they even offer monthly stipends/equipment for those who qualify.

      •  Internship. Every member of my cohort all got 6 month internships! I believe the previous cohort all received internships and subsequently offered full time jobs! However, the program stated initially that the internship wasn't guaranteed. Also, there is an interview process for the internship. This internship could potentially turn into your first job in tech!

        • Excellent mentorship program. I was assigned an incredible mentor with FAANG experience who was supportive and awesome.
          Also, we had "super mentors" that offered regular assistance, all had extensive industry expertise.

      • Flexibility. The program staff wants feedback, they want to improve, they want to do better...this is very meaningful to me.

      • However, you must communicate/advocate for yourself if there is something you need or would like to see changed(Just like anywhere else).

      •  Network/support. Fellow cohort mates become your network and support! Some even become dear friends <3. Staff is very supportive and continues to offer support/guidance even after graduation! Industry professionals come in frequently to give talks about software development and other related roles in tech.

      • Hands on experience/projects for your portfolio. The cohort participants are guided to build a collection of projects to display on GitHub. You will build a portfolio of work to showcase! Also, learning how to work with Git/GitHub/CLI(the command line) was a huge plus for me.

      CONS 

      • The curriculum.  Many of the curriculum materials were broken links, poor in quality, or presented in a non-sequential way (this was very frustrating when trying to learn for the first time).   

        • HOWEVER, they hired someone to fix this upon receiving feedback and made needed changes to the structure of the program to address the issues: implemented more study groups, course pre-reqs, and encouraged us to find better learning materials. 

        • In Hindsight, the ability to independently google/find learning resources is a valuable job skill. Not all resources are great, thus you take it upon yourself to find ones that meet your needs. This is part of the "learning to learn" and will continue throughout your software development career.

      NOTE: This is a very fast paced & intensive program. If you apply and are accepted--- some of your cohort mates are coming in with more programming experience and code challenge fluency, so ideally you should know/learn as much as you can beforehand.

      To some of the advanced cohort mates the curriculum topics were just a review, but for others (like myself), it was the first time being introduced. In order to stay on track I had to deeply study/work after hours, get extra help, and really put in the effort to learn...it was challenging but worth it. You will learn how to prioritize your time. Familiarize yourself before the program starts with software development fundamentals/code challenges, it will be very helpful. 

      Also, I think it would be good to clarify from the start: 

      By the time of the internship interviews, you should be prepared to solve Javascript leetcode-easy level problems... because it was what most of the internship interviews consisted of (a couple didn't...and seemed more like practical code challenges...AND one was definitely a leetcode-medium level). Be prepared. Practice daily. Your code challenge fluency may possibly determine if you get the internship that you want (aka some internships pay significantly more than others or have the culture you want).

    • Life-Changing
      - 6/18/2022
      Zelma Sedano  User Photo
      Zelma Sedano • Junior Software Engineer at Sony PlayStation • Graduate Verified via GitHub
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      Attending Techtonica has been one of the most challenging, rewarding, and educational experiences I've ever had.  Prepare to spend 6 months absolutely IMMERSED in code.  Not only does Techtonica teach you how to be a full-stack developer, it also teaches you how to lead meetings, be accountable to your team, and in the end sets you up for success.  

      There were a few hiccups where a lot of us felt very overwhelmed and triggered, because many of us come from non-traditional, under-represented backgrounds with a lot of trauma.  Techtonica has stepped up and started taking that into account, and I think with every cohort they will get better.  

      Also, they don't just release you into the world with a polite "Good luck" like most bootcamps, they teach you how to interview, set you up with multiple interviews with sponsor companies, and assign you an apprenticeship.  You will likely leave with almost a full year of coding experience under your belt.  :) 
    • Tara   User Photo
      Tara • Software Engineer • Graduate Verified via GitHub
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      If you are a motivated woman or a non-binary adult trying to break into tech, this is the program for you! Techtonica is a free remote program that may offer a small stipend for living expenses and a computer to borrow. The program is a full-stack software engineering program consisting of 6 months of very intense self-taught learning with lots of mentor support and collaboration. Then another 6 months working as an apprentice/intern software engineer at a sponsor company. There is a possibility of conversion to full time employment after the internship. What you put in is what you get out. 

      PROS:  A FREE complete learning experience with lots of support, "family friendly", speaker series( tech workers with different roles speak about their careers), and you can connect with the speakers directly on LinkedIn, amazing networking opportunities, in addition to programming skills/languages/technologies there is a focus on diversity and inclusion, and soft skills. The staff at Techtonica are very transparent, proactive, personable and responsive.

      CONS: none

      My Story: I quit my teaching career after 15 years. I went back to school and earned a Bachelors of Science in IT.  Unfortunately, the degree didn't give me the tech/programming skills that are needed to become a software engineer. ( I realize now that you can have a non-traditional background without a degree and still become a software engineer.)   I spent another 4 years coding in my spare time.  It was painstakingly slow. I would get stuck in my code and didn't know anyone that could help me. I didn't have a mentor and I wasn't successful learning alone. Finally, at a Node SF meetup, I heard about a program for women called Techtonica. It took me a year to get up the courage to apply. I applied and wasn't accepted. I kept coding and practicing for 5 more months, applied again and was accepted!  I practiced using Techtonica's open source curriculum, Free Code Camp, Wes Bos videos, and  Angela Yu's Udemy web development course. Once accepted into the program, I took advantage of every opportunity that was offered by the program. Techtonica changed my life. I now have connections that I can reach out to, soft skills to navigate this demanding field,  a solid full-stack programming foundation and two outstanding mentors that I can reach out to anytime. I have an internship that helps pay the bills and I will be learning even more. I feel that my software engineer career is finally taking off! 
    • Lê Jowett  User Photo
      Lê Jowett • Software Engineer • Graduate • Verified via LinkedIn
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      Here is the formula: 
       Put in the work + Maintain your growth mindset + Give it 6 months 
       === 
       You will be gain the confidence and skills to be a software engineer. 
       
       Before Techtonica, I was independently learning to program, applying to jobs with no ends in sight and found lots of rejection. This organization afforded me the opportunity of a stipend (to support myself), gave me a curriculum, gave me structure, introduced me to people in the field, and helped me prepare for my role as a software engineer. The whole program is 6 months and I had confidence and stronger technical skills to show at the end of it. This organization changed my life by helping me make a successful career transition into Tech and I cannot recommend this program enough. Thanks Michelle and the countless mentors that helped me get here today. 
       
      Pros: 
      Assigned mentors while attending Techtonica, 6 months of stipend, camaraderie with fellow women and nonbinary people, community, job placement, emotional support, post-placement support, and a new lease on life.
       
       Cons: 
      1.) Depends on who you ask, "gating exams" were stated in the contracts but not something my cohort openly addressed and it caught a few folks off guard. You are asked to leave if you cannot pass the exams, so work hard! Nothing is free. 
      I recently volunteered with the org and was happy to see the mention of "gating exams" mentions in the forefront. Kudos! 
      2.) No instructor(s) during my cohort, but I think that might have changed. 
      3.) It is not highly stressed, but I feel like it should be: you should have done your fair share of learning the fundamentals of web development before joining Techtonica. Fact. 
      It will greatly benefit you if you're not doing everything for the first time during the program; having due diligence means going through a (free/open-source) beginner’s course on CodeAcademy; FreeCodeCamp; and discovering your personal interests in software development are all good things. 
    • Claribel • Software Engineer • Graduate
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      This apprenticeship is truly life changing, I have heard others say it, but experiencing it was something else. One of the best experiences of my life. In 6 months I was able to build full stack apps, I feel I left there with a great foundation to keep learning and growing. Techtonica is extremely supportive from giving me a mentor to work with, 1-1 meetings, feedbacks, plenty of soft skills like advocating for ourselves, thinking about what it means to be a woman/non-binary/minority in the tech world, mock interviews. They really go above and beyond to set you up for success not just to learn how to code but how to think like a Software Engineer, how to feel confident in doing that, collaborating with others, cultivating a growth-mindset. Being a part of Techtonica has shown me that safe spaces like this do exist and I am currently in an internship now thanks to Techtonica that is equally as supportive and very committed to my growth. Besides the technical aspects, I really enjoyed all of the guest speakers who came to talk with us about different topics to teach us about the tech world but also to help us think about ourselves in a more empowering way. Very valuable.
    • Student
      - 12/13/2021
      Malika Kassen-Lao • Back-end Software Engineering Intern • Student
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      I started coding just half a year before joining Techtonica. My coding experience was limited to writing loops, creating functions, and solving some algorithms. I had never created any applications and didn't know what front-end, back-end, API and databases are. 

      The competition to get into the program was big. There were multiple steps: completing a long application, finishing a small JavaScript tutorial, two 3-hour pair programming sessions with other applicants, where we were observed by volunteers, and the last step - a 1:1 with a Techtonica staff (writing a code) . Luckily, I was accepted.

      The program was very intense. Almost every week we would cover a new topic and we would practice the new skills by completing weekly projects. At the end of each week we had knowledge assessment. The best part of the program is that each student gets matched with a personal technical mentor, who helps with the weekly projects, answer technical questions and help to debug.  Techtonica staff was also very supportive, and students could address any problems/issues they had. 

      Another great thing about Techtonica, is that the program does not only teach coding but also trains students for behavioral interviews and develop soft skills. Every week we had mock interviews with Techtonica staff, and we had a lot of opportunities to practice interviewing with volunteers from tech companies. 

      Techtonica doesn't have instructors, so I put 4 stars for instructors in my rating, just because it's not applicable. It's a self learning program. Students pair program, can teach and learn from each other as well as ask questions from mentors.

      I am so happy that I got to know about this amazing program and decided to join. Next week, I am going to graduate from Techtonica, and I got a paid internship for a back-end role in one of the Techtonica sponsor companies!
    • Anonymous • Graduate
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      Techtonica was an awesome experience! While it was very challenging and sometimes I had major impostor syndrome, it is set up in a way to really help participants work through challenges and be successful. The staff is awesome and always make themselves available (even to graduates) to help or just chat. Other ways in which participants are supported is through mentors. I had two mentors and I learned so much from them. Other mentors are also available during program hours. In regard to the curriculum, at first I felt like things were overwhelming but eventually learned to trust the process, later things started making sense and falling into place. What I learned allowed for me to feel confident in creating many projects (one final project). Another thing I found extremely useful was all the interview prep. I feel like that really helped prepare me for final interviews and have a more realistic expectation for what interviewing in the real world is like. Overall, I am very grateful for this experience and finally being a software engineer!!!
    • Anonymous • Software Engineer Apprentice • Graduate
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      I chose Techtonica because it met my needs and goals. It is a boot camp that puts women and nonbinary people at the forefront and supports diversity in the tech place and the fact that this boot camp is free and offers almost a guarantee for an internship at the end was a no-brainer for me to join. But do not think that the competition or the chance to get in is that easy either. You really do have to put in the work: fill in a short application, long application, complete some code curriculum, have two 3 hours pair programming sessions (it can be intimidating if you have never pair programmed before but they will explain how it works and it is pretty straightforward!), and a few interviews with Techtonica staff. Although it was intimidating as a beginner and self-taught coder for a few months prior to joining the program, if you make it through the interview, you are definitely more than capable than you think of completing the program. 

      In terms of my time at Techtonica, I felt really supported by my cohort mates and staff there. The space felt safe, welcoming, and very involved in making sure people felt heard and feedback was always taken seriously. The general program format was projects due every week alongside learning new topics such as APIs, JSON, HTML and CSS, JavaScript, Express, React, Docker, and a bunch of front and backend concepts to prepare you to be a full-stack engineer. You also have a technical mentor that you get to meet with weekly and 1:1 with the technical manager for check-in like you would in a normal tech job. You also have mock interviews every week covering the material of the week you learned prior. On Wednesday, we had a soft skills day where we worked and focused more on the behavioral aspect of being in a work environment. I found the overall curriculum to be a general overview of full-stack concepts and knowledge we needed to know that gave everyone a breadth versus depth approach which I appreciated. 

      I would highly recommend Techtonica to anyone who has been wanting to get into the Tech industry but has had a hard time jumping through gates and steps to get there. I believe Techtonica does a good job of holding your hand throughout the whole process of learning, getting your first tech job, and supporting you after you finish your internship. Just know if you want this, prepare to dedicate a lot of your time like any full-time job to it, really focus and be present if you are in this boot camp to make the most out of it!