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Techtonica

San Francisco

Techtonica

Avg Rating:4.8 ( 5 reviews )

Techtonica offers a free, full-time, 6-month Javascript apprenticeship program for women and non-binary low-income adults in San Francisco, California. Techtonica is a nonprofit bootcamp which aims to build more diverse technical teams by teaching technology skills like full stack software development, project management, UI/UX design, and data analysis to underrepresented groups in the tech industry. The program also covers apprentices’ living and child-care costs.

Entry to the Techtonica program is competitive – applicants should be self-motivated, resilient, logical, hardworking, and ready to make sacrifices. Applicants must be a woman or non-binary, feminine-adjacent adult, digitally literate, earn less than $50,000 a year, and have lived in the Bay Area for at least one year. The application process is as follows: submit an online form, if invited, join an introductory conversation, attend a coding workshop, complete a take-home challenge, complete a long-form application, and then attend an in-person assessment. After a one-month trial, participants who work the hardest who meet and exceed expectations will be invited to continue for the remaining five months of the program.

The Techtonica team includes software engineers, community volunteers and leaders, non-profit and startup founders, teachers, curriculum development specialists, venture capitalists, and social impact strategists. Upon successful completion of the six-month program, apprentices are skilled software development professionals who receive job placement opportunities with Techtonica partner companies.

Recent Techtonica Reviews: Rating 4.8

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    • Apprenticeship

      Apply
      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
    • Natalie  User Photo
      Natalie • Apprentice 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!  It is well known there are many coding bootcamps, many of which charge *a lot* of money for training, usually with little to no job connections. This does not describe Techtonica, in my experience. Techtonica is not your average academic course/bootcamp, there are no instructors...although there is an engineering manager guiding the process (so you will need to be able to self-learn with the help of mentors/other cohort mates/online resources/Etc). You be guided to learn the fundamentals of web development & 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 it wasn't guaranteed. Also, there is an interview process for the internship.
      • Excellent mentorship program. I was assigned a mentor with FAANG experience. Also, we had "super mentors" almost everyday offering assistance, many who worked for FAANG companies/or were very experienced in the field. 
      • 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. This is awesome because when one graduates from the program, they have a portfolio of work to showcase! Also, learning how to work with Git/GitHub/the command line. This was a huge plus for me. 
      CONS 
      • The curriculum. Too many curriculum materials were old, 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 discrepancies it can cause( implementing study groups, course pre reqs, and letting you find your own learning materials). 

      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 before hand. To some of the advanced cohort mates these curriculum topics were just review, but 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 learning materials that you feel are effective, 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... I say this because that's 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. 

      All in all, this program is worth it and changes lives!!!
       
      ** Due to there being no instructors, the rating for that category is not applicable. 
    • 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. 
    • 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 • 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!