Tradecraft in San Francisco offers full time, 12-week immersive bootcamp programs for smart, motivated people who want to get into tech. Tradecraft offers courses in Sales & Business Development, Growth Marketing, Product Design and Engineering.
The program has been designed by industry-leading experts to ensure that students graduate with the depth and breadth of knowledge to make meaningful contributions from day one at a high-growth startup. Tradecraft students work with a large group of world-class mentors and a small group of inspiring peers. Students gain real work experience during the course of the program by working on projects for Silicon Valley companies.
Tradecraft’s unique approach to training means that graduates will have access to programs and resources until they get a job. Tradecraft offers ongoing mentorship and support to their alumni.
Recent tradecraft Reviews: Rating 4.96
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In PersonFull Time11 Weeks
The Business Development & Sales Track at Tradecraft is for individuals who want to learn how to drive startups forward. Members of this track often come in with entrepreneurial aspirations or are focused on joining a startup as an early business hire, where their critical value comes not just from the first customers or revenue that they generate, but also from their ability to accelerate the company toward product/market fit. The track is also well-suited for those who are interested in learning how to build partnerships with other customers, employees, organizations, or investors.
- Start Date
- Rolling Start Date
- Class size
- San Francisco
- Yes, financing available through Skills Fund.
- Tuition Plans
- Payment plans are available.
- Minimum Skill Level
- Placement Test
The Tradecraft Growth track offers it's members a deep dive into every step of the startup customer engagement funnel from user acquisition to retention to revenue and referral. While in the program, students do projects to explore various channels by working with practicing mentors in the field and participating in project for real startups.
- Start Date
- Rolling Start Date
- Class size
- San Francisco
- Yes, financing available through Skills Fund.
- Tuition Plans
- Payment plans are available.
- Minimum Skill Level
- Placement Test
The Product Design Track offers individuals with previous experience the opportunity develop and design real products alongside Silicon Valley startups. Curriculum and projects allow students students to build skills like: Customer Development User Research Wireframing Interaction Design User Interface Design Prototyping Content & Copy
- Start Date
- Rolling Start Date
- Class size
- San Francisco
- Yes, financing available through Skills Fund.
- Tuition Plans
- Payment plans are available.
- Minimum Skill Level
- Placement Test
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My reason for considering an accelerator school was this: I was living in San Francisco, three years removed from being in the military, and working at a job I felt placed a ceiling on my growth. Projecting outwards, I realized there was a likelihood that job mobility would be an issue if I didn't expand my network and skill-base. It was an unfortunate, but true, realization that a military background rarely fits into tech-based Bay Area job descriptions. I needed a quick way to overcome that obstacle and demonstrate I belonged.
When I signed up, my focus was strictly on skill-building. In my head, I'd walk out a master of all things data analysis & growth marketing. That's a naive expectation, since no one person or school can speed you up that fast on multiple topics in 3 months & send you out in the world at an advanced level. But what ends up happening are three things:
1. You get exposure to a business lexicon (terms, concepts, practical examples, etc..) that prepares you to be a reliable voice in any business conversation. No more worrying about having buzzwords sail over your head. You may not be an expert, but you'll be able to hang. That's half the battle in my opinion.
2. You build a network. If I stayed at my previous job, I'd have a very narrow group of folks I could reach out to for advice, referrals, and recommendations. You enter a community willing to help push you along as you move up in your career.
3. You learn the art of selling yourself. Tradecraft helps you identify your strengths and build out a compelling story from there to help with job interviews. They build your confidence and give you blueprints on how to reveal yourself to potential employers. Interview cycles often range from 4-5 interviews and include difficult homework assignments. This is an important edge Tradecraft provides that shouldn't be overlooked.
A month after graduation, I was able to land a job with a well-known ride-sharing company. I used my network to get my resume to the recruiter. I used my interview prep as I went through 3 interviews + 1 panel. And during my homework assignment, I used 4 growth marketing cirriculum topics to build a presentation (all topics which I hadn't been familiar with 12 weeks prior). Tradecraft was an incredible advantage for someone in my position, and I'm doubtful I would have reached a similar outcome without having gone through their program.
After a decade in financial sevices, I made the tough decision to pivot towards a career in technology. I was always interested in innovation, and the most fun I had in my career was through builidng teams or establishing new initiatives. As I began interviewing, I realized the pivot was deeper than I had realized. I had a lot to learn about how tech companies are orgnanized, how they they operate, what language they speak, and about what roles best fit my goals.
Tradecraft gave me 2 things I needed to make this transition: 1. thoughtful and introspective career coaching. 2. hard skills training.
Tradecraft's talent team dedicates both classroom and one-on-one time to help you identify the roles and verticals that make sense for this stage of your career. You are challenged to reflect deeply on possions you've held -- what you loved, what you dreaded, what you achieved, what mistakes you learned from. My time there helped me better idenitfy not only the role I wanted next, it also helped me clarify my north star: the professional and personal goals to strive for this year, next year, and beyond.
The growth marketing track gave me invaluable training in branding and messaging, data analytics, and project managment. The business development track improved my presentation skills and provided a framework to craft and evaluate business models, value propositions, and strategic solutions for customer and enterprise clients. Both tracks allow you to lead and participate in strategy consulting projects for early stage companies -- further refining your skills and expanding your network beyond tradecraft.
Lastly, all this is possible at Tradecraft becasue it's operated by a team that cares about people. The managment team and personnel invest time in each individual, allowing them to help you craft an experience that is uniquely yours. I learned a lot from Tradecraft's curriculum and consulting work, but I learned so much from the smart, experienced, and thoughtful team they have in place.
Their efforts did not end upon completion of the program. They worked hard to guide me through my job search and sent me leads throughout the vast Tradecraft network they have built -- and in turn sent me the lead that became the job I'm currently in. I'm at a company today whose culture I fit in perfectly with, working within a role that challenges and excites me every day. I have Tradecraft to thank for guiding me here.
With these types of programs, I'm very results-driven. Bootcamps are here to help you find a job, and Tradecraft succeeds in this area for the vast majority of its members. Tradecraft makes it clear from the outset that the program is self-driven, and you get out what you put in. The resources are there, but you need to take advantage of them in your own way that works for your own, unique background. This is the program for self-motivated learners, and not for those who crave structure.
The best part of Tradecraft is the people you meet. The network is there to support you even after your job search, and can be an asset for the rest of your career. People say that the tech world is smaller than you think, and this is even more true for the design world. Cohorts get really close throughout the experience, and we all still keep in touch. Overall, I really enjoyed my Tradecraft experience.
The first thing you learn in TC is that it is a kitchen and not a restaurant. Before any mentor can help you, you need to have a clear goal of what you are trying to achieve. The program is then shaped by your goals and ambition. I echo what others say in their review: make sure you figure out what you want to get out of it first before you dive in. This way, you can better tailor your experience.
Besides the curriculum, the mentors and the network are the most valuable assets of the program! They provide great advice and guidance whenever possible. Don't be afraid to send that cold email or attend this networking event by yourself. It will help you get to where you want to be!
One year ago, I was unsatisfied with my career, and I knew I had to make a change. I was working in marketing and wanted to make the switch to product. More specifically, I wanted to work in product at a behavioral health startup. After thinking through my options, I decided that studying product design would be a step in the right direction. I chose Tradecraft because of its reputation (it was recommended to me by an expert in the digital health space), my interactions with its alumni (several were happy to hop on a call with me), and its location (the Bay Area has a large number of behavioral health startups).
On my final day at Tradecraft, just three months after I relocated to SF from NYC, I was offered a product management role at a behavioral health startup, where I am working now -- and loving it.
The greatest value Tradecraft provided me was a structure to do the things I knew I should do. I spent three months as part of a group of motivated people who were taking similar risks to reinvent themselves. Being in that environment gave me the momentum and social context to work hard and take action. It also gave me a platform for networking and outreach, which was the most important factor in getting my current role.
A key differentiating factor in Tradecraft is its incorporation of client projects and the ability for students to source these projects for themselves. When I first arrived in SF, I reached out to a variety of behavioral health startups, and one of them agreed to work with me as part of a client project. This enabled me to work directly with the startup, gaining a deep understanding of their product and customers. When a product management role became available, I was a logical candidate, having already proven myself over several months. Many other Tradecraft alumni have had similar experiences. The Tradecraft Alumni network is also a strong differentiating factor. Almost without exception, Alumni were happy to grab coffee or hop on a phone call to give me advice and mentorship, and many Tradecraft alumni have found full-time jobs from these relationships.
The one area that could be improved is the curriculum. I expected to walk away after three months with a more rigorous set of hard skills. What I did learn, I likely could have learned on my own. It may be unreasonable to expect to gain a significant level of hard skills after such a short time, but I think Tradecraft could definitely improve the level of organization and intensity in this area. That said, I did leave with foundational awareness of the various areas of product design (conscious incompetence) and the ability to learn more after the program was over.
All in all, Tradecraft was an important stepping stone in what has been a very positive and fulfilling career transition. I would highly recommend that anyone considering a transition into product design or management consider Tradecraft. However, it is important to have reasonable expectations and know that your success is very much impacted by your own initiative, effort, and as is often the case, a little bit of luck.
Tradecraft was a game changer for me. I had wanted to switch careers into Product Design for some time, but never found the momentum or the guidance learning on my own.
- design instructors who put together a comprehensive design course
- projects with early stage startups to build my portfolio
- career guidance on each step of the interview phase, from coffee meetings to interview prep.
- and most importantly, the network of people. From our design events with seasoned designers to the new design students in our program, you will find a close knit community.
I discovered Tradecraft (TC) completely out of the blue while listening to a podcast about entrepreneurship. When people say timing is everything, I believe it, especially through this experience.
At that time I was closing an e-commerce company I had started. I was looking for my next move and considering a multitude of options. In the midst of that, I found out about TC. I wasn't sure what to expect and was initially attracted to it because of the network it could provide me as a newbie in SF. My first meeting was with Misha. I told him that I was looking to get into a startup, but wasn't sure how. I had a very non-traditional background and a lot of "startup" skills, but mastery in none. I didn't even know what half the job titles meant or if I qualified for them. He suggested I do the Growth Marketing and Business Development tracks. And so I did.
I would say my experience at TC was a rollercoaster both personally and professionally. The curriculum is good for people who have no background in growth. I came from delegating tasks to actually understanding what the people I hired to do were doing, and it was a LOT! I constantly felt like there was something more I should know, learn, and try. The projects are what you and your team make of them. I jumped on as many as I could, even if it was just to observe. Because of that, my projects touched everything we learned in curriculum. Business development is a great track for anyone, especially those interested in entrepreneurship because it teaches you what makes a successful startup, how to understand your customers and the process of building a company based on value. Of course, it also touches on a number of purely sales-focused skills.
On a personal level, let's just say that TC will test you as a person as much as it will test your skills, so be ready for it! In the end, everything will turn out how you want it to no matter how much you think it won't.
And I can't forget to mention the awesome TC tribe! I came to TC for a network and a job at a great startup, and I got both through the friends and connections I made. This community could help me with pretty much anything in my life. I made life-long friends, had inspiring conversations, got intro'd to great people, and helped people in ways I never thought I could or would. So, if you're considering coming to TC, my advice is to figure out what you want from it, take steps to make it happen and it will.
It happens more often than you think, and at any stage of life: dissatisfaction with the status quo. Sometimes you arrive at this point knowing what's caused it, ready to seek change. Sometimes you might not be so lucky, leaving behind a litany of choices the have defined your windy road. But that's okay, that's what Tradecraft is here for.
Tradecraft is the place you stop by on your journey down the beaten path that gives you a chance to really take a good look at yourself and your goals to find out what the best next direction for you is. It's a stop for travelers, not a destination. It is as much a journey about getting to know yourself and your north star as it is about growing a new set of skills to get you where you want to go.
At the center of that is your own responsibility and choices, you take them and you make them. Wherever you're trying to go, whatever you're trying to do, Tradecraft is the place where you'll find home, family, direction, and certainty in the face of ambiguity. All you need is to equip your willpower and make the decision to open the door.
Narrative description aside, I've made tons of friends here even as a huge introvert. The network is amazing, the instructors always push you with a gentle but stern hand, and the work experience is invaluable. The cost of the program is almost more for you to really make the decision to commit, and it's worth it compared to alternatives when looking at cost efficiency and time.
Misha and instructors can be an amazing advocate for you, and Ariane (head of careers) will be your bastion. I continue to keep in touch, and will for a very long time as the strength of the network grows and takes over the world, one amazing mind at a time.
Best way to get the most out of this experience: challenge your limits, come with a goal in mind (but stay adaptive), bring that sheer willpower that thirsts for more, and make it count. It's up to you to bring it.
TC has nonetheless been one of the best decisions I've made for myself in my career. I came from a tech background but wanted to transition to design but had no portfolio pieces to show for to make a career change. TC will be great fit if you want to get hands on experience on working with startups and working on real problems. The design instructors Zac and Jake are top notch and gave me such invaluable feedback throughout my time there. You'll make amazing friends and be part of a wonderful community / support system even after you graduate and are on the job hunt.
I was looking for a place to learn skills and I found community
Tradecraft is not for everyone. If you want to just show up for a few hours a day, learn a functional skill and leave - then stop reading.
If you want to grow as a person, as a professional and find yourself amongst a community of wonderful people, then this can be an incredible place for you.
I found that this helped me understand my potential, helped me focus my learning on the relevant skills and gave me a context to create some of my closest relationships.
After completing this course I stop squandering my potential and started to really understand and accept my abilities. To be honest, the course was quite an uncomfortable and difficult experience and that’s exactly why I recommend it - because those are the situations we learn the most from. It’s been a year since I completed the course and the value I recieved continues to reveal itself.
Even just a year ago, before I went through Tradecraft, I never would've imagined myself to be in the role I am now! It definitely wasn't easy, but I owe a huge part of the help to Tradecraft and the network I've built there.
Having gone through the program, I know that each one of these reviews you see here are genuine and spoken with the best intention to inform you of each TC alum's personal journey and experience.
I knew what I wanted to get out of Tradecraft when I applied, which I think is the most helpful mindset to have going in. I wasn't as interested in the hard skills, firmly believing I could learn them myself by practicing and from online resources. I came into TC wanting to work on "real" projects with startups. And I got what I wanted. But what I got that I didn't know that I wanted was the self-motivated mentality that TC really instills in you. I felt like an entirely different person while going through the program: goal-driven, inquisitive, motivated to constantly go above and beyond, and, most importantly, confident in myself. This was thanks to my instructors, my peers (whom I can now call my lifelong friends), and the atmosphere TC creates.
Don't expect Tradecraft to bring the job to you. Expect to grow into an individual with skills to leverage your network and resources to accomplish what you set your mind to.
I first got introduced to the field of UX when I was working as a product manager, and I quickly realized that I really enjoyed the creative thinking and problem-solving aspects of the design process. After several months of taking online courses and reading articles and books in my spare time, it became clear to me that trying to learn UX on the side was not ideal, both in terms of learning different concepts/tools as well as practical application. This led me to start looking into different UX and product design programs.
I knew that I wanted a full-time, in-person program where I could be in an environment amongst peers with the same passion for design, so that I could learn from them as well as be challenged by them. I also wanted opportunities to work on real projects for real companies/products, so that I could be confident about the work that I put on my portfolio. After debating between several different programs and doing extensive online research, I decided that I needed to talk directly with people who had completed the different programs. I got in touch with people who had graduated from GA, Designation, and Tradecraft - after hearing honest feedback about each person's experience, it helped me get a sense of the pros and cons of each program. I ultimately decided on Tradecraft - not only did it check off my boxes of being a local, full-time, in-person program with real projects, the TC graduates I spoke with also had a great experience with the program.
Tradecraft is not a guarantee for a job, it's a way to streamline and accelerate your education. On top of the design curriculum and projects focused on design work, we also had career workshops to learn how to break down our previous experience to build our "story", as well as learn practical skills in networking and job hunting. Additionally, we had many mentor talks where designers, product managers, marketers, and other talented people working in established tech startups would come in to talk about their experiences and the work they were currently doing. By being fully immersed in the work and the community, you'll be able to quickly learn new tools and skills that will help you build a portfolio and prepare you for the job hunting/interviewing process for a designer role. Once you start the program, be ready to hustle! Tradecraft will provide you with SO many resources, but it's on you to manage your time wisely and put in the work to make yourself successful.
I was a graphic designer at a major corporation for 3.5 years and felt stuck doing the exact same routine every day. I knew I needed to make a career change and go back to Marketing, but I had zero experience in it since graduating from college. Once there were rumors of my team being laid off, I started searching for marketing bootcamps or evening MBA programs.
I had previously worked with General Assembly, so I thought their Digital Marketing course was the obvious choice. However, once I checked out their reviews on Coursereport, I discovered Tradecraft and decided to apply to TC for 3 reasons:
Mentor & Alumni Network
My first week at Tradecraft, I attended a mentor talk with the Head of Product at Medium, Sam Duboff. I was impressed by the questions asked and fielded by Nick DeWilde (the host) as well as fellow Tradecraft students. Every mentor talk was a great success when it came to networking, whether it was with the speaker themselves or other Tradecraft alumni. Many Tradecrafters found mentors or even jobs after meeting a speaker!
Since Tradecraft has been around for more than 2 years, there are about 550+ alumni, and they're all willing to help. Whether it be a question about a marketing project or advice for the job search, you can easily find a TC alum ready to ping or grab coffee with!
Projects with Real Companies
The part-time consultant work was the biggest reason why I chose Tradecraft after General Assembly. I had experience in marketing strategy as a graphic designer but didn't have any real-world experience as a marketer, therefore I didn't have the background for even an entry-level marketing position. Our instructor, Thomas, would bring in early-stage tech startups who needed marketing assistance, whether it be a product launch, a landing page teardown, or a complete marketing revamp.
In my 3 months at Tradecraft, I worked with 4 companies, varying from mobile apps, a network for contractors/freelancers, insurance, and AI. I would not have been able to achieve this by myself. I probably could've learned the skills through Udemy or Coursera, but the opportunity to take what I learned in the classroom and apply it to actual clients was something I couldn't pass up.
Growth Marketing Curriculum
Thomas is the Growth Marketing instructor and is insanely good at what he does. With his assigned course reading and homework assignments, I was able to get a jumpstart on all the necessary skills to be a successful growth marketer. While applying for jobs, I was surprised at how much I had learned in such a short amount of time, and how confident I was in my skills. Albeit, not sure why I'm surprised, Thomas makes sure that all his students succeed and is willing to go the extra mile if you struggle with the material or want to go a step further in a particular skill/technology. I will say that you get out of his course what you put in it.
Conclusion = Best decision I could've made!
From the very first day of Tradecraft, I knew I'd made the right decision. It's fast-paced, the energy is palpable, as if Misha and Nick had replicated the startup environment within their school. I got a job offer on my very last day at Tradecraft at a startup going out for Series A, and I definitely owe it to Tradecraft!!
Tradecraft was one of the most transformational experiences of my life.
First some facts:
- I moved to San Francisco the day before beginning TC
- Within 2 weeks of graduating, I had a job as a Growth Marketing Lead at a startup
I have always been lost with my career goals. I never really understood how to effectively apply for the jobs I wanted, or what skill set those jobs needed. Over the course of three months, Tradecraft introduced me the world of startups, taught me everything I could ever need to nail an interview, honed my marketing skills, taught me how to plan for the future, and most importantly taught me how to focus on my own goals.
Success in life is never guaranteed, but TC taught me how to work smarter and dream bigger. The difference between tradecraft and other programs is the community is incredible, with connections all over the startup world. The people I met at Tradecraft are incredible: motivated and intelligent.
If you have any hesitation about coming, don't! Thomas, Misha, Russ, Ariane, Nick are incredible.
If you’re reading this, you may be at work daydreaming about what you might do next, or maybe it’s midnight and you’re researching other accelerated design programs.
I was there. I was working in tech for 2 years in support. I started taking classes part-time at UC Berkeley for UX Design to test the waters. Part-time really wasn’t enough for me to feel that I could make a career transition. I personally needed and wanted to dedicate 100% of my time to design and discovered Tradecraft through a friend. I have zero regrets, learned so much in three months, built a great network of individuals inside and outside of Tradecraft, and accepted a product design position in SF within a week of graduating.
Takeaways on why Tradecraft is worth it:
- Client Work: Tradecraft partners with small startups where Tradecraft members get real work experience going through a full design process from research to mock up to shipped designs in 4-8 weeks
- Mentorship: Zac and Jake are badass designers and wonderful instructors. The alumni network is strong and so are each TC members’ mentor network in the Bay Area
- Community!: Although TC is advertised as a 3-month program, it’s really for life. I imagine I’ll always be in contact with some of the individuals I’ve become friends with in the program, and am constantly meeting new alumni and mentors through TC.
Boiled down, TC is not going to get you a job; *you* are going to get you a job! The folks at TC are well aware that every individual who is accepted into the program is capable of securing a job on their own. However, it’s through an ecosystem of rockstar mentors, knowledge about career development and tech, exposure to real client work, and spending days and nights with a group of driven individuals who are as motivated as you to get it done that you will reach new levels of growth for yourself and discover opportunities that you weren’t aware of before going through the program.
You got this - good luck!
I can't speak highly enough about this program. I first learned about Tradecraft from Course Report. Based on all of the great reviews I decided to apply. So I'm happy to come back to Course report and confirm that Tradecraft truly is that good.
A few things to keep in mind...they are selective and if you don't have an impressive portfolio they will give you a challenge to see if you're a good fit for the program. In that way, they are different than some other programs like General Assembly. So prepare to work for it. The great thing about it is that the people you meet and work with in the program are legit.
My background was a little different than most. Coming from a lot of startup experience, I wasn't looking to switch carriers as much as refine my process and work with a variety of great companies. The program was great for this.
I couldn't have asked for better teachers. I learned a ton from Zac and Jake on the design side. They are super patient, insightful and awesome people. Also, Misha on the sales side...he makes you teach the classes, and it really was the best way to learn. Although I didn't take marketing from Thomas, I did sit in on his financial talk and rapped with him about marketing, investing, etc on the side and good lord these are all some top level thinkers.
Nick, Arianne, Kris and Russ are all super supportive and helpful. I am SO grateful!
Getting a chance to work on projects with a team made up of peers was challenging but in the best ways. You will really get a taste for working quickly, collaboratively, pulling late nights and weekends, attempting to churn out your best work. But the amount of work you take on is really up to you...so this may not have been true for everyone. I probably took on too many projects but I enjoyed it.
The mentors they bring in are also excellent. So I highly recommend attending the talks even if it's not in the area of expertise that you're in.
I've been working full-time ever since as a contractor for several startups and now for one of the biggest, most innovative companies in the valley. In large part thanks to TC. I feel like I'm part of the Tradecraft family now and plan on continuing to build on these new-found mentorships and friendships. I hope I can help others going through the program like many of peeps helped me. So yeah, I say, do it already!!
Can't say enough great things about the Tradecraft program and community. After 3 years in B2B SaaS sales, I knew I was ready for something new. I had very little hands-on growth experience as a sales rep, but I had sold to software to marketers so I could "talk the talk" when it came to growth. Tradecraft's curriculum, hands-on growth projects, and career development sessions helped me to not only "walk the walk", but prepared me to land my first two paid contract gigs as a marketer -- currently I'm on a month into a contract-to-hire gig and things are going great!
If you are serious about a career transition and you're willing to work hard and become comfortable with being uncomfortable, then there's no reason why you shouldn't invest in yourself and your career.
My experience with TC was pretty unique. I am a single mom and had just gotten laid off from a job I had had for almost four years, I was at the tail end of a long and nasty divorce and was feeling generally SPENT. I scraped enough $$ from family and through the generosity of TC was able to attend the 12 week bootcamp. It was the most expensive investment I have ever made in myself and hands-down the most beneficial. TC not only gave me the curriculum I needed to gain an understanding of the foundation of growth marketing, but it also provided a steadfast professional community, a group of mentors that believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself and a fully immersive experience of what it feels like to be fully supported in your goals - I was able to build a new self because of the love and support that TC provided during those twelve weeks. I can’t recommend it enough.
Tradecraft changed my world. I finished TC a few months ago and couldn't have been happier with the experience. I'm now working as a full-time product designer in the Bay Area.
A year ago I was working in a job that wasn't fulfilling and I honestly felt pretty trapped. I had always been interested in fine & digital art, but got a degree in business to play it safe. After working about a year in sales, I knew I wanted to pursue a design career but it felt like such an intimidating field to break into without going to design school. So I quit, tinkered around in the arts without any real direction, and was starting to apply to grad schools.
Then I finally met some people in the TC community. After hearing (honestly pretty similar) stories to my own, I signed up and started two weeks later. A few spark notes:
The TC Mindset
Tradecraft sets you up for success in a way that is different than other bootcamps and traditional school settings. They basically give you a platter of skills and say choose and master the ones that will make you the most valuable doing something you love (emphasis on the latter). All of the instructors and staff want TCers to be successful and will support you as much as they can, but they do it in a way that allows students to tailor the experience to what they are looking for. This means a few things:
- A robust curriculum with the fundamentals to practice and learn skills in any track. But no strict weekly schedule and definitely no grading, just awesome feedback from wicked smart instructors.
- Project focused work with real companies
- The option to do multiple tracks (or to just learn certain subjects). In the startup world skills are what matter, not necessarily job titles. So having knowledge about growth/sales as a designer is useful and vice versa.
- A community: You get the TC community (student, instructors, staff, founders), but you also get to meet super successful mentors that come in and give talks, all past students, and access to a super valuable network in the valley.
Real world projects
TC whisks you off into the real world right away. The bootcamp experience is already really surreal, but TC does an amazing job of incorporating the startup world into your 12 weeks so you finish with hard skills. TC students & instructors connect with companies that need projects done (pro bono) and work on those while using the skills you learn in the curriculum. This not only gets you real world experience & portfolio work, but it makes the transition from you old career to your new career feel more fluid.
Career Development & Job Search Help
You'll get 12 weeks of super valuable career focus, planning, salary, & mental tips/tricks that help you land a job. Arianne, the Career Development Lead, is a master at helping people figure out their goals and planning out actionably how to get you there. A lot of people got jobs during the program and others after. This is where the Silicon Valley network is super valuable. TC founders/staff will extend their network to you which should give you a leg up in the first-job-out-of-a-bootcamp market. This is how I landed my gig!
Definitely, talk to Nick if it's something you're interested in. I highly recommend!
Joining Tradecraft has been probably one of the best decision that I have ever made in my life. I joined the Growth track last September, and from the first day there you could feel how this program was going to be a challenging and intense experience, not only because the quality of the curriculum is top-notch, but also because every day I was surrounded by incredibly smart, self-driven and friendly people.
Is hard to write a description that summarizes my experience there, but in a few words, Tradecraft was a personal and professional growth experience.
I'm a 100% sure that I'm a better and more complete person after the experience I had at Tradecraft.
Tradecraft's product design program was an amazing 3 months that helped me land a full-time role as a product designer. I was in the program from November 2016 - February 2017, and prior to that, I was a customer success manager for a year and a consultant/IT auditor for 4 years.
When I first decided I wanted to be a product designer, I was looking into General Assembly and Tradecraft like you probably are. Both design programs seemed great, but after talking to a friend who graduated from TC, TC sounded more intense, which I thought would better equip me with the skills I need to land a UX/product design role. After going through the TC program and talking to a few people who did the GA program, I'm glad I chose TC.
#1 value - real client projects
As a product designer, you're going to need a few projects in your portfolio to land a job. Personal projects are great, but at Tradecraft, I had the opportunity to work with 5 startups throughout my 3 months on various design projects ranging from app design to landing page design. This experience was invaluable and something I don't think you get at GA. On these projects, I took opportunities to lead and present to our clients, who were primarily co-founders of these startups. Having these projects gave me a lot to talk about in my job interviews. Most of your time at TC will be spent working on client projects.
#2 value - curriculum
The instructors, Zac and Jake, are nice, helpful, and good at what they do. During curriculum, they'll teach you the basics of what you need to know from research to HTML/CSS, but you're going to have to read and learn on your own too. You can also schedule 1:1 time with them.
# 3 value - career development
We had weekly career development sessions learning how to craft our story, write cold emails, approach the job hunt, etc. It's hard to break into a new field on your own, and these weekly sessions motivated me to work hard and network, and taught me not to take the job hunt personally because it is in part a numbers game. Our head of careers, Ariane, helped us think through our career goals, what we want, and how to present ourselves to achieve those goals.
#4 value - the people
I spent a lot of time at TC, so thank god everyone there, including the alumni, are amazing people. There are about 3 active cohorts at a time, so you'll be surrounded by people who are just a motivated and ambitious as you are. I loved it. The people around you motivate you to work hard and do well. The TC staff are great. The alumni are helpful. When you join TC, you're forever a part of a community that will always welcome you.
#5 value - mentor talks
We have multiple mentor talks a week where product managers, designers, marketers, etc. from startups and established tech companies come in for an hour to talk to us and answer our questions. This was a great way to learn about the tech industry, different companies, and how design/product dev is like at other places.
You get a lot of value from Tradecraft. I feel like there's so much more to Tradecraft than what you can learn from their website or reading all the reviews, so definitely reach out to people who've done the program or are currently in the program. Everyone has a different experience. Mine was great!
I was successful. I'd spent a few years accumulating design experience in a dying medium. I didn't notice the decline until it was too late to course correct. I was early 30s.
I explored options. Advertising is surprisingly conservative, ad-school costs a fortune and CDs don't respect it. Anything technical like industrial or arch+viz is too education-obsessed for a late career switch.
Tech was the smartest move. I could prove myself with a few pieces of good work. Companies are starving for talent. Design is respected, growing even! And highly paid. If this environment exists somewhere else for designers, I didn't find it.
I researched every school- including grad programs. I had friends that went to a popular bootcamp in Chicago, another in SF. (Just come to SF, don't make this harder)
Tradecraft won in the end because I saw students succeeding. Nobody seemed to slip through the cracks. Just look at these reviews.
When Nick talks to you for the first time, it's natural to think it's a sales pitch. It's not. I sent my email address and he called me to form a game plan—every other school added me to MailChimp.
So now I'm out. I had a job before graduation, chosen from 2 offers with another on the way. My income immediately jumped more than the tuition costs. Everyone I keep in touch with is working, most of them with ZERO design experience beforehand.
You can do this without paying for school, but if it takes you a couple months longer, you've lost income.
I should note that I was the last to leave every night (and sometimes didn't leave), and the first to get a job. You WILL exit with the right technical skills, portfolio, network, if you do the work they ask. If you can hustle, Tradecraft will work for you.
I had made a few career transitions since graduating college going from marketing to engineering with a couple of other odd jobs sprinkled in between (as it goes with startup life). Tradecraft was hands down the best thing I have done thus far for my growth - both personal and professional. I only wish I had found them sooner. I benefitted equally from the product design curriculum as well as the more general career development that happens every week. I now have the confidence to network and communicate in order to continue progressing my career - something I didn't have before (even though I have been in the working world for 6 years). I actually cringe thinking of the emails I use to send at my attempt at networking. My view on the whole tech industry has rotated for the better. With that being said, you will only get out of Tradecraft what you put in, do not expect this to be a walk in the park with a network waiting for you at the end.
2 of the biggest pros for me from the program were:
My personal goal of the program was to get a job as a Product Designer. Having a portfolio of real projects to speak to and showcase in interviews was what helped me land my first gig after the program. I was able to see myself more as a design contractor as opposed to a student during my time at Tradecraft and that made all the difference.
When you start your job after Tradecraft there will still be so much to learn. It's important to know that Tradecraft will provide the foundation and the tools to get you to that next step however, it will taken more than 3 months to build your skills. The ongoing community that tradecraft offers will be the key to continuing this growth and to helping you shine in your next role even when everything is new. My first week on the job I was assigned two tasks relating to print design that I had never done before (you likely won't learn print design during the program). As the only designer on my team I was left to my own devices to understand how to do this. After stressing for a few days I finally reached out to the alumni network. Within a day I was able to hop on the phone and walk through the tasks with somone. After that conversation I was equipped with the tools I needed to move forward on the assignment in my new job. Never have I been a part of a community that is so willing to be involved, empathetic and supportive. While the job hunt can be competitive for some, everyone in the community is rooting for your success and that alone makes the program worth it.
When I decided to learn UX, I wasn't really sure how to go about it. I researched several places, whether it was online-only or in person, full-time or part-time, and I finally decided to try out Tradecraft after seeing reviews and talking to someone who had already gone through the program. And I'm really glad I did!
There's really good culture, everyone tries to help each other out if someone doesn't understand something. There's strong support while you're in the program, and especially impressive support after you graduate. And there's amazing resources like the mentors, other students, reading materials, and teachers that give you a process.
I was really surprised by the integrity of the program.
Our latest on tradecraft
When you think of your next tech job, does “Digital Marketer” come to mind? It should; a solid understanding of marketing, combined with analytical and a few tech skills, can lead to a fulfilling, evolving career. By 2021, US companies are expected to spend $129 billion on Digital Marketing investments. With the increase in marketing buys over the last few years, experts have forecasted that digital will eventually account for 50% of total advertising spend. So what is digital marketing, and exactly what skills do you need to be successful? Check out our Guide to Digital Marketing Bootcamps to find which types of jobs and salaries you could land in digital marketing, the skills you need to excel in the field, and the best Digital Marketing Bootcamps today.Continue Reading →
Adam attended Tradecraft’s 12-week growth marketing bootcamp in San Francisco, with a mission to shake up his skills in tech. Although he had a ton of tech experience with A/B testing and experimentation, he realized he couldn’t land the marketing career that he wanted. Read more about his thoughts on learning in a bootcamp classroom, why he used Tradecraft to take hold of his own destiny, and how he was hired in a Paid Acquisition role at Udemy. Plus, Adam gives us a great overview of modern growth marketing!
Tell me your pre-Tradecraft story. What was your career and educational background before you went to Tradecraft?
I’m originally from San Francisco, so I moved back after college because most of the jobs in San Francisco were in Tech- my goal was to get my foot in the door at a company. I worked in technology sales selling advertising space for about a year and a half at a large company. When I decided I wanted to work at a much smaller company, I joined Optimizely, which is an A/B testing platform. They’re now a really successful software company, but I joined when they were really small. I started with sales, which snowballed to getting exposure to a bunch of different departments. I transferred to the Optimizely Amsterdam office to train and hire our customer success management team.
As you can see, I had a good amount of experience in tech, but not in the role that I wanted to pursue. I reached a point where I realized that I like helping customers do A/B testing , but it wasn't necessarily something that I was really passionate about. I most enjoyed A/B testing and user acquisition, so I started to look for jobs, but kept hitting a roadblock where companies needed to see many years of experience before they’d even consider my resume.
Experience is something that tech companies value but will rarely give. After a few months of sending out my resume, I decided to figure out how I could control my own destiny. One of my options was to get that experience from a bootcamp.
Which track did you take at Tradecraft?
I took the Growth Marketing track. I experienced two types of learning at Tradecraft. One is extremely tactical and skill-based. That means you’ll learn how to do an SEO audit of a website, how to run an ad campaign, you will learn about content marketing. This is very topic-based, extremely specific skills - the things you need to know before you can move on to a job in that industry.
The second thing that I learned was much more surprising and less expected: spiritual learning. I looked at myself, thought about what I am actually good at, passionate about, and what I wanted to become good at. These are much deeper, spiritual questions that are so much more tied to your success after the program than learning how to do an SEO audit.
Those are things that I think get lost in a bootcamp. Some bootcamps are just like "We'll teach you how to learn Java, we'll teach you this;" but they don't necessarily bring up things like, "You can know all the languages you want, but you must learn how to interview, how to position yourself, and how to really make sure you're ready for the next step; those are equally important to your success." Aside from in the track, you learn all the things about growth marketing that you could ever want to know from email marketing, SEO, paid acquisition, and A/B testing. You also get this really important piece about answering questions about yourself and what's going to make you successful long term.
You mentioned that you researched a few other bootcamps- why did you choose Tradecraft?
I had found a lot of bootcamps to be factories. They just grew to a point where it's like they're becoming a university and taking away from the core bootcamp experience, which is really one-to-one mentorship and a tight-knit group of people.
At the time I was researching, there weren't a lot of bootcamps that specifically offered Growth Marketing courses. And particularly for a course that's really expensive, I knew that I needed a lot of mentorship and individual attention. That's why going to a small bootcamp like Tradecraft was really important for me.
What really struck me about Tradecraft was the first call that I had with Nick, one of the six staff members. I liked that I got to speak to the people who teach at Tradecraft. Everything they said fit really well with what I believe, particularly how Tradecraft is meant to be a guide in your experience. You really will get out what you put in. It seemed like something I wanted to join, so I took that leap of faith and joined Tradecraft.
What skills were you hoping to get out of Tradecraft when you started?
From Optimizely, I already had a pretty deep understanding of experimentation, which is a huge driving force behind growth. What I was missing was an understanding of marketing. Content marketing, email marketing, and paid acquisition are all skills that you need to actually grow your business and get people to your website. There are many different ways that you can go about doing that marketing.
Tradecraft was really good about honing in on the four or five most high-impact marketing tools that you could learn. Those things included:
- Paid Acquisition, which is a tactic that almost every company in Silicon Valley uses.
- Content Marketing, which is now one of the most popular ways that marketers are getting traffic to their website.
- Email, which means understanding messaging and segmentation.
- Optimizing the user journey
Did you consider getting a degree in Growth Marketing? Or getting an MBA?
It's not that it wasn’t an option for me to go back to college; it’s not an option period. There are no universities teaching relevant digital marketing strategies that companies are using here in San Francisco and Silicon Valley. This knowledge is not being circulated through traditional universities; that’s why tech conferences, meetups, and blog posts are so important.
That’s accompanied by the fact that a degree would take a really long time and be incredibly expensive.
I did think about an MBA, but I already have a lot of experience in technology, so I didn't need an MBA on my resume. That's not what was preventing me from getting a job. What was preventing me from getting a job was skills-based learning, and knowing the skills that I actually needed to perform that role. That's why I went with Tradecraft, because I would learn tangible skills and work with real companies while I was there. I was able to go back into the world with these new skills, coupled with my experience, in order to be competitive in the job market.
How did you justify the cost of Tradecraft?
When I started doing my analysis, I thought, "How much money and energy have I spent investing in myself?" When you look at it from that perspective, investing $14,000 into your own mind and skillset is a really easy sell to make internally. It's really about pulling that money out of the bank and back into me. Fortunately, I was in a position to do that. There were people at Tradecraft from a lot of different backgrounds with a ton of different financial situations, and I know that it was able to work for everyone.
What was the rest of your cohort like at Tradecraft? Was it diverse?
The people in my class were arguably my favorite part of Tradecraft. From a gender perspective, we’re around 40% female and 60% male. There were people from a lot of different backgrounds, racially and in their experience. Our class wasn’t just techy people or recent grads. The average person in our class was a few years out of college, with some work experience, looking to pivot their career.
What was the learning experience like at Tradecraft? Tell us about a typical day!
Tradecraft is a three-month program, with the first and last two weeks focused on career development. During the first two weeks, you’re trying to answer questions like what kind of job we want, what kind of environment and culture we would be successful in, and what location we want to work in. These bigger questions are typically answered when interviewing, which is the wrong time to answer them!
After career development, you enter what's called Curriculum. Each week you're learning a different topic. For example, the first week will be an SEO week, and you will have a series of lectures on SEO, then you will have a project to do for that topic. If it is SEO week, you'll have to do an SEO audit by the end of the week on a company of your choice and submit that back to the instructor for review. It's very different than a conventional class with 3-6 months of classes, a mid-term and a final. Tradecraft gives a bit of lecture to give you the groundwork, but then a lot of the learning is done by getting into the weeds and getting your hands dirty. You'll continue for 11 more weeks with that same cadence on different topics.
During the last two weeks, you go back into career development, but this time it's much more tactical. You've learned these skills, you've answered these bigger questions, and now it's time to look at your resume and get introduced to these companies that you said you've been interested in for the last 11 weeks. Tradecraft wants to build that framework for you, so that when you hit launch, the end of the program, you'll have all the pieces you need to be able to go out and “execute,” which means finding the right job for you. That's the end goal.
Did you have enough support from instructors?
Each cohort varies in size and makeup. There were about eight students and one instructor.
What type of hours were you putting in at Tradecraft?
We had a daily stand up at 9am and I would get home at between 6pm and 7pm. Depending on the day or the workload, it could vary. I actually reached out to companies to help them with their business, which could mean writing a new drip campaign to send to new users or could mean designing a paid acquisition strategy for them. Those two things will have a much different time investment.
It’s all about perspective. There are some stories on Course Report about other bootcamps as a whole that say "Be prepared to say goodbye to your friends and be under a rock for three months." I really didn't find that to be the case at all. When I was spending a lot of time at Tradecraft, I was investing in myself and taking the time to do it the right way and not take a shortcut. One thing I can definitely say is whatever time I did spend at Tradecraft, was well spent.
On any given day at Tradecraft, there are 10 or 15 different things that you can do. You can go to a marketing meetup and network, go to a speech that they're hosting internally, work on a project, go to class, etc. You have to actually prioritize what you want to learn and be efficient with your time. I think your time commitment depends on where you're at and your maturity as a professional.
Did you have a favorite project or assignment that you worked on during Tradecraft?
I brought in Kiva, which is a micro-lending site for developing countries. In the initial meeting, they described their business and some of the challenges that they were facing. Then together as a team, we gave a proposal of what we wanted to do for them and executed on that plan. My team worked specifically on an advertising and influencer marketing strategy for their new business, Kiva Zip, which is micro-lending in the US. We crushed the goals that they wanted and it was considered a really, really great success.
About three weeks ago, Kiva announced that they had launched Kiva Zip out of Beta, and we saw that the groundwork that we laid really enhanced the business.
Were all the students in your class working on the same projects with nonprofits?
No, the projects were across a wide spectrum- from comic book apps to e-commerce shops. It depended on what the Tradecraft student was really interested in learning. For me, I was really interested in doing user acquisition paid ads, and really liked Kiva as well. I just married those two, and it made sense for me. You can also sign up to help other projects, so you won't just get exposure to your own projects.
Okay, what are you up to now Adam?
I'm a Senior Marketing Associate, Paid Acquisition at Udemy, which is an online learning platform. I'm doing paid acquisition, which is very much what I was learning. I'm also using the A/B testing skills from my last career, which I pieced together with my new skills to create a new role. That was my game plan from the start.
Did you find your job at Udemy through Tradecraft?
I graduated Tradecraft and a week later was signing my final offer. Then a week or two after that, I'm sitting down in my chair at Udemy. I ultimately found Tradecraft extremely valuable because I got introduced to Udemy through my Tradecraft instructor.
What is your day-to-day like as a Marketing Associate in Paid Acquisition?
For the first three months, I was working in a pretty standard growth marketing paid acquisition role: I had a budget and channels and I had to acquire users. Due to my experience at Optimizely with optimization, Udemy asked me to step up and do A/B testing on the site. My role has shifted in the last few weeks to working a lot with product engineering and design to build A/B tests for experiments to run on the Website.
The growth team is about 30 people. Now that I'm in this optimization role, I've shifted to where I'm actually working with two engineers, a designer and reporting to the Director of Product.
What has been the biggest challenge in your career change so far?
A bootcamp like Tradecraft is great at getting you from 0 to 1 really quickly. But like any job or any profession, you don't end at 1. You have to jump from 1 to 100; you’ll learn new terms, platforms, knowledge of your business and of your market. There is a steep learning curve in order to be a positive member of my company and drive a lot of value to Udemy.
Tradecraft really protects you against this, but I have friends who participated in other coding bootcamps who didn’t learn that there are no shortcuts. You're not going to become a full web developer in 12 weeks. There's just too much material and too many hours required. Tradecraft positions their offer by saying, “We will get you into the door and in a chair at a company, but you control your own destiny, and it's up to you to drive that ship with help from us along the way."
What advice do you have for someone who is thinking about going to a bootcamp to change their career?
Like I said, a bootcamp is not a shortcut. It's going to be a lot of work, and it's going to be very challenging both personally and professionally. Then, once you get a job, it is only just beginning.
I used Tradecraft really tactically in my career. I had a certain exposure to tech, a certain type of experience, and I needed Tradecraft to slightly pave the way, acquire new skills, and accomplish what I wanted to accomplish.
Be really thoughtful about signing up for a bootcamp because you will only get what you put into the program. If it's not something that you really believe in and are driven to, you won't get to the finish line. I think what's really dangerous about bootcamps is that people join them without knowing their career endgame. It’s super important to make that investment with your eyes wide open and being really honest with yourself.
Tradecraft does a really brilliant job of weeding unqualified people out in the application process, but some of the other bootcamps seem to be trying to get as many people in the door as possible. Tradecraft is trying to aim for quality over quantity, and that's massively important.