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tradecraft

San Francisco

tradecraft

Avg Rating:4.94 ( 138 reviews )

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 4.94

all (138) reviews for tradecraft →

Recent tradecraft News

  • Business Development & Sales

    Apply
    Sales
    In PersonFull Time11 Weeks
    Start Date Rolling Start Date
    Cost$14,000
    Class sizeN/A
    LocationSan Francisco
    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.
    Financing
    DepositN/A
    Financing
    Yes, financing available through Skills Fund.

    Tuition PlansPayment plans are available.
    Getting in
    Minimum Skill LevelN/A
    Placement TestNo
    InterviewNo
  • Growth

    Apply
    R, Digital Marketing, SQL, Excel, Growth Hacking, SEO
    In PersonFull Time11 Weeks
    Start Date Rolling Start Date
    Cost$14,000
    Class sizeN/A
    LocationSan Francisco
    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.
    Financing
    DepositN/A
    Financing
    Yes, financing available through Skills Fund.

    Tuition PlansPayment plans are available.
    Getting in
    Minimum Skill LevelN/A
    Placement TestNo
    InterviewNo
  • Product Design

    Apply
    Start Date Rolling Start Date
    Cost$14,000
    Class sizeN/A
    LocationSan Francisco
    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
    Financing
    DepositN/A
    Financing
    Yes, financing available through Skills Fund.

    Tuition PlansPayment plans are available.
    Getting in
    Minimum Skill LevelN/A
    Placement TestNo
    InterviewNo

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    TLDR: The tech scene is huge right now (clearly) and everyone's looking to get in - and fast. I believe Tradecraft is the fastest way for landing a UX/Product Design role in tech, especially if you have little to no prior experience and or are new to the startup scene (which was me). It's super challenging, but I'm positive the connections you can make will last and ultimately end up getting you your first role out of Tradecraft

     

    My story:

    I lived in LA for years and had prior marketing experience at a large corporation. I eventually got the opportunity to design some e-commerce sites at my company and eventually decided to take the plundge, quit my job, travel, and pursue UX/Product Design. A buddy of mine who had been doing UX for a few years said he heard good things about Tradecraft and after doing all the research google provided - I just went all in and luckily got in. I knew almost nothing about the startup world but was anxious to learn.

     

    The good:

    -The people and the relationship you'll garner. Yeah, you'll learn everything you'll need to land a design role at a startup or design company (that's where I decided to go) but the friends you make and mentorship you'll gain is what makes Tradecraft the best in my clearly biased eyes.

    -Mentors at Tradecraft will cut the bs and teach you the best way to network and target the best companies that fit you and your goals.

    -You'll actually do real work with real companies and startups in Silicon Valley which not only helps you network and gain experience, you'll have a rock solid design process and portfolio when you're ready to look for a job.

     

    The bad: 

    - Costs money (although I'm positive it will accelerate your career). They offer financing, which I did. 

    - The curriculum can take a backseat since you'll be super busy with client work and networking. This is, of course, up to you and how you manage your time.

     

    In the end:

    I highly recommend Tradecraft (obviously) and will always have fond memories of my time there as I move through my life and career. So many good memories of laughing, joking, and working my a** off with my fellow Tradecrafters (GO TC18!!!!!)

    I landed a Product Design role at a design agency after graduating. 

     

  • mischelle • Graduate
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    The rest of the reviews can attest to how great the Tradecraft experience is and how it could easily be the best decisions of students' life. Thus, I'd like to address mainly on the support system and career development help that each alumni has access to after they graduated from Tradecraft.

    Changing career is tough, not only that you have to learn new things rapidly in short amount of time, most of us were on a limited runway--we had quit our jobs and still have to pay bills. Tradecraft has an excellent career development coaching that you are able to participate after you complete the program. We meet once a week and track everyone's progress on the job search. We practiced interview questions, we did group portfolio critique, and we even discussed salary negotiation tactics together. There is a huge sense of accountability and community that pushed everyone to do their best--even post-graduation. 

    What's best about this is that the support does not end after you find your first job. You are part of the alumni association for as long as you want. This means that you are more than welcomed to come back when you are searching for your 2nd, 3rd, xth opportunity. 

    This was evident as I struggled making the decision on the several job offers I received after the program ended. The strong alumni network allowed me to quickly jump into phone calls with Tradecraft career advisor, program director, and instructors to help me make the decision. 

    Ultimately, I have never met anyone in my life (aside from my parents) who are as invested in my career growth as the people I've met in the Tradecraft community. 

    One thing to keep in mind is that Tradecraft was hard. Really hard. You will have to make sacrifices and dedicate a lot of time to do the work. No one is going to hand-hold you or spoon-fed you information. But if working in tech is in your dream, then be a self-starter and focus on the work! The rest will follow :) 

  • mischelle • Graduate
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    The rest of the reviews can attest to how great the Tradecraft experience is and how it could easily be the best decisions of students' life. Thus, I'd like to address mainly on the support system and career development help that each alumni has access to after they graduated from Tradecraft.

    Changing career is tough, not only that you have to learn new things rapidly in short amount of time, most of us were on a limited runway--we had quit our jobs and still have to pay bills. Tradecraft has an excellent career development coaching that you are able to participate after you complete the program. We meet once a week and track everyone's progress on the job search. We practiced interview questions, we did group portfolio critique, and we even discussed salary negotiation tactics together. There is a huge sense of accountability and community that pushed everyone to do their best--even post-graduation. 

    What's best about this is that the support does not end after you find your first job. You are part of the alumni association for as long as you want. This means that you are more than welcomed to come back when you are searching for your 2nd, 3rd, xth opportunity. 

    This was evident as I struggled making the decision on the several job offers I received after the program ended. The strong alumni network allowed me to quickly jump into phone calls with Tradecraft career advisor, program director, and instructors to help me make the decision. 

    Ultimately, I have never met anyone in my life (aside from my parents) who are as invested in my career growth as the people I've met in the Tradecraft community. 

    One thing to keep in mind is that Tradecraft was hard. Really hard. You will have to make sacrifices and dedicate a lot of time to do the work. No one is going to hand-hold you or spoon-fed you information. But if working in tech is in your dream, then be a self-starter and focus on the work! The rest will follow :) 

  • Tommy Murray • Product Designer • Graduate
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    While evaluating the different design programs to attend this past summer, I gravitated towards Tradecraft for 4 reasons:

    1) the smaller tight knit community feel

    2) the opportunity to do work for actual companies

    3) Generally vibing well with the lead instructor Zac

    4) Seeing that they only accept students that actually work hard

    It turns out that my my general feeling on all four of these areas ended up being spot on. I couldn't be happier with my decision to attend Tradecraft's Product Design track and below I'll dive deeper into the 4 categories and discuss how it all turned out. 

    1) The Tradecraft community is truly special. I went to a small liberal arts college in Massachussettes that has a uniquely tight alumni community that you can always count on for a cup of coffee or some career advice and Tradecraft is the same exact way and potentially even more valuable to me since almost everyone is in tech and in San Francisco. 

    2) After going through the interview process, I can't emphasize enough the importance of having real work in your portfolio. Tradecraft is one of the few design schools that enables you to do this, and it makes such a difference when looking for a job. Also, the amount of learning that takes place when you are working on real client projects with actual constraints is so much more applicable to helping you accel in a design role than simply doing prompt based projects. 

    3) I can't say enough good things about the product design lead instructor, Zac, He is a rare gem of mentor/teacher that is smart, patient, great at communicating, and super motivating. I will for sure stay in touch with him through out my career and life. 

    4) Finally, the other students at TC are all smart and highly motivated. Since you are partnering with many of these students on client projects this makes a huge difference. I ended up learning almost as much from my peers throughout the program as from the instructors. Seeing smart people work til midnight on the same project as you is incredibly motivating.

     

    Fast Forward til now:

    Now I am in a product design role at a company that was at the very top of my list when I started Tradecraft and I couldn't be happier. I definitely wouldn't be where I am right now if it wasn't for Tradecraft and am very thankful to have discovered the program.

     

     

     

  • Anonymous • Product Designer • Graduate
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    Track: Product Design

    Cohort: 20

    Date: September 2015-December 2015

    What brought me to Tradecraft?

    I was working as an in-house Graphic Designer (3 years) when I started to realize I wasn't doing work I wanted to be doing. Instead of selling a product, I wanted to be making it, and improving it. AKA Product Design. At the time my portfolio wouldn't support this transition, so I started looking at programs. I knew I wouldn't be successful tackling the problem alone and looked at a few options. 

    Why I chose Tradecraft over the other options?

    As a Designer, Tradecraft stood out from the rest because of the real world projects students work on during the program. I studied Graphic Design (BFA from California College of the Arts) and I know the huge difference between doing hypothetical, self-initiated projects as a beginner, versus real client work, with constraints, budget, scope, unforeseen obstacles, etc. I knew I would feel a lot more confident about my skills and portfolio once I graduated and started job hunting (which proved to be very true). Plus, I got to meet with my future instructors (Zac and Jake!) during the interview process. Some programs didn't even have their staff hired weeks before the program was set to start...

    I also admired the mindset that Tradecraft promotes, though this didn't sink in until after I started. Tradecraft is all about the Growth mindset, and if you don't have that outlook before you start, you better get it quickly. If you want someone telling you what to do, and when to do it, Tradecraft is not for you. Though it was a bit of a tough adjustment, adapting a growth viewpoint has made this huge transition in my life crazy successful. 

    The Program Itself

    If you have a Design background already, Tradecraft won't be a waste of your time. I studied visual design, so though some classes were old news, it was great to get a refresher. Plus, I learned a lot about user experience design and user interface, topics I explored mainly through online articles prior to Tradecraft.  

    Other reviewers mentioned the Mentor Talks, so I'll be brief. They're awesome, especially for gleaming knowledge from current industry professionals. 

    I've made lifelong friends from my cohort and done some of my best work to date with them on our client projects. Not every cohort is like this, but when it happens, it's absolutely amazing.

    The Tradecraft network is powerful and I'm very thankful I have access to it. It helped me score informational interviews at top companies while I was job hunting. Companies I literally dreamed about joining. 

    The Hiring Process

    The job hunting process was rough. However, it would've been downright unbearable without Tradecraft's support. After you graduate, there is extended support in terms of helping students land their first job. We met weekly, to set goals, update on progress, and get advice on negotiating, etc. I provided a lot of leads to my other students and got a ton of support in return. I interviewed with a total of 7 companies total (some progressing further than others), and received 2 offers. 

    Job Preparedness

    I just wrapped up my first week at my new job. I'm the first design hire, which if you told me that a year ago, I would've said you were lying. Tradecraft helped me not only transition to a different design field, but also gave me more confidence and skills to back it up. 

    If you're at the point of considering an accelerated program to make a career (and life) transition, Tradecraft may be the option for you. It's a great program but for the right people. You need to be ready to work, hustle, learn so much you head hurts, and make great relationships.

  • Francesca • Product Designer • Graduate
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    I joined Tradecraft’s Product Design track back in summer 2015. It has been one of the best decisions I have made to date.
     
    Tradecraft has just done so much for me that it’s hard to effectively put it down into words. Here are some of the highlights:
    1. I got to learn from the best instructors in town via course-work (both of whom are established and talented designers in their own right)
    2. I learned from and worked alongside highly driven and brilliant Tradecrafters
    3. Tradecraft has an amazing network of individuals who are always ready to help you along your professional journey. I have gotten many introductions to mentors and to companies of interest through Tradecrafts network.
    4. I gained a lot of hands-on design experience through client-project work, which involves Tradecrafters working with real startups to produce real high-quality results.
    5. Mentors constantly come into Tradecraft to share with us the lessons they’ve gained from years of working in their fields.
    6. Although Tradecraft touts itself as a “twelve-week” program, the support and wealth of knowledge you gain far extends beyond that timeframe. I continued to go into Tradecraft for mentorship and career support well after my twelve-weeks. Their career guidance has been nothing short of stellar during this trying time of putting a portfolio together and navigating the job-search process.
     
    Because of the nature of Tradecraft and the vast amount of information and resources it offers, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. However, I quickly learned that part of the journey at Tradecraft is learning how to identify the things that were most important to me, and prioritizing them so that I was able to get the most out of the program.

     
    Fast forward to today:
    I am now employed at a startup that I am passionate about with wonderful people I enjoy working with. It took me a few months, but I wouldn’t have been able to be where I am today at Tradecraft’s ongoing support.

    Tradecraft is indeed a powerhouse of information, support and mentorship where you can really hone your craft and make life-long friendships. It has given me the confidence and skills that have molded me into the designer I am today. I would highly recommend Tradecraft to anyone who is serious about learning from the best, and being part of an rich network of talented and motivated individuals.
  • Grow your career
    - 3/21/2016
    Phil • Growth Analyst • Graduate
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    Attending Tradecraft was one of the best decisions I made. Before TC I didn't know what I didn't know, but as you progress through the course you become more familiar with the jargon, tools, and best practices that you'll use day to day. By the end of curriculum you'll have learned the skills you need to be successful in a growth role, and at least know what you don't know. 

    The course material is only one part of what makes TC so great. The mentors that come in on a weekly basis are stellar (and also how I found a job before graduating TC) and offer unique insight into actual operations. You will also get a chance to consult and work on projects with companies that TC students and staff bring in. 

    The above things should be enough to convince you to apply, but on of the main benefits is that Tradecraft is a community of like-minded individuals that will support you through your career. There is a very real "Tradecraft Effect" where the full weight of the TC community will support you in whatever you're working on. 

  • Anonymous
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    Tradecraft is probably one of the best career choices anyone can make. I went through the Product Design track in 2015 and I was extremely happy with the experience.

    1. Network

    Tradecraft has an amazing culture around meeting people and keeping in touch with professional connections. They encourage every student and alumni to bring their professional connections in the TC network. If you need to meet someone at a startup in the Valley, it's very likely that someone at TC will be able to intro you to that startup.

    2. Curriculum

    The instructors in the UX track are among the best designers I've worked with. The curriculum is set up in such a way that students get exposure to all aspects of the design process, from research to implementation of hi-fi designs. The curriculum is constantly changed and adapted to the needs of every new cohort of students.

    Aside from learning from the instructors and from each other, students are encouraged to invite mentors in, who give lectures of specific subjects. While I was going through TC, my colleagues and I invited designers from Shyp, Facebook, Pinterest, Uber, Pocket and Google Ventures. Mentors bring awesome insights into the community and most of them are great connections for the job search process. 

    3. Job Assistance

    All through the 3-month program and after graduation, TC offers career guidance. Even after graduation, until landing the dream job, students are encouraged to come back and share their progress in the job search process. 

    4. Lifelong friends :)

    The small TC building was always buzzing with excitement and laughter, and every day I went to TC I felt energized because of the people I was working with. The intensity of the 3-month program brings students, instructors and staff very close. By the end of the program you end up with not just an awesome career trajectory, but also with lifelong friends.

  • Graduate
    - 3/2/2016
    Alicia
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    Moving to San Francisco to join Tradecraft was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

    I have a quantitative background in economics and healthcare policy. Before joining Tradecraft, I worked as a business analyst for a global company. Like many fellow TC-ers, I found Tradecraft as I was looking to transition into the fast-paced, results-driven startup scene the most effective and efficient way possible.

    I still remember my first conversation with the Program Director, Nick, where he said there often existed a gap between where smart people were and where they wanted to be, and Tradecraft aimed to provide them with the tools and resources to fill the gap. Today, after having completed my 12 intense weeks at TC (the amount of learning and growth I’ve gained definitely exceeded the time length) and landed my dream job at a health tech startup in SF, I find Nick’s words to be the perfect summary of my TC experience.

    As a member of the Sales & Business Development track, I cannot emphasize enough how terrific my instructor, also one of the founders, Misha Chellam is. With Misha’s guidance, I was able to design a personalized career development plan and have a clear direction from day one towards landing my dream job in the health tech space. The curriculum was well structured and provided me with a systematic understanding of the vocabulary, process, and tools used for sales & bd. Moreover, the project work with real startups during my time at TC allowed me to apply learnings from curriculum in a practical setting and gain first-hand experience doing bd in the industry I would like to get into after graduation.

    I landed my job before graduating from TC. Grateful that I found and joined this incredible community called Tradecraft.

  • The place to be.
    - 3/1/2016
    Anonymous • Student
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    Tradecraft is simply amazing. The program made me find my true reasons of what I like and why I like those things. Now I can truly understand myself and optimize all the variants in my life to reach my goals and push hard everyday.

    The curriculum is awesome. My growth instructor is one of the best growth marketers in SFO, he inmersed me in the growth world and gave an excepcional introduction to every growth aspect I should know. The way the program works is very efficient, because you get to implement all the insights you learn in curriculum with real companies.

    Mentors are incredible. We had very helpfull mentor talks every week, from different tracks which was intresting to learn from other subject in the startup scene.

    To conclude, the best insight I learnt is always to add value to the person you're talking with. There is always something you know that the other person doesen't know; and if you can't find that thing, you will learn it in Tradecraft. 

  • Jean-Marc Ly • Graduate
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    Tradecraft was an event that changed my outlook on career and what I wanted for myself. Through the program, i gained confidence, knowledge, networks and a community of fellow students who are always willing to lend a helping hand. 

    Tradecraft made me step out of my confort zone, allowed myself to be vulnerable and eventually gain the support of the staff and fellow students. The resulting growth propelled me to the right direction and helped solidify my career path. 

    The ongoing support and community after the program, is still paying back with an avenue for professional advice, idea sharing and help launching businesses. Well worth the investments. 

  • Scott Valentine • UX Lead • Graduate
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    From the amazing people I met and created lasting relationships with to the hands-on experience I gained from meeting key players in the scene and working with them on their UX needs, Tradecraft brought more personal and professional growth in 3 months than I got from 2 years of college. 

    The mentorship I received and the networking opportunities that I had access to gave me the confidence I needed to walk into 21 different interviews over the 2 months immediately following my TC experience and walk out with an amazing career I absolutely love. And as if that weren't enough, I managed to quadruple my income from this time last year. Mic drop.

    Do yourself a favor and invest in the only thing that really matters; you. Tradecraft will give you the professional skills, framework and experience to get the interview while helping you nurture the personal growth needed to land the offer.

    This is not just the Silicon kool-aid talking. This is the real deal. 

     

     

  • Anonymous • Graduate
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    I had recently become a licensed architect and wanted to change careers. Living in San Francisco I had an amazing opportunity to leverage my design background as a product designer. Tradecraft gave me the opportunity to jump in with both feet and really immerse myself in my new career and industry. Apply to Tradecraft if you want:

    1. To surround yourself with incredibly smart & motivated people.

    2. A better ROI than college.

    3. To learn very quickly.

    My experience was smooth - I worked smart and hard, accepted a great offer within a month of interviewing. I still go back and have a relationship with my cohort and new members. It's a great environment to really challenge yourself and am so happy I made the leap!

  • Faisal Al-Khalidi • Growth Marketer • Graduate
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    I joined Tradecraft in the 20th cohort from September to December, focusing on Growth.

    Having gone through the 12-week program, and now working full-time at Soma Water here in San Francisco, I can confidently say that Tradecraft significantly boosted my career trajectory. 

    The biggest value that I got out of Tradecraft was the community. The Tradecraft network is one of the most well-connected communities in Silicon Valley. You'll find that the network is extremely helpful in putting you on the path to success, and helping you join the company that's perfect for you. Mentors from some of the fastest growing startups are at Tradecraft on a weekly basis working with students, and passing on their knowledge in their areas of expertise. 

    The curriculum is very well designed to give you a well-rounded skill set in growth marketing. During each week of the program, you'll focus on a function of growth and work with the very experienced instructors to hone your skills. 

    Additionally the project/consult work gives you hands on experience working with startups. These projects helped give me an established track record helping startups grow, which became crucial in helping me land a great role at a great company after graduation.

    Speaking of landing a job, the job assistance support Tradecraft helped accelerate that. Instructors at Tradecraft will help craft your resume/linkedin and personal brand to make landing a job much more effective. I found this part of the program to be the most underrated aspect because of the excellent accountability and support system. The job assistance support is also available to you indefinitetly. 

    Overall I'd give Tradecraft my 100% recommendation to anyone who wants launch their career in startup tech and help you establish your network here in Silicon Valley. 

  • RJ • UX Designer • Graduate
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    What brought me to Tradecraft?

    I was a long time management consultant before a personal situation triggered me to think about how I wanted to spend my time. While I loved the people I worked with, I didn't feel I was making much impact. After many coffee chats, I discovered product/UX design was a topic I could spend days pouring over. Sticky notes and Sharpies just made me giddy. I was pretty confident this is what I wanted to do, so I looked for ways to get me into the field quickly.

    Why Tradecraft?

    Living in the Bay Area, we are fortunate to have many options to get education in the form of accelerators, workshops, higher ed, etc. I browsed all, but eventually chose Tradecraft because of the consistent response I got from alums -- great instructors, great peers, and sky's the limit with what you can do in your time there. This was the place for people who have ambitious goals and want to use what they learn to do great things in this world. Plus, Tradecraft's leaders are experienced entrepreneurs and we could rely on them to be straight with us on what works, and what doesn't.

    What was it like?

    There was a flexible schedule that included instructor-led sessions, course projects, mentor talks, and self-study.

    The most unique and valuable aspect of Tradecraft IMO were the consults. People teamed up to work on short contracts with actual startups that needed UX design help. I loved this because we were solving real business problems, interacting with founders/PMs/engineers, and learning to work with different personalities.

    The mentor talks were also great - we've had big-name folks present; and I was grateful to have the opportunity to interact with them in a more intimate environment. 

    The daily challenge at Tradecraft was prioritizing your time. There was a constant feeling of FOMO. Everyone around me was doing cool things, but I had to stay focused. Choosing not to do something was harder than choosing to do something. I think it helps to come into Tradecraft with a pretty clear end goal; one that's specific and measurable. 

    What about landing a job?

    Well, I got one! I'm now a UX designer at a growing start-up in SF. It took a few months, but Tradecraft made that short runway possible. In addition to track-specific work, we also received career development help - and not the cliche, theoretical stuff that you might've heard in college - these were tactical tips. I was confident that as long as I followed those tips, I could make this career transition.  

    To me, Tradecraft was not just a 3 month program, it's a lifelong membership to a community that's constantly inspiring me and supportive. I highly recommend it!

  • Anonymous • Graduate
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    My experience with Tradecraft was really great. I participated in the Product Design track, cohort 18 and managed to land a job at a startup in San Francisco within two weeks after the program. 

    The curriculum is highly relevant and the instructors in the Product Design track was really awesome and always willing to help out. 

    The concept of "learning by doing” is a really great way to learn design and that is something that you’ll get a lot of at Tradecraft. By working on solving real problems for real companies, you'll be able to develop a unique set of skills and build a portfolio that really stands out.

    During the program, we also had some great guest speakers from companies like Pinterest, Facebook, Pocket, Shyp and Fjord who came in and shared their knowledge and insights about design and startups which were a really valuable and I learned a lot during those sessions. 

  • Toby Silverman • Product Designer • Graduate
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    TL:DR

    Tradecraft is a rare gem of a school and community. If you are at all interested in doing a career accelerator program, I would highly, highly, recommend doing it, even if you need to take out a loan to do so (which I did).

     

    Personal Background:

    I was struggling financially as a photojournalist and found myself getting super interested in UX Design. After learning a lot on my own (doing courses on Treehouse, reading books, messing around in Sketch), I decided that doing an in-person bootcamp would let me immerse myself in the design/startup community in a way that I couldn’t by simply learning on my own. I was initially hesitant about shelling out $14K as I would have to take out a loan and that sounds like a steep price for a 3 month program. I ended up making back the cost of the program in the following three months, making a ton of new friends who also love design/startups, and now have a job I find incredibly creative and fulfilling.

     

    The Program:

    (Disclaimer: I did the Product Design Track and finished the program Mid-2015. They are constantly iterating/improving the program, some things may be different now)

    The single biggest differentiator between Tradecraft and nearly all other bootcamps is that Tradecraft throws you into 'client work' projects almost immediately (Week 3) and you do most of your learning by doing real work for real companies.

    It goes like this:

    1) Someone at Tradecraft reaches out to a company they’re interested in or companies reach out about having some design work done.

    2) The company comes in for a ‘consult’ which is led by the Product Design instructors - after the consult, students discuss if it seems like a project they would be interested in.If so, student Project Leads are assigned and a proposal is drawn up.

    3) Students work directly with the startup to complete proposed design work, utilizing the Product Design Instructors (who are mind-blowingly amazing) whenever they have questions.

    4) Students get awesome experience/portfolio pieces and startups get quality pro-bono design work.

    This set-up is amazing for a couple of reasons. First, all of the learning you’re doing is way more concrete when it’s for a real company. Second, you get real design experience you can show to potential employers. Third, you bond closely with your cohort as you work through all the projects together, building a strong design network.

     

    Personal Growth:

    In spite of all the professional growth I had at Tradecraft, by far the most valuable aspect of the program was the way it reshaped my understanding of how to learn and how to best approach life as a whole. Misha, Russ, Zac, Jake, Nick and the rest of the staff infectiously imbue students with an amazing mentality: Be intentional about what you want out of life, work incredibly hard to get there, be good to those around you, and follow your curiosity. It fosters an enthusiasm and confidence that has stayed with me since.

     

    Outcome:

    The Product Design field is amazing right now (January 2016). Soon after graduating I got a job at an early stage startup from a fellow Tradecrafter. He had graduated before me and when a contact of his was hiring designers, he posted on the Tradecraft ‘Job Opportunities' Slack Channel about the position. I replied and ended up getting the job, I’ve been there since. General salaries at this point for Product Designers out of Tradecraft Range from 70-125K. Coming from a career in Photojournalism, that is mind-boggling. I actually would love to know any other time in history when someone could do 3 month program and immediately be eligible for work at an equivalent of a 70-125K salary. Maybe the 3 month journey across the U.S. during the gold rush? But that was 6 months and you’d probably get dysentery. Regardless of salary, I have found design to be deeply satisfying and filled with intelligent, wonderful people.


    Conclusion:

    Tradecraft is wonderful. It is hard for me to think of a better way to spend 3 months of one’s life. I left with close friends, a more intentional/positive outlook on my life and learning, and a career that I love. Do it!

     

    Feel free to hit me up with any questions at all:

    toby.silverman88@gmail.com

    @tobysilverman

    https://www.facebook.com/toby.silverman

  • David Habif
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    Tradecraft was one of the most rewarding experiences of my professional career. I was accepted to the Product Design track, which I began with zero previous PD experience. Ultimately, I learned more in 3 months through Tradecraft's instructors, mentors, and previous + current students than I've learned in any previous 3 months of education.

    I moved forward from the program with an incredible body of knowledge, a deep design skill set, a clearer understanding of the tech industry, and more connections than I could have hoped for. Their structure allowed me to work with clients right away, immediately allowing me to apply what I was learning in a real work setting.

    If you're serious about your career, Tradecraft is an investment you won't regret.

  • John Ferrigan • UX Designer • Graduate
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    Tradecraft is a unique and empowering experience. Looking for roles with startups isn't easy, and Tradecraft strikes a good balance of giving you the necessary hard skills, soft skills, and support while letting you do the necessary heavy lifting to make the experience your own. If you are thinking about doing it, just take the plunge.
  • Hilary • ux designer • Graduate
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    I was part of the first class of tradecraft. While we were still figuring out small things here and there this porgram was one of the best decisions I have ever made. If you are interested in getting into the tech industry tradecraft is a great opportunity. Part of what makes it so successful is the strong community they have built, the awesome instructors, but it is also the strong individuals you will be surrounded by. The commitment and drive from each hand picked students is a huge part of what you will get out of this program. It is inspiring and key to the success to all the students in this program. 

  • Jake Tsacudakis • Head of Growth @ Luna • Graduate
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    Me: I graduated from the University of Vermont in May 2014, joined Tradecraft's growth marketing track in Sept 2014 and landed a head of growth position for a well-funded startup in Nov 2014. 

    TC: It's like a MBA for startups. By the end of the program you will have the skillset and mindset to perform and delivery at startups of all sizes/funding stages. For me, the core TC experience breaks down into 3 main things: 

    1) Community and Network 

    As some of my other TC peers have pointed out, the community and culture at TC is unparalleled to any other tech program. I've never been surrounded by more ambitious, high flying people in my life. This becomes invaluable to students because it gives you the support system you need to develop core hard/soft skills but also sets the bar high and provides a "we can do even more" type of attitude to creative problem solving. 

    The network speaks for itself at TC. I've had the opportunity to learn about growth marketing and traction from the best in the business. Being at TC gives you an exclusive pass to meet with and learn from senior leadership at very noteworthy startups. Irene Au, anyone?

    2) Work on real problems 

    TC gives you the chance to work on real problems startups have to deal with. Some of these problems are project based where you're consulting with startups in the Bay Area and others are assignments that focus on building particular hard skills for a given track. I found both sets of problems to be very exciting and challenging to work on. You will have a lot of "lessons learned" type moments where you learn from your mistakes. This is part of the growth curve and it's something TC embraces. 

    3) Personal Development 

    This last point ties in with the first point, but it's worth noting. TC does not just invest in you for 12 weeks. They make a commitment to help you accelerate your personal growth long after you exit the program. During the first part of the program, there is a lot of focus on personal development and identifying your strengths to leverage them. Once you exit the program, there is a focus on making sure you get where you want to be and making it easy to reconnect with the entire TC community (which is pretty big these days). By the end of the program I felt like I had a completely new mindset for approaching growth marketing and the everyday challenges startups face. 

    These are the types of experiences and values you can expect from TC. If these are things you value too and you're looking to break into the tech scene, I'd highly recommend applying to the program

  • Angela Barth • Regional Director • Graduate
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    Being a part of this program last year was the BEST career decision I have made to date. It will be well worth your time and money! It not only taught me essential business skills, and opened up doors that were not previously opening, but also gave me the opportunity to build relationships and mentorships with experts in multiple industries!

  • Anonymous • Head of Growth • Graduate
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    I was in the second cohort at Tradecraft where I completed the Growth track in San Francisco. It was truly awesome and valuable to me, as one year later I am now the Head of Growth at a rapidly growing startup. 

    The level of mentorship and learning that happens there is unrivaled. Students get to work on real world projects with startups facing real challenges in areas such as user acquisition, analytics, user experience, sales, and business development. Top mentors and startup founders drop by Tradecraft for talks on a daily basis. Getting to chat with major movers and shakers like Brian Balfour, Doug Landis, Rick Marini, Noah Kagan, Sean Ellis, Nir Eyal, Gagan Biyani, Matt Ellsworth, Jamie Quint, Katie Hughes, and many others was truly priceless. 

    Beyond the learning opportunities, there's an infectious level of energy and camaraderie among students and instructors alike at Tradecraft. It's the kind of place that inspires you to work your ass off while also enjoying every minute of it. To this day I still talk regularly to TC alums and we often help each other with tricky growth/marketing/analytics problems. It's a great, strong network if you are willing to give to it. 

    At the end of the day, Tradecraft's strong track record of placing graduates into top startups proves their ability to deliver on their promises.

  • Adam • Mobile Marketing & Analytics • Graduate
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    Like so many others, Tradecraft really has done a tremendous amount to improve my knowledge base, network, and subsequentally open so many doors that otherwise wouldn't have been open.  It's a fantastic curriculum-based learning environment, where you'll meet other smart, ambitious people.

    In the growth track, they'll cover the imperatives like SQL, referral marketing, email, content marketing, paid acquisition, etc. and arguably some of the most valuable things you learn aren't even in the classroom, but words of wisdom from some incredible mentors, true tech influencers and thought leaders.

    My only words of advice are to come open-minded, ready to work hard, and know what you want to get out of the program. The more ways you can find to relate your background to your field, company, or track of choice, the better. Learn to play to your strengths, and this program will truly help you move in the direction you want.

  • Andrew Froug • Graduate
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    Tradecraft was one of the best experiences of my life.

    It feels strange to use the past tense because although I completed the official three month program in Growth a few months ago, Tradecraft is and will continue to be a huge part of my life.

    For three months, I worked my ass off. Nights and weekends. Reaching out to mentors. Taking on projects for high-profile startups with real expectations.

    I learned more in those three months than I could have possibly expected, and then after, I went out to figure out where I wanted to land.

    See, the reason it's weird to use the past tense is that even after those three months passed, Tradecraft has been there for me.

    When I was going through interviews, evaluating my opportunities, and negotiating my contract, Tradecraft was an unbelievable support. And I absolutely credit all the support I got as the reason I landed my dream job.

    There are lots of great places to learn the nuts and bolts of how to work in tech startups.

    I'm so glad I chose Tradecraft because it's ultimately about a long-term relationship where I'm continually supported with the knowledge, resources, and relationships to kick ass long into my career.

    And in turn, I get excited about giving back to Tradecraft because it's an incredible community of friends, mentors, and advocates who support each other.

    It's a big commitment of time, energy, and money. But if you're ready to commit and you're given the opportunity, I can't think of a more rewarding experience than Tradecraft.

Thanks!