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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

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Recent tradecraft News

  • Business Development & Sales

    Apply
    Sales
    In PersonFull Time11 Weeks
    Start Date
    Rolling Start Date
    Cost
    $14,000
    Class size
    N/A
    Location
    San 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
    Deposit
    N/A
    Financing
    Yes, financing available through Skills Fund.
    Tuition Plans
    Payment plans are available.
    Getting in
    Minimum Skill Level
    N/A
    Placement Test
    No
    Interview
    No
  • Growth

    Apply
    R, Digital Marketing, SQL, Excel, Growth Hacking, SEO
    In PersonFull Time11 Weeks
    Start Date
    Rolling Start Date
    Cost
    $14,000
    Class size
    N/A
    Location
    San 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
    Deposit
    N/A
    Financing
    Yes, financing available through Skills Fund.
    Tuition Plans
    Payment plans are available.
    Getting in
    Minimum Skill Level
    N/A
    Placement Test
    No
    Interview
    No
  • Product Design

    Apply
    Start Date
    Rolling Start Date
    Cost
    $14,000
    Class size
    N/A
    Location
    San 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
    Deposit
    N/A
    Financing
    Yes, financing available through Skills Fund.
    Tuition Plans
    Payment plans are available.
    Getting in
    Minimum Skill Level
    N/A
    Placement Test
    No
    Interview
    No

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  • Ina • Graduate
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    I recently graduated from the growth track, and loved every moment of it. As a recent college graduate, I decided to attend so I would learn skills directly applicable to startups — so I could make an impact on day one in my new role. 

    I also wrote a Medium post, How Twitter Changed My Life, about my decision to attend Tradecraft. 
     
    Tradecraft partners with high growth startups for students to apply their new skills on projects, gaining industry experience. My growth projects included ReadMe (a developer documentation portal) and Drop (an iPad connected kitchen scale). It was a great opportunity to apply what I learned in the growth curriculum to a real startup. 
     
    CEOs and founders visit Tradecraft to speak about their startup, and Heads of Growth/Sales&BD/UX come to speak to those respective tracks. Mentors range from Gagan Biyani (Co-founder and CEO of Sprig), Hiten Shah (Co-founder of Kissmetrics and Crazy Egg), Zack Onisko (Head of Growth at Autodesk), and Jared Fliesler (General Partner at Matrix Partners — here's a blog post I wrote about Jared's visit to Tradecraft:  Work, Work, Work Some More) — just to name a few. 
     
    Students build strong relationships with these mentors, and many have gone on to work at these startups. The mentors also make intros to folks at companies where students want to work. Also, some of Tradecraft curriculum projects turn into full-time job offers. 
     
    Tradecraft has great full time career and personal development coaches, that students meet with throughout the program to discuss: personal and career goals, strategies, networking, how to evaluate companies, resume & Linkedln reviews, interview prep, and evaluating offers. 
     
    I highly recommend Tradecraft. Feel free to tweet me @inaherlihy with any questions. 
  • Tradecraft
    - 10/5/2014
    Ian S • Product • Graduate
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    I just finished Tradecraft as a member of cohort 5. 

    Tradecraft is much more than just a skills-based bootcamp. It's a holistic experience that inducts you into the startup community, provides personal and professional mentorship, and positions you to succeed so you can make an impact on day one of your job. 

    I was offered a job a week before Tradecraft ended as the first product hire for a new startup and feel great about the program and how it's helped me to succeed.  

  • Tradecraft
    - 10/5/2014
    Ian S • Product • Graduate
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    I just finished Tradecraft as a member of cohort 5. 

    Tradecraft is much more than just a skills-based bootcamp. It's a holistic experience that inducts you into the startup community, provides personal and professional mentorship, and positions you to succeed so you can make an impact on day one of your job. 

    I was offered a job a week before Tradecraft ended as the first product hire for a new startup and feel great about the program and how it's helped me to succeed.  

  • Anonymous • Graduate
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    Making the jump to take a program like Tradecraft is scary. This is especially true if your current status quo is comfortable and known, but I couldn't recommend it more.

    Only great things to say about Tradecraft: amazing network of smart hardworking people, intense and in-depth curriculum, great exposure to the tech/startup world etc.

    I do want people considering this program to note that this is an experience where the direct input you put in, relates to the direct output you will receive. You are given a lot of reading and work as part of the curriculum, but so much of the important aspects of the learning come from diving down the rabit holes of what interests you and you putting in lots of time on things you want to improve on.

    Reach out to past gradautes, that is what sold me on the program! Everyone is open and supportive and the networking potential is amazing.

  • Anonymous • Graduate
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    Like several other reviewers have mentioned, I went into Tradecraft with perhaps unrealistic high hopes. It's not to say I didn't find it effective, but my experience there wasn't without snags.

    The most rewarding part of it was the friends that I made at Tradecraft. You do meet and work alongsde some brilliant and diverse group of students that you make connections with past the duration of your 3 months. However, I found the curriculum and honestly, job search support, to be lacking.

    I got a job fairly fast, but I felt like I received very little and inconsistent support from the instructors. Often times, my emails or Slack messages asking a question or for assistance will garner no response. It's almost impossible to book a time slot to meet with any instructor within a month's time.

    While I understand instructors are busy with students and their own lives, I think Tradecraft would benefit to hire more instructors. Having to wait a month or squeeze in a quick session for help isn't effective when you're trying to learn a lot in a short timespan, or the issue is time-sensitive.

    That being said, I think Tradecraft is worth doing because, like all the reviewers have said, you leave with a portfolio--and that is absolutely the key to finding your first UX or PD role. As long as you manage your expectations, you will have a positive experience and, soon, an awesome new career!

  • Anonymous • Graduate
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    Summary: Tradecraft was definitely a net positive experience for me and my career. However, I have to admit that the reviews on this site prior to beginning set up unrealistic and slightly misleading expectations. Tradecraft is not, by any means, a perfect experience that will blow you out of the water and be the best thing you have ever done in your life, as many reviews here will make you think. That said, as long as you go into it with tempered and realistic expectations for what you will experience and get out of it, I think you will also come to see Tradecraft as a net positive on your career. Overall I recommend Tradecraft, but only if you go into it with eyes wide open and reasonable expectations.

    TL;DR letter grade: B / B-

    . . .

    Breakdown

    Work Experience: One of the most valuable pieces of Tradecraft. Real work for real companies/startups, with real deliverables and stakeholders. I think of Tradecraft as basically part-product design agency for startups that need pro bono work. This is especially important for anyone with no prior product design experience who needs to build up a portfolio of actual work to point to, and experience working with stakeholders and deadlines in an agile environment. Though there are still some areas of improvement in client projects (for example, sometimes group sizes can be too large and depth of projects aren't very deep), it does give you working experience on your portfolio and resume that you likely would not be able to get elsewhere, and it’s up to you to be able to articulate your experience effectively in your portfolio and interviews.

    Career Development: Another of the most valuable pieces of Tradecraft. Ariane, the Head of Careers, is very knowledgeable and good to work with. Her dedicated classes to career development were of high value to me, going over things like LinkedIn, resumes, cold emails, personal stories, interviewing, salary negotiations, industry specific information and trends, career paths, how to get from point A to point C, etc. Furthermore, after graduation, the support continued - there are weekly meetings open to alums to go over things on their minds, and also opportunities to have 1:1 meetings/check-ins with Ariane, or even just Slack her with random questions. These things were all incredibly valuable to me. (Nick and Zac were also very helpful in the post-TC job search, taking time to make intros and give advice.)

    Curriculum: This was probably the biggest weakness of TC. Not because of any shortcoming in knowledge of the instructors, but because the curriculum was not very structured or deep. It was a bit all over the place, and often felt like a hodgepodge of different topics, with not enough context given to each topic, nor any headway as to what was coming down the road. It was seemingly random, and there are certain topics your cohort will miss out on entirely that the next cohorts might get to, and vice versa. Furthermore, everything was pretty shallow - you never dive very deep into topics. If not for my own self-education in the year prior, it would have been difficult for me to put what we did cover into context. I learned some things at TC and felt my skills did improve, but not as much as I would hope for based on what I paid and expected from the program. The honest truth is I probably learned more theory in my self-education prior to TC than I did during TC's classes. I recommend doing some solid time of self-education before coming to TC - read some of the seminal design books, take some online classes and tutorials, go to some of the one-off UX 101 classes at General Assembly, etc. Otherwise, you may leave with a lack of baseline understanding of the fundamentals of UX and product design. 

    Instructors: Zac, the lead product design instructor, is awesome. He is very knowledgeable, articulate, a really good guy, and great to work with. He takes time to talk with students and give them advice and counsel. Jake I hardly ever saw or interacted with, and it would have been nice to see him more, as I thought I would before beginning the program. I had some mixed experiences with other staff members, as other students did too.

    Job Ready-ness: Be realistic about this. TC is not a panacea or magic wand. If you don't already have previous direct UX or Product Design experience, or other related work, 3 months of project work and curriculum is not going to immediately make you a job-ready designer. Your skills and knowledge simply won’t be there yet. Furthermore, it can take you a long time to find your first full-time job. It is not uncommon for grads to spend 6-12+ months after graduating still looking for their first full-time position. This isn't really TC's fault, it's just the way it is. It takes a while to create your portfolio, make further revisions and iterations, gain more knowledge, reach out to connections and hiring managers, apply to positions, interview, practice whiteboard challenges, and, most importantly, become more fluent in how you speak about yourself and your work. Additionally, the design job market is getting more and more saturated, and it is becoming harder and harder to get your first full-time role. Just be realistic about that. That said, TC sets you up far better and quicker than doing it all on your own. Things like having dedicated career development classes, instructor advice, portfolio reviews through instructors and alumni, the alumni network in general, whiteboard challenge prep, etc. all go a long way. It's up to you to utilize it effectively.

    Network: Perhaps the most valuable piece of Tradecraft. Many graduates go on to work for or with other alums, or through connections of alums. There are now hundreds of alums throughout the Bay Area that you can tap, if even just for an intro to the hiring manager at their company or a referral for a position.

  • Eh
    - 9/29/2018
    Anonymous
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    The curriculum is okay but mostly self-guided. The instructors are super knowledgable, but you rarely see them. I suspect the founders have them working on their personal projects, and they both seem to constantly have their own side hustles. No hate on that, but it feels like the students come last on their priority list.

    Most of this is doing unpaid labor for local startups, which is probably worth it if you're looking to build out a portfolio of real companies. You'll learn a lot about how startups work the first couple weeks, too.

    It's made apparent that instructors get to do whatever they want (show up late or not at all, never reply to emails without a reminder, cancel meetings, etc). The experience feels like a demoralizing kneeling to the egos on top who are constantly "disappointed" in their students for not taking out the garbage or doing other menial tasks they elect not to pay someone to do.

    The founder, Russ, is also temperamental and there were several incidents during my time there where he sent snide emails or publicly yelled at students. Don't fill out the weekly feedback form. If you give them anything but a glowing review, you will be contacted to be told you are wrong and will receive the scorn of staff for the rest of your time there. This happened to many of my peers.

     

    Ultimately, only do this if you have low expectations of the staff and are only looking to build out a portfolio.

  • $15,000 well spent
    - 9/19/2017
    Anonymous • Product Designer • Graduate
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    Pivoting from graphic design to product design was easily one of the best career moves of my life. I had done tremendous amounts of research deciding which 3-month program to pursue (RED Academy, Designation, General Assembly) and decided to go with Tradecraft. The instructors are top notch and the sense of community is strong. 

    In addition to living in one of the most prolific cities for design + tech while learning the best practices in the industry, I found a job within two months after graduating from the program. I couldn't be happier with my new career working for a rapidly growing health tech startup. 

    If you're deciding between programs, I encourage you to reach out to the alumni of the program and ask them for yourself. The choice was clear to me.

  • Anonymous • Applicant
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    I applied to TC based on recommendations from a few industry professionals and from all the great reviews I read online. But after going through their ridiculous application process and getting accepted, I ultimately decided the program was not for me and declined to come on board.

    First of all, there is no way to email anyone with questions, no phone number, no FAQs, no way of getting an on-site tour, and no way of sitting down with an instructor to see if it will be a right fit. The ONLY way to get ahold of anyone is to "apply", which means just filling out a contact form. After "applying", Nick from admissions will call you for an informational interview and tell you they are so great and selective, but it's not true. I've met people who came from varying backgrounds who were all accepted. After the initial call with Nick, for the Product Design track, you'll be asked to do a project which takes quite some time, especially if you're completely new to the Design world. On the final call, they will tell you your project was crap and will not give any feedback, but they will say you're accepted anyway because they can help. They will convince you that you need them and they will bully you to start immediately, otherwise, they won't think you're serious. Their desire to just fill spots and take people's money is so obvious. Honestly, I should've known better. The signs were all there, but I was blinded by the reviews. For $14,000+, you would think they'd care a little more about how they're coming off and not be so rude or pushy.

    Since declining TC, I've met several other people who had similar experiences. I also found additional programs with better setups and offerings and I couldn't be happier that I walked away from TC. I've met people who went to TC and they got great results from attending, but they were all part of the earlier cohorts. Things change. I'm honestly surprised there aren't more bad reviews here.

    I won't tell you where to go if not TC, but I will tell you to find a program that welcomes you, lets you meet instructors, is kind, and totally transparent with what they can do for you. They do exist! Don't give your money to just any program that claims they can get you to your dream job. I emailed with and visited offices so many different programs, and I didn't commit to any of them until I found the one that didn't make me feel uneasy. Declining TC was the best decision I could've made for my career.

  • Anonymous
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    I joined Tradecraft because I wanted a career change. Not only did Tradecraft help me with my career development, it also provided me the opportunity to expand my network, meet industry leaders, and work on clients' projects with the team.  

    Tradecraft fosters an environment where you feel safe to make mistakes, learn fast, and apply what you learn into the startup world.  

    If you are the type of person who needs to be hand-held, Tradecraft is not for you. However, if you are ready to hustle and are eager to pursue what you desire to acheive in your career, then come join the Tradecraft family. We are here for you.  

  • Anonymous • Product Designer • Graduate
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    I was in a sales position and looking to switch to a more creative careerpath. I had a tast of product design and knew that this was a field that I wanted to enter. I was part of TC 25 and quit my job to do the full-time program. It was  a terrifying leap of faith but I am so glad that I did. After TC I landed a full-time position as a product designer, in an industry that I love. I worked my buns off for three months but couldn't be happier with the resuts. 

    A typical day at Tradecraft is divided into Curiculum, Career Development, and Client Projects. Zac and Jake were my two instructors for the product design track. I felt that our curriculum was very relevent, applicable, and I use a lot of the foundation I learned in my job today. You actually manage to learn a very wide range of industry knowledge in a short period of time. However, you jump from topic week to week (for example, one week might be typography, the next, forms). You get a very surface-level understanding of these topics, but the resources to dig deeper. Doing the reading and your own research is a must in order to really absorb the coursework. Take advantage of the time you have to ask the instructors questions. Later in your career, few people will take the time to go that in-depth with you. 

    Client work is what makes Tradecraft so unique from other bootcamps. Rather than having course projects, you work with real companies designing to solve their real problems. In your career, you are never designing in a vacuum. There will always be deadlines, restrictions, and steakholder opinions to balance. You get first-hand experience with this by working with a real client. You are essentially doing contract work, vetted for you by Tradecraft and other students, for the experience. I firmly believe you get as much as you give in terms of time here. I joined 5 different client projects, and co-led one. During this time I went a little insane. I suggest 3-4 at most. 

    Career Development is lead by Ariane. She helps you spiff up your LinkedIn, identify jobs that you are interested in, reach out to connections to grow your network, and make sure your resume is up to par. Some need more handholding in this catagory than others. However, I felt that this was a good resource to have and appreciated the emphasis on networking. Looking good on paper alone will not land you a job, and learning that was important. I will never blindly fire off resumes and CVs on a job search site again!

    Guest speakers were also a significant part of the experience. We were expected to bring in 3 people who had relavent industry knowledge and who our class could network with. It was a great excuse to reach out to people who's jobs we admire, and could learn from. I thought this was hugely helpful in creating a learning environment where we all contributed to each others growth. 

    Tradecraft fosters a great environment for career excelleration. It gives you the resources to do a lot with your time there, and how you take advantage of that is up to you. Beyond that, your cohort becomes your best resource of all. You are surrounded by people with various backgrounds and industry knowledge who are willing to help you in any way that they can. I occasionally get emails from current students with small asks, and am more than happy to return the favor that previous students had done for me. 

     

  • Anonymous • Graduate
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    The misconception about bootcamps is that they're the fast and easy way into whatever you are pivoting towards. The reality is that they (at least TC) are hardwork and you only get as much value out of it as you are willing to put in and also demand.

    ---------

    My Personal Experience:

    I truthfully would not have been able to transition from a non-tech background into design without TC. The two instructors of the PD track were incredibly talented and experienced. Throughout the program and during the job search, they were the mentors who kept me afloat as I struggled in the new world of design. I can't rave about them more. The program director served as my last line of defense when I am in breakdown mode; he has a way of deciphering what is right for you.

    My lowest score goes to job assistance because after being in the routine of job searching for a few months, it started seeming bleek and I found trouble getting advice that wasn't cookie-cutter from what was being told to everyone else. This frustrated me greatly. The weekly sessions are necessary to keep the momentum and the advisor and other attendees help keep you sane, but I think the formatting of the sessions themselves need some more tweaking to have higher efficiency.

    --------

    The TC Structure:

    The program is fast, and you will get the people who complain about it, no doubt. But everything here is self motivated. No one will babysit you. TC provides the environment and the tools, it's up to you to push yourself beyond your comfort zone. Utilize the resources, leverage the network, and don't afraid to try. TC is not easy and it won't make your transition into design easy, but it will help you gain the confidence to try.

    The job search post-graduation is where the most valuable part of TC comes in: the network. During my months of job searching I must have asked dozens if not more of TC staff, alums, current students for introductions to various companies. All of them were happy to do it. The people in my cohort became some of my closest friends in the field and I still routinely go back to TC hoping to catch a glimpse of a familiar face.

    If you are looking for a technical-skills-heavy curriculum, this won't be for you. Rather, TC helps you gain experience and confidence working with startups and teaching you through working. If you are looking for an easy passive way of pivoting, this won't be for you either. If you like structure and direction, you will suffer here. TC is the place for self-motivated people who are comfortable with ambiguity and un-structure and you NEED to be emotionally ready for the next 6 months.

  • Anonymous
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    Making a move into the tech world provides significant challenges, including a lack of network and relationships. Tradecraft provides the coaching, skill building and foundational network to build a career in tech. While learning sales, you’re exposed to the other tracks (growth, product design) and collaboration opportunities are prevalent. 

    Tradecraft focuses on personal developed as well as career development. Providing guidance and peer support that will build knowledge and exposure to become an effective startup founder or team member. Additionally, the number of alumni keeps growing and a strong network effect has taken place. This is essential to achieving success in this industry. 

    If you’re changing careers, moving into the tech space, or want to build a strong network within the Bay area, Tradecraft is the program. 

Thanks!