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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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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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.
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.
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!
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-
. . .
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.