Hack Reactor Blog


The Hack Reactor curriculum requires extraordinary commitments of time and energy with a minimum of 66 hours of classes and coding, every week for 12 weeks. Many students say they have never worked so hard or learned so much, as they did at Hack Reactor. At this level, it is important to have an infrastructure to make sure that students are keeping up with their technical skills, staying physically healthy and not getting emotionally overwhelmed. At Hack Reactor, we have a team devoted to students’ well being from the technical to the emotional. This team is led by Jerod Rubalcava, a coaching and mental health professional.

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For their final project at Hack Reactor, a team of four students decided to think outside the webpage and get into hardware. With a Tessel chip, a 3D printer and countless hours of coding, they built a drone that can be operated from anywhere in the world. The team, consisting of Mike LubyCollin KokotasGeoffrey Abdullah and Jacob Gribschaw, had never worked with a lot of the software they were using, but they used the fundamentals taught to them at Hack Reactor to teach themselves the necessary code to get their project off the ground.

“I wanted to go for as big a scope as possible,” says Luby, who managed the project. “We wanted to try exploring the internet of things, which is still pretty nascent, but up and coming.”

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Intuit, Indiegogo, JPMorgan Chase, Autodesk and over 20 other companies attended our Hiring Day on October 14, and the employers were thoroughly impressed with our graduating class. The day consisted of student presentations of the projects they had been working on for the last three weeks, followed by a series of ten-minute lightning interviews. Our Hiring Team works to ensure that employers and students are matched as optimally as possible by skills and mutual interest ahead of time, and many of the conversations at Hiring Day lead to a formal first interview.

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As a Hack Reactor student, Zach Pomerantz became interested in voice activation after coming across a human language processing API called Wit.ai. Voice commands, which could substitute for a variety of mouse or keyboard actions, have largely been the domain of mobile devices, with Siri and Google Now the best known examples. Pomerantz started to wonder what it would take to bring voice activation to the browser. Eventually that query would lead him to building a unique program and getting lots of press.

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Marcus Phillips, Hack Reactor’s Chief Technology Officer and Dean, has made another substantial contribution to the JavaScript community, this time in the form of a Udacity course on Object-Oriented JavaScript Programming. The course, intended for people with enough JavaScript experience to be familiar with basic concepts, lasts approximately five weeks and covers key areas where people tend to get stuck in their own study of the language. The course enables students to write cleaner, more efficient and functional code, by delving into four key topics: Scopes and Closures, the Keyword “this”, Prototype Delegation, and Code Reuse. Udacity is a very popular online learning platform, which offers interactive online courses on a wide range of topics.

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While it’s easier than ever for lay people to learn the basics of coding through online programs like codecademy, the bar for artificial intelligence programming is still prohibitively high for most people. That’s what motivated a team of Hack Reactor students, led by Greg Trowbridge, to build JS Battle, an artificial intelligence game that welcomes newbies to the field, but is engaging for experienced AI coders. The project topped the popular news aggregator Hacker News on the first day of its release.

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If you have completed a coding school program, Hack Reactor has a unique, limited offer to grow your skill set and expand your earning power at a sharply discounted price. Hack Reactor’s renowned programming course will be offered twice this year in an online pilot program, Hack Reactor Remote Beta, at a $9,780 discount off the standard $17,780 tuition to any student who has previously graduated from a program costing over $5,000 and is listed on CourseReport.comBootcamper.io or Switchup.org.

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Hack Reactor hosted the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce’s monthly roundtable for September, focused on the large and growing importance of the tech sector in San Francisco’s economy. Business leaders representing a wide range of sectors, including education, real estate, fashion, banking and software development came to Hack Reactor for this meeting of the minds. Attendees ranged from burgeoning startups to large, well known companies like Mass Mutual, United Way and Cengage. The event highlighted the growing gap between the needs of the economy and what traditional education is able to provide.

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Two Hack Reactor students, Jack Lu and Keenan Lidral-Porter, have a keen interest in bitcoin, and through pitching separate projects on the popular cryptocurrency, found that many other students were curious as well. After fielding lots of questions on bitcoin, they decided to host a “fireside chat,” (without the fireside) to explain this intriguing new currency.

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The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) invited our founders, along with other coding school leaders to meet with officials in the Obama Administration and executives of major employers, such as Microsoft, AT&T and UPS, to discuss a growing issue in the United States: finding jobs for veterans. With 2.5 million veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan returning to the U.S. at a time when the economy is still on uncertain ground, there is an urgent need for institutions like Hack Reactor that can quickly train adults in high-demand skills. That the White House identified Hack Reactor and other Accelerated Learning Programs (ALPs) shows that they are up on emerging trends in education.

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Each cohort at Hack Reactor has a dedicated “shepherd”, and our immersive online program is no different. The role of the shepherd is to keep a finger on the pulse of the mental/emotional health of the cohort, as well as their technical skills. Shepherds frequently meet with groups and individuals to work through coding issues, discuss how the program is going or to simply check in. The shepherd for the online program, Aaron Ward, has been enjoying his time in a new version of a well-established role.

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