Programming Bootcamps: In-Depth Answers to 5 Key Questions

If you're a prospective student interested in programming bootcamps with questions about job placement, admissions, curriculum and more, this blog is the place to be. Check out these five Quora questions, and read graduate reviews and testimonials of Hack Reactor's programming bootcamp. Special thanks to Ruan Pethiyagoda and HR co-founder Shawn Drost for providing their insight. (Hack Reactor FAQ's)


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Programming bootcamps in general wouldn't be in existence if there wasn't a terrific market of employers ready to snatch up our graduates. Brand name companies like SlideShare/LinkedIn, SalesForce, Groupon and WalMart Labs have all scooped up Hack Reactor alumni.

Simultaneously, we're aware that expanding our contacts to even larger, more reputable entities in the tech world like Facebook, Twitter, Google and Tumblr will open the door for future graduates and incoming students. Landing our students jobs at the very best tech companies is every bootcamp's goal.

Ruan Pethiyagoda, super-computer Jedi, shares more details.

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When programming bootcamps started taking off, two websites formed that devoted themselves to covering costs, curriculum, location and duration of each school: and Using these tools you can narrow down the list of schools you're interested in, and then use Yelp and Quora to read what their students are saying about the results.

Often times programming bootcamp students will have their own blogs. If you can find them, they'll provide highly insightful reading before you apply.

In general, you'll want to find reviews and search out the school's curriculum. Any place that emphasizes JavaScript is headed in the right direction. Read below to see how Hack Reactor differentiated itself from the competition.

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Hack Reactor instructor Doug Calhoun, who's heavily involved in the admissions process, recently wrote about our students' backgrounds.

"Some have a computer science or CS related bachelor’s or master’s degree and wanted to get web dev-specific training before applying to jobs. Some come from adjacent fields like design or IT, and have been tangentially working with coding for a while. Some have been learning programming on their own, and want to get the complete foundational skill set they needed to start a professional development career."

"Some" programming experience is exactly where the majority of our students start. The key here is what the definition of "some" means. The best way to see where you are in the world of "some programming experience" is to look at our curriculum. We lay it out in immense detail roughly a third of the way down our FAQ post. 

If you feel confident you can learn what's laid out in our curriculum, you should definitely apply. Even if you're not there yet, our curriculum makes a tremendous study guide. 

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At the heart of this question is our human ability to learn and take in information. It's a query that will keep neuro-scientists busy for quite some time. Let's look at a parallel world in education: foreign languages. Ask yourself, will you learn faster if you're an American learning spanish in Mexico, or at a public school in Silicon Valley? The answer is obvious.

"If you’re submersed in a language, the learning process is different because you’re being exposed to the language more for more hours per day, on a consistent basis," explains Doctor Sarah Elaine Eaton. “Students in time-intensive content-based language teaching (CBLT) programs, such as French immersion, are typically able to master complex content material effectively, despite less than native-like proficiency in the language of instruction."

Combine that logic with these great points from co-founder Shawn Drost below, and you start to see how programming bootcamps produce insanely talented coders.

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This question is similar to the one we covered above, but unlike question three, here we're focusing on the personality aspect.

We want to know about you as much as you want to know about us. We're looking for someone who cares about their future and is willing to invest some time into the application process because they know the rewards can be huge. Drost explains the personality qualities we're looking for below.

(We've received dozens of applications where a student has given one word responses to our questions. Don't do that.)

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Prospective students can take solace in knowing that programming bootcamps are legitimate, their results are strong and their industry is here to stay. Still, any smart applicant will surf the web researching as much as they can before making their potentially life-changing decision.

For any coder looking to take the next step in their programming education, Hack Reactor's development bootcamp is a great choice. Our school was recently featured in Business Insiders "12 New Companies That Will Make Going to College Unecessary" as well as TechCrunch.

Hack Reactor is led by innovative founders and dedicated instructors who have thus far produced a 100% hiring rate and many graduates with six-figure salaries.

(Editor's note: this article was originally published on 5/06/2013.)