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One of the most common questions people have about hacker schools is how likely it is you will get a job once you've finished the program. The general answer is becoming increasingly complicated, with so many new and unproven schools popping up all over the country. These schools differ in the curriculum they cover, the length of their courses, the expectations they set, overall quality of instructors and amount of resources dedicated to attendees post graduation.
It is simply not possible for there to be a cookie cutter answer to this question. While Hack Reactor has achieved a 99% hiring rate among its graduates so far, this is a number we work above and beyond to achieve. Exactly how hard is expressed in this Quora answer.
How Legit Hacker Schools Help Their Attendees Get Jobs
Early on, Hack Reactor hired people to build relationships with tech companies and ensure that our hiring days are completely full (we usually have a 1:1 company to student ratio). The Hack Reactor network gets tapped a few times in between hiring days to leverage hundreds of different connections between past engineers who went through the program and the companies they now work for.
Hacker Schools: Real World Curriculum and Technical Interview Prep
What you actually build says a lot about your skills as an engineer. That's why Hack Reactor emphasizes personal and team projects, devoting weeks of the curriculum to having our engineers work on their portfolio. What they've created so far has been amazing.
Regarding technical interview prep, having experts working hands on with you prior to your job hunt is invaluable. As current HR engineer Ray Ma pointed out in an article about why he chose Hack Reactor:
"Prior to that (Hiring Day), Hack Reactor staff helps each student prepare and review his or her portfolio. There are also mock-interview sessions towards the end of the camp to ensure the students are prepared for everything."
Our instructors are some of the best when it comes to helping you nail the technical interview. This guest article in VentureBeat ("The Developers Guide to Interviewing") by Hack Reactor instructor Larry Davis says it all. Some of the highlights/bullet points include:
- Becoming a spy
- Taking advantage of openness
- Studying the usual suspects
- Working within the constraints
- The answers lie in the questions
- Being the parser and thinking out loud
Hack Reactor co-founder Doug Calhoun has also written extensively on how to prepare for gruesome technical interviews.
Whatever hacker school you choose, this sort of expert advice from their staff should be apparent if not public. School's that place a high priority on getting their grads through the technical interview have much better results. The coaching can't stop as soon as you're done with the curriculum.
"One often unmentioned advantage at Hack Reactor, which may be true of other great bootcamps, is that there's no "let the door hit you in the a** on the way out" culture. Once a HackR, always a HackR. No one looks at you funny for coming in after graduation or putting your lunch in the fridge if you come borrow a desk for the day to work on your job search.
"And as I write, as a result of my experiences at Hack Reactor and job search advice from instructors, I am about to begin working with my new employer with a generous compensation package which more than compensates for the additional cost of my school."
Hacker Schools: Reputation Matters
At the end of the day, it's the hacker school's track record that matters. It starts with having founders who have serious credibility, and continues with companies like Adobe, SlideShare/LinkedIn, SalesForce, Groupon and more showing the rest of the tech world that schools like Hack Reactor and their grads are for real. This leads to companies as big as Google also now interviewing and hiring our grads.
The quality of Hack Reactor graduates speaks for itself, and companies now compete to be part of our Hiring Days.
At the bottom of this page, there is an unfinished list of Hack Reactor's cohorts/engineers. Scroll through to see all the companies that do in fact think hacker schools can produce highly talented software engineers.
When you're researching a hacker school to gauge the chances you'll get a job after attending, choose schools that have their hiring rates front and center. There should be information freely available online about the effort they make to get their engineers jobs, along with a huge amount of 5-star reviews. Quite frankly, schools that are the real deal will be boasting about all the companies that have hired their attendees, and their attendees will be professing their love for their school.