Hack Reactor’s mission is to empower people through data-driven educational programs. This page is a summary of the work we do, including programs and projects that are not covered elsewhere on the site. If you’re wondering what motivates our team, this page is your best reference.
Data-Driven Education and Rapid Iteration
Our educational programs are shaped by the best practices of the startup industry: gathering empirical evidence about goals, testing relevant changes, and focusing on moving key metrics. We are actively evangelizing these important practices in the educational sector, where they are rarer.
Clearing Financial Barriers
We offer financing through our lending partners, so that we can support all qualified applicants, regardless of their current financial situation. We're motivated by the human potential in all socio-economic sectors, as well as a specific goal of eliminating one barrier that decreases diversity in the field of Software Engineering.
In response to a call for action by the White House and Department of Veterans Affairs, Hack Reactor created a half-tuition scholarship specifically for veterans. More Information.
Collaboration and Transparency in our Sector
Since 2012, when Hack Reactor and several other immersive educational programs opened their doors, the industry has boomed. In early 2014, Hack Reactor assembled seven California-based schools to create the New Economy Skills Training Association (NESTA), to share best practices and tackle issues in the sector. NESTA has since opened its doors to immersives across the country.
From NESTA’s inception, Hack Reactor’s key agenda item was transparency and rigor in student outcomes. Schools in our sector measure and advertise their efficacy in terms of student placement rate and average salary, and students weigh those statistics when making enrollment decisions. Until recently, those statistics had no agreed-upon definition, and schools had each invented their own methodology for calculating them.
In March of 2015, in support of the White House’s Tech Hire initiative, Hack Reactor and NESTA announced the most rigorous and transparent student outcome methodology of any educational sector. More work remains to be done on this front (no school has yet adopted the methodology) but NESTA has become a lasting authority that will reinforce our educational sector’s dedication to quality and transparency.
In partnership with The Last Mile and CalPIA, Hack Reactor created the US prison system’s first learn-to-code program. The pilot program kicked off in 2014 after eight months of curriculum and program development (complicated by the most irksome possible design constraint: no internet access for students). Hack Reactor staff and alumni volunteers are the educational providers and (along with an on-site facilitator from CalPIA) handle all curriculum, program, assessment, mentorship, and lecture duties. More information.
Our ultimate goal is to shift the prison system towards career education in order to reduce recidivism, a human and economic tragedy of enormous scope. Today, 65% of California’s released prisoners return to the system within three years, which comes at great cost to taxpayers and the stability of our social fabric. Hack Reactor and its partners believe in building pathways between prisoners and productive societal roles.
Hack Reactor has contributed to learn-to-code efforts outside of the US with volunteer coordination, on-site and off-site consulting efforts, and pro-bono curriculum licenses. Our pilot partners to date include:
- Moringa School, Nairobi, Kenya. http://moringaschool.com/
- Laboratoria, Lima, Peru. http://www.laboratoria.la/
- We’re actively working on developing a scalable, open-invite volunteer coordination program, called Global Code Fellows. If you’d like to be involved, sign up for Hack Reactor’s mailing list and stay tuned for details.
Our Core Program
Hack Reactor educates more Software Engineers annually than UC Berkeley, Stanford, and Caltech combined. Our graduates are more likely to get a job (and at a higher average salary) than four-year Computer Science degree holders from any of those institutions. This track record of success reflects our team’s relentless dedication to each individual student, motivated by a belief in the transformative power of education.
The Partner School Program
In terms of student outcomes, Hack Reactor leads the immersive sector (comprising almost 100 similar educational programs across the nation and world). In order to impact more students with our program, we created the world’s first partnership model in order to help others create world-class programs like Hack Reactor using all of our resources and domain expertise. Today, five partner schools are in operation: Hack Reactor, Remote, MakerSquare, Telegraph Academy and Mobile Makers.
The partner school model increases the reach of our program, but beyond simple reach, the model has another strength: each partner school can have a distinct mission and target population. We’re especially focused on the model’s ability to focus on these three issues:
Partner School Focus: Underserved Communities
Operation Spark, a dynamic New Orleans-based nonprofit focused on training low-income young adults to code, has partnered with Hack Reactor to pilot a local, hybrid coding school, lending community support to Hack Reactor’s industry-leading software engineering curriculum. Learn more.
Using technological innovations and pedagogical methods honed at Hack Reactor’s groundbreaking Remote program, Operation Spark will host a one month on-ramp course followed by an immersive three month bootcamp, allowing students to go from no coding experience to full-stack software engineers in an accelerated timeframe. The tech boom can be a huge boost to communities across the U.S., and our partnership with Operation Spark will help bring much vaunted high-tech skills to communities who may otherwise have been left behind. Hack Reactor is eager to work with other organizations who want to bring these opportunities to their communities. If you are interested in collaborating with us, click here to learn more.
Partner School Focus: Diversity
One of our first partner schools, Telegraph Academy, is an audacious effort (led by former Hack Reactor staff) to help solve the problem of underrepresented minorities in tech. Learn more.
In parallel, Hack Reactor’s initial partner school outreach included a number of not-for-profit organizations focused on bringing underrepresented populations into the software industry. In that outreach, we offered to create pro-bono partner schools to support the goals of those nonprofits. Those talks are ongoing, and we welcome introductions to other interested parties. Click here to learn more.
Partner School Focus: Workforce Development and the White House
In coordination with the White House’s Tech Hire initiative, Hack Reactor has offered to collaborate with municipalities to bring our immersive program to the parts of the country that are traditionally passed over by the tech industry, at no cost to municipal government. This is an act of service to municipalities, undertaken in parallel to our for-profit scaling efforts in tech hubs. The modified partner school program is named “Workforce Kickstart Initiative” (WKI), and we are in active conversations with interested government officials. Interested parties can request the full proposal at email@example.com.
Hack Reactor’s core program is built for students that have already demonstrated interest and aptitude in learning to code. In order to broaden our outreach, Hack Reactor has invested in a number of programs that help people cross early barriers of awareness and proficiency. This outreach has broad motivations and also supports our specific goal of increasing diversity in tech. Supported programs include:
Month-long evening & weekend classes aimed at preparing applicants for schools in our network.
- Fulcrum (Online)
- Remote Prep (Online)
- Reactor Prep (San Francisco)
- MakerPrep (Austin & Los Angeles)
- Telegraph Prep (Berkeley, CA)
- In response to outreach from not-for-profits, alumni, high school educators, and others that would like to introduce new faces to the craft of coding, we are currently working on a facilitator’s guide to allow others to operate the prep program. Click here for more information.
- Women Who Code, a global nonprofit that provides an avenue for women to pursue a career in technology.
- JS Study Group: Algorithms, for learners, job seekers, and prospective students.
After-school coding program for high school students, founded by a Hack Reactor alumnus.
- Support: advisory board participation, equipment and curriculum donations, volunteer coordination and internships.