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4 Critical Factors to Help You Decide on a Coding Bootcamp

Owen Poindexter

4 Critical Factors to Help You Decide on a Coding Bootcamp's Image

A new coding bootcamp is founded every 8 minutes. Just kidding, but you get the idea. The industry has been expanding with incredible speed and - given the success of coding school graduates - shows no signs of slowing down. How can you find the right program? Here are four factors to consider for each coding school that interests you.


Most coding bootcamps focus on a single programming language or related group of languages. By picking a language that lines up with your goals, you will keep your developer career moving forward with minimal sidetracks. Furthermore, many programs require three months and up to $20,000. This is no small investment, so it is important that it goes toward the most industry-relevant technologies.

When Hack Reactor was founded, Ruby was the hot language, but we saw JavaScript as the core coding language going forward. Three years later, it’s safe to say this prognostication has paid off.

Why? For starters, it’s what the industry wants right now. We are in regular contact with our hiring partners about what they look for in candidates, and they emphatically state that they want software engineers with a foundation in JavaScript. They put their money where their mouth is: 99% of our graduates receive job offers within 90 days of finishing the program.

JavaScript has the added benefit of being a foundational language. This means that a mastery of JavaScript helps you pick up other technologies very quickly. For the project period of our course, many students use fundamentals and self-educating methods we teach via JavaScript to pick up other languages and frameworks, such as Swift, Python and React. They can do this on their own in just a few days.

Lastly, JavaScript is the top language for web applications. This makes it incredibly important for today’s market, and also allows  beginners to see results quickly. Before long, JavaScript coders can build functioning web apps.


Though you are ultimately responsible for your own success as a student and a developer, that doesn’t mean you have to feel like you’re alone in that journey. A strong community makes every part of your bootcamp experience better, and a great alumni program can be the strongest professional link a developer has in a highly mobile workforce. In addition to the obvious benefits of friendship and emotional support, a strong community provides potential jobs, conference invites and hackathon partners down the road.

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Our students are often drawn to the school for its curriculum, but find that the community of fellow engineers is an equally important benefit.

Students in our onsite and remote program often leave the program with many close friends. Furthermore, we build emotional support and even curriculum on being a good communicator into our program. Students meet periodically with a staff member in groups of about six to work through anxiety and other struggles that can come up. Our counselors are available for one-on-one sessions throughout the course. This isn’t just therapy – by helping students to communicate with each other, we set them up to be good employees who can give and receive feedback in a constructive way.

Counterintuitively, our online course is often credited with how strong a community it creates. This has caught the eye of PayPal cofounder Max Levchin, who noted that “Some new ideas in the [online schools/education] space are impressive (Hack Reactor has done some work in making the online experience seem more in-person like).”

Job Placement

Most coding programs have placement staff. What you want to find out is if they have a dedicated team that will work to match you with companies based on skill set and your stated desires, or is it one person “assisting” a hundred new graduates–meaning you are essentially on your own. The best programs don’t abandon you when you graduate (and if they do, that’s not a great sign for how they’ll treat you during the program).

Our staff works with the hundreds of employers in our hiring network to understand exactly what they are looking for. We also consult students individually, so that we know their strengths and the kind of jobs they want. This goes a long way to reduce the chaos of the job search, and sets up students for success and satisfaction. We provide mock technical interviews and negotiation coaching so that students are not caught off guard by the job search process. For a graduate’s future jobs, our alumni team provides top notch mentoring and placement assistance for your entire career. For many students, this by itself is worth the cost of tuition.


The best way to judge if a developer program is preparing its students for the workforce is to look at how graduates do once they step into the workforce. The vast majority of our students are here for career advancement, and they expect immediate results. Simply put, if graduates are landing great jobs shortly after leaving the program, it’s clear that the bootcamp is doing something right.

Make sure you read the fine print on any job outcome stats you see. We use the Standard Student Outcomes Methodology, the most airtight system for capturing and reporting student outcomes. Bootcamps that don't explain how they come up with their numbers, leave open the possibility of inflating their numbers through creative accounting. See our outcome stats here.

Over a thousand students have come through our door, and these four factors had the most gravitational pull on their decision to join our network. What started with our flagship program in San Francisco has grown to a network of eight bootcamps, which serve a wide range of locations and student preferences. Each has access to our extensive hiring partner network and our industry-leading curriculum. Open communication channels allow programs to adopt each other’s innovations, so that each steadily improves.

Lots of bootcamps have something good to offer, but none can match our highly refined curriculum, community of peers and post-graduation support. What are you waiting for? Apply to any bootcamp in our network today.