By Sarah Kuta for Hack Reactor
Learning how to code can undoubtedly change the course of your life.
This valuable skill set leads to high-paying jobs with great benefits and perks, not to mention stability and work/life balance.
But if you’re thinking about enrolling in a coding bootcamp as a beginner, you might be wondering: Is this type of program for me?
The answer depends not only on your existing knowledge base, but also on your grit and determination to succeed.
“While our program is really difficult, it’s absolutely something that if somebody sets their mind to and is willing to put in the work, they can be successful,” says Michael Frank, director of admissions and enrollment for Hack Reactor.
Coding Bootcamp Basics
In order to decide if Hack Reactor’s immersive coding bootcamp is right for you, it helps to get the lay of the land first.
The program is challenging, no doubt about it. Students meet for 11 hours a day, six days a week.
“It’s intensive, it’s hard, but this is one of the few things in life where you can be working at a coffee shop and, three months later, you can be making six figures,” says Frank. “It’s transformational if students are willing to put in the work and the effort.”
You can enroll in the immersive online coding bootcamp or an immersive in-person coding bootcamp in Austin, Boulder, Denver, Los Angeles, New York City, Phoenix, San Francisco, or Seattle (although right now, all of Hack Reactor’s courses are being delivered live online because of the coronavirus pandemic).
When you’re finished with the 12 weeks of coursework, you’ll work with Hack Reactor’s career services experts to prepare your resume, build your online presence, learn how to negotiate, and master your interviewing skills.
Benefits of Hack Reactor Bootcamp
Though the Hack Reactor bootcamp will definitely test you, it will be worth it in the end.
To begin with, you’re likely to land a job with top-tier companies like Google, Facebook, Uber, NASA, Amazon, Adobe, Microsoft, PayPal, and others. And you’ll be well-compensated.
“We have one of the highest average starting salaries of any program in the country,” says Frank.
This is because Hack Reactor’s bootcamp dives deep into the material, giving you a robust, well-rounded knowledge base that will set you apart from the competition.
That all sounds great, but what if you’re coming into the immersive bootcamp without any prior experience?
Before you even apply to the program, you’ll need to beef up your skills and knowledge. It’s OK if you’re coming from a totally unrelated industry, you’ll just need to put in a little work first.
“A lot of other programs are typically ‘zero to 60 miles per hour,’ where zero is an absolute beginner and 60 is a junior level engineer,” says Frank. “We are a ‘20 to 120 miles per hour’ program. Students have to get to that 20 miles per hour on their own or through one of our prep programs. Because of that, we’re able to take students significantly further in the material to what we call 120 miles per hour, which would be a mid-level engineer.”
Hack Reactor offers rigorous online prep courses that can help you get up to speed quickly. You can choose the free prep course, which allows you to study the materials at your own pace.
“The free basic prep program is more like a gym membership, where you have the material but you have to go on your own,” says Frank. “If you get stuck, there isn’t a lot of support.”
Or, for a more structured prep program, you can enroll in Hack Reactor’s Premium Prep course, which features dedicated hours, real-time support and a community to help you stay motivated and on track.
“The premium prep program is what we recommend to most students,” says Frank. “It’s $250, however, we take that off your tuition if you end up joining, so it ends up being a free class.”
Nailing the Admissions Process
These prep courses are important for generally getting up to speed, yes, but they are also paramount for getting through the bootcamp admissions process.
You’ll have to pass a technical admissions assessment to be considered for the program. It’s definitely challenging, but not out of reach, so long as you put in the work ahead of time.
After you pass the technical admissions assessment, you’ll next move onto what’s called the precourse, which requires another 90 to 120 hours of studying so you can hit the ground running when the bootcamp starts.
Is Coding Bootcamp Right for You?
If you’re still not sure if an intensive coding bootcamp is right for you, ask yourself a few questions.
When you encounter a challenging problem, do you see that as a lack of intelligence or a lack of knowledge? This helps determine whether you have what’s known as a growth mindset, or the idea that you can overcome any obstacle with the right information, time and practice.
Also, ask yourself if you’ve got the grit to stick it out when things get tough. Can you power through uncomfortable, challenging situations and make it out on the other side?
Bottom line: Even if you’re a beginner, you can succeed and thrive in an intensive bootcamp like the one offered by Hack Reactor if you are willing to do what it takes.
“Hack Reactor is not specifically meant for beginners, but we have a lot of resources to get students to the point where they can be successful in our program,” says Frank.