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Which coding bootcamp is best for you? Comparing Hack Reactor Software Engineering Immersives

Hack Reactor

Computer with code

No matter which of our software engineering immersive programs you choose, the outcome will be the same. You’ll graduate as an autonomous, full-stack software engineer, fully capable of tackling unique problems and building complex applications on the job.

All of our programs are live online and cost the same tuition. Additionally, all have been built by leading curriculum designers, are taught by experienced instructors, and come with career services to guide you toward your desired career. 

So, how do our programs differ from one another? Which one is the best fit for you?

Below, we’ll first provide a quick overview of our three distinct courses. Then we’ll dig into the differentiators: incoming skill level, program timing and pacing, learning style, and curriculum. 

Our Coding Bootcamps 

  • 12-Week Immersive (Full Time, Online)
    Our flagship, fast-paced bootcamp is designed to train those with intermediate coding skills to become software engineers in just 12 weeks.

  • 36-Week Immersive (Part Time, Online)
    This is the part-time version of our 12-week program, so the curriculum is the same, but the pace is not. This carefully-designed pace allows for work-life balance as you train for a new career. Those with intermediate coding skills will become software engineers in 36 weeks, learning on nights and weekends.

  • 19-Week Immersive with JavaScript & Python (Full Time, Online)
    Our newest program is designed for those with little to no coding experience and is taught using a separate curriculum. It's for beginners looking to start their journey toward learning to code and becoming a software engineer.

Incoming Skill Level

Our programs are built for people who generally fall into two major categories when it comes to coding skills: intermediate or little to no experience.

You might fall into the intermediate category if you’ve done any self-teaching, taken a coding course or two online, or you’ve gone through our Basic Prep program. If that’s you, our 12-week and 36-week programs could be a great fit. The admissions process for those two program options will help you further determine what’s right for you. To be accepted, all applicants are required to pass a coding challenge and a Technical Admissions Assessment (TAA). 

The coding challenge provides a good idea of your preparedness for the TAA and the bootcamp itself. Struggling for a long duration on the coding challenge can be a sign that more study is necessary, or that our new 19-week beginner program is a better fit for you. The TAA evaluates your fluency in JavaScript fundamentals and your ability to tackle problems in a collaborative setting. 

The separate admissions process for our new 19-week coding bootcamp requires no technical knowledge or testing. We do not require any prior coding experience whatsoever. 

Program Timing and Pacing 

Some learners enjoy the rigor and pacing of a tight, 12-week program, while others prefer or need more time to learn for a variety of reasons. Below, we break down the timing, pacing, and schedule of each of our courses so you can determine what works for you. 

  • Our 12-week immersive is the most intense and fast-paced of the bunch. You’ll be in class Monday - Friday from 9am-8pm and on Saturdays from 9am-5:30pm. In total, you’ll spend 60-100 hours per week in class and working on projects outside of class. It’s a significant commitment but for less time overall. If your skill level aligns, this program enables you to become a software engineer in the shortest amount of time. 

  • Our part-time 36-week immersive allows for better work-life balance and slower absorption of the curriculum. Students attend classes during two weeknights and one half-day Saturday every week.  

  • Our 19-week immersive requires a full-time commitment and will be rigorous - but not as rigorous as our 12-week course. You’ll be in class from 9am-7pm Monday-Friday for 19 weeks. In total, you’ll spend 40 to 60 hours per week in class and on projects. This program is also designed with a built-in rest day. We call this a “Nine 9s” approach. You’ll be in the live class for nine consecutive weekdays of nine hours apiece, then there will be no class on the 10th day, which is typically a Friday. You can use that day off to rest, restore, and reflect, as these are powerful metacognitive tools for learning. 

Learning Style 

Our programs are always designed with the student at the forefront. From our years of experience, we know that students at the beginning of their software engineering learning journey are more dependent on an instructor to teach them. Students who are already at an intermediate level are more self-directed (student-directed). 

Our 19-week immersive is better suited for dependent students. In this case, our instructors initially act as coaches and provide inspiring lectures and guided instruction. As the program progresses and you learn, your instructor will take on more of a facilitator role and incorporate more group projects and individual work. 

In our 19-week program, we also incorporate mastery learning, which maintains that students need to master the material before moving on to new ideas, concepts, and technologies. This includes developing foundational skills, putting them into practice, and reframing the idea of “failure” (seeing it less as a lack of ability and more as an opportunity to continue focused study and try again). 

To get there, we break this course into (3) six-week modules and (1) one-week module. At the end of each, we support students through projects and assessments used to measure their progress. When a student shows that they have not yet mastered the material, they can retake the module in its entirety one time with the next cohort in order to have enough time to really dig in and master the material before moving forward. In this system, a retake is not punitive; rather, it’s a planned element without attached stigma. In fact, those who retake a module often play a valuable role in mentoring others, because they’ve already been through the experience and are more familiar with the material. 

In our 12 and 36-week immersive programs, students are more self-directed based on their incoming coding skillset. Our instructors skip the “coaching” or “guided” stages and act more as facilitators from the start. These programs are lecture-light and require a student to succeed in a student-directed learning environment. 

Across all of our programs, critical thinking and the concepts of “productive struggle” or “desired difficulty” are very important. The goal of each program is to get you to a point where you can solve problems independently, and the methods and techniques above will help you get there. 

Curriculum: the programming languages you’ll learn 

There are many languages and technology stacks (both frontend and backend) in the world. Our programs teach the most popular programming languages; the ones you’ll run into on the job after you graduate and enter the software engineering field. 

In all of our bootcamps, you’ll learn more than one language (JavaScript, HTML/CSS, SQL). But while our 12-week and 36-week programs use JavaScript on the backend, we teach Python for the backend in our 19-week program. (Read about our choice to teach Python in the new bootcamp here.)

Either choice readies you for a full-time career as a software engineer, so no matter the program you choose, you can’t go wrong. Regardless of course rigor, duration, your incoming skill level, and other factors, you’ll be job-ready with strong mental models intact to continue building on your skills and languages as you move forward in your new career. 

Want more information? Attend an upcoming info session!

To learn even more about each program, we invite you to attend upcoming live online info sessions to hear directly from our team and get all your questions answered in real-time. 

  • See upcoming dates for our 12-week and 36-week immersive info sessions here

  • See upcoming dates for our 19-week immersive info sessions here.