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5 Years Forward - Hack Reactor's Founders, CEO Celebrate Past, Present, and Great Future

This month, we visited Mexico City to support the launch of Holacode, a coding bootcamp focused on bringing new opportunities to recent returnees.  It’s a brilliant model (native English speakers are uniquely qualified for roles in tech companies) and a strong team, and we had the opportunity to work with staff, meet with their investors and community partners, and celebrate their launch with their first students.  Their first day of class was November 20, 2017.  

Three of their instructors are alumni of Hack Reactor -- a fulfillment of the “chain reaction” metaphor behind the name of our company, which we always knew would be powered by the community of our staff, students, alumni, friends, and the tech/edu ecosystem at large.

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Holacode, a Hack Reactor supported coding bootcamp for recent returnees, on their first day of class

Holacode, a Hack Reactor supported coding bootcamp for recent returnees, on their first day of class

It is an emotional and proud month for Hack Reactor. On November 26, 2017, we celebrate the 5th anniversary of our first day of class.  As we reflect on this, we also want to share with you what it means to us.  

We Believe In Hack Reactor.

Hack Reactor is a hypothesis that we now consider proven. Our students have come in as scientists, artists, teachers, accountants, and musicians. Over 3,500 can now call themselves “Software Engineers”. They work as team leads, founders, CTOs, engineers, thought leaders, speakers, and teachers.

We recently conducted an informal poll of our alumni*. Respondents to the survey, on average, reported doubling their salary after attending Hack Reactor. They are also getting promoted. Two to three years after graduating Hack Reactor, alumni report their salaries have grown by another 40%.

Informal Alumni Poll on Salary Trajectories*

(*Disclaimer: Informal poll distributed via Facebook & Slack. Before Hack Reactor & post-grad starting salary: n=92. Total respondents: 116. Non-US students, students not employed before Hack Reactor and students not employed after Hack Reactor are not included. 12-24m post-grad salary: n=19. 24-34m post-grad salary: n=15. This poll was informal and not intended to be scientific or resemblant of the rigorous statistics we do on our official graduate outcomes reports. Nobody should base any decisions on it or take it seriously for any purpose but celebration.)

(*Disclaimer: Informal poll distributed via Facebook & Slack. Before Hack Reactor & post-grad starting salary: n=92. Total respondents: 116. Non-US students, students not employed before Hack Reactor and students not employed after Hack Reactor are not included. 12-24m post-grad salary: n=19. 24-34m post-grad salary: n=15. This poll was informal and not intended to be scientific or resemblant of the rigorous statistics we do on our official graduate outcomes reports. Nobody should base any decisions on it or take it seriously for any purpose but celebration.)

We are so thankful of our community. The staff that support our alumni, and the alumni themselves. The ones that promote our school, those that comb through data and report clear student outcomes, and those that strive to improve student experience cohort over cohort. Those behind the curtain and at the head of the classroom: making it possible for students to succeed and Hack Reactor to thrive -- shoutouts to all of you.  

We Believe in Bootcamps

We are proud of bootcamps in general.  They represent a path forward for many individuals that would otherwise be out of luck. Bootcamps are helping to fix a giant hole in our workforce: too many jobs and not enough programmers.  Bootcamps create community, and they help companies fix their #1 barrier to success: team members that can build ideas into realities.  We love that.

Since we helped to pioneer the industry five years ago, more and more employers are realizing the effectiveness of bootcamps.  They are taking bootcamp grads seriously.  According to Indeed.com:

  • 72% of employers surveyed think that bootcamp graduates are “just as prepared” as graduates with computer science degrees.
  • 12% think bootcamp graduates are more prepared and more likely to do better than their degree-holding counterparts.

National U.S. Survey of 1,000 employers (Indeed, March 2017)

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One big problem with bootcamps at-large -- the rampant, disparate, Wild West reporting of student outcomes -- is well on its way to being solved.  

We were tremendously proud to be one of the founding members and driving forces behind the Council for Integrity of Results Reporting (CIRR), a coalition of 25 bootcamp branches and the first widely-adopted industry standard for reporting on student outcomes.  This was the result of years of concerted effort and we are proud of our role in leading that change.  

In a field of 100+ bootcamps we have built the name that rings loudest: the people you want on your team at Facebook, Google, Amazon, and over 1,500 other companies.

Companies with the most Hack Reactor Alumni (as reported on Linkedin, Nov 2017)

Companies with the most Hack Reactor Alumni (as reported on Linkedin, Nov 2017)

This is the result of five years of heart, intellect, and savvy from our team and our alumni.  Amazing.

We believe in the transformative social impact that this team creates.

Since forming Hack Reactor five years ago, some of our pro-bono/at-cost initiatives include:

  • Supported or launched career-focused programs ranging from HolaCode and OpSpark in New Orleans to Moringa School in Nairobi and ReBootKamp in the Zaatari refugee camp (they are partnered with a little nonprofit called the United Nations)

  • Created a $1.3MM scholarship fund focused on students from underrepresented backgrounds, funding over a dozen incredible people to date, in partnership with our advisory board.

  • Ran free introductory “learn to code” programs with community organizations like Success Centers SF, Girl Scouts of America, Mission Bit, Telegraph Academy, Udacity, Code Tenderloin, Coding For Good, Vision Academy, Calvary Hill Community Church, Mission Techies, Dev/Mission, and Hack Your Hood.

  • Introduced a low-cost, open-admissions intro program -- then offered it for free to friends/family of alumni and staff (and nonprofit partners, apply here!)

Our team has done a lot of good work and now sets its sights on an ambitious plan called Vision2020, an initiative to reach 50/50 gender balance at Hack Reactor by the year 2020.

We believe in the promise of technology and the companies that build it.

Software is changing how every company functions.  It’s critical that all of us — companies, educators, and students — work together to build a healthy workforce, exercising good judgment and teamwork, composed of people from all walks of life.  This vision is a responsibility for all of us.

When we started Hack Reactor, we contributed to one singular piece of the puzzle: educating new engineers.  But, as we’ve had the privilege to work with alumni and their employers through our Corporate Partnerships, Corporate Training, and Alumni Outreach efforts, we’ve learned there is an equally-large educational opportunity happening inside companies. This insight led us to apply our immersive, instructor-led format to employee onboarding, reskilling and upskilling, thus effectively educating software engineers across all stages of their career.

We are only just getting started.

Five years, 5 campuses, and 3,000+ students later, here we are. But for as many people whose lives our school has affected, just one university can graduate one hundred times more students than we do. As big and as impactful as we believe we are becoming, we have our work cut out for us to become more.

Our achievements to date amount only to a drop in the bucket to what possibility there is to achieve in the coming years. We are emboldened by the path we have blazed to continue in a direction to potentially impact any person in the country who receives an education, regardless of age, race, gender, region, or background.

Our foundation is laid, and now is the time to build upon our success in ways never before imagined. Just as the future of technology constantly surprises the world, we are anxious to begin our next hypothesis. We can’t wait to see what happens next.

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Our deepest thanks,

Harsh, Shawn, Marcus, Tony & Doug
CEO & Founding Team, Hack Reactor