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Our Shift to Remote Software Engineering Education

Hack Reactor

Person at computer

In 2014, we launched our fully remote Software Engineering Bootcamp – the first on the market. In the 7 years since, we’ve had the privilege of training students in more than 25 countries on 6 continents, helping them launch successful software engineering careers around the world. 

Simultaneously, we continued teaching our flagship program: the 12-week in-person bootcamp at campuses in U.S. cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York and beyond. This helped us establish invaluable physical roots in these and surrounding markets, as well as foster continually-important professional connections that we hold dear. 

But when the pandemic hit nearly two years ago, we quickly transitioned all of our in-person programs online. We were able to effectively shift to a fully remote enterprise because of our long, successful history of remote training. To date, we’ve graduated more than 1,300 remote students, and we’re proud of the careers launched. 

With time, as it became clear the pandemic would be a part of our lives for a long while, we decided to make significant investments in our digital infrastructure, our team, and our curriculum to ensure we could continue delivering on what we proudly promise: a cutting-edge education based on computer science and coding curriculum that models the exciting work being done in the software engineering industry and helps students prepare for a long-term career in the field. 

With all of this in mind, we’re announcing a full transition to remote bootcamp instruction indefinitely. As of today, Galvanize’s Hack Reactor Software Engineering Immersive Programs are fully remote and will not be offered at physical locations.

We look forward to the immediate and long-term impacts this will have related to accessibility to our programs and to the software engineering professional at large. We hope you’ll join us as we continue building strong digital communities fused together by a passion for software engineering and new career possibilities. 

We envision a future in which the majority of software engineering education is remote, and we're excited to help usher that future into the present. We’ve seen first-hand just how effective remote software engineering education is when done right, and we know how it can open doors for a more diverse set of people to pursue this rewarding career, which is a win for everyone.

- Ricky Hamilton, Galvanize CEO

The remote student experience 

First and foremost, we maintain our high instructional standards across all remote courses. Those standards start with us and then find a home with our students, who graduate and get jobs with employers who expect that standard to come to life on the job. 

We also maintain high accountability standards for students across all courses, which help us foster an equal playing field for all students and push the momentum we need to enable them to reach their potential and goals. 

To that same end, we work hard to build and foster a strong digital community in our remote cohorts. We know just how important it is to feel connected with instructors, staff, and classmates. Our obsessive focus on community is not only because it "feels" good. We also know that a strong community motivates and fosters positive emotions, both of which greatly impact one's ability to learn.

To build a strong community in each cohort, we prioritize a diverse set of live interactions every day throughout the length of our programs, including live lectures, Q&A, recaps, pair programming, and project work.

In addition, since every cohort has its own personality, staff (and students!) regularly come up with additional community-building ideas that meet the needs of their particular cohort. We also prioritize social time outside of class hours so students can get together and decompress in a different way. Social Nights are facilitated by staff, during which students get together to have fun and socialize.

Always, our goal is to foster a community that matters and lasts. When asked about their favorite part of the Hack Reactor experience, one recent remote graduate said:

“Building this awesome community and helping me tremendously with a total confidence boost. Now I feel I can do anything and learn everything”

But our community-building doesn't stop at graduation. Our Alumni Team hosts regular remote events that are open to anyone, scheduled across various time zones to be as inclusive as possible. We host morning, afternoon, and evening events throughout the year to engage our growing alumni community and keep them learning and connected as they proceed in their careers. 

Beyond all of the above, remote learning provides some very real, practical benefits for students, including:

Access to the best instruction, no matter the location 

  • Without location-based limitations, we’re able to recruit and hire expert instructors based anywhere in the U.S. They can teach lectures from anywhere to students around the world. 

Career services at the same high level 

  • Our Career Services team is trained to provide resources and support to job seekers regardless of their location. Nothing about their level of service and expertise changes with our full shift to remote learning.

Training for remote professional work 

  • Remote work is here to stay, and training in a remote environment helps students build the skills they need to be effective in these professional settings. Students work on effective communication, various types of collaboration, time management, and so much more that will translate to a future role (remote or not). 

Timing and convenience

  • We offer our 12-week remote bootcamps in multiple time zones, so you can pick the one best for your location and availability. At launch, our 19-week bootcamp is only available in Pacific Time, but we’ll be expanding those options in the near future. Our part-time, 36-week bootcamp is only available in Pacific Time, as well, but the program’s schedule of learning on evenings and weekends allows students to join with less regard for specific time zone.  

No commute

  • Depending on where they were located in relation to our physical campuses, in-person students would often spend significant time commuting to and from class each day. Without that commute, students have more time to spend studying, with loved ones, engaging in self-care, and more.

  • No commute also broadens accessibility to our programs for those unable to commute for any number of reasons. 

Networking around the world

  • Being in a digital classroom with students based around the country and the world allows for the ability to interact and network with a larger, more diverse (and therefore more impactful) group of people. These people will become your professional connections, your friends, and a group that shares a common, pivotal life experience. 

Benefits for employers hiring our students 

As mentioned above, students are now being trained to work in remote environments, effectively preparing them for the possibility of full-time remote professional opportunities. While we know not all employers hire remote workers, those who do can now bank on the fact that all Hack Reactor graduates are prepared to take on the unique challenges of remote work and to make the most of the unique privileges and perks of it, too. 

Overall, no matter if employers are looking to hire remote or in-person software engineers, our remote-only structure will allow us to reach a broader set of students. More accessibility means a more diverse student population, which means more diverse thought, skill, and perspective, which will strengthen any team they land on. 

Employers should rest assured that there has not and will not be any change to the caliber of our graduates. We know how to run remote programs, have years of experience doing so, and have scaled up our operations to match and exceed industry needs. 

Happy staff, happy students 

Remote education works for our students, for employers, and for our team, too. Remote work for our team increases opportunities for better work/life balance – and we believe that when our team members are personally and professionally fulfilled, that spills over into the student experience in a positive way. 

For our instructors, remote teaching provides a pathway to teaching students from more backgrounds, which increases professional fulfillment. It also allows them to build the best curriculum via cross-network collaboration.

Finally, this shift allows our career advisors to network with companies and hiring partners no matter the location. It broadens partnership possibilities and paves the way for more opportunities for our graduates. 

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Over the past eight years, we’ve learned many lessons about software engineering education, and we’ve taken the feedback from our 7,000+ graduates very seriously. This shift to remote instruction incorporates that feedback in real ways, because our students have always been – and will always be – the centerpiece of our mission.

We’re excited about the future and hope our students continue to be, too. We’ll see you on Zoom!