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Ask a Hack Reactor grad what the most valuable thing they learned in the course is, and there’s a good chance they will say ‘learning how to learn’. The ability to adopt new technologies and solve one’s own problems is woven throughout the course as a defining ethos of Hack Reactor.
“The goal of this course is autonomy,” says Instructor Allen Price. “People will leave here as autonomous learners. That’s a core facet of any successful software engineer.”
The software landscape is constantly in flux, so it’s crucial to be able to tackle unfamiliar material with speed and confidence.
“The really hot technologies from even one year ago are old and passe,” says Technical Mentor Magee Mooney. “It’s a constantly moving target. You need to have the self-teaching skill to have success. We deliberately give students less hand-holding at strategic times.”
“We have a lot of graduates who get jobs at companies that don’t use anything in the curriculum,” notes Price.
This educational approach is an adjustment for many students who are used to a schooling that is more focused on knowledge than skills.
“We train our mentors to not give answers,” says Mooney. “Instead, they work with students to get past their current hurdle.”
Graduate Jasen Lew, for instance, spent the last portion of the course building in Swift, Apple’s new language for mobile, which was not part of the Hack Reactor curriculum:
“Going through the challenge of picking up a new developer environment, a new language, and producing something validated that Hack Reactor is amazing and instilled in me the self confidence that if I can do that in Swift, I can do that in any language.”
The proof, of course, is in the results graduates see after the course. Employers have taken notice of how effective the program is.
“Good programming is not just about learning languages, it’s about how you approach problems,” says Sandeep Sood, CEO of Monsoon. “Hack Reactor figured it out – they focus on teaching thinking skills as well as how to code. There are a lot of programmers out there who know one language very well but don't have the conceptual understanding that enables them to adapt quickly when things change. Somehow, in a relatively short period of time, Hack Reactor nails the fundamentals. I’d hire ten more of their software engineers.”
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