How our Intermediate Coding Bootcamp continues to launch new careers

Our Intermediate Coding Bootcamp has been around as long as we have. When we originally launched Hack Reactor back in 2012, it was our foundational program, built for individuals pursuing rapid career change. Though it’s evolved since its inception 12 years ago, this program continues to be a market leader in providing an accelerated pathway to new careers in software engineering.

Hack Reactor Instructor Julian Yuen has taught our Intermediate program for 6.5 years. In that time, he’s seen necessary changes to the curriculum to meet market demand, has been an integral part of hundreds of students’ professional transformations, and has learned a thing or two about how a program should adapt to survive and thrive in a rapidly changing tech landscape.

Instructor Julian Yuen

We recently caught up with Julian to discuss where the Intermediate program fits into the overall tech marketplace in 2024, and asked him about his experiences helping students meet their goals and launch their dream careers.

Q: What sets the Intermediate program apart from other bootcamps on the market? How is it unique?

A: It’s the fact that it offers such an accelerated path to job readiness. It’s a 12-week program with an additional Career Week focused on career development (though you’ll have career support and lectures sprinkled throughout the program duration). Job support from our Career Services team continues after graduation, too, but you’re fully job-ready and able to ramp up on new tech after those 13 weeks. That’s fast. It works, and I’ve seen the results time and time again.

A personal touch is also an important part of this program. It’s a high-intensity program and you’ll need the support. Our Program Leads, Instructors, and Teaching Assistants (who are recent program grads) are committed to the students’ personal and professional success from day one. That extra personal touch of keeping things real with one another makes our bootcamp stand out from the rest.

It’s not surprising to me that by the end of the program – and on graduation day where we celebrate with loved ones – the cohort feels like family.

Q: What types of students do you see in the Intermediate program? What are they motivated by?

A: Our students come from all backgrounds and walks of life – from teachers to former accountants, stay-at-home parents to race car drivers. They’re motivated by finding a tech career that will challenge them, provide for their families in ways they may not have been able to before, and continue to stretch their personal and professional growth.

Because this program requires some previous coding experience, we see students who have maybe taken online courses or have done some level of self-teaching but perhaps have reached the limit of what they know how to do on their own.

Some even have advanced technical degrees but are looking to apply theory into application. This program is here to take people like that to the next level. It’s all about doing this big, difficult thing alongside others, focused on building skills, professional development, and scalability. You’re not going to have to do this alone.

Q: Intermediate program graduates go on to work in positions across industries. How does the program prepare them for their new roles?

A: The three core strengths of our grads are: 1) They know how to be autonomous, 2) they have a growth mindset, and 3) they think and operate in terms of TEAM (Together Everyone Achieves More).

They recognize that they only get better by asking the right types of questions and they’re not afraid to step outside of their comfort zone in order to stretch themselves. Our grads recognize the value of collaboration over competition, which brings a strong sense of humility to the workforce from day one on the job.

They’re also prepared for not getting it right the first time. Instead of letting that hold them back from trying new things, their resilience propels them forward so they can identify what steps are needed to move the needle forward for themselves and the organization that’s lucky enough to have them.

Q: How do Intermediate grads add value to their new companies right away?

A: Our grads are prepared to tackle real-world business problems such as design, user experience, problem scopes, scalability, and more. They know how to think big picture while zooming into the various approaches to tackling a problem with the need to scale a system, application, or web service.

We train our students to deeply understand the software engineering project lifecycle so that when they join an organization, they’re ready to get started and be dropped in at any point within the pipeline. Our grads aren’t just considering how to design a minimum viable product (MVP), but they’re already thinking: how do I design the MVP, and then take it to the next level if and when this product starts to gain traction?

Scalability is an ever-evolving problem that all organizations face, and our graduates are ready for that, which makes them resilient to changes in the market.

Q: What changes have been made to the Intermediate program lately?

A: We’re strategic when it comes to the type of changes we incorporate. The focus is always on what will help our graduates gain that competitive edge in the market.

Lately, this includes updates like adding the AI tool GitHub Copilot to our curriculum, as well as React Hooks. We teach these important tools while also ensuring every student has a solid grasp of the fundamentals.

In terms of AI tools, we want to make sure students know that they’re not going to rely solely on AI. The fundamentals are – and will always be – crucial. We focus on that a lot, no matter what adjustments we make to the program.

Q: What keeps you passionate about this program after so many years of teaching it?

A: For me, it’s all about seeing the transformation take place in real-time as students go through this program. They exhibit perseverance, drive, and a growth mindset to be 1% better each day, and that’s something I love being a part of.
This 12-week program has been battle-tested, so to speak. I’ve seen the different curriculum iterations, adaptations, etc, and it’s still here, still working for our students who want this accelerated, intense learning experience.

I also admire the program’s focus on community and the strong friendships that develop over time. This program is a full-time commitment that’s shared by the students and staff who are striving to improve themselves each day. Our curriculum and teaching methodologies create the ability for our students to be strong coders and also strong team players once they graduate.


Ready to learn alongside other passionate coders?

Learn more about the Intermediate Coding Bootcamp, and find out how to start the application process today!

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