Hackbright Academy is a women-only software engineering bootcamp. It helps them develop essential skills to start a career in software engineering. The coding bootcamp has both part-time and full-time online programs. In-person study at its San Francisco campus is currently restricted due to COVID-19. However, this is expected to change soon.
Should you apply to this coding bootcamp rather than, say, an online computer science degree program? This Hackbright Academy review will help you make an informed decision.
Hackbright Academy was founded in 2012 in response to the underrepresentation of women in tech. Since then, the software engineering institute has trained more than 900 women. It offers on-site and remote classes.
From the start of any course, you will use whiteboards to present your projects. This helps to prepare you for future technical interviews. Job search is the focus of the final part of the program. Career coaches will help you apply for jobs and network with others in the industry.
Hackbright Academy offers prep courses for students with no coding experience. These foundational courses run for five weeks and students learn programming basics. You will also learn popular frameworks and languages like Python, Flask, HTML, and CSS. The main software engineering bootcamp is comprehensive and lasts three months.
This preparatory program teaches students programming from the ground up while preparing them to apply for the main program. It is a flexible program that allows you to attend evening lectures virtually while continuing with your full-time job.
This five-week prep course covers the foundations of Python for newbies. You will get to grips with Python as a programming language. In addition, you will learn about coding fundamentals and debugging as part of the curriculum. Many students join this course to get a clear idea of what the software engineering program entails.
The software engineering course runs for 12 weeks. During this time, you will learn computer science and web development fundamentals. You will begin with data structures, HTML, APIs, and CSS.
During the program, budding software engineers work on individual projects to develop their skills. Topics covered include graphs, recursion, trees, linked lists, and sorting.
The application process for Hackbright Academy includes filling out an application online and participating in two interviews.
Start by filling out the application on the school’s website. Wait for the admissions team to contact you and prepare for interviews. The first interview is the admission interview.
The team will schedule another date for the technical interview. Both interviews are conducted via video call, so you don’t need to be there in person.
If you are successful in the interview, the school’s admissions board will contact you and instruct you to select your payment option.
Hackbright Academy’s tuition for its software engineering program is $12,900, while the prep courses cost $250. It also has several financing options for students.
You can pay upfront for the tuition. If you choose this option, you’ll have to pay the entire sum in one installment. An initial deposit is required after acceptance.
This software engineering bootcamp also has lending partners to help students cover living expenses and tuition costs. Climb Credit and Skills Fund offer low-interest loans to help reduce the financial burden on students.
The coding bootcamp also has a deferred tuition program. You can use this method to study and only pay tuition when you land your first well-paying job. However, students must still pay an initial deposit before starting the course.
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I have been working in the same field over 16 years and I was in a well paid career but reached a point where it wasn’t challenging me intellectually. I found that I was spending most of my professional life putting out fires and fighting political battles. I didn’t feel any sense of accomplishment or satisfaction with my current career.
I always had a curiosity with software and coding but wasn’t sure if I had what it took to learn software engineering at this stage of my career. Since I had an engineering degree, I knew that I had the aptitude so I started teaching myself how to code through various online classes but felt that I needed in person instruction. I wasn’t ready to leave my well-paid gig to get into a full time program which was how I discovered Hackbright. They were in a short-list of organizations that offered a part-time course that fit my schedule. I found it to be challenging yet doable especially given the learning environment. All the instructors were very supportive to the point that one of the teaching assistants ran a regular Sunday code brunch where she reviewed each of our projects and answered any of our questions. She even taught us other concepts that were not covered in class. Coming out of this part-time course gave me the foundation and confidence to apply for the full-time fellowship. Not only did I discover that I enjoyed coding, I also felt a sense of accomplishment building a simple Python application from scratch. I am currently in the Fellowship and enjoying all the challenges that it is providing. The education and career staff have been top-notch! The classes are tough and challenging but this is what I signed up for as the industry is very competitive! Thanks to Hackbright, I have new skills which will I feel will enable me to get into a more technical role and immediately add value to an organization.
February 3, 2020
After doing online tutorials to mixed results, I decided to put the money and time toward learning software development. This was the perfect stepping stone between online classes and doing a full-time bootcamp (which I later went on to do). I went to an info session and a follow-up email contained a $500 discount off the part-time night program so I ended up paying $2.5k for the 12-week course.
– Relatively affordable. Class was 2x week for 12 weeks, I do feel I got my money’s worth.
– I work downtown so commute was easy
– 24/7 access to the space while you are enrolled, so you can stay late or do extra work on weekends
– Covered a wide range of topics, and things that aren’t necessarily in online coding tutorials and how they work together (git version control, GitHub, sublime/text editors, etc.).
– Aimed at total beginners; very welcoming environment and no such thing as a dumb question.
– Taught by developers with professional experience, so they teach you how to use tools that they actually use on the job.
– First time I’ve ever been asked in a professional setting what my preferred pronoun is!
– Final project is very open and you can be fairly ambitious with what you want to do with Python. I thought my classmates and I did amazing work from where we all started.
– Required nightly feedback forms that do get read and acted upon by instructors
– Aimed at total beginners (yes, this is a pro and a con); I did find myself a bit frustrated with the pace of class for the first half of the term.
– Classes are hit or miss. My class had a good vibe but we did have at least one person switch from the other, less good vibe-y class to ours.
– We had 3 instructors and I hit it off with one of them, the second seemed burnt out from work and teaching so he wasn’t around much outside of class, and the third seemed to play favorites (I found it ironic that he completely mansplained my own project to me at a women-focused code school).
– After I completed this class, I think they either started using it as a feeder for the full-time program or developed another class for that purpose. Either way, no one pressured me at the time to join the fellowship but the staff always made themselves available to chat about that program if I wanted to continue with Hackbright.
– Be aware they cater much more to the full-time fellowship. We weren’t allowed in certain spaces if the fellowship was still there working.
– I overheard a comment that this class basically gets you through the first 2 weeks of the fellowship program.
May 9, 2020
Coming from a nursing background with zero coding experience, Hackbright’s 2 month prep program absolutely prepared me for the fellowship. Going into software engineering is a scary thing, since you don’t even know where to start learning. This program gave me a structured way of easing into the fundamentals, which I am so grateful for.
(+) Instructors: Everyone was helpful and knew how to explain concepts to those just starting out with coding. Additionally, the staff always went above and beyond in case we needed extra help.
(+) Pair programming: Having 2 months of pair programming experience excelled me into an easy transition for the fellowship.
(+) Content: The way they structured their curriculum made so much sense. It was such a good pace, knowing that many students attend this program on top of their current jobs.
(+) Project: You leave the prep program having a tangible project under your belt, which additionally reinforced all the concepts you’ve just learned over the past 2 months.
(-) Since it’s a program intended to introduce coding vs. strictly preparing for the fellowship, the “coding challenges” lecture could have been more expansive. However, actually taking the fellowship’s coding challenge — I was 100% prepared after all!
Coming from a nursing background, I had zero coding experience prior to attending Hackbright’s prep course (and onto the fellowship). After talking to tech recruiters regarding what bootcamp to attend, they all unanimously pointed towards Hackbright.
There are 4 dinstinct qualities about Hackbright that make it stand out from the rest: the transparency, continuous passion for improvement, support system, and alumnae network.
Transparency – They held info sessions for prospective students, were timely with email exchanges, and are part of a 3rd party outcomes report. Just looking at the website, you know exactly what you’re getting into, up to the day-to-day schedule of the program.
Continuous passion for improvement: During the prep and fellowship program, every lecture was paired with a feedback survey, as well as the TA writing notes in the back for potential powerpoint typos, areas of clarifications, etc. They also restructure the curriculum from time to time to keep up with the latest versions of programming languages / if a certain technology is starting to be prevalent in the job market.
Support system: When you’re attending a lecture and look back, seeing all the other instructors/TAs literally attending the lecture WITH you, you know you are in the right place. What an amazing staff. I never once felt insecure about asking a question, and never once had no one available to ask the question to.
Alumnae network: Hackbright continously hosts events where alum and students connect with one another, as well as the career services team being more than happy to introduce you to previous graduates. It’s by far the strongest community I’ve seen. We are all proud Hackbrighters, easily spotted in the city with our red jackets.
My only room of improvement would be the tech stack they teach. It’s a carefully curated one, intended for pedagogical reasons. However, in terms of the job market and what’s prevalent out there, it does not exactly align. But, this bootcamp above all else taught me HOW to learn new frameworks/languages in a short amount of time, which is absolutely the most important skill you can have going into the tech industry.
June 19, 2020
The most valuable resources you need making a major career switch is a strong network and support system. The community at Hackbright is unbelievable. I started school with a competitive mindset and just wanted to make a quick career switch and get sh-t done. At Hackbright, I learned how to build community and what it means to empower others, especially women. I felt more accepted than I ever had by a group of peers (besides my best friends from childhood).
My incredible cohortmates inspired me daily, and the alumni network was very supportive in my job search. Hackbright also has an excellent mentorship program (2 mentors : 1 student ratio), and a network of industry partners that regularly host job fairs and whiteboarding sessions to help you shine in the job market.
July 24, 2020
I love the structure of the lessons, it kept a good balance between the pace of lessons and the amount of hands-on practice. After the 7 lessons, I got a better understanding of computational thinking
August 20, 2020
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