Jan. 17, 2022

Should You Go To Hack Reactor In 2022? (3 REAL Reviews)


It's been a while since I've reviewed Hack Reactor. I've received some concerns about the quality since they were bought out by Galvanize so I decided to invite 3 more guests to share their recent experiences with the program. If I need to review a program a 2nd time, I'm usually more critical. For those that enjoy when I don't pull any punches, you're going to like this one. Enjoy!

Ryan Riegel (guest):
Linkedin - https://www.linkedin.com/in/ryanjriegel
Devto - https://dev.to/rriegel

Seen So (guest):
Linkedin - https://www.linkedin.com/in/seenso

Josh Bradley (guest):
Linkedin - https://www.linkedin.com/in/joshuabradley012
Website - https://joshbradley.me

---------------------------------------------------

🤝  Join our junior friendly developer community:
https://discord.gg/H69QqZ8MVJ

🔥  Want more personalized help from me? Here are the paid mentorship and review services I offer:
https://calendly.com/donthedeveloper

❤️  If you find my content helpful, please consider supporting me by becoming a channel member and get access to additional perks. Every little contribution helps and is actually used to pay my bills.
https://www.patreon.com/donthedeveloper

---------------------------------------------------

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links. This means that, at zero cost to you, I will earn an affiliate commission if you click through the link and finalize a purchase.

📚  Web development books and other products I recommend:
https://www.amazon.com/shop/donthedeveloper

Dev Interrupted
Behind every successful tech company is an engineering org. We tell their story.

Listen on: Apple Podcasts   Spotify

Why Don't You Want My Stuff?
Do you want to know the secrets of the secondhand subculture, everything about...

Listen on: Apple Podcasts   Spotify

The Asset Hero Property Management Podcast
Your one stop shop for property investment strategy and management.

Listen on: Apple Podcasts   Spotify

Transcript
Don Hansen:

Welcome back to another podcast episode where we help aspiring developers get jobs and junior developers grow with this episode, we are going to be doing a recent review of react. Um, and I'm gonna be Frank. I've had some people message and give some feedback about the quality in both the admission. Well, both the admissions and the quality has changed since galvanize has bought hack reactor. Cause we did an episode a while back. Um, and so people want me to do a more recent episode. I wanna get honest and transparent reviews from all three of these people. Um, but like usual, we're gonna go ahead and get started with our intros. Ryan, would you like to introduce yourself?

Ryan Riegel:

Uh, sure, absolutely. Thanks for having me. Uh, my name's Ryan and, uh, prior to getting into coding and software engineering, I worked in a lab at Johns Hopkins university, so I was. uh, in a back in a stem background, specif uh, specifically biology and I was working in a research lab there. So I got a little bit of coding experience in that position. And I really was interested to see what, uh, possibilities I could go forward with, uh, using coding and software engineering seemed like the best fit for me.

Don Hansen:

And you are full time, right? Correct. Yep. Have you found a job yet? Uh, yes. When did you graduate?

Ryan Riegel:

I graduated in June,

Don Hansen:

in June of two. Okay. 2021. Okay, cool. Thank

Ryan Riegel:

you. So about six, six months ago? Yeah.

Don Hansen:

All right. Uh, scene, is that how you pronounce your name? Yes. Scene. Would you like to introduce yourself?

Seen So:

Sure. Um, I'm seeing, I went to the remote nine month part-time program. I have a background in accounting and management information systems. Um, my previous job, I was working in E R P consulting for accounting software.

Don Hansen:

Okay. Um, what are you doing now?

Seen So:

Uh, right now I'm a student still. I'm enrolled in a different bootcamp at the moment.

Don Hansen:

Okay. And we'll dive into that later. Cool. Um, and, uh, I'm probably blanking you, did you mention that you were in the part-time program? Me?

Seen So:

Yes. Remote. I am. I'm in the full-time. Wait, you need for hack reactor for hack reactor? Yeah, I was in the part-time

Don Hansen:

remote part-time yeah, remote part-time. Okay. Got it. How about you, Josh?

Josh Bradley:

Yeah, so. Same as scene. I did the remote part-time for hack reactor graduated of March this year. Um, and my background before hack reactor was in marketing, really focused on web development, web analytics, that sort of stuff. And I went to hack reactor just to round out my pro my, my, uh, resume, get that backend experience. And, yeah.

Don Hansen:

Okay. When did you graduate graduated

Josh Bradley:

March

Don Hansen:

of this year? March of this year. And, um, are you currently working as a full-time developer?

Josh Bradley:

No. Um, I was at my last company mm-hmm I was able to use it to position myself as a web developer, um, out of SEO. And then I recently quit actually. Um, I'm kind of exploring some entrepreneurial interests right now and it's super exciting. Um, I've even actually kind of turned down a couple job offers to like continue down this path and yeah. Planning to pursue this for the next about six months at the very least. And then see how, how it's going.

Don Hansen:

interesting. Okay. I might talk to you afterwards about that, um, for sure. Okay. So let's dive into things. Um, okay. So you all decided that a Ko bootcamp was the right choice for you, where you at least decided to take a chance on it. Right. But why hack reactor? Why did you specifically choose hack reactor initially? Well, I

Seen So:

put in I'm so sorry.

Ryan Riegel:

no, go ahead. Go ahead.

Seen So:

Okay. I put in a lot of time researching all the different bootcamps and I created a short list for myself. So I actually had, um, at academy and hack reactor on my short list. And then I went and took the prep courses for both of them, just to get a feel for how they deliver their curriculum. And I ultimately decided I liked hack reactors better. So that's how I ended up at hack reactor. Okay.

Don Hansen:

how about you?

Ryan Riegel:

Um, similarly to scene, I made a list and, uh, looked into different boot camps based on like their curriculum, uh, kind of pricing as well and their financing op uh, financing options. And then, um, also, uh, I, I didn't end up doing another, uh, prep course. Uh, I just went ahead and started doing different, uh, seminars that hack reactor offered. Um, there would be like introductory seminars on JavaScript and, uh, kind of like front end based topics. And by attending those, I just got kind of hooked on it and kind of was looking forward and like my current work schedule. And then, uh, when a cohort would be starting up and I just really, really wanted to like push myself to get into the cohort. By like a certain date. And that was my, uh, path

Don Hansen:

in. Okay. How about you, Josh?

Josh Bradley:

Yeah. Um, so it was actually a referral of a, from a friend of mine. He knew someone who had gone through hack reactor, the data science program and used that to get an excellent job. So I was kind of considering like, do I wanna do bootcamp? Do I not? And after talking to him, I just, I heard hack reactor. I heard about this guy's experience and just kind of went for it. I really didn't shop around too much. I looked at their content, thought it was good enough and went for it.

Don Hansen:

Okay. Really cool. Well, let's dive into your experiences. What do you think of the program?

Josh Bradley:

It was intense. It was intense. If I could describe it in one word, it'd be that, um, very

Don Hansen:

you know, what was the, what was the most intense day that you had at hack reactor? Hmm.

Josh Bradley:

I would definitely say kind of the final, I forget exactly what they call it, but like the final projects, um, like leading up to that, where you had to deploy your application, scale it, test it, prepare your presentation. And it's kind of at the end of this nine months for, you're just like the very end of your rope burnout. And you have to like, get that final hurdle. That was the most intense was that final

Don Hansen:

project for me. Okay. Who else?

Ryan Riegel:

Um, I would second that I think, uh, the final project had some really, really late nights and, um, yeah, just everything that was involved, the like previous, you know, the kind of building burnout just really was everything kind of came together. So exactly what Josh said. Um, in addition, I will say some of the. Uh, first days of like the full-time bootcamp were really overwhelming and very, uh, hard to adjust to. So I would, I would also say that the beginning of it was, uh, tough to adjust to.

Seen So:

Um, I would say the hardest part for me was sort of making sure I was depositing that knowledge into my knowledge bank. And by that, I mean, um, there was, we were always para programming, right. And so I never had the chance to spend time with the subject on my own to sort of let it marinate. And so I always felt like. I wasn't able to grasp that concept as fast as I wanted to. And because it was so intense, I didn't even get the chance to sort of reco myself, you know, recover from the burnout and then, you know, start over the next day. So I think that was the hardest part, you know, going through the other bootcamp right now, I'm able to manage my time a little bit more. And so I'm definitely learning things more like this second time around it's, you know, staying in the brain a lot

Don Hansen:

better. Yeah. And you usually people when they choose part, well, depends on your situation. Right. But usually part-time programs allow you to have more time for things to register. And finally, like really reinforce what you're learning, which is basically Essent. Essentially what you're saying is, uh, being able to use it down the road, rather than that information just being fleeting and, you know, you learned it and then you forgot it. Right. Yeah,

Seen So:

it kind of got to a point where me and my para probian partner was our only goal was to get that repo, finished the test to pass and not to learn information. And, you know, I even heard from other students, they were like, questioning, am I learning what I'm supposed to learn? Like we never knew. And we even asked early, like, is this the right information? And you know, we just weren't sure if we were on the right track.

Don Hansen:

You, so you mentioned you asked your lead. Um, what did that lead say when you asked that?

Seen So:

Oh, I don't, I don't wanna like put words in someone's mouth, but I remember, um, saying something like, as long as the deliverables are being completed or, um, you understand what's happening, like you're good or something like that. Um,

Don Hansen:

yeah. Did you feel like you understood what was happening? Some of

Seen So:

them I understood. And then. The others, I couldn't quite wrap my head around. And then sometimes my partner would help explain things to me or, you know, vice versa. I would explain to my partner. Um, but there were also, you know, some subjects where both of us were not sure, you know, if we were learning or doing it the right way or struggling. Um, and that meant more pair programming time for the week. You know, we have to schedule more additional time.

Don Hansen:

Okay. Does that resonate with either of you?

Josh Bradley:

Yeah, I'd say kind of once we entered that senior phase, I hit that point where it's just like, don't care about the advanced content. Just gonna pass the Testment requirements

Ryan Riegel:

and call it a day.

Don Hansen:

Yeah.

Ryan Riegel:

Um, do you, do you all mean like in the first half, like before the senior phase, that's how you're feeling or are you kind of feeling that in the senior phase as well? Do.

Josh Bradley:

For me, it was only the senior phase, the junior phase. I was super like amped and doing the advanced content going for it. And then I, I think I pushed myself a little too hard and

Ryan Riegel:

had to pull back, especially with the senior phase. Okay. Um, my experience in the full time might be a little different, uh, in the first portion of the full time it was, uh, that's where I felt that the most where we were going through the concepts on a, uh, we were changing concepts on like a every second day basis. Like every two days we'd be starting something new, um, knew. Um, and so not only was I para programming as much as I could and trying to reach out to mentors and stuff as much as I could, but also in the after hours, I would like be studying or like looking at more content and like trying to. get something to stick or kind of trying to let that marinade or whatever. And, um, so that's where that was happening the most for me. And I would say a lot of it was, you know, it just didn't stick as much as I would've liked to. Um, and then whenever we had more time to work on projects for longer, uh, durations in the senior phase, I think that's when things started to kind of come together a little bit more for me. Um, only because, uh, not only did I have that like more time and maybe, uh, whenever we were working a larger groups, I felt like I had a larger network of, uh, people to talk to and like get information from. Um, but also in cases where I did have notes or I had a little bit of like something that I wrote down that ended up helping direct me to something like a stack overflow article or like a YouTube video or something like that. Um, it was during the senior phase where that. Helping me out in, in the junior phase. I just didn't really have any of that.

Don Hansen:

Gotcha. And I think typically in senior phases, um, things start clicking a bit more usually if you didn't fall behind and that's the thing it's very easy to fall behind. But, um, so I guess I'm gonna, I wanna ask a couple questions, cause we're gonna talk about pros and cons of this, but I wanna dig into this a bit more. Um, so one thing that I heard was they had lightened the admissions requirement. Now I don't expect you to know what the admissions were like, you know, five years ago versus now. Right. But can you, do you feel like admissions was very strict? Like what, what did they test you on, uh, to make sure that you were the right fit for the program?

Seen So:

Um, I think they tested us on basic JavaScript methods. Definitely had to know how to loop over like nested arrays and nested objects. And I, I asked the assessor how many questions there are on the admissions assessment. There was 15, you don't need to finish all of them. They're really using it as a gauge of where you are in your knowledge, skill set, and average students, you know, they they'll complete nine questions on average, and I was able to complete 12. So, you know, I figured I was good to go

Don Hansen:

yeah. Okay. Um, okay, so they did still have a technical assessment. Do you feel like they kind of screen personalities? did they? Okay.

Josh Bradley:

I think so. Yeah. It was pretty, pretty, everyone was pretty consistent. Pretty nice. Very open-minded.

Don Hansen:

Yeah. Okay. So with the part-time program, um, and, and scene, I'm just gonna dive into this because we talked a little bit initially, but you know, you, you had shared how you were trying to juggle a lot, you know, you were really trying to juggle a lot. You put a lot of time into the program and, you know, just hearing your story a bit, it felt like, um, it felt like you were surprised at the amount of hours that you truly needed to invest in the part-time program. Um, can you kind of share more about that? Cause I think, I think that's an interesting thing that I've heard from other people as well. Sure.

Seen So:

When I was signing up for the. Uh, the program, you know, after prep and I was, you know, starting off for pre-course. I talked with an enrollment advisor and I asked about how many, you know, rough estimate, how many hours a week I can expect to put in outside of my working hours. And, you know, that includes class time, right? There's 11 hours a week of class time. And I was told 20 hours a week, but I actually ended up spending more like maybe like 60 to, uh, maybe a hundred hours a week in extra, or, you know, it was a lot, it definitely wasn't 20 extra hours a week.

Don Hansen:

Yeah. Josh, do you feel like 20 hours a week is adequate to be successful in the program for the part-time

Josh Bradley:

for me? Yes. But I came with it with a lot of experience in JavaScript, so I was very comfortable with the fundamentals and I had a head start. Observing some of my cohort mates who didn't have that luxury, it didn't seem like enough. And it, I think kind of relates like what Ryan was saying. It's just like, they were just, just skipping over the fundamentals, not skipping, but going so quickly. It was really hard to absorb at all. Um, I didn't really feel that struggle so much again because I had that background, but I think what I struggled with Stu is just like the reality of. Doing that every, you know, three days a week, every night, six to nine, it was just like more than I had anticipated, especially that one hour gap from work to cohort. It was like, that was my break in the day. I would cook some food really quickly, eat it, do the class and then go to sleep and wake up and just restart. And that, that was the burnout for me. It was just like, my time was work school work school.

Seen So:

Yeah. And I also did some self studying prior to, you know, deciding to join a boot camp. And in the MIS degree, you also touched base on database design, web programming, you know, project management, even like you go into that. And I actually first started coding back in the MySpace days when, you know, I wanted to create my own custom CSS theme. That was my first experience. I had no idea what that jish was on the screen and I figured it out also kind of myself. So yeah, I wasn't exactly like new to it either, but I think it was the burnout that really like slowed me down. I wasn't able to recover from burnout as much as I would've wanted

Don Hansen:

to. What could, is there anything that could be, and I know we're just focusing on the part-time right now and we can, we can touch on the full-time, but is there anything that could or should change for hack reactor to account for that burnout to, um, figure out a way, so people are able to retain this knowledge a little bit better, um, and just feel like it's not overwhelming. Um,

Seen So:

I think it would be good to know going back on what I said, um, knowing that we're learning what we should be learning, you know, maybe a checklist or something to say this week, if you can do this, this, this you're good. I think that would've been really helpful.

Don Hansen:

Okay. okay. It's good. All right. Um, well, yeah, let me think. So, yeah, typically part-time programs, usually the feedback that I get from coding bootcamps, um, you can't get burned out. You very well can get burned out, but I guess this is kind of just my assumption and I want you to CR, so you mentioned like going over nested loops and nested, um, objects and stuff like that. Um, with the admissions, they, I really don't wanna hand over their admissions pro, uh, but should, let's see what, uh, I don't wanna ask questions to kind of just leak their admissions process, but do you feel like, I guess my question is, do you feel like they could do more work towards the pre-work before you get in or. Increase the, um, technical proficiency that you need the technical skills to actually get into the program. Do you feel like that would help prepare people more to understand the fundamentals before they go into this very, very intense program? Feel free to say no. If you don't think that's gonna solve the problem. No, I think so. Okay. Why not?

Seen So:

Um, I mean, pre-course already goes over, I would say a little more advanced, maybe like intermediate Java script, web programming. I would say you definitely go into more of the advanced JavaScript methods, like reduce, you know, you you're learning mocha Chi tests, inheritance, you know, so I don't think the pre-course curriculum is need any changes.

Don Hansen:

Personally, do they test on, do they test on more complicated concepts? Like recursion?

Seen So:

Yeah. And this is all from my memory, right? Sure. Like I can't for more deny yeah. I, I think there was definitely like recursion high order functions, scopes, enclosures in there, I believe. Yeah.

Don Hansen:

Okay.

Josh Bradley:

I do remember that being, I actually didn't do the pre-course

Ryan Riegel:

so I can't really speak to the pre-course,

Josh Bradley:

but I do remember it being like supplemental content that went into AUR kind of the more advanced content, but it, I don't remember it being a requirement for the admissions. It was more of like, you should do this, but you don't have to do this.

Don Hansen:

Mm okay. Well, are they testing? Um, so are they testing on like high order functions and recursion in the actual test? Are you saying that was just in the, pre-work just the pre-work from what

Josh Bradley:

I remember.

Don Hansen:

Oh, okay. So they're treating that as supplemental material, but they're. testing for that. Okay. Yeah, I would, I would argue that could be a whole and why they're gonna get students to come in that are unprepared. Um, you know what usually hack record still full stack Java script, right. Okay. Typically, I mean, those are more advanced concepts that I think like you don't necessarily need to memorize, but you should at least be able to work through, even if you're just getting a little nudge or a push to head in the right direction. But, you know, there's a reason why some coding boot camps are choosing to become more strict. And that does like to understand those kind of difficult concepts. Usually you're not gonna be able to pick them up and retain them and apply them without having a, at least more of a fundamental understanding of JavaScript fundamentals and. In my opinion. I think they could solve that problem with people not feeling overwhelmed. Uh, but like you said, Josh, I think your solution is what other people should strive for you. I mean, obviously you had a job, but what other aspiring developers can do is really take that pre-work seriously. Um, I'm arguing hack reactor should make that a hard requirement in their testing, but you know, like really make sure that, I guess that's a recommendation for aspiring students take that pre-work seriously understand they're not gonna hold you accountable. They're gonna have to hold yourself accountable for this. And like really get those fundamentals down. I see that solve these overwhelming PR or people feeling overwhelmed. I see that solving that problem so often. Um, So, okay. That's, that's interesting. I feel like I, um, I, I can definitely say that there are much weaker admissions on other coding boot camps, and I expected hack reactor to actually have a weaker admission than it currently does, but it still, those are still my recommendations for it. Um, do you feel like Ryan, they set those expectations for you of how many hours it would truly take to be successful at the full-time program?

Ryan Riegel:

Uh, yeah, absolutely. Um, I felt before even, uh, getting into the like admissions test, they made it very clear. And, you know, once, you know, after that point, especially they made it extremely clear that it was going to be like your time commitment, like all of your time for the whole 12, which is actually 13 weeks. Like all of it is just going to be like, you're gonna be. Like living this. So, um, you know, hearing that, and then ver versus like experiencing it are two different things, but, uh, I just tried to get that into my head as much as I could before starting. And, um, also I, I did wanna say about the admissions, uh, process, um, and like the test, I think that another aspect that they kind of, uh, hinted at during the pre-course that was actually very important for the test was being able to E uh, clearly communicate verbally what you're thinking and trying to do in the code. And even though I don't think my coding skills at that point were very good. I think that what I felt got me into the program was being able to talk about what I was trying to do in code and like on the screen. So, um, they, uh, kind of in the pre-course or like, I guess that's not, pre-course like the, yeah, well, yeah. The stuff in between or the stuff before the test, um, they do suggest for you to like record yourself and like, have you work through problems, recording yourself and like, uh, verbally explaining what you do, but, um, it's kind of like a suggestion. They probably could make that a harder requirement or, or just, you know, say more like, yeah, you gotta do this because, um, uh, it's important. And like, at that level, it was really important because like, you can just kind of type stuff down and be like, oh, okay, that works. Or that doesn't work. But if you can, uh, have someone with you and tell them, uh, what you're doing and have them understand why you're doing certain things that show a higher level of understanding, which I think they were looking for,

Don Hansen:

that makes sense.

Josh Bradley:

I totally agree with Ryan is saying, cuz like when I think back to the cohort mates who really excelled and kind of got themselves where they needed to be, it was the ones who could communicate. They were the ones who were really able to like work through their challenges verbally and, and get the help that they needed. And it was the people that struggled with that, that struggled to even get the help. Right. How could they even ask for the help if they dunno how to say what they're trying to need help with?

Don Hansen:

That's a good point.

Ryan Riegel:

Yeah. Um, and then another thing I would say is like, uh, I also in, you know, researching the program before I joined, um, I did see varying articles like on like the difficulty of the admissions process and like how it had maybe changed. And so like, you know, I didn't personally experience what it was before and what it was after, but I do know that people that were in my cohort had, uh, well, certain people in my cohort had failed the entrance exam. Like if not once, like multiple times. So, um, before hearing that, I didn't really know if the entrance exam was all that like tough because I was like, well, I had to do what I had to do, but like, I feel like I got in like without much, like, you know, like, you know, I put all the time in, I put the hours in, I did what I needed to do, but I was like, was it too easy? I don't really know. But basically when, whenever I heard that then that people had gone through the pre-course multiple times the test or like the entrance exam multiple times, I was like, okay. Yeah. This is like, yeah. Okay. They still are. They're not just letting like anyone in basically.

Don Hansen:

Okay. All right. Cool. Let's move on. What do you think of your instructors?

Josh Bradley:

I go, they're like, I loved my instructors, honestly. Um, Everyone from, I forget the words that they use for everyone's position, but the non-technical lead Macy was amazing. Just one of the most genuine people I've ever known, always available for help. And then our technical leads, um, the main one being Nick and Leslie, they were both phenomenal. Nick is, I'm still in touch with him. He's like one of my favorite people I've ever met. He's so supportive with everything you do. And Leslie is just brilliant. Like you could ask her any question and she could answer it in any detail. And I had nothing bad to say about them.

Don Hansen:

Okay. What about you two?

Ryan Riegel:

Um, yeah, I'll go. Uh, I think that the instructors I had were, um, very motivational. Oh yeah. So like the non-technical leads were very motivational. Uh, definitely really helped you stay like engaged and having a good time throughout the day, even though you're, you know, having a lot of difficulty as well. Uh, there's just. That aspect was totally there. And then, uh, the technical mentors, um, like, you know, some people were maybe a little bit better at than others, but everyone I came across was like always trying their best to help you. Um, and they wanted to help you in the way that, uh, was like true to like hack reactor, which was like, um, they want you to kind of get into the problem and be stuck on it a while before you get help. And I think everyone reflected that very well. So, and, and I think that going through that was good for me, so, yeah. Okay.

Seen So:

Yeah, the, the struggle is important. We can't just get handed the answers. Right. it's important, right? Um, I've interacted with. Um, Mickey and may a little bit, they're both very supportive people and, um, like, you know, Ryan and Josh said, everyone wants nothing but success for everyone. And I've had a few people in my cohort who were struggling a little bit and, um, there were given and, you know, like health problems right there. They're struggling with some health issues. And, um, they're given a few like exceptions. And so if you are struggling, it might be worth reaching out and say, Hey, I'm struggling with this. Um, I think if I had this, you know, I could totally, you know, keep moving forward, you know, and as for our tech lead, um, I don't remember anything bad, but I also think that, um, he, he really had the ability to hold space for his students and he always made sure to, um, be available even if it was after hours. So I'm really appreciative of our tech lead. Um, Alex. Yeah, Alex Jacobs. Yeah. you're seeing this Alex. Hi,

Don Hansen:

okay. Sounds like it definitely sounds like, um, I mean, I always say this instructors make or break coding bootcamp, well, instructors and mentors, right? Sometimes you hear about mentors that, um, sometimes you hear about good mentors. Sometimes you hear about bad mentors. I think most mentors wanna help it. Sometimes they do lack the experience and you know, usually a lot of mentors are more focused on, or their experience comes from just learning the curriculum, but they don't have outside experience. And, and it that's where you really need to rely on the instructors as well. Did all the instructors have legitimate software engineering experience? Yeah. Same for you.

Seen So:

I think so. I didn't. Okay. I didn't

Don Hansen:

check fair enough. I think that's something you should check. Um, I think that's something that anyone that's watching this should check for any coding bootcamp because that matters. Um, and I've seen that result in either better or poor quality of education. I think that's really important. Um, so wait, how big were your cohorts?

Seen So:

I think we were started like mid high thirties and then within a month we dwindled down to under 20, 20 low twenties,

Don Hansen:

you know? Okay. What about you? Two?

Ryan Riegel:

Mine was similar. I think we started around 30 and then, um, we were still above 20 by the end of the program, but we, yeah, that was kind of our.

Josh Bradley:

Yeah, I think I remember about the same

Ryan Riegel:

thing. It was something like

Josh Bradley:

30 or four people to start with. And I know about half of them dropped off by the end that we graduated. I think it was 15 to 20 of us that, that made it through the whole thing

Don Hansen:

that that's a red flag. To me, that's a huge red flag. There's no reason that many people should drop off. Um, and I'm just comparing this to a lot of other coding boot camps. I wonder why that is. What do you think that is?

Seen So:

I mean, it could be because they, um, you know, failed the technical assessment, um, which is right between junior and senior phase. Right. Sort of like the final exam for everything you learn in your junior phase. I think if you don't pass that you either get pushed back or I don't know what else, but yeah, you can't for move on to the senior phase, essentially. That might be one.

Josh Bradley:

Yeah. I remember that being kind of the great filter too, and I. What was interesting though, is like, at least for me, it's like, I could kind of see those people from like week one, week two. It was like, I don't know if you're gonna make it. And except for the exception of a couple people, I was mostly right. And I think that kind of goes back to the admissions. Like I think there were a few people that they could have spent a little bit more time on, or even just early on how to notice those flags be like, Hey, you know, let's just, let's just take you a step back. Um, but they kind of just dragged them through the whole junior phase and then went to the TA and was like, that was heartbreaking for a few

Don Hansen:

I you Ryan.

Ryan Riegel:

Um, yeah, I think the points that people generally left at were like the first week, and there's an option to do something called a Mulligan where you can, um, get your money back, I think. And, uh, go. Into those following cohort. Like you could just kind of like, wait it out another few months and then like go into the next cohort to give yourself more time. So in your first week you have that option. And then, um, a couple people did that. Uh, there was one or two people that didn't make it in the, into the senior phase because of like the technical assessment. And then I think it was just like personal, like, I don't think it was, uh, like, like, I think people had like personal situations going on. Other than that, like maybe two, another two people left because of just like other reasons. So.

Don Hansen:

okay. So they do, it looks like they're pretty open about their outcomes. Um, I wanna, before I make the statement, um, so man, correct me if I'm wrong in the comments below, but I believe the CEO of cer.org, Lyft cer.org has kind of been the gold standard of reporting statistics, gradu graduation rates, outcomes, like with job placement, stuff like that. Um, and so please correct me if I'm wrong. Cause I don't wanna make a false statement about that, but I was told that the CEO left, um, and I do see, cause I wanna look at this. Yeah. Hack reactor. When was the last time they reported those statistics? It was 2019. It was a long time. Again, if I have this wrong, correct me the comments below, please do. But you know, like outcomes are very much a marketing and selling point for coding bootcamp. So why do you go to a coding bootcamp to get a job, right? That is incredibly important. And so I remember seeing that a while back and I wondered why did hack reactor drop out? Like a lot of people dropped out during the pandemic, but it looks like hack reactor. I mean, they didn't, I don't see any reports in 2020. Um, and definitely, yeah, July through December, 2020, I, I see nothing about hack reactor. So it makes me question, um, why they chose to withdraw from that. I'd be very curious, CEO of hack actor. You are more than welcome to reach out. And, uh, I would be very interested to hear what that is that reason is, but you know, when you have people it's like here, here's also philosophy. If you. if you allow people, if you don't screen them out, right, you might get more income in initially make more profit and, um, roll. I would be curious, like if students are actually rolled back, do they include those in the graduation rate? Because a lot of coding, boot camps, what they do is people that roll back. They didn't graduate on time, so that doesn't meet the criteria for outcome statistics. And so, um, I don't. outcomes. I don't really see like, um, a job placement. I'm not digging super heavily into this, but they are showing like compensation rates, media. Yeah. Median compensation rate alumni. Um, it feels like from statistics that I used to see from hack reactor, it feels like they, they pulled out on some important statistics. They're not, they're at least not showcasing and being very public and open about it as much as what I remember from hack reactor. Um, but anyways, there are a number of reasons that they can refuse to report to sir.org. Um, I don't know the story behind that, but, um, when you don't graduate on time, uh, it's a very common thing for coding boot camps to pull that from statistical data that shows job placement job placement's incredibly important. Um, I would be curious what the actual job placement is. Um, If, if your students don't graduate, I don't know what the return policy is, but if your students do not graduate on time, um, I hope, I hope that they're not trying to. I hope they're that they're at least being transparent about that data. If anyone asks about placement rates, cuz I guarantee they get questions about that. And I hope they're being honest and transparent, but when I see man that's you said like half your class gesture, that is a huge red flag. That's an admissions problem. In my opinion, I don't think that's a quality problem. It sounds like your instructors really care. It does. Um, but I would love to see them improve that admissions. And it doesn't the thing about like making education accessible hack reactor. I, I love a high standard. I really love a high standard because it ensures success or at least a higher chance at success for it students that are dumping 10, $20,000 under their program. And. Um, you know, you can do that through pre-work. You could do that through admissions, but making education accessible isn't necessarily inviting everyone into your program. It's making sure and ensuring that they are going to be successful in your program. And if they are not successful, that is your fault. As a coding bootcamp, you will have outliers who have an exceptions, but hack reactor. Um, I would love to see them improve that graduation rate. That is incredibly important. Um, now the, this is my personal opinion about it. Um, so I'll kind of just open it up. Do you feel like, do you feel like there are other variables or circumstances that I'm not accounting for or is what I'm saying reasonable?

Seen So:

Um, I don't know if it's included because when I looked at the report, it wasn't, you know, separated, but I know hacker and other boot camps will hire their own students. For their own, you know, programs like I know when I was in a, for help desk, um, a few students who just graduated from the previous cohort were hired to, you know, be on help desk. Yeah. So I'm not sure, like if that compensation rate average is including that or if the job replacement rate is including that, like it never was indicated whether it was or

Don Hansen:

not. That's a good point. Um, because what I've also seen, I'm not saying hack record specifically, but just coding bootcamps do in general is that compensation rate will be excluded if they didn't get a tech job specifically. Um, I don't see, uh, grad. Yeah, I see. So they kind of, they reverted to their personal reporting and I, um, I'm not gonna dig into this now, but they do have their personal reporting. and I would recommend anyone that one, like if you truly care about that job placement rate, dig into this, just go to hack reactor.com/outcomes. And then there's a report specifically. Um, I think it's data represents hack rector, software engineering, immersive outcomes across all campuses taken from G R a D 2020 part two. Um, I do not see any data from 2021, so I'd be interested to see that, but dig into that a bit, see what makes up that compensation rate, see the graduation rate. Um, see if people are landing, uh, actual tech roles, actual software engineering roles, usually in outcome reporting, you only see like tech or even tech adjacent, you don't see software engineering specifically. Um, that's something that I feel like@leastcer.org kind of was strict about, but, um, yeah, I feel like, I feel like I've said everything I wanna say, um, about that, but. Software engineering. Yeah. Configuration engineer. What is this? Um, uh, what is this, uh, compensation results at 180 days? Uh, 45% software engineer, software engineering, immersive resident, um, 18% configuration engineer, 9% database manager, 9% junior software engineer, 9%. Um, okay. So I'm, I'm seeing different statistics and it looks like they're they have like different campuses. I was just reading Seattle's I think. Yeah, it was Seattle's. So look at different campuses. I would, I would almost argue, I usually see when you're doing remote programs. Um, sometimes I think Kodi, bootcamps care about the city that you live in as well. And I wonder if they would connect you with career services that have like connections in that city. I don't know what they do. Well, you know what I'm gonna ask about career services, but anyways, dig into this data and don't just take this website, these statistics on the website, um, as like take it with a grain of salt and dig into the data. That's my recommendation. Cause I, I do think the numbers that you're giving me it, it's a red flag and it's usually when you dig into the outcomes you start discovering, um, why, why those low graduation rates happen?

Josh Bradley:

I don't wanna touch on one point, Don. Sure. To be fair, to hack record. I joined kind of in the midst of the pandemic. And I know there were several people who left because of that and because of just the hardships that they're facing during that time. Um, so there was a high drop off and I do agree with you. I think the admissions process can be improved, but it was a, it's been a tough time, you know,

Don Hansen:

and so then we have to dig into why is that a tough time? Why did they drop off specifically? Yeah, a lot of people when I talk to other coding boot, so I'm comparing this to coding bootcamps during the pandemic. Okay. This isn't me comparing 2019 data. I'm saying when I, because I've reviewed over 30 coding boot camps, and I'm saying that I've seen coding bootcamp have much more successful graduation rates. So why is hack reactor specifically dropping the ball on this? And so you, you make a fair point, but I am comparing to 2020 data for other coding, bootcamps. Good to know. And. Yeah. So I, I think that's all I had to say about that. Um, what did you think of, I guess we talked about the instructors, what did you think about career services when you finally graduated? Were they helpful? What did they what'd they help you with? What was that like?

Ryan Riegel:

Yeah. Um, I can talk about that. So, uh, the career services was, uh, kind of in tandem with a program called JSP or a job search program, which was, uh, extended to every graduate. And, um, basically what you have the opportunity to do there is kind of continue a little bit of a schedule and a container type situation that you're in like an actual bootcamp. So, um, you get to still talk to your cohort mates and, uh, kind of. Work on the type of skills that you need to be successful in the job search. And then that is kind of guided and, uh, coached by your career mentor. And you have access to that for 180 days after graduating.

Don Hansen:

Why only 180 days, the,

Ryan Riegel:

that is their, yeah, that's their policy. I guess that's what they,

Don Hansen:

so they're paying that much money. If you don't get a job within 180 days, you just lose that support.

Ryan Riegel:

So I, I don't know exactly because I, I didn't personally get to that point, but I D like kind of the way I was looking at it, I was like, if I get to that point, I don't think I'm have their support. I could be wrong, but I did have a little bit of a fear on that.

Don Hansen:

Do you guys remember that, um, that specific clause about the 180 days? I don't,

Josh Bradley:

I didn't use career services.

Seen So:

I remember the 180 days, but I don't remember anything after that. Like what happens after the time is up?

Don Hansen:

Okay. Um, well, what, okay, so what were career services like for you, Josh?

Josh Bradley:

I didn't take advantage of them. Um,

Don Hansen:

yeah. okay. So when you grad, so you decided, you decided you didn't wanna kind of like really dive deeper into software engineering, like in the middle of the program or at the end you didn't apply at all.

Josh Bradley:

Um, so near the end of the program, I was applying to jobs. Um, and I actually got a job offer before the end of the program, which was one of the reasons I didn't use career services. I felt confident. In my ability to do that. Um, and because I turned down that offer, you know, I also realized I, I wanted to spend more time with my current company. And so it was combination of factors. If it was a different situation, I would've used it.

Don Hansen:

Okay. I gotcha. It sounds like cruise services, generally. I, I guess Ryan, we only have you to talk about it. It sounds like they were generally pretty helpful though.

Ryan Riegel:

Yeah, absolutely. Uh, like I felt like, um, you know, all the aspects that go into the job search and, and, uh, you know, me being a, uh, career transition person, I really had no idea what this job search would really take. Um, so I felt like I was able to get that information from my career services mentor and then have support and guidance through the different aspects of it on a at least weekly basis. And then, uh, during the. Job search program portion as well. Uh, that was something I could log into like five days a week, I believe. And, um, they offered actually a ton of stuff and I didn't even take advantage of like all of what they had to offer, but, um, like you had access toy problems, uh, working with cohort mates on them. And, uh, what are toy problems? Like seminar series, toy problems, such as like elite codes and that, uh, like hack, hacker rank type stuff, like, uh, kind of just like a map on like what, uh, topics you should understand and be able to do and then, uh, problems to get you to that point.

Don Hansen:

Did they do any mock interviews?

Ryan Riegel:

Uh, yeah. Yeah. So mock interviews were an aspect of the actual bootcamp, uh, in the senior phase, especially towards the end. There was. Two week or maybe just, oh yeah, there was just one week at the end. It was career week. Um, and during that time you do all of the like resume and, uh, LinkedIn and GitHub kind of like bolstering up that you need to do as well as mock interviews. And then in the, uh, job search portion, you also have access to do mock interviews as much as you want.

Don Hansen:

That's really cool. I love that.

Seen So:

Yeah. And, um, whiteboarding, just to add to that, whiteboarding is also a big part of interviews. Right. And so even in the junior phase, it was emphasized that we should always see whiteboarding our problems if we can't figure it out or when we're explaining to a partner whiteboard it. And so we've been, we're doing that like throughout the whole program. Yeah.

Josh Bradley:

And they gave us some pretty cool tools. They were like, use this website, that website stuff I never heard of. It was like this.

Don Hansen:

Awesome. Yeah. I feel like hack reactor has always had a pretty good reputation for data structures and algorithms. And I feel like that's something coding bootcamps in general tend to lack, uh, like that. It's a lot of coding, boot camps. I mean, it's, it's a big argument against whether data structures and algorithm should be in interviews and what types of jobs they should be. You've probably seen LinkedIn post. You've probably heard other engineers talking about it, but specifically like it is my. Belief that even if you are diving at a front end, you should have, you don't really need super complicated data structures in my opinion, to be able to be qualified for most jobs, but you should focus on efficiency. You should focus. You should understand how to optimize your code. You can be working with big data down the road, and you don't know what job is going to test you on that. And I feel like people underestimate that and they just dismiss it like, well, I'm just gonna get hired at a company. That's gonna care about my projects. It's like, well, maybe that's an ideal situation. Cuz most companies you don't need to know data searches and algorithms, but you're gonna be testing on it. I feel like hack reactor has a pretty good reputation around that.

Josh Bradley:

to add to that. That was probably the most fulfilling part of the program for me. And what it really gave me was just a fuller mental model of what's happening when I'm writing that code. Right. It wasn't just, oh, cool. I got a little loop. It was like, I was able to fundamentally like, understand how that was being stored in the computer, accessed by the computer and like having that deeper understanding of run time and memory usage was just, it, it took my programming to like the next level that I needed. And I was super glad that they provided that depth of

Don Hansen:

knowledge. Okay. That makes sense. That makes me feel pretty good. Um, it almost sounds like that curriculum, it just feels not necessarily too fast paced, but I, I feel like if they did focus on, you know, in requiring the pre-work and upping the admissions a little bit, I feel like the curriculum, it, it sounds like it's still pretty solid. Do you feel like it was lacking anything? something maybe you were tested in or, you know, Ryan, you went into your software engineering position, you had to utilize it, um, something that you didn't learn in hack reactor, and granted, sometimes you you're just gonna learn new libraries, but were there any like fundamental focus stuff? Did you feel like super prepared, which JavaScript going into your position? Um, yeah. What are your thoughts on that?

Ryan Riegel:

Um, something I would say right off the bat is I think my understanding and just like kind of trivia type knowledge of, uh, HTML and CSS is probably still currently lacking. But like during the job search I totally was lacking. And in the bootcamp, your experience with, or at least personally, I, I mean, I'm assuming this is for everyone, but my experience with, uh, HTL and C, well, not, not CSS. I mean, there was like a lot of opportunities to. Do stuff with CSS, but, uh, HTML was basically like set your HTML boiler, play up for react. There you go. That's that's your HTML. And so I don't know if this is, you know, I don't know if this is like the most necessary critique, but I just think that I didn't have like that grave an understanding of HTML going into like the job search.

Don Hansen:

Okay. That's fair. Let me ask this final question. Um, how much time do we have, okay. Let me ask this final question. Cause I, so my, so I'm gonna, uh, Just preface this with my brand is about being critical of these programs. Right? I'm very candid and it's obvious that I'm very critical of these programs because I truly do want students to be well informed. And I want them to be skeptical enough to ask these questions. Right. And seeing, I don't mean to pick on you, but like, I really encourage students like dig into the history of the instructors. Like know if they were software engineers, right. Ask those questions, literally come in with like a dozen really hard hitting questions to their admissions. And if those admissions can't handle those questions, they get defensive. In my opinion, like a good program is going to say, you know what, that's something we need to work on. And they will admit stuff like that. And they, or like this is something we really Excel in admissions sometimes is kind of like distant. They don't even really know or have a sense of like the student experience. Sometimes they kind of just have a script. To go off of as well. And so students should be equipped with these hard-hitting questions. And I truly want students to dig into these statistics and ask these questions because these are really important. Every, almost everyone goes to coding bootcamp to get that job, but I want to get a good feel of truly what all of you think about, um, who this program is right for and who it isn't. So feel free to take, take a second, but who do you feel like this program is? Let's start with this. Who is this program? Not right for,

Seen So:

um, maybe absolute beginners who haven't already put in the time to familiarize with themselves, or maybe I think reading comprehension is very important for being successful in programming in general.

Don Hansen:

Um,

Seen So:

yeah, I dunno. more will come to

Don Hansen:

me later. okay.

Ryan Riegel:

Yeah. Um, I would say like, sorry, excuse me. Uh, the kind of mentality that you have to go into it with. And so, you know, if you don't have this mentality, it might not be for you. Um, if you're not ready to put in the work and then also continue to learn and, uh, like expand your tech knowledge and expertise after the program, um, you, it might, might not be for you. Like, if you want to go and get a degree or a certificate and just be like, okay, look, I have this hire me. It won't be for you.

Don Hansen:

Okay.

Josh Bradley:

okay. I totally agree with that. It's actually, I had an interview today and that was something that came up. Um, you know, the interviewer was like, you know, sometimes I don't like boot camp people because they're just here for the job and they're just like, I got my certificate. I want a better paying job, hire me and what he likes with the people, with the computer science fundamentals and really the computer science passion. Right. People who want to understand deeply what's going on behind the scenes. And, and yeah, I mean, that's the, that's the type of person I think who should join a bootcamp if you have a genuine interest in this as a career, not just as a step up for living your, your,

Don Hansen:

your salary.

Josh Bradley:

Okay.

Don Hansen:

Yeah. It feels like all of you kind of answered who should, who it is for and who it isn't for. Um, I think you gave me a sense of that. L I, I kind of wanna balance this out. I wanna wrap it up with this. What is one thing that you absolutely love about hack reactor and is the reason why you would recommend it?

Ryan Riegel:

um, I really did love the emphasis on pair programming and communicating, uh, with your programs and like what you're working on because, um, probably I would, and I think I've said this, like in the cohort to people and stuff, but in my previous job, in like my previous line of work, I didn't have nearly as much like communication skills, uh, as I would've liked to, or I think is like I probably needed. And I think that was a skill I actually got way better at, through the program. And that's the last thing I expected to get out of the program. So that is what I loved about it. That's one of the things I loved about it.

Don Hansen:

Okay. How about you?

Seen So:

I really loved the sense of community and that's what I actually got from the prep course and what actually made me, you know, take that step and say, I'm going with hack reactor. Um, all of my peers were super helpful. Everyone was, you know, super helpful. You're surrounded by people who want nothing, but for you to succeed. And I think most of all, they really instill habits and you know, so that in the future you can continue bettering yourself like that white boarding example, you know, we're doing it throughout the whole program, or even like pair programming cause programmers don't work by themselves. Right. We're working on a team. They're on a project. There's deadlines. If no one's communicating deadlines, don't get met. And so I think, um, getting those habits drilled into you right from the beginning was the best part for me. Okay.

Don Hansen:

How about you, Josh?

Josh Bradley:

Yeah, for me, it was, they were so willing to meet you where you were at, right. If you were struggling with recursion, they would spend an hour with you going over that if you were trying to dig in deep of like, you know, how does a GC work? Like they would even go into that. Right? It was like any, any breath, any depth that you wanted to ask about, they were ready to answer and excited to as well. And

Don Hansen:

that was really cool. Sounds like the staff really cared about you and it feels like. Yeah. It, it just, it kind of feels like this inclusive environment. They want you to succeed. They care about you. And you know, it's not necessarily just for the numbers. They usually, you know, in most coding, boot camps, most instructors care about students. They genuinely pick that job and usually like quit their software engineering job to teach because they're passionate about helping students in building them up and, you know, really seeing software engineers grow. And it sounds like that is, yeah, it sounds like that is kind of a thing in hack reactor. And I'm glad to hear that because sometimes with acquisitions it can get messy. Staff can get a little bit bitter and it just with changes that are implemented and it, it, it feels like they kind of kept that passion from these staff, which is really solid and that kind. It, it makes me feel good about the potential future of hack reactor. Um, still a little bit worried with how many people they potentially let in. We, we dove into that. I think admissions could be stricter and I think, uh, things could, I mean, you can't necessarily require, it depends on how that pre-work is implemented, but you can't necessarily require it, but you test it's a, it's like, I, I feel like some of those topics that you talked about, shouldn't be advanced supplemental topics. I think they should be tested in, in the interview. And I feel like I truly feel like that would solve the graduation rate. I do. And you're never gonna have a hundred percent ever, but I do think it would improve it. And that's kind of my big recommendation. And that's the red flag that I touched on several times in this episode. Um, other than that, I feel like I got a pretty good sense of it. Before we wrap up this episode, do you feel like there's anything to add.

Seen So:

um, I guess if you're in an absolute beginner and your heart is set on hack reactor, I, I would suggest going through cold Academy's full stack engineer course it's free cuz you know, the majority of the subjects in there hack reactors is gonna touch on, but you know, go into more depth. So maybe try that out and then,

Don Hansen:

you know, go for it. okay. All right. Cool. All right. I, I we'll wrap it up here. That's perfect. Um, okay, so we'll go ahead and do our outros. Um, if people wanted to reach out to you, where could they reach you? We'll start with you, Brian

Ryan Riegel:

um, you can find me on LinkedIn, Ryan Regal, our I E G E L. And I have a dev that I don't really post in, but I hope too soon. So if you wanna check that out, you can do that as well. You have a, what. The website is dev dot two. It is a, uh, it's a forum for a lot of really good coding information and just like web developer information. So, um, okay. Yeah. Check it out for your, for your health.

Don Hansen:

Sounds good. How about you SIM?

Seen So:

Um, I'm on LinkedIn and just search for my name right there and all my other links to the other places whilst the beyond my LinkedIn profile.

Don Hansen:

Okay. How about you Josh?

Josh Bradley:

Yeah, same thing. Best place to find me is LinkedIn. Um, working on a couple projects, you wanna go to Josh bradley.me? That's my personal website, planning on just adding more and more content there. Talked about just fun jobs projects, and then I'm working on an app called token valet. Um, and if you just wanna see, you know, the results of the hack graduate,

Ryan Riegel:

that's what I'm building.

Don Hansen:

Okay, really cool. We'll check that out. Um, I'll probably link your LinkedIns in the description, but like I said, stick around for a couple minutes, but thanks so much for coming up.