Hackbright Academy is a coding bootcamp for women. The school offers a comprehensive software engineering course as well as two prep courses. These computer science fundamentals will help you start your tech career. If you’re interested in software engineering, this Hackbright Academy review will give you all the details.
Hackbright Academy is a San Francisco-based software engineering bootcamp. It was founded in 2012 to provide women with a safe space to get a tech education. You can learn Python and software engineering on a part-time or full-time schedule. Hackbright Academy also offers introductory programs for complete beginners.
|Hackbright Academy Key Information|
|Locations||San Francisco, Online|
|Tuition||$12,900 – $16,895|
|Financing Options||Deferred Tuition, Private Loans, Scholarships, Upfront Payment|
|Start Dates||March 9th, April 26th, July 12th|
|Program Types||Online, Full-Time, Part-Time, Flex|
|Courses||Software Engineering, Python|
Where Are Hackbright Academy’s Campuses Located?
Hackbright Academy is located in San Francisco. However, most courses are only online due to COVID-19.
The schedule and content are the same for the online and in-person programs. The only difference is the location. Hackbright Academy’s remote learning environment is similar to a regular in-person class.
The software engineering program costs $16,895 both online and in-person. Due to COVID-19, you can get reduced tuition at $12,900. Hackbright Academy also offers two prep courses, both of which cost $249. These are a great way to get a taste for Hackbright without paying the full price.
There are many ways to pay for Hackbright Academy, including scholarships, loans, deferral, and upfront payment.
Hackbright Academy has two scholarships to help outstanding students become software engineers. The first scholarship is for women who demonstrate advanced coding skills during the application process. This scholarship can pay half of your tuition.
The second scholarship is provided by Quip for underrepresented members of the tech community. You can win it if you are a person of color, a first-generation college student, a member of the LGBTQ+ community, or a person with a disability. The winner will earn $5,000 to use for their tuition, and the runners-up will earn $1,000.
Hackbright Academy partners with two loaning companies: Skills Fund and Climb. They both offer low-interest rates and different payment plans.
Skills Fund can cover your tuition and living expenses with different interest rates for three- or five-year plans. Climb, on the other hand, allows you to use a co-borrower to receive a lower rate. Like Skills Fund, Climb offers a three-year and a five-year loan repayment plan.
Hackbright Academy does not accept the GI Bill.
You can also apply for the deferred tuition program at Hackbright Academy. This means you pay no tuition until you have a job in the field. Then, you’ll pay a fixed rate in monthly installments. To apply for this method, you need to pay a $2,899 fee and a $250 deposit.
This payment method has specific criteria. You must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited school and have worked full-time for two years at any company. You must also successfully complete the technical interview with a high score in the admission process.
During the Hackbright program, you should maintain a score of 70 percent or more in your assignments and never miss a class. After you complete the course, you must communicate with Hackbright while you search for a job. A career coach can help you.
Hackbright Academy offers a complete software engineering course and two prep courses. If you’re interested in the main Hackbright class, read below for details.
Since this is a career-oriented program, you’ll receive career guidance from expert coaches during and after the course. You can get matched with a mentor to guide you through the job hunt. Hackbright Academy also hosts career coffee meetings, networking events, and more.
The full-time program has an all-day schedule for 12 weeks, and the part-time track has evening classes for 26 weeks. Some prices have changed due to COVID-19, so check the Hackbright website to see if you can get a discount. If you’re a beginner, you should also take a prep course before you start.
Hackbright Academy only accepts women and underrepresented groups in the tech industry. Although you don’t need to have a bachelor’s degree in computer science, you should understand basic concepts like data structures, loops, and conditional language.
You should submit your application as soon as possible to secure a spot in the program. If you miss the deadline, you can contact the school and prove yourself in the next steps of the application process.
Hackbright Academy only accepts five percent of its candidates. This is lower than other bootcamps, but it’s because so many people apply.
In Hackbright Academy’s application process, you need to follow a couple of steps so the school can evaluate your potential. Follow the steps below to try your best to get in.
During Hackbright Academy’s personal interview, the interviewer will want to get to know you. This is a way for the school to learn more about you and your career background. Below are some of the possible bootcamp interview questions you’ll be asked.
Hackbright Academy has two prep courses to help you get familiar with coding. This is particularly beneficial if you have zero programming experience. Both of these courses cost $249 and can get you a discount if you take the main course later.
Yes, Hackbright Academy is worth it. It has become a reputable school with a 99 percent graduation rate and diverse student body. The school offers intensive full-time, part-time, and flex schedules, so you can choose what works best for your lifestyle.
Hackbright Academy offers several financing options so you can pay your tuition at your own pace. You can also try for a scholarship if you have outstanding coding skills or represent a minority in tech.
According to a report from the Council on Integrity in Results Reporting (CIRR), 71 percent of Hackbright graduates found a job in 180 days. The same report estimated that 55 percent of graduates worked full-time, while 12 percent landed an internship or a job as a contractor. The school also hires some of its graduates.
No, Hackbright Academy does not offer a job guarantee. However, the school emphasizes career prep classes and guidance, so you will be prepared for challenges in the job market.
If you’re a woman in the Bay Area who’s passionate about coding, you should apply to Hackbright Academy. It has an outstanding curriculum and expert mentors who will guide you through your learning process. This school has flexible payment methods, multiple schedules, and online programs to adapt to your needs.
The program includes different learning strategies like pair programming and coding challenges. If you’re looking for more diverse courses, Hackbright Academy might not be for you. However, the complete software engineering course can teach you everything you need to know about the topic.
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– Great start for those without any experience
– Lots of white boarding practice
– Excellent way to rebrand, especially if your previous field was non-tech
– Networking with Bay Area companies
– Learn to communicate/articulate your thoughts to other people of varying abilities
– Potential for informal mentorship between students
– If you don’t have any programming background or aren’t great at learning fast, it’s unlikely you will be fully prepared for SWE interviews by the end of this program.
– If you do have a large programming background, you will be suffering a lot of review work while being paired with a partner. There is no customization to each individual’s ability level for the first half of the program.
– Material is not carefully proofread. Often there would be meaning-altering typos on slides and in lab/challenge instructions, stubs, and solutions.
– Very expensive. I wonder why, as all of their mentors are volunteers and many of the company events (ie: field trips/white boarding nights) are company-sponsored.
– Some of the TAs are Hackbright grads. Sometimes it feels like they are still learning the material themselves, so they might give you information that is wrong/only half-right.
– They definitely talk up career day a TON but many of the big name companies did not actually show. It was also my impression that few people actually reaped opportunities they were excited about from career day.
July 14, 2016
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, 2017
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, 2017
I attended the 12 week evening class, not the all day bootcamp.
Some instructors are awesome, some are wanting. It really depends on which instructor you get. The instructors I had couldn’t wait to leave the classroom at night and it showed.
They need an instructional designer. To save on money, the administrator is also the instructional designer.
Disorganized – They desperately need to get their act together. Many slides were wrong and they were still fixing them in class.
There were problem sets for about half the classes. There were never problem sheets the second half of the class.
The answers were sometimes given out.
Was not worth $3k
I was accepted to the bootcamp but decided to bypass Hackbright.
May 10, 2017
As for every bootcamp, the result depends on the person’s prior experience with coding and their learning abilities. Bootcamps go fast, and you can fall behind quickly without a solid foundation beforehand or are a slow learner. What you get out of a bootcamp depends on the work you put into understanding the concepts, and also how much work you put into networking to get a job.
The community – My cohort ended up being pretty close. We have all kept in touch since the program ended. The alum community and networking is valuable. Instructors all genuinely seemed like they wanted to help the students succeed and learn.
Mentorship – During week 3, you are paired with 3 volunteer mentors from different companies all over the bay area. The mentor experience can vary, but most have been positive connections made and helpful
App project – You make your own app during the last four weeks of the course. It is your own individual project and you can do whatever you want. (Some other bootcamps have partner or group projects)
Definitely still too expensive, mostly paying the cost to be in a women’s only bootcamp. They seem to have a small budget for amenities and snacks, when we are paying so much.
Partnerships with other companies are lacking. There are no guaranteed internships that some other bootcamps provide.
Too much emphasis on demo night, and no good connections were made from it.
Instructors varied in expertise level. Some were better at teaching than others.
People consistently have mentioned the chairs are uncomfortable, but no change has been made.
Feels much more for-profit, since the acquisition by Capella. New cohorts start every six weeks, leading to rapid expansion and a saturated market of bootcamp grads.
May 18, 2017
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.
August 19, 2017
The material was very spotty. Lots of typos in the slides. The instructors are either very good or terrible. Some made it obvious that the didn’t want to be there (burnout?) and some obviously wanted to be there and help the students learn. Few had pedagogical training of any kind. For $3000, I did not get my money’s worth. I could have gotten the same from an online community college for a tiny fraction of that cost. Some of us are enrolling in community college courses because we didn’t get what was going on in the hackbright course.
No quizzes, no exams, very few problem/practice sets to test knowledge. Very disorganized.
A monumental waste of time/money.
They’re trying to expand and now have the facilities, but they are having problems attracting students.
September 11, 2017
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.
April 24, 2018
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
June 20, 2019