Tradecraft school is a full-time career advancement program. Students who attend the program spend 60 hours per week on coursework for 12 weeks. Subjects include sales, business development, growth marketing, product design, and engineering. Tuition for the program is $14,000 and financing plans are available. Tradecraft is a career-advancement bootcamp designed to train for higher-up positions, and it doesn’t publish job placement statistics.
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I am soooo beyond thrilled that I decided to enroll in the Tradecraft program!
I graduated from the TC growth track a few months back after starting my career in sales. I knew I wanted to shift from being on the phone all day to the more analytical strategy side of business and TC was the conduit I chose to help me with the transition.
Investing in my future with Tradecraft was not a decision I made lightly, but it ended up as one of the best decisions I have made in my life. I would highly recommend the program to anyone who is serious about wanting to shift their career to a related field in start-ups and motivated to put in the work to enable their success.
As a career switcher looking to prepare myself for the new direction I was heading was, I mainly decided to enroll because I wanted to gain consultative experience working with real start ups on growth projects. My goal was to gain real world experience and credibility when speaking as to why companies should entertain the idea of hiring me for an analytics based growth role. The projects that original fueled my interest were great but merely a sliver of the amazing program TC has to offer. TC teaches you to navigate stressful schedules on short notice, to network and publish effectively to enhance your career profile, to learn what you need quickly and to iterate on your learning even quicker, to work effectively and efficiently in diverse groups and much, much more. At Tradecraft, you learn the tools and skills and gain the support to be successful in all aspects of life.
Tradecraft’s goal is to prepare each and every student for the next step in their particular career journey in order to get them on the right foot for where you want to be 5-10 years from now. I can confidently say TC set me up to succeed in my goals and accelerated my timeline to have me on track to get where I want to be faster than I had even hoped.
The TC community is one of the most amazing groups I have ever been a part of. Other Tradecrafters are spread throughout the tech world and are always quick to jump at the opportunity to help others involved. Everything at TC is taught to you in terms of value and everyone works hard to create the most value possible for the collaborative network. From your cohort members to other students attending at the same time as you to all graduates and the whole TC staff, everyone is there to enable each other’s success and continuously take the network to the next level.
Because of the TC network, I was connected to and able to land the best opportunity I could have imagined after graduation in a role that I am excited to show up for on a daily basis. I couldn’t be happier or more grateful for what the program has done for me and my career.
Special shout outs to Misha, Russ, Thomas, Nick, Ariane and the rest of the TC crew for creating such a special place that has meant so much to so many
April 3, 2017
I can’t speak highly enough about this program. I first learned about Tradecraft from Course Report. Based on all of the great reviews I decided to apply. So I’m happy to come back to Course report and confirm that Tradecraft truly is that good.
A few things to keep in mind…they are selective and if you don’t have an impressive portfolio they will give you a challenge to see if you’re a good fit for the program. In that way, they are different than some other programs like General Assembly. So prepare to work for it. The great thing about it is that the people you meet and work with in the program are legit.
My background was a little different than most. Coming from a lot of startup experience, I wasn’t looking to switch carriers as much as refine my process and work with a variety of great companies. The program was great for this.
I couldn’t have asked for better teachers. I learned a ton from Zac and Jake on the design side. They are super patient, insightful and awesome people. Also, Misha on the sales side…he makes you teach the classes, and it really was the best way to learn. Although I didn’t take marketing from Thomas, I did sit in on his financial talk and rapped with him about marketing, investing, etc on the side and good lord these are all some top level thinkers.
Nick, Arianne, Kris and Russ are all super supportive and helpful. I am SO grateful!
Getting a chance to work on projects with a team made up of peers was challenging but in the best ways. You will really get a taste for working quickly, collaboratively, pulling late nights and weekends, attempting to churn out your best work. But the amount of work you take on is really up to you…so this may not have been true for everyone. I probably took on too many projects but I enjoyed it.
The mentors they bring in are also excellent. So I highly recommend attending the talks even if it’s not in the area of expertise that you’re in.
I’ve been working full-time ever since as a contractor for several startups and now for one of the biggest, most innovative companies in the valley. In large part thanks to TC. I feel like I’m part of the Tradecraft family now and plan on continuing to build on these new-found mentorships and friendships. I hope I can help others going through the program like many of peeps helped me. So yeah, I say, do it already!!
June 7, 2017
Tradecraft changed my world. I finished TC a few months ago and couldn’t have been happier with the experience. I’m now working as a full-time product designer in the Bay Area.
A year ago I was working in a job that wasn’t fulfilling and I honestly felt pretty trapped. I had always been interested in fine & digital art, but got a degree in business to play it safe. After working about a year in sales, I knew I wanted to pursue a design career but it felt like such an intimidating field to break into without going to design school. So I quit, tinkered around in the arts without any real direction, and was starting to apply to grad schools.
Then I finally met some people in the TC community. After hearing (honestly pretty similar) stories to my own, I signed up and started two weeks later. A few spark notes:
1. The TC Mindset
Tradecraft sets you up for success in a way that is different than other bootcamps and traditional school settings. They basically give you a platter of skills and say choose and master the ones that will make you the most valuable doing something you love (emphasis on the latter). All of the instructors and staff want TCers to be successful and will support you as much as they can, but they do it in a way that allows students to tailor the experience to what they are looking for. This means a few things:
– A robust curriculum with the fundamentals to practice and learn skills in any track. But no strict weekly schedule and definitely no grading, just awesome feedback from wicked smart instructors.
– Project focused work with real companies
– The option to do multiple tracks (or to just learn certain subjects). In the startup world skills are what matter, not necessarily job titles. So having knowledge about growth/sales as a designer is useful and vice versa.
– A community: You get the TC community (student, instructors, staff, founders), but you also get to meet super successful mentors that come in and give talks, all past students, and access to a super valuable network in the valley.
2. Real world projects
TC whisks you off into the real world right away. The bootcamp experience is already really surreal, but TC does an amazing job of incorporating the startup world into your 12 weeks so you finish with hard skills. TC students & instructors connect with companies that need projects done (pro bono) and work on those while using the skills you learn in the curriculum. This not only gets you real world experience & portfolio work, but it makes the transition from you old career to your new career feel more fluid.
3. Career Development & Job Search Help
You’ll get 12 weeks of super valuable career focus, planning, salary, & mental tips/tricks that help you land a job. Arianne, the Career Development Lead, is a master at helping people figure out their goals and planning out actionably how to get you there. A lot of people got jobs during the program and others after. This is where the Silicon Valley network is super valuable. TC founders/staff will extend their network to you which should give you a leg up in the first-job-out-of-a-bootcamp market. This is how I landed my gig!
Definitely, talk to Nick if it’s something you’re interested in. I highly recommend!
October 11, 2017
Joining Tradecraft was the best decision I ever made for myself. I graduated TC in September 2017 and landed a job as a product designer a couple months later. I am 100% sure I could not have done it without the help and support of TC. What sets Tradecraft apart from other programs is the real world experience gained from working with startups in the Bay Area and the amazing community which includes staff, students and mentors. Even after graduation, the staff is still available to help you through your first, second, third job etc. in your new career. Unlike other programs, TC really values fostering a sense of community, even after graduation.
As many other reviewers have mentioned, you really get what you put into it. TC provides the environment and tools to help you succeed but it’s up to you to do as little or as much as you want with it. The real learning curve starts in your new job but TC gave me the foundations to build upon. I am an extremely shy and introverted person but with the help and guidance of TC, I learned to send cold emails, ask strangers out for coffee, and became comfortable with design interviews; things I never thought I was capable of doing. If you told me a year ago I’d become a design consultant at the company I’m now at, I would have laughed (and then cried) in your face. TC literally changed my life.
The BEST part about TC is the people you’ll meet. It’s amazing to be surrounded by people in the same boat as you, with similar interests and all trying to achieve similar goals. When you go through the highs and lows of learning a new skill and job searching together, it’s hard not to become close. I’ve learned so much from my peers and remain close with them. I took a job in my home state but still go back to SF every few weeks to visit the friends I met in the program.
February 9, 2018
Tradecraft is not for everyone. If you want to just show up for a few hours a day, learn a functional skill and leave – then stop reading.
If you want to grow as a person, as a professional and find yourself amongst a community of wonderful people, then this can be an incredible place for you.
I found that this helped me understand my potential, helped me focus my learning on the relevant skills and gave me a context to create some of my closest relationships.
February 17, 2018
Tradecraft helped me change to the UX field in a fantastic company! If you want to change your career path to product design/research, Tradecraft would be a top choice. 2 reasons:
1) Real projects
Real project experience is very important to start a career in the UX field because of competition. At Tradecraft, most projects are real – you will work with real companies to solve real problems. I learned a lot through those projects and those projects became my strong showcases during my job hunting process.
2) A long-term Relationship with Tradecraft
Career transition can be a process taking from months to 1 year. My relationship with TC continues after my graduation. In other words, you can keep getting career development support and keep doing real projects there after you graduate. This can be very cheerful for 3 reasons: you have a constant access to keep getting more experience; an easy access to career consulting services; you can keep building your network while you are job-hunting.
September 3, 2018
If I had to sum up the major things I gained from my time at Tradecraft, it would fall into 3 buckets: 1) The community, 2) getting pushed out of my comfort zone with networking, and 3) access to a physical/virtual space that encourages constant learning throughout your career.
(1) The peers that you start with are one of your biggest assets (but only if you make the effort to invest time and energy into these relationships). I’ve met some amazing people and built friendships and connections with those in my cohort/class and even to this day, we stay in constant touch and share advice, support, and design events with each other. The more you all support each other (either through collaboration, emotional, or mental support) the more you all grow and benefit during your time here.
(2) Networking is scary for some people and for others, it feels contrived. One of the biggest things I gained from my experience at Tradecraft was getting comfortable with reaching out to people completely cold, and a big part of that was reframing what networking meant to me. Everyone approaches it with a different mindset based on their personalities and goals, and while for some it’s about building relationships, for others it can purely be about exchanging knowledge and learning. What really helps is to be surrounded by peers that can empathize with how difficult it is at first, and that in a way makes it easier for you to get out of your comfort zone. Everyone is doing it together.
(3) The skills you gain from Tradecraft are largely based on what you make of the experience there. You have constant access to a virtual community on slack that is always sharing resources related to design/growth/career development/etc, and people ask each other questions and give advice. The physical space also hosts events and bring in speakers nearly every other week or so. You’re always encouraged to come back into the space even after you graduate and take advantage of these learning opportunities. It’s a great space that breeds and encourages learning throughout your career, but you gotta take advantage of it.
Tradecraft is by no means a perfect program. Things can feel messy and unstructured, and sometimes it feels like there could be a lot more transparency between staff and students. The lack of structure might be by design and one could argue that working in tech is messy too. People seem to be across the board in how they feel about the structure at Tradecraft. Some have strong expectations of structure and demand it, and some just work around it. I think it’s important to keep yourself in the middle and give feedback where you see room for improvement, but also understand that Tradecraft in a way a startup too and you sometimes just have to work with what you have. Push for improvement, but do your best to manage your frustrations and be constructive with your feedback.
Having graduated from the program about 5 months ago, I will say this. I’m *really* glad I went with Tradecraft instead of the other competing alternatives. I got to practice skills in design yes, but I wouldn’t trade the friendships/connections I made and getting pushed out of my comfort zone for anything.
September 8, 2018
In addition to getting a job and making the transition from graphic to product design, Tradecraft was the catalyst for a great deal of personal change that I’m still benefiting from (and working through.)
The nature of the environment is one where you’re surrounded by people questioning things: their future desired role and how to get there, user experience problems, the various degrees of ennui one experiences when transitioning), and in general how to be a better human.
The last point is something I found particularly wonderful. Tradecraft forces you to take a step back and look at things about yourself that you may have not considered before.
What is your relationship with other people, and why might that have led you to where you are now?
How can you begin to approach something like “networking” in a way that doesn’t make you both want to use a bleach wipe on your brain?
What are you projecting in interviews and how might that affect how others evaluate you?
How can you understand what other people want, and give it to them in ways that benefit you both?
These are but a few things that I learned about in the program (in addition to all the design stuff and it may be totally different for you. The one thing I can guarantee though, is that it’ll be impactful for you as a person – for where you are in life. See Christine and Jasmine Rosen’s reviews (two of my colleagues) for a better overall analysis, they were always better at this stuff than me.
While we’re on the subject of friends/colleagues: the concentrated timespan of the program will help you develop surprisingly strong, genuine friendships during your time there. I’ve shared a pretty large spectrum of human emotion with peers + the staff. As for the staff, every damn one of them has gone above and beyond for me, at various times and in various ways, and probably in many that I’m not aware of. I want to emphasize that, because I something still look back at it and am baffled at how much everyone gives a shit about you.
Something you’ll commonly hear is that you’ll get out of Tradecraft what you put in. This is not an easy program, and it isn’t designed to be. If you truly dedicate yourself then what everyone else is saying is absolutely true – the rewards are vastly greater than any time, money, and energy you’ll put in.
December 26, 2018