Which coding bootcamp is best for you? Comparing Hack Reactor programs

No matter which of our software engineering immersive programs you choose, the outcome will be the same. You’ll graduate as an autonomous, full-stack software engineer, fully capable of tackling unique problems and building complex applications on the job.

All of our programs are live online and cost the same tuition. Additionally, all have been built by leading curriculum designers, are taught by experienced instructors, and come with career services to guide you toward your desired career.

So, how do our programs differ from one another? Which one is the best fit for you?

Below, we’ll first provide a quick overview of our three distinct courses. Then we’ll dig into the differentiators: incoming skill level, program timing and pacing, learning style, and curriculum.

Our Coding Bootcamps 

  • Intermediate Full-Time Coding Bootcamp (12 weeks, live online)
    This fast-paced bootcamp is designed to train those with intermediate coding skills to become software engineers in just 12 weeks.
  • Beginner Full-Time Coding Bootcamp (19 weeks, live online)
    Designed for those with little to no coding experience, this bootcamp is taught using a separate curriculum. It’s for beginners looking to start their journey toward learning to code and becoming a software engineer.
  • New Part-Time Program coming soon
    We’re in the planning stages to launch a new part-time program in the spring of 2023. This new program will serve individuals with zero to beginner coding experience, similar to the students served by our beginner full-time program.

Incoming Skill Level

Our coding bootcamps are built for people who generally fall into two major categories when it comes to coding skills: intermediate or little to no experience.

You might fall into the intermediate category if you’ve done any self-teaching, taken a coding course or two online, or you’ve gone through our Basic Prep course. If that’s you, our Intermediate Coding Bootcamp could be a great fit. The intermediate admissions process will help you further determine what’s right for you. To be accepted, all applicants are required to pass a coding challenge and a Technical Admissions Assessment (TAA).

The coding challenge provides a good idea of your preparedness for the TAA and the bootcamp itself. Struggling for a long duration on the coding challenge can be a sign that more study is necessary, or that our Beginner Coding Bootcamp is a better fit for you. The TAA evaluates your fluency in JavaScript fundamentals and your ability to tackle problems in a collaborative setting.

The separate beginner admissions process requires no technical knowledge or testing. We do not require any prior coding experience whatsoever.

Program Timing and Pacing 

Some learners enjoy the rigor and pacing of a tight, 12-week program, while others prefer or need more time to learn for a variety of reasons. Below, we break down the timing, pacing, and schedule of each of our courses so you can determine what works for you.

  • Our Intermediate Full-Time Coding Bootcamp is the most intense and fast-paced of the bunch. You’ll be in class Monday – Friday from 9am-8pm and on Saturdays from 9am-5:30pm. In total, you’ll spend 60-100 hours per week in class and working on projects outside of class. It’s a significant commitment but for less time overall. If your skill level aligns, this program enables you to become a software engineer in the shortest amount of time.
  • Our Beginner Full-Time Coding Bootcamp requires a full-time commitment and will be rigorous – but not as rigorous as our 12-week course. You’ll be in class from 9am-7pm Monday-Friday for 19 weeks. In total, you’ll spend 40 to 60 hours per week in class and on projects. This program is also designed with a built-in rest day. We call this a “Nine 9s” approach. You’ll be in the live class for nine consecutive weekdays of nine hours apiece, then there will be no class on the 10th day, which is typically a Friday. You can use that day off to rest, restore, and reflect, as these are powerful metacognitive tools for learning.

Learning Style 

Our programs are always designed with the student at the forefront. From our years of experience, we know that students at the beginning of their software engineering learning journey are more dependent on an instructor to teach them. Students who are already at an intermediate level are more self-directed (student-directed).

Our Beginner Coding Bootcamp is better suited for dependent students. In this case, our instructors initially act as coaches and provide inspiring lectures and guided instruction. As the program progresses and you learn, your instructor will take on more of a facilitator role and incorporate more group projects and individual work.

In our beginner program, we also incorporate mastery learning, which maintains that students need to master the material before moving on to new ideas, concepts, and technologies. This includes developing foundational skills, putting them into practice, and reframing the idea of “failure” (seeing it less as a lack of ability and more as an opportunity to continue focused study and try again).

To get there, we break this course into (3) six-week modules and (1) one-week module. At the end of each, we support students through projects and assessments used to measure their progress. When a student shows that they have not yet mastered the material, they can retake the module in its entirety one time with the next cohort in order to have enough time to really dig in and master the material before moving forward. In this system, a retake is not punitive; rather, it’s a planned element without attached stigma. In fact, those who retake a module often play a valuable role in mentoring others, because they’ve already been through the experience and are more familiar with the material.

In our intermediate program, students are more self-directed based on their incoming coding skillset. Our instructors skip the “coaching” or “guided” stages and act more as facilitators from the start. These programs are lecture-light and require a student to succeed in a student-directed learning environment.

Across all of our programs, critical thinking and the concepts of “productive struggle” or “desired difficulty” are very important. The goal of each program is to get you to a point where you can solve problems independently, and the methods and techniques above will help you get there.

Curriculum: the programming languages you’ll learn 

There are many languages and technology stacks (both frontend and backend) in the world. Our programs teach the most popular programming languages; the ones you’ll run into on the job after you graduate and enter the software engineering field.

In all of our coding bootcamps, you’ll learn more than one language (JavaScript, HTML/CSS, SQL). But while our Intermediate program uses JavaScript on the backend, we teach Python for the backend in our beginner program. (Read about our choice to teach Python in the beginner bootcamp here.)

Either choice readies you for a full-time career as a software engineer, so no matter the program you choose, you can’t go wrong. Regardless of course rigor, duration, your incoming skill level, and other factors, you’ll be job-ready with strong mental models intact to continue building on your skills and languages as you move forward in your new career.

Want more information? Attend an upcoming info session!

To learn even more about each program, we invite you to attend upcoming live online info sessions to hear directly from our team and get all your questions answered in real time.

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Transform Tech from Within with Software Engineering Bootcamps

Not sure if bootcamp is your next step? Sign up for an info session or schedule a 1:1 Q&A with an advisor to learn about our programming.