Software Development School: Program Curriculum, Hiring Outcomes, Housing and More

The last few days our software development school has received some great questions about our programcurriculum specifics, hiring rates, job placement assistance, housing options and much more.

As we answer these questions, we plan to publicize our responses in the blog, while keeping those who inquire completely anonymous. Italics represent the inquirer – our answers are in normal font.

Software Development School: Admissions/Application Process, Housing Assistance and Hiring Outcomes

  • I’m on the fence on whether I would do the January 6th session or the June 2nd session — is it possible to apply for the January 6th one, then if that doesn’t work out (either because it’s full or because my fiancee and I realize it’s not good timing) get in on the June 2nd session?

No need to apologize for these questions! We have a mammoth FAQ page in the works that will be up soon. We try to help our admitted students make the best choice of start date at the time of their admissions decision. However, if something comes up and you need to change to a later date, we would do our best to accommodate you. We would ask that you let us know as soon as possible if it starts looking like you need to switch, both to make sure there will be room for you in the later cohort and so that someone else would be able to take advantage of your vacant seat. It should be noted that we handle requests to switch start dates on a case-by-case basis and cannot provide any guarantees.

As of mid November, our January class is full. We’re encouraging people to shoot for February. The good news is you can apply to as many cohorts/dates as we have available. For example, we have one engineer already accepted into a 2015 class!

  • What is the technology stack that is taught at HR? I read that it’s JavaScript, Node, and some Ruby on Rails, but are there other frameworks/libraries involved, such as AJAX, Angular, Meteor, Backbone, and/or Underscore?

AJAX, Meteor and Backbone are all a part of the curriculum, as are:

Core Tools and Practices

HTML & CSS Fundamentals

Full Stack Overview

JavaScript Language Fundamentals

Pages, Markup, jQuery, and the DOM

Fundamentals of Interface & Design

CS – Data Structures and OOP

Intro to Application Architecture and MVC using Backbone.js

Remote Data: Forms, AJAX, JSON, and API’s

Hosting and servers: The Client/Server web, HTTP & DNS

Stateful Applications and Sessions

Authentication: Cross Domain Issues and Security

Writing Server Code: Rails, Node, NPM, & the Command Line

Data Storage: Validation, File I/O, SQL, & ORMs

JavaScript Patterns: Modules and Dependency

JavaScript Prototypes and Inheritance Patterns

Browsers: The Rendering Pipeline, Browser Compatibility, & Mobile

Front-end Performance Techniques

Important JS Libraries and Technologies

Advanced CSS/HTML: HTML5, CSS3, SASS/LESS, CSS Frameworks

Advanced Design Concerns

Interviewing and Portfolios

Advanced Architecture Concerns

Operations: Deployment, Domain Administration

Culture: Documentation, Estimation, Code Review

  • Does HR touch on PhoneGap at all since they focus on Node?

Generally, several projects (groups/personal) each cohort use phone-gap to build mobile apps, but we don’t have a ‘phone gap’ sprint per say. For a pretty bad-ass example of a group that did this check out Hatch.

  • What is the living situation like for a HR session? Do we have dorms or do we rent? If we rent, is there a group of entrepreneurs/hackers we can stay with?

Hack Reactor does not have dorms and our students are overwhelmingly renters. Each incoming cohort is emailed frequently about housing available. Alumni get in on these email threads and report open spots available in apartments they’re living in or moving out of.

Some hackers end up staying together. Alumni have taken in many new students. We have an in with a local hostel that often has a limited number of rooms available too. Ultimately, finding housing is the responsibility of the attendee and Hack Reactor does not guarantee housing placement.

  • Assuming the first interview goes well, how many other interviews are there and what should we know for them?

We normally conduct a first interview that tests your coding skills and then a second interview with the same thing, only more challenging. There are two interviews, although some people don’t get past the first interview and we tell them what they need to work on.

Applicants are in constant contact with admissions throughout the process, and learn what to focus on to make it to the next step. We want people to build on their skills and not just take shots in the dark.

Here’s one description of our interview:

“Hack Reactor’s ‘technical interview’ isn’t really an interview in the traditional sense. It is more apropos to describe it as a learning session. My interview lasted a little over an hour, but I learned a great deal during the short amount of time. The instructor walked me through a live coding exercise, giving me feedback while introducing unfamiliar concepts. I had my first exposure to anonymous functions and code refactoring during the session. This interview style actually makes a lot of sense: the applicants are going to be learning to program and not working as programmers right off the bat, so the judging criteria should be how well the applicant absorbs and applies the material instead of how much s/he already knows. From this hour-long learning session, I developed a very favorable impression of the Hack Reactor instructors.”

If you’re accepted, you’ll have roughly 50-70 hours of pre-course work, a lot of which is focused on JavaScript, but also other things you’ll need to know before the almighty week one.

  • About how many people apply for each session and about how many get in?

Hack Reactor fields a lot of applications each month and has a high applicant to student ratio. We know that applicants that don’t make it into Hack Reactor do get into other programs/software development schools.

Being the toughest school to attend strengthens our brand and enhances your learning environment. Recruiters know our engineers are super talented, which make them more likely to come back to our Hiring Days.

  • Are there companies from Atlanta, GA that attend the job fair? Or even better, is there a list of companies that typically come?

We don’t have a publicly available list of companies that attend our Hiring Day, however they’re overwhelmingly S.F. located. We had roughly 25-30 companies at our last event, from brand name tech titans to startups. I would not count on a company from Atlanta, GA attending.

  • What level of jobs do people get when graduating? Do they typically get Sr. JavaScript/Developer jobs? Or do they get Jr jobs typically?

You can find out what our engineers are doing by scrolling down on the alumni section of this page.

A majority of engineers that graduate from Hack Reactor place into mid-level engineering roles, typical of someone with 2 – 5 years of professional experience. Some are founding engineers at small startups, and some have been placed into Sr. Software Engineer positions.

  • Do graduates typically apply for Node developer positions or RoR developer positions?

Our grads are full-stack engineers, capable of handling any position.


The following Q&A about Hack Reactor came from our Facebook page:


  • Hi there,
    I recently came across a video of your company that said that you guys had 100% placement rate, this is mind blowing to me! I was wondering if I would be able to reach out to your graduates and talk to them and see how their experience was. I look froward to hearing from you.

We’re now at 98%. The number is based on who finds an engineering job within three months of graduation (significant because some schools use six months).

You can find the names of many of our engineers here and send them a message via LinkedIn (probably the best channel for this). Scroll down to see a carousel of sorts of our graduates.

You can find reviews from our engineers at all of the following places:

For more questions feel free to check out our software development school’s blog – we’re answering a lot of Q’s in articles.

Learn more about Hack Reactor’s full-time and part-time programs. We’re online in SFAustinNYC, and LA.

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