We launched our Beginner Coding Bootcamp in the fall of 2021, built around the deep belief – based on years of first-hand experience – that anyone with the drive, desire, and resources to do so can become a professional software engineer. As the profession has grown, it’s become increasingly important that more people can access this exciting, rewarding career path, certainly including those without any prior coding experience.
Our Chief Academic Officer Curtis Schlak was instrumental in developing and launching our beginner program. He and the team knew it would take a special program to carefully address the specific challenges that beginner coders face. That’s why they chose to focus on the whole student – because you’re not just an aspiring software engineer; you’re someone who’s preparing for an entirely new career and way of life.
“Historically, the software development industry hasn’t provided an accessible pathway for everyone to participate in the digital revolution as designers and developers,” said Curtis. “It’s very important to Galvanize that we provide opportunity, participation, and representation in the software development industry because that’s how we will create systems that accommodate a greater number of people.”
Our holistic view of the person, combined with a focus on creating opportunities for beginners, is what sets this program apart. It plays a role in everything we do, from how we teach, to what we cover, to who we hire as instructors, and more. Below, dive into five key factors of our program that are designed to set you, the coding beginner, up for long-term career success.
5 factors that make our program special
1. Designed for you to thrive now & and moving forward
For many, the idea of a coding bootcamp is tied to one purpose: getting a job. Of course, that’s a goal we have for each of our graduates too, and we pride ourselves on the job search successes of our beginner program graduates.
But our program takes it a step further, because it’s about more than just the first job. It’s about creating a solid foundation for a new career that gives you long-term satisfaction and potential for sustained growth.
“We want you to get the job, but the more challenging part is making our education and the knowledge and skills that we impart last longer. We want what you learn in this program to be relevant and helpful for you throughout your career,” said Curtis.
Training for long-term success as a software engineer is about more than just technical skills. Throughout the 19-week program, we help you:
Get the Job:
- Impress interviewers
- Negotiate and accept a great offer
Accelerate your career:
- Build great code
- Implement features
- Be a great team member
Sustain your career:
- Build healthy relationships
- Manage your stress
- Reduce fatigue
- Make confident decisions
- Learn how to continue learning over time
As you can see, getting the job is the first part of the goal, but it’s not nearly the entire goal. Our vision is larger because we want you to thrive for years to come.
2. Mastery learning to help you build durable mental models
We want to ensure that what you’re learning is digested in a way that’s durable and lasting.
In our Beginner Coding Bootcamp, we use an educational approach called mastery learning to achieve this goal. This approach maintains that students need to master the material before moving on to new ideas, concepts, and technologies. This includes developing foundational skills and putting them into practice.
At the end of each of our first three learning modules, we support our 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 (at no cost) 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. Typically, 10-20% of students retake one module at some point during the program, and they often end up playing a valuable role in mentoring others, because they’ve already been through the experience and are more familiar with the material.
3. A schedule that prioritizes rest and reflection
Our beginner program schedule consists of 9 nine-hour, in-class days every two weeks. (For example, Monday – Friday; Monday – Thursday). The tenth day is a day off for students to review their work and practice the material. It also provides a quiet day of reflection, which is a powerful metacognitive tool for learning.
This schedule would work well for learners of any skill level, but we find it’s especially important for coding beginners. You’ll be learning so much, and quite quickly, so it’s crucial to take time to process the material at regular intervals.
“Your brain needs time to truly absorb this material,” said Mike Rudinsky, our Vice President of Product. “For 19 weeks, you’re online for days in a row for many hours a day. It’s a lot, and research shows that rest and reflection can lead to deeper understanding, creating lasting mental models, and can help you prepare for what’s to come, both short and long term.”
4. Experienced instructors and a robust support team
Not everyone who can code can teach. We take great care to hire instructors who have experience both as professional software engineers and as teachers.
“They’re hard to find, and we spend a lot of time finding them, because it matters,” said Mike. “These are subject matter experts with a passion for mentoring and knowledge transfer. This maximizes the student learning experience.”
A large team of people supports every student’s learning journey.
- Three instructors teach each cohort (a typical cohort consists of 75-80 students)
- Two cohort leads guide you through day-to-day program operations and address student needs
- Six software engineering residents (recent graduates of the program) are on hand help students with technical questions
- Two experienced career coaches help build your resume, interview skills, and job-market readiness
“We’re one of the best in the industry in terms of the support we offer our students,” said Mike. “Remote learning can be challenging and we know this is what it takes to make this a good experience.”
5. An active alumni community (one of the industry’s largest)
In addition to what you’ll have access to during the beginner program, as a Hack Reactor graduate, you’ll be part of an active alumni network of more than 12,000 graduates.
This is huge, because these grads are working for companies and organizations across locations and industries. You’ll have connections, friends, and access to people who are eager and willing to help with coding challenges, job-seeking tips, and more.
Our Alumni team offers networking events, mixers, and opportunities to give back, so as a graduate, you’ll be able to stay connected as you launch, accelerate, and sustain your new software engineering career.
Beginner coders have unique needs, and we’re proud that our beginner program delivers the elements we’ve found to be most critical to their success.
“The program not only instilled a great foundation of coding basics, but also helped me feel more confident about my own ability to learn and grow as a software developer,” said Beginner Coding Bootcamp graduate Amanda Kiehm, now a Software Development Engineer I at Generac Grid Services.
Ready to get started? Learn about the Beginner Coding Bootcamp admissions process.