About Alchemy Code Lab
Alchemy Code Lab is Portland’s most advanced software development training program, going beyond code school to develop the whole person, including comprehensive career services that consistently place grads directly into mid-level developer positions... Read More
Our course offerings evolve constantly to reflect innovations in software development. Students hit the ground running with the most current toolsets in the field. You’ll collaborate with experts and organizations in Portland's tech community, providing insider access to the industry nationally.
This six-month immersive program is led daily by senior level developers. Every day, you’ll interact with a curious, bring cohort of future developers to gain the technical and interpersonal skills you need to be a valuable member of a professional team.
Our holistic approach to teaching offers not just the ability to solve problems, but teaches future developers and engineers how to produce quality code that can build products with meaningful impact. The team at Alchemy lives what they teach, supporting each other in passion projects and creative endeavors.
Alchemy drives real opportunity and diversity in tech by providing tuition financing opportunities including scholarships for BIPOC and LGBTQ+ students, acceptance of US Veteran Benefits, and an ISA program that can allow you to defer payment until after you’ve been working for 6 months.
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In this free, optional prep class learn the tools and workflows of modern web development and get the context you won’t find in online exercises and tutorials.
● Get your computer set up and begin to use real development tools
● Learn how to store your code in the Cloud using git and GitHub
● Experience a collaborative environment and see how developers ask questions to learn
CODE 102: Being a Developer: Tools, Technologies and Learning
Duration: 1 week
Get familiar with the nuts and bolts of the tools of modern software development and get accustomed to the pace and learning style of our rigorous program.
● Computer set up and execution of key workflows with VSCode, Terminal, and Git
● Tips, tricks, and shortcuts of the computer as a developer tool
● Practice HTML and CSS layout techniques by replicating existing designs
● Debugging and system validation in the browser
● Group collaboration in a remote environment, including branching, merging and pull requests
● Adapt to working as part of a team where everyone succeeds
● Adopt a mindset of continual learning as a software developer
CODE 201: Fundamentals of Software Development
Duration: 4 weeks
By the end of Code 201, you will be able to:
● Define the structure of a web page using the semantic hierarchical structural conventions of HTML5
● Apply CSS and HTML to implement page layout styles, including grid, fluid, & responsive techniques -- and style content with color, typography, and images
● Utilize Test-Driven Development (TDD) with qUnit to create tested, verified functions through unit testing that enforces correct code behavior, including Continuous Integration (CI) testing in the cloud.
● Use the development tools with the Chrome browser to inspect and adapt your code
● Adopt standard control tools and workflows -- including Git, GitHub, and VSCode -- to write functional, properly styled code and collaborate efficiently and harmoniously in professional environments
CODE 301: Intermediate Software Development
Duration: 4 weeks
After completing Code 301, you will be able to:
● Design and create a web applications using React JSX-templating, components, and basic state management techniques
● Explain the fundamentals of how the World Wide Web works, over the internet
● Navigate and utilize asynchronous programming for communication between the browser, web server, third-party APIs, and the database
● Use NodeJS and ExpressJS to build a web server
● Design dynamic frontend and backend applications which can function together or independently and are deployed to cloud platforms
● Utilize SQL to effectively read and write data using a Postgres database, persisting one-to-many relational data across multiple tables in a SQL database, sourced from third-party API or user-generated content.
● Utilize dependency management techniques to build with third-party libraries
● Follow agile software development practices during week-long sprints, including pair-programming, stand-ups, daily retrospectives, project management with Kanban boards, regular refactoring, and working in a shared code base.
Duration: 14 week
Upon completion of the this course, you will:
● Be able to build and contribute to server-side and client-side applications, using architectures and framework that promote maintainability, scalability, and collaboration.
These skills will be fully demonstrated during project week during their team development of a prototype, adhering to industry best practices and patterns
● Gain professional proficiency with ExpressJS, NodeJS, Authentication and Authorization, advanced SQL, , React, Redux, and React Hooks
● Integrate and leverage third-party ecosystems systems like Twitter, Twilio, and Slack to extend the reach of your applications.
● Establish a compelling online brand, network, and resume featuring the professional software development knowledge, experience, habits, and practices you have gained
Average Ratings (All Programs)
- Darren Bridenbeck | Full Stack Software Engineer
- Graduated: 2020
"Super high quality instruction, incredibly supportive staff"
- Antonella Gutierrez | Software Engineer
- Graduated: 2019
"All the hard work definitely pays off!"
- Joe | Software Engineer
- Graduated: 2019
"You get out what you put in."
- Dylan | Sr. Technician
- Graduated: 2019
"Not worth the time or money"
My experience at Alchemy Code Lab was definitely not worth the time, and especially not worth the money I spent. They put more time and effort into convincing you that you will get a job in tech than actually helping you get a job in tech. The job assistance... Read MoreComment
Thank you for taking the time to voice your concerns, and we hear your frustration. Student experiences vary, and we're always working behind the scenes to keep everyone's experience at the level of the students and alums who have had a great... Read More
We agree that accurate stats and transparency matter; that's why ours are constantly updated, include the methodology, and have been reviewed by a third party. You can always find those stats here: https://www.alchemycodelab.com/results. As of this posting it was most recently updated December 2020.
We definitely read every piece of feedback and take it seriously, and also implement changes when it's clear they will benefit the whole.
If you'd like to discuss anything here, Marty Nelson, the founder and head of Alchemy, is always open to hearing your perspective. You can reach him directly at email@example.com.
We sincerely wish you all the best in your career and beyond.
- Anonymous | Software Engineer
- Graduated: 2020
"Building skills and habits to shift careers now and to continue learning going forward"
Alchemy has an active community and a fantastic network
You will learn to scale up FAST and gain the experience of configuring a full-stack app within a day over and over.
Job support and preparation from day one and after graduation
Pricing... Read More
*My cohort was the first all-remote cohort during COVID. We had signed up expecting an all-in-person program, and because of COVID, everything last minute, and for the first time, was moved to all-remote on zoom calls and slack message. So many of our experiences will probably be unique to our cohort.
Shannon goes all out for you. She connects you with recruiters for big companies, pairs you with working developers for informational/practice interviews, and is continuously making connections for other networking opportunities. Two of my most recent contract roles have been from connections that started with Shannon. The career and community support does not stop after you get your first role either. The Alchemy community is continually sharing opportunities, and you can tell that people genuinely enjoy connecting with other alums even years out.
Moving an all-in-person program to entirely remote in less than a month, during 2020, is bound to have growing pains for both students and instructors.
By the time we made it to the Career Track, people had talked about how things felt more settled and especially enjoyed working in React. I had some prior coding experience, which I think helped me not to feel overwhelmed at first. However, if you have prior experience, you might find yourself reviewing some content since the program is also designed for people with little to no experience. That's all fine because the team has excellent advice on what libraries to check out or projects to work on if you have additional time.
- Graduated: 2020
"I would hands down say to anyone looking at a bootcamp to stay away from this place."
I really wanted to love my experience at Alchemy. I researched boot camps over the last couple years and Alchemy kept popping up as a great place to learn software development, based on reviews. I even spoke with several alumni before locking in my enrollment... Read More
Unfortunately, at the $24K price tag I would say I was very frustrated and disappointed. So I am very clear, I did speak with the owner on many of the subjects I write about below, but they seemed to go on deaf ears and even got worse after our conversation.
You will learn a foundation of tools that will help you get your software development skills going, but at that price tag the cost is not worth it. The organization is all over the map. It was very common for the teacher(s) to change curriculum on the fly. I suspected many times that the teacher had not prepared or looked at the material for the days lecture/demo, previous to class, based on the fact that they changed things on the fly and often would have to read out/change the notes during class to understand what they were trying to teach. I felt that lots of time was wasted with this disorganization. With that high price tag, this is just inexcusable. In some instances, it felt like we studied topics that were not very valuable for job experience. Several people in my cohort asked the teacher if we would actually use this material in a job setting and the response was "well no, but I think it is important for you to know." That sentiment was very disheartening. Why are we not studying topics directly applicable to potential jobs?!? I felt like this happened with many of the topics throughout course. Again, at the price tag of $24K, we deserved better!
Another other problem was the TA's. They were all very kind people, but when you had an issue they could never help. You always had to wait for the main teacher to solve issues. When they cannot help us because they themselves don't have the knowledge I see that has a disservice to the students. I also felt at the high price point, there is a need for more intentionality from the staff for the students. It would have been nice to meet with staff/career services (one on one) on a regular basis to get a better idea of how you are doing. This is a brutal five months of school and more support would have possibly made a huge difference. All I would get from the staff is "if your grades are good, then you are doing fine," and for me that is not enough based on the price.
Honestly, there are so many more things I could lay out as issues I had with the school, but the main thing I wanted to address was Alchemy's need to push their personal and political views. They spoke constantly about inclusion, pronouns, and politics. I have no issue with these topics, but when it seems to be at the detriment of doing the task we paid for, I find that super unprofessional and a huge problem. That will not happen in most work places and sets a horrible precedent for the students thinking that is normal. The funny thing is Alchemy was all about those issues if you agreed with them and didn't have a different opinion (doesn't sound very inclusive to me). My thing is, leave that out of the work/school environment. I don't need to hear all you opinions. I enrolled here to learn and for that $24K price tag I expected a level of professionalism. It actual made for a very uncomfortable environment. I know from talking with others in my cohort I was not alone in this!
I would hands down say to anyone looking at a bootcamp to stay away from this place. If you can find someone to help you get started and mentor you through the learning process of software development, you would be better off and save a ton of money by getting courses via Udemy. You could probably spend $200 and get all and more out of the curriculum than Alchemy has to offer. I started doing that at the end of my time in Alchemy and found I learned so much more.
I really wanted to love and promote this place. Now, I don't want to do a disservice to the people that come after me. It is a huge investment. I think there are better ways to become a software developer.
One last thing: no way their job placement is at 86%. I would challenge them to show more detailed stats. Past alumni I spoke said they also thought that number was inflated as well. I did some research based on past graduates and it is likely more around 50%. The reality is that it was never on Alchemy to find you a job, it's on you. That being said, for $24K you should get truthful stats!Comment
We definitely listened to all of your feedback, and as with all student feedback, we implement changes when those changes are for the benefit of the majority of our students. This has been a year of rapid and unexpected change, so we've prioritized... Read More
Since you withdrew from the program 1/3 of the way through, your description doesn't reflect the full training experience, nor changes that have been made to rapidly adapt to the "new normal" post-Covid.
It's important to us that potential students have accurate info, so we'll clarify a few points you brought up:
- Our job placement numbers are accurate, and we have taken great care to be transparent in our reporting. We update our stats constantly as new grad info comes in, and adjust accordingly. More detailed information is here: https://www.alchemycodelab.com/results
- We continue to see over 80% of our graduates working in tech, which is a high-level result in our industry. Everyone took a hit to their job search time due to COVID, but we've seen hiring rebound. We are still seeing a consistency pattern of 50%+ of a cohort by 3 months, 70-75% by 6 months, and topping out at 80-85%.
- Yes, most tech skills are out there and could be pieced together, just like any educational program. We've found that people attend a program to get the benefits they can't get on their own, like teamwork, mentorship, and networking, which is a major factor in employers placing our grads in mid-level positions (vs entry level or internship).
- Our mission, clearly stated on our website, includes making a positive contribution to diversity in tech. We make no apology for this. And yes, many tech companies are incorporating "soft skills" and DEI training into their professional development for employees, so in this climate, it's absolutely relevant to being prepared for the work environment.
Above all, 2020 has been an extraordinary year and we realize it was difficult for people to make the transition to virtual learning and communication. Every member of our team has worked hard behind the scenes to create as seamless a transition as possible, and support students as they have risen to that challenge.
We sincerely wish you well as you continue on your learning and career journey. You were accepted to Alchemy because we believe in your potential, and we still do.
- Tommy Tran | Developer
- Graduated: 2019
"Literally one of the best experiences of my life!"
Alchemy Code Lab was probably one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life. Prior to this, coding was something I was interested in but never really planned on pursuing. That was until one of my best friends took the program. Before coming to Alchemy,... Read More
If your only interest is to learn web development, then I would suggest much cheaper alternative resources like Khan Academy, Udemy, Codecademy, YouTube, etc. There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of other resources that are much cheaper than Alchemy Code Lab that you can use to learn web development. Alchemy Code Lab isn’t just about teaching you web development, it’s about preparing you for a career in tech starting with web development. You’ll get tech industry-related experience with teamwork and communication, project planning and management, and best practices as well as career-related experience with networking, resume writing, interviewing, and salary negotiation. When you join Alchemy Code Lab, you won’t just be enrolling in a class, you’ll be joining a positive and supportive community that will support you during your time at Alchemy and will continue to do so long after you’re done with the program.
While the cost of doing Alchemy Code Lab is obviously higher compared to other programs in the Portland area and keeping in mind that I can’t really compare the Alchemy program to other programs (because I didn’t have to take other programs), I would say that it’s totally worth it for the experience and the amount and quality of support you get from the staff. I would dare say that you can get your money’s worth just from having access to Shannon in Career Services but that wouldn’t be fair or right to Megan, Marty, Ryan, and the other staff members (I haven’t met the others) because they are all amazing and supportive. Shannon will help you with networking, interviewing, and negotiating salary. She will give you advice on your resume and even set you up with recruiters for positions that she thinks would be a good fit for you. Her goal isn’t just for you to get a job, it’s for you to get a job that you’re happy with and pays well. Marty and Ryan are veterans in the tech industry and are very up to date on the latest and most popular technologies. They always make sure that the curriculum they teach you is reflective of the demand in the job market. Megan is basically Alchemy’s mom. She’ll support you emotionally if you ever feel down, and she’ll also work with you to get financial aid. Before the pandemic when the classes were in-person, she made sure that the class environment was comfortable and gave out snacks everyday.
I want to be clear, just doing the program isn’t going to guarantee you a job nor will it guarantee that you will be an amazing developer. You’ll have to put in the work to get results. However the work you put in at Alchemy will have amplified results with their support.Comment
- Casey Martell | Software Engineer
- Graduated: 2020
"As advertised on the tin"
At the time I joined Alchemy, I had past experience coding, but I wanted to bring my skills current with an in-demand tech stack. I was fully prepared to go out of state to get the best bootcamp education. Alchemy, being a smaller school, didn't happen... Read More
I found the coursework to be very challenging and I really appreciated the strength of the Alchemy community in supporting each other through it. I really feel like I made some true friends in the coding crucible there. I was able to continue on with a small study group after the program ended in order to keep up and build on my skills.
Six months later, I've accepted an offer for a great job with a startup after receiving a great deal of interest from several potential employers.
So wait, why only 4 stars for curriculum? As a cohort, we expressed some concerns about the timing and methods for the introduction of React.JS into the coursework. To Alchemy's credit, they listened and adjusted things for the very next cohort. This wasn't a huge deal and curriculum in a good bootcamp should always be evolving to fit the needs of the market and the students. If I could give 4.5 stars I would, it's just difficult to be perfect in this area.
One thing that I've heard from other bootcamp grads in town is that they are a little jealous with the career support that Alchemy offers. Job hunting can be very emotionally challenging and it was nice to know that I could always reach out and get help when I needed it. I frequently reviewed materials we'd been provided with prior to interviews in order to be well prepared. And, as an alumnus, there were fireside chats and other events to keep me in touch with developer life and the job market in a more direct way.Comment
- Dannie Schumaker | Software Engineer
- Graduated: 2020
"Provides deep knowledge of processes and experience in collaborative environment. Best decision of my professional life."
Challenging (and fun!) program with really strong network/community. Unparalleled instruction quality and career support. Went from having virtually no programming knowledge to being a confident software engineer in about 5 months. Found first role... Read More
INSTRUCTION AND CURRICULUM
During the technical interview for my current role, I was asked to architect an app based on product requirements from imaginary project managers, wireframe it, and build it out on the spot. For an Alchemy grad, this is a breeze; I did a version of this every day for months and really deepened my skills during project sprints. What really sets Alchemy students apart is our ability to break down a process and execute each step from start to finish. The language itself could be learned through online courses; it would take longer, and the lack of accountability would limited the format’s effectiveness for me personally, but it would be possible. But becoming really comfortable with processes — through demos in iterative practices, projects and many hours of hands-on experience every day — is not an ability I think I could have learned through other means.
Staying up to date
Alchemy’s curriculum is always changing to keep up with the industry. My current software engineering role is with an established retail company that is transitioning its model to focus more heavily on software. At my job, we use the most popular library for building UI components and the most up-to-date syntax. The fact that my current role is using a similar tools to what I learned at Alchemy — and is using them the same way that I learned — highlights Alchemy’s strengths. When the latest JS version was nearing release, we knew what to expect and were able to implement some of its features immediately.
Instructor quality and support
I felt so supported throughout the program by Alchemy’s primary instructors, Dani and Ryan. They are skilled at finding ways to present information that can be absorbed by different learning styles. Several TAs were also available to offer assistance, and one was officially designated to review my work. When I needed assistance, I was always be able to connect with a member of the instruction staff — both while the program was in person and after the pandemic abruptly shifted us to remote learning. This is a huge asset compared to other programs, where you may find yourself beating your head against the wall for hours.
Among the greatest strengths of this program are the one-week sprints on small teams. During each of these four sprints, you will collaborate with your peers to design, build and deploy an impressively professional app. These experiences prepare you for working on teams at software companies: You pair- and mob-program to build features and squash bugs; put test-driven development principles into practice; learn how to implement effective project management strategies; navigate snags in a high-pressure environment; learn new technologies really quickly; and develop approaches for working with colleagues who don’t always share your style or perspective.
These projects become professional portfolio pieces and provide real-world experiences to discuss during interviews. But even more, they prepare you for your future job. In my opinion, they put Alchemy head and shoulders above other bootcamps.
Shannon is an impassioned advocate for grads in the network that she is diligently growing. (I have her to thank for my acquiring the interview that led to my current role.) But she also teaches you how to advocate for yourself as a software developer. She provides you materials to consider your strengths and weaknesses and how you’ll fit in the tech community. This helps you grow your confidence about what you have to offer, which in turn allows you to converse comfortably at both networking events and interviews.
They believe in you when you have doubts. Megan and Shannon will always remind you of just how uniquely awesome you are. That sort of personalized attention simply doesn’t exist at most bootcamps and figured prominently into my decision to attend Alchemy. The community of grads is also ridiculously supportive of current students. (That includes me! Please reach out if you have any questions. I did the same before choosing a program.)
My cohort transitioned to remote learning almost halfway through our program due to COVID-19. I could not have been more impressed with how seamlessly and professionally Alchemy handled the pivot at a really ambiguous moment. Communication channels were completely open with students to ensure that we were well supported, and staff were quick to heed our suggestions. Our actual schedule was unchanged; we simply switched to Zoom lectures in the mornings and worked on labs from home in the afternoons. “Zoom rooms” were available during lab time for students who wished to simulate the in-person experience, when we would often work independently at the same table.
As someone who had to commute at least an hour each way to reach Alchemy’s physical location, I found that I had more time to complete labs and maintain work-life balance. I also found it easier to focus than I did when we were in person. That said, those of you with families at home may have a different experience.
Is the field right for me?
Is it worth it?
Alchemy is more expensive than many bootcamps. Given the depth I wanted from a program and the networking that I considered imperative, that expense was well worth it. The tuition was a big chunk of change that I didn’t have, and as someone with a master’s degree that was already going unused, I wasn’t willing to increase my debt unless I was really confident that I would 1) enjoy the work, 2) be trained adequately to launch into the field, and 3) actually find a job after graduating.
Through my time at Alchemy, I developed not only the technical skills to be a competent software engineer, but also the ability to collaborate effectively on software teams and confidence in myself as a woman in this male-dominated field.
I was offered a job within two months of graduating that almost tripled my previous salary — and I was actively interviewing for other positions at the time of the offer. I expect to pay off my loan in six months.
So yes! Alchemy was so, so worth it. If you are confident that software development is the right fit for you, then look into Alchemy.Comment
- Dan Meloy | Software Engineer II
- Graduated: 2020
"Ever-evolving curriculum ensures you're learning in-demand tech, unbeatable continuous community"
Alchemy is hands-down the best coding boot camp option in Portland. The owner and instructors are all seasoned and experienced software developers, and the TAs are prior students. This is awesome because the instructors are able to answer any questions... Read More
PROS: In-person, full-time, unbeatable community and career services, modern curriculum based on what is in demand.
CONS: Most expensive boot camp option (though you get what you pay for)
Alchemy Code Lab's average rating is 4.87 out of 5.0 based on 60 review(s).