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App Academy vs Hack Reactor

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App Academy and Hack Reactor bootcamps can be completed part-time, full-time, online, or on-campus. Both have locations in New York City and San Francisco, but Hack Reactor also has campus options in Austin, Boulder, Denver, Phoenix, Los Angeles, and Seattle. App Academy programs last 16-24 weeks, while Hack Reactor's full-time, 12-week program begins with an 80-hour prep program. Both require an initial deposit, but students may enroll in an income share agreement to defer payment until a specified income is achieved.

App Academy Hack Reactor
Overall Rating
Courses Bootcamp Prep, Software Engineer Track: In-Person, Software Engineer Track: Online, +-4 more.
Software Engineer Track: Online
Hack Reactor Remote + Blockchain, Part Time Software Engineering Immersive, Software Engineering Immersive, Software Engineering Premium Prep, +-3 more.
Software Engineering Premium Prep
Cost $2,999 - $20,000 $250 - $17,980
Location(s) Online, San Francisco, New York City Online, Boulder, Denver, Seattle, San Francisco, Austin, Los Angeles, New York City

What is App Academy?

App Academy offers on-campus immersive full-stack software engineering programs in San Francisco, New York, and online. Students are not required to have previous programming experience and will develop skills while building real-world, experiential projects.

Highlights: App Academy emphasizes career coaching throughout its curriculum to provide graduates with in-demand job skills and employment. Classes run Monday through Friday, 35 hours per week. Subjects include JavaScript, Ruby on Rails, and React/Redux. Students can enroll in either a 24-week, full-time Software Engineering track online or a 16-week Software Engineering track on campus.

Financing/scholarship options: App Academy values diversity and accessibility in its programs, offering deposit assistance for underrepresented communities and resource groups for additional support. Individuals can pay upfront, enroll in a deferred tuition plan, hybrid plan, or secure a loan.

What makes App Academy unique?

Applicants will be assigned an Admissions Specialist to navigate the application process, which includes logic exercises and a coding challenge. A live, two-week prep course is available to practice coding skills before completing the application requirements.

Go to App Academy's full page

What is Hack Reactor?

Hack Reactor strives to provide its students with a real-world environment that prepares them for a future career in software engineering. They offer full-time, part-time, online, and in-person coding bootcamps. Campuses are located in major cities throughout the US. Programs are considered high-intensity, which means students will need to prepare to fully commit the necessary time.

Highlights: The on-campus program is a 12-week commitment covering subjects such as Full Stack JavaScript, React, Blockchain, and other fundamental coding skills. Students are selected through a rigorous admissions process, and those who are admitted complete an 80-hour precourse. Hack Reactor also offers live online full-time and part-time bootcamp options.

Financing/scholarship options: Students have the option of paying upfront or choosing the income share agreement (ISA). Based on the ISA terms, students are not required to make tuition payments until they are earning a set minimum salary determined by the bootcamp. Enrollment advisors are available to assist students in determining the best financial option. Hack Reactor also works with lending companies for students who prefer a more traditional loan arrangement.

What makes Hack Reactor unique?

Students receive job placement coaching, including resume building, personal branding tips, and interview practice. Hack Reactor grads have gone on to work for Microsoft, Visa, Google, Apple, LinkedIn, PayPal, Amazon, and more.

Go to Hack Reactor's full page

App Academy Reviews

  • Anonymous | Software Engineer
  • Software Engineer Track: In-Person
  • Graduated: 2020



Job Support

"Tech is a second gold rush, and these folks sell shovels"

I attended App Academy after graduating college with a degree in Ecology and working in the US Forest Service for three years. Basically, I had no technical experience whatsoever outside of playing video games and experimenting with basic coding in the... Read More

App Academy has a pretty solid curriculum, and while you could conceivably learn it all on your own it's much more efficient to do it through them. While most of the TA's are recent A/a grads, the cohort leads are usually experienced engineers and can answer your in-depth technical questions. I'm pleased to say there is a decent focus on true CS concepts rather than just how to use the trending tools of the industry, which is really what counts in the job search. Specific languages and tools go out of style rapidly, but if you can internalize the core concepts of CS and learn how to pick up new things on the fly, you will be able to apply to a wide range of jobs and have a chance of passing the interviews.

Pair programming is one of the most infuriating experiences imaginable, but I will say that it is the secret sauce that makes this bootcamp work. Left to you own devices you will likely not be motivated or focused enough to work through the whole curriculum on your own, but when paired with another person all day it makes sure that both partners are on task and making good progress. I will say I love pair programming when two people can just freeform work on the project together and throw out the driver/navigator roles, and I encourage you to suggest this to your partners if both of you are on board.

I would also say that while the A/a model works really well right now, it is definitely a crapshoot whether or not it will work for you or in the future. Right now tech is a bloated whale of high paying coding jobs that could be conceivably had with just 4-6 months of rigorous training, but I suspect that like the gold rush this will come to an end. Most of these jobs are for startups which are not profitable and are funded by VC cash. While I'm not an economist, I have heard from people who are that the tech industry is likely overvalued and may crash in the same way that finance did in 2008. Just be wary, and have realistic expectations. At the time of this review I would 100% recommend App Academy as a viable option to a tech career, but if you are reading this a year or later down the line I would do my research into the state of the industry and bootcamp placements before registering. If you are older (say, 35+) or lack a degree you may also struggle to find a job as many companies will automatically weed you out for not having a degree or discriminate against you for being an older candidate. Ditto if you are not a citizen or green card holder. While I and many of my friends found jobs within 3-6 months of finishing the program (some even sooner), I also met many people who fit into the above categories who ended up searching for upwards of a year.

The one place where App Academy really shines is the job search. This to me is where 90% of the value comes from. Anyone can learn how to code on their own, but I can honestly say without my dedicated and talented coaches I would have been dead in the water. They teach you things that you can't easily learn off the internet, things you wouldn't even think to google, and the job search formula works, at least in this current economy. Indeed, I did App Academy because I didn't think I could find a job in my old field (ecology), but after going through the job search curriculum I realize I total could have if I knew what I know now about job searching. Lastly, I'd like to mention that my first coach was a dud and pretty useless, but after he "left" App Academy I was assigned to two new coaches who were total rockstars. My point is your milage may vary, but for the most part I would say the coaching staff is solid.

Finally, read the fine print. The ISA money-back guarentee only applies if you finish the program and don't find a job after a year, and even then you will more than likely have to sign a job search extension adding extra months before you are eligible to get your money back. This is due to the fact that your projects and job search materials will likely not be done by the time you graduate and you will need to spend additional time working on these, during which time you are not technically job searching. Make sure that you are able to support yourself being fully unemployed for a period of 17ish months (4 months curriculum + 13 months for the search) before you start the program if you want to be safe. Of course you could just send it anyway, but you are running a risk as if you run out of money and have to go back to work you will still owe A/a $28K. Also, plan on moving to a tech hub city (most likely SF or NY) if you do not already live in one, these are the places where companies will hire bootcampers. I was lucky enough to score a remote job, but that is also mostly due to COVID. You may also be able to do so but again it is a crapshoot.

Overall, I would recommend App Academy but only in an artifically inflated and booming tech economy.

  • Jourdan Ooi | Software Engineer
  • Software Engineer Track: In-Person
  • Graduated: 2020



Job Support

"Strenuous and at times annoying but in the end worth it."

-Great curriculum taught by competent and (mostly) empathetic instructors who want you to succeed.
-If you can pass the curriculum as well as are giving a true "best of yourself" effort then you will learn to program.
-Resources are plentiful during... Read More

- During job search technical resources are very much limited and watered down compared to help you received during curriculum.
- Although there are few, I did encounter instructors that I felt were chosen for their ability to program rather than their ability to teach and program.
- Terrible system of conduct and accountability. There has to be a better way to handle plagiarism. Everyone who programs grabs info from stackoverflow etc.

Hack Reactor Reviews

  • Shanan Sussman | Staff Software Engineer
  • Software Engineering Immersive
  • Graduated: 2015



Job Support

"One of the best decisions I've made"

For context, I graduated in 2015 and I realize the school, curriculum, and even the industry have changed since then.

Hack Reactor radically shifted the entire trajectory of my life in the most positive way. I was able to go from being a "failed" artist... Read More

I had expected the program to be challenging, but honestly, nothing prepared me for how much of a whirlwind of work it would be. It was easily the most challenging educational endeavor i'd ever taken on. While it easily pushed me to my limits, being surrounded by equally motivated, driven, and enjoyable cohort-mates helped me tackle the challenges presented by the curriculum.

More importantly, the ongoing career support through the Alumni program, facilitated by the one and only Marlene, has been an absolute game changer that continues to pay dividends all these years later. Marlene isn't just one of the most caring and compassionate people I know, she has more experience helping people prepare and secure jobs than anyone I have ever met. Every question, concern, and anxiety that surrounds the job search are deftly answered by her and often with suggestions of entirely different approaches I never would have imagined on my own.

Hack Reactor gave me an opportunity and a career I would have never imagined for myself and I will forever be indebted to the program for what it provided me.

  • Anonymous | Software Engineer
  • Software Engineering Immersive
  • Graduated: 2015



Job Support

"The best educational experience I have ever had"

I graduated from Hack Reactor in 2015, and have since then worked at startups (Planet and Patreon), tech giants (Google), and even started my own company (Babylon House), and I can say with no reservations: Hack Reactor is the best of the best. The instruction... Read More

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