Why App Academy’s Bootcamp Prep is a Better Value Than Cheaper Alternatives

With prep courses, you get what you pay for

In 2015, there were half-a-million open positions in the software development and engineering fields. Tech companies, in other words, couldn’t hire people fast enough. Yet even with 60,000 Computer Science majors graduating that year in the U.S., they couldn’t meet the high demand.

The disparity between available positions and skilled people who can fill them — compared to broad underemployment across the country — shows there’s incredible opportunity in coding. Bootcamps provide an essential service of bringing talented students into tech.

How big of a difference can attending a top coding bootcamp make? Graduates from top bootcamps earn over six-figure salaries in their first job at companies like Google, Facebook, Uber, and more.

However, getting into a top coding bootcamp like App Academy isn’t easy. App Academy only accepts around 3% of applicants and its grads earn the highest median salaries in the industry. Simply said, it pays to get into a top coding school. That’s why App Academy created a prep program to increase students’ chances of getting into bootcamps that land over $100K in salary.

It’s a Better Value Because It Offers Top-of-the-Line Rigor for the Price

Quartz writer Alice Truong reports that to qualify for acceptance into a bootcamp, schools require “50 to 100 hours of prep work as part of their applications,” as well as coding challenges and technical interviews. But even if completing the right prep program can help candidates make the admissions process easier, students still face a tradeoff between rigor and price: More rigorous programs tend to cost more while shallower programs cost less.

Alvin Zablan, App Academy Bootcamp Prep Manager

According to Bootcamp Prep Manager Alvin Zablan, free and reduced-price courses can’t afford to provide tailored instruction. Cheap courses, he says, only give students practice problems and an answer key. If you’re stuck on a problem, there’s likely no support for you. Rigorous prep courses, on the other hand, provide deep support.

Zablan says Bootcamp Prep teaches you that it’s more important to know how to do a problem than to get it right all the time, which is something the bootcamp has learned through experience over the past two and a half years.

It’s a Better Value Because It Helps You Get In Anywhere

App Academy offers in-person and online versions of Bootcamp Prep seeking to be to coding bootcamps what SAT Prep is to universities. And App Academy’s Bootcamp Prep guarantees admission to one of the top six coding bootcamps: App Academy, Hack Reactor, Fullstack Academy, Flatiron School, Galvanize, and Actualize. If you don’t get into these schools, you get your money back.

But what are you getting for your money? The best quality instruction in the industry, according to independent reviewers. App Academy was recently rated as the #1 coding bootcamp in San Francisco and New York, while Flatiron School, Actualize, and Fullstack Academy followed behind.

App Academy’s Bootcamp Prep’s individualized teacher support also makes a difference. The Live and Online versions have the same curriculum and high level of support, and, unlike cheaper courses, Bootcamp Prep students receive both technical training and non-technical training during Bootcamp prep, like live 1:1 tutoring, grading, feedback, mock interviews, and more.

It’s a Better Value Because Its Personal Instruction Methods Work

Students of Bootcamp Prep can ask TAs questions at any time through Slack channels, which, Alvin Zablan explains, means students can quickly develop a trustworthy, personal connection to them.

“There are public [Slack] channels dedicated to Bootcamp Prep Live and Bootcamp Prep Online students. TAs monitor these chatrooms,” Zablan says. Scheduling formal tutoring sessions Bootcamp Prep Live students is easy before and after classes. App Academy encourages all students to study the curriculum and use teaching resources to prepare for their assessments.

Most students find the Live and Online courses useful because they include multiple test assessments. Each assessment tests students’ knowledge of learned material and requires them to write code. If students have never written code, by the time they get to this step, they will know! Plus, assessments are hand-reviewed by App Academy staff, who annotate student’s submitted code. Teachers and TAs give you line-by-line feedback to ensure you become a web developer.

Instructors write in-line comments directly on student’s submitted code. You can see an example of some in-line comments below with Bootcamp Prep Instructor Alvin Zablan’s initials (-AZ).  

 function removeLastVowel(word) {
  var hipWord = '';
  var vowels = ['a', 'e', 'i', 'o', 'u'];
  for (var i = word.length - 1; i > word[0]; i--) {
    var char = word[i];
    if ((vowels[char] !== -1) && (word[char] > word[i])) {
      continue;
    } else {
      hipWord.push(char); //backwards word? // we cannot push to a string -AZ
    }
  }
  return hipWord;
}


// Instead of adding characters to a new string,
// consider using slice to "slice" out the last vowel. -AZ 

The only difference between Bootcamp Prep Live and Online is the classroom experience. In the live class, students receive live instruction and commit to a schedule, which often leads to strong results. It forces you to commit to practicing every night for 4 weeks. “It’s often up to preference”, says Zablan.

“Some students prefer a self-paced curriculum they can take online and as long as they put in the work, they’re going to succeed. We try to offer as much live support as we can to Online students through 1:1 tutoring sessions, feedback, and more. Our success rates are identical through both the Online and Live programs,” Zablan says.

It’s a Better Value Because the Curriculum Evolves

When creating Bootcamp Prep, App Academy took a hard look at its own admissions process. They identified where promising students tended to slip during their admissions interviews. Using this data, App Academy realized self-taught students often struggled to communicate their technical know-how. Therefore, App Academy decided to introduce pair programming to both Bootcamp Prep Live and Bootcamp Prep Online.

Pair programming is a learning technique where students are placed in pairs where students have to work with one another to complete assignments. The learning goal is to improve how students explain what they are trying to accomplish and respond to the other’s feedback.

Free or inexpensive programs don’t have the ability to provide critical learning experiences like in-depth or personalized pair programming, individualized feedback, support, mock interviews and more. Consequently, students may not get into the top bootcamps they want.

It’s a Better Value Because Students Say So

Other prep programs do sometimes work for aspiring coders but it’s not guaranteed. Many, like Fullstack Academy’s bootcamp prep course, only prepare you for their own technical interviews. App Academy’s Bootcamp Prep is the only prep course that is bootcamp-agnostic. Because of App Academy’s guarantee, students receive training to pass all types of technical interviews.

Bootcamp Prep also leads to strong completion rates that beat other prep options. The Harvard Business Review reports 4 percent of Coursera users who watch at least one course lecture “go on to complete the course and receive a credential,” while only 17 percent of students reported an “improved admissions application for an educational program.” App Academy has a 100 percent placement into top coding bootcamps.

It’s no wonder, then, that App Academy Bootcamp Prep graduates tend to have successful careers and are happy to talk about it, especially those that get into App Academy’s full-time course.

One student named Warlin Reyes said that over the course of the four weeks in Bootcamp Prep, he was “really insecure” about his coding skills but that it proved to be “a great boost to help me be confident in the way I assess problems,” he says. “I really recommend this program if you’re really serious about your career and getting into any bootcamp. a/A rocks!” Reyes is now one of the top teachers at App Academy’s New York office.

Another student that had zero experience, couldn’t even open the terminal, and went through Bootcamp Prep was most impressed by the material, including the video walkthroughs. “No one has put more effort into their prep than Bootcamp Prep at a/A,” the student says in this review at SwitchUp. “If you go to their course and do the work, you will be ahead of the curve come interview time. It costs more because it gives more.”

Kenneth Chen also took Bootcamp Prep so he could have a better chance of getting into App Academy’s full-time code program. In his review in CourseReport, Chen says he was able to solve all of the App Academy technical interview questions because he “had acquired the logical thinking required through constant coding at Bootcamp Prep.”

Finally, Dani de Waal, who attended Fullstack Academy after BPO, said in her CourseReport review that the program and instructors were great. “The bootcamp prep course with Alvin (and David as our TA) did exactly what it said on the tin — got me into my top choice coding bootcamp,” she writes. She is now a successful teaching fellow at Fullstack Academy.

If you want to read about more real stories of success from Bootcamp Prep students, check out SwitchUp’s review page.

When applying to prep programs, remember that you get what you pay for. If you want to get the most bang for your buck, apply to App Academy’s Bootcamp Prep Live and Online courses.

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