Coding schools have popped up around the country in response to the high demand for capable computer programmers who can design and build web applications and websites. Most coding schools are organized around three- or four-month courses designed to transform programming novices into skilled coders and software developers ready for employment.

These schools deliver intensive training in cutting-edge programming languages and the development techniques that many employers in the software industry seek in their candidates. Now widely known as coding boot camps, these high-intensity immersive courses are standard across the coding-school industry. This article looks at some of the top coding schools in the country.

Key Takeaways

  • Best known for its immersive web development program, General Assembly has campuses in 20 different cities around the world.
  • Students learn to code software and design and create at least two production-grade web applications during Hack Reactor's 12-week program.
  • Fullstack Academy's 17-week standard course begins with four weeks of online training followed by a 13-week immersion course.
  • App Academy doesn't charge students tuition but takes 18% of their salary for the first six months after they graduate.

General Assembly

General Assembly was founded in 2011 by Jake Schwartz, Adam Pritzker, Matthew Brimer, and Brad Hargreaves. It began as a co-working space for startups and entrepreneurs in New York City. From there, it evolved into one of the best specialty coding schools in the United States. As of 2020, GA has campuses in 20 different cities and boasts more than 20,000 instructors and thousands of hiring partners.

The school offers a wide selection of training programs, including full-time immersive programs, part-time courses through on-site and online options. The school delivers on-site classroom courses in a number of different U.S. cities, including New York, Chicago, Austin, San Francisco, Atlanta, and Seattle. Courses are also available in classroom settings in London, Paris, Singapore, Melbourne, and Sydney.

General Assembly is perhaps best known for its immersive web development program, which delivers all the skills you need to design and produce websites and web-based apps. This 12-week program teaches the fundamentals of programming and product development and also provides training in both front-end and back-end web development using JavaScript, CSS, Ruby on Rails, and other languages and tools. Additional full-time programs are available for training in Android development, user experience design, data science, and software project management.

How to Get Started

If you're interested, you need to fill out the online application form before you enroll. Along with your contact details, you also need to highlight your career, your experience, why you want to take the course you're signing up for, along with some details on why you chose your current career path. It sounds a lot like a job interview.

Once you hit submit, your application goes to the admissions team, where a member reviews your information to see if you're a good fit for the program. The team also tries to see which level is best suited to fit your professional background and your interests.

Tuition

Costs to enroll at General Assembly depend on what you choose to pursue. While the school does offer some free online classes, expect to pay anywhere from $750 for some of its five-week courses to about $16,000 for some of the school's full-time immersive programs.

GA offers a range of financing options for those who qualify. For instance, the Catalyst Program allows students to enroll in immersive programs with no upfront costs. Students repay their tuition when they get a job that pays an annual salary of at least $40,000. There are also 0% interest, 18-month loans that allow repayment through regular monthly payments. Many students tend to enroll through their employers who may offset the cost of tuition.

Hack Reactor

Hack Reactor was founded in 2012 in San Francisco by Tony Phillips, Marcus Phillips, and Shawn Drost, who hosted 16 students in their very first class. The program expanded when HR launched its online learning portal in 2014. The school now has locations Los Angeles, New York City, and Austin, Texas. HR also offers courses online.

HR offers a popular 12-week immersion course focusing on general software engineering skills and web application development. During the first half of the program, students learn to code software in JavaScript and receive training in HTML, CSS, Ruby on Rails, and other programming tools. During the second half of the program, students are expected to design and create at least two production-grade web applications—one as a personal project and the other as a group project.

Admissions

In order to go through the immersive program, you'll need to go through the prep courses to learn the basics of coding. There's a free, basic course as well as the Premium Prep. Once you finish the prep, you'll have to pass the admissions assessment, after which you'll have another 90 to 120 hours of course work to complete.

Tuition

According to the website, Hack Reactor tuition comes to $17,980 for the full program. You can expect to add $250 if you're going to take the Premium Prep course. The school only accepts credit cards for deposits.

While you can't get traditional education loans to pay for your tuition, you may qualify for funding through Hack Reactor's lending partners. You should speak to the school's admissions team to get details.

All the coding schools listed require you to fill out an online application form before you can enroll.

Fullstack Academy

Established in New York City in 2013, Fullstack Academy offers another terrific immersion program focused on JavaScript web application development and front-end and back-end web development using HTML, CSS, SQL, and other programming tools. It has campuses in New York City and Chicago but also offers students online learning options.

The school offers a 17-week standard course. Students begin with four weeks of online training to prepare for the 13-week immersion course that follows. The school also offers a part-time 10-week introductory course in front-end web development and a one-day immersive course in the basics of JavaScript.

Application and Tuition

If you're considering Fullstack, you'll have to do some prep work before you apply. There's a free admissions prep course to take that helps you familiarize yourself with things like variables, loops, and functions. Once you're done, you'll need to submit the online application. After your application is submitted, you'll receive an assessment by email that you'll need to complete with six coding challenges. You'll need to complete this in 75 minutes. The final step, which is based on your assessment score, is to pass an online interview by an instructor or graduate.

The cost to study the full-time immersive program in New York City is $17,910, while the same program in Chicago costs $15,910. Like Hack Reactor, you can't get federal student loans to attend Fullstack, but you may qualify for financing through the school's lending partners.

App Academy

The final school on this list is App Academy, which was founded in 2012 and based in San Francisco. App Academy offers a 12-week immersion course that focuses on software design and development for the web using JavaScript, Ruby, SQL, React, Flux, and other programming tools. According to the school's website, its students have been placed in more than 1,000 different tech companies.

Enrollment and Costs

Just like the other schools, you have to go through the application process. There are several steps in the process:

  • The application
  • Logic and reading test
  • A 60-minute coding challenge
  • A technical and nontechnical interview

While App Academy is widely recognized as being one of the country's top coding schools, it gained a lot of notoriety for its tuition model, commonly referred to as a job-guaranteed model. Rather than charge a set tuition cost, App Academy takes 18% of the first-year salary earned by each program graduate, which is paid during the first six months of employment. If the student doesn't find gainful, relevant employment in the industry during the first year after graduating, App Academy may waive tuition repayment.