Bootcamp Application & Interview

You know how I researched coding bootcamps and the reason I chose Hack Reactor from here. I applied for four bootcamps in the Bay Area, and this post is about my application experience.

I finalized my application list to these four bootcamps: Hack Reactor, Dev Bootcamp, RocketU, and Coding Dojo. Because Hack Reactor was on the top of my list, I first went through Coding Dojo and RocketU’s applications (to practice and prepare myself).

Coding Dojo: Coding Dojo’s website shows that they have a good environment and that their students have a balanced life at the bootcamp (they have exercising time). However, I didn’t see industry connections or statistics on graduate student employment. The application process is through their website: you need to answer questions like why you want to join the bootcamp, your background, and plans afterwards. There is a small quiz you need to complete before the interview. The quiz covers basic concepts on HTML, CSS, and Javascript. You should do fine if you have been through several online courses.

My interviewer was a recent graduate from Coding Dojo. He was really nice and seemed to have learned lot from the bootcamp. He asked me mostly non-technical questions about my background. I guess my previous job in a startup really interested him. He asked me how I did on the quiz (I only answered one question wrong) and, without confirming my test results, seemed satisfied and told me I would a be great fit for their bootcamp. I didn’t get very satisfactory answers on the questions I had regarding placement rate and connection. I think Coding Dojo is a relatively young bootcamp, and is still building their reputation at the moment.

Coding Dojo Summary: Coding Dojo seems to look mainly for people who fit their bootcamp culture, I think. They don’t ask you technical questions during their interview. Might be a good fit for a complete beginner in coding?!


RocketU: RocketU is a bootcamp in RocketSpace. They use Python, Django, and AngularJS in their bootcamp. For a bootcamp, they really have concise information on their website (only 1 page)! Because Python is the first language I learned, I felt it might be good to continue using it. Their application process also does not test you on your technological knowledge. After I applied, I received an email for a coding challenge. The challenge covers HTML, CSS, and Javascript. Some questions were not easy to answer (I even had to do some Goggling to clarify some questions). After I finished the challenge, a page appeared telling me that a RocketU representative will contact me. I did not get my test results. Interestingly, the program manager was out of the office for two weeks, and the earliest time I could be interviewed was three weeks later…

Anyway, I interviewed with RocketU’s program manager. She is a nice and passionate person. However, because she is not an alumnus or a technical person, I couldn’t ask her technical questions, like why they chose the language or framework they use. Overall, it went well. She asked if I googled during the quiz (apparently I did great?!), and I said yes. She wanted me to take the quiz again (without googling), and told me she would let me know the result afterwards.

RocketU summary: RocketU’s application process is really…long. I don’t know why it took so long to get an interview with them. I didn’t re-take the quiz because I was applying for Hack Reactor (and got accepted), but I kind of feel that I could have gotten into RocketU.


Hack Reactor: Their preparation material is amazing. I didn’t expect that I would need to study so much before applying. I read other people’s blogs, and some of them studied even more than I did for Hack Reactor. I spent about one week to go through their suggested material. Hack Reactor’s application page is cool because you need to write basic Javascript code to submit your application. (Reminder: if you installed Adblock, disable it before you submit Hack Reactor’s application. Otherwise, your submission will fail.)

The interview was quite intense. I heard that it would be hard, but I didn’t know that it would be REALLY HARD! I did well in the first 20 minutes, but then I got stuck on one question and became very nervous, and got stuck even more …The interviewer was really nice, and said he felt that I knew my stuff but didn’t perform well on the test. He explained the last part in the test and asked that I study more. I was really eager to get into Hack Reactor, so I asked if I studied more, when I could interview again. He didn’t give me an exact date, but said he will let the admission team know. Three days later, I got a letter from Hack Reactor telling me I was so close. They were willing to give me another chance to interview if I did a web app to show them. That’s the reason I made the Mood Reactor (blog intro here). I had another interview one week after I showed Hack Reactor Mood Reactor. This time I knew I would be nervous if I got stuck, so I asked my developer friend to give me a mock interview. The mock interview really helped! I got challenged by my friend during the interview, and I learned how to approach questions if I got stuck. The second interview ended up going quite well. I could feel I did much better than the first time.

Hack Reactor Summary: BE PREPARED!!!! You should spend a good amount of time to go through the study material. The interviewers are all Hack Reactor recent graduates, so they were able to answer all the questions I had. I really felt their passion through the interview, and I ended up liking Hack Reactor even more after the interview!


Dev Bootcamp: Dev Bootcamp is also a renowned bootcamp with several branches in the US. Their bootcamp is only 9 weeks long, though. Their application seems like a job application; I needed to upload my resume! After submitting my resume, I can choose a date to interview. Because the studying material is Ruby, I needed to learn from the beginning. I didn’t want to confuse myself during the Hack Reactor application process, so I waited until I was done with Hack Reactor’s interview. And then I got accepted to Hack Reactor, so I didn’t interview with Dev Bootcamp.


That’s my story of applying to bootcamps. I will be at Hack Reactor’s 2015 February cohort. The class is 11+ hours per day, 6 days per week for 3 months. I can’t wait till it starts!!


P.S. There are other bootcamps like Makersquare, gSchool, App Academy, General Assembly that I didn’t consider. I think you can find a good fit for you through proper research!


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