I'm Mark Fershteyn, the Director of Admissions at App Academy, the leading coding bootcamp in SF & NYC. We help you to become a software developer in only 3 months. AMA!

Jan 10, 2018

Hey all, I run the Admissions office at App Academy, a full-time immersive coding bootcamp in San Francisco and New York.

We help students go from zero coding knowledge to being employed at a top company (Google, Facebook, etc) in only 3 months. The best part is that the class is free until you land a job. If you don't land a job, you don't pay (placement rate is over 95% currently). 

Conversation (70)

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What’s a good example of actions being taken as a result of student feedback?

Jan 17, 5:58AM EST0 Reply

Are there any guest speakers from whom we can hear practical experiences?

Jan 17, 1:48AM EST0 Reply

What technical skills your students need to know in order to start learning about making apps?

Jan 13, 2:32PM EST0 Reply

Basic typing skills, general knowledge of computers and how they more or less work. 

Jan 16, 12:26PM EST0 Reply

Is a college degree required?

Jan 13, 2:28PM EST0 Reply

Nope! A decent percentage of our students don't have college degrees when they start the course. 

Jan 16, 12:26PM EST0 Reply

Do you know how many of your students have been employed by the big companies that you mentioned - Google, Facebook?

Jan 12, 9:50AM EST0 Reply

Are there any job guarantees?

Jan 11, 3:56PM EST0 Reply

No there aren't, but over 95% of our graduates find a job for an average of $105k in SF ($90k in NYC). If you choose the Deferred Tuition plan, then you won't pay unless you get a job. 

Jan 11, 5:03PM EST0 Reply

How many projects can I expect to have in my portfolio?

Jan 11, 10:45AM EST0 Reply

You should expect around 3 significant projects that show off your full-stack skills, and at least 10 specialized work samples focused on different skill sets. 

Jan 11, 12:34PM EST0 Reply

How is your boot camp different from, for example, any online coding course I can find on Udemy or Coursera?

Jan 11, 4:49AM EST0 Reply

Great question! First off, you can absolutely learn enough for free on the web to become a professional programmer. The amount of information out there is really incredible. 

However, it might take you years. A really big draw from a full-time intensive course like App Academy is the structure and accountability (just like in college). You HAVE to learn something by a deadline, or you won't do well on your assessment and might fail the course. Plus, the curriculum is constantly evolving and improving to the market demand, so you're guaranteed to learn the best new tech, instead of that outdated Udemy course someone put up a year ago. 

If you can learn everything on your own in a quick pace, you should definitely try that first :)

Last edited @ Jan 11, 12:42PM EST.
Jan 11, 12:37PM EST0 Reply

Are there any particular hours of the classes? Can someone with a job attend or they have to be free during working hours?

Jan 10, 8:28PM EST0 Reply

Since the course is full-time and very intensive, for the most part you'll have to attend 9am-6pm every weekday for 3 months. 

Jan 11, 12:38PM EST1 Reply

Whare do you get your tutors? Are they all the same or changing?

Jan 10, 6:10PM EST0 Reply

Actually all of our tutors are top students who graduate from our program. After every cohort, we invite the top students to teach the next few cohorts for as long as they'd like. 

Jan 10, 7:19PM EST0 Reply

Is there an age limit for signing up? How many times a week classes are held in your boot camp?

Jan 10, 4:55PM EST0 Reply

No age limit! One of App Academy's goals is to provide opportunities for under represented communities in the tech world, whether it's age, demographic, gender, or anything else. 

Jan 10, 7:42PM EST0 Reply

Do students in your camp have one-on-one needed attention from your lecturers or is it more like a group teaching?

Jan 10, 3:41PM EST0 Reply

Definitely a mix of both. There are lectures in the morning, and students are organized into small circles that are led by an Instructor. The students can approach TA's and ask questions whenenver they want as well

Jan 11, 12:39PM EST0 Reply

Is there any previous testing in which you decide who can join your boot camp or we are all welcome?

Jan 10, 3:23PM EST0 Reply

Everyone is welcome! With App Academy's deferred tuition, you won't have to pay until you receive a job (students find jobs over 95% of the time), which opens up the career choice to a lot of new groups. Check out the FAQ to learn more

Jan 10, 4:36PM EST0 Reply

What topics do you cover in the bootcamp as fields of expertise?

Jan 10, 3:01PM EST0 Reply

Hey Ashley, you can see a pretty good rundown of the topics in our curriculum

Jan 11, 7:44PM EST0 Reply

I'm interested in mobile app development. Does your boot camp include some kind of certificate or diploma after I finish it?

Jan 10, 2:55PM EST0 Reply

There isn't any kind of certificate, but a LOT of companies are familiar with App Academy and it's reputation. The course does focus on web development, but a decent amount of our students go work in mobile app development. 

Jan 11, 12:43PM EST0 Reply

Does your course include pair-programming?

Jan 10, 2:38PM EST0 Reply

Yep, around 75% of the course is actually pair-programming. We believe it's the best way to learn the depths of programming.  

Jan 10, 4:38PM EST0 Reply

What are the most common misconceptions about coding you get to hear?

Jan 10, 2:37PM EST0 Reply

Great question! The most stereotypical one is that programming is only for math geniuses. That's not the case at all. We've had students from all sorts of backgrounds and career choices attend. 

Jan 10, 4:39PM EST0 Reply

What if I am unable to meet the attendance requirements?

Jan 10, 2:37PM EST0 Reply

Unfortunately the curriculum is really demanding, so we don't recommend attending if you plan on missing more than a few day.

Jan 10, 4:44PM EST0 Reply

Is it really possible to learn coding in 3 months or those are the basics and then you have to build on it?

Jan 10, 2:17PM EST0 Reply

It really is possible. That being said, it's incredibly difficult. At App Academy we joke that our students "eat, sleep, and code" which is pretty much the truth for those 3 months. The bright side is that after successfully completing the program, they're able to get a job with an average salary of $106k (in SF) nearly 96% of the time. 

Jan 10, 4:45PM EST0 Reply

How accessible are the teachers and teaching assistants? Do you offer services for students needing help or tutoring?

Jan 10, 2:09PM EST0 Reply

Super accessible. When I'm leaving the office, it's not unusual to see TA's and students working together late into the night. 

Jan 11, 12:43PM EST0 Reply

Is there some percentage of students that give up during the camp? What is it if so?

Jan 10, 1:59PM EST0 Reply

Good question. There definitely are a few students every cohort that either fail out of the curriculum or realize that programming just isn't for them. Luckily the number is pretty small (usually ~5% or less)

Jan 10, 4:47PM EST0 Reply

What is the proportion women/men in your classes? Do you work on encouraging girls to code and do you think that is a relevant issue still in the industry?

Jan 10, 1:38PM EST0 Reply

It is still absolutely an issue in the industry. We see pretty similar rates to top tech companies, and are definitely focused on improving the rates. 

In 2018 we're focusing on strategic partnerships and scholarships that should help enable more women to join the industry! 

Jan 10, 7:53PM EST0 Reply

What is the best paid job presently in the tech world? What about in the coming 5 years?

Jan 10, 1:23PM EST0 Reply

Currently the most in demand jobs are either full-stack software engineers and data scientists. In terms of the future, there seems to be a lot of steam gathering for AI/ML, and automation. 

Jan 10, 7:55PM EST0 Reply

What influenced you to work as a Director of Admissions of App Academy?

Dec 31, 2:54AM EST0 Reply

Great question! I actually had a few friends go through App Academy, and saw first hand how they were able to transform their lives (sounds really cliche, I know) and saw the potential for alternative education and job placements. The business model for App Academy is also really unique in that students only pay tuition IF they get a job, which is very different than college. Overall, I think EdTech/college alternatives are only getting started. 

Jan 10, 1:39PM EST0 Reply
Show all 3 replies

Are you planning to offer boot camps across the US? How about outside the US?

Dec 20, 8:58AM EST0 Reply

It's funny you ask, we're actually looking at potentially expanding to another US city later this year. Still in the super early stages though. 

Jan 10, 1:40PM EST0 Reply

What is the guarantee that three months is enough for the students to fully grasp the entire language coding concept?

Dec 20, 8:18AM EST0 Reply

The program is really really really difficult. If you think about it, your specialized college education is usually ~1200 hours of courses. In the 3 months of App Academy, you'll reach close to ~1100 hours.

Overall you're receiving nearly the same amount of education, but just in a VERY quick pace. Hope that helps! 

Last edited @ Jan 11, 12:44PM EST.
Jan 10, 1:41PM EST0 Reply

Sounds like bootcamp! ;)

Jan 11, 8:16AM EST0 Reply

How much did you spend when starting up this business?

Dec 20, 8:00AM EST0 Reply

I wasn't a part of the original creation of the business 6 years ago, but Kush Patel and his co-founder Ned Ruggeri bootstrapped it with minimal cash, and were profitable from the first cohort. 

Jan 16, 12:29PM EST0 Reply

What major problems does the business encountered  over the 6 years of operation?

Jan 17, 11:43AM EST0 Reply

How much do registrants have to pay to enter and join?

Dec 20, 7:01AM EST0 Reply

You can either pay $17k upfront, or pay $28k ONLY when you get a job. Keep in mind that the average salary is $106k in SF. 

Jan 11, 12:40PM EST0 Reply

Do you design the curriculum, yourself or did you get help from other experts?

Dec 20, 6:14AM EST0 Reply

We're constantly gathering new data and auditing our curriculum, especially since programming is constantly evolving with new languages and updates. Programming languages in general are very open-sourced, so us helping the languages and vice versa is mutually beneficial. 

Also, given our model we have a tremendous amount of information about entry level engineers and we use that to guide the development of our curriculum. 

Last edited @ Jan 11, 12:44PM EST.
Jan 10, 4:43PM EST0 Reply

How many members of the team have you gathered to help you with this project?

Dec 20, 1:15AM EST0 Reply

Just myself for the most part, but anything super technical I'm definitely asking our awesome instructional team :)

Jan 11, 12:41PM EST0 Reply

How long have you been doing boot camps?

Dec 19, 7:59AM EST0 Reply

We've been operating for 6 years now!

Jan 11, 12:41PM EST0 Reply

So far, how many boot camps have you run?

Dec 19, 7:58AM EST0 Reply

We've run close to 70 bootcamps now! 

Jan 16, 12:34PM EST0 Reply

How many successful programmers have you produced since your very first batch?

Dec 19, 6:17AM EST0 Reply

We've had over 2,200 successfully graduated students since the first batch in January of 2012. On average, 95% of them successfully got hired in a full-time position with average salargy of  $105k in SF or $90k in NYC within a year. 

Jan 10, 7:36PM EST0 Reply

Great numbers, just SF and NYC pay the most. In other parts of the world we're not so lucky.

Jan 11, 6:48AM EST0 Reply

How do you qualify best candidates for the boot camp?

Dec 19, 2:13AM EST0 Reply

Couple different ways, actually!

First off the applicants have to submit a coding challenge, which will be evaluated. Then a technical interview with an instructor, followed by an nontechnical interview. If all of those go well, then the applicant would be accepted! Currently we accept about 3% of all applications. 

Jan 16, 12:31PM EST0 Reply
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