Photo of a review of First Step Coding for software engineering bootcamp prep

A review of First Step Coding for software engineering bootcamp prep

Updated in 2023

Hi, I’m Brian, a former senior software engineer and now industry advisor at Pathrise. I have worked with hundreds of software engineers to help them land their dream jobs in tech. Check out my review of First Step Coding.

What does First Step Coding do?

First Step Coding is a part-time prep program that helps prepare people for coding bootcamps. They offer online and in-person options, with campuses in Boston and San Francisco. Graduates from this program often enroll in immersive bootcamps such as Actualize, Flatiron School, App Academy, and more. 

Those in the First Step Coding 8-week, part-time bootcamp prep course learn the fundamentals of JavaScript, HTML, and CSS. Throughout the course, participants build an interactive front-end for an API-driven web application. Students participate in two 3-hour live classes per week. They also have weekly 1-on-1 mentoring sessions with professional software engineers and a challenge-based curriculum with weekly assignments. Students should expect approximately 6 hours of homework each week. All students get live support during class and in office hours. 

The first 4 weeks can be taken in-person or online. Then, the final 4 weeks, which cover technical and behavioral mock interviews, must be conducted online. Students who are not interested in job search guidance can participate in the first 4 weeks as its own intro to coding course.

Who is First Step Coding for?

Since First Step Coding is a bootcamp prep course, people who are looking for extra help before enrolling in a rigorous software engineering bootcamp would benefit from this program.

What does First Step Coding cost? How much work is involved?

For students who enroll in the live 4-week option, the cost is $1,499 online and $1,999 in-person. The self-guided option costs $99/month. Tuition for the 8-week bootcamp prep course is $1,999 online and $2,499 in-person. Students who continue on to a partner bootcamp receive $1,500 in tuition credit. Partner bootcamps include Actualize, App Academy, Flatiron School, Hack Reactor, Launch Academy, Level, Redwood Code Academy, and Rithm School. 

Ratings and reviews

The online reviews of First Step Coding are generally positive. Students on CourseReport felt that the program’s instructors and curriculum prepared them for a rigorous, full-time coding bootcamp. One grad pointed out that “you also get to participate in a mock interview, which I found incredibly helpful in terms of feeling prepared to apply to bootcamps and knowing what to expect.”

Reviewers on SwitchUp benefited from the small class sizes, the hands-on curriculum, and the 1-on-1 instruction. One grad mentioned that “I did not have to worry about getting help whenever I was stuck on a coding challenge or homework problem since every student is welcome to schedule a 1-on-1 meet with the instructor for up to one hour each week.”

Alternatives to First Step Coding

If you decide not to enroll in First Step Coding, there are a number of alternative online resources that can help aspiring software engineers. 

  • App Academy also offers a bootcamp prep course, as well as a full-time software engineering bootcamp. 
  • Another option is Codesmith. A software engineering bootcamp with online prep and intro courses, Codesmith has on-campus immersive programs in New York City and Los Angeles.
  • Check out Coursera for online, self-paced resources. They provide free and low-cost college courses ranging from $29 to $25,000
  • Similarly, Udemy is an online learning platform with over 100,000 video courses in a wide variety of topics. Students usually pay around $10 per class. 
  • Codecademy is one of the most popular coding programs online. They provide free courses on many different programming languages. They also offer membership options ranging from $20 to $40. Learn more about Codecademy in our review.
More alternatives
  • If you are interested in a self-paced coding bootcamp, you can check out CodeX Academy. They have courses in front-end and full stack development. Learn more about CodeX Academy in our review.
  • You can check out Udacity and Springboard. They are online educational platforms that students can use to brush up on the basics or advance their current tech skills. Read more about Udacity and Springboard in our reviews.
  • edX is one of the largest online learning platforms. They have courses from top universities like Harvard and MIT as well as big tech companies like Microsoft. Learn more about edX in our review.
  • There is also freeCodeCamp and SoloLearn, which are free alternatives for people looking to learn the basics, though intermediate software engineers can also brush up on their skills or learn new languages.
  • You can also check out Bubble no-code bootcamps to learn how to make products without coding. Learn more about Bubble in our review.

How does First Step Coding compare to Pathrise?

First Step Coding is a prep course for people who have no prior coding experience and are considering enrolling in a full-time software engineering bootcamp. At Pathrise, job-seekers in our program should already have a background in their field of interest so that they can participate fully in our workshops, which prepare students for the questions they will see in their technical interviews.  

All of our workshops and sessions are live, as well as recorded, so fellows can review them afterwards and continue learning. Our program is flexible. There are only 2-4 hours of sessions per week. Fellows can schedule 1-on-1 sessions when they need support. We personalize our curriculum to target each fellow’s specific needs. The Pathrise income share agreement means that fellows don’t need to pay until they land a job they love and start working and we never require upfront payments or deposits.

Pathrise is a career accelerator that helps students and professionals land their dream job in tech through 1-on-1 mentorship. If you are interested in working with our mentors to optimize your job search, join Pathrise.

Apply today.

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Brian Wong

Brian Wong is an experienced senior software engineer and has worked at top bay area startups and organizations. In his free time, Brian works with Pathrise SWE fellows to help them land their dream job and learn insider tips on how to ace technical interviews.

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