Photo of a review of General Assembly as a tech educational tool

A review of General Assembly as a tech educational tool

What does General Assembly do?

General Assembly teaches technical skills for a variety of topics. Students can attend on campus or online. Their campuses are across the US, including tech hubs like San Francisco, New York City, Austin, and Seattle, as well as other large cities like Dallas, Los Angeles, D.C., Denver, Detroit, and Miami. There are also campuses in London, Paris, Melbourne, Sydney, and Singapore. 

They offer courses on software engineering, UX design, data science, digital marketing, and product management, as well as more specific aspects of these topics, like front-end development, analytics, Python programming, and more. Students can choose between full-time immersive or part-time courses, though for online, the only full-time course is in software engineering.

Students learn the skills needed to work in the industry as well as work on projects that they can add to their resumes and portfolios to help with their job applications. They also have the opportunity to work with a career coach as they get closer to starting their job search.

The full-time program has class from 7am to 3pm or 9am to 5pm Monday-Friday for about 3 months. Part-time classes are typically held twice a week for 3 hours and the course lasts 10 weeks, though it does vary somewhat by program.

Who is General Assembly for?

For those with no background in a specific topic or people who want to transition into a software engineering, data science, product design, or product management role and do not have a background in the subject, General Assembly can be a good option. Because they provide career guidance, and the option to pay later with an ISA, it can be especially helpful.

What does General Assembly cost? How much work is involved?

General Assembly offers a few options on payment. The full-time courses costs $15,950 or $15,500 if students pay upfront. Students can also pay in 3 installments or by taking out loans. Students can also choose to enroll in their income share agreement (ISA) and pay the tuition back after they begin working.

Part-time courses cost $3,950 and students can choose to pay this upfront (with a $250 discount) or with loans. The General Assembly ISA is not available as an option for part-time courses.

After submitting an application, prospective students are connected with a General Assembly admissions rep, who determines whether or not the course is a fit for their experience and goals. For the full-time immersive courses, prospective students are required to complete an admissions assessment to ensure they are prepared. After they have been accepted, students must pay a downpayment to secure their spot in the program.

Ratings and reviews

Like most bootcamps, the reviews online are mixed. There are plenty of people who have found success with General Assembly and are now working in roles directly related to what they learned in the course. The general consensus is that GA works best for self-starters who are motivated and willing to put in the work. On their website, they list a wide variety of impressive companies where their students now work.

The negative reviews relate to the big promise of taking someone with no experience and getting them hired in that type of role in 3 months. It is a steep goal, and as one recruiter wrote, it seems like they might be falling short on specific lessons that make portfolios, for example, not strong enough to qualify. In addition, it seems like the program is helpful for people with prior experience, especially in startups/tech, but for those with none, it is still very difficult to find a position. 

Alternatives to General Assembly

As an educational program, there are a fair number of alternatives to General Assembly. Lambda School is probably the most well known. A full-time bootcamp, Lambda offers programs in software engineering, UX design, data science, and iOS development. Udacity is offers a mix of free and paid resources that students can use to learn many different tech skills. Similarly, Springboard and edX are popular online education tools for people interested in learning or advancing their current tech skills.

People who are more interested in software engineering can look to Codeacademy, which teaches courses in computer science and coding for free and also offers membership that are around $20-$40 per month. Similarly, there is Coursera, which provides free and low-cost college courses from $29 all the way to $25,000 and Udemy, which is an online learning platform with over 100,000 online video courses in a wide variety of topics. For people who want a bootcamp, App Academy has online and on-campus options.

How does General Assembly compare to Pathrise?

General Assembly is a bootcamp, with courses for people who are interested in learning a completely new skill, like UX design or software engineering. At Pathrise, job-seekers in our program should already have a background in the field they are interested in so that they can participate in and fully benefit from our technical workshops, where we provide a more specific curriculum based on what they will see in their interviews.

All of our workshops and sessions at Pathrise are live, as well as recorded, so that job-seekers in our program can review them afterwards and continue learning. Our program is flexible, with only 4 hours of group sessions per week and 1-on-1 sessions that can be scheduled whenever job-seekers need them. Our program is personalized to work on the specific skills that people struggle with the most.

Specifically, Pathrise focuses on technical and behavioral interviewing as well as resume and LinkedIn optimization, portfolio building and strengthening, cold email and reverse recruiting lessons, and negotiation templates and guidance. Job-seekers in Pathrise find a job, on average, within 3-5 months of joining the program. The Pathrise income share agreement is just 9% of their first year’s salary.

Pathrise is a career accelerator that works with students and professionals 1-on-1 so they can land their dream job in tech. If you want to work with any of our mentors to get help with your technical and behavioral interviews or with any other aspect of the job search, join Pathrise.

Apply today.

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