A review of LEARN Academy as a coding bootcamp

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

What does LEARN Academy do?

LEARN Academy is a 4-month web development program that teaches students the skills they need to launch a new career. The program includes a 3-month bootcamp and a 1-month internship where students can put their new web dev skills to use. While their bootcamp usually meets full-time in San Diego, the program is currently operating remotely due to Covid-19.

Their flagship program begins with a 3-month web dev bootcamp that meets Monday through Friday from 9am to 5pm. Students participate in daily stand-ups, brief lectures, live coding demos, group discussions, code challenge breakouts, and pair programming exercises. The course also features skill assessments, industry guest speakers, and networking events. Class sizes are small (24 students max) and feature a student-to-teacher ratio below 10:1.

The bootcamp teaches students to build full-stack web apps from scratch. First, students master front-end development fundamentals like HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and React. Then, the curriculum focuses on back-end development with Ruby, Rails forms, exploring MVC (Model, View, Controller) with database queries, and SQL. Finally, the course shifts to professional development where students work closely with the careers service team to prepare their application materials for the job search. Students learn to optimize their portfolios, craft resumes, ace interviews, deliver elevator pitches, curate their online presence, and even negotiate their salary when they land a job. The final 3 weeks of the program focus on portfolio building, giving students the opportunity to add 3 polished full-stack apps to their portfolios.

All bootcamp grads are guaranteed a 1-month internship at a local tech company or startup. Towards the end of the 3-month bootcamp, about a dozen local tech companies present job opportunities to the cohort. Students then interview with 3-4 of their chosen companies. LEARN Academy matches students with companies based on their performance and preference. In addition to sharpening students’ new tech skills and helping their resumes stand out, 33% of companies hire students as full employees when their internship ends. LEARN Academy grads retain lifetime access to the community and the career services manager continues to help students until they land a tech job.

In addition to their full-time bootcamp, LEARN Academy teaches a weekend-long course on HTML, CSS, and JavaScript fundamentals. Although no career services are included, students leave this weekend course with their own websites. In addition, students in this shorter course participate in coding challenges and pair programming sessions.

Who is LEARN Academy for?

People with no experience in front-end development or back-end web development who are looking to launch a new web development career could benefit from LEARN Academy. The added internship program makes it especially helpful for people seeking real-world experience.

What does LEARN Academy cost? How much work is involved?

Full tuition for their flagship program is $14,500. Their weekend-long Jumpstart web dev course costs $249.

There are some scholarships and discounts available. Women can apply for a $3,000 scholarship. A $2,000 discount is also available for college grads, military personnel, and students from communities underrepresented in tech. College grads with a computer science degree can get a $4,000 discount, too.

Financing is available through Mertitize and SkillsFund loans. While Meritize factors in previous academic, military, or work experience, rates and repayment plans for both programs still depend largely on the student’s credit history.

Candidates begin the admissions process by filling out an application with some fairly lengthy essay questions. Select candidates then meet with the admissions team for a final informal behavioral interview. No coding experience or technical challenge is required.

Ratings and reviews

So far, reviews for LEARN Academy are very positive. They hold a 4.71/5 star rating on Switchup, where they were listed among the best bootcamps of 2020. Grads praised the “fast paced” and “practical” curriculum that empowered them to build professional portfolio projects. One student commented that “the best thing about LEARN is their career services” which not only guaranteed him a 1-month internship, but also helped students “practice technical interviews, real interviews, and prep you for your internship” so they can actually sharpen their skills and impress employers instead of just learning the ropes as an intern. 

However, a recent grad felt disappointed by how the bootcamp taught beginners. They warned that instructors felt it “was like pulling teeth trying to explain a topic to a student who didn’t” have a background in tech, and that inexperienced students “would get steamrolled by the students who already had tech backgrounds.” Although the grad described the internship as the “saving grace” of the program, they didn’t think it was substantial enough to prepare students for a tech career, warning that many students are just “paying $14-20k for a 1-month internship with a local company which makes no sense.”

The program holds a 4.43/5 star rating on Course Report, where grads were impressed by the practical curriculum, small class sizes, and career services. A recent grad commented that “the student to teacher ratio is very favorable” for fast-paced learning, which helped students learn “many different relevant technologies in a short amount of time.” The grad also liked that the course curriculum was “practical”, with lots of hands-on assignments and coding projects. However, another recent grad felt this fast pace was too harsh for beginners, warning that the staff “preach that you don’t need prior experience, but that is also a lie.” Although the student appreciated the internship guarantee, they were frustrated that “it is much harder to get a job than advertised.” 

The bootcamp is rated 4.7/5 stars on Facebook, where most grads praise the professional development, guaranteed internship, and “sense of community” that comes from the small class sizes and lifetime support. Overall, most grads seem very satisfied with the hands-on curriculum and the internship, even if some students felt the pacing and the price were a bit excessive.

Alternatives to LEARN Academy

If you decide not to enroll in LEARN Academy, there are many alternative bootcamps and resources that can help you land a job as a full-stack web developer.

  • Students seeking a hands-on web dev program with internship opportunities can look into CodeX Academy. Their remote, self-paced bootcamp helps aspiring software engineers and web developers launch new careers. In addition to offering an income share agreement (ISA), their students have the opportunity to participate in a 3-6 month internship. Read more about CodeX Academy and their internship in our review. 
  • The popular bootcamp General Assembly offers full-time, part-time, and 1-day courses on a variety of tech topics like software engineering, data science, UX design, digital marketing, product management, and more. In addition to 1-on-1 mentoring, their program features 19,000+ hiring partners, a hands-on curriculum, and a job placement rate above 90%. Learn more about General Assembly in our review.
  • Similarly, the tech bootcamp Kenzie Academy has both in-person and online courses in 2 tracks: software engineering & UX design and front-end engineering. Their students build portfolio projects, meet with hiring partners, and even get a 6-month job guarantee. Read more about Kenzie Academy in our review.
  • Aspiring front-end developers can also look into Bloc, an online program that offers self-paced courses in both web dev and design. Their program includes weekly mentoring sessions and a chance for students to build portfolio projects.
  • The remote tech bootcamp Thinkful has tracks in web development, software engineering, and more. Like LEARN Academy, their hands-on program features mentoring and a job guarantee.
  • Similarly, Springboard is a flexible online learning program that teaches software engineering, machine learning, and other subjects. Students in their career tracks build 14 portfolio projects and participate in weekly mentoring sessions. Their program also offers a 6-month job guarantee. Learn more about Springboard in our review
  • The tech bootcamp BrainStation has tracks in web development, web design, data science, marketing, and product management. Their curriculum project-based features lots of collaborative learning, with both on-campus and remote options.
  • Another online tech bootcamp with small class sizes, Noble Desktop has tracks in web development and other topics. Students in their certificate participate in live classes, coding projects, and 4 mentoring sessions.
  • Students looking to land an entry level software job or internship can also look into Coding Dojo. Their bootcamp teaches students the fundamental software skills they need to break into the tech industry.
  • One of the most popular self-paced coding programs is Codecademy. They teach web development, software engineering, and even data science courses for free, with $20-$40 monthly membership options for more course options and support. Find out if Codecademy fits your career goals in our review.
  • Students on a budget can also check out Udemy. Their online platform hosts 100k+ courses on both tech topics like web dev and even humanities subjects. Students get lifetime access to any self-paced courses they buy, usually priced at around $10.
  • The massive online learning platform edX hosts courses from top universities like Harvard and MIT as well as big tech companies like Microsoft. Their courses cover a wide variety of tech and even humanities subjects, including web dev, software engineering, and more. Find out if edX is right for you in our review.
  • Similarly, Coursera hosts 3,900+ tech courses taught by professors from accredited universities, covering topics like web dev and software engineering. Their curriculum includes hands-on assignments, video lectures, and community discussions.
  • Students seeking a remote program with 1-on-1 mentoring can check out Udacity. They offer both free and paid courses on a wide variety of tech topics, including web development and software engineering.
  • Students in their nanodegree courses meet 1-on-1 with both a technical mentor and a career coach as they build portfolio projects. Some of their tech courses even come from top companies like IBM and Google. Read more about Udacity in our review..

How does LEARN Academy compare to Pathrise?

LEARN Academy helps people launch a new career in web development through a full-stack bootcamp and a guaranteed tech internship. Their 3-month bootcamp is full-time, hands-on, and quite intense. Pathrise is more flexible. Fellows in our program have only 2-4 hours of group sessions per week and 1-on-1 mentoring sessions as needed. While LEARN Academy teaches beginners tech skills, Pathrise job-seekers should already have some background in their chosen field to benefit fully from our technical interview curriculum. 

Tuition for LEARN Academy is due upfront or in monthly installments via loans. While students are guaranteed an internship, it only lasts 1 month with no guarantee of full-time employment. Pathrise offers an income share agreement so fellows can pay with 9% of their first year salary after they land a job. 

Our experienced mentors have helped 800+ people land great tech jobs by helping fellows 1-on-1 with all phases of the job search, including resume and portfolio optimization, cold emailing and reverse recruiting, technical and behavioral interviewing, and negotiation. On average, fellows in our program find jobs in just 3-5 months.

Pathrise is a career accelerator that helps people land their tech dream job. Fellows in our program often see their interview scores double and their application responses triple. If would like to work with one of our mentors to optimize your job search, join Pathrise.

Apply today.

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