A review of Montana Code School 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 Montana Code School.

What does Montana Code School do?

Montana Code School offers coding bootcamps that teach people the skills they need to become front-end software developers or back-end software engineers. While classes only meet once a week in a virtual environment, students should expect 15-20+ hours of work per week due to projects and self-study outside of class. Students are also required to complete 40+ hours of pre-work before starting a bootcamp.

All courses are part-time and run for 18 weeks. Classes meet virtually on Wednesday from 7pm to 8:30pm MST. In addition to the Wednesday classes, students meet 1-on-1 with mentors once a week for 30 minutes. Office hour sessions can be scheduled as needed. Class sizes are small, usually only 25 students per cohort. Students participate in live lectures, hands-on exercises, projects they can add to their portfolios, and daily assignments due before every live class. While students meet with mentors and get access to hiring partners like Submittable, the program does not offer any other formal career services or support through the job search.

Students in the front-end developer program learn to build web apps from scratch. The curriculum covers JavaScript, HTML, CSS, Sass, git, and CLI navigation. The course even teaches more advanced front-end development topics such as bootstrap, npm, JQuery, AJAX, React, Axios, responsive design, and debugging. Students build projects ranging from static websites to fully responsive front-end applications that can be added to professional portfolios.

The back-end developer bootcamp teaches students to work with the server side of an application. Students master Java, MySQL, Git, CLI navigation, JUnit, JDBC, REST concepts, and SpringBoot. The curriculum also touches on Maven, JPA, JWT, log4j, debugging, AWS, and everything else to do with communication between the database and the browser. Students build polished portfolio projects ranging from console applications to full web APIs.

Who is Montana Code School for?

People with little to no coding experience who are looking to launch a career as a software engineer could benefit from Montana Code School. Their program is especially helpful for people who are based in Montana or those who are seeking remote learning with lots of 1-on-1 support. Students looking for either a front-end or back-end bootcamp that covers software skills in-depth could also be a good fit.

Prospective students take a short 12-question assessment, mostly consisting of logic puzzles, to see if software development is a good fit. No prior experience is equied.

What does Montana Code School cost? How much work is involved?

Tuition for either bootcamp is $4,900. The application process begins with a brief online application. Candidates then move on to a final behavioral interview. No prior coding experience is required.

Ratings and reviews

Montana Code School has received mixed to positive reviews. They hold a 4.4/5 star rating on Course Report where they are listed as one of the 2 best Missoula coding bootcamps. While one student found the daily exercises and pre-work “frustrating”, they appreciated that the hands-on curriculum “made me stretch myself.” Another grad was impressed with the program’s “network of local employers” and supportive mentors. Although one grad warned the course moves at a “rapid pace” and can be “overwhelming at first”, she liked that the hands-on curriculum empowered students to “build a complete end-to-end app” in the first week. However, another grad was disappointed by the career services, warning that only “two of eight students found work from our cohort” and wished that the bootcamp’s staff would “increase support for the students coming out of the school.”

The bootcamps also hold a 4.55/5 star rating on Switchup. Grads liked that the hands-on curriculum was “flexible” and largely “self-directed.” Other students praised the networking, small cohorts, and “great peers and instructors” who created a supportive environment. However, many grads “struggled to find employment” and wished career services were more extensive. One grad noted that “finding a coding job with 3 months of experience is tough. Finding one in small town MT is really tough.” However, the program holds a perfect 5 star rating on Facebook, where grads praised the supportive staff and hands-on curriculum. Even with the positive comments, some grads on Facebook still found it “difficult to find a job right away.” Overall, most grads seem satisfied with the flexible in-depth curriculum and supportive classroom environment, though some would have preferred more help landing a job.

Alternatives to Montana Code School

If you decide not to enroll in Montana Code School, there are a number of alternative bootcamps and resources to help aspiring software engineers launch their careers.

  • The popular bootcamp General Assembly teaches full-time, part-time, and 1-day courses on a variety of tech topics including software engineering. Their program features a hands-on curriculum, over 19,000 hiring partners, and a 91.4% job placement. Learn more about General Assembly in our review.
  • Similarly, BrainStation offers courses in full-stack web development and many other tech topics. Like Montana Code School, BrainStation focuses on project-based learning and lots of 1-on-1 support. Students get access to top hiring partners like Facebook, Google, and more.
  • Aspiring software engineers and web developers can also check out CodeX Academy, Like Montana Code School, their bootcamp is largely self-paced, hands-on, and includes mentoring sessions. Learn more about CodeX Academy in our review.
  • Another well-known bootcamp, Fullstack Academy runs full-time and part-time software programs for aspiring software engineers. Their program is intensive, hands-on, and includes projects students can add to their portfolios.
  • The full-time tech bootcamp Kenzie Academy teaches in-person and online courses in 2 tracks full-stack software engineering & UX design and front-end engineering. They offer an income share agreement (ISA) so students don’t pay until they land a tech job with a salary of at least $40,000. Learn more about Kenzie Academy in our review.
  • Another bootcamp with full-time software courses is Flatiron School. Their program features a hands-on curriculum, career coaching, and a job placement rate above 86%. Both full-time and part-time bootcamps are available with in-person and online learning options.
  • Students seeking remote self-paced learning can also check out Springboard. This online educational resource helps people launch a career in a wide variety of tech fields, including software development. Students in their career tracks build 14+ portfolio projects with weekly mentorship meetings. If grads don’t land a tech job within 6 months, they get a full refund. Read more about Springboard in our review.
  • The well-known remote tech bootcamp Thinkful also has tracks in software engineering. Their students get access to an income share agreement (ISA) so they pay nothing until they land a tech job.
  • People looking for software courses on a budget can check out Codecademy. They host full hands-on coding courses on web development, dozens of programming languages, and even data science for free. Monthly $20-40 memberships are available for expanded course options and support. Read more about Codeacademy in our review.
  • Another affordable self-paced platform is Udemy. They host thousands of self-paced video courses on software engineering, web development, and many other tech topics. Classes only cost about $10 each and come with lifetime access.
  • Students seeking university courses on a budget can look into edX. Their platform hosts thousands of self-paced university courses from top schools like Harvard and MIT, and even big tech companies like Microsoft. Students can choose to learn the fundamentals or take a deep dive into specific topics, like front-end software engineering with JavaScript. Find out if edX is right for your goals in our review.
  • Another affordable self-paced program with mentoring is Udacity. They offer free intro courses, as well as paid “nanodegree” programs that offer a more intense experience with greater support. Nanodegree students meet 1-on-1 with both a technical mentor and a career coach as they build projects. Learn more about Udacity in our review.

How does Montana Code School compare to Pathrise?

Montana Code School is a bootcamp for people interested in starting a new career as a web developer or software engineer. While an interest in coding is recommended, their program is designed for beginners, with 40+ hours of pre-work to get students up to speed. Pathrise job-seekers should already have a background in their chosen field so they can get the most out of our technical curriculum.

While Montana Code School students get access to 1-on-1 mentoring sessions and a network of hiring partners, students do not get help during their job search and some students struggled to find a job right away. Pathrise is a career accelerator that helps people find their dream in tech. Our mentors have already helped 1,000+ fellows land great jobs by helping all phases of the job search including resume and portfolio optimization, reverse recruiting, cold emailing, technical and behavioral interviewing, and salary negotiation. The curriculum is customizable and tailored to the individual needs of each fellow.

Like Montana Code School, the Pathrise program is flexible. There are just 2-4 hours of group sessions per week and fellows can schedule 1-on-1 sessions as needed. Our program offers a 9% income share agreement (ISA) so fellows pay nothing until they land a great tech job. We never require deposits or upfront payments.

Pathrise optimizes the job search through 1-on-1 mentorship and personalized training. Fellows in our program see their interview scores double and their application responses triple, usually landing a job in only 3-5 months. If you are interested in working with our mentors to land your dream job, join Pathrise.

Apply today.

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