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A review of Penn Bootcamps as a tech bootcamp

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

What does Penn Bootcamps do?

Penn Bootcamps teach people the skills they need to launch a career as a web developer, data analyst, cybersecurity analyst, or financial tech professional. Students can choose between part-time and full-time options in Philadelphia, PA. Due to Covid-19, all courses are now online.

Before starting a bootcamp, students complete self-paced pre-work. Students in the web development program study HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and other coding fundamentals. The data science pre-work teaches students the basics of data analysis, statistics, and Excel.

Web dev

The 12-week full-time web development bootcamp meets Monday-Friday from 10am to 2:30pm EST. The part-time 24-week web dev program meets 10am to 2pm on Saturdays and 6:30pm to 9:30pm Mondays and Wednesdays. Students participate in lectures, discussions, coding labs, and workshops. Homework and take-home assignments are based on real technical interview questions and on-the-job challenges. The program teaches students to build full stack web apps using HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Java, jQuery, and Node.js. They also learn responsive design, quality assurance, Heroku, Git, React.js, MySQL, MongoDB, and more. Students graduate with polished web dev projects they can add to their portfolios and show to potential employers.

Data science

Students in the part-time data science program meet for 24 weeks on Mondays and Wednesdays from 6:30pm to 9:30pm and Saturdays from 10am to 2pm. The curriculum includes live lectures, workshops, discussions, and plenty of hands-on projects. Students learn to visualize and analyze data using Python, Excel, HTML, CSS, and Tableau, working with real world data sets throughout the program. The course also covers APIs, SQL, fundamental statistics, machine learning, R, Git, and more. For their final project students work in groups to build a data visualization app they can add to their portfolios and help them get entry level data science jobs.

All courses include career services. Students participate in portfolio reviews, resume workshops, technical & behavioral interview training, and 1-on-1 job search coaching.

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Who is Penn Bootcamps for?

People with no experience in web development or data science who are looking to move into these careers could benefit from Penn Bootcamps. The program is especially helpful for people who are based in Philadelphia.

What do Penn Bootcamps cost? How much work is involved?

Tuition for the full-time web dev bootcamp is $14,495. The part-time web dev course costs $12,495. Students who enroll in the part-time data science course also pay $12,495. 

Students can finance their bootcamp education through Skills Fund loans. Rates and repayment plans depend on the applicant’s credit history. Interest-free monthly payment plans and early-registration discounts are also available. 

The admissions process begins with a brief written application or a call to the admissions office. Next, candidates have a behavioral interview over the phone. Then, select candidates do a critical thinking and problem-solving assessment. No experience is necessary.

Ratings and reviews

Penn Bootcamps have mostly positive reviews. They hold a 4.77/5 on Course Report and are rated 4.95/5 on Career Karma. Penn Bootcamps’ students were impressed by the course’s supportive instructors and hands-on curriculum, but some graduates were disappointed by the career services.

The top review on Course Report describes the program as “well planned and structured.” They appreciated “the homework help that allowed for some smaller zoom sessions” and supportive “communication through slack itself.” Another grad valued the supportive environment and the “instructors who work in the local industry and really care about your growth and success.” However, she was less impressed by the job support. She described their career services as “hands-off and impersonal” and warned “I didn’t find them very helpful or timely. And the people providing the feedback have never met me personally.”

Students on Philadelphia Bootcamps appreciated the program’s support and hands-on learning style, but some were frustrated by the fast pace. One grad raved that “Everyone genuinely wants to help you” but felt “The course is hard at times.” Another grad was disappointed by the career services, saying “the job search is really on you” and “I doubt that anyone got any real [job] leads” from their job support team. A Reddit user was critical of the bootcamp’s parent company, Trilogy, warning “they’re just using the Penn name to lend credibility.” Another student on Reddit was not impressed by Trilogy either, commenting “no one has had anything positive to say about Career Services.” 

Alternatives to Penn Bootcamps

If you decide not to enroll in Penn Bootcamps, there are a number of alternative bootcamps and courses for aspiring web developers and data analysts.

  • The tech bootcamp Kenzie Academy offers in-person and online courses in 2 tracks: software engineering & UX design and front-end engineering. Learn more about Kenzie Academy in our review.
  • The popular bootcamp BrainStation offers programs in web development, web design, data science, marketing, and product management. Like Penn Bootcamps, BrainStation emphasizes project-based learning and 1-on-1 support.
  • Similarly, Codeup offers full-time and part-time courses in web dev and data science with a job guarantee.
  • Aspiring web developers and software engineers can check out CodeX Academy, a self-paced coding bootcamp with mentorship opportunities. Learn more about CodeX Academy in our review.
  • Bloc offers online courses in web development and web design. The program emphasizes student support, with real-time instructor feedback and weekly 1-on-1 mentorship meetings.
  • The tech bootcamps Byte Academy and Lambda School have courses on web dev, data science, and more. They offer students an income share agreement (ISA), allowing them to pay for the program after they land a tech job.
  • Students seeking on 1-on-1 mentorship with ISA options can check out Thinkful, a bootcamp that teaches courses in data science, software engineering, and more. Like Penn Bootcamps, their program includes career coaching and group projects students add to their portfolios.
  • Like Penn Bootcamps, UC Berkeley Bootcamps, Northwestern Bootcamps, KU Bootcamps, Rice University Bootcamps, and University of Denver Bootcamps teach web dev and data courses. They are all run by Trilogy.
  • Another popular tech bootcamp, General Assembly has full-time, part-time, and 1-day courses on data science, software engineering, UX design, digital marketing, product management, and more. Read more about General Assembly in our review.
More alternatives
  • For those interested in self-paced learning, Data Science Dream Job offers remote, flexible courses for aspiring data analysts and data scientists.
  • Aspiring data analysts can also look into K2 Data Science, a part-time tech bootcamp with an active Slack community like Penn.
  • Metis also has introductory data science courses with both onsite & remote bootcamp options. Learn more about Metis in our review.
  • Similarly, DataCamp is an online resource with over 300 courses on data science subjects. Courses last about 4 hours. DataCamp also has an active community forum similar to Penn Bootcamp’s Slack.
  • Flatiron School teaches courses on data science, software engineering, and cybersecurity analytics. Like Penn’s job support, Flatiron pairs students with a career coach for 1-on-1 training.
  • Students on a budget can consider Udemy, an online program that hosts thousands of self-paced video courses on web dev, cybersecurity, data analysis, and much more. Classes cost about $10 each.
  • Similarly, 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 per month for more course options and greater support. Learn more about Codecademy in our review.
  • People seeking low-cost tech training can also check out Udacity and Springboard. These programs offer affordable, self-paced courses in web dev, data analytics, and many other technical subjects. Learn more about Udacity and Springboard in our reviews.

How does Penn Bootcamps compare to Pathrise?

Penn Bootcamps are for people interested in learning the skills needed for a career as a web developer or data analyst. While an interest in tech is recommended, most Penn Bootcamps students start with no prior experience. Pathrise job-seekers should already have some background in their chosen field so they can get the most out of our technical interview training. 

Pathrise optimizes the job search through 1-on-1 mentorship and personalized training. Our experienced mentors assist fellows with all phases of the job search including resume and portfolio optimization, cold emailing and reverse recruiting, salary negotiation, and technical and behavioral interviewing. 

Our program is flexible, with just 4 hours of group sessions per week and 1-on-1s that can be scheduled as needed. All our sessions are live and recorded so fellows can review them at their own pace. We offer an income share agreement (ISA) so our program is free until you land a great tech job.

Pathrise is a career accelerator that helps people land their dream job in tech. With our guidance and training, fellows in our program see their interview scores double and their application responses triple. If you are interested in working with one of our mentors to land your dream job faster, join Pathrise.

Apply today.

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