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A review of Practicum as a tech resource

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 Practicum.

What does Practicum do?

Practicum is an online resource that teaches the technical skills needed to land a job as a web developer, data scientist, or data analyst. They offer remote, part-time courses as well as online mentoring opportunities. The program is run by a European tech company called Yandex, which is known as the “Google of Russia”.

Students begin the program with 20 hours of free content and 215 practical assignments. This free introductory course is for beginners. The goal is to learn entry-level tech skills and decide if they want to continue with the full program. The full, paid follow-up course includes more technical skills training, project learning, and 1-on-1 mentoring.

The 6-10 month paid courses require about 20 hours a week of work. Even though the program is remote and self-paced, students have accountability. This is done through bi-weekly project challenges, 24/7 support, and regular access to tutors and live coding sessions. Students graduate with a professional certificate and a portfolio of over 15 polished projects to show potential employers. 

Web dev

The 10-month web development course teaches students to create websites using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Students also create user interfaces with React and build servers within Node.js. The course teaches both front-end and back-end development and students create a variety of websites, apps, and other web dev projects that they can add to their portfolios.

Data analytics

Practicum’s 6-month data analytics course teaches students to collect and structure data, test their hypotheses, identify data patterns, and draw conclusions. Students work with Python, Jupyter Notebook, and SQL. 

Data science

Students in the 8-month data science course learn to structure and analyze large data using Python, Scikit-Learn, SQL, XGBoost, and Jupyter Notebook. The course gives a theoretical breakdown of data science concepts as well as building practical projects addressing real-world issues.

Two months before the end of the program, students are able to join a separate career prep course. These sessions help with resumes, technical interviews, and the job hunt. If graduates don’t land a tech job or a promotion within six months of completing the program, full tuition is refunded.

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Who is Practicum for?

People with no experience in web development, data science, or data analytics who are looking to move into these careers could benefit from Practicum’s courses. Their real-world problem sets and coding challenges could be ideal for those interested in practical, hands-on learning.

What does Practicum cost? How much work is involved?

Tuition for Practicum depends on the course. The data science course costs $1,600. Students who enroll in the data analytics program pay $1,200. Tuition for the web development course is $2,000. All courses are free for the first 20 hours.

Unlike many other tech courses, Practicum requires full payment upfront via PayPal. There is no formal admission process, however, students must have a high school diploma or GED to enroll. Students complete 20 hours of the free introductory course before starting the full paid program.

Ratings and reviews

Practicum has mostly positive reviews. They hold a 4.91/5 star rating on SwitchUp. In addition, they are on CourseReport’s list of top 20 courses of 2020. Practicum graduates praise the program for its mentorship and practical curriculum, but some graduates have mixed feelings about their job placement.

On SwitchUp, one student felt that “the pace of the course is perfect: not too fast, but also doesn’t repeat the same material”. They also felt that Practicum doesn’t “have an excessive amount of theory” like other data courses. Another graduate was impressed by the 1-on-1 learning opportunities, raving “mentors always brought clarity where I was lost, and I genuinely found the classes to be very fun and interactive.”

Graduates on Course Hero praised the program’s pacing and mix of lectures with hands-on learning. One student gave the data course “an A+ grade”. He was happy that the course “doesn’t require you to sacrifice all of your free time.” Three other reviewers praised the portfolio-building curriculum and personalized instructor feedback, but only gave the job support 3/5 star rating.

Alternatives to Practicum

If you decide not to enroll in Practicum, there are a number of alternative tech courses and resources to help you land a job as a web developer, data analyst, or data scientist.

More alternatives
  • Lambda School offers courses in data science and web dev. Their flagship courses take 9 months, offering a similar pace and timeline to Practicum. Students can pay for the program via an income share agreement (ISA).
  • Similarly, Holberton School and Byte Academy are bootcamps with courses in software engineering, web dev, and data science that offer ISA options.
  • Rithm School also offers ISA financing, with a reputation for low student-to-teacher ratios, meaning extra personalized attention and feedback.
  • Another popular tech bootcamp, Thinkful offers courses in software engineering, data science, and UX/UI design. Like Practicum, Thinkful offers 1-on-1 feedback from industry mentors. 
  • Women, GNC people, and trans people can check out CodeOp, which has courses in web dev, data, and product management. Or, consider Kal Academy, which works with women and underrepresented groups on software engineering, web dev, and data. DevPoint Labs and Boise CodeWorks also have web dev courses.
  • edX is one of the most popular 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.
  • You can check out Udacity and Springboard, which are online educational platforms that have courses on a variety of different topics, like data science, analytics, software engineering, and more. Read more about Udacity and Springboard in our reviews.
  • Similarly, for students interested in lower-cost web development and data science courses, Simplilearn, Learn UX, Treehouse, Udemy, and Pluralsight may be good options. Like Practicum, they offer self-paced online learning opportunities.
  • Finally, 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.

How does Practicum compare to Pathrise?

Practicum is a bootcamp for people interested in learning the skills needed for a career as a web developer, data analyst, or data scientist. While an interest in tech is suggested, most Practicum students start the program with no coding experience. Pathrise job-seekers should already have a background in their chosen field so that they get the most out of our technical interview training.

Pathrise sessions are live and recorded, so program fellows can review them at their own pace. Our workshops and 1-on-1 sessions are tailored to fit each individual fellow’s schedule and needs. In addition, we assist with each phase of the job search, including portfolio and resume optimization, cold emailing and reverse recruiting, behavioral and technical interviewing, and negotiation.

Our fellows get 3x more responses to their applications and double their interview scores. The Pathrise income share agreement (ISA) means that our fellows never pay until they land a job they love and start working. We never require any upfront payments or deposits.

Pathrise helps people land their dream job through 1-on-1 mentoring and training. If you are interested in working with one of 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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