A review of SMU 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 web developers and software engineers to help them land their dream jobs in tech. Check out my review of SMU Bootcamps.

What does SMU Bootcamps do?

SMU Bootcamps is an online tech bootcamp that teaches people the skills they need to launch a career as a web developer, data analyst, product manager, cybersecurity analyst, or financial tech professional. Students participate in live lectures, group exercises, hands-on projects, lab work, instructor-led discussions, and assignments based on real technical interview questions and on-the-job challenges. The instructor-to-student ratio is kept low for lots of personalized support.

Before starting a bootcamp, students must complete self-paced pre-work. Students who enroll in the coding course study basic HTML, CSS, and JavaScript as they get used to the developer environment. The data science pre-work covers the basics of data analysis, statistics, and Excel.

 

 

The 12-week full-time coding bootcamp meets Monday-Friday from 10am to 2:30pm CST. The part-time 24-week coding program meets 2 weekdays per week from 6:30pm to 9:30pm and on Saturdays from 10am to 2pm. Both coding courses cover the same full stack web development material. Students learn to build web apps using HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Java, jQuery, and Node.js. The curriculum also covers responsive design, quality assurance, Heroku, Git, MySQL, React.js, MongoDB, and other advanced web dev topics. Students leave the program with polished projects they can add to their portfolios and show to potential employers. Grads also get access to an optional continuation course on Python, Java, C#, and Amazon Web Services to help them sharpen their skills and further build their portfolio.

Students in the part-time data science program meet for 24 weeks on 2 weekdays per week from 6:30pm to 9:30pm, plus a Saturday class from 10am to 2pm. The curriculum covers the data visualization and analysis skills needed to get entry level data science jobs. Students use Python, Excel, HTML, CSS, and Tableau to analyze real data sets. The course also covers APIs, SQL, fundamental statistics, machine learning, R, and Git. For their final project students work in groups to build a data visualization app they can add to their portfolios.

The project management course is part-time and runs for 18 weeks. After mastering Agile methodologies and the product mindset, students build roadmaps and backlogs as they learn sping planning and execution. Students then learn to make data-driven decisions based on the product lifecycle as they test, iterate, and launch products. The curriculum covers wireframes, rapid prototyping, design sprints, and even how to manage data with SQL.

All courses include career services. Coaches work 1-on-1 with students on their resumes, GitHub profiles, portfolios, and LinkedIn accounts. In addition to job search workshops, students participate in mock behavioral and technical interviews.

Who is SMU Bootcamps for?

People with no experience in web development or data analysis who are looking to move into these careers could benefit from SMU’s bootcamps. The program is especially helpful for people who want an online program with lots of hands-on learning and personalized support. Students seeking practical assignments based on real datasets, on-the-job challenges, and even technical interviews could also be a good fit for the program.

What does SMU Bootcamps cost? How much work is involved?

Tuition for the full-time web dev bootcamp is $13,995. All part-time courses costs $12,745 each.

Students who enroll early and SMU alumni get a $500 discount. Financing is available through Skills Fund loans, though rates and repayment plans depend on the applicant’s credit history.

The admissions process begins with a brief online form or call to the admissions office. Next, candidates have a behavioral interview over the phone. Select candidates take a final critical thinking and problem-solving assessment. No formal prior experience is required, though students must complete pre-work before starting their course.

Ratings and reviews

SMU Bootcamps have mostly positive reviews. They hold a perfect 5 star rating on Course Report, where grads were impressed with the hands-on curriculum and the personalized support. One student praised the accessible curriculum and the “supportive, patient TAs” who made sure students never fell behind. Although the student did mention a sometimes challenging “fast pace”, she felt it was “not unreasonable.” Another grad agreed that the course was “rigorous, fast paced, and demanding” at times, but was still convinced “the hard hours are worth it.” This student also loved that TAs and instructors were almost always available to “guide you along the way.”

The program also holds a perfect 10/10 rating on Bootcamp Rankings. One grad raved that “instructors are phenomenal” and that the content was usually practical and hands-on. However, they were disappointed that “the curriculum feels a bit outdated” and wished the course spent more time on advanced in-demand skills like React. Another student was impressed by the “incredibly helpful” staff, though they warned that the course was “extremely hard work” and very demanding. Career Karma’s blog awarded the program 9/10 for their “exemplary instructors” and “university reputation.” However, they only rated the career services an 8/10 and wanted students to be aware that there is “no income sharing agreement.”

One Redditor felt this bootcamp was “worth every penny” and liked that the curriculum covered lots of “Javascript/Node.js” with practical assignments. Another student on Reddit described the course as “solid in principles and materials” with “a good reputation.” However, this student admitted they would not have enrolled unless their employer reimbursed them for tuition, as the course did not offer an ISA or job guarantee. One user on Reddit was more critical of the bootcamp’s parent company, Trilogy, warning “they’re just using the university 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.” Overall, grads were satisfied by the tech skills they gained from the program, but some would have liked greater job support with a slightly more relaxed pace that spent more time covering advanced topics.

Alternatives to SMU Bootcamps

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

  • Other programs run by SMU Bootcamps’ parent company, Trilogy, include UC Berkeley Bootcamps, Northwestern Bootcamps, KU Bootcamps, Rice University Bootcamps, and University of Denver Bootcamps. These bootcamps teach web dev and data courses with a similar level of personalized support and career services.
  • Students seeking online university courses 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 web development or advanced Python. Learn more about edX in our review.
  • Similarly, Coursera is an online learning platform that hosts thousands of videos in a wide range of tech subjects, including web dev, data science, and more. Many of their courses come with certifications, often university branded, like SMU Bootcamps.
  • The popular tech bootcamp General Assembly has full-time, part-time, and 1-day courses on web development, data science, and many other tech topics. In addition to offering a hands-on curriculum, they boast 19,000 hiring partners and a 91.4% job placement. Read more about General Assembly in our review.
  • Bloc hosts 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.
  • Students seeking an online program with 1-on-1 mentorship with ISA options can check out Thinkful. They teach courses in data science, software engineering, and more. Like SMU Bootcamps, their program includes career coaching and group projects students add to their portfolios.
  • Both Byte Academy and Lambda School also offer ISAs so students pay nothing until landing a job. These bootcamps teach courses on web dev, data science, and more.
  • The bootcamp BrainStation teaches courses in web development and many other tech topics. Like SMU Bootcamps, BrainStation emphasizes project-based learning and lots of 1-on-1 support. Their hiring partners include Facebook, Google, and more.
  • 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.
  • For those interested in self-paced learning, Data Science Dream Job offers remote, flexible courses for aspiring data analysts and data scientists.
  • Metis also has introductory data science courses with both onsite & remote learning options. Read more about Metis in our review.
  • Similarly, DataCamp is an online resource with 300+ courses in data science subjects. Courses only last about 4 hours.
  • Students on a tight budget can consider Udemy, an online program that hosts thousands of self-paced video courses on web dev, data analysis, and much more. Classes only cost about $10 each and come with lifetime access to the material.
  • Similarly, Codecademy is one of the most popular coding programs on the internet. They provide free courses on many different programming languages. Membership options range from $20 to $40 per month for greater course options and support. Read more about Codecademy in our review.
  • Students who want to build tech products without learning to code can check out Bubble no-code bootcamps. Learn more about how Bubble can help people break into the tech industry without coding in our review.
  • Students seeking a remote hands-on curriculum with mentoring can look into Udacity. They offer both free and paid courses on a wide variety of tech topics, including web development and data science. Students in their nanodegree programs work 1-on-1 with both a technical mentor and a career coach as they build portfolio projects. Read more about Udacity in our review.

How does SMU Bootcamps compare to Pathrise?

SMU Bootcamps help people launch new careers as web developers or data analysts. While some interest in tech is recommended, most SMU Bootcamps students start with no prior experience and complete pre-work to get up to speed. Pathrise job-seekers should already have some background in their chosen field so they can get the most out of our technical curriculum.

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

Even SMU Bootcamps’ part-time courses can be intense, with projects and homework requiring work outside of class. Our program is flexible, with just 2-4 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 has already helped 1,000+ people land great jobs 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.

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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