Merit America bootcamp review for tech sales and software engineering

Hi, I’m Alex! I’ve been working in sales for innovative startups like SoftBank Robotics and large corporations like NBC Universal for years. Now, I work as an industry mentor at Pathrise. I help people land great sales jobs through workshops and 1-on-1 mentorship. Check out my review of Merit America.

What does Merit America do?

Merit America is a nonprofit that helps people launch new careers in software engineering, tech sales, and IT. Their remote, part-time program is designed for busy working adults without a Bachelor’s degree. Currently, over 74% of their grads have landed new roles within 12 months. Grads pay nothing until they get a job.

Courses come from top universities and industry leaders, with a mix of live and self-paced learning. Students participate in lectures, group projects, sharable portfolio projects, and hands-on challenges. The program also features lots of 1-on-1 support as students meet with  trainers for help with the technical curriculum as well as career coaches for professional development.

Photo of Merit America
Java

The 6-month Java course teaches students the skills they need to land entry level software engineering jobs. While the curriculum features 350+ hours of Java content, students also spend 60+ hours working with HTML, CSS, JavaScript, SQL, Amazon Web Services, and data structures. The course employs Agile development methodologies as students build professional skills such as taking feedback and working with a manager on the job.

Tech sales

Students in the 13-week tech sales course are expected to work about 20 hours per week, with only about 3 hours of weekly live instruction. The curriculum covers lead generation, sales funnels, practical communication, closing skills, and project management. After completing the technical curriculum, grads interview for a job at Better, one of Merit America’s startup partners. Grads who are not offered a position at Better work with the course’s job placement team until they find a sales role. Students in the tech sales track must be willing to relocate to Charlotte, NC, Irvine, CA, or Houston, TX.

All courses include extensive career services. While building technical skills, students practice professional skills with their career coaches. Students learn to network, craft elevator pitches, write resumes, build LinkedIn profiles, and create compelling cover letters. Live career workshops like the “Speed Interviewing Event” give students a chance to practice interviewing and networking skills. After students complete the technical curriculum, the program focuses entirely on their job search.

Who is Merit America for?

Working adults without a college degree who want to land entry level jobs as Java developers or tech sales professionals could benefit from Merit America. The program is especially helpful for people seeking extensive career services. Busy people with full-time jobs could be an especially good fit for their flexible remote classes. Their nonprofit status, ISA, hiring partners, and extensive post-grad support could also be ideal for cautious students who want a job guarantee.

What does Merit America cost? How much work is involved?

All students pay with the “success sharing plan”, a deferred payment plan similar to an income share agreement (ISA), so they owe nothing until they land a job. Once tech sales grads land a job with a salary of $40,000+, they pay $163 per month for 24 months. For Java grads, the payment plan kicks in when they land a job paying $50,000/year or more. Java grads then pay $350 per month for 24 months to pay off tuition.

The admissions process begins with a 5-minute questionnaire. Applicants then move on to a basic academic assessment and a video interview. Successful candidates complete a final background and reference check. Applicants should have a high school diploma or GED, but no Bachelor’s degree. While an associate’s degree is fine, the course is designed for students without much academic experience. People with university degrees cannot apply.

Ratings and reviews

As a relatively new program, Merit America does not have too many online reviews. However, so far the reception has been extremely positive. The program holds a perfect 5-star rating on Course Report where grads praised the supportive staff and extensive career services. One recent grad felt “supported by an exceptional coach and team members” and loved that “support continues today [after graduation] in the form of Alumni services.” Another grad was impressed that the curriculum helped her “develop both technical and professional skills” through the 1-on-1 career coaching.

A grad on Reddit appreciated that the course was so practical, as the “actual goal is to land you a job” rather than just teach students technical skills. While the grad warned that the program was “incredibly challenging” and that “there’s a lot of material being thrown at you FAST”, the staff were almost always available to make sure students didn’t fall behind. Another student agreed that the course requires “effort and a lot of time learning”, it was well worth it for the dedicated staff and extremely practical curriculum. The program also holds a perfect 5-star rating on Facebook based on just 1 review. The grad liked that the course “enhanced my IT skills and professional development skills”, covering a good mix of technical and job search content.

Alternatives to Merit America

If you decide not to enroll in a Merit America, there are a number of alternative courses and resources that can help you launch a career as a software engineer or tech salesperson.

  • The popular bootcamp General Assembly teaches full-time, part-time, and 1-day courses on a variety of topics including coding and sales-related subjects. The program features 19,000+ hiring partners, mentoring, and a job placement rate above 91.4%. Read more about General Assembly in our review.
  • Aspiring software engineers and web developers can also consider CodeX Academy, a self-paced coding bootcamp with mentorship opportunities. Learn more about CodeX Academy in our review.
  • Students who want to take sales and software courses from top universities can look into Coursera. They are an online learning platform that hosts thousands of video courses, many of which come with university branded certificates.
  • Similarly, edX 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 Java. Learn more about edX in our review.
  • Codecademy hosts free hands-on coding courses on web development, dozens of programming languages, and even data science. They offer $20-40 monthly membership options for greater course options and more support. Learn more about Codeacademy in our review.
  • Aspiring salespeople seeking deferred payment options can also look into Flockjay. Their 10-week program teaches people the skills they need to launch a career in B2B software sales. They offer a hands-on curriculum, lots of personalized support, and an income share agreement (ISA) so students don’t pay until they land a sales job. Read more about Flockjay in our review.
More alternatives
  • The free sales program Aspireship helps people become account executives at SaaS companies. Like Merit America, the program is remote and flexible.
  • The intensive 12-week tech bootcamp Tradecraft is designed to help people land a job at a high-growth startup. They offer courses in sales, product design, growth marketing, and more. 
  • Similarly, Uvaro is a 12-week remote sales bootcamp with a hands-on approach to learning. Starting at week 4, students can join their internship program to put their new sales skills to use for real clients.
  • Another sales learning program where students get work experience is Vendition. They offer an “apprenticeship” program that finds students a tech sales job first then trains them for it, offsetting the cost of tuition.
  • Both the sales bootcamps Always Hired and SV Academy pair students with companies so they don’t have to pay tuition. However, students can also pay tuition upfront if they prefer not to work for a partner company.
  • Prehired is a remote and self-paced program that helps people launch a career in software sales. Students participate in live training, 1-on-1 mentoring, and active community discussions. If grads don’t land a job after 12 months, they get a full refund.
  • Similarly, Software Sales Gurus offers online courses for aspiring salespeople.
  • People who want to build software without learning Java or other programming languages can check out Bubble no-code bootcamps. Find out how Bubble helps people launch tech careers without coding in our review.
  • Students seeking a self-paced program with mentoring can look into Udacity. They offer both free and paid courses on topics like Java and tech sales through product launch. Like Merit America’s system of tech trainers and career coaches, Udacity’s nanodegree students 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 Merit America compare to Pathrise?

Merit America offers courses to help people start a career as a tech salesperson, software engineer, or IT professional. The program is designed for complete beginners without any university or professional experience. Pathrise job-seekers should already have a background in their chosen field to get the most out of the technical curriculum. 

Pathrise is a career accelerator that has helped 1,000+ people land their dream job in tech by helping with all phases of the job search. Our mentors work 1-on-1 with fellows on their resumes & portfolios, reverse recruiting and cold emails, behavioral and technical interview preparation, salary negotiation, and more. Like Merit America, Pathrise offers an income share agreement so fellows in our program pay nothing until they get a tech job. We never require deposits or upfront payment.

Both Merit America and Pathrise have a flexible schedule. However, Merit America can be quite intense with a fairly fast pace. Pathrise fellows only have 2-4 hours of group sessions per week and can schedule 1-on-1 sessions as needed. Our curriculum is tailored to the needs of each individual fellow.

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. If you are interested in working with any of our mentors to land your dream tech job faster, join Pathrise. 

Apply today.

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