Choosing the right bootcamp can become a paralyzing decision.
Resources like Course Report, Reddit, and YouTube can help you narrow down your choices, but how do you make the final decision?
The truth is, the choice isn’t always straightforward.
In this blog, we’ll compare two leading bootcamps, Hack Reactor vs. Rithm School, focusing on lifestyle, learning approach, and reviews from recent graduates.
Our goal is to provide you with a better understanding of what sets these bootcamps apart.
Let’s start with Hack Reactor.
You might also know Hack Reactor as part of Galvanize, which acquired the bootcamp in 2018.
Established in 2012, Hack Reactor has graduated over 14,000 coders, preparing them for software engineering roles.
Here’s an overview:
- Course Report Rating: 4.6
- Duration: The full-time program offers 12 and 19-week options, with the latter having mixed reviews. They also recently introduced a 38-week part-time bootcamp.
- Cost: $18,000
- Class Sizes: Typically large, with an average of around 30-50+ students.
The Hack Reactor program is renowned across the industry to be an extremely rigorous program.
In fact, it is not uncommon to spend 12-hour days Monday-Friday learning and an additional 8-10 hours spent on weekends.
As one recent grad put it, it’s akin to “drinking from a firehose.” The full-time program demands nearly 100% of your time.
Hack Reactor Pros
- Beginners Welcome: If you’re interested in starting a bootcamp from day one rather than self-teaching ahead of time, Hack Reactor’s 19-week program will be a great fit for you.
- Project-Based Learning: Students have the opportunity to build a developer portfolio that showcases what they’ve learned through personal projects.
- Autonomous Learning: Autonomy in learning can be both good and bad, depending on how you like to learn. This program becomes a little more hands-off later in the course as it forces you to become a self-sufficient engineer.
Here’s what a recent grad said:
“The assignments you will receive have vague requirements to complete. That said, no one will look at your work and say “you didn’t do x, y, and z, shame on you”. Conversely, they will also not say “good job doing all that stuff!”. I remember finding this infuriating for the first few weeks. The lack of direct/pointed feedback was hard to digest. Eventually, though I saw it as a great parallel for the work I would do as a professional developer. No one is going to look over your shoulder and police you while you write your code… except for you. In this way, I became the judge of my own work. I was able to identify my weak points and identify any anti-patterns in my code. This sense of autonomy was the greatest lesson I got out of the whole program.”
Hack Reactor Cons
- Pre-recorded Lectures: Some past students of Hack Reactor have noted that certain lectures might be pre-recorded. While this might provide flexibility, it may also mean less immediate engagement or real-time problem-solving.
- All-consuming: If you’re looking for work-life balance, Hack Reactor’s intensity may not align with your goals.
- Slim Job Support: While Hack Reactor has added on an element of job support to the end of its program, some students feel that it’s not enough. One recent grad said that the job support element felt “jammed in” and could be better developed.
- Autonomous Learning: For the same reason we’ve listed autonomy as a ‘pro’, it can also be a con. If you thrive on 1:1 attention, Hack Reactor’s style may not be suitable.
Next, let’s talk about Rithm School.
Founded by experienced software engineers, Rithm aims to fill a gap in the bootcamp market. As a contrast to the larger, more autonomous programs like Hack Reactor, Rithm focuses more on small, capped class sizes and one-on-one learning.
Here’s an overview:
- Course Report Rating: 4.99
- Duration: The full-time program runs for 17 weeks
- Cost: $23,000
- Class Sizes: Small and capped at 20 students.
Rithm School is known for its personalized, hands-on approach to teaching. You’ll have a better work-life balance compared to Hack Reactor, with classes running from 9:30 am to 6 pm, Monday through Friday, with around 8-10 hours of weekend work.
However, expect a strict in-class experience that ensures everyone stays on track. Active participation during class is required and cameras must be turned on at all times.
Let’s look at the pros & cons.
Rithm School Pros:
- One-on-One Attention: The smaller class sizes at Rithm School translate to more individualized attention. Students get their questions answered promptly and benefit from daily code reviews, not found in other bootcamps.
- Experienced Instructors: The instructors at Rithm are both qualified educators and seasoned software engineers. Meaning, you’ll learn under instructors who have both extensive teaching expertise and hands-on experience in some of Silicon Valley’s largest tech companies.
- Strong Engineering Foundation: Rithm places a heavy emphasis on engineering fundamentals, decision-making skills, and “how to think” as a software engineer. Rithm graduates are not only coders but clean, structured thinkers who excel in team settings.
- Comprehensive Job Support: Rithm dedicates several weeks of its program to provide technical and behavioral job support. You’ll run through mock interviews, refine technical techniques, and network with other engineers to ensure you’re job-ready as soon as you graduate. Your dedicated mentor and career coach will also support you through job placement long after your cohort has ended.
- Professional Projects: Through Rithm’s popular company projects, you’ll drop into a large professional codebase, understand Git workflow, run daily stand-ups, and more. This is similar to starting a new job and provides great content for your future interviews.
Here’s what a recent grad said:
“The curriculum itself was rigorous and compact but comprehensive. It was certainly not easy to commit to the full-time schedule + weekend assignments, but Rithm does an amazing job in alleviating burnout and providing plenty of time for a life outside of the program, which not many bootcamps do!! The program places a lot of emphasis on pair programming and first-hand industry experience to build your portfolio. My instructors, Elie and Kadeem, were exceptional at breaking down complex topics and preparing us for real-world applications of those concepts. Overall, I left the program feeling largely prepared for the job market, and thanks to Sophie’s help, my cohort’s help, and my Rithm mentor’s help, I landed a position within 3 months :)” -Arlaine Sanchez
Rithm School Cons:
- No Part-time Option: Currently, Rithm School doesn’t offer part-time study, which might be restrictive for you depending on your schedule.
- Higher Price Point: At $24,000, the course is more expensive than Hack Reactor. However, Rithm has quite a few tuition options (like deferred tuition) to help students who need assistance.
- Little Flexibility in Attendance: Due to the hands-on nature of learning, there isn’t anywhere to hide. If you are hoping to get through with zero participation or live learning, Rithm probably isn’t the place for you.
Hack Reactor vs. Rithm School: Which Bootcamp Should You Choose?
As mentioned earlier, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. The best bootcamp for you depends on your learning style, schedule, and personal preferences.
If you’re comfortable with autonomous learning, can handle large classes, and have the time to dedicate to coding, Hack Reactor might be a good fit.
On the other hand, if you prefer hands-on learning, smaller classes, and intensive job support, Rithm School could be your choice.
Ultimately, it’s about finding the bootcamp that aligns with your goals and personality. We’ve also prepared a blog post with questions to help you make the right decision.
If you have questions about Rithm School or need further guidance, don’t hesitate to reach out. You can go ahead and apply, or join our upcoming information sessions.
Whichever path you choose, we wish you success in your coding journey.