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Show HN: App Academy Open – Free Online Coding Bootcamp (appacademy.io)
79 points by CesareBorgia on Oct 17, 2018 | hide | past | favorite | 30 comments



Hey all! We launched App Academy on HN 6 years ago (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4505752), and since then a lot’s happened. We’ve graduated and placed thousands of folks as engineers and actually placed more people as software engineers at Google (30 vs 22) than UC Berkeley has since 2016! Today, we are fulfilling a dream that I’ve had for some time: to put the whole curriculum online, for free. We’ve built a learning platform around it and we’re really excited to give people a taste (or the whole thing!) of the curriculum to help you understand what we’re about.


What is your source for placing more software engineers at google the UC Berkeley? Looking at the 2017 career destination surveys https://career.berkeley.edu/Survey/2017Majors Computer Science https://career.berkeley.edu/sites/default/files/pdf/Survey/2... has 21 Software engineers at google from the 40% who responded to the survey and Electrical Engineering and Computer Science https://career.berkeley.edu/sites/default/files/pdf/Survey/2... has 15 Software engineers at google from the 41% who responded.


What does the paid service offer that this free one doesn't? I'm assuming career guidance/placement. If that's the case, will completing this free offering still grant me access to a better career?


We have 2 paid options. The mentorship option is a $29.99/month subscription to a Slack channel (i.e. chat room) with one or more App Academy instructional staff 60 hours a week (M-F 6AM-6PM). If it sounds like an insanely good deal, that's because it is :) The placement based plan is the same experience as our full-time, in-person course, but online. You get instructional support, live q&a, pair programming, career support, etc. On this option, we don't get paid until you find a job, so we keep fighting until you do. In that case, it's 17% of your salary for two years, up to $30k total.


Great, thanks for the response!


Free version teaches you things. Just like many other resources of self-learning. In that way it gives you access to a better career. Not sure what else you might mean.


Yes, of course. I wasn't trying to denigrate that aspect. Just wondering if there were any other perks the paid version provides.


> "I learned more real-world skills in 12 weeks than my Stanford degree taught me."

I'd hope the author of that quote was paying very little attention, because I find this hard to swallow.

My problem with these programming bootcamps is that they seem almost more focused on a shallow but fun dive than teaching people thoroughly. That's not problematic in it of itself if it gets people interested, but I'd hunch a guess that most of the graduates of these bootcamps are not going on to self-study more intensely after.

In my opinion, these bootcamps generally teach you to be a barely average web developer. If you are sufficiently self-motivating, self-study is a great idea, but you don't need a bootcamp for this.

I'm not one to judge people on whether or not they have a degree, but I think there is real value in an equivalent curriculum for self-studying.

If I have the choice to hire someone fresh out of a web development bootcamp and someone who was self-studying compiler design, I'm hiring the compiler design person every time, even if it's a web development job.

I don't know why this is teaching jQuery anymore. But why do you need this course for JavaScript when you have the excellent MDN guides for beginners to use? I think people are afraid of reading and prefer to be spoonfed.

If you want mentorship, there's usually a good subreddit, Discord or Slack server that doesn't cost you $30 / month.

I'm just extremely skeptical of the value that any of these bootcamps bring. AppAcademy appears to bring good results for hiring, but I don't believe that it's the most effective method of learning.


As a self-taught web dev, I don't think I could find any "mentorship" in reddit, discord or Slack. This is like saying HN substitute for YC office hours with experienced mentors.

Knowing a few people from bootcamps, it is clear to me that it is not "fun", it is work.

Your impression that bootcamps are for people who do not want to read anymore is plain wrong.

And self-teaching and bootcamps are not excludent. Actually, I was told that this is exactly what make a difference between bootcampers. The ones who think that all you need from bootcamp is the certificate, usually fail to have a career in software development. The ones that understand that the bootcamp is only the beginning, an accelerator and guidance for your learning, and you have to self-teach you a lot of things, those succeed.


If you want to learn frontend web development for instance, bootcamp curriculum is inferior to simply reading Mozilla Developer Network.

Paying for mentorship itself in programming is over-rated:

Question about career advice? Programming Discussions Discord server, /r/cscareerquestions, Discord servers with #career-advice channels.

Stuck on a topic you're trying to learn and need help? /r/learnprogramming, one of the numerous Discord or Slack servers available.

Code not working? StackOverflow, Reddit, Discord, Slack.

Advice on improving code, best practices for software development? Code review StackExchange, software engineering StackExchange, Discord severs, et cetera.

Practice problems? Leetcode, HackerRank, other challenge sites.

A web development bootcamp is not going to teach you anything there is not a better resource already available for.

When many people (I'm speaking very generally here, not talking about you) talk about mentors in programming, they want someone to hold their hand and spoonfeed them information. If one wants to be pointed into the right direction, there are ample places for that.


Well, I think we just disagree in how effective are these substitutes.


There are a lot of comments in here saying instructors spoon-feed content.

I attended a bootcamp, and maybe other bootcamp grads can back up my claim here but...

Instructors don't spoon-feed material.

Curriculums are set up to be project or goal-based, kind of like being given specs or requirements in the working world.

What instructors do is teach you HOW to effectively learn. They also explain some of the more complicated nuances of a language...spots where a learners mental model typically struggle, that aren't well explained in Stack Overflow or MDN. And that's probably where learning gets expedited.

I don't refute self-learning as an effective means of finding an engineering job, but if you're starting with zero programming background, your only feedback loop is the compiler or interpreter giving you a result you didn't expect.

Sure, there's definitely some curated content. But it's not the job of an instructor to diffuse every API or system design needed to stand up an app into a students brain.

There's a difference between being told what to do, versus being coached how to do something effectively. And I think the two are conflated because of the perception or marketing bootcamps offer.

Any other bootcamp grads with the same experience? Or am I alone here?


I think one of the main values and unique components is that this is a curated and cohesive program. A new learner never knows what they need to know to learn the next topic and any random resource is likely to be a mix of confusing and tediously boring because the author has their own opinions on what the student should and should not yet know. This entire course is put together by the same group of people, so if you are following it linearly, you are being taught exactly what you need to know to move forward. You don't have to explore the graph of knowledge hoping to learn enough on your own.


Almost all the work hours (vast majority) seem to be for the projects in the sections I looked at that I’m interested in. But the projects are almost entirely done on your own with little guidance. For a project that’s supposed to take 6 hours for example, maybe the equivalent of 2 pages of content is given for it. I was hoping it would be more involved than that.

Still great to release the content of course!


The quote from the learner: "I learned more real-world skills in 12 weeks than my Stanford degree taught me" reminds me of that both ways penguin meme.

On one hand shows App Academy is "better" than Stanford.

On the other hand to be successful one already has to have a degree from a top 3 school.

That being said nice job having the materials available for free


Lol good point. It is worth mentioning that a lot of folks with no college degree (sometimes without a high school degree) have successfully been placed in awesome dev jobs with this same curriculum through App Academy. Folks from top 3 (or even top 25) schools are definitely in the minority at App Academy.


That's because we live in the old way of thinking (degree = smart, no degree = you are an idiot). Overtime, I can see that way of thinking slowly degrading, especially as more people are exposed to high-quality online courses.


This program looks incredible. I just want to thank you for putting something like this out there for free.


Is there any way to get the free content without running javascript from your site in my browser, giving you my email, or signing up for anything?

Ideally I'd just like some links to the PDFs or videos I can wget without any further hassle.


Congrats Kush and team! Happy graduate from 2013 here :) Keep up the great work!


What is the curriculum? Is it web development or mobile development?


Web dev. The stack is Rails/React/Redux but we do spend a significant amount of time on language/framework agnostic skills so that folks can pick up new tech fast and so that they have the tools to transition into other fields of software engineering such as mobile.


Is there anything similar but based on Python rather than Ruby?


anybody want to form a long term study group?



Dupe submission was allowed by mods through HN’s second-chance queue system (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11662380)


Gotcha.


Wages are not rising, what is the use of flooding the market?


Incredibly selfish opinion. If you want more money for yourself, become a better asset to an employer and learn to negotiate. You don't move up by holding down the rest of the world.


Before a man was getting paid 40k a year. Now his wife joins. Congratulations, you both fools now get paid 20k each.




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