Some highlights from Yelp:
"Their web immersive is a joke, but you'll never hear anyone admit that because they make you sign a waver/NDA that you promise not to tell anyone anything truthful/negative about your GA experience."
"Most of the money goes towards the advertising and marketing team, they have more marketers running around doing nothing all day than actual instructional staff."
"Sup-par teaching conditions: we were in a kitchen with a loud fridge in the back"
"Our teacher for our immersive was so underprepared and unenthusiastic and unqualified that the students tried to get him fired."
"The tables were jammed so tight in the room that we used to joke if there was a fire, no one would get out alive."
And to be fair, the Yelp link you've posted also has a number of very positive reviews, you just didn't post quotes from them.
1) The instructors: They are sharp, highly engaging, both active participants in the local start-up and open data communities.
2) The location: It's IN the biggest start-up incubator in DC, 1776.
3) The integration with people who are hiring and non-profit DC organizations who want help with their data. We are already having start-ups coming in to recruit with test projects (which is in my opinion the ideal way to hire)
I think the shittiness of the SF class has more to do with SF and their ridiculous VC bubble and talent shortage than anything else.
Edit: I meant to add this: Most of these type of courses really don't think about industry WORKFLOWS. This course, instead of relying on people submitting their assignments to instructors via email or a website, is instead forcing students to learn Git (if they don't already know it) and then merge their answers into the official class repository as if it were a large codebase. This is one small example of the industry focus of this course. I think the reason this course is so good is (unfortunately) the reason the SF course referenced above was so shitty: they give free reign to the instructor without over-burdening them. This allows a great instructor to shine but also lets shit instructors to really tank.
Their pivot/focus on education seems to be unfortunate, not sure how they can get money back for their investors when education's future is more likely things like coursera (especially with their specialization tracks) udacity and edx.
That said, I do hope they succeed, I never had a bad time sitting on their couches.
What happens when the old wood (stubborn, ignorant, ingrained) dies off and people who don't care about a college degree start hiring those educated with Khan Academy/Coursea?
In any case, that's irrelevant. Even if employers warm up to online education, I still see heavily-marketed, lowest common denominator type places dominating. Maybe Westwood College will be dead, but the MOOC equivalent will be thriving. They'll be the ones making all the money (which is what 'ludicast was posting was about).
GA Data Science (4000$ and taught by MBAs): https://generalassemb.ly/education/data-science/new-york-cit...
Johns Hopkins Data Science via Coursera (490$, taught by Professors of Biostatistics, and granting a cert with Hopkins' name on it): https://www.coursera.org/specialization/jhudatascience/1?utm...
Now I'm not taking either class, but going to be very hard for GA to compete with things like this (and not to mention the outrageous quality codeschool.com pumps out). Let alone the rent they must pay for their awesome spaces.
Spanish, Chemistry, EE, Woodworking, Gross Anatomy and other classes with a serious lab component need an offline element for sure. But they are teaching things that most people usually pick up better from blogs, coursera, etc. (IMHO).
GA is something like the University of Phoenix meets the Apple Store. In-demand course offerings, aspirational customers, sexy downtown location.
Good luck earning all that money back though.
Show me one person who takes a University of Phoenix degree seriously.
Regarding the online stuff like Johns Hopkins, I'm a self-learner. I love doing the online courses, but there is something that is fun, engaging, and advantageous to meeting classmates in person. Unlike University of Phoenix, this is a class where people are actively building shit. You can clearly and objectively see who is and is not competent among your classmates. This makes identifying people you would want to work with a lot easier. This won't happen in an online class.
But let me add: 4000 is a lot. I probably couldn't have swung it without my company picking up the tab.
Look at fad diets, get rich quick schemes, "one strange trick to perfect x," all those hilarious exercise machine informercials... people love the idea that they can get something for next to nothing, in terms of both effort and cost.
I imagine there's room for both (and for the middle ground, which apparently this is), but for many reasons, I don't see the online-only model going away (or even stalling).
I know a few people that put on hackathon events and apparently GA jacked up their prices far enough to become totally unaffordable, hence why everyone ended up going to Pivotal Labs instead.
That said, there's plenty of great places here in NYC to co-work from, so it's probably all for the best.
Once the focus becomes the return for investors instead of the quality of instruction/training, it's a bad alignment of incentives. It seems in these cases there was a rush to expand before they'd really figured out the long lasting recipe of what actually works beyond marketing gimmicks. They're the "cool" version of DeVry and University of Phoenix, dumping more $$ into marketing than into their product.
Contrast this with codeschool.com that has raised $0 to date and is a much better way to learn. Or with some of the better in-person learn to code, design, etc programs, none of the good ones have raised any money. From my experience with all of these, and there seems to be a significantly negative correlation between taking large amounts of VC money and quality. FWIW.
Obviously GA would have the advantage of a theoretical community, but at least in SF... that doesn't exist for them anyway.
So without speaking the quality of the classes themselves - GA specifically, or the concept of online v. in-person - this is a perspective worth considering before slamming the in-person education model altogether. Execution of the actually classes is obviously a separate discussion, but as I said one I'm not prepared to address.
My view is this: if a class has good teachers, a difficult, portfolio driven curriculum, and a decently high-bar of entry (my DBA coworker struggled to be admitted to the course because he was rusty in his programming skills. He ended up having to put in a lot of time just to be able to pass their test to gain admission into the course), then it will probably be a good course to take.
I subsequently signed up for a longer front end course after that. True, a bit pricey, but I like a classroom setting and committing myself to a regular learning block each week.
There's a lot of negativity here on their pivot and marketing. I just like that they're talking about building a company to last. (Of course the VCs will want their money back well before 75 years)
I hear you though.
If so, would you recommend them?
"Apollo Education Group Inc., APOL +1.38% best known for its University of Phoenix for-profit college, is expected to launch an "online marketplace" dubbed Balloon on Tuesday. It will start with a catalogue of nearly 15,000 technology classes from big-name course providers including Microsoft Corp. MSFT -0.84% , Adobe Systems Inc., ADBE -0.89% Coursera and Udacity, and explicitly link them to job opportunities."
They will try to acquire some company in this area, GA or other.
That said, they did try to fit a lot in the 12 weeks, but there are so many facets of the tech stack they didn't cover (they rushed through html/css quite a bit, so those that don't know it will still feel lost after the course unless they dedicate some time to get it down. They also don't cover things like how to host your app on AWS, only Heroku).
The redeeming quality they have is that they do seem to care a lot about students' outcomes. After the course ends, they try their hardest to get everybody a junior dev position or apprenticeship. There's a great support network for this and people on staff dedicated to students' outcomes.
For me, the course was worth it because:
* I had some background in web design before
* It was hard for me to teach myself, not knowing what to google or what path to take
* I got an apprenticeship afterwards which turned into a full time position
But about half my classmates did not get a job or full-time position. Your mileage may vary.
For those of you trumpeting code school: It's fucking awesome, but for people like me with full-time day jobs, it will never work. I like GA, and I hope they don't turn into a University of Phoenix dressed up like an Apple store. That would be sad.