Frequently Asked Questions

What is Codesmith?

Codesmith is a selective, need-blind 12 week program teaching Software Engineering and Machine Learning with locations at LA, NY and Oxford University. Graduates of the program typically earn between $95k and $120k (average salary $103k), build projects that have been featured at Google I/O earning 20,000+ Github stars and are advised by top engineers from Netflix, Facebook and Google.

Graduates are transforming healthcare at Heal and Impact Health, mental health at UCLA, and drone technology at Airmap, while others work on large systems at the top technology companies in the country including Amazon, Microsoft and LinkedIn.

Focusing largely on computer science and fullstack JavaScript, with an emphasis on the most valuable contemporary technologies - React, Redux, Node, build tools, and machine learning - this program enables Codesmith students (known as Residents) to build compelling open-source projects and ultimately move on to positions as leading software engineers.

Residents become engineers, not technicians, through a deep understanding of advanced JavaScript practices, fundamental computer science concepts (such as algorithms & data structures), and object oriented & functional programming. The curriculum drives Residents to develop strong problem-solving ability and technical communication skills, the most valued capacities in a software engineer.

In addition to its core curriculum, Codesmith offers an extensive hiring support program that guides Residents through whiteboarding, advanced technical interview practice, resume and profile development, and interview and networking strategies. Support continues upon graduation with bi-weekly check-ins and, after offers, negotiation support. Overall, 25% of graduates receive offers for Senior Engineer positions and above, and about 70% receive offers for Mid-level Engineer.

Is Codesmith a bootcamp?

Bootcamps typically take new aspiring developers and train them through lectures for entry level and junior developer jobs. This is a very legitimate path and some Codesmith residents attended a bootcamp prior to their acceptance into the program.

Codesmith takes more experienced programmers (from self-taught developers, members of the Java Script the Hard Parts community, up to in some rare cases CTO level) and through the development of projects of significance that must be released in ‘production’, prepares alumni for mid-to-senior level roles (around 25% of graduates get senior roles and above, and 70% get mid-level roles).

Where does the program take place?

Codesmith is located at the heart of the Los Angeles tech community in Playa Vista and in New York City's SoHo.

Why do you teach JavaScript?

JavasScript is the language of the modern web. It has enabled many of the revolutionary experiences created over the past 5 years, from Google Maps to Spotify. However, historically, it has needed to be paired with something else like Python to build out full applications.

The emergence of server-side JavaScript means developers can now create rich, lightning-fast applications in pure JavaScript from end-to-end.

Focusing primarily on a single language to learn CS concepts, front-end development, and back-end development is a crucial part of what makes the extraordinary rate of learning during the Codesmith program possible.

Do you offer a part time program?

We do not offer a part time version of our 12 week academy, but we do offer other part time programs. We offer Framework, which is a selective four week evening and weekend program designed for those newer to JavaScript. The course is focused on problem solving in JavaScript and technical communication. Many applicants treat our weekly workshops on JavaScript like a part time course, check out our upcoming events in LA here and in NYC here.

Do you offer any online programs?

While Codesmith does not offer online versions of its multi-week immersive programs, we do have online video walkthroughs, coding challenges and blog posts for fundamental and advanced topics. These can be found here. Happy coding!

What diversity initiatives does Codesmith have?

Diversity is a top priority at Codesmith. Through parterships with Girl Develop It, Women Who Code, Lesbians Who Tech, implicit bias workshops for students on-site, and scholarships for those under-represented in tech, Codesmith is committed to evening the playing field. Check out our Women in Software Engineering Meetup and our LA and NYC event pages for upcoming partner events.

How can I prepare for the application and interview?

We are assessing for five capacities in applicants:

Technical communication, problem solving, JavaScript and programming knowledge, non-technical communication and engineering best practices (Read more here on Quora )

Top resources for technical communication, problem solving and best practices:

  • Pair-programming and going under-the-hood of JavaScript at JS the Hard Parts and Saturday workshops at Codesmith
  • Coding Challenge sites like: Codewars , Coderbyte, LeetCode, HackerRank, Project Euler
  • Web development challenge sites like: Nodeschool , Exercism.io
  • PythonTutor - Allows you to run through your code line by line similar to the JS the Hard Parts white boarding approach. Run each of your Codewars solutions through PythonTutor to ensure you truly understand your solution
  • JavaScript30 - Build a project with simple JavaScript each day for 30 days - excellent for improving your problem-solving (Tackle the problem before watching any solution)
  • Building chrome extensions - these focused projects let you focus on JavaScript problem-solving not copying and pasting boilerplate code. Follow the challenges in this email series

Top resources for JavaScript and programming knowledge:

More introductory resources:

Am I ready?

While Codesmith is a highly immersive program, we're more interested in your approach to problem solving and potential to handle the material of the program than the extent of your current programming knowledge. That being said, the program is highly selective. Therefore we have extesnive classes on JavaScript and comptuer science to help you with your interview preparation in LA and NYC. To get started remotely you can begine your journey with our resources here.

How does the technical interview work?

The technical interview is meant to assess your preparedness to get the most out of the intense journey ahead and to contribute to our supportive community. We allow students to interview on-site or online, though we highly recommend students come on-stie if they live close to one of our campuses.

During the interview, applicants are presented with a series of JavaScript challenges during a one hour session. Content includes topics covered in our free JavaScript the Hard Parts meetup and in the resources we recommend as preparation. The interview is not about how fast you speed through all the challenges (which, by the way, is actually an endless list). It is about assessing your readiness in several core competencies, such as JavaScript experience, engineering best practices, and technical communication. That last item is particularly important in the interview: Expect to talk about your code a lot - before, during, and after each challenge.

I have a computer science degree. Is this program for me?

Many of our students have CS degrees prior to joining Codesmith. While we do place an emphasis on computer science fundamentals that CS graduates may be familar with, the bulk of the program focuses on the invaluable industry preparation that computer science majors and employers both complain is missing from typical undergraduate programs.

Do you accept non-us citizens?

Yes - we have had many international students at Codesmith. However, depending on your visa length and status, you may find it hard to get hired in the US. Here's a good starting point for understanding your options.

What is the typical age of a Codesmith student?

There is no lower or upper age limit on Codesmith applicants. We have had expecptional students under twenty and over fifty. Read more on what we look for in our applicants here.

What is in the precourse?

In order to hit the ground running from day one, admitted students are required to complete precourse material that covers many of the basics and begins to challenge them to think critically about problem solving and web development. Topics include core functional and object-oriented concepts in JavaScript, building web pages in HTML and CSS, and designing algorithms. Students are also set up with a few of the tools they will use as software engineers, including Git/Github, Bash, and test driven learning. Office hours and additional support are available to students during this phase.

How much can I learn in 12 weeeks?

When we call Codesmith an intensive program we really mean it. We have designed the curriculum to provide the core components of a computer science degree and associated internships within the program. You complete 12 weeks of full time learning with 11 directly supported hours of learning and building each day, Monday-Saturday.

In addition, many students (and even instructors) stay long past 8pm in the evening - with many students spending 100+ hours per week coding. Prior to the program start date you'll also complete an additional 3 units of preparatory material.

What new technologies have recently been added to the curriculum?

We’re excited to announce the addition of the Machine Learning unit to the Codesmith core curriculum. With the exponential growth of data generation in recent years, Machine Learning is a crucial tool for building the most transformative products. The Machine Learning unit includes an immersive introduction to the python programming language, common machine learning and data science libraries, and the underlying concepts used daily by Machine Learning Software Engineers. This unit is designed to give students the capacity to continue to develop their Machine Learning understanding beyond the program and to contribute to ML work in their roles as software engineers.

What is the time commitment?

You will be a student at Codesmith for a span of 13 weeks (with one off-site ideation week in the middle). During the weeks prior to that, you are expected to complete 3 units of preparatory material we provide. After graduating, there is the expectation that you have no plans that keep you from rigorously focusing on finding your new job.

What else do we do outside of code?

You will be spending the vast majority of your hours learning and writing code - that's what makes it possible for you to experience the equivalent of a CS degree and associated internships in just 12 weeks. However, you'll have plenty of time to get to know the truly remarkable group of people around you at Codesmith. Students typically spend dinner and lunch together as well as morning group yoga sessions and evening social events. Check out more here, and follow us on our social media for more updates.

What happens after the program ends?

The Codesmith hiring program provides extensive support to prepare for the job search after the on-site portion of the program is completed. From early on in the program we prepare you for technical interviews and to help you stand out as an engineer. Hours of mock interviewing, whiteboarding and resume iteration culminate in Demo Day where you present to 25+ companies followed by one-on-one interviews during your last week of the program.

Our hiring support continues long after the onsite program completes and you land your first job. Graduates have bi-weekly check ins with staff, and are advised on all phases throughout the job search.

You then join the Codesmith alumni community. You'll be forever part of this tight-knit group of engineers and creatives. You'll have access to all of the Codesmith exclusive networking events and advanced workshops.

Is a job guaranteed?

It can never be guaranteed, but through our hiring program you will be in the best position possible with the experience, skill, and preparation to be hired as a mid- to senior-level engineer.

What are the payment options?

The total tuition for the 12-week software engineering residency program is $17,200. A deposit of $2,200 is required shortly after acceptance, and the remaining $15,000 is due before the start of the cohort.

Codesmith and SkillsFund have partnered to provide access to as many students as possible. Students are eligible to borrow up to the full tuition for the program, as well as up to $2,000 per month for living expenses, with 3- and 5-year payment terms available. Highlights include one fixed universal interest rate for all students (regardless of credit score), no income nor employment used in underwriting, cosigner options, no prepayment penalties, 2-month post-graduation grace period, and expect to know your interest rate and monthly repayment amounts prior to starting your loan application.

To learn more about our Skills Fund partnership, you can find the full details here.

Additionally, other companies that offer financing options for immersive programs include: Avant, Prosper, and Lending Club.

If you have further questions, feel free to email us or find any team member on-site during our events.

Are scholarships available?

Women, minorities and veterans are severely underrepresented in the technology community. We have a small number of scholarships available at Codesmith for talented people from underrepresented backgrounds. To apply for these scholarships you must be an admitted woman (of any race), under-represented minority (defined as African-American, Hispanic/Latino(a), Pacific Islander or Native American).

For admitted students that demonstrate financial need as well as excellence in both serving their community and their dedication to learning, there will be the opportunity to apply for a Dean's Scholarship that will contribute to the student's tuition.

Plan to apply for a scholarship and Skills Fund loan? Your requested Skills Fund loan amount can be downward adjusted as needed prior to your first day in program. If you receive your scholarship after your tuition financing has been disbursed, you can apply your scholarship to your loan balance at anytime without a prepayment penalty.

Read more about our scholarships here.

Are living and housing included?

We keep our kitchen regularly stocked with breakfast foods and snacks, and beyond that students arrange their own food and housing. There are many restaurant, fast food and fast casual places around Codesmith that provide students with a plethora of food options. On the housing front, we are happy to help students with advice and potential apartmentmates - new students often end up sharing accommodations, especially if they weren't local before joining Codesmith.