Alchemy Code Lab Review: Land a Mid-Level Placement Job

April 21, 2021
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Formerly known as Code Fellows, Alchemy Code Lab is a tech school located in Portland that offers its students two full-time courses: Developer 101, designed to discover if the tech industry is right for them, and the Professional Software Development program, which grants them the skills to land mid-level placement jobs with a median salary of $80,000 upon graduation.

The school also offers several payment plans and scholarships, which gives students from almost any background the opportunity to study and excel as software developers in the tech industry. If you want to learn more about Alchemy Code Lab, click on the button below.

Alchemy Code Lab is a full-time in-person and online course in Portland, Oregon, that offers its students the ability to land mid-level placement jobs upon graduation. They offer two courses. The first one is Developer 101, a free course to teach students the basics of software development and discover if this is the right career path for them. The second one is their Professional Software Development Program that teaches students full-stack software development.

Whether their students are new to coding or just want to take their skills to the next level, the school’s curriculum and hands-on approach to learning will prepare them for a rewarding career in tech.

The curriculum and philosophy of the school have been designed by experts in the field who know what the industry is looking for. Their Advisory Board (made by local company software engineers) regularly meets their teachers to shape and plan the curriculum based on local tech companies’ needs.

Who Is It For?

Alchemy Code Lab helps people who want a career in tech located in Portland get an education that allows them to land mid-level placement jobs upon graduation. This is a 25-week long Professional Software Development program. They also work hard on fostering an inclusive environment where women, LGBTQIA+, veterans and students from all different backgrounds can study comfortably and become software developers. This is also a full-time commitment, so all applicants should make sure they have the time to go through the program.

Students need no previous work experience in software development, but going through the Developer 101 program is highly encouraged. The Developer 101 is a free, 1-week long program that covers software development basics for those who still aren’t sure if software development is the right career path or school for them.

Features & Benefits

Here are a few of the most important features and benefits of Alchemy Code Lab:

Well-Aligned Incentives

Alchemy Code Lab offers an Income Share Agreement (ISA) through a partnership with Social Finance, a non-profit organization dedicated to social impact. This payment plan allows students to start paying for their education once they start earning $50k or more and gives them the opportunity to succeed within the first five weeks of the program without owing tuition if they leave early. Some applicants may also be eligible for an additional $7,500 for living stipend. If they require it, applicants have to express their interest during the admissions process.

Free Material

Alchemy Code Lab’s introductory program, Developer 101, has the objective to teach enrolled students the basics of programming as well as setting the pace of their longest, more rigorous program. It’s a good way for applicants to determine if coding is really their thing and if Alchemy Code Lab is the right fit for them.

The program is a one-week, full-time commitment and absolutely free.

Mentorship

Mentorship is a bib part of Alchemy Code Lab's MO. It involves daily and strategic assistance that is given to each individual student during the course and after, through empathetic interactions. The school works with experienced professionals within the industry and professional staff members, who use their professional know-how to help students succeed in a work-simulated environment.

Lifetime Benefits

Alchemy Code Lab’s career services are woven into the program from day one, granting tailored guidance and individual coaching to students who benefit from their connections in the Portland tech community and alumni network. Alchemy Code Lab is committed to its students’ success from day one and well after graduation.

Career services will be there for their graduates every time they need them. It doesn’t matter if this is a graduate’s first or fifth job. Alchemy Code Lab will help provide industry insight for their graduates’ positions through their vast network.

An In-Depth Look At Every Course

Alchemy Code Lab offers its students two different sets of courses:

Number one is a basic course called Developer 101 intended for people who are curious about the school or coding but haven’t decided if this is the right bootcamp for them. This course lasts one week and is an optional prep class for those who seek to start a career in the tech industry.

Number two is a 25-week long Professional Software Development Program designed to teach its students the most modern tools, tech and practices in the software development industry. This program also includes career development services and job search assistance after graduation.

#1 Developer 101: Tool Set up and Intro to Web Development

Alchemy Code Lab’s introductory program has the objective to teach enrolled students the basics of programming as well as setting the pace of their longest, more rigorous program. It is a good way for applicants to find out if coding is really their thing and if Alchemy Code Lab is the right fit for them.

Other relevant information about the course includes:

LocationPortland
Class Size30
Time CommitmentFull-time
Course Length1 week
CostFree

Throughout the week that the program will last, students will learn the basics of web development, concentrating on the following:

  • Using HTML, CSS and JavaScript to solve problems like software developers.
  • Experience Alchemy’s live, interactive, connected online classroom style.
  • Meet peers and start collaborating with them.
  • Hear from Alchemy alumni about how their transition to a software development career has positively impacted their lives.
  • Gain familiarity and comfort with remote work, which is here to stay
  • Get professional, developer grade tools set up on your computer and understand how those tools relate to doing web development

#2 Professional Software Development Program

Alchemy Code Lab’s Professional Software Development Program will teach its students the most modern programming languages and development methods. Alumni will learn how to work with larger, more complex code bases and build systems in a collaborative environment.

Students leave with a robust GitHub profile with projects and portfolio pieces. This course grants its students an in-depth career development curriculum to get them ready for their job search, plus job search assistance after graduation.

To take this course, students will have to do some prep-work that will teach them the basics of Git, JavaScript, HTML, CSS and they also have the option of attending the free Developer 101 course.

Other relevant information about the course includes:

LocationPortland
Class Size30
Start DatesApril, June, August and September
Time CommitmentFull-time
Course Length25 weeks
Cost$24,000

Alchemy Code Lab teaches its students how to do full-stack programming by sectioning the program into four units:

CODE 102 – Intro to Developer Tools and Learning

Week 0-1 

During the first week, students will familiarize themselves with the tools and details concerning software development. This allows them to get used to the rigorous pace that the program will take in the following weeks.

During this week, students will learn:

  • Computer setup – VSCode, Terminal, and Git.
  • Introduction to web application development – HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.
  • The computer as a developer tool – Tips, tricks, and shortcuts.
  • Testing and system validation – Intro.
  • Group collab in remote environments.
  • Continuous learning as a software developer

CODE 201 – Fundamentals of Software Development

Weeks 1-6 

Through the next five weeks, students learn how to use HTML, CSS and JavaScript to build functional applications that run in modern web browsers. In this section, they practice with fundamental tools and methods used by professionals in the field and complete their first collaborative project within this section's final week.

During these weeks, students will learn:

  • Defining a website’s structure with HTML5
  • Applying CSS and HTML to implement page layout styles, including grid, fluid, & responsive techniques -colour typography and images.
  • JavaScript to control Document Object Model (DOM) of the browser to make interactive web projects that display content dynamically based on data and respond to user input and events.
  • Test-Driven Development (TDD) with qUnit to create tested, verified functions through unit testing that enforces correct code behaviour, including Continuous Integration (CI) testing in the cloud.
  • Write JavaScript code that is efficient, error-free, and passes a code linter.
  • Use the development tools with the Chrome browser to inspect and adapt your code.
  • Adopt standard control tools and workflows (including Git, GitHub, and VSCode) to write functional, properly styled code and collaborate efficiently and harmoniously in professional environments

CODE 301 – Intermediate Software Development

Weeks 6-11 

For another five weeks, students will be learning the basic patterns of component-based web application development with React (a modern front-end library) while broadening their knowledge of the background technologies. Students will start expanding their knowledge beyond the browser to create web servers and databases to share data across the internet. They will leverage libraries and third-party APIs to augment their web applications and deploy them in the cloud while working on collaborative projects with their cohort teammates.

During these weeks, students will learn:

  • Design and create web applications using React JSX-templating, components, and basic state management techniques.
  • Fundamentals of how the World Wide Web works, over the internet.
  • Navigate and utilize asynchronous programming for communication between the browser, web server, third-party APIs, and the database.
  • Use NodeJS and ExpressJS to build a web server.
  • Design dynamic frontend and backend apps that can function together or independently and are deployed to a cloud platform
  • Utilize SQL to effectively read and write data using a Postgres database, persisting one-to-many relational data across multiple tables in a SQL database, sourced from third-party API or user-generated content.
  • Work with string, array, and object data structures and algorithms to solve code challenges with pure JavaScript programming.
  • Utilize dependency management techniques to build with third-party libraries.
  • Follow agile software development practices during week-long sprints, including pair-programming, stand-ups, daily retrospectives, project management with Kanban boards, regular refactoring, and working in a shared codebase.
  • Be fully prepared for Code 401 in Full Stack JavaScript development

CODE 401 – Advanced Software Development in Full-Stack JavaScript

Weeks 11-25 

The last 14 weeks of Alchemy Code Lab’s Professional Software Development Program teaches its students how to power the internet with professional, full-stack web applications built with Node.js on the server-side and modern front-end libraries and frameworks (including React) for the client-side. This last section allows the deep dive into the tools, tech and processes needed to be a professional full-stack JavaScript developer and work in collaborative projects to create sustainable apps with leading front-end frameworks and libraries.

This last part is designed so that students will learn algorithms and data structures, professional software development techniques, and the industry’s best practices as they advance their skills. They will learn to use thoughtful, tested approaches to build reliable, clean code. 

During these weeks, students will learn:

  • To build and contribute to server-side and client-side applications, using architectures and frameworks that promote maintainability, scalability, and collaboration. These skills will be fully demonstrated during project week during their team development of a prototype, adhering to industry best practices and patterns.
  • Gain professional proficiency with ExpressJS, NodeJS, Authentication and Authorization, advanced SQL, React, Redux, and React Hooks
  • Integrate and leverage third-party ecosystems like Twitter, Twilio, and Slack to extend their applications’ reach.
  • Apply Computer Science fundamentals in analyzing the trade-offs between competing solutions when choosing algorithms and JavaScript coding patterns and practices that do not degrade the performance or functionality of the application
  • Establish a compelling online brand, network, and resume featuring the professional software development knowledge, experience, habits, and practices that they have gained.
  • Demonstrate their skill and understanding in personal and technical interviews, and drive a successful search for your job as a Full Stack JavaScript or Front End Web Development.

Job Placement & Career Support

Alchemy Code Lab’s career services are woven into the program from day one, granting tailored guidance and individual coaching to their students who benefit from their connections in the Portland tech community and alumni network. From day one, Alchemy Code Lab is committed to its students’ success.

The school offers individualized attention and support for all aspects of a student’s career transition. The program includes:

Individualized support because every student is different and enrolls in the program with a unique background and valuable experiences. They work 1-on-1 to determine the best way to position a student in the industry through real and strategic rebranding.

Career curriculum, designed so that students can hone in their professional development. Alchemy Code Lab’s curriculum is robust and designed to make them grow professionally while becoming software developers. Additionally, they’ll make tailored resumes and presence online. The school’s goal is to help its students build their tech community and prepare them to land a job as soon as possible.

Mock interviews, every graduate will have the opportunity to practice interviewing with the career services team and industry experts from local tech companies. While instructors will teach them to crack code challenges, the school will also prepare them to feel comfortable in the interview process.

Industry experts will be brought in as guest speakers who share industry tips and experiences like preparing for an interview, body language, the value of soft skills, etc.

Ongoing support, career services will be there for their graduates until they land their first job and even after. Alchemy Code Lab will help provide industry insight for their graduates’ positions through their vast network.

Demo days, during final project week, students complete the intensive team sprint, building a full-stack application that showcases all of their abilities. Hiring managers, local recruiters and software developers take this opportunity to meet graduates and take a look at their work.

Campus community, hosting meetups to Friday social hours, hackathons and workshops on campus, the school offers many opportunities to interact with industry professionals, allowing students to build a network. They are a welcoming and inclusive community of students, alumni, and industry professionals that come back regularly.

Residency, focused on training students to enter their careers as mid-level software developers with no need for an internship. The school also hires a lot of their graduates as software developers at their tech consultancy, AppLab. There, both students and graduates gain real-world experience building apps for startups and entrepreneurs.

Student Outcomes

Alchemy Code Lab is specialized in mid-level placements, so their students usually have a managerial position over entry-level employees. Here is a summary of their student outcome data:

Median starting salary for full-time roles$80,000
Average job-seeking time11 Weeks
Graduation rate93%
Woking in tech87%

As of 2021, their more than 300 graduates work in big, international companies like:

Tivix, Inc.NikeThe GoodZapproved
Lithia Motors, Inc.KinshipMarmosetGoldman Sachs
KickstandOpenSesameWisdom HealthNew Relic Inc.
EsriWalmart Labs.SprinklrKroger
AcornsVacasaLeanpathCDK Global
AdobeEbaySamsungPayPal

Costs, Payment Plans & Scholarships

Alchemy Code Lab’s bootcamp costs $24,000, and they offer various options for paying or funding a student’s education. Their goal is to give students more than education by introducing them to a network of people to help them jumpstart their careers.

Payment Plans

#1 Self Funding

Students can either pay in advance or set up a payment plan.

#2 GI Bill® and Veteran Benefits

These can cover up to 100% of Alchemy Code Lab’s fee and need to be notified to admissions within the application process. They accept:

  • Post-9/11 GI Bill® (Ch. 33)
  • Montgomery GI Bill® (Ch. 30)
  • Select Reserve GI Bill® (Ch. 1606)
  • REAP GI Bill® (Ch. 1607)
  • Dependents Educational Assistance (DEA) (Ch. 35)

GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official US Government Website.

#3 Income Share Agreement (ISA)

Alchemy Code Lab’s ISA is done through a partnership with Social Finance, a non-profit organization dedicated to social impact. This payment plan allows students to start paying for their education once they start earning $50k or more and gives them the opportunity to succeed within the first five weeks of the program without owing tuition if they leave early. Some applicants may also be eligible for an additional $7,500 living stipend. Applicants need to express their interest during the admissions process.

#4 Ascent Private Lending Loans

Formerly known as SkillsFund, this is the school’s primary lender. It offers a tuition loan and an optional cost-of-living loan that reaches up to $10,500. Alchemy Code Lab recommends talking to admissions before applying for funding, especially if they qualify for a scholarship.

Scholarships

Alchemy Code Lab also offers three different scholarships for its students. Applicants must have been admitted into the program before the selection.

#1 Alchemy Diversity in Tech Scholarship

This scholarship aims to break barriers and provide better opportunities for self-identifying women, LGBTQIA+, veterans, and students from racial and ethnic backgrounds.

#2 PDX WIT

PDX WIT & Alchemy will award a $5,000 scholarship to one student that identifies as a woman with black and/or indigenous background.

#3 WWCode Portland

WWCode Portland & Alchemy will award a $2,500 scholarship for women in partnership with Women Who Code Portland. This scholarship is given quarterly to two women per cohort that are: forward-facing, self-starters and engaged in the community towards tuition.

Meet Their Team

Alchemy Code Lab has a professional team dedicated to helping their students grow and progress from the moment they connect with them to find their first job and after. The school has created an inclusive and supportive environment for software development dedicated to the Portland tech community.

These are the kinds of people students will be working with through the program and for career support:

Application & Enrollment

Alchemy Code Lab’s application and enrollment process has three simple steps. The school’s staff advises all applicants to apply early to ensure a seat in their desired cohort.

Step 1: Fill and submit the application. Fill out the application form, and interview with the application team. Upon acceptance, the applicant is formally invited to enroll, and staff will help them go through their funding options, tutorial preparation, etc.

Step 2: Enroll in Alchemy Code Lab. Interested applicants should save their seats in their cohort by paying a deposit and signing the school’s agreement. They will also be invited to join the school’s slack channel, with access to all of their community, events and more.

Step 3: Preparation. Students should complete the required 40+ hours of pre-work for the cohort, and they are also given the option of attending the free Developer 101 course (which is highly recommended). They will also select their final funding option and attend student presentation sessions with an alumni Q&A panel.

Alchemy Code Lab Reviews

Here are just a handful of verified Alchemy Code Lab reviews from a few of their members:

“After completing their full-stack program, (with ZERO technical or computer knowledge previously), I was able to land a dream job as a software developer just two months after my graduation.”Alex Ramirez de Cruz

“I joined Alchemy Code Lab with no prior programming experience and no undergraduate… if you commit and dedicate yourself to this program it will provide the knowledge and skill set needed to obtain a fulfilling career in software development…”Easton Gorishek

“I really liked how Alchemy structured their curriculum by focusing on full-stack JavaScript and a lot of project work. After interviewing with Alchemy and doing some more research I decided that they were going to be the best fit for me.”Jack McConnell

“I found it to be a huge personal growth experience that has paid off. I just accepted a job offer this past week, and I am so excited to continue to code because I feel like I can actually contribute and excel at it.”Susan Puckett

“This wasn't an easy ride, let me tell you! I had never set foot in a school before and Alchemy kicked my butt! It was really worthwhile, they supported me through my most difficult days and my “I don't understand, aaahhh!!!” moments…”Noah Puckett

“By the end of it, I could spin up a full-fledged web app (both frontend and backend), as well as be able to explain coding principles and what every line of code I'd written was doing.”Injoong Yoon

Alumni Stories

In case those reviews haven’t convinced you, here are a few quick stories about Alchemy Code Lab members—the sort of people you’ll be rubbing shoulders with once you enter the program.

Before Alchemy Code LabAfter Alchemy Code LabDo They Recommend Alchemy Code Lab?
Henrique was working as a Production Specialist at WaferTech.Henrique is now working as a Software Engineer for Nike.com“…The questions that were asked were so different than other schools and were focused around me and my learning style– I knew this place was special…”
Aaron was working as an Electrical Apprentice at Berg ElectricAaron is now working as a Mid-Level Software Engineer at Zapproved“After researching the options in Portland, it was clear to me that Code Fellows PDX (Alchemy Code Lab) offers the most in-depth, comprehensive education that equips graduates with full-stack skills utilizing modern toolsets.”
Dannie was working as a receptionist.Dannie is now working as a Software Engineer at Lithia Motors, Inc.“Unparalleled instruction quality and career support. Went from having virtually no programming knowledge to being a confident software engineer in about 5 months.”

In Summary

Alchemy Code Lab is a tech school that offers its students two full-time courses, Developer 101 to discover if the tech industry is right for them, and the Professional Software Development Program that grants them the ability to land mid-level placement jobs upon graduation.

The school also offers several payment plans and scholarships, which gives students from almost any background the opportunity to study and excel as software developers in the tech industry.

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