App Academy Review: Learn To Code & Start Earning More

April 1, 2021
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App Academy is a well-respected code school that develops highly skilled software engineers. Through its 16 and 24 week immersive programs, they teach their students Ruby or Python, respectively. The school makes a point of offering their students a full refund if they cannot find a job within 15 months after graduation. Established in 2012, App Academy has its headquarters in San Francisco, California, USA.

App Academy is also one of the most respected software engineering bootcamps in the U.S. So if you are interested in applying to one of their programs, you can do so here:

App Academy is one of the most well-respected software engineering schools in the United States. After more than 5 years in the industry, 3,800+ graduates have passed through App Academy’s programs. Their mentors are experts in the field who train people with little to no coding experience to become employable software engineers. App Academy graduates have been hired by 2,000+ companies, including Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Slack, and Zendesk.

App Academy believes that students should learn from experience. This is why instead of spending so much time on theory, App Academy students spend the bulk of their day practicing what they’ve learned in collaborative projects.

Features & Benefits

There are many benefits of App Academy, but here are a few of the most important:

#1 Well-Aligned Incentives

Since App Academy has both deferred and hybrid payment plans, students are allowed to pay part of their tuition upon enrollment and then pay a percentage of their salary for three years once they are hired.

They also help their students find a job in San Francisco or New York and refund the price of the course if they fail to land a job.

#2 Higher Earning Potential

On average, App Academy graduates earn around $85,000 in their first year after finishing the course. Most of their graduates are able to land a job within the first six months of graduating and after that report a 40% increase in salary during their first three years.

#3 In-Person & Online

You can take your classes either in San Francisco, New York or online. The in-person programs are 16 weeks in length, while the online program is 24 weeks in length. Whichever program you choose, though, they're designed to deliver the same outcome: turning you into a highly skilled software engineer.

#4 Excellent Support Team

App Academy surrounds its students with staff members who support them and help them to achieve success. Students will interact with these types of people:

  • Technical Instructors, who are in charge of lectures and Q&As
  • Career Coaches, who prepare students for job interviews
  • Teaching Assistants, former top graduates of the program
  • Classmates, who they will work alongside

#5 Learn To Code For Free With App Academy Open

If you’re on a budget and can’t afford the $28,000 or $31,000 cost for App Academy’s 16 or 24 Week Programs, respectively, you can learn the same curriculum on your own for free with App Academy Open.

You can take this program with or without a mentorship. If you add the mentorship it’ll be $29.99 per month.

#6 No Prior Experience Needed

App Academy doesn't require their students to have any prior coding experience. However, they do have a coding challenge in their application process, so they are required to have at least some basic JavaScript knowledge.

If students don't have any prior knowledge, they can enroll into their Bootcamp Prep program to prepare for bootcamp applications.

App Academy’s Four Programs

App Academy offers four different programs. 

The first is the Bootcamp Prep program to help you get admitted into the best coding schools out there, including App Academy itself.

The second and third programs are the 16 and 24 Week Programs, which are the core of App Academy’s offering. Despite their differing lengths, both of these courses have the same objective: getting their students hired as full-stack developers.

The fourth program is App Academy Open that grants users free access to all of their lectures and practice materials.

Here’s some info on all of these programs:

#1 Bootcamp Prep 

Bootcamp Prep is designed to help you get admitted into any coding school. Students can expect to learn fundamental coding concepts and will spend more than 40 hours of the program learning JavaScript. Instructors will also prepare you for admission interviews through multiple hours of training via 1-on-1 mock interviews.

You either get accepted or get your money back

App Academy will give you a refund if you are not accepted into any of the following bootcamps after you’ve gone through the prep program:

  • App Academy
  • Fullstack Academy
  • Hack Reactor
  • Lambda School
  • Flatiron School
  • Rithm School

However, to be eligible for a refund, their policy states that you must have completed the program within at least 10 weeks after your enrollment. They also ask that you make an effort to apply to all of the schools on their list within the next two months after completing the program. If you aren’t accepted into any of the schools after doing all of this, you will be eligible for a refund.

What will you learn?

App Academy’s Bootcamp Prep program will concentrate on teaching you the following things:

  • JavaScript (fundamentals, intro, intermediate, and advanced).
  • Interview prep.
  • Application assistance.

When and where can you start?

You can either attend a live Bootcamp Prep:

PlaceSan FranciscoNew York City
Length4 weeks (new cohorts available every month)4 weeks (new cohorts available every month)
ScheduleMon-Fri, 6:30pm-9pmMon-Fri, 6:30pm-9pm
Location825 Battery St. San Francisco, CA90 Fifth Ave. New York, NY
Tuition$2,999$2,999

Or you can take a self paced Bootcamp Prep:

StandardPlusPremium
Cost$995$1,795$3,795
Tutoring Hours610
Interview prep hours124
Chat supportYesYesYes
Personal assessment feedbackNoYesYes
Priority email responseNoYesYes
Priority application reviewNoYesYes

How is live better than preparing on my own?

These kinds of courses tend to be very selective, so self prepping can be complicated without the correct guidance. App Academy created the program based on their inside knowledge of the admission process and the program lasts four weeks.

This prep program is designed specifically to get into the best coding schools out there, with the ability to get you hired in the shortest amount of time and with the highest salaries.

#2 App Academy’s 16 Week Program

Only the first three weeks are online. You are expected to attend class in person for the remaining 13 weeks of the program.

The program is designed with a specific set of concepts and coding language or practice that you will be required to learn every week. Here’s what you would be learning throughout the course:

Week 1 (Remote)You will learn to solve algorithms by using some basic Ruby language. You will need to learn:  – Ruby Environment Setup, RSpec Testing, Blocks and Procs, Arrays and Hashes, Function Arguments, Strings.
Week 2 (Remote)They will teach you the basics of how to write programs and do object interactions. During this week, you will need to learn:  – Object Initialization, Class and Instance Methods, Class and Instance Variables, Getter and Setter Methods, Nested Arrays, RSpec and Classes.
Week 3 (Remote)You will start learning how to solve more complex problems and version control with Git. You will learn:  – Memory/References, Scope, Recursion, Git, Data Structures I (Stack, Queue, Trees).
Week 4How to write object-oriented programs that have inheritance & modules. They will be teaching you:  – OOP Principles, Modules, Test-Driven Development, RSpec, Big-O Notation.
Week 5Create and query databases by using SQL & ActiveRecord. During this week, you will need to learn:  – Data Structures II (Linked Lists, LRU Cache), Databases, SQL, ORM, ActiveRecord, Validations, Associations, Indexing Databases.
Week 6Learn how to build fully functional apps with Rails. You will need to learn:  – Rails, MVC Architecture, Servers, Request-Response Cycle, RESTful Architecture, Web APIs vs. Websites, ERB, HTML Forms.
Week 7You will be taught to implement user authentication in Apps made with Rails. They will be teaching you:  – User Authentication, Encryption, Hashing, Salting, Cookies, Rails testing, Integration testing, CSS (Flexbox, Dropdowns).
Week 8You will be required to understand the basics of JavaScript. For this week, you will need to learn:  – Rails Under the Hood, Javascript Syntax, Closures, Callbacks, Asynchronicity, Binding (without args).
Week 9Learn how to use JavaScript for building dynamic websites. You will be learning:  – Prototypal Inheritance, Binding (with args), Currying, Object-Oriented Javascript, DOM Manipulation (jQuery + Vanilla J.S.), AJAX.
Week 10Manage frontend applications by using React & Redux for building dynamic and responsive apps. You will need to learn:  – React, Redux, Flux Architecture, Local State, Global State, Components, Middleware, React with Rails.
Week 11Start putting Rails, React, and Redux together. They will teach you:  – JBuilder, Rails as a Web API, Frontend Routing with React Router, Frontend Authentication.
Week 12Begin working on your Full-Stack project. This week you will learn:  – Rails, React, Redux, AWS, Heroku.
Week 13Finish working on your Full-Stack project. For this, you will need:  – Rails, React, Redux, AWS, Heroku.
Week 14Learn how to work with a New Stack (MERN). They will teach you:  – NoSQL Databases, MongoDB, Express, Gitflow, Personal Pitch, Interviewing, Cover Letters.
Week 15Work with Vanilla JavaScript. You will need:  – Canvas, D3, Vanilla DOM Manipulation, Resumes.
Week 16They will prepare you for a variety of common job interview topics. They will help you with:  – Optimizing Algorithms, Sorting Algorithms, Linked Lists, Stacks and Queues, Binary Trees, Search Algorithms, Graphs, Heaps, Tries, Networking, Applying Approaches, Negotiations.

Here are a couple of reasons you might want to take the shorter course instead of the long one:

  • Complete it faster so that you can jump right in to searching for a job.
  • A smaller class that allows a more intimate experience.
  • Learn a friendlier language for beginners (Ruby).
  • Land a job in San Francisco or New York City with companies built on Ruby on Rails like Airbnb, Bloomberg, Kickstarter, Github, Zendesk.
  • Choose between two time zones: available 9am-6pm EST, or PST.
  • Pay after you're hired with their payment plans.

This is how a typical day in the 16 Week Program looks:

9:00amLecture – They will walk you through the theory of different theoretical and practical cases and work out any doubts that might come up before you start practicing the theory you are given.
12:20pmLunch – You’ll get a bit of time to relax, eat and socialize. This is a great time to make friends and worthwhile connections.
1:30pmPair Practice – After lunch, you will pair up to work on a project that relies on the lecture you had that morning. That way, you can better understand all this knowledge and clarify any new doubts that may come up during practice. Working with different people is very important since that’s how you’re going to be working most of the time after graduation.
5:30pmGroup Review – Sit down with your classmates and discuss what you have learned that day in order to solidify all these concepts and how to use them. Talk about the projects you turned in and find out what others did differently, allowing yourself to find better ways to work in the future.

#3 App Academy’s 24 Week Program

This course is online, and there is a specific set of concepts and coding that you will be required to learn within five weeks. Here’s what you would be learning throughout the course:

PrepworkStart by learning the three vital skills that will help you go through the rest of the course. You will need to learn: – HTML/CSS, Git, Boolean logic.
Week 1-5Learn the basics of programming. For this goal, you will need to learn:  – JavaScript, Git, Object-oriented programming, Command line.
Week 6-8Add to your programming knowledge by learning more about computer science. In these weeks, you will get a better understanding of:  – Networking protocols, Networking tools, Sorting algorithms, Data structures.
Week 9-10Front-End Engineering I. Start creating responsive web pages by learning:  – HTML & CSS, Responsive Design, Flexbox, Grid layout.
Week 11-13Learn back-end engineering to extend the functionality of your applications with databases. These weeks you’ll be learning:  – Express, PostgreSQL, Object-relational mapper.
Week 14-16Front End Engineering II to boost your web application visual functionality. For this you will need:  – React, Flux architecture, Web Sockets. 
Week 17-20Learn Python language. Throughout these weeks, you will be learning:  – Python, Flask, Docker, SQLAlchemy, Docker, Microservices.
Week 21-24During these weeks, work on your portfolio and get prepared for job interviews. Four this you will need:  – Resume Workshops, Networking, Applying Strategies, Personal Pitch.

Here are a couple of reasons you might want to take the longer course instead of the short one:

  • Study online, learn from anywhere in the world.
  • Learn at a slower pace.
  • Learn Python instead of Ruby.
  • Pay after you're hired with their payment plans. 
  • Redo weeks with no additional cost if you are having trouble with the topics taught in a week.

This is how a typical day in the 24 Week Program looks:

8:00amLecture – Your classmates and you will watch short lectures and demos discussing the theory and practice of the topics you will be covering that day. You will be able to speed up the videos or slow them down so that you can take notes. There will also be a Q&A section at the end so that you can work out any doubts you have before jumping into the practice.
11:00pmLunch – You’ll get a bit of time to relax, eat and socialize. This is a great time to make friends and worthwhile connections.
12:00pmPair Practice – After lunch, you will pair up to work on a project that relies on the lecture you had that morning. That way, you can better understand all this knowledge and clarify any new doubts that may come up during practice. Working with different people is very important since that’s how you’re going to be working most of the time after graduation.
4:00pmGroup Review – Sit down with your classmates and discuss what you have learned that day in order to solidify all these concepts and how to use them. Talk about the projects you turned in and find out what others did differently, allowing yourself to find better ways to work in the future.
5:00pmHomework – Spend an hour or so going through the prep material given to you for the next class. This way, you will have an idea about important concepts, which will make learning much easier.

What’s The Difference?

16 Week Program24 Week Program
LocationSan Francisco & New YorkOnline
Cost$28,000$31,000
What You LearnLearn Ruby languageLearn Python language
Mentors /TutorsIn-PersonIn-Person
Hours Per Week9:00am to ~6:00pm8:00am to ~6:00pm
Peer InteractionPair practice availablePair practice available
Job ProspectsOnline companies built on Ruby.Online companies built with Python.

#4 App Academy Open

This is a free online coding program. There, you will find over 1,500 hours' worth of material that sums up their entire in-person curriculum- the 16 Week Program. You will be able to learn everything from JavaScript to Ruby on Rails (the same material that has landed more than 3,000 students a job).

They’ve set up the environment and a live chat for you to be able to jump right into it. You won’t need to set up your own coding environment, which can take hours. And being able to talk with a community of coders who are also on their way to become software developers will allow you to seek help if you are stuck with a problem, discuss the curriculum and find new job opportunities. 

What’s the difference between App Academy Open and paid programs?

Even though there is no real difference in the curriculum and topics covered throughout the 16 Week Program and App Academy Open, their in-person programs will provide a structure that will allows students to learn things faster.

Things like a schedule or being able to do pair programming and live instruction, among other things, is usually what makes the difference between completing the course in a couple of weeks rather than a couple of months.

Do you feel like you need help with the program?

If you feel like you can’t do all the work on your own, that’s fine. App Academy Open has a Mentor Plan in which are able to contact App Academy instructors during weekdays from 6:00am to 6:00pm via Slack. This plan will help you finish the course faster, and costs $29.99 per month.

Who is App Academy for?

App Academy helps non-coders in the United States and abroad learn software engineering and get well-paid jobs in the field. Students do not need any prior coding experience to join App Academy, nor do they need a college degree. To enroll in any of App Academy’s programs, you must have a high school degree and be at least 18 years old.

With the exception of Bootcamp Prep and App Academy Open, all of the programs are full-time commitments, so you should expect to be working on them from about 9:00am to 6:00pm, Monday to Friday.

How much can I earn?

Software engineering is ranked by companies like World Report and U.S. News as the career path with the highest salary and growth potential. That’s why many App Academy graduates double their salaries relative to their previous careers.

For a software engineer based in San Francisco, here’s what you can expect to earn as a graduate of App Academy:

Before App Academy$45,000
0-1 years after graduating$101,000
2-3 years after graduating$124,000
5+ years after graduating$148,000

Here are the median starting salaries for App Academy graduates from their two locations and online:

San Francisco$101,000
New York$90,000
Online$85,000

App Academy also encourages their graduates to search for jobs in San Francisco and New York, that will allow them to take advantage of alumni networks and higher salaries than other locations.

Job Placement & Career Support

In the weeks you spend studying with them, you will build a significant coding portfolio, and after taking either the 16 or 24 Week Program, App Academy will help you find a job as a software engineer. Here are just some of the things they do to help you find a job:

  • Helping you write and perfect your portfolio.
  • Guiding you through some example problems (like you would get in an interview).
  • Giving you a list of companies they recommend you apply to.
  • Lectures about algorithms and data structures (things they might ask you).
  • Lectures about interviewing and how to negotiate salary.

App Academy makes sure to surround you with people who will support you every step of the way and whose main focus is your success. Along with them, there will also be working hand to hand with your cohort classmates to solve the problems given to you throughout the course. These are the people who will be working with you every step of the way:

  • Technical Instructor: this is the person in charge of lectures and Q&A sessions. This will always be an experienced engineer who loves teaching.
  • Career Coach: this will be your advisor. He will be a person with experience who will coach your search and meet with you to prepare you for interviews while searching for a job.
  • Teaching Assistant: this will be a person who recently went through the program you are taking. He will be one of the top graduates and provide you with daily support.
  • Classmates: these are the people who have gone through the same rigorous process as you have, and they are the ones you will be working with during your program.

Students have access to App Academy’s network of alumni and their career coach's support during their job search. You will also create your own contact network through events like their Software Engineer Showcases, held quarterly.

If you are enrolled through their deferred or hybrid payment plan, you will need to reside in either San Francisco or New York to receive your career coach's support when looking for a job. You can search for a job in other cities with your career coach's help if you believe that is the right path for you, but they may not be as helpful in other cities.

Also, it’s important to know that if you are on the deferred tuition plan, take a job outside of San Francisco or New York and decide to sign the optional Alumni Engagement Agreement that limits the amount of money that App Academy can seek from you, tuition will be 31% off your first year of salary instead of 28%.

App Academy’s Partnership team also offer services that allow companies to contact them in order to hire the best students from their programs. They will take the time to understand a company’s requirements, which will allow them to recommend the right graduate for their needs.

Companies may also decide to sponsor the education of a student of their choice and bring them into their team once they are graduated. App Academy also organizes recruiting events where companies can interview their students on the spot with this purpose in mind.

Graduates have gone to make an impact in a wide range of places since they work in more than 2,000 companies:

GoogleFacebookPolicygeniusAmazon
ModalGithub23AndMeWayfair
UberMicrosoftDragonfly CapitalSlack
BlipparAmplifyBanjoImagine Impact

Payment Options & Fees

Costs vary depending on the course and payment option you choose:

CourseUpfront PlanDeferred PlanHybrid Plan
16 Week Program$17,000$28,000$23,000
24 Week Program$20,000$31,000
Prep Program$2,999
App Academy Open$0$0$0

Upfront Plan: You are allowed to pay upfront if you have the money to do so. You can either pay for the whole course upon enrollment or pay a monthly fee through Climb's financing options. The Prep Program costs $2,999, and you can only pay upfront.

Deferred Plan: When you take the 16 Week Program, the Deferred Plan allows you to pay a $3,000 deposit and the other $25,000 over the next 6 months. If you are taking the 24 Week Program, though, you don’t need to pay a deposit or any tuition until you start earning at least $50,000. Then, you'll pay 15% of your salary for three years with a maximum of $31,000.

Hybrid Plan: Lastly, the Hybrid Plan is only available for the 16 Week Program. It allows you to pay $9,000 upfront and then pay the remaining $14,000 once you’ve been hired. If you aren’t able to land a job within 15 months after graduating, you will not be required to pay the remaining $14,000.

App Academy FAQs

Can international students apply for on-campus programs?

Yes, App Academy welcomes all foreign applicants. However, they cannot help with the student visa application, nor can they guarantee that they will be allowed to work in the country. For this reason, unless an international student has a valid Employment Authorization Document (EAD) and a valid visa, they will be required to pay for their program through the Upfront Payment plan.

What coding languages are necessary for acceptance?

For the coding challenge, the student can choose between Ruby, JavaScript and Python. This is why the school offers three different Prep Programs:

  • Free technical preparation material: this is provided in Ruby.
  • JumpStart: a two-week preparation course on Ruby language.
  • Bootcamp Prep: where students spend one month learning JavaScript.

What do students need to bring for class?

Students are only required to bring their laptops, all Mac (operating systems from at least 2010), Windows 10 or Linux (either Debian or Ubuntu) are accepted. The school does not provide computers for the program.

What housing options do students have?

Student are responsible for their own housing. Keep in mind that the average rental pricing is around $1,500 per month in San Francisco and New York, which does not include living expenses.

How to prepare to be a competitive applicant?

Students don’t need any prior professional or academic coding experience. In fact, some of the most successful App Academy graduates had no coding experience before the program. All students should speak to their admissions specialist prior to their fit interview, though, and remember to be professional and engaged during said interview.

After a student is admitted, the school will send them a self-paced technical learning challenge that will give all students the foundations to start learning software engineering.

How To Apply

The application process is divided into five steps designed to better understand who you are, why you want to learn software engineering, and what your goals are. They will give you all the resources you need to learn to be accepted into the school, regardless of your background.

The first step is to fill in the application form. App Academy will ask your basic information, whether you have any prior programming experience, what is your highest level of education, work experience and that sort of information.

They will then ask when and where you would rather take your course and your future, making sure you know that this is a full-time commitment, asking how you are planning to support yourself while you are searching for a job. They’ll also wonder what city you would rather find a job in, what you would like the job to be about, and how you heard of App Academy.

Lastly, they will ask if you will have a work authorization after finishing the program (if needed), your preferred payment method and your demographic information (gender, race/ethnicity, LGBTQ, veteran).

The second step is to test your non-technical abilities. You will need to take a test that will include a logical reasoning section and a typing assessment.

The third step is a coding test. You will be required to take a 60-minute test that will have three assessments. Your code will be required to pass all three of these. You will have three opportunities to pass the test.

The fourth step is a technical interview. In this interview, you will be given two coding prompts and an exercise you need to solve with a partner. You will have two opportunities to pass this test.

The fifth step is a fit interview. This interview will allow App Academy to learn more about who you are, how fast you can learn and how much hard work you would be willing to put into this.

App Academy Reviews

App Academy has more than 3,000 active members who have gone through the program and continue to participate in their Alumni Network. Here are just a handful of verified App Academy reviews from a few of those members:

“App Academy is designed to push you to your limit… I really enjoyed my time with the T.A.'s and my classmates… If you're self-motivated and have a focused and directed mindset to become a software engineer/developer, I highly recommend App Academy.”Nahid Siddiqu

“Over the course of three months, a lot of material gets squeezed into such a small time frame and it initially seemed like such a daunting journey to embark on…The material was both challenging and fun, especially with how much material is taught. And beyond the bootcamp, you get to meet a lot of amazing people!” Kevin Zhang 

“I went into the App Academy without any prior coding experience. Coming out, I feel sufficiently prepared to answer tech answers intelligently, and absorb new technologies with some kind of framework…” Austin Wong 

“I'm switching over careers from a completely non-technical field to software development, and I couldn't have picked a better bootcamp to help me through this transition… would highly recommend this bootcamp over others to anyone who asks!” Sheava Danesh 

“…Four months ago I didn't know what web development was, today I can actually build a website from scratch using in demand technologies.” Ara Baghdassarian 

Alumni Stories

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

Before App AcademyAfter App AcademyDo They Recommend App Academy?
Jerrik had been working for two years installing glass shower enclosures.Jerrik is now a software engineer at 23andMe in San Francisco.“I would say that if you are motivated and determined, then you should totally do it. It was very challenging but doable and totally worth it.”
Timur had studied Finance at Emory University and did two internships in investment banking.Timur is now a software engineer at Blippar, which is a top Augmented Reality company.“If your goal is to become an engineer, you should just do a coding bootcamp. Why teach yourself for a year if you can do it in three months?”
Sarah was working in marketing promotions and worked as a weight loss consultant for a little over a year.Sarah is now a senior software engineer at Pivotal Labs.“I would recommend it to anyone, especially if you’re dissatisfied with your current position, scared or uncertain about your future.”
TJ had dropped out of school twice and wanted to learn coding but didn’t really know how to make a career out of it.TJ is now working as a software engineer at a company called Banjo.“I would say App Academy is for people who don’t like the traditional schooling system… App Academy gave me the opportunity to work in an industry that I love.”

In Summary

App Academy is software engineering bootcamp that offers several courses to either prepare you for other coding bootcamps or train you as a software engineer. They offer three payment plans and give refunds to students who either can’t get into bootcamp or can’t find a job after going through App Academy. Students are not required to have any previous coding experience, and App Academy gives them prep work to do after being accepted in order to cover the fundamentals of what they will need.

App Academy is one of the most respected software engineering bootcamps in the U.S. So if you are interested in applying to one of their programs, click on the button below.

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