This week, we got an amazing email from an Alchemy grad:
Not only have I found a great career that is challenging, fun and rewarding, I have also discovered the passion I have for doing this type of work. I feel with this new career the sky is the limit for me. I often find myself thinking where in the world I would be if I never ended up learning about you all.
Not only did it bring a warm virtual hug to this snowy week, it made us realize that the story of Alchemy is better told by those who’ve lived it!
And so we bring you… (drumroll please)
Becoming an Alchemist
Finding the Right Code School
Alchemy Code Lab was probably one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life.
Prior to this, coding was something I was interested in but never really planned on pursuing.
That was until one of my best friends took the program. Before coming to Alchemy, I already had a good impression because my friend had been trying to convince me to take it from when he was in the program up until the point when I finally said yes.
I decided to join Alchemy Code Lab because, after 4 years of restaurant work, I was fed up with getting people ranch all day. I had a friend take the course, and convince me to try it out. I am so incredibly happy I did, I didn't know how much my life would change after the fact, being in a new career path I love, the incredible community, and the friends made along the way.
After talking to Megan, my decision was made.
Megan is basically Alchemy’s mom. She’ll support you emotionally if you ever feel down, and she’ll also work with you to get financial aid.
As Megan may tell you, the developers who are most successful in this program are the ones who really enjoy it. Before you enroll, do the legwork to ensure that you find this work fulfilling. This program will push you, and if you are truly interested in the material, you will enjoy the experience — and the career that follows.
What to Expect at Alchemy
At the time I joined Alchemy, I had past experience coding, but I wanted to bring my skills current with an in-demand tech stack.
Alchemy Code Lab isn’t just about teaching you web development, it’s about preparing you for a career in tech starting with web development. You’ll get tech industry-related experience with teamwork and communication, project planning and management, and best practices as well as career-related experience with networking, resume writing, interviewing, and salary negotiation. When you join Alchemy Code Lab, you won’t just be enrolling in a class, you’ll be joining a positive and supportive community that will support you during your time at Alchemy and will continue to do so long after you’re done with the program.
Alchemy is a fast paced learning environment but definitely will give you the skills you need to break into tech. Of course you will need to put in the work, stick to coding and market yourself, but Alchemy does a great job at providing you with a network and support system in which you can acquire professional connections that can possibly expand into getting that job.
What Makes Our Program Different
The owner regularly meets with companies around Portland to learn about what technologies are currently in the highest demand, and adapts the curriculum accordingly, meaning that when you graduate you are equipped with the highest likelihood of getting hired.
The instructors are very knowledgeable and the team projects assigned are a great way to get prepared on how collaborating in a professional setting will be.
The best part is probably the group projects. Working with three to five other students to build... well, whatever it is you want to build. After four weeks of studying code, my team built a music interval trainer. After eight weeks, we built a Pokemon battle game. After 14 weeks we built a Maze generator. And our final project was a crypto-currency trader. It was one of the best educational experiences I ever had. So thankful to have done it, and I would do it again in a heartbeat.
Daily Access to Senior Instructors
Marty and Ryan are veterans in the tech industry and are very up to date on the latest and most popular technologies. They always make sure that the curriculum they teach you is reflective of the demand in the job market.
The owner and instructors are all seasoned and experienced software developers, and the TAs are prior students. This is awesome because the instructors are able to answer any questions you have, and the TAs have been through what you're going through so can relate and help you with the specific work as you need.
I felt so supported throughout the program by Alchemy’s primary instructors, Dani and Ryan. They are skilled at finding ways to present information that can be absorbed by different learning styles. Several TAs were also available to offer assistance, and one was officially designated to review my work. When I needed assistance, I was alway able to connect with a member of the instruction staff — both while the program was in person and after the pandemic abruptly shifted us to remote learning. This is a huge asset compared to other programs, where you may find yourself beating your head against the wall for hours.
It’s totally worth it for the experience and the amount and quality of support you get from the staff. I would dare say that you can get your money’s worth just from having access to Shannon in Career Services but that wouldn’t be fair or right to Megan, Marty, Ryan, and the other staff members (I haven’t met the others) because they are all amazing and supportive.
Learning in Community
A great thing about Alchemy is that they ensure that the people they have attending their school are diverse, from all sorts of backgrounds and open to differences, they provide a healthy social environment which makes it easier for it to be a more collaborative, supportive and judgement free zone.
I found the coursework to be very challenging and I really appreciated the strength of the Alchemy community in supporting each other through it. I really feel like I made some true friends in the coding crucible there. I was able to continue on with a small study group after the program ended in order to keep up and build on my skills.
I love everyone who was in my cohort. I support them wherever they are on their life journey.
They believe in you when you have doubts. Megan and Shannon will always remind you of just how uniquely awesome you are. That sort of personalized attention simply doesn’t exist at most bootcamps and figured prominently into my decision to attend Alchemy. The community of grads is also ridiculously supportive of current students.
Developing Your Career
One thing that I've heard from other bootcamp grads in town is that they are a little jealous with the career support that Alchemy offers. Job hunting can be very emotionally challenging and it was nice to know that I could always reach out and get help when I needed it.
I frequently reviewed materials we'd been provided with prior to interviews in order to be well prepared. And, as an alumnus, there were fireside chats and other events to keep me in touch with developer life and the job market in a more direct way.
Shannon will help you with networking, interviewing, and negotiating salary. She will give you advice on your resume and even set you up with recruiters for positions that she thinks would be a good fit for you. Her goal isn’t just for you to get a job, it’s for you to get a job that you’re happy with and pays well.
Shannon goes all out for you. She connects you with recruiters for big companies, pairs you with working developers for informational/practice interviews, and is continuously making connections for other networking opportunities. Two of my most recent contract roles have been from connections that started with Shannon. The career and community support does not stop after you get your first role either. The Alchemy community is continually sharing opportunities, and you can tell that people genuinely enjoy connecting with other alums even years out.
Landing the Job
During the technical interview for my current role, I was asked to architect an app based on product requirements from imaginary project managers, wireframe it, and build it out on the spot. For an Alchemy grad, this is a breeze; I did a version of this every day for months and really deepened my skills during project sprints.
All I learned from Alchemy is what I use every day at work.
I went through this program with no prior background in the field. I got a 90K+ job within a year of graduating.
I felt fully supported after I left Alchemy.
If you want to get into code, and you're serious and committed, go to Alchemy. Their success percentages speak for themselves.
I was offered a job within two months of graduating that almost tripled my previous salary — and I was actively interviewing for other positions at the time of the offer. I expect to pay off my loan in six months. So yes! Alchemy was so, so worth it. If you are confident that software development is the right fit for you, then look into Alchemy.
Challenging (and fun!) program with really strong network/community. Unparalleled instruction quality and career support. Went from having virtually no programming knowledge to being a confident software engineer in about 5 months. Found first role within seven weeks of graduating despite having completely unrelated professional background and seeking work in the midst of a global pandemic. Couldn’t be more grateful for my decision to attend Alchemy.