Frequently asked questions:
Who joins Alchemy?
The program is intentionally designed for career changers with work experience and a solid work ethic coming from all prior industries. Employers appreciate the maturity and transferable skill sets that career changers bring to the table. And students appreciate the dedication that mature career changers bring into the program, contributing individually and collectively for a greater good. People from all backgrounds and stages in their professional careers make up Alchemy. Our students want to improve their lives with financial stability, meaningful work, and a community to build together throughout their careers. Software development is a great way to achieve these!
Do I need prior coding experience?
Beginners are very welcome! We require a minimum of 40+ hours of free online tutorial prework completed prior to starting your cohort which is graded by our instructional team. Our dedicated online prework Slack workspace offers support for prework guidance and computer setup. We highly recommend taking our free Developer 101 Saturday class before starting the program. It will highlight our communication style, what the live-online experience is like, and help you to better prepare for the full program. It does require that you compete the first 5+ hours of the program prework prior to the Saturday free class. The program moves quickly by design, so taking your prework seriously is very important in order to start effectively. We recommend creating a dedicated daily practice routine in the weeks (or months) leading up to your cohort starting. It's never too early to create healthy work patterns for yourself! Unlike a typical college learning approach, Alchemy is a trades program where you're working directly with your tools to 'learn' through repetition. Curiosity is the best driver for learning to code!
If I am self-taught, have attended another program, or have graduated with a computer science degree, can I test into a later portion of the program?
Being industry ready for a mid-level position requires more than getting code to work or understanding theory. For those that are not new to coding, familiarity with languages and frameworks alone is not enough. Our training starts with industry Best Practices - which are not present in self study or university environments. Alchemy makes sure you’re ready to join a development team with the right habits and optimal form required to be a great contributor. Often we find that people who have self studied are more comfortable navigating ambiguity as a result of self-led exploration. Starting the program at the beginning offers an opportunity to slow down and be intentional rather than rushing to get things to work. These habits enable great advanced training with cleaner code, better team work and stronger career projections. For computer science graduates, initial concepts are often less intimidating because of exposure to theory, but modern languages and frameworks plus best practices are new! The combination of a 4 year degree in Computer Science or Math plus an Alchemy Certification truly primes individuals for heightened leverage into the industry with shorter job acquisition time and higher starting salaries.
How is Alchemy’s live-online format different from other remote training programs?
All discussion is interactive in real-time using the same screen sharing tools that developers use everyday in the world. Since everything is live, you won’t rely upon pre-recorded videos or infrequent appointments. Daily work time is shared with peers, teaching assistants (TAs) and your senior developer instructor. You’ll work in a combination of solo, paired, and groups on assignments and projects building apps. You will train like you’re already on the job, working on a team with expert guidance focused on proficiency. Your access to the instructional team is all day and everyday, so training is deeper while building a faster momentum to go farther!
Is Alchemy an accredited institution?
Alchemy is a licensed vocational trade school and as a result, is not eligible to participate in the federal student financial assistance program. We intentionally remain a vocational program to optimally update our technology curriculum as the industry's tools evolve at a rapid pace. This equips graduates with the most in-demand languages and frameworks for best leverage in hiring. Designed to train as if you're on the job, our program is truly a Trade School.
Does Alchemy help me find a job? Does my career support continue after I graduate?
Our grads bypass the "get your foot in the door" narrative and instead apply for positions that require 1-5 years of experience. Alchemy grads are really valuable assets because they can contribute immediately without a low-level training role or typical internship. Custom career curriculum is delivered throughout the entire program to best practice and prepare for successful networking. Prior to graduation students are scheduled with individual mock interviews at real companies utilizing the custom resumes and assets developed during the program. Alchemy opens doors to partner companies through professional introductions into our diverse hiring network and assists with salary negotiation, mentoring and support on-going. After the program, alum receive weekly check-ins with their career coach and open invitations to Friday tech talks, monthly mentor hours, and more. There is no expiration date to our alum relationships!
What support do we offer in the program?
Alchemy offers a strong support system with direct daily access to your experienced senior developer instructor and talented TA team. We maintain a 7:1 ratio of students to instructional staff members for each cohort. Career instruction meets weekly with students for professional development with required coursework and an open door policy for support. We provide introductions to alum for coffee dates, host guest speaking opportunities including industry professional panels and more. Supporting an individual's career goals requires consistent dedication and accountability. As trainers we take this role seriously. Alchemy is truly a one-of-a-kind environment for becoming a great industry software developer.
What are your academic and student policies?
The training at Alchemy, including our grading policy, is designed to benefit you in your work as a professional and valued software development team member. Students must maintain a minimum of 90% graded coursework and attendance as the threshold to proficiency. Assignments are graded with feedback, and most assignments can be resubmitted for additional credit so long as you demonstrate meaningful effort during the allotted assignment time with consistent work commits. We also hold a strict Code of Conduct policy to ensure a mutually productive and safe learning environment for all.
Do you offer any free learning resources?
We do! Our free Saturday Developer 101 class and the required Full program pre-work combined provide prospective students with 50+ hours of preparation practice plus real-time learning and feedback with our instructional team.
What kind of computer setup do I need?
A laptop or desktop computer with reliable high-speed internet access and video capability. This must also include a webcam with microphone and speakers. Your machine should have a 64-bit Operating System, be fully up-to-date, with the latest version of the operating system and all security updates installed. You will need at least 50GB of free space on the hard drive with a minimum of 8GB RAM (16 is preferable, 32 is excellent), free of viruses, and in general working order. Developers prefer an additional monitor as well. We will provide more information on space setup during your admissions phase. As a working professional you will want your own machine. We do not provide laptops for this reason. Purchasing a new machine is not necessary, but do aim for a machine that is less than 5 years old.
What is Alchemy about?
Alchemy is a fully immersive program designed to train you like you’re already on the job. It was created as an alternative to typical bootcamps that aim at training only to internship level. Instead Alchemy dives deep into a full tech stack so students acquire both the technical skills and professional competencies of experienced developers prior to graduation. We provide companies with talent who are truly industry ready!
How long is the program? Is it full time or part time?
Alchemy only offers a full-time program which is 25 weeks long. The work day is Monday through Friday from 9 am to 6 pm PST for a total of 40 hours per week. Students dedicate on average closer to 65 hours per week and are less successful when trying to work part time on weekends or evenings. We have found that full time training in this format enables people to move into a full time role more fluidly. Unfortunately, we do not offer a part time program as a result.