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A Quick Program Q&A

Friday, July 23, 2021

Q&A with Alchemy's School Director Megan Nelson

Have you ever wondered what the admissions process is like at Alchemy Code Lab? What does Alchemy look for in a prospective student? We sat down with Alchemy’s School Director, Megan Nelson, and asked a few questions to provide context on admissions.

What is Alchemy about?

Alchemy is a fully immersive program designed to train you like you are already on the job. You are trained by our extensively experienced industry instructors. You are also supported by our Teaching Assistants. Alchemy was created by hiring managers to fill a need in the industry for well trained talent ready to contribute. Typical bootcamps graze the surface of many technologies just enough to get a “foot in the door.” Alchemy prepares you by deep diving into a full tech stack. People who go through this program acquire both the technical skills and professional competencies of experienced developers prior to graduation. We skip the need for simple ‘bootcamp internships’ and provide companies with talent who are industry-ready. (See our coding bootcamp graduate results.)

Five coding bootcamp students sitting in a circle outside, chatting and laughing

Who joins Alchemy?

People from all backgrounds, ages, and stages in their professional careers make up Alchemy. In admissions, we hear often that people want to improve their lives with financial stability, meaningful work, and professional community. The program is intentionally designed for career changers who have work experience and a solid work ethic coming from any prior industry. Employers appreciate the maturity and transferable skill sets that our career changers bring to the table. Students span from those completely new to coding to others who have self studied or even completed another bootcamp.

Folks who enjoy puzzling and who have mental agility tend to thrive as software developers. At Alchemy we go beyond just problem solving code as a primary focus by presenting consistent opportunities to practice handling ambiguity and communicating in that learning process. It’s often the makers and the doers that really thrive because curiosity is the consistent driver when creating.  

People choose Alchemy’s program because our instructors are the master artisans of the craft, sharing their expertise in the context of real world development spanning decades. One simply cannot replicate that experience when self teaching or joining a bootcamp aimed at internship level fluency. Alchemy’s staff looks for people who are ready to truly own their journey and engage in the program and continue after graduation to keep going further. Not surprisingly, folks that focus on the craft and openly share their joy of exploration find the fastest career success.

What can I expect from the day to day?

This is a full time program. It is 25 weeks, meeting Monday through Friday from 9 am to 6 pm PST. We do not offer a part time program. We have found that full time training in our job-simulated environment equips people to laterally move into a full time role with a stronger starting trajectory.

A woman works at a desk with an open notebook and computer, engaged in conversation with another student working on their laptop

How is Alchemy’s live-online format different from other remote training programs?

All discussion is interactive and in real-time using popular screen-sharing tools that developers use every day in the industry. With immediate access to support, your training goes deeper while you’re building a faster momentum to go further. Because everything is live, you won’t rely upon pre-recorded videos or infrequent appointments. Daily lab time is shared with peers, TA’s, and your senior developer instructor. You’ll work in a combination of solo, paired, and group teams 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, process, and habits. You have access to the instructional team all day and every day.

Does Alchemy help me find a job? Does my career support continue after I graduate?

Alchemy opens doors to partner companies within our network and provides professional introductions into our vast hiring network as positions are presented to us. Upon graduation, students receive individual mock interviews at real companies, utilizing their custom resumes, and personal assets from the program. These mock interviews provide invaluable feedback as a guide to optimal employment acquisition. Because Alchemy grads are really valuable assets, they can contribute immediately. This means companies are not tasked with completing the training of a new developer for 1+ years in order for them to significantly contribute. Alchemy grads are ready on day one. Is it easy? No! It requires dedication to find the right employer and to continue to code after the program. Alchemy’s staff does everything they can to help with that success. There is no expiration date to career services at Alchemy.

Still have questions?

Pplease feel free to reach out to the Admissions Team at