RefactorU Reviews

3.3 / 5

Boulder

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RefactorU’s mission is to accelerates the learning and development of the world's aspiring creatives, makers, and technologists. RefactorU’s web development bootcamp focuses on full stack JavaScript/Node.JS. You can check out more about why they went with the rapidly growing Javascript/Node.JS combo in their FAQ section under "Why are you not teaching Ruby on Rails?".

Before you get started on their campus, expect 40-50 hours of instructional pre-work before the bootcamp. When you are at RefactorU’s web development bootcamp, you will be taught by 1-2 lead instructors with a team of 1-4 TAs. There is a max of 24 students per class so the student to teacher ratio averages around 6:1.

As much as possible, they minimize the lecturing portion of the bootcamp to focus on hands-on experience, pair programming, and peer groups. No day is typical, but in general you can expect to be in class by around 8:30am. At around 9am, instructors will introduce the topic of the day. There may be a short lecture followed by some class exercises to get you working on applying the new topic. You then hack away until lunch, working individually or within small groups. Instructors help with specific questions and facilitate team discussions.

Afternoons are similar to mornings, although nearly each week there’s a special guest speaker or new activity. The “official” day wraps up at around 6pm, but students often stay later. Prior to that, students will meet with their peer groups to reflect on what went well.

There are typically nightly events held either at RefactorU or at nearby companies. These events include weekly guest speakers and special events like trips to local sights and companies. You can apply online. There are a few rounds of deadlines for the bootcamp: a rolling decisions deadline, an early application deadline and a final app deadline. The moral of the story: apply early. Also, make sure to save some time for the optional programming question. While it is optional, they HIGHLY suggest that you give it a shot.

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RefactorU programs

Programs Cities Duration Cost
Program: Web Application Development Cities: Boulder Duration: 10 weeks Cost: $13,500
RefactorU, with its campus in Boulder, Colorado, offers a 10-week fullstack JavaScript boot camp. The experience mimics a 40-50 hour a week full-time job as much as possible. Refactor U graduates are prepared for careers as entry- level web application developers, and have found jobs at a number of companies including IBM and Best Buy.

RefactorU reviews

6 reviews

Verfied answers from graduates of this school will include this badge

  • Refactoru Web Application Development review

    Fast-paced learning environment where you can benefit whether you are a novice or experienced coder. Instructors want you to succeed and make themselves available and they work hard to help prepare you for life in the job market.

    Answered by Anonymous on August 15th, 2016

  • Refactoru Web Application Development review

    You can find something better. Look elsewhere. They're disorganized, the founder Sean Daeken is a tool that doesn't know what he's doing, they're charging an arm and a leg for a beyond unsatisfactory service.

    Answered by Anonymous on August 15th, 2016

  • Refactoru Web Application Development review

    A great program for training front-end Javascript developers. RefactorU taught me the exact technology stack I needed to secure a great job with a major telecom company in south Denver, and did a great job teaching me to think like a programmer. Prior to attending RefactorU I was a lawyer struggling to find work in a dying profession. Now I have a great job in a thriving field where my skills are in strong demand. Definitely a life-changing experience.

    Answered by graduate Patrick McKay on August 15th, 2016

  • Refactoru Web Application Development review

    It was a fantastic experience that gave me the opportunity and skills to turn my life around for the better. The instructors, TA's, administrative staff, and even fellow students were all concerned with making sure that we could be the best developers that we could be in order to meet our individual professional goals.

    Answered by graduate Sean M on August 17th, 2016

  • Refactoru Web Application Development review

    These reviews are always a tricky thing and quite frankly I always take them with a grain of salt. If you go through the learning process and aren't faced with challenges, halted by obstacles, driven to frustration, but in the end coming away with more answers than questions, you didn’t try hard enough. I was proud to of hit all of those metrics in my experience. To quote a mentor and founding father of it all: "Writing software is a very intense, very personal thing. You have to have time to work your way through it, to understand it. Then debug it."- Vint Cerf So why the rating levels? To be clear this is not a "it didn’t work, woe is me review". By RefactorU standards I'm statistically a success story of their program. Most of it had to do with the expectations going into the camp. Most of those expectations are set by the marketing used by RefactorU. Marketing sets both tone and expectations of the customer segment you’re marketing to, in my case they failed on an egregious and costly level. VETERANS and GI BILL APPLICANTS LISTEN UP EXPECTATIONS OF OVERALL EXPERIENCE: - 1 star (Job Placement) This one I wasn't really to concerned about going in, I wasn't banking on RefactorU for the "%96 job placement in 12 weeks" but it certainly gave me a warm and fuzzy. Especially considering I was coming from the east coast. My expectation was that I had pretty good odds on getting a job in new area if I so desired to stay in Colorado. But there’s something I take issue with in their statistical reporting and it's in the fine print under the pie chart in the link above. For integrity sake it is displayed as of the date of this review: The sample size of that %96 percent is based on *Population size: N = 122 122 graduates as of the year 2015. Great, so we're talking roughly 117 people getting jobs within 3 months right? Wrong! *Sample size: n = 49 (40% response rate) 40 percent!? Yeah, let that sink in for a minute. RefactorU pulled a Bryan Fantana (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pjvQFtlNQ-M). How does %40 of 122 graduates equate to %96 percent? At best what you can state accurately is *of 122 graduates for year 2015 49 responded with employment inside 12 weeks * %40 of graduates respond with job placement in 12 weeks ---------------------------------VETERANS MUST READ---------------------------------- -2 star (RefactorU accepts GIBill) This hurt the most. As I said earlier on the day of graduation I had no regret. Two weeks later however, I did and it had everything to do with RefactorU's handling of the GIBill. But let’s take a step back. I know how frustrating the GiBill and VA benefit process can be for so many, civilian, dependent, and veteran alike. For the GIBill there are some misconceptions that need to be cleared because they directly impact how you use them with institutions like RefactorU or codes schools in general. Myth - The GI Bill is given to all veterans of the us Armed Forces. This is false and if you are of this mindset you are part of the problem. Chapters 30 and 33 of the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944 are known as the Montgomery and Post 9/11 GI Bill respectively. They are a voluntary financial investment asset requiring a termed payment of approximately 1 year of military pay with an optional "kicker" bonus payment after said term for US service men and women to invest. This investment asset is backed by the US Government. Rate of return is guaranteed to equal a set number of disbursements over the course of 36 months of educational training after several years of investment maturity. Meaning even after a veteran must pay into the asset it can’t be touched for several years until service members are qualified to access the benefits on its rate of return. Very much like a college 509 savings plan, or loosely based you can think of it as 401k for education but with a higher ROI. Point is, I paid an investment over time, it sits, I received a matured return on my investment that is still owned by me but controlled by the VA. I mention this to make the point that when I say I paid the insane amount I did for RefactorU it was not the amount agreed to with RefactorU. As a veteran I was not the only one victimized. How does this apply to RefactorU's 2-month training course that they so graciously offer a %20 military discount totaling an alleged cost of $10,800? It gets tricky but stay with me. RefactorU is not an accredited degree granting institution. As a result, disbursements are disproportional to the typical cost of semester based training. This allows, for profit, vocational institutions to file as "non traditional" Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL) with the VA. In the case of RefactorU I sent my COE paperwork in early March asking what their filing status with the VA was since they were not listed on the VA WEAMS List of Institutions as of 02/16. My goal, like most VA students who file ahead of class start date, was to have my Post/911 Chapter 33 paperwork cleared prior to April 2nd start date so that disbursement would coincide with the class/training schedule. Coming from out of state I needed to rent a place to stay and that monthly stipend for living expenses was the expected offset. In gathering my paperwork I realized that RefactorU's %20 discount as an IHL qualifies them very clearly as a candidate for the GI Bill Yellow Ribbon Program. Again RefactorU would not disclose if they were an IHL at the time and only responded by saying "we do guarantee acceptance of the GI Bill and we are listed and registered with the Colorado Department of Higher Education" this was a red flag from the start. I pressed forward in the assumption that they would be operating as an IHL considering the CDHE registration and the dubious "U" of RefactorU. Furthermore, I noticed that RefactorU was not listed as a Colorado Yellow Ribbon Participant (a provision within the Post 9/11 Gi Bill) ironically hurting their bottom line by doing so. To participate schools need to fill out VA Form 22-0839 and submit to VA electronically. I sent this form with the instructions, corresponding information, and volunteered to file it with the VA myself on behalf of the school in my early March email. Unfortunately, it went without response. Upon arrival of day 1 and meeting the other veterans in my cohort (%30 of our class were vets), we all realized the school had yet to file with the VA. Anybody who deals with the VA knows the wait times. So all of us expecting that $1,800 housing stipend scheduled on the 1st of each month during training realized it wasn’t coming and we would be lucky to receive it all during the course of the 10-week training. According to the schools VA cost calculator there is clear distinction in cost between Montgomery and Post 9/11 benefits. After several joint phone calls to the VA we realized the school had not submitted the documentation to the VA until week 2 of class! As a result, we didn’t receive our benefits until 7 weeks into our 10 week class. Leaving many of us to rely on out of pocket expenses and credit during unemployment to cover living expenses. Of course this only adds to the stress of the class but it was unnecessary and easily avoidable. When it was all said and done, I later learned that not only I but the other vets in the class were charged for 8 months ($14,056) of our annual $21,085 entitlement for a 2 month class that should, even with military discount, be $10,800. Clearly there is a problem here and quite frankly it's not entirely RefactorU's fault, this is also systemically erroneous on the part of the VA, however RefacorU chose to wing it in an area they clearly weren’t qualified or experienced to handle. Most schools have a trained POC for VA administration. The fact that RefacorU decided against that and filed, while misrepresenting their status as an institution of higher learning with the VA is negligence. When your marketing roughly 8 cohorts a year with an average class size of 20-30 students which should be 200 but let’s just stick with the 122 documented as graduates at a rate of roughly $13k per student, as business you have well over 1.5 million in annual revenue to invest in a certifying official with experience in the VA but RefactorU doesn’t and I would call that Gross Negligence! So what is the cost of RefactorU to veterans under the Post 9/11 GiBill? Over $14,056. dollars. Or roughly 8 months of your 12 month $21,085 annual allotment. This for a course that is 2 months at marketed cost of $10,500 to veterans. How does a 2 month course marketed at a cost of $10,800 to veterans cost more than the actual $13,500.00 price of admission to regular students? This comes down to the fact that after graduation in June it was later listed and disclosed that RefactorU was registered as a "non college degree" program vs. IHL or even Trade School on the Job Vocational. Which was expected and known there was a lack of college degree but not all IHL's offer college degrees under the GI Bill and RefactorU marketed themselves as such. The take away here is that veterans using the GI Bill pay a "premium" above the $13,500 cost to attend RefactorU. This is ultimately why schools like ITT Tech, University of Phoenix and the several other for profit "institutions of higher learning" get mired in scandal. A result of negligent financial practices that are predatory to government backed student financial assets. Schools like RefactorU do not take the due diligence to understand the VA system and only recognize it as "guaranteed money" to the school without disclosing impact and true cost to the students. Your best bet as a vet is to take the %20 discount and finance that through a third party which RefactorU does offer. Do not use your GI Bill with RefactorU. Or better yet, as one of the vets in our class did after realizing RefactorU was not meeting his expectations, enroll at Flatiron Community College and get a certificate from them over the course of one semester at a cost less than %60 what RefactorU charges. Except where he went to apply his Gi Bill benefit in that program the VA informed he had no more money left because RefactorU cost depleted his money unexpectedly. EXPERIENCE OF CURRICULUM -4 stars Most of curriculum was cut and paste from free open sourced learning platforms such as codecademy, udemy, audacity, codeschool, hackerank, and various other platforms I explored prior to arrival. At a cost of several thousand dollars I was expecting more proprietary and unique to RefactorU Clear lack of continuity between cohorts. You do and are encouraged to learn and collaborate with the other cohorts while you are there. Something that was very clear was that all of the cohorts I spoke with had varying coverage of topics. Nothing was standardized even by RefactorU's staff. You have one instructor teaching from a set IDE in one class on day 1 and the another in our class starting with a different one. Differences in using Immediately Invoked Functions, or how to setup routing in an express server should be standardized in house. Sure you're all free to choose what tools you prefer but when following along with instructors in lecture it is much easier to use the tools and practices they demo on and thusly vary the learning experience. Not covering all technologies advertised seems petty but look my class never covered templating or spoke about Gulp even when asked it was simply a "here’s the website with the documentation". I didn’t pay $14,500+ to be given a hyperlink. Its advertised on the front of the website and when you do learn Gulp it takes your development abilities to the next level.

    Answered by Tom on September 6th, 2016

  • Refactoru Web Application Development review

    This is not an education institution. It is a way for the owners to make a dollar. The company should be shut down by the state of Colorado for fraud.

    Answered by Michael McBride on October 19th, 2016

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How would you describe the culture at Refactoru?

Posted by Anonymous on August 15th, 2016

Answer

Fun, loose, and fast-paced. The 10 week program has new topics introduce constantly. The team works hard to help balance school and life and schedules activities to unwind often.

Answered by an anonymous graduate on August 15th, 2016

Very laid back. So laid back that it's not good. The exercises are just exercises that they've copied from different sites on the web that they encourage you to do. No one checks if you've done any of them and there's no code reviews for best practices if you have completed them. Not conducive to students who need extra help and are struggling.

Answered by an anonymous graduate on August 15th, 2016

Everyone was very friendly and collaborative. My classmates were helpful and approached the work as a team. I didn't feel at all like I was competing against my classmates, which I know can be a problem at other bootcamps.

Answered by graduate Patrick McKay on August 15th, 2016

Intense but low-pressured. You are going through lectures, coding assignments, developing personal projects, or going through group exercises for 7 hours a day, 5 days a week for 10 weeks that will send your brain into overdrive and mentally exhaust you. But during my time in the program, you never encounter any external pressure to reach some kind of metric that makes you worry about being kicked out or deemed a failure. The instructors expect you to work and learn all that you can, but they want to nurture you as a developer instead of grade you.

Answered by graduate Sean M on August 17th, 2016

How effective were your instructors?

Posted by Anonymous on August 15th, 2016

Answer

Very knowledgeable instructors who make themselves available for hel[p outside of school through slack. (They respond to questions quickly even outside of class)

Answered by an anonymous graduate on August 15th, 2016

There was one instructor that was good. That instructor is no longer there. Other instructors weren't very good. There was one TA that didn't even know how to write an IF statement in JavaScript. Another TA that was supposed to show up one weekend to help just never showed up. There was no "sorry I can't make it" or any follow up. We waited there for an hour, did a little coding on our own and just left. Later I heard they were fired but I had to ask to find out.

Answered by an anonymous graduate on August 15th, 2016

The instructors were extremely helpful and supportive, and did everything they could to make sure everyone succeeded. Unlike some bootcamps that force underperforming students to drop out so they don't hurt the school's image, the instructors at RefactorU did everything they could to help struggling students, including personal tutoring and even allowing at least one guy to repeat the course. I found their teaching style very effective and was able to understand everything they taught pretty quickly.

Answered by graduate Patrick McKay on August 15th, 2016

My instructors and TA's were amazing and instrumental to my success in the program. They were all very knowledgeable and patient in answering our questions and they took the time to get to know their students and how to effectively address each individual to maximize their time in the bootcamp.

Answered by graduate Sean M on August 17th, 2016

What advice would you give a new student?

Posted by Anonymous on August 15th, 2016

Answer

Prepare yourself to learn and familiarize yourself with basic concepts prior so that you do not fall behind as the pace is quick only being a 10 week course.

Answered by an anonymous graduate on August 15th, 2016

If you're looking for something in the area try codecraft or maybe general assembly but I would not recommend RefactorU. It was unbelievably disorganized and honestly I feel like they were dishonest in the technologies they said they were teaching. They didn't even have a syllabus. One of the libraries that they said they taught they just gave a 15 minute talk about it and that was it. No exercises, no nada. At the end of the cohort where they said they were going to host a career fair there were about 4 companies that showed up. During our final projects presentations that we were told there were going to be prospective employers there was not a single employer there to my knowledge. Just our cohort and some people that had graduated already that were still looking for jobs from the previous cohort.

Answered by an anonymous graduate on August 15th, 2016

Use your final projects as a way to branch out and explore some up and coming Javascript frameworks that may not necessarily be part of the official curriculum. I did this with Angular before it was included in RefactorU's curriculum and it was very helpful, both to give me practice in learning a new framework, and it ultimately helped me get a job as an Angular developer.

Answered by graduate Patrick McKay on August 15th, 2016

It is super important to make sure that you step away when you can. It's exciting to learn all the material that you will encounter during the ten weeks and you may tend to want to keep diving in, but it is very important to step back and put it down for awhile so that you give yourself a chance to truly process what is being crammed in. This applies to the times that you are stuck as well; the most helpful think that you can do most of the time after hitting a wall is to stop thinking of a problem and just mentally "step away" for awhile. Let yourself decompress and you'll be surprised by the solutions and other avenues of thought that can reveal themselves.

Answered by graduate Sean M on August 17th, 2016

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