Getting Ready for Hack Reactor

Tomorrow, I will embark on an exciting 13-week journey as a Hack Reactor student. Up until now, I have been learning the fundamentals of computer science on my own, but now it is time to learn alongside other motivated individuals to become a software engineer. It will not be easy, but I look forward to working with my peers to solve the many challenges we will soon face.

How I Ended Up Here

I do not recall the moment I first learned about coding bootcamps and the opportunities they provide their students. Perhaps it was when I first read an article, such as this one:

Coming from an undergraduate science background and a graduate finance background, I wanted a way to put my diverse set of problem solving skills to use. As I researched my options, software engineering kept coming up. The more I looked into it, the more I realized that a career in the field would allow me to work collaboratively with others to change the world through technology and creativity. I am eager to acquire the necessary hard and soft skills to join the profession as efficiently and effectively as possible. The Hack Reactor program appears to offer everything I need.

As I researched different coding bootcamps, Hack Reactor’s program consistently ranked at the top, particularly in terms of investing in the success of its students. In addition to providing its students the necessary tools to succeed in its rigorous curriculum, Hack Reactor supports its graduates as they apply for software engineering jobs.

With my eyes set on Hack Reactor, I reviewed various resources to learn JavaScript. Once I felt ready, I filled out the coding challenge on the online application and scheduled my interview. The interview was overall rather relaxed. The interviewer and I spent some time getting to know one another before I was tasked with solving several problems, explaining my thought process as I typed. I felt good about my interview, and I was accepted into Hack Reactor the next day.


In the month prior to Hack Reactor’s 13-week fully immersive program, all admitted students are required to complete a precourse program. The purpose of this is to get everyone up to speed so that they can hit the ground running on day 1. Each week, there is an hour-long precourse party lead by a hacker in residence. These precourse parties are used to introduce new concepts and answer questions, while also providing a forum for students to get to know one another. We had “homework” due each week. Some assignments were much more difficult than others, but I’m sure the relative difficulty varies from person to person. What may have frustrated me at times may be a walk in the park to someone else.

One assignment I had fun with was creating a “Twittler” page — a user-friendly website that mimicked a Twitter-like front-end. Here is how my page ended up:

Thumbnail of my Twitter clone

Ready or Not…

When I first began the precourse work, it was hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Through hard work and determination, I successfully completed each task. I learned to break down the initial complex problems into smaller and more manageable steps. While the solution may only be a few short lines of code, the struggle to get there is all part of the learning process. I am a bit nervous and not sure how “ready” I am compared to my peers, but I look forward to learning more as I progress through the Hack Reactor program and beyond.