Makers Academy Review (London)

Intro

Considering attending Makers? Well, you're in the right place! Hopefully, my review can help give you some valuable insight and help you make a decision with confidence.

Last year I took a huge risk and left the stability of my job to pursue a career in software development. It was a really tough ride going at it alone so I reached out to a fellow developer for advice, it was not long into the conversation he recommended Makers. He’s a senior technical consultant and stated; “You should try Makers, some of the best developers I’ve known came from there”. Needless to say, I was sold and attended a Makers open day to find out more. I highly recommend doing so if you're on the fence or have questions about the curriculum, I went to 3 open days prior to enrolling and applied with confidence I was making the right decision.

So, what was it like joining Makers?

I knew early on my experience at Makers would differ largely from previous cohorts. The semester commenced right as the Covid-19 pandemic hit the UK hard, we were officially in full lockdown. Ultimately this resulted in my cohort only physically being on campus for one day, the remainder of the lectures were hosted via Zoom calls. This said, if you're reading this further down the line, your experience could differ largely from mine!

Prior to attending the course, you are required to complete a fairly easy-going interview. This interview consists of an introduction and some very basic questions about the Ruby language. (You will be using Ruby for the first half of the course and later be introduced to JavaScript. Ultimately however you can explore any tech you want for your final project.)

Following the interview, clear instructions are provided and you will be assigned some basic technical tests. Providing you complete your tests you will then be enrolled to attend the main portion of the course. I highly recommend you take advantage of this time to get to know your cohort. During this time my fellow Makers were a wonderful source of support and I had the chance to form some very meaningful friendships.

As previously mentioned you start the course using Ruby and I was admittedly a little put off by this. If you are London based and know the job market Ruby is not a popular choice, however, I was missing the point. Ruby is used by Makers to illustrate the concepts of programming as it’s a clear and simple language to get to grips with. The further you get into your development career the more you will realize the concepts of programming play a much larger role than syntax does.

What you cover in the main portion of the course

You will cover;

  • Object orientated programming, Test-driven development
  • Agile/XP principles
  • Ruby, JavaScript
  • Rails, NodeJs,
  • PostgreSQL, SQL, Mongo DB
  • RSpec, Jasmine, Capybara
  • Anything else you wish to learn

A friendly warning: as the main portion of the course is only 3 months long it is very intense. You will have to work very hard during this time to keep up, however, you will be provided with a lot of support too. During your time at Makers, you will learn not only how to code, but you will also learn how to look after yourself and manage workloads. Makers emphasize the importance of looking after your mental health, daily meditation sessions were on offer, and prior to lockdown yoga sessions too! You will address subjects such as imposters syndrome, burnout, and anxiety as it's something we all deal with at some point in our career.

During the course I found Makers did something very unique, you learn how to learn. Yes, you heard that right! The tech industry is a very fast-moving one and having an effective learning process is paramount, ‘What do I need to learn?’ is a very ambiguous question. I feel a lot of courses out there neglect this factor and Makers does a great job of addressing the subject.

Preparing yourself for the job market

Makers did a fantastic job at helping us write a good CV, every job I got a response for would comment on how well written it was. We had workshops on platforms such as LinkedIn and support preparing for interviews. However, I have to confess I felt a little out of the loop during the job hunting process. Morning check-ins were available but ultimately it felt like a rather isolated task searching for work. It would have been great if there were more post-course upskilling workshops, just something to help prevent people from stagnating.

During this period I recommend continuing to pursue projects with your cohort and supporting each other. Keep in touch, don't drop off the grid, and keep learning!

Pros and cons

Pros

  • You will be fast-tracked to getting your first developer role, providing you put in the work.
  • Wonderful culture and friendly staff.
  • Internal job applications are available via Makers recruiters.
  • You have the chance to meet industry experts.
  • You get to meet like-minded people and form meaningful friendships.
  • You remain part of the Makers alumnus even after the course is finished.
  • You get support writing a great CV for your first job.

Cons

  • The course is a very intense experience and may be overwhelming for some.
  • The course cost is a fairly hefty lump of cash, however a similar price to others of its kind. (£8000).
  • No option to work on-site at present (11/11/20) (However this is out of Maker's hands due to Covid in fairness).
  • The course is aimed at web development, which may be a pro or con depending on what you're looking for.
  • There were few jobs to apply for through Makers (Again I believe this to be due to the Covid pandemic).

In summary, would I recommend makers?

The short answer is yes, I would, but it depends.

  • Are you dedicated and enthusiastic about development?
  • Are you looking for a challenging career with continuous upskilling?
  • Are you willing to put the time in to learn the skills?

If your answer is no to any of these questions, I would say with all honesty this is not the course for you. If your answers are all yes go for it and don't look back!

I hope you found this review helpful and informative, I am at present employed leaving the course and my career prospects are looking very bright.

Thank you for reading!

Hi, I’m Steven, most call me Steve! I’m a programmer, musician, and artist. This blog contains various tutorials and posts related to software development.

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