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“Direct quote from an interviewer who looked at my resume shortly after I finished Hacker School: ‘You’ve done more in the past 3 months than I’ve done in the past 3 YEARS!’”

— Danielle, Winter 2012 Brooklyn, NY

“Being surrounded by a group of fifty other passionate, knowledgeable programmers is a huge accelerator for my learning. If I were learning on my own, I’d be stumbling down dead-end paths, getting discouraged and frustrated, which often amplifies itself in a negative feedback loop until it results in quitting and giving up. At HS, there’s bound to be someone who knows about the very thing you’re trying to learn about, often just a medium volume shout away.

On day one, I wanted to make a plugin for Sublime Text 2 that would format code neatly (like the Eclipse formatter for Java). After discovering that Sublime has a formatter plugin for many popular languages already, I decided to try to make one for Clojure. Never having used Clojure before, I turned to a classmate who’s hacked with Clojure a lot and learned that Clojure already has a pretty printer. In a five minute conversation, I probably saved myself at least a couple hours of wasted time trying to do something that’s already been done.

When I had a question about how global variables work in Python, three classmates sitting at my table instantly answered that they are like static variables with the added craziness of being able to get called outside of the context of the class they are declared in. As opposed to asking a question on the internet, they are able to tailor their response in a manner appropriate to my background knowledge, since we know each other’s backgrounds.”

— David, Summer 2012 New York, NY

“Hacker School is definitely the best way to dedicate time honing your craft and become a better developer. HS’s approach and the other developers you’ll meet there, create a nice and stimulating atmosphere. All those things I’ve been wishing I had time to learn over the years. Being at HS finally gave me the opportunity!”

— Xavier, Winter 2012 Paris, France

“The people here are phenomenal. I never realized the impact of being the only female in the room until I wasn’t. Every person here is smart, interesting, funny, supportive, capable, and very different from one another. Hacker School has given me space to ask questions about anything without worrying how I’ll be perceived. I’ve become both confident and obsessed in subjects I never thought possible. My experience at Hacker School has given me the confidence to create anything I want in any language I want. This experience has changed my life.”

— Martha, Summer 2012 Nashville, TN

“Hacker School is everything I thought it would be and more. It’s a wonderful environment for improving yourself as a programmer—even though I had a master’s degree worth of CS theory coming in, I’ve learned so much more that I’d like to spend another few years here. And it’s not just an opportunity to learn about CS; Hacker School is a great social experience, an interesting example of how people with common interests and an awesome city to explore can quickly become good friends. Words cannot express how grateful I am to have been a part of this batch of Hacker School, and how much I hope the friendships and experience I’ve gained stay with me going into the future.

P.S. Writing patches for the open source project that I use the most has been the most fulfilling and fun programming experience I’ve ever had!”

— Alex, Summer 2012 Chicago, IL

“I joined Hacker School to focus on Clojure and functional programming. Collaborating with other passionate Hacker Schoolers advanced my skills more rapidly than the prior year of free-time learning. Hacker School has been phenomenal for my resume and portfolio: together we made significant contributions to the ClojureScript compiler, putting me on their contributor list. I can’t wait until I have the opportunity to work with future generations of Hacker Schoolers.”

— Dustin, Summer 2012 Philadelphia, PA

“Being a part of Hacker School is an incredible experience, not because of the massive amount of physical resources made available to us, but because of the people. Hacker Schoolers are intensely intellectually curious. Being in an environment where smart people are talking about programming ideas allows learning by osmosis. I would repeatedly hear about a concept in passing and then recall it later as a potential solution to a problem facing me. This constant implicit learning accelerated my progress.”

— Jane, Summer 2012 Washington, D.C.

“Go. That’s my one word summary of Hacker School. If you like programming and problem solving there are few places you could go and learn as much in such a short period of time. Three months of freeform learning with a diverse group of smart and curious people and just the right amount of social pressure to finish projects you start.”

— Oskar, Summer 2012 Stockholm, Sweden

“As a n00b, HS was invaluable for many reasons. For one, getting overall direction on interesting and useful things to learn, which can be difficult to navigate and overwhelming without help from experienced hackers you can trust. And on top of that, locking yourself in a room with 20 like-minded and intelligent individuals who are all eager to learn and better themselves, that’s just a recipe for extreme intellectual growth. Getting away from your typical job, projects, and other distractions to focus on learning new things and doing so with others is surprisingly hard to do alone or in your spare time, but that is really the crux of programming, and HS allows that to happen.”

— Lev, Fall 2011 New York, NY

“I’m learning to build things here that I’d hoped to build for ages, and programming among people with a huge variety of backgrounds and interests who love programming too is consistently exciting. Each day at Hacker School I get to know fantastic, talented people better; every day I discover something else that I don’t know enough about.“

— Jackie, Summer 2012 Ann Arbor, MI

“I came into Hacker School having read a few introductory-level programming books and upon completion was able to start working as a professional developer. The skill level of students in my batch varied from beginners, to some of the most brilliant programmers I’ll ever meet.

Probably the best part of Hacker School were the people (teachers, alums & students), who really went out of their way to make sure we push ourselves outside of our comfort zones and grow as programmers and moreover were just extremely nice people. Hacker School is more ambitious that simply educating batches of programmers, they’re out to make the world a better place. I couldn’t recommend Hacker School more enthusiastically for engineers of all skill levels and am very grateful to have been a part of it.”

— Zain, Winter 2012 San Francisco, CA

Hacker School's biggest strength is the fact that it provides an environment that allows for self motivation. When I'm surrounded by 50+ brilliant minds, all striving to be better than their personal best, it pushes me to set new goals for myself everyday. It makes it possible for me to look beyond my comfort zone and allows me to toe the boundaries. The best part is, there is always someone to help you cross that line and explore the other side, be it a new programming language, a new computing concept or an entirely different pattern of thought process.

My experience at Hacker School has been one of a kind, in the sense that, in spite of the absence of traditional testing of knowledge, the apparent growth seen in myself and people around me has been evident. The weekly presentations on Saturday evenings provides a mechanism for me to set short term goals and see to it that I achieve them.

I was used to thinking like a developer and had lost the ability to enjoy the nuances of programming. I came to Hacker School with the goal of being a much better programmer than I was at the time. Hacker School has not only enabled me to become much more equipped as a programmer, it has also enabled me to feel the excitement I used to feel when I wrote beautiful and efficient code.

To me, Hacker School is a shift of paradigms in education; one that focuses on learning rather than studying.

— Sharadha, Summer 2012 Chennai, India

“I had an amazing time at Hacker School. As someone who loves to program, and who loves New York, I can’t think of a better way to spend 3 months. I think it’s the most effective, efficient way to immerse yourself in becoming a better programmer.”

— Dave, Winter 2012 Toronto, Canada

“Hacker School isn’t like the real world—in a really great way. Your only competition is yourself, and if you believe that you can create something, it will happen. Even if you try and fall short, there are other talented programmers who can help work with you and push your boundaries the last bit of the way.

Everyone has heart, wit, and drive, and I’ve been amazed at how well-balanced and varied everyone’s non-programming interests are. In short, the people here are just that—people. We program, but we’re fun people, too!

At the start, I was incredibly inspired hearing others’ personal pre-Hacker School stories, but now I can’t wait to hear post-Hacker School ones—I think they’re going to be even better. I really believe everyone is going to go on to do amazing things, and I’m proud to be a part of the Hacker School network.”

— Trucy, Summer 2012 Waterloo, IA

“Hacker School isn’t just an amazing 3 months. It’s broader than that. It stands for a certain way of going about life—a way that emphasizes asking questions, taking things apart, and never taking for granted the awesome complexity of the man-made and natural worlds around us. It’s the way of discovery and understanding, and it’s a way of thinking that will flourish in your mind while you’re at Hacker School and, hopefully, stay firmly rooted even after you leave it.”

— Jimmy, Fall 2011 St. Louis, MO

“At HS I am learning about new concepts, techniques, and paradigms, but most importantly I'm learning new things about myself. What makes it work is the fact that every single one of us has so much to share, even if they don't realize it coming in. There is an enormous diversity of people and ideas, but the passion is always contagious and never caustic. This is an ideal learning environment. As you discover new challenges, you interact with new people and they are excited to help.”

— Greg, Fall 2011 St. Louis, MO

“I am a Hacker Schooler. (batch[3], to be precise). I am also female, 24, a self-described Jack of all trades, former HTML-CSS goddess (and SASS demi-god) at a small energy retailer in Texas (now defunct), former mobile phone project problem solver, former Excel VBA macro maestro and ^Windows ^Short ^Cut ^Key ^Ninja, should that matter. I did not study Computer Science in college. I love bash scripts, JavaScript closures, pattern matching, and Erlang list comprehensions. (These are all things I discovered while at Hacker School.)”

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— Lisa, Summer 2012 Austin, TX