Do I have the right background or skill-set to attend Bitmaker Labs?
Anyone with the drive to learn can be successful in the program.
What do you look for in candidates?
It’s probably someone that has tried Codeacademy or Code School on their own, but found that the stakes aren’t high enough. They want a stronger support system and understand that coding is not just about a lone person in a dark room.
The kind of students that attend our program will learn what they’re after, whether they attend Bitmaker Labs or not. They choose to attend our class because they know we will accelerate them towards where they want to be in their career path.
What kind of person attends Bitmaker Labs? Who will be in my class?
Students vary from 19-year-old college dropouts, 35-year-old established entrepreneurs, to people who hold master's and PhD’s. The common denominator amongst all students is a passion, drive and commitment to learn.
Are you an accredited institution?
No, we’re not an accredited institution, and we’re proud of it. We pride ourselves on being able to respond to the needs of a fast-moving market such as technology. To become an accredited institution means that we’d be bound by regulations that would inhibit our ability to be agile and responsive.
Didn’t the government try to shut you down?
No. We received extensive press coverage that talks about it (see Wired and The Globe and Mail), and are happy to have had Brad Duguid, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities visit our facilities. Thanks for calling us heroes, Brad!
How much time do I need to spend studying / programming while in the program?
The more the better. You should be doing a minimum of 60 hours a week to be successful.
How do I get help and support while I’m at Bitmaker Labs?
We’re a very transparent organization and actively encourage constant feedback. We also have one-on-one sessions where we pair a lead instructor with students to make sure that each of them are learning according to the pace that they need to be.
We have an app that allows students to indicate that they need help from instructors, and even have someone on staff with a PhD in classroom metrics to help us better understand how successful we are at knowledge transfer.
In short, just ask (but we’ll also ask you how you’re doing too).
Do you support entrepreneurs in the program?
Definitely. We have a number of alumni that have successfully transitioned into entrepreneurial roles following the program. Many of the events that we encourage students to go to have great opportunities for emerging entrepreneurs. If you want to build your dream, Bitmaker Labs is a great place to begin learning the technical aspects of it.
What’s your approach to the health and well being of students?
We provide weekly Yoga sessions (every Wednesday during lunch). We have bike racks, and encourage students to use them. Staying active is a critical component in a student's ability able to consistently learn well.
What are the payment deadlines?
Once a student receives an offer to attend, they need to pay their non-refundable deposit within a week to reserve their seat. The remaining tuition is split into two equal payments - with the first due the month leading up to the first day of class. The final one is due on the first day of class.
Do you offer financing? How does it work?
Yes. We’ve partnered with FinanceIt to provide our successful applicants with financing options. Upon acceptance into the Bitmaker Labs' programming bootcamp, applicants have access to financing at a competitive interest rate and an option to choose repayment periods of 12 – 60 months, with longer terms available.
Do you offer scholarships?
Yes. We are currently offering the Grace Hopper Scholarship for Women in Technology. The $500 scholarship is applied to all women participating in Bitmaker’s immersive program – no application necessary!
When can I access the classroom?
We’re moving to a new space in March. Just like we have for all of our previous cohorts, we want to give students full access to the space, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We ask that everyone understand that as with all new spaces, we might need to iron a few kinks out.
Where is Bitmaker Labs?
Bitmaker Labs is located in the heart of Toronto. Our address is 220 King St W, Toronto, ON M5H 1K4. We’re 10 minutes away from the Skydome and the CN Tower.
Do you offer housing?
We do. It's available on a first-come first-serve basis. If you’re interested, mention it to us during your interview.
Where can I park?
It’s downtown. You’re better off to take a subway or streetcar. That being said, there are a few parking lots around the area.
Do I need a laptop? What kind?
Yes you do. Most students have Macs, simply because they’re so easy to work with. Those who don’t install Linux on their laptops. We don’t encourage students to use any version of Windows. Because .. well .. Windows.
What’s the instructor to student ratio?
1 to 7.
What are your instructors like?
They’re a bunch of jerks! Just kidding. We only allow instructors who have a minimum of 5 years of real startup-focused programming experience to mentor students. We do not hire students out of the program, and never will, although we find it flattering that other schools have hired our grads to teach at their schools.
International Student Considerations
If I’m an international student, do I need a Canadian visa to attend Bitmaker Labs?
Maybe. Check out this handy Government of Canada website to find out if you will need a visa to travel to Canada.
As it turns out, because our program is not an accredited institution in the province of Ontario, students looking to acquire a visa should not apply for a Student Visa and should instead apply for a Visitor Visa. This type of visa is valid for 6 months and can be extended to last longer.
Can I find a job in Canada as an international student?
Our international students have almost all received jobs in the industry, but in their home countries. They have had an overwhelmingly difficult time getting a job here in Canada. We are committed to helping students get a job in the industry, however it is ultimately the students' responsibility.
Student Careers Beyond Bitmaker Labs
Can I have a part-time job while I’m at Bitmaker?
We highly, highly discourage it. Some students in the past have worked evenings or weekends in order to help pay for their expenses, but it was extremely difficult. Many of those that have tried have left their jobs mid-program to focus on learning.
Am I guaranteed a job when I’m finished?
No. As an institution, we focus on giving you the right skills, and making sure you have the core competencies to stand on your own two feet. We’ll introduce you to startups in Toronto and beyond, and help you through their interview process.
Web Development Immersive
Everything covered lets you learn all the basics to be a really good programmer, in the sense that you learn OOP, how to build web apps, functional programming and client side technologies as well. Students will be able to port that to any other languages that they learn thereafter.
We don’t feel that Django, Pythons’ Rails equivalent is as popular and robust as what we teach, and we find that WordPress is extremely limiting in terms of what a person can build.
So far, we’ve been successful in that 85% of our graduates in our first three cohorts looking for employment have found work in development positions. This includes graduates who are currently working in jobs using Python and other languages.
Is 9 weeks enough to learn how to code?
Yes, and no. You can become a proficient junior developer, which is your first step to becoming a senior web developer over the course of a few years if you keep on coding diligently, work long hours, and love what you do. Nine weeks is enough to get you to the point where you can build web apps on your own for other companies.
What does a typical day look like?
In the morning, we start with the opening lecture. It’s town hall style where students are expected to participate. It’s not the instructor just reading off a bunch of slides, instead they communicate ideas and discuss them with the class.
The projects for the afternoon are introduced in the morning lecture. There’s a two-hour lunch break where students get to work on things on their own and explore the new materials before reconvening in the afternoon session.
In the early afternoon, stand-ups with instructors begin, so students can communicate their struggles or light bulb moments. This gives students the chance to voice questions or concerns in a group setting. This is followed by a studio-learning environment where they work on exercises, often in pairs, leaning on readily available instructors as necessary.
Students generally stay until 6PM, but many will often collaborate with each other until the late evening. This is a bootcamp after all.
Do I need to know anything about programming before I begin the course?
Yes - which is why we make our students go through a rigorous prep course before their first day in class. Generally speaking, a basic understanding of HTML, CSS, UNIX, CLI and Ruby is an important set of skills to have in time for the first day of class.
Can I attend remotely?
Nope. But you can try out our prep course to see if you like it!
Am I going to be spending all of my time in class?
Ideally, you won’t be. We’ll be pointing you to appropriate web development-related events happening in Toronto. Networking goes a long way in any industry - and the more time you spend doing it, the better position you’ll be in when it comes time for you to find a job.
Ask us anything!
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