As the cost of higher education continues to rise, online courses and bootcamps have in recent years become a viable alternative for those who want training in highly technical and well-compensated fields—without the steep price tag or years-long time commitment. 

Spurring the e-learning revolution is the growing demand across all industries for software engineers, designers, data scientists, and cybersecurity professionals, which has resulted in courses and bootcamps that promise to prepare students for those roles—often from the comfort of their home and at the student’s own pace.

The rise of online bootcamps has been a good thing, with The New York Times reporting that virtual learning has been a “great equalizer” for adults and has made training and upskilling more accessible. During the Covid-19 pandemic, in particular, the research found that e-learning has the potential to close a longstanding skills gap and democratize user engagement. 

Many courses, designed specifically with a bootcamp-to-workforce pipeline in mind, have also optimized their programs to focus on the skills students need in order to land the job they want, thus maximizing efficiency and giving graduates a competitive advantage

What Is Hack Reactor?

Hack Reactor is a San Francisco-based coding school that offers in-person and online bootcamps in software engineering. Unlike other bootcamps, which teach courses across multiple disciplines and professions, Hack Reactor only offers a software engineering program that students can take full-time in-person or online (12 weeks), or part-time online (9 months). Regardless of course format, all classes are synchronous, which means students are expected to attend live lectures, webinars, participate in real-time coding exercises, and collaborate with peers.

Hack Reactor’s courses are administered in three phases: a “Precourse” period in which students do 90-120 hours of prep work to develop a foundation in Javascript, HTML, CSS, and more; a “Junior” phase of five weeks where students are taught computer science fundamentals; and a “Senior” phase of seven weeks where students work on capstone projects and portfolios.

The school has physical campuses in Austin, Denver, Los Angeles, Seattle, San Francisco, and New York City. 

What Is App Academy?

App Academy is a San Francisco-based coding school that offers in-person and online courses in software engineering. Similar to Hack Reactor, it focuses solely on training students to become software engineers, but where Hack Reactor’s full-time program (in-person and online) requires 12 weeks to complete, App Academy’s full-time course takes 16 weeks to complete in-person and 24 weeks to complete online, while its part-time online course takes 48 weeks to finish.

All of its courses are synchronous—even for part-time students—which means lectures, webinars, coding exercises, and group work are held at set times. Its full-time course is divided into four phases: a preparatory phase where students learn HTML, Git, and Boolean logic; an eight week period where students learn programming fundamentals; another eight week period focused on front- and back-end engineering; and a six-week finisher focus on projects, portfolio development, and job search strategies.

App Academy has physical campuses in San Francisco and New York. Its online courses are currently not available to New York residents due to state regulations.

Hack Reactor vs. App Academy: What Are the Main Differences?

Hack Reactor vs. App Academy Main Differences

There are a few fundamental differences between Hack Reactor and App Academy.

Hack ReactorApp Academy
Average course takes 12 weeks to complete in-person or online. Average course takes 16 weeks to complete in-person and 24 weeks to complete online. 
Physical campuses in Austin, Denver, Los Angeles, Seattle, San Francisco, and New York CityPhysical campuses in San Francisco and New York City
Online courses available to New York residentsOnline courses not available to New York residents due to state regulations
Typical school day 9 a.m.-8 p.m.Typical school day 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

If you’re interested in a bootcamp that comes with a job guarantee, individualized mentorship, flexible asynchronous classes, and more course options, Springboard offers comprehensive, mentor-supported bootcamps in data science, UI/UX design, software engineering, cybersecurity, machine learning engineering, and tech sales.

Hack Reactor vs. App Academy: Learning Format

Hack Reactor vs. App Academy: Learning Format
  • Hack Reactor offers synchronous classes in-person, online full-time, and online part-time. A full-time Hack Reactor course in software engineering can be completed in 12 weeks, with classes taking place Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. During those hours, students can expect to participate in live coding sessions, attend lectures, program in pairs, work on class-based projects, attend presentations, and do coding sprints. All students are given access to one-on-one career coaching, portfolio and CV-building support, and mock interview practice.
  • App Academy also offers synchronous classes in-person, online full-time, and online part-time. Students who attend App Academy’s courses in-person, full-time can expect to complete the software engineering course in 16 weeks, with classes taking place Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. During those hours, students can expect to attend live lectures and Q&A sessions, program in pairs, perform group reviews of code, and complete practice assessments. All students are expected to attend portfolio workshops, have access to mentors and teaching assistants, are given networking and job search support, and get to practice their personal pitch. 

Hack Reactor vs. App Academy: What’s on the Curriculum?

Hack Reactor vs. App Academy: What's on the Curriculum

Hack Reactors and App Academy are among the few online bootcamps and schools that focus on a single discipline. However, Hack Reactor offers supplemental short courses in professional development for those looking to build on existing software engineering skills. 

Hack ReactorApp Academy
Software engineeringSoftware engineering
Methodologies + requirement gathering
Networking + reactive programming
Computer architecture + IoT
Microservices + orchestration
Algorithms + data structures

Interested in a tech career that isn’t offered by Hack Reactor or App Academy? In addition to software engineering, Springboard’s comprehensive bootcamps include cybersecurity, data analytics, UI/UX design, machine learning engineering, data science, data engineering, and tech sales.

Hack Reactor vs. App Academy: How Much Does It Cost?

Cost Comparison

When it comes to online courses and bootcamps, the adage that you get what you pay for often rings true. Free or low-cost courses can be accessible, but often lack personalized support from instructors and mentors. Higher-cost courses can have a higher barrier to entry, but typically come with a comprehensive support system. 

  • Hack Reactor’s full-time course cost around $17,980 upfront, with a higher cost for deferred tuition and income share agreements.
  • App Academy’s full-time course cost around $20,000 upfront, with a higher cost for deferred tuition and income share agreements.

Looking for a more affordable but still rigorous introductory course to dip your toes into a subject before committing to a bootcamp? Springboard’s introductory courses start from $349 and come with both mentor and career coach support. Most introductory courses can be completed in four weeks, and the cost of an introductory course can be applied toward a full bootcamp at a later time. 

Hack Reactor vs. App Academy: Job Outcomes

One of the indicators of an effective bootcamp or online course is whether students land an industry job upon graduation.

  • Hack Reactor has a 75% success rate at placing students in jobs within six months of graduation. 
  • App Academy has a 93-95% success rate at placing students in jobs within six months of graduation in New York and San Francisco. 

Looking for a course that offers a job guarantee? Springboard’s programs guarantee that graduates will land a job in a related field within six months of graduation or they’ll issue a full tuition refund. 

Hack Reactor vs. App Academy: Pros and Cons

Pros and Cons

In the saturated e-learning market, both Hack Reactor and App Academy have emerged as significant players because their courses offer many benefits. But what works for one student may not work for another. 

Hack Reactor

  • Pros: Hack Reactor’s range of financing options—including upfront payment, split payment, deferred payment, and income share agreements— offers flexibility to students, allowing people to enroll in courses even if they can’t afford an upfront payment. Mentors, tutors, and careers coaches also support students through course projects, classwork, and job searches to best prepare graduates for job interviews and the workforce. Hack Reactor’s support network is similar to that of Springboard, although Springboard offers more courses and specializes in more career tracks. Springboard also offers scholarships to those facing financial hardships or from historically underrepresented groups
  • Cons: All of Hack Reactor’s courses are synchronous with rigid start and end times and the expectation that students engage with coursework and classes 50-60 hours a week. In comparison, other mentor-led bootcamps such as Springboard help students meet similar outcomes (skills training, career support, job guarantee) while offering greater flexibility and programs optimized for self-paced learning. 

App Academy

  • Pros: Similar to Hack Reactor, App Academy also provides a range of financing options that allow students to enroll even if they can’t afford tuition. Mentors, tutors, and careers coaches also support students through course projects, classwork, and job searches to best prepare graduates for job interviews and the workforce. App Academy’s support network is similar to that of Springboard, although Springboard offers more courses and specializes in more career tracks.
  • Cons: App Academy’s synchronous nature means it lacks flexibility. Like Hack Reactor, it also only offers courses in software engineering, and its online courses are not available to residents of New York due to state regulations. 

Interested in a bootcamp that offers customized career counseling, weekly calls with industry mentors from day one, and a flexible program that allows you to go at your own pace? All of Springboard’s courses are built from the ground up to be fully online and asynchronous. To ensure you get the support you need while you learn at your own pace, every student is paired with an expert from Springboard’s vast network of mentors to give them guidance and support for projects, job hunting, and career decision-making.

Ready to Learn More?

Browse the Springboard Career Tracks to find the perfect fit for you.

Not ready to enroll just yet? Read more about the factors you should consider while picking a program in our bootcamp criteria guide.

Disclaimer: We’ve worked hard to ensure the information in this comparison guide is accurate and up-to-date. However, mistakes happen. If you spot an error, please get in touch with us at hello@springboard.com and we’ll correct it right away.