Ada Developers Academy is a non-profit tuition free coding bootcamp specifically tailored to women and gender diverse individuals. The school is named after Augusta Ada Lovelace who was a 19th century mathematician. Ada is considered the founder of computer science. The highly intensive program combines classroom training and a paid learning internship to ensure that students become well rounded tech individuals. Ada Developers Academy places a high priority on inclusivity and fostering diversity throughout the tech industry.
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Wow, what a game changer! I went from doing shitty office work to now being actively engaged, challenged, and stimulated at work. Ada was hard, no doubt, but the payoff is insane if you bust your ass. I nearly tripled my income in one year, going from making under 35k as an admin/translator to accepting my first software development role at 95k!
One of the challenges is that Ada is still very new, so they are figuring out how to run the program as you are going through it. In a few years, it’ll stabilize even more. It’s great for those who can work with ambiguity, who are willing to learn whatever it takes & who are self-driven, which (not coincidentally) are the exact qualities that people look for in developers. Since I was part of the first cohort, they still needed to figure out the holes in the curriculum. Now I look at what the new classes are learning and get a little bit of that older-sibling jealously that they have it so much better, haha! It can also be an emotional challenge to work so intimately with the same people for so long, especially because you feel like you don’t know anything when you start. For most high achieving women, it feels like a big vulnerability to be so bad at something, but that shared experience also birthed a really strong connection among students and a network that will last much longer than Ada.
My internship was a rough experience because of the toxic environment the men that I worked with created and directed at me, but Ada was there to support me and back me up when I needed help. In the end though, having that real on the job experience is what separates Ada from other bootcamps and I was able to find jobs with people at companies that value women and diversity. I ended up with five job offers, ranging from startups to mega-corporations. Now I work at a woman-owned, woman-led startup with great people and have never been more professionally satisfied! I have gained a lot of confidence and through Ada I have gotten the peer support network, education, & mentorship that I need to kick ass no matter what I do.
April 10, 2015
High marks for curriculum and execution. It’s a wonderful program. One thing to keep in mind however, when listening to the Cinderella story that I know they genuinely wish they could provide, it is my experience that the administration is not transparent about their selection process. They are bound to a degree, by corporate sponsorship and employee retraining. Though they vigilantly encourage women of every age, socio-economic background and education level to apply, if you take a look at the actual student body and the jobs they hold prior to enrollment, it tells a different story.
January 5, 2016
It’s hard to imagine where I would be right now if I hadn’t been lucky enough to be accepted to and subsequently complete Ada. The year in the program could be brutal, particularly the classroom period, although the internship certainly came with its own challenges too. But the payoff has been huge in so many ways—intellectually (the job I have now is 1000x more interesting and enjoyable to me than any past job I’ve had, hands down), financially (I make in the low 90s—not a figure I think I would’ve ever come close to reaching in my pre-Ada field), and community (the women I met through Ada are some of the smartest, most interesting women I’ve met and they’re a wonderful network to have, both friendship and career-wise). And all of that for $0 tuition, and a chance to get a foot in the door interning with some big names in Seattle tech.
Getting to this point wasn’t always smooth sailing, and Ada is an imperfect organization. The staff is very small, while the undertaking of what Ada is trying to do is absolutely enormous and always growing. Things fall through the cracks, and sometimes I think they bite off more than they can chew. They’ve shown themselves to be open to feedback and the curriculum and program is ever evolving based on that. Sometimes it’s amazing to recall just how young the organization is—only about 2.5 years old.
At the end of the day, I would do it all over again without even the slightest bit of hesitation. I can’t say the year was exactly “fun” (it had its moments), but it was so, so very worth it. Which is why if you get accepted (acceptance rates have been around 8% but I think they’re working on trying to ease that at least a little) and can possibly swing it, DO IT. The year will be hard, draining, and stressful (technologically and emotionally), but you will amaze yourself with the things you learn while changing your life’s trajectory utterly and completely.
March 12, 2016
I agree with “Anonymous” Software Engineer’s review (01/2016) about the “opaque admissions process”, especially the part about educational level and age. However, I would add employment history in there as well.
They don’t give women already in technology a chance.
Just something to keep in mind for those already working in tech or have worked within tech in a non-programming role that would NOT qualify them to be employable as a developer. BUT whom one would want to become employable as a developer in the future
Also, note the applicants they take in despite their “everyone is welcome” philosophy in encouraging women of all ages to apply.
September 20, 2016
Ada Developers Academy ( ADA ) delivers what it says it does. You will receive a top notch education in programming, computer science fundamentals, and preparation for whiteboard style interviewing. You will not be charged tuition and you will receive a stipend at the end of each month of your internship that is the equivalent of 35 hours a week at $15 an hour. Taxes will not be taken out of your check as your role is that of a contractor. Most of your class will have job offers before the cohort ends , but not all, often for reasons not under ADA’s ( or the Adies’ ) control. You will graduate ready to enter the job market as a junior developer. You will think that you should feel more skilled and experienced once you reach that point but you won’t ( what you hope to feel like usually takes 5 years of experience and work to achieve ). You will have a strong network of graduates to lean on and the support of ADA during future job searches and dealing with the challenges that the tech industry brings. Teaching will usually be spot on, but there will be missteps and errors along the way. You will be doing more independent study than you anticipate. Your instructors ( 2 per 24 students, 1 floating instructor, 1 Jumpstart instructor, a dedicated Computer Science Fundamentals instructor, and an outstanding student counselor ) are supportive, committed to the mission of ADA, and eager for you to succeed, but they are human. Things more very fast and you have to advocate for yourself and your classmates. Sometimes tutoring is available, sometimes not. If you start to fall behind you need to recognize it quickly and get assistance immediately. You may have to go outside of ADA to do that. You will receive education and training about social justice, including the concerns and challenges of women of color and non-binary individuals. You will be personally be challenged. You will learn things you didn’t know about yourself, and didn’t necessarily want to know. You will learn that there is difference between ADA and the Adies alumnix. It was the alumnix who made the commitment to “no woman left behind”. Students have been expelled from ADA. Not all of us got in on our first try. Some were admitted on their 5th try. There is some Redshirting. You will form some of the strongest friendships of your life, but you won’t like everyone. Lateral aggression is minimal, bullying almost non-existent. ADA was worth it, the Adies especially so. But it is hard. The process hurts. It hurts alot. But it was worth it. Eyes open, keep your expectations in check, and it will be amazing. You will be amazing. Apply.
June 10, 2017
Here are a few ways Ada sets itself apart from other programs:
1. It’s a nonprofit with a mission.
Ada fully lives its mission to address the gender and diversity gap in tech. Not only do students and staff undergo trainings related to unconscious bias and social justice, but Ada also requires sponsoring companies and managers to go through similar training. Ada understands that in order to address and solve problems that can be solved through tech, there needs to be more perspectives and ideas brought to the table.
2. It’s free (not to mention student get a guaranteed paid internship for 5 months).
As a non-profit, Ada sustains itself through company sponsorship and private donations. It’s free for students throughout the in-class portion and then students get paid for the internship portion. This allows Ada to attract the most qualified students, not just students who can afford a bootcamp. Having said that, Ada is highly competitive, sometimes with cohort acceptance rates as low as 8%.
3. Students are taught CS fundamentals.
Students receive education on data structures and algorithms throughout the in-class portion and once a week during the internship portion.
4. Ada is highly respected and trusted in the Seattle tech community.
Arguably Ada’s greatest strength is its reputation of producing top notch developers. Sponsoring companies (Amazon, Groupon, Google, Moz, Rover… to name a few) continue to sponsor and companies that hire Ada grads end up becoming sponsors. Almost all Ada students have job offers before graduation.
July 4, 2017
A year ago I was making $40,000 working in the administrative field and decided that I wanted to make a career change to become a software developer. I chose Ada Developer Academy as I wanted an environment that is supportive for women/gender diverse people pursuing careers in tech. I now make over $100,000 and am in a field that I find fascinating and challenging.
Ada is tuition-free and oftentimes offers loans to students that need financial assistance
The class sizes are small (mine was 24 students) and have passionate instructors and a supportive environment
Ada offers an industry mentor, an Ada mentor (usually a past student), and if students need additional help there are TA’s and tutors available
Students receive a 5-month internship which in my opinion, was as valuable as the classroom portion
The Ada community is amazing – throughout my time at Ada the alumni were quick to answer any questions I had/to offer advice. Also, Ada is becoming well-known in the Seattle area and has developed connections to many large companies.
It’s a challenging, time-intensive program. During the classroom portion you’re often learning and applying concepts at a rapid pace and are expected to reach out for help if needed. After going to school for the day you often have homework to work on once you get home/projects to work on over the weekend.
During the internship period it can be difficult balancing internship while learning computer science concepts/preparing for technical interviews.
Sometimes internships don’t go well, there’s rarely a way to tell ahead of time which internships will not go well as it’s more dependent on what team your on rather than what company you’re hired for.
I highly recommend this program. It will be a year of chaos but during the chaos you’re pushing yourself towards your dreams and by the time it’s over you’ll be surprised at how fast time flew by/how far you’ve come.
July 12, 2019
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