App Academy is an intensive web development course in San Francisco and New York City.
You only pay us if you find a job as a developer after the program.
Our first batch graduated Sep 2012. 93% of our graduates have offers or are working in tech jobs now at an average salary of $83,000.
In a Nutshell
App Academy is an intensive, full-time, web development class in San Francisco and New York City.
Programming experience isn't required; you will need lots of tenacity and a passion for building cool stuff.
App Academy is as low-risk as we can make it.
You only pay us if you find a job as a developer after the program. In that case, the fee is 15% of your first year salary, payable over the first 6 months after you start working.
At the end of the course we run a hiring day. If you choose to work at any of our partner companies, we will refund $5,000 of your tuition. Of course, you are free to accept a position with any employer.
We're in this together; we only succeed if the program works for you.
We taught an iOS course (which included several weeks of Ruby & Rails) in San Francisco this summer. 93% of our graduates have offers or are working in tech jobs now at an average salary of $83,000. See what our alumni have to say about our course.
More broadly, we train you to solve real-world problems with software; software development is as much about a way of thinking as a set of tools. The skills we teach will serve you well no matter what you may want to do in the future: back-end engineering, iOS development, big data, etc.
Ruby + Object-Oriented Design
Basic + Intermediate Ruby
Basic Algorithms + Data Structures
Ruby II + The Web
Basic + Intermediate git/GitHub
Serialization: JSON, XML
API Consumption (RestClient + OAuth)
Web Scraping (Nokogiri)
TDD + SQL
Joins and Associations
SQLite3 + MySQL
Basic Routing + Controllers + Views
Layouts + Rendering + Partials + Helpers
Cookies + Sessions
ActionMailer + E-Mail
Integration Testing with Capybara
Intro to Metaprogramming
Metaprogramming: Rebuilding Rails (Lite)
WEBrick Server Configuration
Router with Regular Expressions
Rendering + Processing ERB Templates
DOM Traversal + Manipulation
Closures + this + Prototypal Inheritance
Backbone.Relational + Backbone.Form
Single Page Web Apps
Advanced JSON Construction (RABL, ActiveModel::Serializers)
Capstone Project I + Advanced Topics
Rack + Middleware
Web Design + UX/UI Basics
Twitter Bootstrap + Zurb Foundation
Application Deployment (Heroku)
Capstone Project II + Advanced Topics
Performance + Scaling: Caching, Profiling
Intermediate Algorithms + Data Structures
Security: CSRF, Injection (SQL, XSS, CSS, AJAX), etc.
The program is lab-based, since the best way to learn to code is by writing it. We keep the lectures to a minimum; ninety percent of your day is spent building projects, with guidance and advice from us.
We work through labs in pairs. Working together helps students share knowledge while making coding much more social. Pair programming is also more productive; you and your partner keep each other focused.
At the end of the program, we help you find a position as an entry-level Rails developer. Over nine weeks, you'll have built a significant portfolio of code showing what you're capable of. On the last day, we host an interview day to introduce you to tech companies looking to hire new devs.
The demand for Rails engineers in Silicon Valley is significant, and the
average base salary stands at about $120k. Current entry-level salaries are in the range of $70-80k.
Is nine weeks enough to prepare a beginner to work as a Rails dev?
Yes. We've taught an immersive course before, and we've seen how effective they are.
We've specifically designed the course with a focus on the skills you need to begin a career as a software engineer. We emphasize the practical, which is why we have you spend so much of the course gaining experience by working on projects. Over the 400+ hours of instructional time, we train you in every major facet of Rails development.
Our past students have repeatedly told us that by training in an immersive environment with constant access to instructors, they were able to learn
much faster than they did on their own.
What will I be able to build by the end of the program?
Look here, here and here for a few samples of our students' work.
Who should apply?
Prior programming experience will help, but there are no hard
requirements beside a passion for building cool stuff. You do
need to be comfortable using a computer. You won't need a
What kind of time commitment does App Academy require?
The class will be rewarding, but it will not be easy. On
average, students put in 80-90 hours per week.
What is the application process? What makes a successful application?
The application process consists of a few steps:
You submit an application.
Within two days, we mail you a coding challenge
(with resources to prepare).
You complete the coding challenge when you're ready.
We interview you.
Within two days, we make a decision.
The most important parts of our process are the coding challenge and a second coding exercise we do together during the interview. We accept a very high percentage of applicants who do well on these two exercises. For students who are new to programming, we provide materials to bring them up to speed and teach them everything they need to know to complete our exercises.
How competitive is the application process?
We received over 450 applications for 20 spots in our summer
program. The earlier you apply, the more time we have to consider your application!
What about entrepreneurs?
App Academy is also a place for entrepreneurial-minded students to gain the skills needed to prototype their ideas. To entrepreneurs, we offer a similar deal: we only collect a course fee ($12,000 payable over 6 months, due after you start your company) if you start a company within 12 months of completing App Academy.
Do you take international students?
We welcome foreign applicants; we have taken students from abroad in the past.
That said, because our typical model is to only charge tuition if students find jobs after the course, work visa issues require us to charge an upfront fixed fee of $12,000 to students that aren't legally allowed to work in the US.
Will I need to buy any hardware?
We have Apple pairing stations in the office, so you won't need to bring any hardware to class.
The office is open 24/7, but if you want to work at home, or if you're considering buying a dev machine anyway, we (very) strongly recommend buying a Mac. Apple is the de facto standard among devs, not least because all the core tools like the terminal, Ruby, git, etc. work pretty much out of the box.
What is the attrition rate?
The attrition rate is approximately 10% - 15%. The course is
intense, and though we make every effort to ensure that struggling
students receive the support they need, not every student makes it
What can I do to increase my chances of acceptance?
The best thing you can do to increase your chances of getting
into the program is to prepare well for the coding challenge and
phone interview. We're going to teach you a ton, but we like to
see that you've put in some work on your own to teach yourself.
Ned Ruggeri is a software engineer in San Francisco. He started making computer games long, long ago in the days of DOS and QBASIC. Ned went to the University of Chicago, where he studied math and theoretical computer science. He worked on academic projects in cluster computing and natural language processing. While at school, Ned taught classes in the undergraduate and masters computer science programs.
Lately, Ned has become more interested in building user-facing applications. He's built iOS apps and browser extensions, but he's most excited about web apps.
Ned enjoys playing guitar and piano poorly, sailing his catamaran with friends, and rolling in parks. His greatest unfulfilled desire is motorcycle ownership.
Kush Patel enjoys programming, reading and playing with cats. After studying economics and computer science at the University of Chicago, he moved to Bombay to work for a hedge fund. While there, he was the primary analyst covering tech, media, financials, real estate, and consumer nondurables, representing $500-800M of invested capital.
Though he enjoyed India (and its dubious relationship to the rule of law), he wanted to move back into tech, and decided to move to San Francisco earlier this year.
Jonathan wrote his first code for the web over 16 years ago, and has been blasting ahead full speed ever since.
Originally from The Netherlands, Jonathan studied graphic design and typography at The Royal Academy of Art, in The Hague. There he wrote his thesis on the design of online social networks. As a side project he also built an online social network, for which he was recognized as a Webby Awards Honoree in 2005.
With over a decade of professional experience, serving companies both large and small, Jonathan enjoys teaching the practical side of building web applications. He believes web development has never been as fun and exciting as it is now.
Besides writing elegant code, Jonathan is passionate about community, creativity, color and, of course, cats.
Jonathan Nieder never set out to be a programmer, but ever since he wrote a program to make a stick figure wave its arms, he hasn't been able to resist doing it anyway.
He has mentored high school and college students in mathematics and programming in various contexts (tutoring, math and computer science enrichment programs, Google Summer of Code mentoring).
Laurent Sansonetti is the creator and lead developer of MacRuby, an implementation of the Ruby language on top of core Mac OS X technologies. He is also the creator and chief architect behind RubyMotion, a Ruby toolchain for iOS development.
Currently the founder of HipByte, he was previously a senior software engineer at Apple. Laurent worked on the BSD layer of Mac OS X, BridgeSupport, RubyCocoa, and RubyOSA, among a variety of projects.
Laurent has presented at various conferences including WWDC and RubyConf.
Tim Connor runs his own agile consultancy and Ruby dev shop, Cloud City. He's been coding in Ruby for almost 7 years and building web apps for a decade. Tim has spoken at Ruby conferences, taught seminars and workshops on Ruby and Rails, been a CTO at OkCupid Labs, volunteered at RailsBridge, mentored at DevBootcamp, published Ruby Gems, been an engineer at Pivotal Labs, and trained in a variety of circus arts.
Tim is interested in gender and queer politics in tech and how better mentorship, training, and hiring practices can help increase diversity and make the start-up scene and Ruby community more inclusive and welcoming to a wider pool of people.
Deergha Sahni is a scientist and engineer working on statistical modeling at Quantcast. She has previously worked at Microsoft
and IBM. Deergha graduated with a master’s degree in computer science from Columbia University, where she conducted research in computer vision and machine learning.
Deergha has extensive experience in education; she’s taught machine learning, biometrics, and applied math. She was twice awarded MS teaching fellowships.
Joining App Academy has been among the best decisions I've made in my life. I've learned more in one month at App Academy than I did in one year of teaching myself how to program. Perhaps most importantly, I've learned how best to think about, approach, and solve difficult programming problems.
Our teacher, Ned Ruggeri, is great at taking complex ideas that would be hard to grasp and breaking them down into simpler components that are easy to understand. He's also great at the herculean task of adjusting to each student's individual skill level and getting the most out of each of us.
In addition to an amazing teacher and amazing TAs, I'm surrounded by equally bright and motivated students. App Academy has been an incredible experience made even better with so many wonderful people to share it with.
App Academy is an astonishingly good program for anyone looking to get into iOS development. I came into App Academy with some Rails background, and I've probably learned as much in a few weeks here as I did all year on my own. You won't leave here without learning a ton and pushing your limits.
Our class is full of fantastic, bright, and fun people and Ned is an awesome teacher. Wildly invigorating, would definitely eat here again.
I moved halfway across the country to attend App Academy in the hopes that it would prepare me for a much longer journey (and career) into coding, and I am amazed at how much I have learned in such a short time. App Academy is the kind of learning environment that you have always wanted to exist.
The course is full time, hands on, and populated by passionate and intelligent fellow-travelers. If you really want to get into coding, but have found discouragement in the lonely realm of patchy online tutorials and inhumane textbooks, App Academy has assembled the resources that you need in order to develop a solid foundation in iOS development.
However, the course is not designed to churn out one-trick specialists: the instructors are also willing and able to explain pertinent computer science concepts and they work hard to ensure that students really understand the hows and whys of software. If you are willing to put in the time, money, and effort, App Academy can open the door to Codeland.
Summer '12 Class
After just two weeks with App Academy, I became confident in developing web apps on my own and have now, in fact, built and shipped an enterprise-quality web app.
When we shifted our focus to Objective-C and iOS, I was worried that it would take me another 6 months to learn the basics. However, to my amazement, with App Academy, it took me two weeks to learn in iOS what it had taken me six months to learn in Rails when I was studying on my own. Basically, App Academy took a 6 month learning curve and shortened it down to 2 weeks.
Not only has App Academy helped me to acquire skills that I can put to use right away in building innovative applications, but they are giving me a solid foundation on which to understand software in general. While I have no idea what new languages and frameworks will be the next big thing, I do know that I am now completely capable of learning them.
Summer '12 Class
Having no prior coding experience, I was very unsure about the program at first because of the hasty learning curve necessary to compete for an entry level dev position in nine weeks time. My concerns were lifted the first day of class and I honestly couldn't be more pleased with App Academy.
I am exceeding my expectations of my own learning potential with each day that comes. When I describe what we've done in the class, others with a CS background are often shocked at the progress we've made at App Academy in such a short amount of time.
If you're looking for a program to take you from little or no knowledge to a junior level developer in a short and intense amount of time, this program is for you. But don't think this is an easy process; this is by far the most intense program I've ever done. It beats my International Baccalaureate diploma and civil engineering degree... combined!
Summer '12 Class
Before App Academy, I had struggled through some basic programming concepts and several half completed books and tutorials only to feel that my programming foundation was shaky and full of holes. I certainly did not feel confident enough to start applying to full blown developer jobs.
All of this changed rapidly and dramatically when I started App Academy. This bootcamp is one hell of a wild ride and if you let it, it can be a pivotal moment in your life. It certainly has been for me. The amount of technology, new ideas, and the speed of learning that this kind of environment facilitates is simply amazing. App Academy IS what college and education in general should be like.
Summer '12 Class
Initially I was on the fence about doing App Academy. As soon as I arrived, all my concerns disappeared - Ned and Kush have created a fantastic environment for motivated students to come together and learn a ton of new skills in a short amount of time.
We all came in with different programming backgrounds and experience levels, but everyone in the class can take an application idea, decompose it, and work on a serviceable solution, in record time. If you're wondering about whether doing App Academy is worth it, stop wondering — it is.
Summer '12 Class
App Academy has had an enormous impact on my ability as a software developer. I love it for so many reasons, but here are a few of the most pertinent to potential enrollees:
The environment at App Academy is incredibly fast-paced and exciting. You are surrounded by very brilliant and motivated people, coming from all different backgrounds. We learn from each other, teach each other, and feed off of the constant stream of energy, creativity, and innovation that seems to always be flowing through our office.
As a CS grad, I had reservations about the pace at which I would be learning new material, and how challenging the course would be. Both of these were alleviated before the end of the first week. The instructors here make sure you are always challenged and moving at a pace relevant to your expertise. Simply put, this environment is a catalyst for learning.
The instructors involved in App Academy are incredible. They will teach you not only the fundamentals of the relevant languages and systems, but also the best design patterns for your apps, style conventions for writing code, and how to think about solving certain types of abstract problems. However, they are more than willing to talk to you about pretty much anything, from how these systems work under the hood down to the lowest levels, to data structures and algorithms, to how to design a personal side project you've been thinking about. You will cover almost everything relevant to making real-world apps, and if there's something you want to learn that isn't covered, all you have to do is ask.
Lastly, if you love development, 40+ hours of pure class time per week designated to coding has already sold you. You didn't even need to read the testimonials; if I'm speaking to you, you already know what to do.
Summer '12 Class
I started App Academy with near zero programming knowledge, but by the halfway point of the class I was comfortably programming in Objective-C. App Academy's combination of expert instruction and pair programming accelerated my learning far beyond any class I had taken in college.
Having the opportunity to pair program with other students was thoroughly enjoyable and exposed me to an entirely new method of learning, which I found superior to coding solo. App Academy can and will take you from being a novice to an adept if you are willing to make the commitment.
Summer '12 Class
I have a master's in computer networks and have been working as an enterprise software developer for a little over 2 years. Web/mobile app development was a field that had always interested me, but I had absolutely no experience. This is where App Academy comes in.
To be completely honest, I was skeptical about the whole concept, being in the first class and all, but it was reason enough for me to quit my job. On the first day of class, however, I realized that I had nothing to worry about. As we did introductions, I found that students had come to App Academy from all around the world! I realized all these people had put their lives on hold to pursue exactly what I was pursuing. You could feel the energy and excitement. I could tell this was going to be a great experience.
Ned and Kush are awesome. Kush is well versed in Ruby and Rails. Ned is a great teacher and a skilled developer with deep knowledge of Rails and iOS development. Ned has no issues explaining complex topics and in the rare event that he's stumped by a question, he will make sure to come back to you when he has the solution. He's always available for questions and gives extra lectures outside of class to make sure everyone is up to speed.
The learning is fast but not unreasonable. I have never learned this much development in such a condensed period of time. I have classmates who have never touched code before this course, that can put together substantial Rails apps and iOS apps after just 5 weeks.
Summer '12 Class
App Academy has been a crazy intense experience that I would definitely recommend to anyone who is looking to dive head first into iOS development. Before App Academy I had intended on learning it all on my own but I'm so glad to have made the decision to learn along with some of the coolest, most dedicated group of people around.
This would all not be possible without Ned. Ned is an amazing instructor to learn from and hilarious to be around. His patience is admirable and no matter what your prior experience is, he has plenty of knowledge to offer. If you are able to take the time and spend 9 weeks immersed in a bootcamp style learning environment, I would say, "Do App Academy!" without hesitation.
Summer '12 Class
Even though I have a background in computer science, the majority of my work experience comes from academia. Before App Academy, I felt that I did not have the skills to work on real software engineering projects.
The course gave me experience and confidence in building substantial software that can be used in our everyday lives. The excellent set of of App Academy students and instructors make the whole learning experience fun and rewarding.
Summer '12 Class
I've been surrounded by a group of hardworking and cool people. They're fun to hang out with. We pair for the course, a totally different experience from trying to learn on your own. It's all hands on. We learn about a concept, and immediately dive into it. Ned, the instructor, can do amazing things as well as break down hard concepts.
App Academy has been the most intense learning experience of my life. For these nine weeks, I basically lived in the office, totally immersed in learning how to code. I've had to push myself, grow, and meet the challenge of becoming a developer in nine weeks.
App Academy San Francisco courses are held at our
SOMA offices at Main and Folsom. App
Academy New York courses are held at our Greenwich
Village offices at 9th and Broadway. Class
runs Monday to Friday, 9:00AM –
6:00PM. Our facilities are open