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Product Based Education

Study software engineering by building products that solve real problems.

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Pay As You Earn

Pay through your earnings as a software developer after the Product College.

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Graduate Into Tech

Build software that changes lives at companies like Google, Snapchat, and Pandora.

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Welcome to the future of computer science education

Imagine going to a school where everyone is trying to change the world with technology. Welcome to Make School. Your education will be focused on building apps and websites that improve the lives of those around you. You'll learn the underlying computer science theory, development best practices, and design principles that enable you to ship polished products.

We designed Make School to be the college experience we wished existed; a debt free education relevant to today's fast paced economy, infused with inspiration, passion and creation. Say hello to the future of higher education.

Overview

Two Years at Make School Two Years at Make School

Pedagogy

At the Product College, we believe that in order to meet the demands of a future where software fuels innovation, we need to empower our youth to be creators and inventors - to be Makers. Our students are creative and logical thinkers who are challenged at Product College to cultivate not only technical skills but also empathy, strong communication skills, the ability to learn things quickly, and the ability to ship the products they create. The well-rounded education students obtain at Product College equips them to be either incredibly talented developers with sturdy careers or entrepreneurs with a strong understanding of how to meet the needs of the market.

Downtown San Francisco

The first year at the Product College is focused on preparing you with the job-ready software and teamwork skills you'll need to get a 6 month internship that runs through the summer and the fall semester of our two-year program. After your internship, you return to Make School for a spring semester full of advanced, product-based courses and contract work with our student-run contracting company. Finally, as a culmination to your career at the Product College, you will complete a capstone project during the summer term, where you will build your own startup, product, or piece of technology.

Our impressive and diverse faculty of instructors teach fundamental and advanced topics in product development, computer science theory, entrepreneurship, and cutting-edge software architecture all through real-life and hands-on software product development. On a weekly basis, participants in the Product College interact with professional founders and developers that Make School has access to through our broad social and investor networks that include Y Combinator and Andreessen Horowitz.

While we focus on developing the hard skills of web and mobile product development, the Product College experience is much more than just tech. At the Product College, you will learn the soft skills of developing and communicating your vision for a product or a company, write an article that changes the minds of colleagues and peers, and learn the important skill of self-advocacy that will both accelerate your career and, if you choose, help you excel as a founder of your own company.

Curriculum

The Product College is a two year program, each year is broken up into two semesters, and each semester into two quarters. Students focus the majority of their time on one of two technical concentrations: Mobile Development and Full Stack Web Development. Throughout your two years, you can also choose to focus your time on one or a few minor concentrations including but not limited to: Connected or IoT Devices, Machine Learning & Artificial Intelligence, Data Science & Visualization, Game Development, Virtual Reality, Entrepreneurship, and Design.

Make School Curriculum

Your day-to-day life at the Product College will feel like working on products inside a tech company. Students play the role of junior developers. Student projects and courses are like the various products and teams of the company. Our classrooms run like meetings, with objectives, agendas, and clear deliverables. The primary learning activity is building real products that help real people. And, just like in a company, we build our college community around hard work, high standards, and having fun.

In year one students take four or five courses per quarter: 1 Core Courses, 2-3 Technical Courses, and 1 Product Course.

Core

Core is required by all students and meets twice a week during the first year. In core classes students focus on gaining the core skills that all software engineers, technical founders, and professional people need to succeed. Each quarter core classes follow a theme.

  • 1. Productivity & Product Development - During the first quarter, students focus on establishing productive learning and work habits and gaining initial mastery the fundamental processes of software development and agile product development.
  • 2. Exploration - Next, instructors emphasize students exploring the world of technology and engineering.
  • 3. Self-Advocacy - In the final quarter, the theme is to gaining the job search and interview skills necessary to be ready to find and secure a paid internship during the summer.
  • 4. Problem Solving - After winter break, core focuses on learning various problem solving techniques and beginning to prepare for technical interviewing.

Product

In the Product course students learn product development skills by building real products together in teams and solo. There are multiple Product courses offered per quarter, and each one has a different domain or theme. Students build products that solve a problem inside the course's theme. Product course themes in the past have included, Cities and Transportation, Food, Science, Education, Healthcare, Entertainment, Politics, and Space.

Technical

Technical courses meet two or three times a week and take a deep dive into one technology, language, or stack. Examples of these courses include: Advanced Topics in iOS & Swift, API Services with Python & Flask, Prototyping in Angular & React, Mathematics for Computer Science, Intro to Machine Learning & Artificial Intelligence, and many others.

After the first year, students decide on how to spend their summer and how they will spend their next year at Make School.

Product College students have received internships from big companies and small startups in San Francisco and across the U.S. and the world. The students find, apply, interview, and receive offers at these internships with the help and coaching of our cross-speciality Student Success team.

Many of our students elect to improve their mastery of mobile iOS software development and learn the valuable skill of teaching by applying to be an instructor in our global Summer Academy. As Summer Academy instructors students could spend the summer at one of our many global Summer Academy campuses including San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Taipei, and Hong Kong.

Some students are not recommended to take an internship and instead work on a summer project or work on contract work during the summer before returning in the fall.

In the second year, students' learning is both more advanced and more self-regulated. Instructors will offer quarterly advanced technical and product courses, and students are encouraged and coached to extend their learning in other ways, such as:

  • Software Contracting
  • Building a Startup
  • Independent Projects
  • Pursuing another Internship
  • Full Time Job Hunting

The Product College is designed for its participants to graduate in two years with an impressive mixture of in-class computer science fundamentals, and real-world experience. If you have a plan for your future that does not fit into how things are laid out here, let us know your goals in your application, and we can address them as part of your admission and enrollment.

Make School Curriculum

Competency-Based Curriculum

We don't make students sit for traditional paper or electronic exams or give out traditional letter grades. Student achievement is marked by the products they create. Instructors provide feedback on each project a student completes. Instead of traditional letter grades, Make School, with the help of our industry partners, has collected a set of key competencies that will make our students a success in their first (and their fifth) jobs. These competencies include Professional Competencies, Technical Competencies, and Character Competencies. Instructors assess these competencies based on observed evidence and completed projects and products.

Competency-Based Education works better than traditional grades for a few reasons. Competency-Based Education shows a clear path towards mastery and success. If you have a “C” in English, you might just feel like you aren't that good in English. However, if you have “Initial Mastery” in Core Algorithms, you know that you need to practice your algorithms and sign up for some whiteboard coding to level up. Competency-Based Education is also more motivating for students because they can only gain mastery, not lose it, and there is always room to improve. Competency-Based Education also communicates more to a potential employer after graduation. If you earn an “A” in Math, that means you did your math homework but it doesn't tell you much about how well you'll do in your job. It is more useful to tell an employer that you are “Approaching Mastery” in iOS Mobile Development and have reached “Mastery” in Professionalism and Teamwork.

Students can see their competency scores and instructor feedback at anytime through our in-house learning management system. Each student also receives individualized, face-to-face feedback from all their instructors three times a year, in a meeting called a “Don Rag”.

Student Life

A Diverse and Inclusive Student Body

Part of the mission of Make School is to make an elite technological education accessible to all. We see diversity as a key element to the success of organizations and the tech community as a whole. We are building a curriculum and a community that supports the learning and success of students from all genders, sexual orientations, races, ethnicities, and societal or economic backgrounds. And we consider freedom of thought and the open exchange of ideas key to an effective learning environment. That kind of exchange can happen only in an environment that recognizes the value of each person and fosters mutual respect. As a small college with small classes, we are uniquely positioned to provide individualized support that allows all students to succeed. Make School implements research-based strategies and policies to provide an onramp for women and underrepresented minorities into technology.

Living in the Heart of Silicon Valley

Living in Silicon Valley puts students at the heart of the technology industry's biggest hub and one of the world's most vibrant cities. As a student, you will be studying right next to both the large companies and startups that power much of the software we all use on a daily basis.

Make School enables students to soak up crucial networking opportunities with these amazing companies. We organize monthly field trips to company offices and also conduct a recurring speaker series, which hosts successful entrepreneurs, executives, and engineers from companies like Pixar, Lyft, LinkedIn, and more.

Make School Student Life

In your first year at Make School, you will be living with your fellow students in our designated dormitories in the Nob Hill district of San Francisco. Living in the dorms allows students to bond, create support systems for work as well as life, and ultimately make lifelong friendships. Resident Assistants, who act as liaisons between students and Make School, provide help and support as well as receive a budget to throw monthly events such as dinners and game nights.

Activities

Students are actively encouraged to balance their Product College work with a healthy lifestyle full of whole foods, rest, and relaxation. San Francisco affords all Product College students many recreational activities including hiking, cycling, visiting museums, and exploring the historic neighborhoods and culture of San Francisco. There are also a multitude of communities in the city that students can join to network with other professionals or learn new skills.

Academic Calendar

2017-2018 Academic Year

September 18 - November 8, 2017 First Trimester
December 14, 2017 Demo Night
January 8 - February 28, 2018 Second Trimester
March 19 - May 11, 2018 Third Trimester
May 24, 2018 Demo Night
May 29 - June 8, 2018 Internship Search

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