Go deeper

With The Bradfield School of Computer Science

The computer science school our generation needs

We believe that by modeling our environment we can build a better understanding of it, be more effective within it, and ultimately improve it.

We also have no choice: bits are replacing atoms, algorithms are attaining agency, and “infrastructure” is coming to mean cloud services, not roads and railways. Within the next few years, algorithms will be driving our cars and creating our virtual worlds. If our software is low quality, our existence will be low quality; if our standard of computer science education is high, our standard of living will be high.

The Bradfield School of Computer Science strives to be the best possible training ground for ambitious technologists of our generation to overcome its challenges and capitalize on its opportunities. We begin by teaching how to make things with computers. With that foundation, we can use computers to make things clear, prioritizing new insights over new toys. Finally, with the tools and perspectives to help us understand, we seek to make things better.

We hope you will join us.

Our philosophy

Margaret Hamilton and her team helped land Apollo 11 on the moon with this code written for the 2.048 MHz, 2 kB RAM, Apollo Guidance Computer. Almost fifty years later, we should be more ambitious than CRUD apps and mobile games.

The school

We offer an intensive, hands on learning environment for those seeking mastery of software engineering. Whether you join us for three months, or a year: your days at Bradfield should be some of the your most enjoyable and productive.

Unlike a university or bootcamp environment, Bradfield is based around mentorship by experienced, practicing software engineers. With a low student-to-instructor ratio, most of your time will be spent pair programming with instructors and peers. By working on real, challenging projects you will take another step toward mastery while exploring a new area of computing or strengthening your foundations.

There are no lectures, instead we use the best existing texts, papers and video content to supplement our core instruction of tutorials and pair programming. This model allows you to move at your own pace, which we hope will be blistering.

The Bradfield program’s balance between closely-mentored instruction and real-world experience from multiple other companies is exactly the sort of prep we think sets candidates up for success.
Ben Kamens, head of engineering at Khan Academy


Full time instruction is provided by Myles Byrne and Ozan Onay. They each have over a decade of experience as software engineers, engineering leads and teachers.

Myles was CTO of Dev Bootcamp, prior to which he was a special projects engineer reporting directly to the CEO of Groupon, and an engineering lead at Centro. His areas of expertise include operating systems, networking, databases, functional programing and managing complexity. Currently he’s most excited about Datomic/Datalog, the Elm architecture and developing for virtual reality.

Oz was CTO and Co-founder of Vida.com and Topguest (acquired by Switchfly). He also worked as an engineering and engineering manager at companies including Practice Fusion and Counsyl. His areas of expertise include algorithms and problem solving, mathematics, functional programming and modeling. Currently he’s most excited about developing for virtual reality, machine learning for computer vision, and general-purpose computing on GPUs.

Myles Byrne
Ozan Onay


Instruction at Bradfield centers on (i) the important foundational computer science principles that all technologists need; and (ii) the fields that are likely to be most important for high-potential technologists of the next generation.

Some courses are based around the best courseware produced by top universities. Others will be designed by and for you with the guidance of your instructors. Ultimately your experience of Bradfield will depend on your goals.

For instance, as an experienced engineer transititioning to VR development, you might spend a few weeks with Myles learning C#, then write a ray tracer with Oz, work through a computer graphics text book, then work with Myles and another student to make a small VR app for the Steam VR store.

Or, if your interest is in machine learning, you might brush up on linear algebra and calculus with Oz, work through a couple of coursera courses under Myles’ guidance, then compete in a Kaggle competition with Oz and another student.

Or, if you want to build your own computer science degree, Oz and Myles will excitedly help you put together a year long program, combining CS fundamentals and projects in areas that interest you.

Available areas of study are:


  • Computing Systems: a cohesive tour of the major components of computer architectures
  • Computer Programs: introduction to computer science fundamentals from a software perspective
  • Problem Solving: algorithms, data structures, and techniques for solving algorithmic problems
  • Databases: modern and historical innovations in data representation, with a particular emphasis on the lengths we go to to ensure consistency
  • Operating Systems: fundamental problems solved by modern operating systems, and the decisions faced by operating system designers
  • Networking: protocols and technology enabling the Internet, and theoretical future network systems

Special interest

  • Machine Learning: using computers to solve problems with directly programming them to do so, with special emphasis on neural networks
  • Computer Graphics, VR and AR: 3D computer graphics with an emphasis on real time rendering for virtual and augmented reality applications
  • Modeling and Simulation: understanding the world, conveying your understanding to a computer, and thereby understanding the world
  • Functional Programming: understanding the powerful ideas behind Haskell, OCaml, Elm and Clojure
  • Distributed System Patterns: common patterns in distributed systems design, and the tradeoffs we are forced to make between consistency and availability in the context of network latency and partitions
  • Logic Programming: and introduction to the paradigm of logic programming with an emphasis on miniKanren, Prolog and Datalog
Myles an Oz are two of the best educators I know. Their new undergrad program is one I wish I’d had the opportunity to take: the mix of widely varied hands-on projects combined with actual industry work really is the best way to learn this craft.
Xavier Shay, Payments Engineering Lead at Square
If you care about software craftsmanship then you need a mentor, full stop. I look forward to working with Bradfield for the foreseeable future and investing my free time into learning only the right next things, the things I didn’t know I didn’t know, instead of wasting my time learning the APIs of JavaScript frameworks.
Jason Benn, Software Engineer at Minerva

Peer group

Students are expected to enter as competent programmers; we start immediately with intermediate to advanced topics and move at a faster rate than other institutions. As such, your peer group will be constituted solely of capable, ambitious, high-potential technologists like yourself.

We hope that your peers at Bradfield become your subsequent collabarators, colleagues and co-founders. [1] The curriculum is designed such that any coursework may be done either individually or in small groups, giving you an opportunity to build real working relationships with the next generation’s elite technologists.

The totally unposed joy of reading a hexdump.


As software continues to disrupt every industry from finance to transport and logistics, to healthcare and education, to food and housing: the highest impact careers are increasingly those of software engineers.

But software is also eating software, creating a chasm between excellent engineers and adequate ones. [2] As such, our career goal for Bradfield graduates is for you to become the inventors, engineering leaders, and key individual contributors of the next generation of technological advancement.

Shortly after graduation this may manifest as a high-impact software engineering role at a startup or larger tech company, in starting your own company, or in devoting yourself to further research. Thereafter it may resemble engineering management roles as a Director or VP of Engineering at a larger company, a CTO or CEO of a startup, critical individual contributions as an engineer or researcher, leadership of important open source projects, or non-technical management roles in highly technical companies.

While you shouldn’t equate your personal potential to your earning potential, rest assured that the job market is valuing software engineers respectably: the 2016 Robert Half salary guide lists the starting salary range for software engineers in San Francisco as $142,140 - $215,625. [3]

Bradfield alumni have consistently punched way above their weight class in technical interviews on interviewing.io, and it's not surprising. One-on-one instruction from teachers who care deeply about imparting how to think about engineering problems rather than just how to produce code in a trendy language wins every time.
Aline Lerner, Co-founder and CEO of interviewing.io


How long is the program?

Bradfield runs four quarters per year. Students are welcome to attend for any number of quarters. For experienced engineers diving into a new area of interest, we would recommend one or two contiguous quarters. For students using Bradfield in place of a traditional undergraduate computer science program we would recommend four quarters, optionally spread over two years and interleaved with internships.

What is the instructor-to-student ratio?

Class size is currently capped at 4 students per instructor.

How much does the program cost?

Tuition is currently $15,000 per quarter, and there are no other fees.

What are class hours?

Dedicated instruction time is between 10am and 6pm, Monday to Friday, with two cumulative hours for breaks. Outside of instruction time, the lab will be open 8am to 8pm, and will have at least one instructor available to assist with projects and answer questions.

What if my area of interest is not listed?

Talk to us about it... we may still have the background necessary to help you learn it, or we may be able to bring in another instructor for the purpose.

How does Bradfield compare to X?

Compared to a bootcamp (such as Hack Reactor or Dev Bootcamp) the areas of study at Bradfield are more advanced, and the instructors and students are more experienced. If you are new enough to programming that the standard bootcamp curriculum looks exciting or challenging, then that may be a better fit for you.

Compared to a top undergraduate computer science program (such as Stanford or MIT), Bradfield covers similar content in a format that suits some students better. With our hands-on instruction, some driven students have learnt in a month what is usually covered over a semester in most undergraduate programs.

Bradfield may be a viable alternative to university for you if you are already a strong programmer, and your goals for school are to attain mastery of challenging computer science concepts. If you value a degree, or are not entirely sure if you wish to focus on computer science, then university is good option (we recommend Waterloo, Olin, MIT, Stanford or Berkeley).

Compared to Recurse Center, Bradfield offers much more direct instruction, but is culturally similar. We see Recurse Center as a great place to attend if you plan to work mostly independently on projects, and are simply looking for a supportive environment in which to do so.

Compared to Make School, Bradfield offers broader and more advanced areas of study. You should prefer Make School if you are relatively new to programming and are particularly interested in iOS application development.

Can I attend Bradfield without having completed high school?

In some cases, we may admit particularly promising high schoolers who will not have received their high school diploma before commencing studies at Bradfield. The bar for such students is the same as for high school seniors: demonstration that they have the high level of maturity, and the demonstrated interest in programming required to thrive at Bradfield.

Can I attend as an international student?

Students who possess a valid visa are welcome to apply. Bradfield does not provide visa services, or vouch for student status.

Does Bradfield provide student housing?

No, Bradfield does not currently maintain residential facilities. It will be the student’s responsibility to find appropriate housing in the San Francisco Bay Area for the duration of the program. At time of writing, the rental price for a private room in a share house in San Francisco is typically in the range of $800-$1400 per month.

If I attend for enough time, will I receive a degree?

No, we are only able to provide you with the skills, knowledge, and experience necessary to build great things with software.

Ken Thompson (sitting) and Dennis Ritchie created the C Programming Language, and together with Brian Kernighan and Doug McIlroy created UNIX.


Interested students should contact us for more information at hello@bradfieldcs.com.

To apply, submit up to 5 pieces of work to admissions@bradfieldcs.com either describing, or directly demonstrating (i) your interest in technology; (ii) your ability to write software and/or build hardware; (iii) your ability to communicate clearly and precisely in English; and, (iv) a track record of learning difficult things.

Above all, we have designed our program for those students committed to becoming one of the highest impact technologists of the next generation. If this includes you, we hope you will join us!


[1] We are particularly excited by the prospect of Bradfield graduates starting companies together. Paul Graham points out that one of the best places to find a co-founder is in college; we would go further to say that the absolute best place to find a co-founder is the version of college that will attract precisely the standard of co-founder one needs in order to achieve startup success.

[2] If software is as disruptive as folk such as Robin Hanson or Brynjolfsson and McAffee predict it to be, being an elite software engineer may be one of the few ways to guarantee having a non-menial job.

[3] Retrieved February 2016.