Launch Academy accepts Course Report applications.Get Started!
White pink logo

Launch Academy

Boston, Online, Philadelphia

Launch Academy

Avg Rating:4.7 ( 23 reviews )

Recent Launch Academy News

Read all (13) articles about Launch Academy →

Recent Launch Academy Reviews: Rating 4.7

all (23) reviews for Launch Academy →

3 Campuses

Boston

1 Course
33 Harrison Avenue, Boston, MA
JavaScript, HTML, Rails, Ruby, CSSIn PersonFull Time

Course Details

Financing
Financing available through SkillsFund

Scholarship
$500 discount for veterans, females or persons of an ethnic minority group underrepresented in the software engineering field
Interview
Yes
Minimum Skill Level
Basic computer knowledge
Prep Work
Approximately 50 - 100 hours

Online

1 Course

Philadelphia

1 Course
JavaScript, HTML, Rails, Ruby, CSSIn PersonFull Time

Course Details

Financing
Financing available through SkillsFund

Scholarship
$500 discount for veterans, females or persons of an ethnic minority group underrepresented in the software engineering field
Interview
Yes
Minimum Skill Level
Basic computer knowledge
Prep Work
Approximately 50 - 100 hours

1 Scholarship

$500 Launch Academy Scholarship

Course Report is excited to offer an exclusive Launch Academy scholarship for $500 off tuition!

Eligibility

Offer is only valid for new applicants to Launch Academy. Applicants who have already submitted an application cannot claim this scholarship. 

This offer does not stack with any other marketing offer.

Offer is only valid for the Boston Launch Academy campus.

Qualifying Courses

  • Web Development (Boston)

23 reviews sorted by:

Review Guidelines

  • Post clear, valuable, and honest information that will be useful and informative to future coding bootcampers. Think about what your bootcamp excelled at and what might have been better.
  • Be nice to others; don't attack others.
  • Use good grammar and check your spelling.
  • Don't post reviews on behalf of other students or impersonate any person, or falsely state or otherwise misrepresent your affiliation with a person or entity.
  • Don't spam or post fake reviews intended to boost or lower ratings.
  • Don't post or link to content that is sexually explicit.
  • Don't post or link to content that is abusive or hateful or threatens or harasses others.
  • Please do not submit duplicate or multiple reviews. These will be deleted. Email moderators to revise a review or click the link in the email you receive when submitting a review.
  • Please note that we reserve the right to review and remove commentary that violates our policies.

Hey there! As of 11/1/16 is now Hack Reactor. If you graduated from prior to October 2016, Please leave your review for . Otherwise, please leave your review for Hack Reactor.

Title
Description
Rating
Overall Experience:
Curriculum:
Instructors:
Job Assistance:
School Details
About You

Non-anonymous, verified reviews are always more valuable (and trustworthy) to future bootcampers. These reviews will be shown to readers first.

Please submit this review with a valid email

You must provide a valid email to submit your review. Your review will not appear on the live Course Report site until you confirm via an email link.


3/15/2017
Robert Petrowsky • Graduate Verified via LinkedIn
Overall Experience:
Curriculum:
Instructors:
Job Assistance:
1/25/2017
Fall 2016 Grad • Software Engineer • Graduate
Overall Experience:
Curriculum:
Instructors:
Job Assistance:
1/24/2016
Aaron • Student
Overall Experience:
Curriculum:
Instructors:
Job Assistance:
N/A
11/13/2015
Anonymous • Software Engineer • Graduate
Overall Experience:
Curriculum:
Instructors:
Job Assistance:
10/10/2015
Anonymous • Software Developer • Graduate
Overall Experience:
Curriculum:
Instructors:
Job Assistance:
10/1/2015
Anonymous • Software Engineer • Graduate
Overall Experience:
Curriculum:
Instructors:
Job Assistance:
6/14/2015
Josh Fields • Junior Developer • Graduate
Overall Experience:
Curriculum:
Instructors:
Job Assistance:
6/13/2015
Daniel B. • Lead Developer • Graduate
Overall Experience:
Curriculum:
Instructors:
Job Assistance:
6/12/2015
Corey Psoinos • Web Developer • Graduate
Overall Experience:
Curriculum:
Instructors:
Job Assistance:
6/12/2015
Ray Hamel • Developer at Careport Health • Graduate
Overall Experience:
Curriculum:
Instructors:
Job Assistance:
4/18/2015
Chris W • Web Developer • Graduate
Overall Experience:
Curriculum:
Instructors:
Job Assistance:
1/20/2015
Anonymous
Overall Experience:
Curriculum:
Instructors:
Job Assistance:
1/20/2015
Anonymous • Graduate
Overall Experience:
Curriculum:
Instructors:
Job Assistance:
1/20/2015
Dave Poirier • Graduate
Overall Experience:
Curriculum:
Instructors:
Job Assistance:
1/20/2015
Anonymous • Graduate
Overall Experience:
Curriculum:
Instructors:
Job Assistance:
1/20/2015
Anonymous • Graduate
Overall Experience:
Curriculum:
Instructors:
Job Assistance:
1/20/2015
Julissa Jansen • Graduate
Overall Experience:
Curriculum:
Instructors:
Job Assistance:
12/29/2014
Anonymous
Overall Experience:
Curriculum:
Instructors:
Job Assistance:
12/17/2014
Caleb T • Software engineer • Graduate
Overall Experience:
Curriculum:
Instructors:
Job Assistance:
9/15/2014
Daniel Greenberg • Graduate
Overall Experience:
Curriculum:
Instructors:
Job Assistance:
1/24/2017
Anonymous • Graduate
Overall Experience:
Curriculum:
Instructors:
Job Assistance:
12/16/2016
Anonymous • Graduate
Overall Experience:
Curriculum:
Instructors:
Job Assistance:
11/26/2016
Anonymous • Graduate
Overall Experience:
Curriculum:
Instructors:
Job Assistance:
Response From: Evan Charles of Launch Academy
Title: Co-Founder; COO
Friday, Dec 16 2016

Hi-

I am disheartened to hear you are not happy with your experience at Launch.

I want to resolve this with you and get you to a place of excitement with your decision to attend.

Can you email me directly at evan[dot]charles[at]launchacademy[dot]com so that we can set up a time to talk either via phone or video chat?  I am confident I can make things right for you.

If you are not willing to talk, can you confirm that you had access to our Department of Professional Licensure reviewed student outcomes when you received your acceptance letter and within your Student Agreement.  For reference, the outcomes are located here: https://www.launchacademy.com/blog/student-statistics

Also, in your initial review you mentioned not receiving Career Services in post grad support.  Can you confirm your cohort and whether you had access to our structured grading in Horizon in your Post Grad Support (something added in Cohorts 13 & 14).  If not, we can ensure you are re-entered into post grad support as it never discontinues for alumni.  Also, have you received the most recent REACT curriculum available to all alumni?

I am looking forward to working to resolve this with  you.  Our aim is to provide an exceptional experience to all students at Launch.

Evan

Our latest on Launch Academy

  • How to Get Work Experience Before You Graduate from Coding Bootcamp

    Imogen Crispe3/22/2017

    How do you get a job after coding bootcamp if you have no relevant, real-world work experience? Only 1.4% of bootcampers have worked as developers in the past, but most career-changers have little – if any– client experience when they start looking for a developer job. Some bootcamps help students overcome this hurdle by offering opportunities to work for the bootcamp itself, or with real clients through projects, internships, and apprenticeships. These opportunities can give students substantial experience to add to their portfolios and resumes, and kickstart the job hunt.

    Continue Reading →
  • August 2016 Coding Bootcamp News Roundup + Podcast

    Imogen Crispe8/31/2016

    Welcome to the August 2016 Course Report monthly coding bootcamp news roundup! Each month, we look at all the happenings from the coding bootcamp world from new bootcamps to big fundraising announcements, to interesting trends. This month the biggest news is the Department of Education's EQUIP pilot program to provide federal financial aid to some bootcamp students. Other trends include job placement outcomes, the gender imbalance in tech, acquisitions and investments, and paying for bootcamp. Read below or listen to our latest Coding Bootcamp News Roundup Podcast!

    Continue Reading →
  • Coding Bootcamp Cost Comparison: Full Stack Immersives

    Imogen Crispe2/11/2016

    (updated August 2016)

    At Course Report, we field a lot of questions about coding bootcamp cost. From students looking for free coding bootcamps to those wondering if an $18,000 bootcamp is worth it, we understand that cost is important to future bootcampers! While the average full-time programming bootcamp in the US costs $11,451bootcamp tuition can range from $5,000 to $21,000. So how do you decide what to budget for? Today, we're breaking down the costs of several popular coding bootcamps.

    Continue Reading →
  • 7 Tips to Close the Gap Between Bootcamp Graduation and Landing a Job

    Steven Watkins5/21/2015

    You've just finished your bootcamp experience (con-grad-ulations!) and now you’re ready for your first job in tech. This is not the time to power down; in fact, today is when the really hard work begins. While finishing a bootcamp is an accomplishment, graduation doesn’t get you a job. You’ll need to stay focused, hungry, and diligent on your search. Here are 7 ways to spend those crucial weeks between graduation day and your first day as an employed developer!

    Continue Reading →
  • Oh, the Humanities: Reflections on Learning to Code with a Humanities Background

    Liz Eggleston5/12/2015

    "Can I be a programmer if I'm not a math genius?"

    Continue Reading →
  • 7 Habits of Successful Web Development Bootcampers

    Steven Watkins4/27/2015

    We’ve heard the success stories from coding bootcampers, but attending a software development bootcamp is undoubtedly a brave endeavor. There's a lot at stake, including:

    Continue Reading →
  • Alumni Spotlight: Julissa, Launch Academy

    Liz Eggleston4/6/2015

    With a degree in journalism and a job in communications work for a nonprofit, Julissa Jansen had the chance to do basic web development for a site redesign and she was hooked. She did online tutorials, but decided to make a career change, so Julissa applied to Launch Academy, a top coding bootcamp in her local Boston. She met her future employer, Constant Contact, at Launch Academy’s Career Day. We sat down with Julissa to discuss the benefits of pair programming at Launch Academy and at her job, the front end work she does for Constant Contact, and supporting women in tech with RailsBridge and Boston Ruby Women.

     

    What did you study in your undergrad?

    I went to Simmons College, a liberal arts school, and got my degree in Journalism. After graduating, I did Marketing, PR, and content at a university working for a nonprofit. I designed fliers, posters and marketing materials. After about a year and a half, I realized that I didn’t feel fulfilled working in a communications job.

     

    Did you ever take a Computer Science class as a journalism student?

    No. As a journalist, we learned more about video. I actually did want to learn to code but the only way to do that was be a math major and access to programming and coding was really hard.

     

    What made you start thinking about a bootcamp or switching your career? When did you apply to Launch Academy?

    About six months into my job, my bosses decided we needed a website redesign. Our site was built on Wordpress and was pretty ugly; of course since it was a nonprofit, we did not have the money to hire someone outside.

    I was in charge of the redesign so I taught myself some super basic PHP because we were running on Wordpress; some HTML, CSS and a tiny bit of JavaScript. I realized I was having a lot of fun with it because I was actually building something from scratch instead of using someone else’s tools to do it. That was my first foray into programming.

    Eventually, I realized that I wouldn’t be able to grow professionally and that I could probably be getting paid a lot more for what I was doing. That’s when I took the plunge and decided to leave my job and apply to Launch Academy.

     

    What online resources were you using to teach yourself to code?

    A lot of online tutorials. I started doing Codecademy, and a Python course online called Learn Python the Hard Way.

     

    When was that?

    I applied in September 2013. I got accepted into Launch for their October cohort but I delayed my admission until February.

     

    Was it easy to delay your admission?

    It absolutely was. I just emailed them and they were super accommodating. I told them I needed more time to save money.

     

    Did you research any coding bootcamps besides Launch Academy?

    I first heard about Launch Academy. I did look at other bootcamps but I really wanted to stay in Boston. I’m a Boston native so it was just easier to live here. I know Launch Academy has been here for a long time and that they’re one of the oldest bootcamps in the city, if not the oldest so I knew they had a good track record.

     

    Was Launch Academy’s focus on Ruby on Rails important to you when you were looking for a bootcamp?

    The language wasn’t important. The first programming language that I really got into was Python. I heard that Ruby was very similar to Python as far as readability. Honestly, I had no idea about programming and things like that so I had no preferences as to what language I was going into.

     

    What was the Launch Academy application process like for you?

    I interviewed with Bill Rowell who was in admissions. I told him that I was teaching myself some Python so he gave me this line of code and said, “What do you think this does?” It was super basic and I said that the line of code he gave me was a method that alphabetized everything on a string.

    He was super helpful if I got stuck, he would poke me along the way and lead me in the right direction. That was an interview done over Skype.

    Then they wanted you to build a website so I used HTML and CSS for that.

     

    How did you pay for Launch Academy?

    That was really hard. I don’t think that’s specific to Launch Academy but any bootcamp. I live with my girlfriend and she was a huge support. She has a full-time job so she helped me pay for it. We put it on credit cards and Launch Academy also allowed me to pay in installments but there was a due date for admissions payments and I paid in installments up until that due date.

     

    How many people were in your cohort?

    I think we started out with 36.

     

    How many instructors were there?

    Our instructors were called Experience Engineers and there were five of them. Our group was split up into three different groups of 12 people.

     

    Did you think that it was a very diverse cohort in terms of age, gender, race?

    I would say that most of us were in our mid-twenties. You definitely feel the gender gap because there were only about 6 girls and one of the girls dropped out. But as far as education background, there was a good diverse atmosphere.

     

    Who were the instructors and what was the teaching style at Launch Academy?

    In our group, I had a senior Experience Engineer, Adam, and a junior Experience Engineer who would rotate around each group. It was really good because I always had someone to go to. Of course, everybody was there to help but when someone is there along with you for those 10 weeks, it’s a lot easier to go to that one person who knows you.

     

    Did the instructors ever do lectures?

    We would have big lectures called ‘deep dives’ with everybody then within our group we would sometimes go over things we might have not understood.

     

    Were you satisfied with how deep you went on the curriculum?

    I was super satisfied with what we were taught, at least concerning the back-end. I graduated very comfortable in technologies like SQL- databases and database design as well as back-end. One of the things I wish I had concentrated more on was the front-end. I graduated not knowing that much JavaScript, so I wish that was something I’d gone over more.

    When I took the class, there was a week-long JavaScript module, but since then, the focus on JavaScript has increased.

     

    Were there exams or assessments? Did you have to pass tests?

    There’s this one big exam two weeks into the course. If you’re comfortable with it, then that’s an indicator that you should stay at Launch Academy; otherwise the bootcamp might not be right for you. We would have systems check-ins every weekend.

    Then the bigger exam was during Week 8 and if you passed that exam, you could be endorsed for the Career Day.

     

    Was there a heavy emphasis on Pair Programming while you were there, and what did you think about that approach?

    Pair Programming is super helpful because at the company I work for, we pair program most of the time, so it was really useful.

    As far as pair programming at Launch Academy, there were times where you could work by yourself. If you needed help you could go to someone and start pairing on it; the dynamic was really good.

     

    What kinds of projects did you work on throughout Launch Academy?

    We were assigned projects throughout the course. One project we had to come up with on our own was our ‘breakable toy’, which is what we show off at our Career Day.

     

    What was your Breakable Toy? What technologies did you use? How long did you work on it for?

    Mine was a social network for bootcamps called ‘Faceboot’ for bootcampers to find other bootcampers in the area.

    This app is built straight up with Ruby on Rails. I follows CRUD: Create, Read, Update, Delete. There was a tiny bit of JavaScript that I used; when people post on the wall, the app updates automatically instead of having to manually press ‘refresh’. A lot of the foundational skills that I learned, I used to create this. Faceboot took me about 2–3 weeks working alone on the project.

     

    Did Launch Academy do other job prep besides the Career Day?

    Towards the middle of the course, our Talent Director Corinne helped us with our resumes. Especially because none of us had technical backgrounds, it’s really important to show what we’ve learned and the technologies we used. Also towards the end, we would prepare for interviews with whiteboarding questions.

     

    Are you using exactly what you learned at Launch Academy or do you feel you’re learning on the job?

    We work on a Rails app but our code base is huge and we have a whole bunch of technologies for the front end. For example, we use Coffeescript for the front-end, so I’m learning something new every day for sure.

    I work a lot on the front-end using Backbone as our library and using Coffeescript. I work on the part of the app that users use to add people to an address book.

     

    Tell us about your new job!

    I graduated in March, and got hired as an Associate Software Engineer (aka junior developer) at Constant Contact in June. The Constant Contact app itself is built on Java but our team specifically uses Rails. I work on the front end and the back end.

     

    How did you find the job at Constant Contact?

    They’re a hiring partner with Launch Academy. We talked during our Career Day.

     

    Did Constant Contact hire other grads from your class?

    My current co-worker Emily, she works with me on the same team and we both came out of the same cohort.

     

    How was your technical interview with them? Did you feel you were prepared for it?

    One of the things about the interview was that there was no whiteboarding question! Instead, I paired with one of the senior programmers here, which is awesome because I had already pair programmed a bunch at Launch Academy. Instead of algorithms or computer science theory questions, we paired to create a blog using Rails; it was just awesome.

     

    How were you supported in your first months at Constant Contact?

    I was hired as an apprentice for the first six months and I would always pair program with a senior developer on everything. It’s a very welcoming environment when it comes to learning. Our manager would give us accounts to Code School, Upcase and thing like that and allowed us to learn.

    I think the first two months I was here, I didn’t program at all, I just looked at other people programming and learned the code base.

     

    Why did you choose to accept an Apprenticeship over a full-time job?

    That was the most important distinction for me. There were other jobs I was interviewing at and I was very close to getting a full time position, but I had to wager whether I wanted to start out as a junior developer right away or hone myself for 6 months, then be hired and get a higher salary once I had that experience under my belt.

     

    What was your experience like with Launch Academy alumni support after you graduated?

    I always got emails from Corinne when there were any positions that I might be interested in. The team knew that I was looking and they would send me information. After I was hired, they invited me to panels at Launch Academy to talk to current cohorts.

     

    Have you stayed involved at Launch Academy and in the development community?

    Very much so. Actually, our team here at Constant Contact goes to Launch Academy to pair with the students there.

    Also, RailsBridge is very near and dear to my heart. I went to my first RailsBridge event in October after I deferred my admission to Launch Academy. After that I started TA-ing and now I’m the sponsorship coordinator for RailsBridge Boston.

    I think RailsBridge was the most important group for me as a woman and a developer because I got to meet other people who had gone down the same path. They had no programming experience, they went to a RailsBridge event and within a year they had full-time jobs.

     

    Has Launch Academy partnered with RailsBridge as well?

    There’s no official partnership, but they have sponsored every Rails Bridge workshop since I’ve been there. There are also a lot of people who go to RailsBridge events not knowing whether the bootcamp scene is for them; then they later apply to bootcamps.

     

    What has your experience been transitioning into the tech world as a woman?

    I went to an all-women’s college so I was really prepared to enter a sexist work environment and deal with those issues. Then I came to Constant Contact and it’s one of the most welcoming environments I’ve been a part of. I utilize RailsBridge Boston to funnel female developers into the community. I also go to Boston Ruby Women and that’s a great place to meet up with other female developers. We talk about code and what it’s like for women in the workplace, but I haven’t had any problems here.

     

    Does Constant Contact do anything from an infrastructure perspective to make sure that you’re supported as a woman?

    There was an article in Harvard Business School saying that high performing teams have more women on them, and I think Constant Contact is very aware of that.

    Just a couple of weeks ago, a couple of female co-workers and I went to a women’s hackathon so we could recruit some women. It’s definitely something that companies need to be aware of and they need to work towards creating a more balanced workforce.

     

    Did you give feedback to Launch Academy after the course? What was the feedback loop like?

    I never really gave feedback because I felt like I was satisfied with my education. I think I went into Launch Academy with the expectation that I knew I wasn’t going to learn everything. I knew that I would have to keep on teaching myself things after those 10 weeks.

    I was afraid I wouldn’t learn enough computer science algorithms but then I realized that the only time I’ll ever need those is for an interview when they ask you to whiteboard an algorithm.

     

    What type of person would you recommend Launch Academy to?

    The person would have to be super determined. They’re going to have to know that for 10 weeks they have to sacrifice a lot to learn. I think if you go into that with the expectations that you’re going to be working your ass off for 10 weeks, I would recommend it.

    The people who didn’t do well were those who come in late and left early, people who checked out after two weeks and they’re not sure why they’re here anymore.

     

    Want to learn more about Launch Academy? Check out their School Page on Course Report or the Launch Academy website!

  • How To: Get the Most Out of Pair Programming

    Chris Cerami3/23/2015

    Whether you are at the very beginning of your career in programming, having been coding for decades, or anywhere in between, it’s likely you would find some benefit from pair programming. Humans are naturally social and collaborative creatures, and pair programming looks to take those attributes of humanity and use it to enhance not only our code, but also our knowledge.

    Continue Reading →
  • Scholarships We Love: Shipping Up to Boston Coding Challenge

    Harry Hantel3/2/2015

    Launch Academy is a 10-week, full-time, immersive bootcamp in Boston, Massachusetts. Launch Academy’s web development bootcamp instructs students in the language of Ruby on Rails and focuses on long term education and real project based learning. Students are granted access to an extensive career support system after graduation and leave with a strong, marketable portfolio of projects.

    Continue Reading →
  • Should I Stay or Should I Go?

    Giuseppe Frustaci 10/20/2014

    Giuseppe Frustaci is passionate about using technology to connect with people, tell stories, and educate. A graduate of Launch Academy and now its Marketing Manager, Giuseppe spends his days writing about coding and how people learn to code. Here, he explores reasons for a bootcamper to pick up roots and move to a new city for a code school (and why it's not for everyone)!

    You’re at that point in your life where you want to make a change in your career. Awesome! Now you have to figure out which bootcamp you want to go to, and you have so many to choose from. Hopefully you’re not pulling out your hair trying to make a decision, but if you are, we’re here to help you narrow down your options.

    Continue Reading →
  • Launch Academy Classroom Tour

    Liz Eggleston7/29/2014

    Located in the heart of Boston Chinatown, Launch Academy is a vibrant, open space that invites learning around every corner. We got to take a tour of the classroom- check out our photos below!

     

    Keep Calm & Code!

     

    Launchers gather in the open classroom for the morning and afternoon guided teaching sessions:

     

    Students pair program at each computer station, rotating often between "pairing" partners:

     

    Launchers can take a break and grab a snack in the open kitchen:

     

    When we visited, the most recent cohort of Launchers had just graduated. They have a special ceremony and get these Launch Academy T-Shirts:

  • Q&A with Evan Charles & Dan Pickett at Launch Academy

    Liz Eggleston3/19/2014

    Evan Charles and Dan Pickett founded Launch Academy to help build the tech community in Boston, and their immersive and intentional approach to learning has resulted in a high-quality, full-service bootcamp. We sat down with Evan & Dan to learn about the "Secret Sauce" in their admissions process, their commitment to outreach in underrepresented communities (woo!), and how they connect their aspiring software engineers with great employers. 

     

    How did you get into the coding bootcamp industry?

    Evan: After coming out of school, I spent 10 years in high finance in LBO’s and ownership stakes in businesses with “hair” on them. Although it was fast paced and exciting, I was never able to rest my head on my pillow at night and feel like I had actually helped anybody do anything other than make money.  So I decided to change course and started a promotional product company from which I used the funds via a successful exit to finance a company that actually helped people.  While building this new company in the medical field I found out that I could satiate my desire to build something and help people at the same time.  While doing so, I found myself now feelling fullfilled when I put my head on my pillow. After a successful exit in this business, I pondered my next chapter by considering the key variable I’d like to have within my next venture. From past learnings, I knew I wanted to build something that helped people.  I also added a new wrinkle by including my passion for technology into list. In February 2012 I was sitting at a Starbucks at Harvard Square- this was a week after Shereef Bishay started Dev Bootcamp as a bet with a friend and I thought, ‘hey, I’d like to learn how to program’ and since I love technology- this would be a great way to enter the development industry. 30 seconds later, I thought, “actually, I’ll just start a program and make it the best.” The original bootcamp model allowed me to marry up my interest in building something, helping people and building relationships within the developer industry. Launch Academy was conceptually born.  I’ll let Dan pick up the story of how we met.

    Dan: I got my start in high school. I was fortunate enough to start doing some contracting and IT consulting early on in my career. I quickly realized that people only call you when stuff breaks. I had gotten a few wonderful opportunities to create small databases and pieces of software for our clients and I totally loved it. Around graduation from High School, I had a strong conviction that I would major in CS. I managed a few software teams and it was there that I really fell in love with building software teams and products that make lives better. I fell in love with cultivating this culture of continuous improvement. Gazelle grew to a place where I was really happy with, so I started full-time consulting, and started a small consultancy based out of Boston. That’s when we actually prototyped a lot of the methodologies that you see at LA. At my consultancy, I brought on two individuals who didn’t have computer science backgrounds, but they were passionate and interested. I took the time to teach them best practices and helped them level up.  Soon, they were contributing valuable time to our clients.  I also started to take some training engagements, and realized I really enjoyed those- we were exploring ways to see if recruiters might be interested in taking on some risk and helping developers with a PHP and .NET background transition to be Ruby developers, something more marketable to startups.  It turned out, recruiters had no interest in that. Then, I got a call from one of my favorite people in the BostonRB, who told me about Evan Charles, this really smart guy who introduced me to the bootcamp model. We met for coffee and founded the company shortly thereafter.  The founding team was complete.

     

    Do you have Launch Academy cohorts in NY and Boston?

    We looked at doing the landgrab that we’re seeing in the space, but we feel really at home in the community in Boston, and we hope to expand our marketing into different areas, but we plan for the learning to remain in Boston for the current time.  Quality over quantity really resonates within our team.

     

    When was your first cohort?

    We conceptualized Launch Academy in early 2012. Our big thing back then was getting it right. We spent time with the guys at Dev Bootcamp to get their thoughts on the model. We were able to trial and test, and subsequently build out our curriculum in early 2013. Our inagural cohort started May 1, 2013.

     

    How many students have gone through Launch Academy?

    About 100 Launchers have graduated. We don’t do overlapping cohorts, we do one cohort, then we recalibrate during our “off-seasons” where we consider ways to reinvent the learning model. This process of consistent ineration on the education has really separates us as being unique within the space.  It’s where we truly geek out.

     

    Why did you initially decide to use Rails as your teaching language?

    Dan: I am a recovering .NET developer, and I fell in love with the framework because you could do so much with so little time. I learned Rails before Ruby, which is what we now consider the “wrong way.” We teach Ruby first, and we believe that Ruby literacy is what makes a great Rails developer. When we started thinking about more teaching, we looked for what learning materials were in the market that we could use. I was thinking we would start with Python. But we found a book, Learn to Program (https://pine.fm/LearnToProgram/), and I felt really strongly that we should base our prework around this book. So between Pine and my natural affinity towards Rails, that decided it for us.

     

    What are you looking for in potential students?

    We take a lot of pride in the secret sauce of our admissions methods, but to share a bit about our methods, the main thing that we look for is internal locus of control. We’re looking for individuals who feel like there is an infinite wealth of knowledge and it’s theirs for the taking.  It’s important for people to know that we are the best fit for those who want to own their experience.

     

    Do you accept beginners?

    In our competitors’ vernacular, we are a “zero-to-sixty” program, so we admit people with zero programming experience. The interesting phenomenon that we see, because we’re getting more and more applicants and because the market is maturing, we’re seeing an increasing level of technical sophistication before people are admitted.  It’s important that people spend some time learning on their own to assure themselves that they are indeed passionate about the craft of software development.

     

    What makes up the precourse curriculum?

    We’re heavy on Ruby and Git, and there are two ways to develop Ruby literacy before you enter an immersive program. One is acquiring the knowledge. For example, understanding what the concept of an array. The other means is through practice. For example, how do I work with an array? We use Chris Pines’ Learn to Program because there are exercises for people to complete- it’s one thing to study, and another to practice it. We also incorporate sites like RubyMonk and CodeWars for additional practice. We do review Ruby fundamentals in the class, but it’s great to have everyone come in with a high bar of Ruby literacy.

     

    What is your ideal cohort size and how many instructors do you have?

    Dan: We’re at 35 now. I facilitate the program, and our 5 other software developers teach closer with students via our mentor groups.  We try to keep ratios around 6 students to every 1 Experience Engineer (our teachers).

     

    Do you have numbers on how many women & underrepresented minorities go through Launch Academy?

    Evan: We take that really seriously, for two reasons. First, for the better good of the community and to diversify the community. Secondly, especially from the female side, the makeup of our cohorts, from a collaborative and helpful perspective, has dramatically improved as we’ve balanced those scales. It’s progressed- in our first cohort, the ratio was skewed male. In our second cohort, it was about 50-50. We work a lot towards those goals. We offer the same scholarships that most everyone else does, but we think that gender inequality is an issue that’s worthy of doing even more.  We work directly with Girl Develop It- we hold a 5-part evening event for GDI which is purely voluntary from our part.  The program is facilitated by Launch Academy alumni and has been a huge success this year.  We wrote and facilitated the curriculum. Secondly, we work with RailsBridge, and I was told they had to shut down TA registration because there were so many Launcher alumni who signed up. It’s that involvement that gets us excited, and we hope the result is that we can play a small part in balancing the scales.

    Dan: Somewhere between 35-50% of our graduates are female, and it’s trending upwards. We’ve found that the hiring partners in Boston love seeing this diversity, which makes Evan and I feel great that we’re working with the right companies here in the city.

     

    Give us a rundown of your curriculum!

    Dan: Our favorite topic! It all starts with the interactive prework- we want students to engage with each other and with the staff for 8-weeks prior to the start of the program. We use a tool to communicate with each other, form in-person study groups, and pair together before student’s arrival on-site. We also provide office hours, so when they get to their program, they’re in a great place.  And of course, everyone can always attend our Thursday guest speaker series socials where they can mingle with alumni, hiring companies and current Launchers to learn more about the program or accelerate their pre-learning.

     

    When Launchers arrive on Day 1, we walk them through our education practices and techniques and general andragogy concepts. The first two weeks are reviewing Ruby fundamentals, introducing JavaScript. The second campaign is focused on test driven development and databases, so we take a strong look at SQL and RSpec. Everything from that point forward will be delivered in a test-driven fashion. We have some unique thoughts on how that makes our students not only more marketable developers, but also better learners. Once we get into the third campaign, Charlie, we teach acceptance testing and the rest of the Rails stack. Our fourth campaign, Delta, is focused on third party libraries and gems. Echo is more project oriented. We talk about performance optimization, do a lot interview prep, but the focus of those last two weeks is really on small group and personal projects.

    That’s a breakdown of the curriculum, but what we get most excited about is the andragogical  approach that we have here; when we get all of the students in, we take them through our curriculum and processes, and then we get in this rhythm, where they’re consuming assignment material in the evening, and putting it into practice immediately the next day. There’s course content and our own produced video that they can consume in the evening, and we give them a pair programming challenge the next day. It’s the concept of learning on their own. We’re big on pairing because we believe that it helps level the playing field from a skillset standpoint; those pairs can help each other grow.

    Evan: Dan and I really geek out on the educational aspect of the program. Previously, our program looked a lot like other bootcamps, and we had to think about whether or not that was the best way to learn. We started to challenge ourselves to rethink the learning paradigm. We have evolved over the years into things they’re doing in New York and India and South America- with learning through discovery. When I went to school, I attended big lectures with a teacher at the front of the classroom. There were very few questions, and those questions could derail the lecture. After twenty minutes, I would lose focus. The thinking behind learning through discovery is that students get a problem and resources. The magic of bootcamps in general is that there is human help available to get you unstuck quicker than you could through self-teach or online MOOCs in their current non-collaborative form.  So, when you get good student:teacher ratios, like we do, it really accelerates the learning.

    Dan: The program is equally focused on technical skills and problem solving. We challenge our students, sometimes to their annoyance, by not giving them the answers right away.

     

    How do you help students get jobs in tech once they graduate? Do you work with hiring partners?

    Evan: This goes back to our relationships with the students. This starts early on, during the admissions process. From there, we’re building that story of the Launcher. Our Admissions Director, who is also an engineer, starts to craft that story so we can understand their specialties and where their interests lie. Our full time Talent Director is involved in the process early on, understanding their goals. We do that with one-on-one time, soft skills practice, and interview prep. The other side of the equation is the hiring companies themselves. We typically have at least one opportunity for each student in the room on hiring day. We’ve had close to 100 hiring partners over the course of all our cohorts. Their feedback was that these companies wanted to get more involved earlier in the process. First, they wanted to give back to something they thought was good for the community. And secondly, they wanted the opportunity to get to know the Launchers earlier. We do that now via our weekly guest speaker series, by inviting guests to teach new technologies, provide overviews about their company, or explain their own personal stories from when they were coming up in the developer ranks. Our career day probably looks similar to most- we have a couple of tweaks to make it more efficient. A unique aspect to the program is our 6 months of post-grad support for every alumni. For six months, they have access to office hours with our engineers and career services with our Talent Director. They also get a lifetime of free workshare space after 2pm and all day on weekends.  Our alumni group is very involved in the community- on Monday nights we have an alum who teaches yoga here at Mission Control. Alumni participate in our Ship-It Saturday hackathon events as well as many other events outside of Launch Academy in the community such as our involvement with the Harvard iLab, Railsbridge, Girl Develop It, etc.

     

    Are those hiring partners paying upfront to be a part of your network?

    We don’t charge to attend the hiring day.

     

    Do you take a recruiting fee if students get placed with a company?

    We do take a fee, and we share a portion of proceeds with the student.

     

    Is there a published Job Placement Stat?

    Our first two cohorts placed 94% of graduates.

     

    If a student doesn’t want to get a job when they graduate, but they have entrepreneurial goals, do you support that?

    We get most excited about providing a very unique learning environment to people that they can’t receive elsewhere.  If they are willing to dedicate themselves and have an interest in continuing their learning post graduation by building things with other developers, then we want to support them.

     

    Does Launch Academy sound like the perfect match for you? Find out more about them on their School Page on Course Report or their website

  • From the Kapor Center Blog: Coding Bootcamp Scholarships for Underrepresented Minorities

    Liz Eggleston2/4/2014

    Course Report is featured on the Kapor Center blog!

    Coding bootcamps are producing graduates that enter the workforce almost immediately, so their approach to recruiting and retaining students from underrepresented backgrounds may quickly start to define, and potentially diversify, the landscape of the tech industry.  One way to reach out to potential students is through scholarship programs. Check out the full article on the Kapor Center blog to see a full list of coding boot camps currently offering scholarships specifically to underrepresented minorities. 

    Continue Reading →