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Launch Academy

Boston

Launch Academy

Avg Rating:4.6 ( 47 reviews )

Launch Academy is a full-time, 18-week program with a part-time, 8-week online phase and then a full-time, 10-week course in Boston, Massachusetts. After this immersive learning experience, aspiring software developers will be transformed into contributing members of the development community. The core curriculum is built on JavaScript, React, Ruby on Rails, HTML, and CSS. Students learn from building real products under the guidance of experienced software engineers. "Breakable toys" are at the core of the learning experience at Launch Academy. Students conceptualize products they always wanted to use and over the course of the program learn the technical skills they need to build and improve upon their "breakable toy". Launchers complete the program with a workable product they can present to companies at career day where they meet with hiring managers from tech companies all over the country.

Graduates receive lifetime access to post-grad support including regularly updated curriculum and career services. Launch Academy is looking for highly motivated and naturally curious students driven to create things that help other people.

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  • Immersive Full Stack Software Engineering Program

    Apply
    HTML, Git, JavaScript, Sinatra, Rails, CSS, React.js, Data Structures, Node.js, Front End, Ruby, SQL
    In PersonFull Time40 Hours/week18 Weeks
    Start Date January 11, 2021
    Cost$17,500
    Class size30
    LocationBoston
    Launch Academy’s Web Development course equips aspiring software developers with the skills they need to succeed as professionals in today’s technology companies. While you’ll learn in-demand technologies through this course, the core objective of the program is to teach you the fundamentals and best practices of programming. That way, students are well positioned to adapt and grow with the fast-paced industry of web development. It’s all about matching up what you’ll learn with what today’s technology industry demands. So, our curriculum is constantly evolving and improving, based on the feedback of employers, current students, and our alumni. We update up to 20% of our curriculum prior to each cohort based on what hiring managers are seeking for skills in developers they plan to hire in the next 90-day hiring cycle. At Launch Academy, we believe that deliberate practice is the most effective way to learn software development. That means the course is entirely structured around a a learn by doing approach. That means you will graduate the program with a portfolio of projects, experiences, and code examples which will help to set you apart in your job search. We prioritize quality over quantity. This boutique and focused approach allows us to align our curriculum with the specific needs of Boston's software development companies technology stack. Our team of five software development instructors are full time - this is not a side gig while they work at other companies. The development team is often cited by alumni as one of the most caring and dedicated group of teachers they've ever encountered. The program is unique in that it is comprised of three contiguous phases spanning over 22-weeks followed by lifetime alumni support. The fist phase is 8 part time virtual weeks followed by a 10 week full time on-campus phase that is quite rigorous. We conclude with 4 weeks of post graduate support and lifetime access for alumni to our full time software instructors, career services team, free advanced courses and curriculum updates. Its probably the most rigorous program around and its not easy. But for those students that are committed, the results are life changing. Graduates of this course will be able to: * Architect object-oriented systems using modern JavaScript and the NodeJS Runtime * Develop full-stack web applications using JavaScript, Express, and ReactJS * Design, model, and populate relational database schema with PostgreSQL and Structured Query Language (SQL) * Incorporate Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) into their applications * Incorporate Open Source Software (OSS) into their applications * Implement automated acceptance and unit tests on both the client and server side with a Test-Driven Development (TDD) methodology * Deploy web applications to cloud-based hosts like Heroku * Collaborate as a participant of a software engineering team through: ▸ Empathic and consistent communication ▸ Pair programming ▸ GitHub pull request workflow ▸ Continuous integration ▸ Release management The Program is divided into three phases Phase I: Foundations Phase II: Hybridized Immersive - Offered both on campus and virtual Phase III: Post Grad Support Lifetime Access to Alumni Support Thereafter Phase I: Foundations 8 Weeks, Part-time, Virtual Eight weeks before the on-campus learning experience begins, you’ll work through weekly articles, videos, and challenges that we’ve written and made available. They will walk you through developing strong foundations in JavaScript, SQL, HTML, and CSS. Unlike in other programs, you aren’t expected to complete this part of the course alone! The Launch Academy team will be available via live chat throughout the Ignition process if you get stuck. You’ll also be connected to everyone else in your cohort, allowing you to get help virtually at any time -- if you get stuck, your fellow students are only a message away. We also hold regular virtual clinics to reinforce the concepts you’re learning. These will be recorded and available to you throughout your coursework in the event you aren’t able to attend the live sessions. Phase II: Hybridized Immersive 10 Weeks, Full-time+, On Campus or Virtual Come into our campus in the heart of Boston or work remotely. You decide what works best for you with the flexibility to change up your location on a daily basis to best suit your learning style. Once you’ve established strong programming foundations in Phase I, it’s time to take your learning to the professional level. During your 10 weeks on campus, you’ll eat, sleep, and breathe code. Most students devote somewhere between 60 and 80 hours per week to the program. It’s a grueling pace, but once you don the Green Shirt awarded at graduation, you’ll be ready to take on a career in web development! Phase III: Post Grad Support 6 Months / Lifetime Graduating from Launch is just the beginning. During the On Campus experience, we’ll walk you through a structured approach to launching your career in software development. After you graduate, we’ll keep the momentum going by providing you with structure and support to help you put that approach to work. Whether you need help applying to jobs, integrating yourself into the tech community, or identifying what side project to start working on, Launch Academy has your back. By completing the Post-Grad Curriculum, you gain the support of our Career Services team for life. Our Post-Grad curriculum continues to help you build in-demand skills, so that you can keep getting your learning on while you tackle the job search. We’ve recently added an additional week of learning material for you to advance your ReactJS skills.
    Financing
    Deposit$1,000
    Financing
    Financing available through SkillsFund

    Tuition PlansFinance your tuition over 3-5 years with principle payments only after graduation through Skillsfund. Learn more here: https://launchacademy.skills.fund/
    Scholarship$500 discount for veterans, females or persons of an ethnic minority group underrepresented in the software engineering field
    Getting in
    Minimum Skill LevelBasic computer knowledge
    Prep WorkPart-time, virtual 8-week Ignition phase requires 15-30hrs per week.
    Placement TestNo
    InterviewYes
    More Start Dates
    January 11, 2021 - Boston Apply by May 14, 2021
    April 12, 2021 - Boston Apply by August 13, 2021
    July 5, 2021 - Boston Apply by November 5, 2021
    October 4, 2021 - Boston Apply by February 11, 2022
  • Spring 2015 Grad
    - 6/14/2015
    Josh Fields • Junior Developer • Graduate
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    If I talk to someone who is remotely interested in computers, I usually ask if they would consider going to a coding bootcamp. Most people seem intrigued by this, and I then follow up with a recommendation for Launch Academy.

    I'm not trying to shill for the program, but what they've done for me has changed my life. I've always loved computers, from building PC's to playing games on them. It wasn't until I heard about Launch Academy (from my brother, who recruits engineers) that I seriously considered a career in web development.

    After completing the course, I can honestly say that coding is the single best career in the universe... maybe slightly behind astronauts.

    Why is it so good? Before attending Launch, I thought computer programming was all about math. This was one of the main reasons why I never majored in computer science, and it's also completely false. True, you can apply math in many different ways when coding, but a better analogy would be to compare coding to LEGOs.

    When you code, you're just building something. Sometimes your project is small, like those 30-piece LEGO sets, and other times, your project could be massive and require many different sections. Either way, you're always putting the pieces together (with code) to build a working application. If this sounds interesting to you, then please strongly consider Launch Academy.

    Over the 10-week course, you will constantly get your ass kicked. The instructors will teach you a new topic, and then give a challenge to work on that involves said topic. Rarely, it will be easy. Most often, your brain will be completely taxed from trying to solve it. What makes this process so rewarding is that you're not in this alone: Almost every other person attending Launch is in the same boat as you are, and halfway through the course, I started to view these people like family. You'll struggle together, but more importantly, you'll succeed together. Teamwork is an integral part of coding, and it's also the most satisfying.

    These challenges and exercises will wear you down, but when you stop and think about how much you've learned, your mind will be blown. There is pre-course work before the actual cohort begins, and by the second actual week at Launch, I realized how much more I knew about coding (Ruby in particular) than when I started. By the end of the course, I was shocked at how much knowledge I acquired.

    There are plenty of other things I could praise Launch Academy for, but I'm sure you aren't interested in reading another 2,000+ words, so I'll touch on one of the most important (and my reason for choosing Launch over other bootcamps): job assistance. It's the reason you're here, and Launch delivers. No, you are not guaranteed a job, but after graduating, I had more interviews lined up than I have ever had in my life. It was a truly great feeling to have.

    If you're looking for a career change and have any interest in computers or how things work in the magical wonderland known as the internet, you should definitely look into Launch Academy. With such a huge demand for programmers in the job market, this is the best way to get your foot in the door. You'll be exhausted after the 10 weeks here, but more importantly, you'll be empowered.

  • Winter 2014 Grad
    - 6/13/2015
    Daniel B. • Lead Developer • Graduate
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    Even before I had finished the program, I have been receiving requests from prospective students to share my experience with the program, why I choose to attend a bootcamp - and Launch Academy in particular, and what my post-grad experience has been like.

    TL;DR

    This is a pretty lengthy review. If you're only interested in my outlook on the program, just skip to the conclusion at the end.

    My Background Story

    Are coding bootcamps too good to be true? It's easy to believe that based on the statistics they tout to prospective students. There are dozens, possibly hundreds of programs out there that offer to take your money and turn you into a coding ninja in just a few short weeks. Most of them also claim that your skills will be so red hot that companies will be lining up to offer you starting salaries that will make your bootcamp tuition pay for itself in just a few months. 

    My journey as a developer began after I finished graduated from college. Like many students, I went to school for four years for a degree in something that I thought I would love doing (and would lead to a job). After graduating with a B.S. in Urban Studies and Spanish and having nearly 2 years of internship experience under my belt, I struggled to break into a field that had seen layoffs and staffing reductions across the country due to the 2007 recession. 

    Unable to get my foot in the door, I went back to school for a masters, believing I would be better qualified for that first entry-level job in local government. After two more years I obtained my MPA and another year of internship experience. I applied for hundreds and interviewed for dozens of jobs and prestigious fellowships around the country, but after several months, was no closer to a job than I was two years earlier.

    Discouraged, I started thinking about other options. I had spent the last six years in school, studying for a career that seemed out of reach, and accumulating massive amounts of student loan debt in the process - debt that would soon come due. A friend of mine who had been studying for his MBA while I studied for my MPA had gone through Launch Academy to become a developer. I began asking him questions about the program and why he chose to go through a program like Launch Academy after spending so much time studying for an MBA. 

    Why a coding bootcamp and why Launch Academy?

    That summer I took a trip out to Boston to visit my friend and see Launch Academy for myself. After that trip I had made up my mind to become a developer. I started taking courses on Codecademy and readying myself for the admissions interview. I researched other bootcamps in Boston, NYC, and San Francisco. Launch Academy stood out not only because of my visit to their office space (or Mission Control as Launchers call it) but also because of their small size and focus on students. Each cohort is limited to around 35 students (Launchers) with 6-7 instructors (or Experience Engineers) available. Additionally, I had spoken with some alums of the program who were now working as developers, making considerably more money than in their previous jobs, and enjoying their work more than what they had previously did. Lastly, although Launch Academy no longer touts hiring statistics on their website, they claimed a 96% hiring rate for graduates of the program at the time, along with an average starting salary of $55k to $75 (more on that later). 

    What is the admissions process like?

    In a word: competitive. When I applied for the program (7th cohort) the acceptance rate was around 13%. That's more competitive than most Ivy League universities. The admissions process begins with an application that includes some questions on why you want to be a developer. After submitting the application I scheduled a Skype interview with one of the Experience Engineers (EEs). I was told to prepare by reading Chris Pine's Learn to Program. The interview process consisted of two parts. For the first part, I would work through a coding challenge in the book with my interviewer, so they could see how I approach problem solving. This part of the interview is essential for evaluating the problem solving skills of a prospective student. The second part consisted of a 3-5 minute Lightning Talk. During this talk, I would teach my interviewer something - anything - that I found interesting. Bonus points if it isn't related to programming. The purpose of this part of the interview is to assess the student's interpersonal skills, such as how well they can present their ideas to others. 

    3... 2... 1... Ignition!

    Ignition is the first phase of Launch Academy. Each cohort, the curriculum is refined and enhanced in a process of iterative improvement. During my cohort, I spent time learning fundamental programming concepts, the principles of object oriented programming (OOP), and practiced simple coding exercises or code katas. By the end of Ignition I was writing simple command line games such as Tic-Tac-To and Rock-Paper-Scissors. 

    Alpha Phase

    The first week of Launch Academy was a mind-blowing experience. My cohort spent the first week drilling through more katas in Ruby and reinforcing everything we learned in ignition. I remember looking back at the end of each day and contemplating how much more advanced the project from that day was compared to what I was struggling with just a day or two earlier. 

    During the second week of this phase I started learning how to build simple webpages in Sinatra, which is a barebones Ruby MVC (Model-View-Controller) framework. By the end of the week I had built a simple to-do list app in Sinatra that saved data to a csv file.

    Bravo Phase

    Bravo Phase began during the 3rd week of Launch. By the end of this phase, I had build my first simple website with the Sinatra framework and was busy learning how to write manual SQL queries so that my app could query a database of movies and actors. One of the most notable challenges to come out of this phase was a pairing challenge in which we had to write a command line Blackjack game that conformed to the principles of OOP. It was during this time that some of the concepts that I had read about during Ignition really began to sink in as I put them into practice. 

    Charlie Phase

    Charlie Phase started during week five. The learning curve had been rapidly building with each passing day, but it was during this time that the pace became truly blistering for me. During this phase we learned about database design and management, normalizing database relations in ActiveRecord, complex SQL queries, acceptance testing using RSpec and Capybara, Rails fundamentals, Javascript, and jQuery. Much of this phase was designed to prepare us for Delta Phase, where we would be building and deploying our first Rails apps.

    Having spent the last few weeks learning how to build websites in Sinatra gave me a great appreciation for how much more complex and powerful Rails is. Rails is like a big black box. You can tell it to do something and most of the time it just works out of the box, whereas even simple tasks such as compiling a SASS stylesheet become massive undertakings in Sinatra requiring a thorough knowledge of the entire process.

    Delta Phase

    During Delta Phase we continued learning the basics of Rails, including user authentication with Devise, namespacing, RESTful conventions, email, TDD (test driven development), and how to secure our Rails apps against common security threats. Last but not least, we learned how to deploy our apps through Heroku.

    Unlike previous phases, there were few daily challenges or katas during Delta Phase. Instead we were tasked with a group project. In groups of 4-5 we would build a simple Yelp-like review site for anything of our choosing using Rails and TDD. The project had to be minimally styled and conform to RESTful conventions. The primary objective of the project was to experience what it's like to work on a team of software developers using tools such as Trello for project management and Git for version control. 

    We were originally told that the projects would be due the following Monday (beginning of Echo Phase). On Friday at 4 PM however, we were all informed that our projects would be due at 5:30 PM that day, and that we would be presenting them to the entire cohort. Looking back, this was one of the most stressful moments at Launch Academy, but an excellent exercise in prioritizing tasks and working as a group effectively. Despite most groups having planned to spend the weekend finishing the project, every single group successfully presented a styled and functioning site at 5:30 PM, even if some of us were still deploying to Heroku just minutes before our presentation!

    Echo Phase

    This was the final phase of Launch Academy - the home stretch. Everything up to this point had been to prepare us for our capstone project, or breakable toy as we call it. The focus for this entire phase was on building our breakable toys to present to hiring partners on career day. The only lectures during this phase were on computer science theory and job hunting skills that would help us land jobs after the program.

    During this time I became a lean mean programming machine, spending 12, sometimes 14 hours per day, 7 days a week working on my breakable toy to get it ready for career day. Whenever I wasn't coding or sleeping, I was studying computer science theory and practicing my interviewing skills with the EEs. 

    Some of my fellow classmates and I even held a 24-hour coding marathon in Mission Control, which was among my fondest Launch Academy memories. 

    Career Day

    Despite record snowfall that would go on to be an all-time record for Boston, career day proceeded more or less as planned. For ten weeks we had practiced our coding skills, built apps, and helped each other along the way. Now it was time to present our work and ourselves to hiring partners who were all looking to hire junior software developers. 

    For my cohort and the cohorts since, career day was split into two separate days with approximately 20-25 companies represented on each day. We were divided into four groups of 6-7, as were the hiring partners in attendance. Each Launcher would have just 2 minutes to present their project and explain why they are passionate about coding and would make a good fit on a company's team. After each person had presented, there would be about 20-25 minutes of time for networking with the hiring partners that had been with the group. Each group of hiring partners would then rotate to the next group of Launchers to repeat the process. After about 2 hours, all the presentations had concluded we were free to network with the hiring partners and eat pizza. 

    The Job Hunt

    While I knew coming in to the program that I likely wouldn't find a job for at least a month or two after the program, the first few weeks after career day were the most difficult. It took me nearly two weeks just to land my first interview. By that time, over half a dozen of my classmates had already received offers. The next month or so saw a slowdown in the hiring rate for the cohort. It seemed as though many people, myself included, were being interviewed weekly, sometimes two or three times per week, but not receiving offers. I watched as the hiring rate slowly ticked upwards to around 30%. During the second month post-grad, the pace of hiring began to pick up, with nearly 60% of the cohort hired by March. As of this writing, around 80% of the people in my cohort have found jobs as programmers, myself included.

    Reflections: The Good Stuff

    Although I sometimes doubted myself, I know that I made the right choice in going through Launch Academy. It was a stressful and expensive process that has only just begun to pay dividends. Three months after graduating, I landed a role as the Lead Developer for a startup company in Boston. While some of my classmates obtained high-paid roles with flashy startups or larger companies, many such as myself did not. I opted to work for a pre-seed startup, sacrificing a high salary for the potential to make more money later, but more importantly, to gain experience working as a remote developer on a team of one. More on that later. Others in my cohort also worked for small pre-seed startups or went on to become freelancers. A few are still searching. 

    Reflections: The Not So Good Stuff

    Going in, my expectations were perhaps a little too high. I really did expect that everyone in my group would get a high paying job. That didn't happen. Several of my classmates weren't endorsed for career day, and for many of the rest of us, finding a job was no easy task, even for the best of us. It is true that the demand for programmers is nearly insatiable at the moment. That said, companies are as picky now as they've ever been about who they want to hire. Completing a program like Launch should not be seen as a guaranteed ticket to a job, but merely a launching pad to a career. Finishing Launch Academy opened the doors for me to a career in programming, but I still had to work every day for months afterwards before I finally got the job.

    Improving the Curriculum

    The curriculum for each cohort is an improved version of that from the previous cohort. Cohorts before mine did not begin working with Sinatra until the fourth week. My cohort began working with Sinatra during the second week. The cohort after mine started working with Sinatra on day one. Now it is part of Ignition. 

    While I can't speak for the curriculum of the current cohort or those to come, there were some things that I wish my cohort had been able to cover that would have prepared us better for the job market. Chief among these things is responsive design using popular frameworks such as Bootstrap or Foundation. We touched on these frameworks only minimally during my cohort. Designing a flashy website says little about a developer's programming skills, but a lot about their presentation skills. This is especially important when presenting work to non-technical hiring managers.

    The other area that my cohort didn't spent a lot of time focusing on was Javascript - specifically popular libraries like jQuery. Frameworks like Angular, Backbone, Ember, Meteor, and React are all the rage these days because they allow for rapid development of single-page ultra-fast web apps. jQuery has been around since 2006 and is an excellent library for new developers to get their hands dirty with. It is widely used around the internet, powerful, and easy to learn.

    Conclusion

    Launch Academy was one of the best decisions I've ever made. It's opened the doors for me to a career I love, and as an added bonus, one that pays decent wages. Launch Academy is not for everyone though. If you're lazy, lack motivation, and are only interested in landing a high-paying job as quickly as possible, then Launch Academy is not for you. 

    If you decide to go, you will work like a dog for months on end. you will struggle day and night trying to understand complex data structures, SQL queries, and RESTful conventions. You will grow grey hairs trying to understand Git workflow. You will spend many hours stuck on T trains that smell of urine as you commute to Chinatown. You will likely gain weight eating Chinese food because you won't have the time to cook proper meals. You may even get to wade through 4 feet of snow and slush in freezing temperatures to make it to your career day presentation.

    If you decide to go, you will make new friends and colleagues who will help push you along and keep you motivated. You will experience moments of joy each time you finally understand a difficult concept. You will cheer when you deploy your first app to Heroku. You will learn that most programmers survive on a diet of coffee and beer alone. Every day you will learn something new and be challenged to grow as a developer. Lastly, you will be part of an elite group of Launch Academy alumni who are active on Slack and constantly helping each other with coding problems and help requests, or just meeting up for lunch and a beer.

    Should you pay $12,500 to go through 10 grueling weeks of the most intense learning experience of your life for the chance to become a junior web developer? Only you can decide!

     

  • Corey Psoinos • Web Developer • Graduate
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    Every time someone asks me what I thought about my Launch Academy experience, I give them the same answer: it was the best 10 weeks of my professional career so far.

    Warning: wall of text incoming. Skip to the end if you want the cliff notes version.

    I, like many of my fellow classmates, did not come from a CS background. I had been working as a project manager at a translation company for the past two and a half years. I had moved into a more technical role, though I never wrote a line of code (and would not have known how, in any case). While I had liked my job at one point, I no longer did, and it had become clear to me that it was just that: a job. I wanted a career. I applied to both General Assembly and Launch Academy in Boston, was accepted at both, and after a painstaking couple of days, decided on Launch Academy. And gave my notice immediately after making that decision.

    Launch Academy has a pre-work curriculum that every Launcher does at home in the weeks before the cohort starts, called Ignition. With our cohort they placed a lot more emphasis on learning as much Ruby as possible during Ignition so we could really hit the ground running on day one.

    The first six weeks are well-structured and give students a practical understanding of core web development and use techniques that really force students to digest what they're learning. Evening assignments were on new concepts and accompanied by a reading. Sometimes this reading included a step-by-step guide that you could follow to build something, but the assignment (which students were required to turn in by the next morning) always required some extra thinking. Often, though, the assignments required a good deal of outside research in order to complete. Students returned the next morning and broke into smaller mentor groups where an EE (experience engineer, as the instructors were called) would address any specific problems a student brought up. The morning facilitation (a lecture-like presentation by an instructor) then went over the concepts from the previous night's assignment in more detail.

    Afternoons were less structured. Almost everyone worked in pairs on the afternoon assignment, and each day a couple of EE's had office hours where students could get some dedicated one-on-one time if they wanted. Optional clinics were available for extra coverage of certain topics or more advanced topics.

    This style of teaching was key. I had to figure out how to do something before I was taught. I was never given all the tools, but I had the means to acquire them. If I struggled with a concept, one of my fellow Launchers was there to help me. If I managed to complete something quickly, there was someone else I could help. And this is the kicker: the best way to learn something is to teach it. If I made something work by trial and error, all well and good. But in order to teach someone else, I had to go back and really understand what I had done and help my fellow Launcher make their code work.

    The last four weeks were more open-ended: two weeks were dedicated to group projects, and two weeks on our own breakable toys. EE's still had office hours every day and held optional clinics. We received some guidance on group projects but the EE's became much more hands-off toward the end, really making us take the reins and lead ourselves to success. We met with Corinne, the wonderful, amazing, talented, insanely hard-working career services director, several times, and had mock technical interviews. We practiced (and practiced and practiced) our presentations for career day. We were as prepared as we could be.

    We were not guaranteed jobs. We were guaranteed assistance in the job search and guidance. The staff will prepare you as best they can, but you have to want to succeed. Launch Academy's job placement rate after graduation is extremely high... almost ridiculoulsy so. Check out their website. I had booked 8 interviews in the first week after graduation, and accepted an offer just a week and a half after graduating. I could not be happier with my overall experience and where I ended up.

    TL;DR:

    • great pre-work program (Ignition) prepares you before day 1
    • course designed to make you really digest as much information as possible
    • last half of cohort really emulates a real working environment
    • Corinne (career services) really works hard to help you find a job
    • GREAT experience, lots of fun, lots of hard work, lots of struggles, but a sense of accomplishment every day

    In the end, you really get out of it what you put into it. This is not school. No one is forcing you to be there. If you're there, it's because you want to be, and this is what you want to do. Don't expect to coast along. But, if you put in the time and the effort, it will pay off.

  • Spring 2015 grad
    - 6/12/2015
    Ray Hamel • Developer at Careport Health • Graduate
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    I enrolled in Launch Academy on a whim, and I have to say it was the best decision of my life.  I was pretty skeptical of their claims to begin with, that they could really teach me to be a web developer in only 10 weeks, and that they could find jobs in the industry for almost all their graduates, but I've seen it happen, and it works!  My programming experience before Launch was limited to a half-forgotten C++ course I took in high school, but with their help I was able to graduate as a confident coder with the knowledge and good instincts to tackle any project.  I was hired as a developer by one of Launch's hiring partners almost immediately after graduation.  Almost needless to say - although there's some sticker shock, in my case it very easily paid for itself.

    Dan Pickett, Launch's co-founder and one of the senior instructors, is a fantastic guy who is both the guru on all things web development with Ruby on Rails, and also someone who has a real passion and gift for teaching.  The curriculum he and the other Launch staff have put together includes a huge amount of information, but presented in a very accessible way, and with a strong emphasis on the students' actually understanding the most important concepts, as opposed to simple rote memorization.

    The other Launch staff are all very enthusiastic and knowledgeable teachers, and genuinely great people to hang out and have a beer with.  Like most web-dev positions, the "Experience Engineers" have a fairly high rate of turnover, so I won't give out any specific endorsements (also just don't have room!), but everyone that Dan and Evan hire is going to be someone whom it's a real treat to get to know.

    The other students in my cohort were not only intelligent and motivated, but also one of the most down-to-Earth and friendliest groups of people I've ever had the pleasure of knowing.  Many of us had genuinely awesome talents and careers outside of coding.  We had everyone from MIT grads to someone like me (22), with no college degree or paid white-collar work experience.  Launch doesn't just choose the applicants who look best on paper but really do their homework to make sure it's a great mix of people.  As it turns out, I ended up being one of the strongest coders of the cohort, but I wouldn't have had that opportunity if Launch hadn't been willing to take a chance on me.

    Launch (and Dan) has a great reputation in the Boston tech community for graduating developers who know the necessary Ruby fundamentals to immediately start improving a Rails codebase.  They have by far the best reputation of any Boston-based bootcamp; they're one of the first and one of the best, not some sketchy cash-in operation (*cough* General Assembly *cough*).  That alone opens plenty of doors in the job market.  But Launch also has relationships with dozens of hiring partners whom we present to on Career Day, and from whom most of us had multiple interview requests soon after.  But best of all Launch has Corinne, who puts in a superhuman amount of effort to helping every member of the cohort find a job.  She handles almost all the communication with employers so we don't have to, and will advocate tirelessly on your behalf.  I can't praise her enough.

    Now, in the interests of presenting a complete and unbiased picture, I would be remiss if I didn't mention there are a few downsides.  Please don't be scared off; I just want you to know that I'm an honest reporter and all my praise is completely justified.

    1. A couple Launchers in my cohort who really did work hard and try their best were not invited to Career Day, because it was determined they had not progressed far enough in the curriculum.  I understand that it is a necessary evil; it's not fair for the other Launchers trying to find jobs if Launch's reputation amongst the hiring partners is hurt by people who get hired and then can't do the work.  The bootcamps that guarantee a job generally require prior experience as a programmer and/or are much more aggressive about kicking people out entirely.  But applicants should know that while coding is great for many people, it isn't for everyone, and also that the time commitment is greater than a full-time job.  Expect many days where you stay late into the evening, and lots of working through the weekends.
    2. As someone who progressed through the material pretty quickly, I often wanted the ability to learn about more advanced and in-depth topics.  For the most part I was able to teach myself new concepts at my own pace, and the instructors were happy to help, but it still would have been nice to have that opportunity in a structured environment.  I've heard they're adding an optional seminar to that effect in the new cohort.
    3. JavaScript, which is becoming a more and more crucial building block of web development, is pretty quickly glossed over in one week.  I think it deserves greater emphasis in the curriculum.  I also think that object-oriented programming in Ruby should be covered in greater depth and introduced earlier (e.g. at the end of our cohort, I don't believe most of my classmates knew what a module is, or how inheritance works).  Object-oriented Javascript isn't covered at all.  Launch improves its curriculum every cohort, but these are the topics that most need to be covered in greater depth, in one man's opinion.
    4. The junior instructors are, well, junior.  Many of them are Launchers from recent cohorts.  The first few weeks it will seem like they know everything, but by weeks 7-10 they might start to get a little shaky if you start asking them about advanced topics, and it can take a while before you can get ahold of a senior instructor.
    5. 10 weeks is maybe a little too short.  12 or 14 weeks, like some other bootcamps, is probably better to make sure you have a really solid understanding of Rails.  Of course, Launch is a big commitment in terms of time and money as it stands, and the online pre-work gives you a pretty good framework before you even come in the first day.
    6. All things being equal, you will have an easier time finding a job, and will be paid more, if you have a Computer Science degree vs. attending a bootcamp.  There are important concepts that CS degree programs teach that bootcamps aren't able to.  If your choice is between a 4-year CS degree and Launch, and you can afford the cost in time and money, the degree is the better option.  Remember of course that many people have become very successful, skilled and senior developers without a CS degree.

    Overall, I really could not be happier with my decision to attend Launch, and I strongly recommend that anyone else who's interested do the same, and sooner rather than later!  Please do not hesitate to shoot me an email if you're interested in talking with me about my experiences in greater depth; I'd love to help out anyone who wants to join me in this fun and fast-paced industry.  You can reach me at

    rayghamel at-sign gmail period com

  • Chris W • Web Developer • Graduate
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    I had an excellent experience at Launch Academy. I came in with very modest programming experience (one free online course and a couple months of hacking on various projects in my spare time) and Launch Academy absolutely fulfilled its promise to teach me what I needed to know to get a job in web development.

    Dan Pickett and his teachers have developed a curriculum that manages to teach a huge amount of information in a very short period of time and actually make it stick. Literally every week you start a task that seems impossible, and by Friday morning it seems simple.

    Launch Academy also offers incredible career support, both through their formal network of hiring partners, and through the less formal Boston tech scene. They have an excellent reputation, and they offer the resources students need to succeed, not just in learning the mechanics of programming for the web, but in finding a job and succeeding in that job.

  • Anonymous
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    Hey! So I was a student in the Summer 2013 Cohort of Launch Academy. I had absolutely ZERO experience going into the program, and was a bartender up until I moved to Boston to start the bootcamp.

    I've always been a fast learner so I kind of thought that it wouldn't be as hard as it sounded. I was soooo wrong. It was super hard, probably THE HARDEST THING I'VE EVER DONE IN MY LIFE, and intense, and totally immersive - I was eating, breathing, sleeping code..literally, I dreamed about writing programs. I probably cried close to everyday (not to sound like a baby). I learned SO much and going to Launch Academy changed my life. I went from being a bartender not knowing a single thing about programming, to being a full time developer at a super cool web and mobile apps development company in Raleigh, NC..IN TEN WEEKS.

    The instructors and everyone involved are amazing and so invested in helping you learn and have the best experience possible. I am living my dream life right now and it is due in large part to Launch Academy.

  • LA Grad
    - 1/20/2015
    Anonymous • Graduate
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    A fantastic program - Dan Pickett is one of the most well-regarded leaders in the Boston ruby community, and he has put together a really great team of instructors. Awesome people, curriculum second to none. More than that, the 6-month post-grad support is real. The experience engineers at LA are really genuine people as well as stellar engineers - ping them with a question a month after the program is over and you'll get a response. If your heart is 100% in it, you'll get quite a bit more from LA than you could from comparable programs.

  • Dave LA Review
    - 1/20/2015
    Dave Poirier • Graduate
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    Prior to attending Launch Academy, I was somewhat skeptical about the bootcamp education model. Bootcamps require a large upfront tuition payment and I wasn't sure if potential employers would take these non-traditional training programs seriously.

    I found Launch Academy particularly appealing because they offered full-stack training which includes database, back-end and front-end development. After thoughtful consideration I decided to attend. I knew I wanted to be a web developer and attending a bootcamp seemed like the most efficient way to successfully transition into the industry.

    The program was 10 weeks long. Our cohort, the first cohort at Launch Academy, ramped up in the first week and kept a rapid pace of learning throughout the remainder of the course. The curriculum offered a good balance of depth and breadth. Throughout the course Launch Academy invites local developers, CTOs, CEOs and active members of the tech community to speak to the class. This was a great addition to the course; I gleaned a ton of valuable information from them.

    There was one point about halfway through the course where I felt we could have used an additional instructor to help with projects. However, Launch Academy listened to our feedback and hired an additional instructor. This was a minor issue considering we were the first cohort through the course.

    Overall, I had an great experience. I learned more than I expected, worked with an incredible group of people and had a blast developing cool things for ten weeks. Upon completion of the course, we had initial interviews with approx. 30 companies. I had several follow up interviews and I accepted an incredible position as a Rails Developer within two weeks of graduation.

  • LA 3rd Batch
    - 1/20/2015
    Anonymous • Graduate
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    I had some background in coding before attending LA and had been doing some self study, but LA really took my abilities to the next level. I was really skeptical I could gain enough practical knowledge in 10 weeks to get a job, but I just graduated last week and already have on-site interviews with four companies lined up.

    Launch Academy also offers something you can't get through self study, an amazing atmosphere and a whole group of people eager to learn and aid each other along the way. I got to work with and learn from so many awesome people, I gained more than I ever would have on my own. The people alone were worth the cost of admission.

    Also, a big bonus of Launch Academy is their devotion to following best practices. The experience I have gained with Test Driven Development at Launch Academy alone has been enough to impress employers.

    If you are looking for a challenging and rewarding experience that will change your life, you can't go wrong with Launch Academy.

     
  • LA 2nd Batch
    - 1/20/2015
    Anonymous • Graduate
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    Launch Academy was a great stepping stone for me. I had just graduated college, and during my last semester i began transitioning to web development. Started doing Codecademy and other tutorials online.

    I knew I lacked any prior, both educational and work, experience in computer science, so I figured the next best thing was to do a bootcamp. After doing my research and investigating, I decided Launch Academy was the best fit for me.

    I think Launch Academy excels at the instructors. Dan Picket, Johnny Borsiquost, and the Experienced Engineers, are really smart, can explain things very well, and are there to help whenever you may need it.

    To be very honest and blunt, this is a bootcamp. If you have the drive and work ethic, you will thrive. If not, maybe take a different approach. 10-weeks goes by really fast, and the amount of knowledge you absorb is unlike anything else.

    My advice if your are thinking of doing this or are going to do it, is this. If you are learning something, and dont understand it (after you have tried to figure it out), ask ASAP! 10 weeks really goes by fast. Embrace the confusion, and always look for clarity. Understand your learning style, and make sure Launch Academy is catering to that style. Last time i checked, my batch (the 2nd), had about an 80% job placement within 1.5 months.

    Live and breath this stuff for the 10 weeks. Most importantly, seek to understand what, why, how things are happening. Everything builds upon the old stuff, so make sure every step of the way you are understanding what is going on.

    Good luck.

     
  • Julissa Jansen • Graduate
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    I joined Launch Academy in February 2014 after realizing that coding was something I wanted to do. While I had very little experience with coding and most programming languages I was familiar with Ruby by attending free workshops in Boston

    I decided on Launch for a couple of reasons; it's located in Boston, they are active in the Ruby community, and I had met Launch Academy alum who had only good things to say about the boot camp model.

    One of the greatest things about Launch Academy are the Experience Engineers who teach and mentor. It's an amazing support system that I don't think I would've gotten at other bootcamps in the city.

    By the end of the 10-week program, I had built a couple of apps using Rails and Sinatra and was exposed to many of the methodologies and technologies full-stack developers use. The most important thing was not just what I learned but HOW I learned. I know feel like I have the tools to learn any new technology at an accelerated rate.

    I had interviews for 5 different positions and accepted a job offer within a month of graduation.

  • Anonymous
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    A look back: 6 Months After Graduation

    Everyday there is a reference back to something I learned at Launch Academy. The day to day workflow of working in a Ruby web stack is very similar to what I learned at LA. Our engineering team practices test driven development, another core competency of Launch. Even the environment of Mission Control(the physical space of Launch) mimics the open floor collaborative environment that I currently work in. In addition to the parallels between Launch Academy and career after Launch, I was fortunate enough to have been able to make enough mistakes in a learning environment of LA (dropping production databases, losing git branches, overwriting entire repos) where the cost was low that I didn't lose my company any money.

    At Backupify I started as an Associate Software Engineer, where I worked on several projects (upgrading API's/rails, refactoring code, making systems improvements, rewriting tests, customer bugs/requests) which were very manageable task for a young developer. After 2 months, started getting mentoring opportunities to bring brand new engineers up to speed on our technology. I was able to leverage my experience with mentoring my peers at Launch to help bring these new teams members up to speed quickly. After 6 months with this team, I was promoted to Software Engineer and Team Lead managing 3 engineers. 

    All of this was possible because I had worked hard to meet the day to day challenges of Launch Academy and learn as much as I possibly could. I am truly thankful for the great patience, knowledge, and experience of the mentors and of the staff of Launch Academy. I look forward to a continued professional relationship with all of my co-Launchers past, present and future.

Launch Academy Outcomes


58%
On-Time Graduation Rate
97%
In-Field Employed
$70,000
Median Salary

100% of students intended to seek in-field employment within 180 days of graduating. 0% of students did not intend to seek in-field employment.Below is the 180 Day Employment Breakdown for 30 graduates included in report:

180 Day Employment Breakdown:

Full-time employee
73.3%
Full-time apprenticeship, internship or contract position
23.3%
Short-term contract, part-time, or freelance
0.0%
Started a new company or venture after graduation
0.0%

Employed out-of-field
0.0%
Continuing to higher education
%
Not seeking a job for health, family, or personal reasons
%

Still seeking job in-field
0.0%

Could not contact
0.0%

Salary Breakdown:

100% of job obtainers reported salaries. 0% of job obtainers were hired by the school itself.

Notes & Caveats:

Read the full Launch Academy CIRR Report here.

Thanks!