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.
Recent Launch Academy Reviews: Rating 4.62
Recent Launch Academy News
- January 2021 Coding Bootcamp News
- From Administrative Assistant to Software Engineer after Launch Academy
- Coding Bootcamps + COVID-19: Updates, Scholarships and Tips for Learning Online in 2022
In PersonFull Time40 Hours/week18 Weeks
Deposit $1,000 FinancingFinancing available through Ascent Funding Tuition Plans Finance 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
Minimum Skill Level Basic computer knowledge Prep Work Part-time, virtual 8-week Ignition phase requires 15-30hrs per week. Placement Test No Interview Yes
More Start DatesOctober 18, 2021 - Boston Apply by October 25, 2021January 24, 2022 - Boston Apply by January 10, 2022April 25, 2022 - Boston Apply by April 11, 2022July 25, 2022 - Boston Apply by July 11, 2022October 17, 2022 - Boston Apply by October 03, 2022
Launch Academy Reviews
52 reviews sorted by:
- Highly Recommended- 1/25/2017Fall 2016 Grad • Software Engineer • Graduate • Course: Immersive Full Stack Software Engineering Program • Campus: Boston
Overall, I had a great experience. I learned the entire stack to build fully functional websites with impressive tech behind them. The curriculum is difficult and requires motivation on the part of the student. If you work hard, follow the guidelines, and keep up with the material, it is very likely that you will land a great job as a software engineer shortly after the class ends.
There were a few times when we were lectured on things like "mansplaining", which felt out of place for a class meant to teach you how to build websites. The school strives to educate the students on being professional in the work environment, so presentations like this felt downright odd.
These are minor gripes, and overall the experience was a positive one. For anyone willing to focus on the material and put in the time necessary, a job as a software developer is well within your grasp after Launch Academy. I landed my dream job after taking the course, and I couldn't be happier with it.
- Student in 1st cohort for Launch Academy Online- 1/24/2016Aaron • Student • Campus: Online**This review is a work in progress as I'm currently going through the program**I am part of the first cohort for Launch Academy's new Online bootcamp (which launched on 1/11/16). To date, I haven't found any reviews about this particular program (there are many for the On Campus bootcamp), so I wanted to share my experience thus far, in case you were considering this as an option.
Review #2 As of 7/29/2016
TLDR: I completed 1/2 of the program between January-March (averaging ~28 hours/ week). I've been working abroad since April (paused the program), and am learning on my own. LA helped me get started with a strong foundation. I would recommend it to others, particularly under specific circumstances (see below).
- Prior to Launch Academy, my main challenge in learning to code was simply garnering enough knowledge, skill, and practice to 1) start building actual code on my own and 2) cultivate a base of understanding. LA's structured curriculum, mentorship, fellow students, forum, etc. were really helpful for getting over the initial hurdles, and helped to build my foundation.
- Presently, I'm learning on my own (with acquired knowledge via LA that lets me: Break down problems; Perspective and experience to evaluate potential solutions; Ability to troubleshoot; Know-how for finding resources online, and again, the ability to assess their merit (to some extent), etc.), which I hadn't really been able to do previously.
- As I progressed beyond Phase 5, the curriculum forced you to stretch a bit more (partly because there were small gaps in the material, and partly, I presume, to push you out of your comfort zone). The material was still strong, but it wasn't as polished as the earlier Phases.
- The mentors were probably the best part of the program. They are all very friendly, supportive, and knowledgeable. Additionally, experienced developers offer insights that you simply cannot get from tutorials or videos; They often can help you cut through some of the noise, look at problems from a different angle, and share tribal knowledge/ industry practices (which is hard to capture in guides, etc.)
- On the job front, I don't feel confident that I can get a job as a dev right now (based on only completing half the program). I do feel that I can learn what is required to become job ready, and I believe the program will get you sufficiently technically advanced.
- I found that trying to hammer away at challenges for periods longer than 2-4 hours at a time had greatly diminishing returns. Now I do “deep work” for 2-3 hours, then take a break, and completely separate from the problem. I can come back refreshed and be much more effective. When I was paying for the program, I felt constant self-imposed pressure to keep at it, because it was an on-going consideration of ROI.
- One unexpected challenge was the feeling of isolation on a day-to-day basis. I was coding at home, often alone, so the environment had a clear impact. To switch it up, I would go to coffee shops, spent a few days in co-working spaces, and did a few “hack sessions” with friends, which did help. Saying this, I can see the value of an in-person bootcamp, surrounded by other people working through the same challenges and towards a shared end-goal. The Slack channel helped, but obviously has its limitations.
Disclosure: I'm not sure what has been added/ changed about the program, so below are some ideas from my experience.
- To further prep for the real world, I would have liked built-in group projects/ peer programming/ peer review sessions. This would simulate working on a team.
- Share real-world processes for project planning/ outlining builds. Again, with the intent of demonstrating how projects are planned and implemented at a company. Maybe one way to do this would be to have a consistent, additive project throughout the course (which grows in complexity and features as you learn more).
- Incorporation of more real-world tools, like bug-tracking software and user story creation.
Overall, I enjoyed my time in the program and would highly recommend it to others for specific use cases: 1) You've tried learning on your own in the past, and struggled; 2) You need the flexibility of a self-paced program; 3) You're testing the waters of a career switch/ seeing if you actually like to code (it's a relatively cheap test, and it substantially lowers the friction to actually start coding); 4) You're really self-motivated and have a large chunk of time to devote to it.
For perspective, here's another online review:Review #1 As of 1/24/16:TLDR: I highly recommend the course so far. I've found the guided material and gradual progression immensely helpful for learning, while having mentors and other students persistently "around" allows for more rapid problem solving, less frustration, and very little of the isolated feeling I experienced while self-teaching.To begin, I have wanted to learn how to code for a few years now. In November of 2015, I made the decision to pursue learning to code as a full-time endeavor, with the aim of making a career switch (my background is in startups in sales/ marketing roles). I began by self-teaching Ruby for about 6 weeks, and dabbled with JS for 2; I have been coding each day, treating it much like a FT job. Very quickly, I realized this journey is fraught with challenges, which I'll elaborate on below. However, through this experience (and struggle),I've come to a profound realization: I love coding!*(*And I was able to learn this directly without first ponying up money, hurray internet!)So, why did I decide to do Launch Academy Online?Well, it starts with some of the challenges I faced in self-teaching. I'll boil these down to the top 3 (for me):
From there, I decided to do a coding bootcamp. I researched different On Campus options in NYC, Boulder, Portland (OR), Boston, etc. (cities where I'm interested in working), and online options such as Bloc, Thinkful, and others. I did my due diligence of reading reviews, talking with alumni and teachers, developed my own grading rubric, and weighed the pros and cons of time and cost requirements.After all was said and done, I chose Launch Academy Online for a few reasons:
- Progress is inconsistent: I found many (free) online guides/ courses had inconsistent jumps in the progression of material. Things would be humming along, then I'd reach something that would be way over my head. I'd spend hours, or days, learning about the concept, looking to Stack Overflow or other guides/ tutorials, etc. to help fill in the gaps... I'd eventually figure it out, and then go back to the original course. I understand this emulates real world problem solving, but in trying to learn the fundamentals, this was incredibly taxing and consistently halted momentum.
- Overwhelming amount of material: There are A TON of guides/ courses/ tutorials online; It is hard to know what works well for your learning style without trying it. I found I don't like video-based lectures or in-browser coding, I'd rather "build things," and emulate real programming (I liked "Learn Ruby The Hard Way" a lot). Likewise, I spent much time trying different options. I also had to force myself to trust some of the magic of Ruby, because otherwise I would spend way too much time on things that weren't that important to understand at this stage of learning.
- Isolating: I underestimated how lonely it would feel to go on the journey alone. While I tried The Odin Project and FreeCode Camp (for my foray into JS), and knew there were other students working on the material at the same time, it was rare to find people at the same stage as you to converse with/ who could help answer your questions. To be clear, I think these are great courses with a robust and growing community, but with everyone being at different stages and doing it for varying reasons, it didn't have a team-like environment (which I guess I'm looking for).
Here's my experience so far:
- On Campus had great reviews, and the two alums I spoke with raved about it (I figured the curriculum, and teaching methodology would translate well online).
- Dan Pickett (Co-Founder) answered all the questions I had, was responsive to my emails, offered a lot of support while I was self-teaching, shared resources, etc. (all prior to my signing up)
- I would be a part of the first cohort, and figured they'd want to make sure we were successful.
- Much cheaper than on campus options, and allowed me more flexibility to do the work when I want/ am available.
- The curriculum is great! There are 11 Phases in total, each focused on discrete, related concepts. In each Phase, there are 30-40 exercises, which incrementally progress in complexity, which means you are learning by doing, and consistently reinforcing themes.
- Mentors are generally available during the day via Slack, and there is a designated Office Hour period each day specifically staffed by a Mentor. Additionally, fellow students are online, who you can chat with throughout the day.
- As a bonus, every day there is a live workshop led by Dan, where he does a deeper dive into a concept. These are supplemental, and generally offer helpful tidbits, as well as insight into how an experienced coder thinks about approaching problems.
- Weekly 1-on-1's with designated mentor is helpful. I've only had 1 so far, but in the future, I plan on discussing alternate ways of solving exercises, discussing concepts not covered/ more advanced material, using the time to peer program, etc.
- Fellow students are engaged, active, and very willing to help.
- The program is very new, so they are constantly seeking feedback in order to make updates/ improvements. I've seen minor changes so far, and am curious to see how this translates as the program progresses.
- Fall 2015 Grad- 11/13/2015Anonymous • Software Engineer • Graduate • Course: Immersive Full Stack Software Engineering Program • Campus: Boston
TL;DR: Attending Launch Academy was one of the best decisions I've made.
I'd been trying to break into a career in software engineering for a while, and the practical skills and education I got through Launch Academy put me over the top.
Something I also appreciated about their instruction is that they don't tolerate lazy coding. Often, there's a quick way to get something done that will get something working now, at some significant cost later; Launch was very clear about doing things in the *right* way, not just the *fastest* way.
It is INTENSE, though. I dropped as many obligations as I could to make room for the 50+ hour weeks. Learning so much in such a short amount of time requires dedication.
I'm not sure how they managed it, but the culture there was great. The instructors are all super-friendly and helpful (and badass), and the entire student community was mutually supportive. I felt that Lauch really invested it me, and that they cared deeply about my personal success.
I've also been impressed with their Career Services. Part of the curriculum is focused on what it takes to get hired: your resume, profssional profiles, interview skills, and so forth.
As for the actual hiring process post-graduation, Corinne is tireless. About two dozen companies looking to hire came to Career Day, and she's been in touch with many more since, setting up interviews, phone screens, etc. And even though the gig I eventually landed I got through my own connections, Corinne was still incredibly helpful.
So yeah, I feel pretty good about having gone through Launch.
- Summer 2015 grad- 10/10/2015Anonymous • Software Developer • Graduate • Course: Immersive Full Stack Software Engineering Program • Campus: Boston
Overall, I had an amazing experience at Launch Academy. I learned enough to land several interviews and my first job in a new career in software development. If you truly enjoy software development, are hungry to learn and grow, and are ready to work really really hard, Launch Academy definitely delivers on its promise to prepare you for a new career as a developer. You get what you put into it though, so don't expect to slack off and then expect Launch to work a miracle for you. It is an excellent program for anyone who has a passion for development and is ready to truly dedicate themself to levelling up.
The preparation for interviews, resumes, networking, etc. was all excellent, and the two career days where you meet prospective employers looking to hire junior developers is amazing. Getting this personalized job preparation and coaching and introduction to hiring parters was one of the most valuable parts of the entire experience in my mind.
Having done a lot of research, I think Launch is the best bootcamp you can find in Boston. The personalized attention and focus on one cohort at a time I think really sets it apart from some of the other bootcamps.
- Its cool- 10/1/2015Anonymous • Software Engineer • Graduate • Course: Immersive Full Stack Software Engineering Program • Campus: Boston
- Spring 2015 Grad- 6/14/2015Josh Fields • Junior Developer • Graduate • Course: Immersive Full Stack Software Engineering Program • Campus: Boston
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- 6/13/2015Daniel B. • Lead Developer • Graduate
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
- Spring 2015 Graduate- 6/12/2015Corey Psoinos • Web Developer • Graduate • Course: Immersive Full Stack Software Engineering Program • Campus: Boston
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.
- 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- 6/12/2015Ray Hamel • Developer at Careport Health • Graduate • Campus: Boston
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- An excellent experience- 4/18/2015Chris W • Web Developer • Graduate • Course: Immersive Full Stack Software Engineering Program • Campus: Boston
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.
- LN Launch Academy Review- 1/20/2015Anonymous • Course: Immersive Full Stack Software Engineering Program • Campus: Boston
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- 1/20/2015Anonymous • Graduate • Course: Immersive Full Stack Software Engineering Program • Campus: Boston
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.
On-Time Graduation Rate
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: