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Launch Academy

Boston, Online, Philadelphia, Washington

Launch Academy

Avg Rating:4.6 ( 40 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.

Recent Launch Academy Reviews: Rating 4.6

all (40) reviews for Launch Academy →

Recent Launch Academy News

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  • Immersive Full Stack Web Development Program

    Apply
    HTML, Git, JavaScript, SQL, Sinatra, Rails, CSS, React.js, Data Structures, Node.js, Front End, Ruby
    In PersonFull Time40 Hours/week18 Weeks
    Start Date None scheduled
    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.
    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

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  • 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.

  • Sean  User Photo
    Sean • Junior Software Developer • Graduate Verified via LinkedIn
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    Hello!

    I write this for you, the prospective tech bootcamp shopper, from my cushy reclining chair behind the desk of my sparkly new junior developer job. I can genuinely say that if I didn't sign up for Launch Academy, then I would not be sitting here writing this review, off-task from the awesome tech work that I was trained to do so very well at Launch Academy.

    Before I touch on 3 reasons why Launch Academy is as awesome as it is, I'll say that for a while I tried to get into tech, and it was difficult to do on my own! All in all, I needed structure and support that my 2-D MacBook Pro screen wasn't giving me.

    In doing some reading, I read from some (only those that haven't done a bootcamp, mind you) that bootcamps aren't worth it because they are too expensive and you can do all the learning with online resources. Yes, it costs and yes you can theoretically learn everythiing you'd need online, but if you want a junior developer role in the next 6-8 months, doing a bootcamp will push you in ways that you could NEVERRRRR do on your own. It gives you ALL the material you need to go from beginner to junior developer and the inspiration, motivation, technical/social/emotional and all the above support you can't get from staring at a computer screen by yourself or even at a meetup a few times a week. That, I would say, is the most important part of choosing a bootcamp - the quality, passion and drive of the people around you. That's why Launch stands out to me.

    Here are the 3 reasons why I HIGHLY recommend Launch if you want to be a junior developer in the next 6-8 months:

    The Experience Engineers (or teachers or TAs, etc)

    These individuals make the experience what it is and one you can't get anywhere else. These individuals live and breath the tech that they are teaching you. They are animated, hilarious, and supportive presenters and teachers that encourage any and all questions any time you have one. They will collaborate with you on ideas, help you with bug fixes, give you the WHYs behind your questions, and importantly help you develop your questions and your ability to become more and more self-reliant so that you can begin to answer them on your own. Go ahead and see: call them up, chat, or go to Launch and see for yourself!

    The Other Bootcampers

    Prior to Launch Academy I was searching for a job in tech because, with a bit of experience under my belt, I was seeing if I could get a job on my own. I remember having a conversation with a recruiter about bootcamps and he said that he saw many applicants coming from Launch, moreso than other bootcamps, that were younger and had more relevant backgrounds than he saw at other bootcamps. This was a positive indicator - this told me that I could learn more and I'd be around higher caliber students coming into Launch.

    Demographics aside, the individuals at Launch all were motivated to do really well and aspire to grow every day. I was inspired to learn from and teach what I learned to others. Launch does a fantastic job at cultivating a culture of growth and support amongst its students and very quickly you form lasting bonds that go beyond the length of the program.

    The Curriculum and Structure of the Day

    The curriculum at Launch has been through many iterations over 5 years. It's a living thing that is constantly being updated and made better as newer technologies become more relevant in the job market. I can tell you that in the 1.5 months since I've graduated, signifcant parts to the curriculum have been amended or added (Redux, Jest, ... these may not mean much to you now but a quick search on Google will prove that they're important to know as a full stack developer). This is great for students: relevant skills = relevant job applicants!!!

    It's also a really well done curriculum! Prior to the intensive, in-person period of the bootcamp, everyone goes througn 8 weeks of remote work that preps you with fundamentals so that you can come in (like a b****s) and learn higher level, frameworks and concepts. Everyone comes into the intensive at a similar level and with the ability to digest more advanced concepts.

    Another great thing about the curriculum and the structure of the day-to-day at Launch is that if you're falling behind, you have the time and space to ask questions to your fellow students or to teachers to get help. Alternatively, if you're feeling confident, you can move ahead - there's always more work in the curriculum than you can actually finish so there's always room to do more and continuing challenging yourself if you're a rockstar!!

    There are many, many great things that I haven't mentioned about Launch Academy:

    • Working on your Breakable Toy (or capstone project) that you get to think up and design yourself, with support as needed from teachers and other students, and then go sprint for two weeks bringing it to life

    • Getting tons of practice learning to pitch yourself to employers, which helps wildly with engaging others at networking events post graduation

    • Extremely entertaining lectures filled with engaging content and sprinkled with humorous and relevant (I promise) memes

    • Hanging out/celebrating on Fridays with your fellow cohort-mates and simultaneously dreading and anticipating the learning and material to come the following week

    • The post-grad support and currriculum that helps keet you on track towards getting a job.This includes continued access to the curriclulum for life.

    One last thing that was a real positive for me about Launch, and that should be a positive sign for you, is that they keep alumni engaged with the community. Many events and panels are held through your time as a student there that invite alumni that have JUST graduated or recently gotten hired. It's really encouraging and supportive to be able to ask individuals that were previously (like weeks to months prior) in your shoes, facing the same challenges as you. And it's a sign that people have been so moved by their experience at Launch that they want to continue coming back and continue giving to the community.

    All in all, DO IT!!! If you want a job in tech, this is the fastest, most enjoyable way I know.

    YOU GOT THIS!!!

  • Great Experience
    - 3/25/2019
    Nick  User Photo
    Nick • Junior Operations Engineer • Graduate Verified via LinkedIn
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    Launch Academy changed my life. It is what you look for in a boot camp. The instructors are super helpful, career services is great and helps you out even after you graduate, and the launch alumni is always trying to help one another. Before going to Launch I didn't have a clear path for myself. I had a full time job but I wanted a career that was more rewarding and something that I could feel proud to be a part of. If you are setting your sights on becoming a software developer, I would highly recommend this course. Keep in mind this is no walk in the park. You must be 100% committed to the task at hand to truly succeed. If you are driven and passionate and ready to take the leap to jumpstart your career in the world of software development then Launch is for you.
  • Great Roadmap
    - 1/17/2019
    Junaid  User Photo
    Junaid • Consultant • Graduate Verified via LinkedIn
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    Launch Academy was an excellent experience, and I highly recommend it for folks looking to enter the Web Development profession. Be aware that this is not something that you can do by halves. It requires your full attention and participation every day to really drill in the technical aspects of Web Development. While the laungages and frameworks learned are modern and well taught, I see it as more of a roadmap to future endeavours and it has given me the resources and direction to better improve on existing skills and develop new ones without extensive assistance. There is a stellar alumni network, and good help from the career services team to help you prepare for the job search. 

  • Launch is awesome!
    - 10/31/2018
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    Alex Smith • Developer I • Graduate Verified via LinkedIn
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    All the instructors at Launch Academy were fantastic! They were always incredibly helpful and never got frustrated no matter how much help we needed. The curriculum is well written and very modern. The career services department works very hard to make sure you get job placement after you graduate. I believe that the Ignition program they implement before coming on campus greatly sets them apart from other camps and will assist all newcomers in being able to digest such a large amount of information. A wonderful experience that I would recommend to anyone looking at a bootcamp!

  • David Garber  User Photo
    David Garber • Graduate Verified via GitHub
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    I'm a graduate of Launch Academy's [LA] 5th and final Philadelphia cohort. During my time, LA was able to deliver a comprehensive plan to develop my foundational development knowledge. At first, you will be taken for a whirlwind of courses designed to instill a deeper responsibility of writing code; writing for other developers to understand your intentions. We are encouraged to practice DRY, test-driven programming in two languages. There is a context switch mid-course that will break any syntax habits you may have which drives the point of understanding the reason behind the code and refrain from 'commanding' the CPU. *It is very important to have an obsession with technology, compulsive curiosity, and a growth mindset. you will not make it in the SWE world if you do not possess these 3 traits.*

    This is a revised review, as initially, I had been less than happy with the job prospects given to me. By communicating my frustration with the LA team, I had begun to understand that there may have been internal issues, given the fact that LA Philly was an expansion. There may or may not have been internal strife, but the compassionate leaders Dan and Corinne have done their best to resolve any concerns that I had. I understand owning a business is not easy, but in my prior review, I had let my anger get the best of me. Working more closely with the LA team, I've been able to get further in my job search, and have been given two separate opportunities to begin my career as a direct result from LA.

    In conclusion, you must understand that, as a junior developer, your entire career will be an unquenchable thirst for more knowledge of underlying technologies. Nobody will hold you accountable except for yourself. You have to strive to be the best version of yourself. LA promised me a career change, and while a little bumpy, they never broke their promise. I'm not going to discredit the invaluable knowledge that a CS degree provides, but for 15,000, I had doubled my earning potential in less than a year. That's one hell of a RoI. 

  • Amazing Experience
    - 3/21/2018
    Anonymous  User Photo
    Anonymous • Jr Software Engineer • Graduate Verified via GitHub
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    I decided to make a career change after 8 years and on the recommendation of a former graduate I attended Launch Academy.

    I highly recommend Launch Academy to anyone looking to learn web development. The staff is enthusiastic, engaging, and incredibly knowledgeable.

    While I'm sure every cohort is different the sense of community that grew over our 12 weeks together on campus was amazing.

    In addition to the well crafted coding curriculum the career services team does a wonderful job ensuring that you are set up for success on the job hunt. The post-grad support for job seekers is also top notch.

    Attending Launch Academy was one of the best decisions I've ever made.

     

  • Warren  User Photo
    Warren • Graduate Verified via GitHub
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    I just recently graduated from Launch Academy, so I've had experience with both the curriculum as well as the post graduation support. I can only say good things about both! They crammed as much as could fit in our heads, and have been working hard to find us positions since graduating. The one complaint I have is that the coursework could be a little rough around the edges at times, due to the fact that they're constantly changing it to keep up with trends and new tech. Generally it was minor things like examples not working, or tutorials not being quite accurate. The mentors were always there to address any issues though. I think my favorite part of Launch is that I'm now a part of a really dedicated and friendly community of web developers!

    All in all, I had a great experience!

  • Francis  User Photo
    Francis • Graduate Verified via GitHub
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    Attending Launch Academy was one of the best decisions I've ever made. I had recently relocated and unable to get any momentum in a new city with no professional network. Coding was always in my peripheral, but I had never actually taken the plunge until I started to look into bootcamps. Launch Academy really focused on Web Development moreso than others, so I dove in.

    You'll initially spend 8 weeks online learning fundamentals, slowly ramping up to the 10-week online program where you'll be taking on a different topic each week. The pace picks up really quickly from there, and it's not only challenging, but you'll be surrounded by people who fast become very close friends.  By the time you're done, you'll know enough to build your own small apps and what you do from there is up to you. I personally kept the moment going and started to teach myself other languages I never could "figure out" before without the experience Launch provided.

    Launch's curriculum changes very dynamically. Technology changes faster than fashion, and Launch keeps up. After graduating, they've got a pretty intensive job assistance program to keep you busy and active on the job hunt. It's a great experience. 

  • Robert Petrowsky  User Photo
    Robert Petrowsky • Graduate Verified via LinkedIn
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    Hello,

    I graduated two years ago from Launch Academy. First of all I loved my experience there. I learned fast and was easily one of the top performing students of my class. I was also 19 and spent all of my inheritance on the program and paying for rent/food during the program. When it was finished I accepted the first job I was offered rather quickly(2 months) as I was then living off of a credit card. The job was a contract for an extremely small start up(4 people). They told me that the company had experience with jr. developers before(which was not true). The lead developer was a 19 year old German college student. Needless to say it was not a growth experience. After the contract ended I was really in need of another job but didn’t receive help from my boot camp. My computer started experiencing problems and I could no longer run Rails. I found a full time volunteering opportunity with AmeriCorps teaching basic CS to students in low income areas and have been doing that for the last two years. I recently enrolled in a QA program for urban youth of low income and am now on an internship and will hopefully find a job quickly after. As I said I loved the experience during classes, but based on my experience I would say it should have costed $500-$1,000 not +$15,000 forcing me to live paycheck to paycheck and have no financial stability.

  • Sidney Castro • Graduate
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    Nowadays I love to talk all about how much I love coding. But, it wasn’t always like that. In fact, for all of my college career (this is not an exaggeration), I struggled figuring out what I wanted to do. Every time I switched focus, it still felt like I was taking the wrong turn. I felt horrible about myself. So I signed for signed up for Launch Academy and have never felt more whole in my life. Life makes so much more sense now, and I would like for everyone to know that they won’t regret choosing Launch Academy as their bootcamp. So much that I spent the entire work-day writing this review, so hear me out. (The TL;DR is at the bottom if you’re not interested in a full life story.)

    Here are some of the "wrong turns” I took before being saved by Launch Academy:

    • 2014: Started out as a business major as the “default” college route at Northeastern University. Was not for me.
    • 2015: Switched into Design, hoping to get some creativity in my life. Felt like an imposter. Stopped trying.
    • 2016: Switched into Computer Science, guided by my interest in math and problem-solving. Plus being a girl in the computer science department just sounded impressive. Instead, encountered an outdated curriculum heavily skewed towards theory. Very little student passion or collaboration. Grades were prioritized over knowledge. Impossible exams designed to make you feel stupid: “Now, the exam is this Friday and no one should expect to get above a D. But don’t worry, there will be a curve.” I sacrificed my mental health on so many occasions to study for these exams (going to bed at 3-4am was not unusual), and it was always a huge slap in the face to get handed back a C-, no matter how hard I tried. Somehow, a piece of paper made me feel so unworthy.
    • 2017: I started to realize that my thrive for learning dissolved a little more each semester at Northeastern, and this was painful to watch. The dread of simply going to class overwhelmed me. One day, I asked myself, “if I have to deal with this pain every morning to go to a class I don’t even enjoy, is it even worth it?” The cost and value of my Northeastern education were severely misaligned and I was desperate to feel passionate about something.

    Enter: Launch Academy.

    Now, here is where I will speak about how Launch Academy changed my life (again, not an exaggeration). At this point, I had already spent 121 university credits in sporadic, unstructured classes I simply wasted away, with parents who reminded me regularly of the hardship they go through in putting me through school and how obnoxiously expensive each class was. I developed a strong sense of failure and could not accept this feeling any longer. For those who are regretting their major, especially Computer Science majors brain-washed into thinking that their coding potential lies in their ability to understand digital signals, circuitry, and every algorithm out there, I understand how extremely painful it is to suffer in silence, to drown in your lack of passion, simply because you haven’t found the right environment. I’m not trying to sell Launch to you, I just truly believe that the program saved me from this self-deprecating, unhealthy mindset I had harbored for so long.

    (TL;DR) Now, here’s why:

    1. Waking up in the morning became so easy. I looked forward to being greeted by my peers the moment I walked through the door, all of whom were already hacking away at code. I enjoyed every moment with these people: from the late-nights spent dissecting lines of code with them, and the cheering that happened afterward, to our frequent karaoke nights (work hard, play hard, am I right?) The people at Launch became my best friends and life mentors.

    2. There was none of that Big-O notation crap. The morning mentor groups, facilitations, clinics are all carefully structured to ensure that we learned only the necessary tools needed in web development. You become well-versed in today’s world of web development; eventually you’ll find yourself using geeky “coding” terms and phrases on a regular basis.

    3. It was a judgment free-zone; I felt zero shame if I couldn’t get my head around a certain programming concept. There were no “dumb” questions. Our mentors (who are geniuses in my eyes) never made it feel like they were above us. They always stopped what they were doing to help you out, whether it be over solving a config issue or simply moral support. Even though I was much younger than everyone else, I never felt out of place. We were in this together. We learned from each other.

    4. Yes, it was challenging, but in a good way! Solving a problem made you feel so good. It gave you the motivation to keep going. Launch also helped me embrace the discomfort. At orientation, we were told that “the uncomfortable feeling of not knowing the solution is only a precursor to the exhilaration of solving the problem.” This is something I still carry with me. I gained the confidence to make mistakes. You can only move forward if you acknowledge that you don’t understand something.

    5. I’m a lot more independent than before. Thanks to Launch, I now know how to read documentation on technologies I’m unfamiliar with. Self-teaching is key in web development.

    6. This is an obvious one, but it’s career focused. And not just for those who “come out on top.” I learned how to network and how to job search efficiently. It’s only been 3 months since we’ve graduated and most of us are already working full-time, continuing to build on our skills at a full-time position in web development (while getting paid!) Launch Academy was exactly the push we needed to begin this lifetime devotion to learning.

    7. Some bonus things: our meme slack page, the “Launch” superlatives as a resource for our inside jokes, our karaoke nights, the unique insight you get from being around people different than you, yet the extreme closeness you feel over having similar motives… all of these things made Launch feel like home.

    2018-present: There is not a day that goes by that I don’t feel extremely grateful for the person Launch helped me become. I look back at my Northeastern days and laugh, because all I was missing was the community and support I found at Launch Academy. Till this day, post-graduation, we all still have each other’s backs. In fact, we even set up our own book club that still meets every week because we can’t get enough of each other!

    Feel free to leave a comment if you’d like to hear more insight about the program. I’d love to share Launch Academy’s saving grace with my fellow aspiring web developers.

  • T Wilson • Graduate
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    Launch Academy did a god job of passing along develepment skills to our class.  They did, however, fail entirely at Career Services for a decent chunk of us.  They boast an 88% placement rate for students and I would be surprised if they achieved half of that in reality.

  • Nathan Wright • Sales Engineer • Graduate
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    I graduated the LA program as part of the Fall 2016 cohort. Overall, my experience was terrific - the staff, curriculum, environment - everything exceeded my expectations before I joined. I originally signed up to launch academy as a way to change my career path - I had been stuck in the same job for a few years, and it felt like the right fit. The school did a great job introducing basic concepts and easing students into the course with the part-time program before the on site weeks, but that being said it might have been nice to have one or two meetings before hand as well.

    Once the full time program started, the pace really ramped up - each week is focused on a new aspect of web development, and the program did a great job breaking the weeks into learning, doing and testing. By the time we were getting started on our final demo projects - I had felt like I'd learned more in the weeks prior than I did the 4 years I was in college! The project portion of the course as good, although I will mention some issues below. Preparation for the final presentations was very helpful - I think this was more useful when it came time for interviews than for when we did the presentations.

    Before starting, and in the weeks we are learning the development skills - the final presentation/career day is billed as really being a big part of us getting a job after the course. When the time finally came, it was a little disappointing seeing the number of recruiters/companies that came to visit the school. I'm not sure if the program and companies are 100% aligned on this format, there might be a better avenue in my mind.

    So all told, the course was very strong - I learnt an incredible amount, and most importantly the school embedded the idea that to make it in software, you really have to never stop learning. It is a huge 'get out what you put in' type of place, they give you the resources and time, but you really need to make the most of it. Stay late, read extra, work on the weekends - it all pays dividends by the end, and carrys through to the post-graduation phases. Keep trying to build things even when you dont think you know how, you'll be surprised how much the base level skills can translate in to some much higher level concepts.

    Most of the people in my cohort were not hired/interviewed after the career day. Luckily, there was a group of us that spent time meeting in the city and working together - keeping skills sharp and creating new projects was important for hiring and interviews down the line (keep those git commit bars green!!). I can't imagine trying to pitch a breakable toy to a hiring manager 3 months after graduation as being a great way to geat picked up. New ideas, quick projects - this seemed to be what got attention from companies and I started seeing more responses to my applications. In the end, I was contacted directly by a recruiter from a software company, and I went through the process independant of LA - that being said their skills in sharpening resumes and online profiles really went a long way, and their push to get you to events helped me feel comfortable just talking to people about technology. I thought the post graduation curriculum was great.

    All told I was thrilled with the program, but there were a couple issues. As mentioned above, the format of the career day was a little off putting, and didn't seem to get much traction with the companies attending. I was also a little disappointed by the project I was encouraged to work on - we were asked to present two or three ideas, the first of which really pushed my own boundries, something I thought was cool and was very different than what we had focused on. In the end, the staff pushed me toward what was essentially a rehash of the projects we had worked on during the course, and when that happens across 30+ students, you get a lot of similar looking projects. I wish they would have let me push my boundries a little more, potentially fail, but have something unique and a little different to present in the end.

    The culture at Launch is interesting, and as mentioned in a couple other reviews was at times a little heavy handed. We were all big boys and girls in the program - and sitting down an entire cohort to walk us through 'mansplaining' was a pretty eye-roll worthy experience. The post-graduation Slack channel was also a great encapsulation of the programs approach to points of contention - when friction developed between two graduates, instead of the normal approach of muting or banning the trouble maker,  or asking evryone to remain civil/explain why what they were doing was wrong - the entire channel was shut down. Not great, especially with the way graduate community it was touted before starting. It was really disappointing also to hear the head of the program while we were there was leaving, but the staff overall were really fun and knowledgable.

    Finally I want to stress again how much I enjoyed the program - but being out in the industry now, there was a bit more of a relience on packages/frameworks than there should of been. The big two that stood out were Devise for authentication, and Foundation for CSS/styling. Relying on these to quickly get things set in a project was understandable, but there wasn't much of an understanding given to us as to what was happening under the hood. 

    All in all, I have encouraged friends and coworkers to attend Launch Academy multiple times, I think it was a great course - well designed and executed - and it helped me make a drastic career change. I have been back to events held there after, and its encouraging to see the community grow - I hope they can continue on the right path and build on the success they have had.

  • Brady Tatro • Graduate
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    The course is comprehensive and very intense. When I left I felt prepared for a career in web development. What sets Launch apart are the instructors, each one is friendly and knowledgable. I would highly recommend Launch to anyone who is looking for a career change.

  • Highly Recommended
    - 1/25/2017
    Fall 2016 Grad • Software Engineer • Graduate
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    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.

  • Aaron • Student
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    N/A
    **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).


    Updated Review:

    • 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.

    Learnings:

    • 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.

    Suggestions:

    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):
    • 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).
    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:
    • 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.
    Here's my experience so far:
    • 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
    - 11/13/2015
    Anonymous • Software Engineer • Graduate
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    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.

    The curriculum is well-crafted, layering concepts on top of each other in an organic way, so that you're given a solid foundation before moving on to a more complex subject. I didn't give it 5 stars because (in my limited view) many companies these days are looking for more experience with JavaScript and a front-end framework, but I'm pretty sure they'll be making that adjustment for the future, if they haven't already.

    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
    - 10/10/2015
    Anonymous • Software Developer • Graduate
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    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.

    The curriculum seems to improve with every cohort. In the past Ruby on Rails was the main emphasis, but I think they are adding more and more JavaScript. 

    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
    - 10/1/2015
    Anonymous • Software Engineer • Graduate
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  • 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!

     

  • 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.

Thanks!