launch-school-logo

Launch School

Online

Launch School

Avg Rating:5.0 ( 28 reviews )

Recent Launch School News

Read all (6) articles about Launch School →

Recent Launch School Reviews: Rating 5.0

all (28) reviews for Launch School →

1 Campus

Online

2 Courses
JavaScript, Ruby, SQLOnlinePart Time20 Hours/week

The Core Curriculum represents the "Study" phase of Our Pedagogy (https://launchschool.com/pedagogy) and is where we employ Mastery-based Learning (https://launchschool.com/mastery) and take a bottom-up teaching philosophy to help students build long-term mental representations of progressively more sophisticated and integrated concepts. Everything in the Core Curriculum is deemed fundamental and is mandatory.

Course Details

Minimum Skill Level
Must be in "Study" phase of learning journey. See launchschool.com/pedagogy
Prep Work
Free prep work at launchschool.com
Algorithms, Data StructuresIn PersonFull Time

The Capstone Program is an optional, admissions-based, and final phase for students who have completed the Core Curriculum, which is our Mastery-Based Learning courses. The goal of the Capstone Program is to give students an intense finishing experience that results in a career-launching job. Because the end goal of Capstone is very ambitious, it requires in total 4 to 6 months of full-time focus, and possibly even longer. The first 3 months will be classroom instruction Monday-Friday all day; after that, there will be a 1-3 month Career Search process. All participants are selected among our top students from the Mastery-Based courses. It's not uncommon for Capstone participants to call it the hardest thing they've ever done. The projects, graduates, and salaries coming out of Capstone are outstanding and rival those at top-tier universities. See the Results & Outcomes page (https://launchschool.com/results).

Course Details

Minimum Skill Level
Must have completed the Core Curriculum
Prep Work
https://launchschool.com/capstone

Review Guidelines

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

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

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

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

Please submit this review with a valid email

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


6/3/2018
Patrick B • president • Graduate Verified via GitHub
Overall Experience:
Curriculum:
Instructors:
Job Assistance:
N/A
6/2/2018
Steven Fischer • Graduate Verified via LinkedIn
Overall Experience:
Curriculum:
Instructors:
Job Assistance:
N/A
5/22/2018
Kristen Wilde • Student Verified via Github
Overall Experience:
Curriculum:
Instructors:
Job Assistance:
N/A
5/9/2018
Cristian Rennella • CEO elMejorTrato.com • Graduate Verified via GitHub
Overall Experience:
Curriculum:
Instructors:
Job Assistance:
N/A
4/18/2018
Roy Huang • Rails Develper • Student Verified via GitHub
Overall Experience:
Curriculum:
Instructors:
Job Assistance:
3/27/2018
Sonia • Student Verified via LinkedIn
Overall Experience:
Curriculum:
Instructors:
Job Assistance:
3/17/2018
Jamie • Senior Developer • Student Verified via GitHub
Overall Experience:
Curriculum:
Instructors:
Job Assistance:
2/26/2018
Steve • Senior Lead Frontend UI Developer • Graduate Verified via LinkedIn
Overall Experience:
Curriculum:
Instructors:
Job Assistance:
4/5/2018
jevon d hayter • Systems Analyst • Student
Overall Experience:
Curriculum:
Instructors:
Job Assistance:
3/14/2018
Tommy Caruso • Software Engineer • Graduate
Overall Experience:
Curriculum:
Instructors:
Job Assistance:
N/A
3/13/2018
Ryan • Graduate
Overall Experience:
Curriculum:
Instructors:
Job Assistance:
N/A
2/27/2018
Conrad Beach • Software Developer • Graduate
Overall Experience:
Curriculum:
Instructors:
Job Assistance:
2/25/2018
Alex Dzwonchyk • Frontend developer • Student
Overall Experience:
Curriculum:
Instructors:
Job Assistance:
N/A
2/23/2018
Chris Theodoridis • Graduate
Overall Experience:
Curriculum:
Instructors:
Job Assistance:
N/A
2/18/2018
Hsuan-Cheng Chen • Graduate
Overall Experience:
Curriculum:
Instructors:
Job Assistance:
N/A
2/15/2018
Charlie R. • Software Developer • Graduate
Overall Experience:
Curriculum:
Instructors:
Job Assistance:
N/A
3/15/2017
Lee Chian Yee • Student
Overall Experience:
Curriculum:
Instructors:
Job Assistance:
N/A
12/14/2016
Letladi • Full-stack Developer • Student
Overall Experience:
Curriculum:
Instructors:
Job Assistance:
11/13/2016
Tyler V • Software Developer • Student
Overall Experience:
Curriculum:
Instructors:
Job Assistance:
6/23/2016
Liam • Software Developer • Student
Overall Experience:
Curriculum:
Instructors:
Job Assistance:
5/19/2016
Anonymous • Graduate
Overall Experience:
Curriculum:
Instructors:
Job Assistance:
5/8/2016
Eric • Student
Overall Experience:
Curriculum:
Instructors:
Job Assistance:
4/15/2016
Anonymous • developer • Graduate
Overall Experience:
Curriculum:
Instructors:
Job Assistance:
6/3/2015
Luke Tower • Software Engineer • Graduate
Overall Experience:
Curriculum:
Instructors:
Job Assistance:
1/24/2015
Sean • Ruby developer • Graduate
Overall Experience:
Curriculum:
Instructors:
Job Assistance:
9/15/2014
Zachariah Clay • Graduate
Overall Experience:
Curriculum:
Instructors:
Job Assistance:
8/22/2016
Anonymous
Overall Experience:
Curriculum:
Instructors:
Job Assistance:
6/10/2016
Anonymous • Software Developer • Graduate
Overall Experience:
Curriculum:
Instructors:
Job Assistance:

Our latest on Launch School

  • Alumni Spotlight: Sun-Li of Launch School

    Lauren Stewart6/18/2018

    Sun-Li Beatteay studied Oceanography in college, but after bouncing between jobs as a research tech, a barista, and a firefighter, he was ready to start a new career in tech. After a nudge from his wife who works in tech and some research online, Sun-Li found Launch School, a year-long online software engineering school. Learn how to stay motivated when learning online, whether the longer curriculum was worth it, and how this Launch School grad skipped entry-level to land a software engineering job at DigitalOcean! 

    Q&A

    Tell me about your career and education background. What made you want to switch careers?

    I graduated college with an Oceanography degree. There weren’t many jobs in oceanography so for three years after college, I did odd jobs trying to find something that I really enjoyed. I worked as a research lab tech, a barista, I volunteered with AmeriCorps for a year helping low-income families with taxes, and I was a firefighter.

    I eventually met my girlfriend, now wife, who is in the tech industry and she introduced me to the field of software development. I had an interest in coding before college, so I met with developers through her, got introduced to the tech community, and realized that it wasn’t too late to break into the industry.

    After AmeriCorps, I studied physical therapy for a year. I applied to graduate school but was rejected. That was when I thought, "Okay, I can either wait another year to try to apply to grad school again or I can try tech and see if I get better results.

    Did you have any coding experience? How did your path lead to Launch School? 

    I did a bit of self-teaching prior to Launch School. My very first lines of code were written in January 2016. I took online courses from Lynda and Treehouse. My first project was building my wife's portfolio website. For three months, I worked on her website and I was very new to web development, so it took me a while. I then thought, "Maybe I have enough skills to do this, but I'm not sure self-teaching is the best route. I want to have more structure." So that's why I started researching learning alternatives.

    I found Launch School after searching on Google, and using Quora and Reddit. I looked at different options – either getting a certificate, going back to get a CS degree or a coding bootcamp. I was pretty familiar with Course Report so I did a lot of research on the site and found Launch School there.

    What made you choose Launch School over other coding bootcamps?

    I did a lot of research. I realized, "Okay, a bootcamp’s direct purpose is for learning to code quickly and switching careers." I didn't go to a traditional bootcamp like Hack Reactor because of finances, as many were asking for $10,000 to $15,000 up front. I was working as a rehab technician at a physical therapy clinic at the time so I was not making much money, and didn't want to take out more loans. So I tried to find something where I could learn quickly in a program focused on career switching, but at the same time was affordable and more self-paced.

    I was really drawn to Launch School because they had an “anti-marketing” campaign – "Don't do this program unless you're really focused. It's really hard. It's tough. It's going to challenge you. Don't do this if you're looking for a quick fix." It made me want to attend an elite program that would challenge me. If I was able to go through this, I would have the skill set needed to go into the software engineering job market.

    I was also drawn to their approach to learning, which is mastery based, as opposed to the bootcamp model which attempted to cram through all of web development in a few weeks. I wanted an elite program at a reasonable cost, which didn't seem possible, but here was Launch School at that intersection. It was the perfect fit for me.

    Describe your application and interview process at Launch School. How did you feel about that process? 

    Launch School doesn't have a traditional application process since it's not a traditional bootcamp. The first thing that they want you to do is their free prep courses which determines if the school is right for you. You learn about Launch School, and figure out if you want to continue with the paid courses or not. A book called "Mastery" is required reading before you start, which focuses on the mastery-based learning paradigm. The free prep courses are in themselves very good in terms of getting started, and that essentially is the admissions process. If you can get through that, then you can consider their courses.

    Describe the curriculum at Launch School. When did you attend?

    I started Launch School in August 2016. I quit my job in Seattle and moved to the East Coast with my wife. I studied at Launch School full-time and finished the Core Curriculum in July 2017.

    Launch School has two almost completely different programs: Core Curriculum and Capstone. Launch School’s methodology is that different pedagogies are required for different phases of learning.

    The Core Curriculum helps you master fundamentals of programming with JavaScript and Ruby and is taught in a mastery-based way, which means that you can only move forward once you pass an assessment. The assessments at Launch School are very rigorous and includes code challenges and live 1on1 coding interviews. After the Core Curriculum, you can participate in the Capstone Program. The Capstone portion is the traditional bootcamp model where it's full-time, very intensive, and instructor-led. 

    How was your learning experience? What were some of the highlights of the course? 

    The Core Curriculum has an assessment model where you can't continue until you pass an assessment. Launch School models the assessment like a real job interview because everyone needs to be prepared for the software developer job market. All the assessments are very job interview focused – they each usually have a written component and a live coding component, to demonstrate that you've been learning the material sufficiently.

    You also have the mock live interviews, which, having gone through real job interviews just a couple months ago, I would say is a very accurate process. The Launch School team will ask you in-depth questions and have you solve different coding problems that challenge what you just learned in the course. I thought the entire Core Curriculum was great for getting each student ready to tackle the job market as a software engineer.

    How was the interaction with other students? Did you work on projects together? 

    For the Core Curriculum, the majority of the projects I did were individual, but Launch School has a vibrant Slack channel. I was very active in the Slack community, so I made a good number of friends and I still love talking to them. Launch School's Core Curriculum is self-paced because you can only progress after passing an assessment, so there aren't any team-based projects in this phase.

    For Capstone, it is more like a traditional bootcamp and all projects were team-based and there were intense and intimate discussions with others all day every day.

    I loved answering questions posed in the Slack channel by students earlier in the program. Answering questions reaffirmed my learning by teaching others.

    Describe your final Capstone Project at Launch School.

    For the last two months of the Capstone Program, you're working on a project. The instructors really push the students to make something non-trivial. For my capstone project, I worked with a remote team of three people to build Conclave, a decentralized peer-to-peer collaborative text editor. You can think of it as Google Docs, but without a central third party server. Pretty much every person who's collaborating on a single document is connected directly to each other – it's all peer to peer. It was very technically challenging – we had to read white papers, open source code, and we did a lot of research on peer to peer systems, data structures, and conflicting operations. We were using Google Docs a lot while in the capstone program, so we thought maybe we could try to remove the third party server so whenever people communicate together they are in control of the data. Everyone was really impressed with the project.

    What languages did you use to build Conclave?

    Conclave is built entirely in JavaScript. We have a very lightweight server on the backend built in Node, but the bulk logic is on the front end in the browser because it's a browser-based application.

    How did you balance your time while learning online? Did you work or do an internship while studying?

    It was a range, but during the Core Curriculum, I would try to work on Launch School between 30 to 40 hours a week full-time. Some weeks I might drag a little bit, and on some really productive weeks, I’d work more than 40 hours. It's up to you in terms of what's sustainable. Once you get to Capstone, however, it is mandatory full-time and is 50-60+ hours per week.

    I did do a brief internship at a design studio for a couple of months while I was doing Launch School. While I did that I would spend more 20 to 40 hours studying. I was more than halfway through the Core Curriculum and wanted to try my chances at getting a job. It wasn't the most interesting position because I mainly took Photoshop files and Sketch files from the designers and then made interactive static websites with them. I was at first super excited about that position, but I quickly got jaded by it. After that experience, I wanted to double down on my learning from Launch School because I knew I could land a better role. And I did, a much better role.

    Do you have any tips for staying motivated while learning to code online?

    For me, one of the reasons I was so motivated was because there was no Plan B. Programming was my only option. I know people tend to hedge their bets and have a fallback. I didn't – I was fully committed.

    Since I was studying by myself at home, there were some weeks where I got lonely. Whenever it got really tough, I’d reach out to the developer community and other engineers, which helped a lot. That's why I would be very active in the Launch School Slack channel and I would go to Meetups in New York to meet other other developers.

    There are points where you just stop and you look back and think, "Wow, I've learned so much just in the past like few months." Taking a moment to stop and see how much you've learned can be really motivating to keep learning.

    How did Launch School prepare you for job hunting and interviewing?

    Launch School definitely helped me a lot, especially in New York, the job market is so competitive. The Capstone Program taught us a lot about data structures, algorithms, and systems design – all the things you see on typical interviews in New York. Whenever I walked into a room and saw a whiteboard, I would say to myself, "I got this."

    I started applying to jobs in January 2018 and accepted my position at DigitalOcean on March 2018. 

    How did that Capstone Project help you with your job search?

    My final project was probably the biggest determining factor when it came to me landing a job. One of the toughest aspects about going to the job market from a coding bootcamp or from a non-traditional background is you don't have much work experience. It's pretty tough because interviewers are thinking, “Can this person really work and do what we need them for?" Having that Capstone Project on my resume and having a demo that people can use, showed employers that I can do technically challenging projects. That Capstone Project was well worth participating in Launch School. 

    Also, the fact I built Conclave with a remote team was very helpful because experience working on a remote team is attractive to employers. At DigitalOcean, most of my team is working remotely.

    How did you get your job at DigitalOcean? Did Launch School help with that introduction? 

    Landing my job at DigitalOcean was a lot of luck and effort. Once you finish Capstone, Launch School encourages you to do coffee meetings since the best way to get a job is through referrals. Being in New York I knew a lot of people who used DigitalOcean and really liked it, so DigitalOcean was my number one company I wanted to work for.

    I had a mutual connection with an engineer at DigitalOcean who also does a podcast that I liked. I reached out to him for coffee and we had an awesome meeting where I showed him my Conclave project, and he showed me other projects he was working on. I was able to get a direct referral from him to DigitalOcean. But then, I didn't hear anything back after the referral.

    I kept interviewing and got a couple of offers from other companies, so I emailed DigitalOcean’s recruiter to let them know that I had offers but I was still really interested in working there. They got back to me the next day and they scheduled my phone screen interviews immediately. After my phone screen, my (now) manager really liked me, so they brought me in for an onsite interview. The very next day I got an offer so it was very fast!

    Congrats on the new job! What is your role and how large is your team?  

    DigitalOcean’s Storage pillar is broken up into two different teams – you have the storage back end, and then the storage front end or storage apps. I'm a software engineer on the storage apps team. We have four engineers, a project manager, and our engineering manager. We're pretty much all remote except for me in New York.

    What's a typical day like for you on the job?

    I've been at DigitalOcean for a little over a month now and have shipped code in Ruby, JavaScript and Go. They've given me a variety of tasks which has been really awesome. When I first started, I worked on their internal Rails tool, which was perfect because I had Ruby experience from Launch School. Storage is basically a bunch of micro services, so they had me integrating data from one of the micro services into the internal tool so the support team could look up information for users.

    Now I’m working on a content delivery network (CDN) component. We're working on partnering with third-party companies to allow users who host their static content on our Spaces product to enable a CDN for faster retrieval. I'm working on the public API that will allow users to enable a CDN for their DigitalOcean storage.

    How was the learning curve of acclimating to the team and being at a tech company like DigitalOcean?

    I have grown so much. The ramping up period was very quick because our team is small. There are lots of tasks that get shared around, and everyone gets a chance to take a large bite of everything. I was able to work on a bunch of different tasks straight away because of my strength in fundamentals. One engineer took the first two weeks to onboard me, and if I had questions, he would pair with me and tell me the tips and tricks of DigitalOcean. He taught me the different idiosyncrasies of DigitalOcean’s architecture and it was really awesome. I felt that Launch School prepared me really well to absorb new material, and their philosophy of learning fundamentals very well really kicks in when you're in a work environment and have to learn new concepts quickly.

    Less than a month in, I received my own project to work on, which is the CDN API. It’s cool because I'm writing the API in GoLang, which I didn't know it at all before I came here. So I’m definitely learning on the job. I learned Ruby and JavaScript at Launch School, so I had already learned two languages. Learning a third language, even though it's a static language, wasn't that tough because I knew how to learn because of Launch School.

    Would you have got to where you are today by continuing to self-teach? Would you have landed your new job without Launch School?

    I would not be where I am today in the tech industry in the same amount of time if I had not done Launch School. It may have been possible to figure out a good structure for myself with self-teaching, but it definitely would’ve taken a lot longer, because I was learning everything at a surface level. It's very difficult to know what you should learn, to what depth, and for how long. Launch School addressed all those questions and in Capstone, even more questions around career and growth.

    What has been your biggest challenge or roadblock in this journey to becoming a software developer? 

    The biggest issue that Launch School students usually face is the time issue, because bootcamps are quicker. Hack Reactor and App Academy take a matter of months, while at Launch School, because it’s self-paced, can take much longer. It's a tradeoff – in the tech industry, there's time, money, and then adequacy or effectiveness of training. You can have a really quick course but spend a lot of money and don’t get a thorough understanding of the fundamentals. That's why I chose to go with Launch School – you're trading off time because it's going to be a longer process.

    By the time I finished Launch School, even though it was a little longer than a typical bootcamp, I felt that in the long-term my journey would be much faster because I understand the fundamentals. I have fewer mental gaps and can learn more advanced topics much faster. That extra year of studying was also worth it to me because I skipped the “entry-level” job at Digital Ocean and went straight into a Software Engineering job.

    What advice do you have for people who are thinking about making a career change and considering an online coding bootcamp?

    Go for it! Studying remotely will definitely be worth it if you put the time in, master your fundamentals, and work on being the best engineer you can be. It’s going to be tough and will require all the mental fortitude you can muster. However, it’s going to change your life for the better. It’s worth every second. 

    To learn more about the entire process, you can read about Launch School’s pedagogical approach here. Read more Launch School reviews on Course Report. Check out the Launch School website.

    About The Author

    https://course_report_production.s3.amazonaws.com/rich/rich_files/rich_files/4484/s300/lauren-stewart-headshot.jpg-logo

    Lauren is a communications and operations strategist who loves to help others find their idea of success. She is passionate about techonology education, career development, startups, and the arts. Her background includes career/youth development, public affairs, and philanthropy. She is from Richmond, VA and now currently resides in Los Angeles, CA.

  • Guide to Deferred Tuition and ISAs at Coding Bootcamps

    Imogen Crispe5/23/2018

    coding-bootcamp-deferred-tuition-vs-income-sharing-infographic

    Just as they’ve developed disruptive education tools, technology bootcamps are also adopting payment plans which allow students to pay nothing or very little until they graduate and find a job. Deferred tuition and income sharing agreements (ISAs) are becoming more widely available, and give students who don’t have $20,000 in the bank, access to life-changing learning opportunities. This guide will help you sort through the details and differentiate between the terms; plus, we’ve even helped you start your research by compiling a list of coding and data science bootcamps that offer ISAs or Deferred Tuition.

    Continue Reading →
  • 3 Months vs 2 Years: How Long Should Your Coding Bootcamp Be?

    Imogen Crispe6/13/2017

    how-long-should-your-bootcamp-be-infographic

    For some students, the traditional 12-week, full-time coding bootcamp may not seem like enough time to acquire the skills that employers want. As the coding bootcamp industry has evolved, longer coding bootcamps such as Turing, Galvanize, C4Q, Ada Developers Academy, Learner's Guild, CODE University, Holberton School, Make School, We Think Code, and 42 have emerged with courses ranging from 6 months to 5 years. These schools emphasize computer science concepts, offer apprenticeships, and provide in-depth, cutting-edge technology education, without the opportunity cost of a traditional computer science degree. Think a longer coding bootcamp could be for you? Start your research here.

    Continue Reading →
  • Alumni Spotlight: Matthew, Tealeaf Academy

    Liz Eggleston12/23/2014

    matthew-tealeaf-spotlight

    NOTE: This Q&A may be outdated. Tealeaf Academy is now Launch School

    Matthew Barram had done some website development for his side-business, but had doubted his ability to be a full-time web developer. Based in Brisbane, Australia and too far from in-person developer bootcamps, Matthew decided on Tealeaf Academy, the online, mentored Ruby on Rails bootcamp. Find out what convinced Matthew of the Tealeaf approach, how Tealeaf manages to create a supportive cohort of students online, and how he landed a job as a developer at NetEngine.

    What were you up to before you started Tealeaf?

    Before and during the Tealeaf course I was doing project management work on big infrastructure projects. On the side I owned and recently sold a business called DoneItNow which does audio transcription.

    I was exposed to software development through DoneItNow, having to develop the company website. I am passionate about making great solutions for people and so I decided I needed to learn how to code. Before this time I had doubted my abilities to be a developer and I wasn't confident that I could do it. This desire to solve problems took me to Tealeaf Academy.

    Did you quit your job when you decided to do the Tealeaf course?

    During the whole Tealeaf program I was working full time. It required a fair bit of dedication outside of my job, but it wasn't an issue and I was able to make it through.

    Did you have any technical background before you decided to apply to Tealeaf?

    I’d done a bunch of Codecademy and Code School courses beforehand. I enjoyed them but never felt like I learnt anything substantial from them. I had also project managed a few technical projects include a the development of an inhouse iPad app.

    When did you do the bootcamp?

    I started it in November 2013 and it took me 4 months.

    What was your motivation for doing it?

    Wanting to solve problems was the biggest one. I had things in my everyday life that I wanted to be able to do better and more efficiently. I also wanted to do something different and continue learning.

    At the time I didn't even consider that I would end up working as a developer.

    Is your plan to launch your own product eventually?

    Yes. I’ve got a few products that I’m working on at the moment. Nothing particularly exciting- just solving problems that I have. They’re more like applications to continue my learning and to have fun with at the same time.

    Once you decided you wanted to do a bootcamp, why did you decide to do an online program over an in-person boot camp?

    I live in Brisbane, Australia. There are some bootcamps in Sydney, which is a much bigger city than Brisbane. I looked at those and they cost $12,000 to $15,000.  But because I was working full time and didn't want to move I ruled them out as options. I also looked at Thinkful and Bloc. I selected Tealeaf because they focused on awesome content, hard work and support.

    It was also easy to get started as the first course was only four weeks and a few hundred dollars. If I didn't like it I wouldn't have wasted lots of money and time. This was reassuring from an initial purchase perspective.

    What was the application process like for you?

    I had a bunch of questions I wanted answered from the Tealeaf team. As far as their standards go, they’re very clear that it’s not an easy program and is not designed for people who are doing it as a hobby. They’re doing it to educate people who want to get a job in the sector or develop their own product. It was clear from the outset to only apply if you’re serious.

    I didn’t feel like the interview process was intimidating because students sign up and if it’s not right for them, they are free to leave at anytime.

    Were you interacting with other students throughout the program?

    Absolutely. It was an essential part of the program for me! I would have my chat window open and all the students would be in the chatroom. We would help each other out with questions and problems.

    I’m quite good friends with a lot of the students in my cohort now. That was something I enjoyed about the course, the way that relationships between the students were formed. It made it easy to keep on track.

    Were you working with a mentor or were you working one-on-one with an instructor?

    We had several teachers throughout the program. All the teachers were super supportive and great to work with. I valued how all the instructors and teaching assistants took lots of time to make sure I understood the content on a deep level.

    There were forums where I could ask a question in at anytime. I would get an answer really fast, which meant if I was stuck on Friday night I didn't have to wait until the following week to get support.

    How personalized did you feel Tealeaf was to your needs? Did you feel that you could learn things that weren’t a part of the curriculum or did you all stick pretty closely to a curriculum?

    I thought the course had a good mix of structure and flexibility. We would get a clear course outline of the things that we were going to learn and also the flexibility to learn about other things of interest. I remember we had did a bunch of sessions outside of the normal curriculum to show us how to build a web server from scratch. We asked for it and we got it, it was fantastic.

    Why are the courses split into a Ruby course, a Sinatra course, and then a Rails course?

    As someone who had very little programming experience, if I was to be thrown into Rails, it can look very much like “magic”. For example, I type one line and thousands of lines of code appear. I needed to understand what was happening before starting to use the “magic”

    During the first two courses, you’re learning the foundations of how Rails actually works. It allowed me to have a different perspective on Rails when I actually got to it.

    How long were you spending on Tealeaf each week on average?

    I’d say between 20 and 30 hours a week on average, that was mainly in the evenings and on weekends.

    My advice to other potential Tealeaf students when it gets hard, stick with it. It is worth it. For me, I just had to stick with it to come out the other side with the actual knowledge and understanding.

    How did you stay on track?

    It was the connections with the other students and having people that I could talk to and chat with. It reminded me that I’m not the only one going through this.

    Tell us about what you’re doing now. Where are you working?

    I work at a software solutions company called NetEngine. I work on a bunch of applications such as our team collaboration tool Trigger. We’re a small rails shop with a focus on quality and awesome solutions.

    I enjoy getting to put into real life practice the skills and knowledge I learnt during the Tealeaf program. It is fun working with other developers (some a lot more experienced than me). They’re always helpful, always happy to answer questions. I think Tealeaf Academy set me up for that.

    At Tealeaf they do everything as if it’s within a real company. They do things like sending pull requests and having experienced developers do code reviews. I use the same system of code review at work that we used during the Tealeaf program.

    How did you get your job? Was it through Tealeaf?

    One of the assignments was to go to a meetup. I didn’t want to go, but I forced myself to do it because it was part of my assignment. I met someone through there and before I knew it I was working as a developer.

    Is there anything we didn’t touch on that you want to include about Tealeaf?

    One of the things I really appreciated about Tealeaf how good it was for someone living outside the USA timezone. Being in Australia, even though my time-zone is completely different to the U.S. time zones, I was still able to get support anytime.

    For people who aren’t in the U.S. or near an in-person bootcamp, an online one is probably the only option for a lot of people. For me, to get support in my time-zone is important, otherwise I’d be waiting 12 hours or more for a reply.

    I think Tealeaf Academy is ideal for anyone serious about learning to code wherever they live in the world. It has helped me land a job doing what I love - coding and building applications.

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

  • Free Webinar: Which Online Coding Bootcamp is Best for YOU?

    Liz Eggleston8/14/2014

    which-online-bootcamp-is-best

    Online, mentored coding bootcamps offer convenience and structure without forcing you to quit your job or move to a new city. But not all online programs were created equally, so which one is right for you? We'll learn from alumni at each online coding bootcamp, ready to answer your questions about their experience during class, how they found mentorship and community online, and how their careers have skyrocketed afterwards.  

    Continue Reading →
  • Interview with Kevin Wang, founder of Tealeaf Academy

    Liz Eggleston2/25/2014

    NOTE: This Q&A may be outdated. Tealeaf Academy is now Launch School.

    Tealeaf Academy is an online, Rails bootcamp that offers three robust courses in web development for students with varying levels of experience. We talk to Kevin Wang, a cofounder of Tealeaf, about what makes their online program effective and the types of students who excel in their courses. 

    How did Tealeaf start?  What’s the story behind it?

    We started about 2 years ago, before there were many coding bootcamps. My cofounder, Chris, and I just wanted to teach. We ran the first course in February 2012 under a different name - RailsTutors. We both came from a software development background. Chris went through a few senior technical roles before building and launching his own startup; I worked for one of the top Ruby shops in the world, after spending a few years building technical training solutions for IBM's Data Management division.

    Take us through the curriculum. What will students master after going through your program?  

    We designed the curriculum to mirror the natural learning path for a junior developer. First, we guide our students to learn foundational skills and the basics of the Ruby programming language. You move on to learn a specific toolset- we focus on Ruby on Rails. Then, we take our students beyond this, to learn how to build a project. Learning to code is not enough, in our opinion. It’s about learning to be a programmer, solve complicated problems, and apply tools towards specific projects in a methodical way. That’s why we divided Tealeaf into three courses.

    Our curriculum is designed to take our students beyond just a beginner level developer. The truth is, it is not so difficult to read a book, follow a tutorial, or launch a simple, toy app and become a beginner web developer. It is, however, very difficult to reach the next level of proficiency without professional working experience. Our program is designed to bridge that gap. We don’t want you to leave our program and still feel like a beginner; we want to take you far along enough and introduce you to the workflows, concepts, tools and best practices of experienced developers. Of course, you will need more practice to let things settle, but we will have expanded your horizon much broader than just learning a framework and building a simple prototype.

    In fact, our graduates have told us that when they talk to graduates of other in-person bootcamp programs, they feel that they (our graduates) know much more and have much more confidence. We’ve had people who run consultancies, CTOs send their experienced developers to go through our 3rd course. As far as I know, nowhere else online can you find this type of non-beginner , profession level training program.

    What are you looking for in potential students?  Do students need to have a technical or programming background?

    Our philosophy is that anyone who wants to learn to be a developer, we’re willing to teach them. But we tell our students that it won’t be easy and they have to work hard to become a professional-level developer. One of the goals of our first course is to show complete beginners how real programmers work and think, and solve problems systematically. It's not just introducing the programming syntax, but introducing a mindset and temperament.

    So you never reject an applicant?

    It’s not that we reject them, but we talk with each of them. We’re not a good fit for everyone, so we explain our structure, and our teaching philosophy. For some people, this is not the best fit, so we may suggest Bloc, Thinkful, or an in-person program.  

    What makes you different from Bloc & Thinkful?

    The biggest difference is that we focus on depth. It’s very easy to become a beginner- there are a lot of materials out there, and it’s not too difficult for someone to use a tutorial or a book to build an application. But if you look at where companies are hiring, they’re looking for people with more experience. We take you further than any other bootcamp, which includes online and in-person programs. I’ve visited a lot of in-person bootcamps myself and we actually have many graduates from the in-person bootcamp, and they skip the first two courses and start in our 3rd course. Even after their weeks of training, they still haven’t gone deep enough. We want to take our students to an intermediate level, get them exposed to non-trivial problems and learn to build production quality applications.

    Even though Tealeaf is online, is there any in-person aspect of the program?

    We staff TAs, we have about 10-15, all over the world. In a week, we have five days of TA-led sessions, where our students can come in with questions and get help- we’re around to help them. We also have a running chatroom for quick help.

    Do you have cohorts, or are your students all on their own track?

    We have a prep course, which everyone has to take. It's fully supported by us, including live interactive sessions - we want to make sure our students are well prepared to go through our intensive program. There’s no time limit on that. Then, we have monthly start dates, and students can complete it at their own pace. The 3 courses are designed to take 4 weeks, 4 weeks, and 8 weeks to finish, respectively, but students are free to take longer time if necessary. We charge by courses, not time spent with us - our students pay us for specific goals, and we want to make sure we deliver values and match their expectations.

    How many students have gone through Tealeaf?

    That’s a hard question, because we now have three courses. We’ve probably had about 100 people go through all three courses, but some people do one or two courses.

    Does Tealeaf offer a refund policy?

    Yes, a full refund. For two reasons: first, our program may not be the best fit for everyone, so if someone realizes that, then we don’t want to take their money. They can take those funds and put them towards a better experience for them. We don’t do one-on-one tutoring, but someone might benefit more from that. Second, we want to take the pressure off of our students. If they commit, we’ll take them there, but we want to remove the risk.

    How many of your students are outside of the US?

    About half & half. We’re online, so we don’t push people away if they’re not in the US. Antarctica is the only continent we don’t have students in.

    Does Tealeaf help graduates find jobs in tech once they've completed the program?

    Chris and I have professional experience in the US, so our network and connections are most relevant to people in the US. We have used our connections and contacts to help students get an introduction, but because we have students from all over the world, we can't provide a guarantee. Also, we get a lot of professional developers,or existing Rails developers who are already employed. And we have companies who send their employees to be trained with us. We’re not purely a get-a-job school.

    With in-person bootcamps, after you spend over $10,000 and take 3 months off of work, you’re probably going to be looking for a job, because that’s a huge investment. But we’re flexible, online, and more affordable, so we have a more diverse body of students with different goals.

    If a student sticks to the schedule of the program, what is their time commitment?

    It depends on the experience level. For a professional developer, maybe 15 hours/week. Someone with less experience could spend 20-30 hours/week.

    After the California regulatory agency story came out, is Tealeaf concerned at all about becoming accredited as an online post secondary institution?

    It doesn't impact us, so we're not concerned about it.

    Thanks, Kevin!

    kevin-wang-tealeaf

    Interested in learning more about Tealeaf Academy? Check out their School Page on Course Report, or the Tealeaf website