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Launch School

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Launch School

Avg Rating:4.75 ( 75 reviews )

Launch School is an online program for studious beginners whose goal is to become professional developers. The program focuses on fundamentals of programming and software engineering including core problem solving, programming language fundamentals, object-oriented programming, networking, databases, and guides students through a structured path of building up proficiency in software development.  The program consists of two main phases: Core Curriculum and Capstone. The Core Curriculum uses a mastery-based learning pedagogy to teach fundamentals of software development. It takes approximately 1200-1800 hours (8-16+ months) to complete, and students can choose either a Ruby or JavaScript focused track through Core. After that, there is an optional and admissions-based Capstone Program that's focused on helping students acquire career-launching opportunities. The Capstone Program takes 4 months full-time and employs an Income Sharing Agreement where students pay after they get a job offer.

The Core Curriculum is open to everyone, and the only requirement is that people complete Launch School’s free preparatory courses. Students who complete the Capstone Program will receive career guidance, and be exposed to algorithmic thinking that employers demand. 

Launch School offers a Deferred Payment Program (DPP). Students pay nothing upfront, and will begin to pay back tuition only once they land a job that pays at least $60,000.

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  • Core Curriculum

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    JavaScript, Ruby, SQL
    In PersonPart Time20 Hours/week64 Weeks
    Start Date Rolling Start Date
    Cost$199
    Class sizeN/A
    LocationOnline
    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.
    Financing
    DepositN/A
    Getting in
    Minimum Skill LevelMust be in "Study" phase of learning journey. See launchschool.com/pedagogy
    Prep WorkFree prep work at launchschool.com
    Placement TestNo
    InterviewNo
  • The Capstone Program

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    Algorithms, Data Structures
    In PersonFull Time24 Weeks
    Start Date Rolling Start Date
    Cost$0
    Class sizeN/A
    LocationOnline
    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).
    Financing
    DepositN/A
    Tuition PlansLaunch School collects a percentage of your first year's salary as a fee when you accept your job offer.
    Getting in
    Minimum Skill LevelMust have completed the Core Curriculum
    Prep Workhttps://launchschool.com/capstone
    Placement TestNo
    InterviewNo
  • A Hidden Gem
    - 1/6/2022
    Jimmy  User Photo
    Jimmy • Software Engineer • Graduate Verified via GitHub
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    Launch School, at least at the time of writing, does not do much marketing, if any at all. So if you are pursuing a career switch to software engineering and web development, it's likely that you did not first encounter Launch School at the top of a Google search result. Instead, you probably encountered those boot camps, advertising that you will become a software engineer or developer in a few months while charging you thousands of dollars for a curriculum you can find online for free. In short, Launch School is unlike anything that I just described. Their lack of marketing is just one of many of their distinctive traits that underscore how a great product or service can rely mainly on its quality to attract those who seek it. So if you've found Launch School, you've probably dug deeper than the first search results to discover a more rigorous pedagogy, without the heavy price tag at the end.

    One of the first things Launch School has you read is their article detailing what Launch School is and isn't and whether or not it's a good fit for the prospective student. Unlike predatory boot camps where it's easy to join but hard to leave, there's no slick marketing involved that tries to lure you in as the unsuspecting student. Instead, there's full transparency and you do not feel pressured to join. Furthermore, their payment plans are flexible and reasonable. As a result, you are also not financially pressured to stay if you were to join and decide to leave. Most importantly, there are no "get-rich-quick" implications that you could become a professional in just a few months. Rather, their cornerstone pedagogy centers on the importance of mastery and first principles, cultivating skills through a slow but rigorous path. This approach is not just a contrarian mindset but something that they implement through their detailed curriculum and enforce by their rigorous written and live coding assessments. These standards ensure your mastery and that you have the proper mental models and foundations set in place before building on top of them with higher order concepts.

    Earlier I acknowledged that the curriculum of most coding schools can be found online for free. Technically, that's true, and I personally resolved to self-study in the beginning of my journey. However, as I went on to discover, software engineering is a field riddled with rabbit holes of tools and technologies. Without the proper curriculum and guidance, it's tough to focus on the core principles. Launch School will thus act as your beacon, so long as you trust the process and persevere, your efforts will almost certainly reward you in the end.

    These are the factors that make Launch School stand out in the ever-expanding field of coding schools. It's truly a hidden gem of a learning center, a place to not just learn but to personally grow alongside a supportive community of motivated students.

  • Vahid  User Photo
    Vahid • Senior Full Stack Engineer • Graduate • Verified via LinkedIn
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    I started Core in September 2020 and finished in March 2021. I then started Capstone in May 2021 and finished in August 2021. Within a month and a half of interviewing after that, I had 3 generous offers.

    I've been dabbling in programming since my childhood and even built database-driven applications deployed to Heroku, but it wasn't until I finished Launch School's Core curriculum and then immediately afterward completed the Capstone program that I felt like I was a software engineer.

    The Core curriculum experience was exactly as advertised, and exactly what I was looking for: a rigorous and comprehensive deep dive into the fundamentals of object-oriented programming, deconstructing and understanding what happens at every layer of the OSI networking model and under the hood of common methods, mastering SQL queries and joins, understanding the JavaScript runtime environment, the event loop, and asynchronous callbacks, and getting experience with REST APIs. The methodology behind the program is leagues above other training options, because you're actively engaged in writing code, taking timed assessments and live technical interviews, building projects, and getting feedback from experienced mentors throughout the experience.

    As much as I grew and learned during Core, however, Capstone was even harder and considerably still more worthwhile. While the go-at-your-own-pace approach of Core meant that we had time to soak in the material and make sure we understood it well before we could move on to the next course, the time-limited approach of Capstone taught us to not only quickly pick up a new language, a new framework, and new mental models related to deploying and running software systems on hardware, but to also then actually build and deploy an advanced application to solve a problem that no one had solved before, in a team environment. I cannot stress enough how important and invaluable this experience is both intrinsically, but also when it comes to being able to prove to interviewers, recruiters, and fellow engineers that you have been battle-tested in this industry, and triumphed.

    What sets Launch School apart from other approaches is exactly this double punch of:
    1) an unlimited time to master the fundamentals on your own during the Core phase, followed by
    2) the time-constrained and pressure-driven Capstone experience in which you and your team research multiple software engineering problems and then pick one to tackle together.

    Once you reach the Capstone phase with that underlying mastery from Core, you then not only learn many of the latest technologies and what problems each is addressing, but you even more importantly get to work on a joint codebase together with teammates, getting invaluable experience with system design, agile methodologies, and problem-solving along the way.

    Lastly, it's worth addressing Launch School's pricing model, because it was also one of the driving factors for me. Many programs require a flat fee, regardless of whether you get a job after you graduate or not. But Launch School believes so much in their program that you only pay for Capstone if and when you are offered a position. Not only that, but because of the ISA, how much you pay Launch School is in proportion to your offer salary. To me, that meant that their financial incentive was aligned with mine--and this manifested itself in the high quality of the material and the support that we received.
  • Elizabeth  User Photo
    Elizabeth • Software Engineer III • Graduate • Verified via LinkedIn
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    I came to Launch School from a non-technical background, unsure whether I could be successful as a software engineer. The mastery-based curriculum at Launch School provided a carefully curated path to follow via which I could improve my technical skills, learn to speak knowledgeably about programming concepts, and practice breaking down challenging problems. By the time I finished the core curriculum, I was confident in my mastery of the fundamentals and in my ability to pick up new languages or frameworks as needed.

    Launch School’s Capstone program took me to the next level. The strong foundational knowledge I gained throughout the core curriculum allowed me to quickly digest a wide breadth of advanced topics at a fast-pace and immediately use them. Along with my team, I was able to develop a tool that solves a complex real-world problem faced by engineers.

    After finishing Capstone, I felt more than prepared to hit the job market. I was able to secure three job offers in just three weeks. All of the offers I received were over 4x the salary I earned in my previous career.  Launch School’s core curriculum + capstone program gave me all of the tools needed to establish a long career as a software engineer in which I am able to do meaningful work, solve interesting problems, and earn a high salary.
  • Nicholas LiCalzi  User Photo
    Nicholas LiCalzi • Senior SWE • Graduate • Verified via LinkedIn
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    I was a working architecture professional for 4 years before finding Launch School. I had dabbled in scripting and cobbled together some experience in the Python data science stack, but I had never found a course/taken the time that would allow me to learn programming from first principles.

    After nearly 18 months progressing through both Core and Capstone (build a project called Dendro in the process), I landed a job as a Senior Software Developer and tripled my total compensation from my previous role.

    I cannot recommend the LS pedagogy or approach highly enough, it changed both my life and the lives of everyone else in my Capstone cohort. LS gives you not just the skills to find an entry level SWE job, but the methodology for building a lasting and successful career in the world of computer science. I'd give the program 10 stars if I could.
  • Gabriel2342  User Photo
    Gabriel2342 • Student Verified via GitHub
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    I signed up for Launch School after reading all the reviews here but I should have listened to the few negative reviews that were written. First off there's a lot of good stuff at this bootcamp. There are some great participants who are working hard to achieve their goals and are kind and helpful people and I enjoyed having curated problems to solve.

    Now the bad. It's organized and run very much like a cult. There can be no wrong done by the school and the people who decide to continue in this process are true believers that this is the best educational experience possible. It's not. They use the tactic of giving people excessive tasks, done in the name of this idea of "Mastery", one of their big PR selling points. For example they want to you write sentence after sentence explaining every single little line of code in an absurd amount of detail for hours and hours in order to successfully accomplish their version precision writing. This is done because this is makes coding a subjective process. It allows them to keep moving goalposts and gives them a chance to break you down by giving you more and more work and telling you your previous work was not good enough. The goal is to have you spending so much time in their program that it feels like it's not worth it to stop now so you become one of their true believers, and if that's not you then you are shunned like in any cult. They have their students saying this program is similar to getting a BS or even an MS in Computer Science which should tell you from first jump that their is something rotten in Denmark. Another sign of course is that their Deferred Payment Program charges you $100 to borrow $200, which is a usury rate.

    Finally their curriculum is basically the Odin Project except you actually do projects with the Odin Project and the Odin Project Discord is more active than their Slack. They do have books that some of their people have written but you're better off buying a more comprehensive text online written by someone who has actually studied these topics with academic rigor or using the myriad of free resources available online. They have high salary rates for graduates of their capstone program but that's only a very small percentage of the people who ever start the program and that's by design. They want to sell you the story of high salary's, so that they can use your money for recurring revenue until they get their big windfall which is taking 20% of capstone graduates first paycheck for the education you could have gotten for free with the Odin Project. If you're thinking about Launch School know that there are a lot better options out there and that nothing is ever as good as it seems.


  • Slow is fast
    - 12/9/2021
    Ryan  User Photo
    Ryan • Software Engineer • Verified via LinkedIn
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    I first thought about the idea of learning to code around 2013. Some might remember the viral moment around that time that CodeAcademy had with their New Year’s resolution of learning to code. I didn’t really try, but I looked around on the Internet as to what this coding thing was all about. I came across truly random and terrible advice. I recall reading this awful blog post by someone saying that they finally learned to code by simply putting themselves in the “sweat locker” as they called it (just locked themselves in a room) for a few weeks and when they came out the other side they could finally code. What bullshit. I recall reading that I needed something called a text editor to code and Text Wrangler was suggested as a good free option. I downloaded the thing and stared at it; now what? Can you imagine the very beginning, not knowing really at all what any sort of code or software is? Maybe you’re there now.

    In any case, you can sort of see this history on my GitHub profile. You can see when I first signed up and then did basically nothing for many years. I wasn’t actually trying yet, but I did poke around at the concept and it all seemed so confusing and complicated. At some point I decided to try a little harder. Information and resources online had gotten a little better, too. I did a couple things like follow a short rails tutorial that did nothing but confuse you. I started the frontend course at Thinkful. I read Chris Pine’s book. And slowly I started to see at least some of the things involved in software. I even thought about signing up for Dev Bootcamp (when that was around) and I put down a deposit and did about half the prep work. Ultimately, I backed out and asked for my deposit back; despite not being an expert in the field, I could sense and pick up on signals that this was not the right way to learn.

    So I think I’d like to phrase things like this: I’m 100% certain that absent Launch School, I never would have gotten from there, to here. Meaning a zombie GitHub account and no real knowledge or skill to a well-compensated engineer at exactly the type of company that an engineer wants to be at. That’s a big hurdle to climb over between there and here. There are levels in every field, and Launch School is not a path to a basic engineering job, but a good career.

    If you really want to get into software engineering, save yourself the time and trouble of the random walk through the desert. You could try and hack and slash your way forward using bits and pieces of un-targeted advice on the Internet. That’s difficult because things need to be taught in the right order and with the student’s current level of topic understanding in mind. You might look back 5 years from now and see a zombie GitHub account, skeleton knowledge, and not be much closer to your goal. Or you could trust the path (now well-trodden) that Launch School has forged. Follow their curriculum, keep at each section until you ace it, do Capstone, and you’re basically guaranteed to “get here.” I don’t know whether it will take you one year or three, but if do what they say, you’ll make it to the place you seek; that’s a virtual certainty. And yes, I believe Capstone (after completing Core) was a necessity in terms of a) further education after Core, b) preparing me to be able to land the good job, c) convincing myself what I’m capable of (i.e. self-confidence), and d) realizing that not everyone knows everything, and that’s ok, I’m still enough for now, i.e. to “Launch.”

    Read Launch School’s marketing materials and see if they make sense to you. What I mean is, even without knowing whether what Launch School is saying is true (about how to learn), it’s possible to get a signal on whether it’s likely to be true. I got a good signal from Launch School before I actually knew whether they had the “goods.” See if you can convince yourself of the same. And in the meantime, here you have another person giving you a signal that they do.
  • Will Lotherington  User Photo
    Will Lotherington • Senior Software Engineer • Graduate Verified via GitHub
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    Context: I completed the core curriculum over ~2 years while working full time. I resigned from my job and participated in the February 2021 Capstone cohort, and successfully launched my software engineering career immediately after.



    Launch School is incredible. It's hard to overstate how effective it is at preparing you for a professional career as a software engineer

    I had my fair share of doubts all the way through Capstone. I knew I had learned an incredible amount in Core, but I really didn't have any point of reference for how I compared to other people in the job market.

    My confidence started to grow during the job hunt - as long as I was able to get past the HR checks for specific degrees or years of experience, things generally went better than expected. I was able to hold my own in technical discussions, and every engineer I talked to was blown away by our Capstone project - multiple people recommended I try to get funding and launch our capstone project as a business.

    I ended up accepting an offer as a senior software engineer at an early-stage startup just 2 weeks after I started applying. I was nervous knowing that there was "nowhere for me to hide" on such a small team, but I was excited for the chance to work across the entire tech stack. I've been working as a software engineer for about 6 months at the time of this writing, and the further out I get from Capstone, the more I realize how incredibly well Launch School prepares you for actual working life as a software engineer. I've already taken on a huge amount of responsibility working across our frontend, backend, and infrastructure, and I'm actively involved in planning the future direction of our product.

    At Launch School you learn the right collection of core fundamental topics to the correct depth to be an effective engineer. I've had to learn several new technologies on the job, but in every instance, it's been a straightforward process because I have the appropriate foundation to build on.

    I am incredibly grateful that Launch School exists. Of all the education paths out there, it is the most practically effective while also being uncompromisingly aligned with the student's interests.
  • Caleb  User Photo
    Caleb • Student • Verified via LinkedIn
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    My early experiences with programming education were a huge influence on my decision to study at Launch School. I took classes at university, explored online tutorials, and even built out a few projects using walkthroughs. Though these approaches to learning may work for some, they never seemed to resonate with me. They normally lacked two things: A mastery-based approach to learning, and a bottom-up pedagogy.

    Launch School's Core Curriculum is an excellent entry point for aspiring software engineers with little to no experience. This is due to not only the mastery and bottom-up approaches to learning, but also the self-paced environment. Learning fundamental programming concepts from the ground up finally allowed me to understand how to "think like a computer". Not only do I understand each character of syntax that I write, but I now can methodically reason about a challenging problem and solve it with relative ease. Also, the self-paced nature of Launch School made me confident that I had truly mastered a concept before I moved on to the next one.

    Despite not teaching any frameworks or libraries, the foundation that Launch School builds has made learning new technologies relatively simple. Just a few months after finishing, I've become comfortable with React, Golang syntax, and AWS. Professionally, I've developed a much deeper understanding of how our organization's databases are utilized and how our web applications are developed and deployed.

    Within just one year of part-time study, I went from "I have no idea what I'm doing" to "with enough time, I can build anything with code". That confidence boost alone is enough evidence for me to say that Launch School's learning model is by far the best I have ever experienced.
  • Armando Mota  User Photo
    Armando Mota • Software Engineer II • Graduate • Verified via LinkedIn
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    It’s hard to overstate the impact that Launch School has had on my life.  I consider myself a studious person - I took high school and college seriously, got good grades, and made an effort to find a career that aligned with my degree and interests.  I unfortunately found the options for my specific field of study limited, so I’ve spent the past 15 years of my professional life in a series of stable but largely unfulfilling jobs.  Because of Launch School, I am now in a field that truly interests me, and I’m on an income trajectory that will allow me to give back, provide a stable base for my family, and accomplish many of the things that make life enjoyable to me.

    There are a few facets of Launch School, and especially the Capstone program, that make them such an effective springboard to a career in software engineering.  As someone who tried to learn a few programming languages and web development on my own, the structure that Launch School provides is important.  Even for someone who is focused and motivated, it can be hard to sustain the energy and interest needed to learn on your own without any feedback, any community, and any sense of how close you are to your goal.  Launch School provides all of these.  Knowing exactly what to study may just be the most challenging aspect of trying to learn on your own, because the programming world is both wide and deep.  While learning anything interesting is often time well-spent, it doesn’t necessarily get you closer to landing a paying job as a software engineer, which was my goal.

    That is Capstone’s explicit goal as well, and it does a fantastic job of preparing you for both finding a job/nailing the interviews, and the daily work the job requires once you’ve landed it.  It is important to note that the type of jobs the Capstone program prepares you for are not entry-level jobs.  Official job titles of Capstone students often range from Jr. Engineer to Sr. Engineer, however they all effectively require multiple years of experience, have great starting pay, and often allow you to work on the kinds of interesting problems that entry-level roles often don’t have access to.

    While the Capstone program prepares you incredibly well for your first job, that doesn’t mean that you’ll have all of the knowledge you’ll ever need from the start.  Your first role may require a language you don’t know, or it may require advanced problem-domain expertise, or it may use frameworks and tools you’ve never worked with.  And this is perhaps where the most lasting benefit of Launch School becomes apparent.  Because Launch School focuses on the fundamentals of programming, you have a solid base from which you can learn new material quickly and efficiently.  When you have to learn something new, and you most certainly will, that fundamental knowledge that was ingrained over years allows you to pick up concepts and identify patterns rapidly without getting bogged down by basic concepts.

    All of this amounts to a Capstone program that truly does prepare you for a career in software engineering and helps you get past the first few hurdles that can be a barrier to so many.  There will always be that little bit of imposter syndrome when you switch careers to an entirely new field, but after having spent the first few months in my new role as a software engineer,  I can honestly say I do not feel out of place and I do feel like I have all of the tools required to do my job effectively now and in the future.
  • Sheila  User Photo
    Sheila • Software Engineer • Graduate • Verified via LinkedIn
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    Context: I found and began Launch School in December 2018, completed Core in December 2020, and went through Capstone in Spring 2021.

    I got my bachelor's degree in Computer Science, graduating in 2020. Yes, that means I did Launch School alongside school. It was long and difficult road to persist and finish - I paused my subscription/studies several times in the 2 years I went through Core, and there were times when I nearly let go of my goal of getting to Capstone. The thriving and encouraging community is a lot of what kept me motivated - seeing people I had studied with during 129 getting amazing jobs and producing technically robust Capstone projects. I never doubted that if I stuck with it, I would get the same results.

    Why go through LS when I had a degree? Put simply, school gave me broad exposure to CS topics and a good breadth of knowledge, but doing things like working professionally and writing production software in a language I knew nothing about a few months prior is all thanks to the depth of my studies during Core. Depth is something a lot of people are missing, and it's the real "secret sauce".

    During my job hunt, I had the confidence and belief in myself to turn down six figure offers and opportunities that would have surpassed all of my expectations for a first job a few years ago. That's the power of a strong support system and incredible peer group - you know without a doubt what you're capable of achieving. I ended up accepting an offer in just under 6 weeks for a position I am overjoyed with, making a previously unbelievable-to-me salary, and having technical conversations daily that would've sounded like gibberish to me a year ago. I will never stop talking about LS to anyone who will listen!!
  • Software Engineer
    - 10/11/2021
    Juan Palma  User Photo
    Juan Palma • Software Engineer III • Graduate • Verified via LinkedIn
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    Launch School gave me by far the best learning experience I've ever had. It took me two years to go through the entire curriculum, but it was worth every second. I don't have a college degree, and I had never seen a line of code in my life before Launch School, but the job I got out of the process came with an outrageously high salary (especially for Arizona), and I got the job in under two months after hitting the job market.

    Capstone was key to get the results I got, but I think Core was where the magic happened. Not only did Mastery-Based Learning resonate with me as an education strategy, but it was also the best fit for my particular case. Since during Core I had a full-time job (and for a few months I even had a second job), the flexibility to study when and where I could was key to my success. Aside from that, the rigor with which I was assessed at every step of the way helped my confidence and skills soar, especially when it came to learning advanced topics fairly quickly like you do in Capstone and during the job search.

    On the other hand, I loved having peace of mind knowing that at any point I could pause my monthly subscription, and that if I couldn't or didn't want to finish Core, I wouldn't be tied to an ISA. Once Capstone was around the corner and an ISA was part of the equation, I was certain that I was going to be successful because I had already witnessed time and again how professional, effective and intentional Launch School is.

    After going through this process, I think that Launch School is not for everyone, let alone perfect. But if you don't care about how long the process may take, if you have grit and discipline, and if you want to launch a career as a professional software engineer with a top job, I think Launch School is the way to go. Please feel free to reach out via Slack, LinkedIn or any other way, and I'd be happy to answer any questions you may have. Happy coding!
  • Steve Alston  User Photo
    Steve Alston • Advanced Software Developer • Student • Verified via LinkedIn
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    I will start off by saying my Launch School experience has by far exceeded any expectations I had when signing up.  I have grown as a person and professional in ways I couldn't even have imagined. It's not just a school for software engineering, but rather a school for equipping its students with a completely overhauled and highly optimized mindset, as well as a 500 pc LS toolset, with a lifetime warranty, for use in constructing your new future. Furthermore, don't be intimidated by the words 'software engineer', that term encompasses many topics. You can always explore any of these topics further and/or focus on one or more as a career. In addition, you will be a more complete and valued developer/engineer as a result of having a mastery of the other fundamentals. Once you truly "learn how to learn" you will notice yourself applying these life-altering principles across all areas of your life. 

    Prior to Launch School, I had been working in front-end web development for close to 8 years. In order to paint a fuller picture, I first have to share a bit of my background. I graduated High School in 1999, technology for the most part wasn't even a blip on my radar. If you were lucky enough to have a cell phone it most definitely wasn't smart, it was $16.53 per minute, $3.49 for sending a text message, and you had the 15-minute monthly plan with no rollover. I'm exaggerating a little, but not much. Anyways, I had taken one business/computer course in 10th grade, and I think we may have used Geocities for an hour or two to create drag and drop web pages with fire gifs and blinking text. Even for those times, it looked horrendous and served no purpose whatsoever. That was the extent of my intro to CompSci, and I was probably fortunate to get that versus other people of my age and complexion. Long story short, I attended Bowling Green State University following high school with the intent to play football and study sports marketing, but 1 week into school my girlfriend at the time let me know she was pregnant. 2 semesters later I was back home. However, while at BGSU a buddy of mine gave me a proper introduction to computers and emulators. My grades may have been better if not for that NES emulator!

    After coming back home, I worked menial jobs for a few years before taking a job with a guy who contracted for FedEx Home Delivery back when it first launched. A little less than a year later I owned the route. It was decent money for a person my age, but the burnout and turnover rates were real. It was a stressful job, one poor guy even had a heart attack one morning while arguing with a manager. But, like I said the money was good and at the time it was allowing me to finance a side hustle co-producing a DVD Magazine. Unless you're 30 and up you may have never heard of a DVD Magazine, but they were pretty popular back in the early 2000's. Ultimately, we could see that everything was moving to the web and we wanted to be first. We were trying to build something along the lines of a World Star Hip-Hop before it was the “WOOORRLLDDD STAAARRR” we know now. Unfortunately, none of us knew how to code, nor did we know anybody who could code. Back then, companies were charging up around $100k for what would now be a $10-15k WordPress site. This price point is what ultimately led me to the path I am on today. A long and strenuous journey up several towering mountains, and down into many low valleys, but finally, I HAVE ARRIVED!

    Launch School is what got me to where I am now, but as I mentioned, I have been in web development for the last 8 years. After striking out in our many attempts to secure development, I ultimately decided to go back to school and learn how to build a website in the summer of 2011. I attended a private institution and graduated with an A.A.S. focused on digital design. While attending school, I realized then, that I wasn't going to get the necessary skill set needed to actually build anything other than a static website, or hack something together using WordPress. Unfortunately, by this point, I was 3 semesters in and $25k down, in what was a 4-semester program. So, I saw it through and finished up, grappling with the knowledge that I had just dropped $30k in what I could have learned at the local community college for $5k, and still didn't know how to program. I share these numbers in part to let you know, "don't live with regret, forgo the debt." So more debt was out of the question in terms of procuring the programming knowledge I would need. This sent me down the spiraling path of tutorial hell.

    Yes, tutorial hell is just as scary as it sounds. It is an endless cycle of tutorials, death by a thousand cuts style, in which you take millimeter-sized steps in completing a 30k marathon. Eventually, I did bite the bullet a few years into the struggle and enrolled in a PHP certification course at the local community college. I felt more confused after the class than I was going into it. But that's not all, I also purchased around 30 Udemy courses, a $400 course on Coursera, completed several tracks in Treehouse, Freecodecamp, Codeacademy, KahnAcademy, audited several Edx courses, and had various subscriptions to other platforms throughout the years. With all that, I probably learned 30% of what I've learned in just a little over a year at Launch School. To be honest in writing this, I have no clue why, or how, I stuck with it. But damn, am I thankful I did.

    Finally, I'm going to let you in on why Launch School is so amazing. First, the cost, LS is $200/mo or $2400/yr.  At one point during the height of COVID, they were also providing financial assistance to students in need, but I'm not sure if that's still going on. A typical 3-4 month boot camp is $15k on the low-end. Second, integrity, they not only tell you but show you, in their free and extensive prep course, exactly what you're in for. Third, the curriculum is second to none. It is so in-depth and the assessments are like nothing I've ever experienced, the standard they hold you to is almost infuriating at first. That's until you get through it and can look back to appreciate it for what it is. The sense of accomplishment is unreal when you finish a module. Lastly, and this could have been number one, the community, the community of people are diverse, helpful, and super friendly. When you ask a question, it's usually answered within minutes. If you've ever learned online then you know what it's like to wait 2 days, if it ever gets answered, on a submitted question. You're connecting with a network of people. Folks that graduated years ago and are senior engineers are still on Slack providing newbies feedback and advice. The founder and TA's are consistently online providing more resources, articles, advice, study groups, etc.

    Currently, I have 2 modules left to complete in the CORE Curriculum, and I have a goal in mind to finish by August. It would have been sooner, but due to money getting tight with COVID I had to start my job search somewhat early. As soon as I put open to opportunities on my LinkedIn profile my inbox was flooded with recruiters. Not soon after, I landed a 6 figure job, which was much more than I expected. Prior to accepting the offer, I was telling recruiters/employers I was looking for $75-80k/yr. After a couple of weeks of interviewing, I was turning down offers at that dollar amount. During my interviews, I was complimented several times on my Problem Solving abilities using the techniques provided by LS. The coding challenges were actually much easier than the problem sets Launch School provides.

    I just want to touch briefly on job assistance, since it is not a direct offering of the CORE Curriculum. I would say it's provided indirectly. As mentioned above, the LS community provides most advice that may be needed, even going as far as to look over a resume or LinkedIn profile. Just the other day, I read an article on what counts as work experience. There have also been several posts on the forums from former grads/students that their current company is hiring. It seems to me once a company gets one grad, they seek out other LS students. For me, providing the tools necessary to nail the technical portion of the interview was all the assistance I needed.  I know what you may be thinking, that I had previous experience. This is true and it did help some, but for the most part, the job offers I had didn't really take my past experience into account because I was self-employed and most of my work didn't involve much programming or custom development. Just talking the talk, using technical jargon was not a skill I had over a year ago. Most importantly, prior to Launch School, I most definitely did not have the problem-solving skills necessary to effectively work on a team producing globally scaled applications.

    If you have been considering a change and have any interest in some type of development, do yourself a favor and enroll in the prep course. It cost you nothing to get started but can provide you everything you've hoped for if you see it through. My only regret is that I didn't find Launch School sooner.