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Launch School

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Launch School

Avg Rating:4.82 ( 85 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
  • Andrew Jones  User Photo
    Andrew Jones • Software Engineer • Graduate • Verified via LinkedIn
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    I ran across Launch School after about a year of trying to teach myself coding with low-cost
    online resources. I was working full-time, and my efforts up to that point had not been too
    successful. But the moment I started reading Launch School materials was the moment my
    studies started building towards something bigger. “This process will take longer than you
    want it to, but if you take your time and do things the right way, it will be worth it.” It was a
    message I didn’t really want to hear after I had already put a year into the effort, but a
    message I knew that I needed to hear anyway. No other course I had tried was stating this
    truth so clearly and honestly. I knew up front that the first two or three months of Launch
    School would cover material that I already knew well, and I would feel a bit frustrated at
    first about “starting over”. Nevertheless, I jumped in right away, with the realistic
    expectation that it might take another two years or more before I could accept a job offer.

    Friends and family were incredulous when I shared my excitement about this program, but
    there was no reason for me not to be hopeful. The pedagogy–starting from the ground up,
    building mastery of fundamentals, verifying the knowledge of students before allowing
    them to continue, and slowly building confidence through that verification–made all the
    sense in the world to me. And Launch School had the results to back up their claims, not only
    with numbers, but with real people. Engineers with credentials, people who had been
    through the process and were now working for amazing companies, were hanging around
    in the chat channels, answering questions and talking about their work. I trusted the
    process from the beginning because I was convinced that everything about Launch School 
    was genuine.

    To make a long story short, the process worked. The Core Curriculum taught me the
    fundamental concepts I needed, and at my own part-time pace. Capstone extended and
    integrated that knowledge by cultivating it in a dedicated, full-time, team-based
    environment. Working every day with other students, and with program graduates as
    mentors, I was able to learn interviewing skills and contribute to the development of an
    amazing product. I began to feel proficient. Capstone prepared me so well for the hiring
    process that, once I finally started interviewing, I was full of confidence, and there were no
    surprises. I knew I belonged in those hiring pools because Capstone had given me the
    preparation I needed.

    After finishing Capstone, I secured a job as a Senior Software Engineer within six weeks,
    with essentially the Capstone average salary–a higher salary that I had originally hoped for.
    Now it’s been a year since I graduated. I’m at a company where I love to work, and I’m able
    to jump into any task or project that interests me and find my way thanks to my strong 
    background in the fundamentals. I work at a company that supports continuing education,
    gives me a voice in what projects I work on, and has a clear path to promotion and career
    development. My family is able to buy a new house. And honestly, this is all thanks to Launch
    School. I was nowhere close to making this kind of progress after a year of self-study. But
    after less than two years in Launch School, I had everything that I needed to get a great job 
    as an engineer and build a lifelong career. The same has been true for many others, and I 
    would recommend Launch School, the Core Curriculum and Capstone, as an excellent 
    choice for anyone who is interested in starting a career in software engineering.
  • Ben Semel  User Photo
    Ben Semel • Product Engineer Verified via GitHub
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    TL:DR; Launch School takes a lot of time and effort but absolutely prepares you to be a software engineer for a living, both in terms of programming knowledge and mindset. 

    I spent a little over 11 months doing the LS Core Curriculum. Probably could have taken less time- part of this whole learning experience for me was learning how to budget my time and focus effectively without any supervision. If you have no trouble with that it may take less time for you. Prior to LS, I had worked at an academic research lab where I coded in Matlab- most of my knowledge was gained through basically flailing at stuff until it worked, which is to say I had some practical experience but didn't have a ton of knowledge of what I was actually doing. LS gives you all the info you need, but in a way that's agnostic to language- you learn about the concept itself, and the concept is illustrated through code. This makes it way easier down the line to apply these concepts to different languages, and I have personal experience with this- I did the Javascript path but my first contract work I got while doing the program was TypeScript, and my job now is the ASP.NET framework, so primarily C#. I haven't written a single line of vanilla JS professionally, and that hasn't been an issue. 

    A big point of emphasis at LS is mentality and committing to the process- you will need to take this to heart if you want to do this program. It takes a long time to complete and it's pretty much entirely self-driven. The flipside of that is now that I have a software engineering job where I get paid twice as much as my previous work and I actually enjoy what I do (and I have a boss giving me assignments), I have no shortage of motivation to get up and go to work. One thing they emphasize is that you will spend your entire career learning, learning, learning- that definitely seems to be the consensus among professional software engineers that I've worked with thus far, and keeping the mentality of a forever learner has helped me a lot with picking up new info and staying humble. Software engineering is a field that is constantly evolving with new languages, new features, etc- get used to being humble (learner's mentality) and taking time to learn new stuff. You will never know everything. "The only thing I know is that I know nothing at all." (When you get a job after finishing the program, this is not the quote to give your boss if you cause a production outage.)

    Additionally, the LS community is awesome- generally, everyone is humble and looking to get better. It's very easy to get help/get a study partner/practice interview questions/find someone to do a project with/whatever else. Instructors answer questions helpfully and quickly, and give useful feedback on assignments you complete throughout the course. You're not going to be spoonfed, but I would not hesitate to say I really enjoyed learning from LS instructors when I asked them questions. 

    I would definitely recommend this program to anyone looking to become a software engineer and willing to put in the time and effort. (Also, as of the writing of this review, it's $200/month- I spent $2400 to completely pivot careers. Compared to what I was making at my old job, I'll make that back in 2~ pay periods. Not bad)
  • Nick Stebbings  User Photo
    Nick Stebbings • Full stack developer Verified via GitHub
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    I have been working as a Full Stack Developer for a couple of months now, and so far feel that Launch School more than prepared me for the realities of working in the industry. I spent about 2 years working through the Core curriculum after discovering excellent reviews and realizing I needed to make a longer term commitment in order to guarantee success. I was transitioning from 7 years working in hospitality in fairly menial and low-paying jobs. This was after a period of mental ill health in my late-teens & early twenties which meant I had to leave university without a degree. I was actually travelling, manually setting up a travel blog, when I realized that I enjoyed the coding aspect and started to look for a learning course.

    After trying the free introductory material and enjoying the no-frills but comprehensive approach, I was inspired to continue - although slightly apprehensive  at the thought of  building a new career in my 30s. I spent the next 3.5 years travelling around New Zealand, working sometimes in my camper van, sometimes in libraries, co-working spaces or rented accommodation. I had to stop several times to save more money for studies, mostly working in cafes. I studied mostly part time but did manage period of full time study, crucially for the first month or two when I was able to establish good habits that stuck with me.

    After a year of study I started to realize I was becoming very competent and didn't really have any doubt (just a bit of impatience) that I would be able to find work. Following the example of some other students who had got jobs after Core without doing Capstone (something I could not easily due to time-zone/location), I decided to focus on making one standout project to display my skills. This involved learning many new libraries and a couple of new frameworks but the process was relatively straight-forward with my new powers of just-in-time learning.

    A few months before my temporary visa in New Zealand expired, I landed a job at a small software engineering firm. The firm pays above average for my experience level and location here in NZ. They are now helping me get a longer term visa. The combination of these things will be very life-changing and it truly does feel just in time! I have already noticed that my skills are enough to execute my position competently and I am also able to help out/answer questions from more experienced developers. For a slower but more guaranteed route to success in software I don't hesitate to recommend Launch School to others"
  • Calvin Conley  User Photo
    Calvin Conley • Backend Software Developer • Graduate Verified via GitHub
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     Before Launch School, I got part-way through The Odin Project and Free Code Camp, and was frustrated that things just weren't clicking for me. I now realize that I wasn't learning in the best way, and part of what makes Launch School's curriculum so great is that they have an emphasis on improving your learning process. In addition, they teach the fundamentals from the ground up so you don't feel lost. Each part of the curriculum builds things up slowly so you have a full understanding of how things work and how to fix bugs in your code. 
           Another thing that Launch School does that is missing in other classes is teaching you how to figure things out for yourself. Anyone can follow a tutorial, but employers are looking for people who can look at a problem and figure out what they need to learn in order to solve it. Launch School gives you the tools to do that, while providing a supportive community of classmates and teachers who are there to answer questions when you need help. I also liked the exam format, which was challenging but gave me confidence that I really understood the material. 
          Finally, the goal is to get a job after this and I found that the Core Curriculum gave me the foundation to do so. I built a couple of projects and a personal portfolio website with the knowledge and skills I gained from Core Curriculum, and was able to get a job within 6 weeks of starting to apply. I even had a few recruiters reach out to me based on the quality of my projects! I have been in my current position for 3 months now and have gotten excellent feedback from my manager and fellow developers. I have been given some assignments that required me to learn new things quickly, and I felt confident in my ability to do so because of what I learned at Launch School. If you want to have a good career as a software developer, I highly recommend enrolling in Launch School!
  • Stephanie Cunnane  User Photo
    Stephanie Cunnane • Fullstack Engineer at Mozilla (Firefox Desktop) • Graduate • Verified via LinkedIn
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    Completing Launch School's Core Curriculum and Capstone program was one of the best decisions I've made in my life. Launch School helped me build strong programming fundamentals, and Capstone taught me essential software engineering skills. Those two things allowed me to land an excellent software engineering position at Mozilla working on the Firefox browser.

    The fundamentals Launch School teaches are table stakes for interviews for good engineering roles. You need to be able to break a problem down in a PEDAC-like way and clearly explain your approach. And you'll need to do this within a time limit and under pressure. In my job hunt, I encountered many interviews that were remarkably similar to Launch School live-coding assessments. There's no way I would have been as successful in real-life interviews if it weren't for those Launch School assessments.

    In Capstone, you pivot from just programming to the larger world of software engineering. It's a big jump, but you'll definitely get the structure and support you need to pull it off. Capstone is heavily optimized to help you land the best software engineering role you possibly can - that's its only goal. So the curriculum is constantly being updated to reflect what students are seeing in their job hunts. (The two times I shared experiences from my job search, within a day, a Capstone staff member had updated the curriculum to incorporate those experiences.) You'll also have access to a large collection of real coding challenges students have gotten in recent interviews. 

    And then the Capstone project! This is a large-scale, technically challenging project that you'll complete as part of a fully remote team. For me, the benefit was two-fold: 1) I grew tremendously as a software engineer by working on this project, and 2) the project played really well in interviews. It showed my interviewers I was able to understand a problem domain, have deep technical discussions and consider engineering tradeoffs. I also drew heavily from my project to answer behavioral questions and to prove I had solid experience working as part of a remote team. 

    I could go on for days about Launch School. But I'll just say that, if you put in the work, Launch School absolutely delivers on its promise of a career-launching software engineering job.
  • Callie Buruchara  User Photo
    Callie Buruchara • Software Engineer • Graduate • Verified via LinkedIn
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    When I found Launch School in my search for an avenue to enter Software Engineering, I was honestly a little annoyed. The slow path to mastery? What a devastatingly honest slogan. I'd rather something flashy, thanks.

    But after sitting with it for awhile, with the experience and background of an educator myself, I knew it was the truth. In order to master something, you have to give yourself time. You need to learn from someone who knows more than you, can see the path further than you, and has your long-term best interest in mind. The more I looked into the pedagogy, curriculum, and goals, the more I came to trust. Once I decided, I dove headlong.

    The end result? After I completed the Core curriculum and Capstone, I landed a Software Engineering role at a well-known tech company making over 3x my teacher salary; and it only took me 4 weeks to find it. I even had to turn down other great offers! And don't even get me started on how awesome my co-workers are.

    What was my secret? I trusted Launch School and did what they said. Literally, that's it. The thing about mastery is it's not complicated — but it does take time, discipline, consistency, and really good guidance. The Core Curriculum sets you up to subsequently learn absolutely anything. Though you're drinking from a firehouse in Capstone, it was still incredibly doable because our foundation was ridiculously secure. 

    In addition to changing my life through my career, Launch School changed me as a person. I'm now a problem-solver. Instead of getting frustrated, I get curious. Instead of giving up because "whatever it doesn't work," I look closer, investigate, and figure it out. Even my loved ones have noticed. Launch School has made me a better overall person because it's given me the confidence, the paradigm, and the experience to know that I can actually learn to do anything. 
  • Edmond Tam  User Photo
    Edmond Tam • Software Engineer • Graduate • Verified via LinkedIn
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    Before I begin, I would like to establish the two core tenets behind Launch School's teachings that form the premise for this review:
    • Learn slow to move fast
    • Focus on the fundamentals and ignore fleeting trends
    I'll explain why I think these principles are key and how Launch School accomplishes this, and then discuss how they helped me land my first proper SWE job paying above mid-level FAANG total compensation and my second job paying above senior-level FAANG compensation a year later.

    First off: learn slow to move fast. Launch School inverts the schooling system we are all familiar with by mandating that students get at least an A- on their assessments. This forces students to prepare deeply, and it's common for students to take at least two months before attempting the first Ruby/JavaScript course (you get used to it and time needed per course falls over time). For example, one of the first lessons was about variable declaration/initialization/assignment, and learning it in excruciating detail was extremely tough. Yet spending time forming mental models and typing out explanations in assignments solidified my understanding, and once it clicked I was free from making such errors. This effect snowballs. Being able to learn about functions without difficulties regarding variables makes learning much easier!

    Second, focus on the fundamental technologies. In Core, Launch School avoids teaching frameworks, and instead focuses on the core tools used by each segment of a web application. For example (and this is not an exhaustive list of the core tools taught), you learn how to construct an SQL query, rather than use a scripting language to do so. You learn about HTTP, then construct an HTTP request from scratch, and serve your own responses without external libraries. You'll use HTML and CSS to replicate a web page and, later on, JavaScript to animate its contents.

    Why learn these core tools instead of whatever gets the job done? It's simple: these tools have been used for decades, and will continue to be used in the future. If you started by learning a library like React, what happens when there's an error that isn't documented? You would go into the source code and, suddenly, you're confronted with JS code! Moving jobs and want to try Vue instead? You'd struggle without an understanding of JS, since the React syntax wouldn't apply. However, understanding JS means that any time you're stuck, you can reach into the code and solve your problem. This applies to the other parts of the tech stack: understanding the fundamentals lets you understand related technologies much easier in the future.

    As such, completing Core provides you with the coding skills needed to get multiple offers from top engineering companies (I had two offers after completing just the back-end portion). However, there is a final mental shift needed to become a solid software engineer, and that is where Capstone comes in. The close mentorship of the LS team allowed me to develop the following competencies I've observed in top software engineers:
    • Problem-centric thinking
    • Just-in-time learning (only after the mastery-based learning above)
    • Vital soft skills in communication, teamwork, negotiations and more

    Through my experience with Core and Capstone, I joined a cybersecurity company dealing with 10 trillion digital interactions a week and immediately hit the ground running as a software engineer. These experiences then snowballed and I'm now in a crypto fund handling large investments into decentralised finance and P2P loans. During the interview, I was questioned about my philosophy behind software engineering, and needless to say I was leaning heavily on everything I've experienced in Launch School.

    I can safely say that my life has been transformed by Launch School, and I am incredibly grateful to the team’s vision of a new pedagogy in software engineering. Beyond engineering, the philosophy of Launch School, particularly that of mastery, has deepened my appreciation for slow-and-steady progress, which has helped me in my other hobbies such as language learning and music. The facets of my life that have been touched by LS continues to surprise me, and I can safely say this has been the most fruitful investment I've ever made in my life. If you are eager to challenge yourself to reach new limits, then Launch School is 100% the course to go for.

    Once again, thank you so much for Launch School and I hope that the School continues to inspire others as it has inspired me.
  • Rodney Matambo  User Photo
    Rodney Matambo • Full Stack Software Engineer, Gatsby JS • Graduate Verified via GitHub
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    Context: I currently work at Gatsby JS. I went through the capstone program from february 2021 to June 2021. I got a job in 6 weeks after i started my job search.

    I'll start by saying, I cannot over emphasize how effective this program is.

    I went through the capstone program starting in February 2021. This capstone program is easily one of the toughest things I've ever done in my life and also one of the most rewarding experiences. The program allowed me to form friendships with the right people and at the same time it gave me the tools necessary for a productive career as a software engineer.

    I particularly want to highlight:
    - In capstone, there are highly competent staff that make themselves available to answer questions
    - I too was sceptic about the salary - but, I'm proof that every single person in my cohort got a salary above $100k and sometimes above $150k base salary.
    - I use the same approach to tackle very complex problems i face today on the job as i did within my capstone project.

    My fair warning: This program is for a person who can take the time to dedicate to it - I warn everyone - it doesn't matter if you have kids, are in a relationship, no relationship, no other commitments: the capstone program will take whatever amount of time you possibly have for about 4- 6 months so be ready. It is an experience that i regularly say, it was necessary but not something I would want to have to do multiple times in my life. It is hard and time consuming but also fun in a challenging way - if you enjoy the process of capstone - you will enjoy working as a software engineer.

    To the one that is on the fence about the capstone program - I'd say:

    1. What you gain with the capstone project is not necessarily just knowledge but experience - everything in their curriculum is pretty public so you could learn the content on your own. After being on the job for a while, i can tell you that it's pretty clear when someone has learned a bunch of concepts but can't coherently put them together in a way that a team would benefit from. With capstone - you work with a team, you build confidence in your ideas, and you build context for actual engineering problems.

    2. The best benefit is probably the staff and research done by the staff - The staff plays an under-appreciated role in all this. The staff vets projects ideas to make sure they are actually industry relevant ideas. Each time a cohort hits the market, the capstone team evaluates how they hit the market and pivots based on the changes in the market. This allows you as a person to focus on learning and trust that when i go look for a job i am really ready. There are also working software engineers who act as mentors through the program to coach and guide you through the process.

    3. After a certain point you are actually losing money if you try to emulate this program on your own - at one point I thought about just doing a 'fake' capstone project on my own or with some friends - and there were two things that made me reconsider. A. What if I am wrong about what i think would be a job relevant project and waste my time. B. How do i know what to study for a job I've never had when there's conflicting information on the web. Because of these two reasons I opted to 'trust the process' and signed up for the capstone program.

    I hope this helps you whoever you are
  • Rodney Matambo  User Photo
    Rodney Matambo • Full-Stack Software Engineer • Student Verified via GitHub
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    The core curriculum moves from the basics of programming, OOP, cli tooling, testing, networking, DBs, html & css, advanced problem solving, the dom and api's. The focus is on allowing students to fundamentally grasp the problems at each layer of programming and understand why the current solutions are in use. The core curriculum really sets students up for unlocking what the school calls 'just-in time' learning - the ability to pick up new tools quickly because you understand the underlying problems they are trying to solve. 

    Overall my experience with launch school was a positive one 

    Things that I liked:
    - I felt like the instructors gave enough help and there was enough community to push my learning forward
    - The school seemed very receptive to feedback
    - Because they were upfront about what kind of program this was and the pedagogy, i never felt like i was played.
    - The content taught is directly relevant to my job experience and at different times i need to draw from almost all of the classes
    - Staff is receptive and warm, you couldn't really ask for a warmer group of individuals who are dedicated to their jobs while also 

    things that could have improved:
    - I felt like there were times when i wasn't sure how much i was actually learning because i didn't know where or how to apply it - the program could have used more real world projects as a mandatory part especially around the end of the backend portion.
    - There was a lot of written content to study. I would have appreciated more video content and some of the video content could use updating

    Overall, for where I was in life, this was the best decision I could make at that time in my life. 


    Now as a working Software Engineer at GatsbyJS, I find that i use the concepts learned in the core curriculum daily. I find myself consistently needing to come back to what I learned in core and coming back to my problem solving approach
  • 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.