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Launch School

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Launch School

Avg Rating:4.94 ( 53 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 HTML, CSS, Ruby on Rails, and object oriented JavaScript, 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. 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 3 months full-time and employs an Income Sharing Agreement where students pay after they get a job offer.

There is no admissions process for the Core Curriculum, instead students must complete the free Preparatory phase course to bring them up to speed to start the Core Curriculum. Capstone students are selected from among the top students in the Core Curriculum.

Students who complete the Capstone Program will receive career guidance, and be exposed to algorithmic thinking that employers demand. The income sharing agreement means Launch School is incentivized to help graduates find a job.

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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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    Data Structures, Algorithms
    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
  • Adrian Carroll  User Photo
    Adrian Carroll • Graduate Verified via LinkedIn
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    Mastery Based learning is a concept that is easy to understand, accept and even embrace but I think it is only after experiencing its true power can you learn to fully trust it.
     
    When I began my Launch school journey I read all the MBL related literature that Launch School throw your way. I accepted it at face value. I understood the logic and was ready to apply it. And i did... to an exent. I remember working through the back end and still having a slight feeling of anxiety that the target day I had in the back of my mind was slipping further and further away. It was only when I reached the half way point that I was able to look back at what I had learned and know that this approach to learning really was different. From this point on I slowed down, really taking the time to soak up the material.
     
    Launch school seems like one of the best kept secrets in the software education sector. I stumbled across it by accident one day listening to a podcast. Other students have similar stories. Even after the podcast I wasted another four months trying to learn on my own before signing up to the program. When I signed up and tried the prep course I realised the full extent of the quality of the material.
     
    You might have read some of Chris Lee's medium articles on his philosophies around education and MBL but what you probably haven't heard him talk about is the sheer quality of the materials that have been put together by Launch School team. They have done an outstanding job of engineering an effective, cohesive and interesting curriculum. The attention to detail is second to none and this attention to detail inevitably gets imparted on students.
     
    The team of Launch school TAs and instructors are an extremely helpful and friendly bunch. They seem to be available no matter what time of the day or night you need help. Between code reviews, forum discussions and chat room inquiries they are always willing to go the extra mile and give you more time than you could have hoped for.
     
    After completing the core curriculum I feel like Launch School will always be part of me. I genuinely believe I could not have gotten to where I am now without it. Launch School has given me the ability to see problems that can be solved with software and see how these problems can be broken down and managed. Overall it has given me the belief that I can accomplish anything that I put my mind to, perhaps the most valuable lesson of all.
  • Alex Henegar  User Photo
    Alex Henegar • Full Stack Developer • Graduate Verified via LinkedIn
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    I learned a little programming while in school but I thought I was too far along in physics to make the switch to computer science. After getting my doctorate in physics, I still had an itch to learn programming so I started looking for a way to learn. After six months of researching my options: more school, boot camp, books & tutorials; I stumbled upon Launch School. While listening to the podcast Learn to Code with Me, by Laurence Bradford, she was interviewing a founder of Launch School. Their approach to learning by focusing on the fundamentals was the key strategy I was looking for to ensure I would be left without gaps in my education.
     
    Launch School's perfect blend of one-on-one attention and self-paced learning allowed me to learn while working full-time. Their flexible teaching style allowed me to seek guidance when I needed it and buckle down with my headphones on when I was going strong. I spent the first six months in the program studying the fundamentals of programming before touching advanced topics. This ingrained the core concepts of programming in me so that when it was time to learn advanced topics I didn't have to keep looking back to remember the basics. This kept my focus sharp and progress steady. At this point I couldn't show anyone the programs I built because there weren't any. Launch School isn't about building a portfolio, it's about building a career. The second six months were spent on advanced topics, building complex applications, and gradually taking control of each project from start to finish. Launch School gave me more freedom, i.e. responsibility, as courses progressed; by doing so I became a self-sufficient programmer capable of making meaningful contributions to real-world applications. Thanks to Launch School I landed a full-stack developer position at a fast-growing start-up in DC.
     
    Launch School uses mainly Ruby and JavaScript to teach but the most beneficial lessons were not about the languages. They taught me how to progress through a problem, from origination to completion, in a controlled yet flexible way. And this is exactly what I was tested on in the interview for my job. My employer cared about my ability to think through a problem more so than my knowledge of any language. Learning the language is a must, of course, but it is not the true skill of a programmer.
     
    Every day on the job I use the skills I learned in Launch School. My job consists of at least a little bit of everything I learned in Launch School. Because I was prepared so well for the tasks they had in mind for me, I was able to take on additional responsibilities, become proficient with Vue.js (which I had no experience using prior), and even become a valuable resource for other new developers. Three days into the job my boss said, "I have never seen a new hire contribute valuable work to a production application so quickly." Suffice to say, I'm excelling at my job and it's all thanks to a tremendous amount of hard work, dedication, and Launch School.
  • Tannr A  User Photo
    Tannr A • Software Engineer II • Graduate Verified via GitHub
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    Soon after starting Launch School, I dropped out of college to study full-time with Launch School. I was a senior and close to graduation when I dropped out. Many people I knew called me crazy and doubt was thrown at me left and right. Despite this, I knew it was the right decision and I knew that if I persevered through Launch School's rigorous curriculum, I could prove to everyone else it was the right decision, too. Today, my life is proof that I made the right decision to trust Launch School. Launch School did nothing short of radically transforming my life and jump-starting my career.

    I began Launch School with no programming experience beyond writing simple programs that would print silly messages to the standard output of the terminal. Over the course of about a year and a half, I progressed through the curriculum, logging in total thousands of hours in study and practice time. I embraced the rigor of Launch School and took the concept of "Mastery" as far as I could. Launch School caters to the highly motivated person who cannot accept sub-par performance or understanding. I knew this was the place for me because my own personal standards were high and Launch School was able to hold me to them in times of struggle, fatigue, and motivational lulls.

    I received job offers for developer positions in my area before I had even finished the core curriculum. I was tempted to take them, but turned them down in order to participate in the Capstone Program and aim for the absolute best job I could get.

    Capstone changed my life. Launch School poured resources into my success and they made sure I had money to live so that financial stress didn't derail my focus. After finishing Capstone, they helped me move to New York City, where I presented my project at speaking events, resulting in referrals from other engineers who were impressed with my work. Within two weeks of sending out my first application, I was getting contacted so often that I had to start turning away opportunities for interviews. I had the freedom to choose where I would work and I ended up accepting an incredible offer for a Software Engineer II position from a tech startup in Manhattan (I didn't apply for any entry level positions). It came with a signing bonus, a well over 100K starting salary, the flexibility to work in the office or remotely, and the opportunity to work closely - and be mentored by - very talented veterans in the field.

    It's the best decision of my life and I wholeheartedly recommend Launch School for the serious-minded and motivated student who want to learn things well and are not ok with just surface-level awareness.

  • Patrick B  User Photo
    Patrick B • president • Graduate Verified via GitHub
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    I came into Launch School previously as a "dabbler" & finally decided to get serious about learning web development & programming. I did a ton of research before choosing Launch School, and I'm so glad I found them. You can just take my word for it: if you want to learn programming or web development, there really is no better way! I believe it's because of their core philosophy that mastery-based learning & fundamentals are the foundation to a successful technical career, and I couldn't agree more. Their program is thorough & well-supported by TAs, and the online community is great. 

    Also, the world of programming is so deep that it's often difficult or overwhelming when trying to figure out a where to begin & what to study. They've distilled the core knowledge down in a logical progression of studies that will make you a well-rounded programmer when you're finished. I even believe I've learned how to learn better, and I've become a better problem-solver in general throughout the coursework. I personally wasn't looking to change careers, but I have highly recommended this course & their Capstone program to others that showed interest in that path. I've even met some new friends that were in the program locally & we still stay in touch. Overall the experience has been very rewarding.

  • Life-changing
    - 6/2/2018
    Steven Fischer  User Photo
    Steven Fischer • Graduate Verified via LinkedIn
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    I started Launch School with zero coding experience, and I am now gainfully employed as a programmer. I finished the core curriculum in just under a year. The transformation is long and certainly hard, but I don’t know of any curriculum – other than Launch School’s – that can teach web development fundamentals so well. Launch School is in a league of its own. I highly recommend it.

  • A solid foundation
    - 5/22/2018
    Kristen Wilde  User Photo
    Kristen Wilde • Student Verified via GitHub
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    I studied with Launch School for a year and a half (10/2016 to 4/2018) and completed the Core Curriculum. I chose LS largely for the convenience of being able to work at my own pace and on my own schedule, but I gradually came to appreciate this program even more for its content, depth, and community. I'm glad I'll be able to start my career with confidence in the strong foundation LS has given me.

    One of the first things I learned at Launch School is that programming is much more than learning a language. There are many concepts that are absolutely vital to understanding how any programming language works (variable scoping, referencing values in memory, etc). Equally important is having strategies for problem solving and debugging. Clear explanations and well-designed exercises throughout the program provide a ton of practice with all of the above (and develop language fluency at the same time).

    Another benefit of Launch School is the support provided by TA’s, instructors, and other students. I regularly used the discussion forums for asking lesson-specific questions, and the Slack workspace for coordinating study groups with other students. The dozen or so assessments, spaced throughout the program, were very helpful interactions. We are asked to provide succinct but accurate explanations of various concepts in our own words, or to demonstrate concepts with examples. The feedback I received from this process deepened my understanding significantly.

    It is clear that the Launch School team really cares about offering the best program they can. Their use of mastery based learning is an innovation that they believe in strongly, and they are continuously working to improve and update their materials.

    While the Core Curriculum stops short of covering any of the various frameworks developers typically use today, I can attest that knowing the fundamentals well makes learning new frameworks relatively simple. I wholeheartedly recommend the program to anyone who is serious about learning real web developing and is willing to put in the time and effort to learn.

  • Cristian Rennella  User Photo
    Cristian Rennella • CEO elMejorTrato.com • Graduate Verified via GitHub
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    At the beginning of 2017, I started with the course. I had many doubts because there were several other programs on the Internet, but I was lucky to choose this one and I want to help other people who may be going through this situation.

    If you are looking for a course where they teach you the fundamentals on which to build your career, this is the course for you. But if you're looking for shortcuts or something quick, then this is not your best option.

    After having finished the course in 1 year and 4 months, I can say that today I feel with super powers because I have all the necessary knowledge to look for a job as a programmer or even start my own startup.

    I have a HUGE happiness because it was a dream come true and the possibilities that I add to my career are spectacular.

    If you sincerely want to be a professional programmer then I recommend what I did, spend a year and a few months of your life studying at Launch School, it will undoubtedly be your best decision.

  • Roy Huang  User Photo
    Roy Huang • Rails Develper • Student Verified via GitHub
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    I decided to start learning programming when I was 27. I tried many different resources on the Internet, either paid or free tutorials, but none of them really worked out. I mean, those are really great resources, however, I never felt I was able to achieve anything or build my own project after finishing the lessons. Then I came across Launch School.

    I was looking for lessons that are systematic and intense. After browsing the syllabus of Launch School, I found it offers plentiful contents, not to mention great preparatory lessons and quality digital books. At Launch School, it's not about languages themselves. It's all about fundamentals and concepts. One of the instructors of Launch School used to tell me that any languages and frameworks can be out of date, and only if you have the solid understanding of the concepts of programming, you would be able to adapt yourself to the web development world.

    After a few months learning at Launch School, I felt that I have a better command of Ruby and JavaScript, and I can start my own projects from scratch. At the moment, I had a chance to apply for an internship as a Rails developer, so I used the projects I built during I was at Launch School (some of them are assignments) as my portfolio. Guess what? I got the offer! I nailed every question I was asked during the interview, and I felt extremely confident. It's all because I have been practicing interview skills during the assessment at Launch School.

    I have been working as a Rails developer for almost 2 years. I might not be able to make this if I didn't choose Launch School. It's definitely one of the best decisions I have made in my life.

  • Sonia  User Photo
    Sonia • Student Verified via LinkedIn
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    I’ve been with Launch School for over one year, and am happy to share that thanks to Launch School, I landed a Software Engineering Team Lead position at a multinational tech consultancy. Aside from being a good resource for beginners, Launch School has proven transformational to me as a prior startup founder with a few years of programming experiences and a MS in Software Engineering.

    My intention with this testimonial is simple: no matter what cool things one has done, knowing things from the ground up is THE way to go in the long run. I’m currently half way through the Launch School curriculum, so I’ll focus on how the methodology sets me apart even when I’m not through with the curriculum.

    Mastery-based learning

    Even a child can code. But does one know what’s going on under the hood? The zealous attention at Launch School to knowing “What does X mean?” or “What does this line of code do?” or “Why does it do X versus Y?” makes me more of a master than my Master’s degree has made me.

    Interviews

    Interviewing is a skill in its own right, and it takes practice for one’s interviewing skill to catch up with his or her competence level. The requirement to pass interviews at Launch School motivates me to make this extra layer of coordination into an integral part of my problem solving (a.k.a. thinking out loud), facilitated by the emphasis on correct use of terminology.

    Career-focused

    One reading assignment in the orientation course makes points about the types of companies there are for a software engineer to launch a career, and also the differentiation between being in a cost center versus a revenue center. This talk is immensely helpful for me to persue companies that are worth moving forward with among the many options out there.

    p.s. I gave a rating of n/a for job assitance because techincally they don't provide that in the core curriculum. I cannot speak for the Capstone program but I believe there's a lot more job search support in there.

  • Jamie  User Photo
    Jamie • Senior Developer • Student Verified via GitHub
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    LaunchSchool helped me to transform from Software Developer to Full Stack Developer.
     
    My background is C++/C# in enterprise software, but the city I am living in has more opportunities for Web Developer, after hours investigation and studies, I finally chose LaunchSchool to help me do the transformation, and it has been proven to be the best decision I made in recent years. I have experience in OOP and Web Services, what I miss is cool web stuff, so I directly jump to Front End to learn JS as a dynamic/prototypal language, JS MV* frameworks, Browser, HTML/CSS, etc. I am really into the way of learning by doing and mastery. The 1n1 interviews helped me to set up confidence, learn how to think loudly, express ideas/algorithms, split problems. 
     
    After 6 months of after work learning (20hrs/wk), I feel confident to work in web development and started my job hunting. I interviewed 2 companies and got 2 offers within a month or so...much better than I thought...never been that popular before. I want to thank Launch School for the wonderful curriculum and the assessments, because I would not have been as prepared if it weren't for that.
     
    I'd like to share my experience to new LaunchSchoolers, don't doubt, trust LS, follow the syllabus, make your efforts, your decision is 100% correct.
  • Steve  User Photo
    Steve • Senior Lead Frontend UI Developer • Graduate Verified via LinkedIn
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    Launch School does a better job describing its curriculum and philosophy than I could, so I'll focus on the results in my life due to their focus on 'mastery-based learning'. Before starting Launch School I had done a small bit of HTML and CSS, I had a digital marketing background, and that's about it regarding my experience of websites. I was in a 'Web Specialist' role at a small, non-tech-savvy organization, that entailed digital marketing and basic frontend work, and I decided to commit to learning web development as a result of becoming more interested in the web development aspects of my job. Launch School seemed the way to go after reading reviews and because I wanted something that was rigorous but would allow me to continue working.
     
    Outcomes - Pay
     
    Since one of the only ways to measure outcomes when comparing bootcamps, curriculums, etc. is via salary, I'll talk about that. Without getting too specific about pay, within 4 months of starting Launch School, I was able to leverage my experience as a 'web specialist' combined with my knowledge gained from Launch School to become a frontend developer, at a salary significantly higher than I had been making. The Frontend curriculum is not the first portion you learn, but I was able to take some of the concepts and overall knowledge and improve my frontend work as well. Before I even finished the whole program (it took me about 2 years, including a few months pause when I started a new role), I got a different role making significantly more than twice what I had been making as a 'web specialist', putting me firmly in six-figures. Money isn't particularly important to me, but having an in-demand skill set, with the ability to really dive in, analyze, and learn new technologies/frameworks/libraries, and deliver quality software, is important. And again, I know it is a common measure of outcomes.
     
    Outcomes - Knowledge / Growth
     
    One of the most significant stimulants for growth that you experience at Launch School is the assessments. These involve quizzes, projects, and mock interviews. I remember for the Frontend Assessment, that, when an instructor explained the project he said, 'this is going to be difficult, but I think you're going to really learn a lot', and he was 100% correct. I look at that project as one of the pivotal moments in my learning at Launch School. It pushed me to really drive beyond the specific tools we had learned to embrace the concepts and incorporate new libraries and APIs. I am avoiding getting too specific, but I definitely believe that is one of the most important factors in how I have grown through Launch School.
     
    To me, that project demonstrated more than anything else the difference between mastery based learning and just learning the hot new thing. I can pick up and learn the hot new framework, but I can also discern when to use it vs when to pass over it in favor of something that is less flashy, but better for the job at hand. Launch School teaches you not only how to engineer and build applications, but also to understand and solve the underlying problems / or make the right trade offs based upon the circumstances. The entire Launch School staff, from instructors to TAs, are excellent teachers who are relentless in their focus on producing knowledgeable programmers, and set high standards for learning. They don't let you take the easy route and it shows in how much you grow. I cannot recommend Launch School enough. I honestly would not be in the career I am today, or as passionate about it as I am today, without all of the hard work and dedication they put into designing the program and continuously improving it.
  • Josh • Graduate
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    I remember starting Launch School almost two years ago in 2018, about the same time that I started a new job. I was already working in tech as an IT Systems Administrator, but I wanted to propel my career into something more fulfilling where I could not maintain systems all day. I wanted to get out of the grind of a cost centric job and propel myself into something that provided more value to the business. After dabbling for years, trying to find a program that worked for me, and never feeling satisfied, I finally ran into launch school and started the Ruby Track.

    Suffice to say, I have finished the core curriculum and was promoted to a DevOps engineer at my current company. I have Launch School's Core Curriculum to thank heavily for providing me the skills needed to transition into my current role. I almost exclusively use python for automation in my current role; working with API's and the bottom-up approach that launch school provided has helped me succeed in this endeavor. At the beginning of launch school, I wondered how you could have so few courses, and people still admitted that this course could take a year+ to get through. Once I started, I ducked into the deep pool of reality on how much information Launch School expects you to master. 


    From learning arrays to reading documentation to solving problems, everything went into so much detail I immediately knew this program was for me. Learning the basics started to give me incredible insights into stuff that I was already working on at work but had no idea how they worked at a fundamental level. I always ended up googling for answers and would spend hours searching for someone else's solution to fit into what I understood to solve the problem that I had at hand.

    Currently, I am a key point of contact for developers when they need help with an API because I have demonstrated my knowledge and expertise in understanding how an API works at a fundamental level. I know how to dissect APIs so well that I have almost become a resident expert. Making calls to an API is the same stuff you learn in Launch School but with little extra knobs and features attached. 

    This fundamental approach is true for almost everything that I currently do at work and why I firmly believe that Launch School is worth the time and effort. You will see things in the Launch School curriculum that are hard to find almost anywhere else on the web without long hours of searching. The thing with Launch School is once you are done, you will realize just how fundamentally necessary everything is. You will continue to go back to that foundation for everything you do, regardless of what language or program stack you decide to work in or pursue.