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Launch School

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Launch School

Avg Rating:4.96 ( 46 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
  • Sean D • Full Stack Developer • Student
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    I wanted to give Launch School a high rating. As a developer with 3 years experience, I came into the program to iron out my weak points rather than learn programming from the beginning. But after taking, and not passing Launch School's written assessments multiple times, I've lost confidence that their grading scheme is fair.

    The `this` keyword is one of the most complex subjects in vanilla Javascript. I spent several days learning its rules from several sources, including Launch School's materials. I detailed the rules of `this`, ordered by priority, wrote examples to illustrate how `this` is determined in different scenarios, and repeated these explanations for unusual cases including arrow functions. Launch School gives one about 11 minutes per question on the test I took, to give perspective. The grader assigned a 3/5 score and didn't elaborate why points were withheld.

    This wasn't a one off. In multiple questions a 3 or 4 out of 5 score was given with no explanation of why. Generally for the whole test, one can lose only 8 to 10 points and still pass, causing one to fail the test (Not Yet in Launch School's terms) if he receives too many 3s and 4s. This is what happened to me.

    After the grader marks the test as a Not Yet, Launch School has a policy that you can not ask where you went wrong or whether your new answer that you worked on would pass. This opaque practice leads to scoring less than perfect on the same questions and continuing to not pass. 

    When I asked the TAs, and Chris Lee, the lead instructor, about this, I was given only vague suggestions to study more, find study groups, and write explanations in a teaching format. The underlying issue of why very detailed explanations of the concepts received not-passing scores was never addressed. 

    My theory about how Launch School's graders assign points, is that they value their own material highly and look for specific nuances listed there, and nowhere else. So if you study material from other sources (a common practice in programming) and incorporate it into your answers to cement the concept at a deeper level, you will actually be more likely have points removed, because the answer lacked specific phrasing that they look for but never explicitly mention.

    If you are reading this and wondering what to do instead, I would suggest either the programs at App Academy or Hack Reactor -- both top rated boot camps -- or simply self study, and implement your knowledge in the form of projects to show off to potential employers. 

    The Launch School program has potential. But their grading scheme, in my opinion, needs to be revamped to have less hidden criteria and subjectivity in point assignments.
    Response From: Chris Lee of Launch School
    Title: Instructor
    Friday, May 01 2020
    I started writing a response and it turned out really long, so I posted it on my Medium account. Please take a look and feel free to reach out if there are any additional questions (hello@launchschool.com). 

    https://medium.com/launch-school/our-first-non-five-star-review-cad827b1484c

  • Florence • Back-end Engineer • Graduate
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    I would say Launch School helped me build my confidence in programming and helped transform me into a software engineer with my non-technical background.

    The self-paced course with a very low cost allowed me to learn to code with more flexibility while I also had a job at the time. Yes, it might take you a longer time to finish the core curriculum. If you aim to get a developer job within a very short period in 3 - 4 months, you might be hesitant to join Launch School. However, building a solid programming foundation really helps you to become a real Software Engineer in your career, and it is a key to differentiate yourself with a lot of "coders" in the market. If you are serious to build a career in the software field, and not just getting a job ASAP, you will not regret learning from Launch School.

    The instructors and TAs are also very helpful, supportive and they are always active in the learning platform as well as Slack channel, if you get stuck somewhere in the course content or need code review, they are always there for you.

    Finally, whether or not you are in LS's Capstone program, the instructors and alumni are willing to help if you need any job assistance. All you need is just to reach out and ask questions in the Slack channel, they are so easy to approach.

  • jevon d hayter • Systems Analyst • Student
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    I'm going to get to the point. Did Launch School prepare me for a job in the industry? 
     
    At my job as a Systems Analyst we use a reporting tool to make query's to our database. After taking the database course and learning SQL at Launch School I know everything the tool is doing and why. 
     
    The basic principles of programming that I learned at Launch School have been priceless. We code in a proprietary language for a enterprise application. I have been able to read the code of the coders before me and figure out how to make changes without having training in this language yet. I would say reading code from my classmates at Launch School was a good idea. I guess that's why my instructors at Launch School told me to do it. 
     
    I am in a room with the Server team, System Admins and a Web Developer. I not only understand the problems they face and discuss but can offer assistance and ideas. So Launch School teaches you more than just how to code in Ruby or JavaScript. It truly prepares you to be an asset on day one of a real job in the industry.
     
    I refer young adults to Launch School every time I get the chance, It's life changing!
     
    ~ Jevon D. Hayter
       Systems Analyst, HTC Global Services
     
  • Tommy Caruso • Software Engineer • Graduate
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    I was starting my final year of a CS degree and I had been diligently learning to code outside of school for the past year.  I would work through a new tutorial or follow along with the code examples in the latest book that I bought and feel pretty good about what I thought I knew.  Unfortunately, when I would open a new text editor and try to create a new project from scratch I would just sit there frozen.  I just could not get to a point where I could apply what I was learning in a meaningful way.  On top of that, I was getting distracted by all the new/latest languages/frameworks/libraries that were popping up every day.  I was trying to learn everything at once and I really did not have any idea what was relevant.  I needed to be job ready when I graduated from college.
     
    I was considering attending a bootcamp after I finished school.  This was not a very desirable option for me.  I have a family and going away for a few months would have been hard, not to mention the financial burden would have been hard to bear.  In my search for bootcamps I came across Launch School. I had not considered an online school up to this point, but reading through the materials about what they were offering really piqued my attention.  It was clear (from their literature) that it was going to be a long and slow path to success.  You were not going to jump right into a Rails project; you would start at the beginning learning the foundations of Ruby.  Here is where I almost moved on.  I felt like I knew the basics and I was ready for something more substantial.  I ended up deciding to "try" Launch School for a month or two.  I convinced my wife that I could do both college and Launch School concurrently and that If it worked out I would be job ready about the time I graduated.  Plus, I thought that I would just breeze through Ruby fundamentals and be working in Rails in no time.  As an aside, I spent 20 years in the US Military.  Going to college full-time, taking care of my family and working through Launch School ranks high in my list of hardest things I have done.
     
    Within the first couple of days of starting Launch School I realized what I really did not know.  College taught me a lot of valuable theory and learning on my own allowed me to learn the basic syntax of the language, but I really did not truly grasp what it meant to be a software engineer until Launch School started to teach me to decompose the Ruby programming language.  Within a couple of weeks I was starting to program with purpose.  I realized that previously, I was getting lucky a lot.  I was surprised that I made anything work before without understanding concepts like variable scoping rules, pass by reference vs. pass by value and mutation of the caller.  The best part was that although the language we are using was Ruby, I knew now how to decompose a programming  language.  I even attribute some of my success in school, where I was using Java and Python, to these skills and first principals.  Launch School also placed an emphasis on being exact in how you talk about code as well as problem solving, both of which were instrumental in me landing my first developer job.
     
    My first job was not as a Ruby on Rails developer or even Ruby.  I was primarily using Node and React and they were transitioning towards Elixir.  The training I received at Launch School gave me a common ground when it came to talking about code with my potential employer.  Being exact and explicit gave us a shared understanding of the problems we were discussing.  My ability to quickly discuss how I would set about learning a new language or framework quickly set their minds at ease about hiring someone with little experience in the stack they were using.
     
    The biggest take away that I got from Launch School was confidence.  I solve software engineering problems for a living and every day I reach back to the patterns that I learned here and still marvel at how relevant they are and how neatly they fit.  As I continue to learn, I focus a majority of my attention on the things that don't change.  When something is hard, I lean into it instead of backing away.  
  • Ryan • Graduate
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    My experience with Launch School was very positive. Learning to code can be extremely difficult, and with a seemingly endless array of computer science techniques and tools out there, it's not always apparent which direction one should go in. The LS curriculum's heavy focus on fundamentals is less about teaching you the newest parlor tricks, and more about building yourself into a person who can navigate the ever-changing landscape of web development with confidence and understanding. The old adage, "Give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day; teach a man to fish and he'll eat for a lifetime", would appropriately describe their philosophy.

    Prior to signing up for the program I found it very difficult to comprehend the official documentation for anything (Rails or Express, for example), which left me at an impasse. Oftentimes a great way to learn a new technology is by studying its documentation and going through some tutorials and practice projects, but a lot of that stuff assumes a certain base level of knowledge that can be hard to acquire on your own. The Launch School courses are clearly written and well-ordered, and they help you to gain that very knowledge without frustration. They delved deeply into the idiosyncrasies of Ruby and JavaScript in order to teach me how to build apps with the raw languages themselves, and without using frameworks as a crutch. Because of that, and because of the knowledge that I gained in the more advanced courses, I was able to learn a wide variety of commonly used frameworks and tools on my own, and integrate them all together. I can now confidently say that, because of what I learned in the Launch School courses, I've been able to add the following skills to my resume: Ruby, Python, JavaScript (ES5 & ES6), HTML, CSS, Rails, Sinatra, Express, Backbone, Ember, and React. I've also been able to start delving into audio programming languages like Csound and SuperCollider, which have come in handy for my current job as an Audio Engineer.

    The Launch School curriculum is not easy and can sometimes seem very daunting, but if you are dedicated and are prone to self-study then you can gain a ton of invaluable knowledge and skills. It took me about 9 months of mostly full-time studying to complete the coursework. My brain got fried a few times along the way, but it was worth it! The instructors are really cool, and they are quite helpful at guiding you along the often difficult path. I also never felt that they were trying to sell me any BS, which is nice. This could be the program for you if you're looking for something that's more on the hardcore end of the spectrum.

  • Conrad Beach • Software Developer • Graduate
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    I finished my time as a student at Launch School in the summer of 2017 and went on to become a full-time web developer at a really great web development consultancy in my area. My time at Launch School was a fantastic experience that gave me an awesome foundation as a developer. If you're interested in becoming a professional web developer, I'd strongly recommend checking out Launch School's program. I learned so much about quality web development, and I gained the skills and knowledge I needed for a solid start in my career as a developer.
     
    I was with Launch School for about 1.5 years. Prior to that, I studied web development for a couple of years using various online resources such as Treehouse, Code School, The Odin Project and others. Those resources were really valuable and I learned a lot from them, but I feel like my growth and learning as a developer accelerated dramatically when I joined Launch School.
     
    One of Launch School's maxims is "fundamentals first, fundamentals throughout." Another is "learn to understand problems, not solutions". These principles, along with the other elements of their teaching philosophy, are very powerful. Their goal is not for you to learn a particular tech stack or set of tools (though you will certainly pick up those things), but, instead, to help you gain a bedrock of timeless, universal skills that you will continually apply throughout your career to do great development work. They strive to teach you skills needed to dissect problems and craft quality solutions to those problems. Their goal is to make sure you have what you need to prepare you for a long, successful career in development. And they definitely deliver on these goals.
     
    The team behind Launch School has crafted a high quality, well thought out curriculum that teaches you what you need to know to become a great developer. Their focus on fundamental skills that don’t change and their emphasis on taking the time to learn deeply is really effective. Their approach can be slow and time-consuming, but that’s a big part of why it works so well. As I look back, I'm impressed at how much my experience at Launch School has taught me.
     
    Because Launch School helped me become so solid on the fundamentals, I'm able to analyze and understand problems, business requirements, feature requests, etc. and effectively build out solutions for those things. When I hit a roadblock, I know I can work through it.
     
    I've gained the attitude of constantly looking for better ways to do things, understanding my tools more deeply and working to become a better developer.
     
    Furthermore, learning new tools doesn't indimidate me much at all. There's always a learning curve to picking up something new, but I feel confident that I can apply the skills I've learned and apply them to a new language or framework in order to get up to speed quickly.
     
    Launch School isn’t for everybody, of course, and there are certainly things to be improved. But overall, it’s a fantastic way to learn development. It worked exceptionally well for me, and I’m incredibly grateful for the time I spent there.
     
    For those considering joining the program, I hope you give it a serious look. It’s an exceptional place to become a professional developer.
  • Alex Dzwonchyk • Frontend developer • Student
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    I just started a new job as a frontend developer at a marketing agency that I'm really excited about, and I definitely credit my Launch School experience with giving me the confidence to get hired. 
     
    While my new position isn't the Launch School "ideal" that's often talking about of a great junior position on an engineering team, for me it's an excellent stepping stone to my goal of a more engineering-centric position in a few years while I get some more real world experience as a developer in the meantime, and also keep working through the rest of Launch School (I'm in course 210 right now).
     
    While I had originally planned to finish all of Launch School's core curriculum before seeking a job as a junior software engineer at a great company, circumstances intervened and I found myself in need of a job shortly after finishing course 201, so I decided to go for it. I already had some frontend development experience here and there in the past, but prior to Launch School I wouldn't have been able to do things like pass coding challenges in JavaScript, develop a custom Wordpress theme completely from scratch, or handily complete some test projects using a company's codebase in a mostly unfamiliar language (PHP). Nor could I sell myself confidently as a skilled frontend developer able to learn new technologies quickly - but that's exactly what I did to land this job. 
     
    The bottom line is that after my first 8 months of studying, Launch School has already given me not only the ability to create full stack web applications from scratch - it's also given me the confidence to get a new job writing code and solving problems, that represents a 30% increase over my last salary, and a path forward in my career.
     
    I couldn't be more grateful for the awesome curriculum and instructors at Launch School, as well as the amazing community of passionate and helpful fellow students - my Launch School experience has already had a hugely positive impact on my life!
     
  • Chris Theodoridis • Graduate
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    Launch School was an incredible experience for me that completely changed my life.  I was a practicing lawyer when I decided that I needed to get back in touch with my passion for technology, so I found an online program and began relearning web development (I was exposed to coding in high school and college).  Unfortunately, the first program I came across was not a mastery-based program and it completely glossed over a variety of details.  Within 2 months, it was very evident that I was fooling myself about my level of understanding.  I was not able to bend the code to my will, and I ended up becoming incredibly frustrated with my progress and understanding. 
     
    So I knew something needed to change.  I started researching online and came across Launch School.  After taking the free introductory courses, I was immediately convinced that Launch School was the right program for me.  I was relearning how to code in order to achieve an intimate knowledge of web development, and Launch School was the obvious choice for accomplishing that goal.  Now that I have finished the program, it is funny to look back and reflect on how little I understood about web development while taking the original online course.  There were definitely times during the Launch School journey when I felt as though I was not progressing quickly, but that was only because the program dives into such detail about every aspect of web development.  There was never a moment when I felt as though I was glossing over a key detail and that aspect of the program gave me the confidence to tackle increasingly difficult problems as the months went by.
     
    Now that the program is over, I can relate to and communicate with all the web developers on my team in a much more productive fashion.  I am not a full-time developer now, but the program has helped me infinitely to understand what is going on behind the scenes and what goals are realistic when projecting the future.  I am so grateful to have taken the Launch School journey.  I highly recommend the course to anybody who is passionate about web development and who enjoys learning at their own pace.  Thank you Launch School!
  • Hsuan-Cheng Chen • Graduate
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    It has been more than one year since I starting learning to program with Launch School.

    Writing code to solve my problems has been kind of a dream of mine. I wanted to use programming skills to do some research in my own field (use ruby to do web scraping, analyze data). The thought was that with the fundamentals in place, I could learn the more advanced concepts and other languages by myself (Haskell, Elixir, Lisp, working on Emacs, Python, machine learning, and modern javascript frameworks). 
     
    Before I found Launch School, I tried to learn to program by myself through various free online resources including MOOCs. I thought I could write some basic programs to solve my problems. Then I found Launch School.
     
    I soon realized that I had a lot of gaps in my knowledge about the fundamentals of programming. I remember that I did not pass the first written test at launch school. I particularly found it difficult to explain the concepts and techniques of ruby and programming fundamentals asked about in the test. It was frankly a little embarrassing considering that I had already spent some time learning ruby before enrolling in the program. 
     
    I opted to retake the test according to Launch School’s retake policy. I felt a little annoyed and thought that I probably didn’t need to be able to write about coding. But then I thought if I couldn’t communicate my thoughts with others, I probably didn’t have a solid understanding of the underlying concepts. So I started working harder to improve my understanding. I reviewed the Launch School lessons, consulted the documentation and starting taking notes. I wrote a blog-post just for myself in which I tried to write down and communicate what I had learned. All these things helped immensely.
     
    Launch School doesn’t just teach you the fundamentals of programming and web development, but it also gives you the tools and context to learn anything you want to learn on your own.
     
    An important part of the program is the Launch School community. I gained a lot from interacting with other students in the program. Even though there are time zone differences involved, I try to communicate with other students through the LS forums and slack channels. I try to visit the channels every week if I can. This helps a lot as students come from different backgrounds and have different perspectives that you can learn from. These channels are important also in that they make me feel like I’m not alone. Then there are teach & talk presentations where members of the Launch School community talk about interesting topics. In short, Launch School has built a great community where you can freely ask questions without the fear that you’ll look bad.
     
    Another great thing about launch school is the phone interviews and the written tests at the end of courses. Writing in front of others can be difficult for some and it’s sometimes painful to have to admit that you have blind spots, but we all do. The tests and interviews help you see that and improve as a result.

    Last but not the least, another thing that I like about the LS community is the writing and sharing of articles by students. You’ll see students do some wonderful things and go through a great learning experience and then write about that. Others might have a question and by asking and getting an answer, other students may also learn something in the process. Some former and current students have spoken at various conferences worldwide. Things like that inspire you to do something similar. I’m happy to announce that I’ll be one of the speakers at the Ruby Conference in Taiwan later this year. Although it’s probably not as prestigious as the American version and my topic is the Elixir language, I have to say thank you Launch School! Thank you for creating this wonderful learning experience.
  • Charlie R. • Software Developer • Graduate
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    I couldn't be happier that I chose Launch School for my programming journey! I was introduced to the program by a friend who completed it previously and gave it glowing recommendations. I began learning with Launch School in February 2017 and completed the core curriculum in August 2018.
     
    What I feel sets Launch School apart from a programming boot camp is that Launch School focuses both on fundamentals and on mastery. Further, there is no 12-week rush to squeeze everything in; mastering programming fundamentals takes longer than 12 weeks. At Launch School, you continue to learn and practice a topic of study until you can demonstrate a strong understanding (they test you and interview you to test for this). Because of Launch School's bottom-up, mastery-based teaching style, I have found it very easy to pick up new languages / frameworks on my own. Further, coding challenges / interviews became a lot less scary (Launch School tests / interviews you to gauge your understanding).
     
    Since completing the Launch School Core Curriculum, I have taken some of their advanced electives, learned various frameworks and languages (e.g. React, Express, PHP), taken on contract work, created my own startup (a pilot project with my first clients is underway), studied computer science theory, and found an amazing job at an innovative retail startup in Toronto (where I live).
     
    Launch School gave me all of the core tools I needed to start building meaningful, useful software applications. If you are serious about learning how to program and can put the time in over a sustained period of time, this program is for you!
  • Lee Chian Yee • Student
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     You'll never regret taking this course  ! Launch School emphasize on mastery based learning is the real deal. After you have finished the course, you will be a very good web developer. 

  • Letladi • Full-stack Developer • Student
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    Before joining Launch School I had worked 4 months as a programmer but never really felt confident in my skills as a developer, so after reading the rave reviews from past students I decided to join so I could pick up solid software engineering skills (like TDD, BDD and others). Launch School takes you all the way to the beginning, teaching you programming fundamentals from scratch. Because I had programmed before, it started out easy for me, but quickly picked up steam.

    You can read my full experience through-out the program here. Every step of the way through-out Launch School, you will be getting delightful 'aha' moments, and there is also a very supportive community that is available if you need to ask a question or want to help someone else.

    The whole curriculum is amazingly well-thought-out and slowly builds your skills and your confidence.

    My initial thought was that I would spend 3 months on the program, I ended up doing well over 10 months, so expect to invest a lot of time and hard work in this program, but I can tell you that it is truly worth it, and because you pay in monthly instalments instead of one big lump sum, I think the program is very affordable.

    One final thing; I worked with JavaScript before joining Launch School, and I work mostly with JavaScript after Launch School, so don't let the fact that the program is focused on Ruby bother you. You will learn principles that apply in any language or framework.

    This program is the real deal and I can't say enough good things about it.