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Launch School

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Launch School

Avg Rating:4.83 ( 66 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
  • 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.
  • 100% worth it
    - 10/17/2021
    Dorey Miller • SDE II • Graduate
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    I can't really say enough how much I value the experience I had going through both Launch School Core Curriculum and their Capstone program.  When I started Core, I had just a little bit of development experience, and my knowledge and understanding of programming was very limited.  I wanted a deep understanding of programming fundamentals that would provide me a solid foundation for a career as a software engineer.   

    I worked through the Ruby track, and each of the course units gave me another in-depth piece of that solid foundation.  The mastery-based learning approach really works and at the end of each unit, I felt like I truly learned the material.  By the end of Core, I felt like I had all of the tools I needed to write good code, problem solve, and put all the pieces together to make full-stack web applications.  Most importantly, I felt confident that I could go out and learn new technologies and languages on my own and grow as a developer.

    I decided to enroll in Capstone, because I wanted to take on a larger engineering project and was impressed with the projects that I had seen from previous cohorts.  It felt like an investment that would jump-start my career.  The experience was 100% worth it.  By the end, I felt like my knowledge and experience had doubled and that I was truly prepared for the job hunt and a career as a software engineer.  I ended up getting a job as an SDE II with a great salary and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Launch School to anyone interested in software development as a career.  It has been truly life-changing.
  • Mark
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    I’m a Javascript grad from LS and this course isn’t worth it at all. There are no projects. Self studying will take less time than LS and there is much better material out there for much cheaper. The study sessions are weird, the instructors can snitch on you to the Owner of LS if you don’t do well in the sessions. My advice would be to get on Udemy or Youtube and you can get the exact same material, with less typos and grammatical mistakes and for much much cheaper.
    Response From: Chris Lee of Launch School
    Title: Founder
    Sunday, Jun 27 2021
    Hi Mark,

    I'm sorry to hear about your bad experience at Launch School. I've always maintained that student-school fit is really important and just because it didn't occur here doesn't mean the student can't succeed or that the school is bad. No program can be a good fit for every student. The key, in my opinion, is being able to leave the school immediately if there's not a good fit. 

    We designed Launch School with this primary idea in mind -- that anyone can leave Launch School at any time if it doesn't feel right. I'm wondering why you decided to finish the JavaScript track despite negative feelings? If it was something that we did to make you feel that you had to stay at Launch School, please let me know as I want to improve and that's not the feeling I want people to have. We are against educational entrapment. 

    My goal is to build the most student-centric program and that, imo, centers around be transparent and allowing people to come and go as they please. Most places make it very easy to sign up but impossible to leave. We are the opposite: it's very difficult to pay us money (we require a manual admissions process), but it's very easy to leave (self service to stop anytime). 

    In any case, if you still feel wronged by your experience at Launch School, please send me an email (chris@launchschool.com) and I'll see what I an do to make it right.  
  • Ben Z • Software Developer • Graduate
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        The Core Program does a great job of laying a solid foundation for growth. Interviewers were always impressed to learn about Launch School’s chapters on reading documentation and PEDAC. In the age of Bootcamps, the ability to solve problems and find answers is rare in new graduates, and Launch School’s emphasis on this pays off very well.

        That payoff is easy to see in yourself as well. During my interview process, I was asked numerous times to build small applications with frameworks, and even entire languages, with which I had no previous experience. The confidence Launch School’s process gave me allowed me to feel comfortable taking on those challenges, and with the skills I developed during the Core Program I was able to meet those challenges.

        The Capstone Program is where you build on your solid fundamental base and dramatically increase your worth as a new hire. The Capstone Project and the higher-level concepts taught during Capstone are what allow you to stand out in a crowded job market. During an initial interview I heard “I don’t know why HR forwarded me your resume, because you don’t have any experience. But I’m so glad they did, because your Capstone project is really impressive! I’ve even showed it around the company!” Two weeks later I accepted an offer from him for a salary that is $30-40k more than I would have otherwise been thrilled to make, had I not gone through Capstone.

        For the past two years I’ve been singing Launch School’s praises as a coding school. I knew I was learning valuable skills, but I had to trust the process and hope that my efforts would eventually pay off. Now that they have, I can recommend Launch School as a life-changing opportunity.
  • 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.