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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
  • Jeremy • Graduate
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    I'm early on in starting my software development career, as I graduated Launch School's Core Curriculum just a couple weeks ago. I'm busy preparing my portfolio, seeking out open source projects, and expanding my network. That being said, I am already aware of how Launch School has given me the skills to analyze new problems and grasp how different programming pieces fit together.

    In my opinion, the best features of Launch School are the in-depth curriculum, extremely knowledgeable TAs, extensive assessments, and high-caliber students. The curriculum is thorough, organized, and carefully scaffolded to build upon each block of knowledge from course to course. Students can get any question about the curriculum answered quickly by TAs. Assessments are thorough and demand precision in all responses. And, because of all of these things, Launch School by and large attracts students who are diligent, serious, disciplined, and incredibly motivated. Every student that I had the pleasure of coding with cared deeply about the work at hand. We all shared a common goal of wanting to master the material.

    When initially researching and comparing coding schools, I realized that Launch School sees learning software development as a lifelong journey of mastering a craft, not learning to code in three months in order to land a job. Launch School is honest and transparent with what they offer. Just by taking a look at the website, you can see that there isn't the window dressing that other online coding schools have. Before enrolling with Launch School, I stumbled across a section on their website: "Who our Program is NOT built for". The description is frank about the extensive time investment, difficulty of the courses, and strict philosophy on first principles at the exclusion of the newest, most sought after modern frameworks. 

    It was clear to me that Launch School wasn't interested in just making a sale to one more customer. The people behind the program believe in the work that they do and the approach that they have. On top of that, they offer a free preparatory course and a dozen free eBooks. And the commitment is only month to month, so I was never locked in longer than I wanted to be.

    The curriculum content can be daunting and at times even overwhelming. But rest assured that by taking your time, slowly combing through the material, connecting with other students, and taking advantage of opportunities to ask TAs all of your questions, you can and will get through it all. If I can do it, then so can you.

  • Melissa M. • Software Engineer II • Graduate
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    Launch School focuses on the fundamentals - things that don't change even as frameworks and libraries rise and fall in popularity. Mastering this base knowledge set me up to more easily adopt new languages and frameworks and expand my understanding to more advanced, integrated concepts.

    Launch School emphasizes breaking challenges down into smaller pieces and examining them from various angles. They provide a framework for developing and updating your own mental models for the concepts. They push past rote memorization until students fully grasp the "why"s behind the techniques.

    I can't speak highly enough of the support of both the staff and student community fostered at Launch School. Questions are answered promptly, suggestions for improvement are taken seriously and adopted quickly, and camaraderie between students is both encouraged and supported by the Launch School staff.

    The assessments guaranteed I was able to both write and speak with confidence and precision about technical concepts. This was vital in preparation for my technical interviews and a career as part of a technical team.

    Not everyone can take the time to learn to this depth. It is a long and intense journey. However, those who commit to the Launch School path will find themselves surrounded by dedicated and encouraging fellow students and staff who will then comprise a strong network of top-notch Software Engineers.


  • Tiffany Han • Software Engineer • Graduate
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    If you’re a Launch School student, you already know that the curriculum and instructors are top notch. As a Capstone student, you can expect the same level of pedagogy, rigor, and thoughtfulness. The only difference is that Capstone is several times over more intense, more interactive, and even more personalized.

    Before my cohort started, I had many worries. Would the remote nature of the program result in a diminished learning experience? Would very recent changes to the program result in worse outcomes for graduates? Were the promised outcomes simply “too good to be true”?

    During the first week of Capstone, these worries of mine quickly dissolved. Our cohort was distributed all over the US, but everyone was synchronized on the same schedule. Moreover, our twelve hour days were meticulously planned, even down to lunch and break times. Activities were optimally split between lectures with our mentor, cohort wide activities, team activities, and individual work. Time was precious, and we wasted none of it.

    We also made ample use of real time video chat. There were even a few occasions where my team spent the entire day on video chat, either discussing research and/or pair programming. The whole thing just felt very collaborative in general. I learned something new from each of my Capstone peers, and it was truly a delight to go through this crazy experience with them!

    By the time the job hunt phase rolled around, Capstone surpassed my already high expectations yet again. Yes, we were all on different schedules now. But there was never a time when I didn’t know what to do next. I was pushed so far beyond my comfort zone in the areas of networking, facing rejection, and even public speaking. I presented a talk about our Capstone project at various tech meetups in the Bay Area, and the feedback was nothing short of incredible.

    Was it all worth it in the end? Without a doubt, my answer is a resounding yes! After 10 weeks on the job hunt, I accepted an offer for a position where I’ll be making more than $100k/year. Moreover, this job is everything I wanted in terms of location, company size, product, and people. I’ll be using Python in my new job by the way, and I’m not worried at all about the change in language. I know that the fundamentals I learned at Launch School will be more than enough to carry me through.

    Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t easy. The Capstone schedule was so demanding that I dreamt about code at night. Besides that, it was really difficult to explain to my friends and family what I was doing. People discouraged me from moving to the super expensive Bay Area before I had a job offer. If you’re mentally prepared for all that though, then I would definitely encourage you to go for it. Capstone will propel you like a rocket ship to the moon.

  • Daniel Roth • Software Engineer • Graduate
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    It's hard to overestimate the role Launch School's Capstone and the Core Curriculum programs played in me getting my first full time tech job. No part of this was quick and easy - but it was absolutely worth it.

    If I had to summarize the experience in way too few words, I would say the Core Curriculum had taught me how to think as a developer, and Capstone taught me everything I might need to do well in the current job market. Now, I don't say 'everything' lightly. This really was nearly 'everything', and acquiring this knowledge was, again, not easy, but when you know the fundamentals well - it's doable. Without knowing them - probably not.

    And that is Launch School's real success - with the right selection of materials and with Launch School's mastery based program, a Launch School graduate can take on new challenges quickly and intelligently. This played a key role both while interviewing and learning new concepts and technologies on the fly, and on the job, where learning new things quickly is probably one of the most valued skills an employee can have.

    Launch School's core curriculum & capstone programs do this right. I really cannot stress this enough. When I had started I was worried that this might take too long - I am now shocked at how far I've come at such a relatively short time. My first full time tech job far exceeded my expectations in terms of salary and seniority level (even after reading about all the success stories). I could not have hoped for a better result, and I can say with great confidence that this is all thanks to Launch School.

  • Ying Chyi Gooi • Engineer • Graduate
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    My college degree in Actuarial Science did not prepare me well enough to land a job in the field. I was stuck working in a role that required only a high school degree. That went on for a full year. I was able to pay my bills and have some savings, but I realized that I wasn't happy at my job - it lacked meaning. That's when I started looking elsewhere - into tech and into programming. I eventually found Launch School.

    Launch School is one of the best decisions that I made. The learning journey may be long, uncertain and at times, rough, but finishing the Core Curriculum and Capstone have been absolutely worth it. I want to point out a few tangible benefits having gone through this process with Launch School.

    Having mastered the fundamentals, it has improved my ability to learn new technologies quickly. I was able to pick up React/Redux in a short period of time and tackle take-home assignments with confidence. Even if there are unfamiliar requirements (such as handling 3rd party API calls), I was able to look up appropriate resources and learn how to build certain features quickly and implement best practices. This helped me passed interviews and often landed me into on-sites.

    Capstone is another level. Coming out of it, I gained a strong understanding of high-level systems architecture, data structures, algorithms and some CS fundamentals. On top of it, I built an impressive project, which employers find impressive. All that makes me an invaluable candidate to good companies. Capstone also provides zero-interest loans, which helped me to pursue my highest goals in finding my next job - despite receiving numerous rejections and not-so-great offers.

    I eventually landed an offer with DigitialOcean - which is beyond my imagination! I am so grateful to have the opportunity pursue my career with a company that supports long-term growth, a caring community and great work-life balance. Not to mention a great salary, excellent health benefits, free lunches everyday, and a long list of other perks. I would not have landed this opportunity without Launch School and Capstone.

    Besides landing a career-launching job, I also get to make life-long friends. Sunny and Julius are the alumni that not only inspired me to finish Capstone, but also gave their support throughout the long job hunt process. I am also happy to say that we all work in the same company now!

    Finally, I would like to thank the people behind Launch School - Chris, Kevin and the amazing TAs for providing us a path to achieve greatness. Not just in terms of salary numbers, but also in building confidence and the skills necessary to land great jobs.
  • Josh • Graduate
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    When I started my journey into programming I quickly realized that there was a million resources out there and very little structure. I was constantly battling the questions of "what should I focus on and to what depth?". In addition, I saw a lot of flashy quick-turnaround solutions flooding the marketplace. My intuition told me that programming was a difficult undertaking and that cramming all that I would need to know into a 3 - 6 month window seemed too good to be true. Fortunately, during my search I found Launch School. They confirmed my belief that becoming competent in programming is a long-term, fundamentals-focused journey. After having spent the past two years learning in Launch School, I can attest that the Launch School philosophy is the right path for long-term growth.

    The Core Curriculum does a fantastic job of laying a solid foundation. You'll need that foundation no matter what you decide to do and it is a natural ramp to the topics covered in Capstone. Capstone really is a fantastic career-launching step. It first covers valuable subject areas that are out of scope for the core curriculum and combines it with what you learn in the core curriculum to build challenging and impressive projects with your team members. By the time I finished Capstone I felt much more grounded and confident as an engineer then I would have otherwise.

    Aside from the obvious technical training, Launch School really pushed me to hold myself to a higher standard of learning. I now have a stronger drive to learn than when I started and I enjoy pushing my boundaries. I also learned how to really believe in myself and that I bring significant value to the table for employers. During my post-Capstone job hunt I turned down job offers that I would have been thrilled to have received before I started my journey with Launch School. I believed that, even while they were great offers, I was worth even more. This doesn't get talked about a lot, in regards to Capstone, but it was really drilled into us during the process to believe in our abilities and our value. That newfound confidence paid off with an amazing fullstack engineering job offer that pays almost double what I made as a manager in my prior career. I wouldn't have had the belief in myself to hold out and get job I did without the training I received at Launch School.

    Anyone who aspires to push themselves to be the best that they can be should consider Capstone. It will be hard. It will be daunting. But it will be well worth it once you are done.
  • Steven S • Senior Software Engineer • Graduate
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    When gyms advertise "Train here to get lean and jacked within 10 weeks!", most of us roll our eyes and are skeptical. But coding bootcamps do the exact same thing and people bite. 

    LaunchSchool is the "boring" coach that tells you to follow a longer path but you'll 100% get into the best shape of your life. And trust me, it works.

    If you want to land the best jobs in the tech industry without having to go through a 4 year computer science degree, LaunchSchool will help you do that. I recently landed multiple offers from FANG type companies and I couldn't have done it without LaunchSchool. 


  • 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.