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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
  • 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.

  • Tyler V • Software Developer • Student
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    I have been taking Launch School's courses for about 8-months now and I'm going out of my way to write a review because of how well I have enjoyed their courses. I have taken all of their beginning back-end courses, some of the advanced back-end courses and am just starting their front-end courses.

    It took me a long time to find online programming courses this good - I've tried almost every other online one out there and Launch School is the best for a number of reasons. First, their content is by far the best you will find online. Everything is enjoyable to learn, accurately taught, and you will complete each course with a wholesome understanding of the subjects. Second, they teach mastery based learning. This is one part of Launch School that took me a few months to really accept as the best way to learn. As long as you take the time to do all of the assignments (and they all are important) you will really master the subjects they are teaching and you will have a very good idea about where you stand with the material. After almost every class they mandate a "interview" with them to be sure that you're really grasping everything they teach. This is a crucial part about why I think their graduates will be more successful than other online schools.

    I think there is a ton of awful online material and competition in this space right now but I could not say enough good things about Launch School. I have recommended Launch School to tons of other people and I cannot say enough good things about it.

  • Changed my life...
    - 6/23/2016
    Liam • Software Developer • Student
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    Thanks to the thorough curriculum at Launch School and the boundless effort and support of the instructors and TAs, I am now working as a software developer for one of the largest MOOC platforms in the world.

    I can honestly say that a couple of years ago, even in my wildest dreams, I wouldn't have believed I would be working as a professional software developer at the age of 26 (with no college degree in Computer Science either!).

    I tried many, many online programs and courses over the past couple of years, but the big difference with Launch School is that the curriculum is designed to allow anyone to gradually work up to the level of a professional junior software developer at their own pace. No other course out there goes into as much depth as Launch School. I can personally testify to this - in the first month of my job my mentor was extremely surprised how wide my knowledge base was, especially in topics such as Object-Oriented Design, Continuous Intregration and TDD.

    Take one of the preparatory courses for free and get your foot in the door - you've got nothing to lose!

  • Anonymous • Graduate
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    I participated in the Capstone Mentoring Program from January to April of 2016. It was a completely transformative experience and proved absolutely invaluable in my transition to a software engineer at a reputable and successful company in NYC. The fact of the matter is that I simply would not have been provided the top quality job opportunity that I ultimately accepted if it wasn't for the process that we followed and the mentoring that we were given.

    If you are thinking about whether this program is right for you, the most appropriate advice that I could provide is this: be absolutely certain that you are willing to be unconditionally dedicated to this process. Kevin and Chris are not lying when they tell you that it will be hard work and that you will have to make a significant sacrifice in order to be successful in this program. You are going to work very, very hard. You should be prepared to allocate at least 60 hours of your time per week to the program. Expect to have daily meetings with your capstone peer and mentor and to fully immerse yourself. You will come out of it a changed person.

    The program begins with a review and strengthening of your fundamentals - programming, problem solving, databases, algorithms, and general web development concepts. All of which is supplemented by an ongoing bookclub where you will have daily reading assignments and discuss/present your opinions on the assigned chapters each day. The books will introduce you to new concepts and importantly provide you with an opportunity to work on discussing your opinions across a range of material; excellent preparation for the interview process.

    Quickly, you will move into daily pair programming with a capstone peer where you will review and dissect major open source applications together. You will also take ownership of reviewing discrete pieces of those applications and present your work during your daily meetings. Throughout this entire process, your mentor will be giving you constant realtime feedback and insight, helping solidify concepts and pushing you in the appropriate direction to accelerate your development.

    Before you know it, you will be brainstorming with your peer and mentor regarding your capstone project. The process of coming up with ideas, settling on one, and then actually building something could be the whole program in-and-of-itself. You will pair program, work closely with your mentor, and put absolutely everything you have into it. You will live it and breathe it for several weeks. When it is ready, you will show it off. And it will blow people away. I cannot say enough about how well our capstone project was received by the community. It impressed even the most senior developers because it went so far beyond the typical “Yelp clone” project that would be expected of a bootcamp graduate and because it presented significant challenges at both the engineering and product management levels. It was our capstone project and presenting it at a meet up in NYC that raised the eyebrows of a senior developer at the company where I ultimately accepted a position.

    With your capstone project completed you will move into the final phase of the program - interview prep and interviewing. In addition to pursuing any opportunities arising from your capstone project, you will select the companies you want to apply to and work with your mentor to strategize on how best to apply and who to apply to first. In parallel, you will drill hard in preparation for your technical interviews. Mock interviews and whiteboard sessions, code challenges, anything that may present itself during your technical interviews will be discussed and drilled on a daily basis so that you can go into those interviews confident and ready to further impress. At the end of the program your mentor will help you negotiate salary/compensation and weigh the pros and cons of any competing offers.

    Throughout the process I attended several meet ups in the NYC area and had a chance to chat with several other students who were either currently taking courses with, or recent graduates of, other bootcamps. When I described LaunchSchool's curriculum and its Capstone Mentoring Program to them, the response was unanimous. They simply could not believe how much more in depth we go at every level. After being out in the community and speaking with several similarly-situated folks I can confidently say that this program is at the very top of the list. Make no mistake about it, this is where it’s at.

    Your mentor is with you the entire way, from program kickoff to the signed offer. It will be bittersweet when you sign off of that last google hangouts session — but everyone signs off with a big smile and a feeling of true accomplishment. If you are serious about your engineering career, willing and able to put everything you have into the process and setting yourself up for success at the onset, I cannot recommend this process any more highly. What happens is nothing short of amazing.

  • Eric • Student
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    I completed Launch School's Capstone Mentoring program with a job offer in hand last November. Launch School paved the way for me to save a significant amount of time in my education with software development. Before I go on to extoll the virtues of the program, let me tell you a little about me. I'm 30 years old and before Launch School my familiarization with computers was not much beyond Facebook and word processing. Launch School taught me everything from how to use the command line to OOP and far beyond. Launch School offers two main components: a supported self-paced online bootcamp, and a capstone mentoring arrangement (the Capstone Mentoring) where they help you bridge the gap to employment. It didn't take me long to appreciate the strength of their learning material and of their community (which includes very dedicated TAs who are easy to get a hold of).

    But I'd rather talk about the thing that made the difference from mildly experienced beginner to employed with a junior position. This was going through the mentoring sessions with Kevin. He was with me every step of the way and remained devoted to my success and was flexible enough to accommodate my learning style and pacing. The meat of what we worked on, after brushing up the fundamentals, was a more significant Ruby project.

    Throughout the process, Kevin showed incredible empathy, knowing when to kick my butt a little more and when to back off to give me a little space. At one point, he made the analogy to being a personal trainer. The image couldn't be more apt. After all, he spent relatively little time in the weeds with me, instead pointing me in the right direction to figure out technical details myself (isn't that was StackOverflow is for?) and kept a masterly handle on where I was, how I was progressing, and what should come next in the process. He knew when to dig in on a project and when to abandon ship and move on to something else. Let's face it, we're all human and fundamentally lazy so both a personal trainer and Kevin are there to keep us motivated. Working on code in a vacuum, alone in front of a computer, can be very lonely and indeed distressing. But when someone else is depending on you to get a job done, that extra bit of motivation helps with the worst moments of lethargy and resistance.

    I couldn't recommend Launch School more highly to someone who wants to learn to code (and get a job at it!) but cannot do an in-person bootcamp for whatever reason. For some, Launch School may even be a superior learning environment compared to an in-person bootcamp. For me, it was the perfect mix of hands-on vs. freedom and hard pushing vs. giving time to breathe and consolidate knowledge. Lastly, Kevin is an incredibly congenial mentor and serves as a secure anchor in an otherwise very bumpy and uncertain ocean.

  • Anonymous • developer • Graduate
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    I studied Law and Economics and got a job in administration. I soon found out that this job wasn't for me and I found out that writing code was a lot of fun. Before joining Launch School I was learning web development on my own for 2 years. I went through courses and videos on Youtube, CodeSchool, TeamTreehouse, Lynda.com, etc.

    I learned a lot but I lacked the fundamentals and problem solving skills that good employers are searching on the market. Launch School gave me a lot of knowledge on web development. We did a lot of coding challenges with the instructors and when I got my first job interview I was able to answer most of the technical questions and finish coding exercises they gave me.

    Launch School also provides weekly live sessions. This is basically pair programming with an awesome programmers such as Chris or Kevin and what I've learned is that programmers are stuck with coding problem a lot more that I imagined. But when I took other online courses this was not obvious. Teachers were writing code without any mistakes and without searching the documentation on the web. At Launch School you will see the reality and the instructors will tell you the truth about learning to program.

    If you would ask me what are the most important things to get from novice to job ready. I would say,

    1. Get great teachers
    2. Learn and practice on the fundamentals
    3. Read and write code every day

    There are a lot of resources on the web to learn and practise coding. But getting great teachers that would help and guide you on your learning journey is probably the hardest thing to get on your own. You can get everything listed above and more at Launch School. All you need to do is devote your time and energy and learn every day for few hours.

    I am grateful that Launch School exists. It helped a lot of people to get their dream jobs. I still can't believe that I went from a job that was basically shuffling papers to a job that lets me build an app for Olympic games.