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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

Shared Review

  • Nick Miller  User Photo
    Nick Miller • Software Engineer • Graduate • Verified via LinkedIn
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    I got laid off from a startup that was on a sharp downward trajectory in early 2017. After looking in the market for jobs doing what I had been doing and coming up dissatisfied all around, my wife realized it was time for me to take a look at the bigger picture. We sat down and brainstormed a list of ideas of things I wanted to try doing, learning about software making the top of the list. It quickly became the only item on that list after getting a taste from an Intro to Computer Science MOOC I took that summer. Armed with a desire to learn more, I went online to see what options were out there for turning my curiosity into a new career.

    I don't know if it was the overly-positive, almost saccharine marketing that turned me off of most bootcamps, or the utterly realistic "we're here for the long game" marketing of Launch School, but once I read through Launch School's novellas on mastery-based learning and their pedagogy (after learning what pedagogy meant), I was hooked.

    It took me just under two years to work my way through the Core curriculum and Capstone. Just a few weeks after finishing Capstone, I accepted a job as a backend software engineer at Science 37, a medical technology company.

    I'm constantly surprised at how what I've learned at Launch School is helpful and relevant at my job. My first assignment at work was to take over development of a partially-built feature and complete it. The problem was that the existing code is written in Go, a language I have no experience in.

    Whereas other engineers might jump straight into coding, my time at Launch School taught me to first comprehend, then code. I spent a majority of my time reading and understanding the existing code line-by-line to find out what had already been accomplished and how. Being that this was a language that I've never coded in before, I leaned heavily on official documentation to understand the nuances of the language and understand exactly what it was doing, something Launch School also taught me to do (and appreciate).

    Once I had a good mental model of the feature as it was written so far, I could use the PEDAC process to surgically add or edit code as needed, changing only what needed to be changed rather than mindlessly hacking and slashing in an attempt to stumble into a workable solution. Invariably I ran into problems both with the code as well as the underlying architecture that the code would use. Thanks to the Capstone program, when I bumped into holes in my knowledge, I knew enough to take a step back and flesh out my mental model of what should be happening and why.

    Launch School provided me with the skillset to systematically work through what would otherwise be an extremely daunting first assignment. I would not hesitate to say that Launch School was the most well-structured and effective learning experience I've ever had the pleasure of participating in. I would recommended it without a second thought to anyone wanting a career in software engineering.

  • Sienna  User Photo
    Sienna • Senior Software Engineer • Student • Verified via LinkedIn
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    I attended Launch School from 2016-2018, first doing the self-paced full-stack core program and then the Capstone program.  Both parts were fantastic - well worth every minute and every penny I put into them.

    Launch School's mastery-based curriculum emphasizes deep understanding of programming fundamentals that I now use every day as a full-time software developer.  Although these fundamentals are taught in Ruby and/or Javascript at Launch School, and I've found that the principles and mental models I developed apply to any and all programming languages.

    The core curriculum was self-paced, which gave me the flexibility to consume the material at my own speed (some things were easy and quick, and I needed more time to master others) and on my own schedule.  The Capstone program was an opportunity to bring those skills into a collaborative project, learn collaborative tools (more advanced git, GitHub, project-management tools, etc.), get coaching around job searching and interviewing, and really prepare for the day-to-day work of a software engineer.

    2 years later, I'm still at the great job that I found with the help of Launch School's curriculum and instructors.  I highly recommend this program to anyone serious about becoming a software engineer!
  • Julius Zerwick  User Photo
    Julius Zerwick • Software Engineer at DigitalOcean • Graduate Verified via GitHub
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    My journey toward software engineering started in August 2016 after feeling unsatisfied in my job and looking to make a change toward a more fulfilling career. After several months of self-study with online resources that didn’t give a clear outline of how to progress as a developer, I chose to enroll in an online bootcamp to learn Ruby, Rails, and JavaScript in 3 months with guarantees of finding a good “junior role” by the end.

    However, after finishing the bootcamp in March 2017 I had a clear feeling that I wasn’t anywhere near the level that I needed to be for interviews and that my skills were built on unstable foundations. That feeling is what lead me to joining Launch School where the deep curriculum, fantastically supportive community, and mastery-based learning approach made me believe that I had found the answer to my search for successfully making a career change.

    From the very beginning, I was blown away by the focus on learning the fundamentals and developing core engineering skills needed to land career-defining jobs. Within even the first few courses, I already felt more capable as a developer and more confident in my own abilities than I ever did in my bootcamp experience.

    This extensive experience of building a rock-solid foundation of the fundamentals from the bottom-up proved essential once I joined the Capstone program. Where the Core Curriculum had built me into a strong developer, Capstone brought me to another level and polished my skills to the point that I could effectively learn complicated software topics and build with my team SpaceCraft: a real-time, collaborative REPL with a distributed architecture. In fact, our team has been contacted by several companies and teams who wanted our help to build their own REPL and it’s all because of how impressive our Capstone work has been.

    And the end result? I’ve landed my dream job at DigitalOcean as a Software Engineer II for the Network Services team, skipping an entry level role and working on projects & technologies that I thought out of my reach just 2 years ago. And more than doubling my salary from my previous job!

    Launch School has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and I would heartily recommend it to anyone who is willing to devote themselves to mastering the curriculum and trusting the process they have developed. There is simply no option among the competition that I’ve found to be better than Launch School.

  • Sunny Beatteay  User Photo
    Sunny Beatteay • Software Engineer @ DigitalOcean • Graduate Verified via GitHub
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    In August 2016, I had been exploring web development for 6 months but without any clarity. I knew I wanted to become a software developer but I did not know how. That is when I found Launch School and the answer became clear. While the pricing and pace drew me in, the mastery-based learning philosophy is why I excelled.

    From first glance, it was apparent that Launch School had been founded by industry veterans. I have never encountered a curriculum more in-depth and rigorous. While other programs are teaching frameworks that last a year, Launch School is teaching the principles and skills that last a lifetime.

    "Trust the process" is an inside joke among Launch School students, but it is a sentiment that perfectly captures the essence of the program. Over the span of a year, I invested well over a thousand hours into my studying. That dedication does not come without a fair share of impatience and self-doubt.

    Many students encounter a "mid-life crisis" halfway through the curriculum. They have learned enough to get a job and are tempted to take the money and run. I learned that from experience and immediately regretted it.

    While any half-decent developer can get a "job", Launch School is teaching its students how to build their careers. By the time someone finishes the Core Curriculum, they will be in the 90th percentile of job candidates. The Capstone program will take them the rest of the way.

    Launch School's Capstone Program is fast-paced and demanding, but with a solid understanding of the fundamentals, I excelled. I worked with two other developers to build Conclave: a decentralized, collaborative editor. Very few engineers can say they have worked on decentralized systems to the degree that I have, and those engineers are Ph.D. candidates.

    Any possible doubt I might have had about Launch School was erased during the job search. My comprehension of core principles combined with the Capstone Project made me a top contender. In 8 weeks time, I received 7 offers. Not only did I accept an offer from my #1 choice company, DigitalOcean, but I also qualified as a Software Engineer II -- skipping the entry-level position.

    Choosing the join Launch School was the wisest decision I have ever made and it will continue to pay dividends for the rest of my life.
  • Max  User Photo
    Max • Software Engineer • Graduate • Verified via LinkedIn
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    Dissatisfied with my previous non-technical career, I started looking for online programs to learn web development and programming, and after several months trying out several programs, decided Launch School was the best fit for me.

    For someone who is a life-long learner and is curious about understanding concepts at a foundational level, Launch School is the perfect curriculum. It does not promise quick, easy wins or make grandiose claims about transforming your life in 3 months. Instead it give you the direction and material you need to learn programming, while providing feedback and motivation along the way through assessments and TA support.

    Over the course of the core curriculum and the Capstone program, I logged several thousand hours. It allows you to learn at your own pace. You have to bring your own discipline and effort, and at times the depth of the curriculum will challenge your patience. However, 2 years later, previously knowing very little about the fundamentals of programming, I just accepted a competitive software engineering job that is everything I could have hoped for in a new role and more. I can honestly say that Launch School has transformed my career and the trajectory of the rest of my life.

    The core curriculum provides a solid platform and jumping off point to go learn almost anything you could want to in programming. The Capstone program is what really prepares you for the job market. It gives you hands on experience owning a highly technical project from the ground up, and working collaboratively with other intelligent, motivated engineers. The guidance we received throughout from experienced industry veterans was invaluable - I can’t imagine ending up where I am today without their support.

    I would highly recommend Launch School and the Capstone program to anyone who is prepared to be dedicated and serious about transitioning into this exciting field. Their results so far speak for themselves!
  • Will M.  User Photo
    Will M. • Software Developer • Graduate • Verified via LinkedIn
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    There are shorter and easier paths to getting a job in tech, but there are good reasons why I stuck on the slow path at Launch School. I didn’t just want a job, I wanted a rewarding career where I could meaningfully contribute and grow for years to come. With the baseline knowledge and habits established in the core curriculum and the intensity of the Capstone program, I feel well prepared to stay relevant across an ever-changing industry for decades to come.

    When I started Launch School’s mastery-based core curriculum, I had no software development experience. I had just entered my thirties and was looking to make a 180° career change. It took me 21 months of full-time study (including time in the Capstone program) before I even started my job search. I live in Toronto, Canada, where salaries are lower than in the US for software developers, but I’m still in a position of almost tripling my previous best salary and doubling my vacation days.

    Embracing a mastery based learning path is more difficult than it sounds. It’s been transformational for me, but it’s also not for everyone. You really need to trust in the process to succeed. Looking back on my time at Launch School, the instructors all have high expectations, but also genuinely want you to succeed and are amazing at providing useful feedback and pushing you to the limits of your ability and beyond.

    The community is very active on Slack and supportive about responding to questions in a really well thought out way. The teaching materials are great at getting you to dig deeper into problems and force you to really understand and be able to communicate why a snippet of code does one thing or another.

    While I was in my job search, I felt well prepared for the types of questions I was asked and wasn’t really surprised by anything about the process. I don’t recommend LS to everyone because it only works if you’re willing to put in the time and effort and commit to embracing the methodology -- but to the people who are capable of undertaking that kind of commitment, it really does work.

    In my job I feel very well prepared to learn the things I don't know yet on the job, and most importantly to ask the right questions. LS drilled it into my head to take a procedural approach that focuses on understanding the problem before writing any code. That training is really paying off for me while solving problems in production code. 

    One of the great things about LS is that the free prep materials are in-depth and a good taste of what the curriculum is like, so if you get through those, I think you’ll know that the program is right for you before paying anything.

  • Jacob C.  User Photo
    Jacob C. • Software Engineer • Graduate • Verified via LinkedIn
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    I knew I wanted to be a software engineer, but before Launch School I never had a path to get there. I had tried various online courses but would inevitably hit a wall. I researched boot camps but I never felt like they could give me the depth I needed for the kind of engineering jobs I wanted.

    Choosing Launch School was easy: the pedagogy of a slow path to mastery followed by the promise of in depth coaching through the Capstone program matched with what I thought it might take to make the transition to the career I wanted. Unlike other solutions out there, it felt like a sober approach to becoming a professional engineer.

    I finished the Core Curriculum in roughly 2 years. Launch School’s focus on learning fundamentals enabled me to slowly build and integrate increasingly advanced software engineering concepts. In addition to this, the emphasis that Launch School placed not only on what I learned, but also on how I learned, enabled me to find a joy and practice in problem solving that I'll have for life. 

    After finishing the Core Curriculum I chose to participate in the Capstone program. I believe that the Capstone program gave me the rare opportunity to get serious mentorship and team experience that would have taken years to receive on the job. The results of the Capstone program speak for themselves: after graduating I found the job of my dreams. Not only do I get to work with a great team solving interesting problems everyday, but I'm also making a salary that is twice the amount of the ceiling of my former profession. I'll always remember the pride that I had when the interviewer for my current position told me that the reason I made it through the first screening of the interview process was because I did "the best job at solving the problem" that the interviewer had seen. The skill I displayed during that interview was the result of my hard work. But that hard work would not have been possible without the combination of a solid curriculum, intentional mentorship, and dedicated study guided by serious engineers. I don't think you can get that combination anywhere other than Launch School.

    Launch School promises and delivers on a well thought out curriculum that consistently delivers on producing quality engineers. Ultimately, Launch School proved to be everything I hoped it would be.



  • Chian Yee  User Photo
    Chian Yee • Graduate • Verified via LinkedIn
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    Hello there. My name is Chian Yee and completed the course at Launch School from 2016 to 2018. Recently I went for 5 programming interviews and got 5 job offers, even one from IBM Hong Kong. I even got admitted into the University of Pennsylvania Master in Computer and Information Technology program. I really want to thank Launch School for the life-changing experience and education they gave me.

    A Unique Approach

    LS has a unique approach to teaching software engineering. You don’t just learn Ruby on Rails here. You learn fundamentals of programming like object-oriented programming, abstraction, encapsulation, polymorphism etc. These concepts are easily transferable to other programming languages. One of the core skills emphasized by LS is problem-solving. The whole course is peppered with plenty of programming exercises. Students are encouraged to find answers on their own first, guidance will come later. Even today, when I go for technical interviews, concepts learn from LS comes to me naturally because it is imbued in my mind after so many exercises.

    LS used a mastery-based approach to learning. They make sure that students understand the basics before going to more advanced topics. This is so important because it prevents confusion and frustration later down the road. It also means that there is no time-limit (I personally took 1 year and 8 months to finish LS) and instructors/TA take the time to assess you. At the end of each subject, TAs/instructors will assess and interview you and if you pass the assessment, it means you really understand the subject.

    A Place with Heart

    Although it is an online learning environment, LS is placed filled with care and friendliness. I remember the first day I join the course, Chris, the instructor and co-founder personally greeted me to welcome me to the course. A special thanks to him also for writing me a letter of recommendation to the University of Pennsylvania.

    TA are very friendly and helpful to me throughout my journey. They genuinely wanted to help you with your learning. Never had I had to wait for longer than a day to get a reply in the forum from them. Specifically, I want to thank Victor Paolo Reyes, Brandon Conway, Pete Hanson and Naveed Fida for all the help you extended me throughout the course.

    Conclusion

    There is an understanding that you don’t stop learning after you leave LS. LS provides a solid foundation for serious learners to learn on their own in the future. So if you are a serious learner and are willing to put in the effort and time to learn software engineering, LS can change your life!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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