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LaunchCode

Kansas City, Miami, St. Louis

LaunchCode

Avg Rating:3.0 ( 6 reviews )

LaunchCode is a nonprofit which offers free full-time, 14-week, and part-time, 20-week immersive coding bootcamps and apprenticeships in multiple locations in the US. The programs cover programming languages and concepts like Python, Java, and web developer tools. In addition, LaunchCode provides various online and in-person resources to prepare students for a job in tech. LaunchCode's programs are free and accessible to motivated individuals who are assessed for passion, drive and aptitude rather than credentials. LaunchCode offers a variety of courses, which blend in-person classroom instruction with online learning. Students will receive mentored support from instructors, teaching fellows, and professional programmers. 

Applicants must submit an online application with online coding puzzles, followed by a tech interview with LaunchCode where applicants must demonstrate a project they have built. Once accepted, students will need to complete 10-12 hours of pre-work.

All of LaunchCode's courses integrate job-readiness to prepare graduates to enter LaunchCode’s Apprenticeship Program, which matches entry-level technologists with companies for paid job opportunities. Students will participate in a final project showcase for potential employers. 

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  • CS50X

    Apply
    .NET, CSS, JavaScript
    In Person
    Start Date None scheduled
    CostN/A
    Class sizeN/A
    LocationSt. Louis, Kansas City, Miami
    This is a 16-week, live version of Harvard’s Introduction to Computer Science course.
    Financing
    DepositN/A
    Getting in
    Minimum Skill LevelN/A
    Placement TestNo
    InterviewNo
  • Brian  User Photo
    Brian • Associate Software Engineer • Graduate • Verified via LinkedIn
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    First off, I will say I graduated and was placed into a job by LaunchCode. I am very grateful for the opportunity, and it's worked out very well for me in the 2 years since I was hired. 

    The good:
    If a classroom environment is right for you, then you will likely do well here. I learn better in a classroom, surrounded by like minded individuals. I have too many distractions at home to really focus and teach myself, though I had gotten fairly far with some Python a year or two before applying, and have been using HTML and CSS for over 20 years now. 

    It's completely and totally free. My only expenses were a new laptop (only because I spilled water on my perfectly working one about halfway through the course) and transportation/commuting costs. They achieve this by partnering with the companies in the area they're located, and promising them developers who have gone through their program for temporary apprenticeships. This reduces the risk for their local partnered companies, as these are $15 an hour positions for 3 months. If a few people come in and prove themselves, then they're likely to take more LaunchCode graduates. Compared to comparable programs, which can cost $10k or more, this is probably the most important positive of LaunchCode. 

    Several of the teachers were really great teachers, senior level software engineers with experience in the language that they were teaching. My teacher for Java could easily have been a Computer Science professor at a large university, and often would point out and correct some inaccuracies or suggest better practices than the examples in the course material. 

    The bad:
    The course materials are confusing, lacking, or at times incorrect. I'll preface this by saying the material is constantly changing and evolving from "semester" to "semester". However, where it usually is pretty good at telling you how something works, there was almost no coverage of WHEN to use something. Real world examples would be super beneficial, but are usually absent. You can really only get so far with a basic understanding of each of the puzzle pieces and how they work by themselves, but no real knowledge of how to fit them together to build an application that is efficient, maintainable, and scalable. Again, my course was 2 years ago, and was only the second (I believe) time it had been run in my city, so this could have changed by now. However, I have a friend who is in the current class and has shared the current material with me. While the material has been updated, some of it is still worded in a fairly confusing manner.

    You will be teaching yourself a fair amount. The course only meets in person twice a week for at most 3 hours. Often, less than half of it is actual lecture time, with the remaining time used for "studio" aka the lab portion. I'd say over 75% the time, I was out the door in 2 to 2.25 hours. There is only so much lecture that can really be absorbed in a single day for most people, so I understood this, but when you're only really being "taught" for 2 to 3 hours a week, they can't cover everything that is important. But, I do feel like that is partly by design. Again, this is a completely free program. They're looking for not only the best and the brightest, but the hardest workers and the ones willing to teach themselves, as this absolutely IS a skill you need to succeed in any development position. There will always be new libraries, new languages, new tools, etc that you will be expected to teach yourself. We started with 250 people, but dropped down to about 110 after unit 1 of 3 finished. More trickled out over the next two units, so I'd say only 60-80 people actually finished the LaunchCode 101 portion. However, the people who do finish have shown that likely fit into a few categories that are marketable to companies looking for developers:

    1. smart enough to pick things up very quickly with minimal teaching, and can learn by reading, modifying, and just testing things out. 
    2. can pick things up pretty easily with minimal teaching, but still have to supplement their knowledge with extra reading, especially for upper-intermediate and advanced topics
    3. not naturally inclined to programming, and likely lagged behind others in their course, but determined enough to teach themselves, take a concurrent online course, and spend several hours studying or practicing their skills daily until they find a job

    All three of these "types" of people are valuable to a dev team, especially if you think differently to other people that stereotypically fit into a developer role. Someone who isn't naturally inclined to programming will bring insights that those who are naturally gifted won't think about. 

    However, that leads me to my final, most frustrating negative. LaunchCode's apprenticeship program/job placement unit, called LiftOff, is not technically part of the base LaunchCode course. It was a 4th, optional unit, for people who wanted an apprenticeship. And apprenticeship is a pretty good word for it. It's really just continuing on the job training for at least 3 months. Many times this turns into an offer for a full position at more than $15 an hour, but other times it doesn't, and you go back into the program until another company picks you up. I'm honestly okay with all of this, as I feel it is fair and gives the people who work well on teams a shot to impress the company they are at for 3 months, guaranteed, for livable compensation. 

    The main issue is that their list of apprenticeships is not fair, is not revolving, and if you don't land a job in the first 6 months afterwards, you likely won't through LaunchCode.  Search for LaunchCode on any job listing website, and you'll find dozens of postings advertising not LaunchCode, but their apprenticeship program. If you have all the skills necessary, you can apply and get accepted, while doing no ACTUAL work in any of the units. So, they're filling the list with people who have Computer Science degrees but haven't gotten into the industry yet, and as someone who took a free boot camp, it's very hard to compete. Additionally, I learned that a local company has a deal where they are guaranteed the top 15 from each semester for first interviews, and they hire 5 of those each year. If you're in the group of 10 that interview but aren't hired, you're nearly guaranteed to be placed within the first few months of finishing LiftOff. These are the "best and brightest" to them. I put enough work in to interview, but not be hired, and was placed at a job less than 2 months later. It seems that most of the rest of the positions are filled by the non-LaunchCode apprentices. My TA for the third unit had taken LaunchCode the year before me, but still hadn't been placed anywhere, and hadn't had any interviews set up by LaunchCode in 9 or 10 months, all the while job postings are going up on every imaginable site advertising the apprenticeship program. 

    I just feel that it's a bit dishonest to pass yourself off as training these great graduates who go on to do great things when in reality, it seems like a small percentage of those they actually teach are showing what LaunchCode can do. They need to work on standing on their own merit, and maybe that's the slow play, get integrated with partner companies, and show the types of people that can come in (even if a bit dishonestly), they give themselves more staying power in that city, but it just doesn't seem right to me. 

    However, I do know of many people who did not get placed by LaunchCode that did end up in development positions or in positions with a fast track to a development position, so if you're in the final graduate list, you do have what it takes to come in at a junior or associate level. Just be expected to prove yourself and strive to be in the top 15. 

    Overall, I have to say it worked for me. My pay has increased by well over 50% in the 2 years since I completed the course, and I am much happier than i ever was in any other job. I finally feel like I have a career, and part of that is thanks to LaunchCode. 

    If you can look past the negatives, and realize that getting what they offer for absolutely zero risk to you except your time, you will see that this is easily one of the most accessible programs out there. If you are a self-starter, good at learning on your own, and determined to change your life, you'll do fine. 
  • On your own
    - 6/24/2018
    Omar • na • Graduate
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    This course is just like someone giving you full load of videos and materials, then ask you to watch and read! 

    Don't expect lots of assistance from the TAs, they are students as well.

    In the beginning you will recieve lots of support from the administration, then toward the end of the course, you are on your own!!

    It seems as if everyone disappeared! The class size shrinks into half the size of students, then what so called "Job placement assistance" are gone! 

    First their attitude is like you are the begger and they are giving you money or job! then try reach out to anyone, and good luck if they answer, or solve anything.

    I just finished the course and never heared anything from anyone! No job interviews, no updates, or anything. Just like that. They give you a piece of paper that says "you have achieved and completed LC101 course" 

    If you have time to watch lots of videos and want some general information about coding, then this course is for you.

    If you are looking for a job and a career in coding, then don't waiste your time. You tube it and google jobs. 

    I would tell you more once I find where everyone (Teachers and administrators) went! probably Mars.

  • Prince • Graduate
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    I attended LaunchCode's most recent immersive coding bootcamp and can speak very highly of it. Even after you graduate, they won't place you in a program until you've done a project that demonstrates knowledge of one of the languages you've learned in the camp, as well as new skills you've learned on your own. They highly encourage you to pick a language in demand in your area, and in my area the language of most demand is Java. So, I'm still working on my project and haven't gotten an internship yet, but many people I know (from previous cohorts) have gotten an internship through them and are extremely thankful for the opportunity. I can't say LC is perfect, but I will vouch for the fact that they care deeply about what they are doing and constantly trying to improve the services they provide. It's definitely a very challenging class. You will learn a lot of if you dedicate the time and energy to follow their curriculum. 

  • Anonymous • Student
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    The course is quite bad, run by instructors with not much experience, in quite a hostile environment. I have seen many stories on their greediness. Many people who thought they were not able to make it and wanted to leave during the beginning of the program were convinced to stay and then left by themselves totally behind. I swear out of all the people of my cohort, like 90% of them wanted to leave negative feedback but they were afraid the post-job assistance would not provide anything in that case.

     
    For the projects, there's no real standard for quality. I put in a lot of work to make ambitious projects with pretty web design so they would actually look good on my resume. But looking at other students' work, I saw most people just did the bare minimum to pass the project requirements. I didn't feel like there was any incentive for people to try and become "great" web developers with projects they could be proud of. It definitely seems like they care more about quantity because that's what really serves their reputation.
    During the program, I had a friend who went to another intensive bootcamp (which I won't name). But she gave me access to her school's portal, and I did the majority of their workshops. Honestly, the difference in quality was staggering. Their information was much more so up-to-date and their approach to web development so much more engaging and serious.
     
    Job Placement Numbers - While they market their job placement % numbers all over the place, the truth is that they hire a substantial number of their own graduates to be teaching fellows/assistants and instructors for their own program.  What this means is that they can claim this as legitimate employment for their graduates but it doesn't really satisfy the true perception that the industry as a whole thinks about their graduates in terms of programming skills & knowledge, as much as their job placement numbers hope to lead you to believe.  In reality it's a win-win for them because it allows them to report high job % placement numbers as well as hire relatively cheap teaching staff for their program. And even the lucky few who get into the apprenticeship program, they usually end up working hard for peanuts with no guarantee after completing their apprenticeship which often turns out to be just a cheaply-compensated internship.
  • Anonymous • Graduate
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    I completed LaunchCode's Immersive Code Camp over the summer and I am very thankful for the skills I've built and the educators at LaunchCode. I have taken a coding class before LaunchCode, and as a woman, the other program wasn't very welcoming, this is NOT the case at LaunchCode. LaunchCode excels at inclusivity, the staff has always made me feel welcome, and the seduction team wants everyone to succeed and will do almost anything to help. Getting into the program was rigorous but the payout was worth it. In a few short months I have gained to skills to "launch" into a new career as a web developer. 

  • Anonymous
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    My experience was less than, what I would consider, professional. I took the Hacker Rank test either in December or early January, filled out the application, and didn't hear anything back. The website said that I would know whether or not I was accepted into the program in March and when I didn't hear anything and wrote to them, I was told that they had extended the application deadline by a week. That's fine, but it seems like a mass email was warranted letting everyone know that we wouldn't hear back until later. When I was finally disqualified, it said that there would be information as to why on the dashboard of Launch Code's website, but there wasn't. I sent an email to the address provided to find out more information and never heard back. So I'm left wondering why I wasn't accepted. I was then sent an email asking me to review my experience with them and they provided another email address where you could ask questions. I told them about my experience and again asked what disqualified me, but no one ever responded. It's now almost two months later, I've sent three messages requesting information, and no one has ever gotten back to me. I can only assume that I was disqualified because I'm a middle-aged woman and I have a feeling that they didn't respond because they know that they are legally in the wrong. I can't imagine another reason for them to not even respond after THREE attempts on my part. This is just despicable.