As one of the first 10 bootcamps to open its doors in the United States, Launch Academy has been transforming careers longer than just about anybody. “Life is just way too short to hate what you do,” said co-founder Dan Pickett. “Our goal has always been to change lives by giving people the gift of code.” With more than three years and hundreds of job placements to its name, the company has changed the way the Boston tech scene thinks about hiring and training. This winter, Launch is set to do the same thing in Philadelphia.
As one of the few independent bootcamps still owned and operated by its co-founders, Launch Academy has always considered student experience to be the primary company focus.
“The competitive pressure to grow too quickly has always been there,” said Pickett, “but when the team would get together to talk about it, the conversation always came back to the tremendous outcomes we were seeing in Boston. If we saw even the tiniest risk that expanding might require us to compromise on student experience, it wasn’t worth it.”
Today, Pickett says Launch Academy has reached the point where he’s confident the team is ready to take what they’ve built on the road. "Being patient and waiting for the right time to expand was the right call. We're in this perfect spot now where the long-term investments we've made in the student experience have grown to allow us to provide students in Philly with an educational experience that's equal to—if not better than—what they'd get in Boston.”
Although January 23, 2017, marks the first day students arrive on the Philadelphia campus, the course actually kicks off on November 21st with the start of Ignition, Launch Academy’s required pre-work program.
“We don’t make admissions decisions based on someone’s pre existing programming skills,” said Max Detmer, Launch Academy’s Director of Admissions, “so Ignition is our way of ensuring that everybody in the cohort is on exactly the same page from day one.”
With roughly 12 seats available for the inaugural cohort, Detmer says he’s expecting it to fill up quickly. “A lot of prospective students see a start date that’s months away and think they have plenty of time to get the ball rolling, but when you add up the time it takes to go through the interview process, sort out financing, and complete enrollment, the whole process can take a few weeks. Since all of that has to happen before Ignition starts, the application window is much smaller than most people realize.”
As Philadelphia’s tech boom continues, Launch Academy brings a much-needed opportunity for the city to develop local talent. More details on the expansion are available on the Launch Academy Blog, and interested students can apply here.