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About Launch Academy

Location: Boston

Launch Academy is an 18-week immersive JavaScript coding bootcamp offering only four selective on-campus programs in Boston each year.

Launch Academy's web development course equips aspiring software developers with what they need to succeed as professionals... Read More

Launch Academy believes that deliberate practice is the most effective way to learn software development. That means the course is entirely structured around a learn-by-doing approach. Students graduate the program with a portfolio of projects, experiences, and code examples which will help set them apart in the job market.

The program is broken into two phases and provides structured lifetime alumni support. Phase I of the program features an 8-week part -time, virtual 'ignition' phase, which you complete with your fellow cohort students and your full-time engineering instructors. Instructors are available via live chat throughout the ignition process, and students are connected to classmates in the cohort.

Phase II features a 10-week, full-time on-campus phase which culminates in the recruiting event. Once students have established strong programming foundations in Ignition, it's time to take your learning to the professional level. Post graduation, students receive 4 weeks of structured support, as well as lifetime alumni support which includes access to career services and technical support as well as access to the Launch Academy space after 2pm for use to work on projects, continuous curriculum updates as they occur quarterly.

Courses

18-Week On-Campus JavaScript Immersive Bootcamp

Cost: $17,500
Duration: 18 weeks
Locations: Boston
In-person Only
Course Description:

Graduates of this course will be able to:

-> Architect object oriented systems using Ruby and modern JavaScript
-> Develop full-stack web applications using Ruby, Ruby on Rails, JavaScript, and ReactJS
-> Design, model, and populate relational database schema with PostgreSQL and Structured Query Language (SQL)
-> Incorporate Application Programming Interfaces (API)’s into their applications
-> Incorporate Open Source Software (OSS) into their applications
-> Implement automated acceptance and unit tests on both the client and server side with a Test Driven Development (TDD) methodology
-> Deploy web applications to cloud-based hosts like Heroku
-> Collaborate as a participant of a software engineering team through:
-> Empathic and consistent communication
-> Pair Programming
-> GitHub Pull Request Workflow
-> Continuous Integration
-> Release management

The program is split into two phases: Ignition and the On Campus Immersive:

[Phase 1: Ignition]
8 Weeks, Part-time, Virtual
Eight weeks before the On Campus learning experience begins, you’ll be assigned weekly articles, videos, and challenges that we’ve written and produced. They will walk you through developing strong foundations in Ruby, JavaScript, HTML, and CSS.

Unlike other programs, you aren’t expected to complete this prerequisite program alone! Instructors will be available via live chat throughout the Ignition process if you get stuck. You’ll also be connected to everyone else in the cohort, allowing you to get help virtually any time. If you get stuck, your fellow students are only a message away. We also hold regular, virtual clinics, to reinforce the concepts you’re learning. These will be recorded and available to you throughout your coursework in the event you aren’t able to make the live sessions.

[Phase 2: On Campus Immersive]
10 Weeks, Full time+, On Campus
Once you’ve established strong programming foundations in Ignition, it’s time to take your learning to the professional level. During your 10 weeks on campus, you’ll eat, sleep, and breathe code. Most students devote somewhere between 60 and 80 hours per week to the program. It’s a grueling pace, but once you don the Green Shirt awarded at graduation, you’re ready to take on a career in web development.

Subjects:
CSS, Git, HTML, jQuery, PostgreSQL, Sinatra, Ruby, Ruby on Rails, SQL, Algorithms, JavaScript

Launch Academy Reviews

Average Ratings (All Programs)

Launch Academy logo

4.52/5 (64 reviews)

Mia F. Buckland
Full Stack Software Engineer | Graduated: 2016

12/18/2017

Course
18-Week On-Campus JavaScript Immersive Bootcamp

Overall

Curriculum

Job Support

"Launch Academy - Summer 2016"

I completed Launch Academy last summer, and it was hands down the best decision I have ever made for my career. I had no experience with software engineering, and I managed to double my salary from my pre-launch job within a year and a half post-completion... Read More

Sean Brooks
Software Developer Intern | Graduated: 2016

12/10/2017

Course
18-Week On-Campus JavaScript Immersive Bootcamp

Overall

Curriculum

Job Support

"Launch Academy can be a great bridge into a career in tech."

As you may know, Launch Academy is an eighteen week bootcamp, with ten weeks of intensive study and work. I decided to attend because I didn't know how to market myself, and honestly, lacked some of the skills that would be required of me as a entry-level... Read More

Evianne Keeney
Solutions Architect | Graduated: 2017

11/6/2017

Course
18-Week On-Campus JavaScript Immersive Bootcamp

Overall

Curriculum

Job Support

"Launch Academy Overwhelmingly Fulfills All Expectations"

I first read about Launch Academy in a local newspaper. At the time I was working 4 service jobs at approximately 70 hours/week. Even though I had a degree in science I was having difficulty finding the time to look for a job that I could use my degree... Read More

Anonymous
Developer | Graduated: 2017

10/27/2017

Course
18-Week On-Campus JavaScript Immersive Bootcamp

Overall

Curriculum

Job Support

"Fair curriculum, adequate job support, disappointing experience"

Launch Academy is probably not for you.

The reality is, you have the same opportunity to succeed in software engineering regardless of which Bootcamp you attend. The material is almost identical (often copied from the "docs") and the job market is the... Read More

So, the only question you should ask yourself when making this choice is: "Will I enjoy my time at Launch Academy more than some where else?"

In my opinion, the answer is no. The classmates at Launch were great, but had we all gone to General Assembly, there would have been no difference. The staff at Launch Academy is clearly feeling pressure from a slowly hiring rate which makes for an overall, unpleasant experience. Be prepared for the charm of the "new cohort" experience to fade quickly and a malaise of negativity and sass to consume the work space. During this critical time in your career, it is important to surround yourself with positivity, creativity and enthusiasm. Launch Academy is like the Super Fan at High School football games: A lot of energy in the first quarter, but then as the game goes becomes loud and annoying or is passed out under the bleachers.

Best of luck on your next career move and hope my advice helps confirm you decision!

Samuel Lauricella
Graduated: 2017

9/21/2017

Course
18-Week On-Campus JavaScript Immersive Bootcamp

Overall

Curriculum

Job Support

"Launch Academy provides a great foundation!"

Launch Academy was an amazing experience. Before entering the program I focused for on marketing and business management, although I always has a solid technical background with computers(excluding coding). Launch Academy primarily focuses on Ruby, Ruby... Read More

Nicholas Cassera
Software Engineer | Graduated: 2017

9/20/2017

Course
18-Week On-Campus JavaScript Immersive Bootcamp

Overall

Curriculum

Job Support

"Truly a full experience at this full stack development bootcamp!"

Attended the first on campus Philadelphia cohort at Launch Academy. The instructors were both helpful and knowledgable. The curriculum was well formulated, based on current market needs, so students know the information is relevant. Price is about the... Read More

Anonymous
Graduated: 2017

9/19/2017

Course
18-Week On-Campus JavaScript Immersive Bootcamp

Overall

Curriculum

Job Support

"Where was this option 5 years ago?"

TL;DR : I went to a 4-yr public college and got a pretty solid education, but Launch Academy convinced me twice over that the bootcamp model is indeed a successful way to learn and apply practical skills. But note: you have to want it.

The longer version... Read More

Launch Academy turned my opinion of higher education on its head. I have a degree in a STEM discipline, but struggled to find a job. Though I had just graduated, my skills were too nebulous and outdated; employers were also looking for advanced degrees for their entry-level jobs. For the first year out of school, I could count the number of interviews I managed to wrangle on one hand. One month after finishing Launch Academy, however, I need my fingers _and_ my toes--and I got a job offer to boot. That's how effective this program was in providing skills that employers wanted--and, bonus, skills that were (in my opinion) interesting to learn and apply. This is something (again, in my opinion) that not many college degrees can provide anymore with the current educational model they follow.

How to know, however, if this is right for you? It's difficult to say, but there are some traits you should probably possess:

(1) You love learning and you love learning quickly. Launch Academy is called a bootcamp for a reason. You have 8 weeks on your own and 10 weeks on campus to get as much information into your noggin as possible. You have a fantastic set of EEs (experience engineers) to help you learn and process this new information, but do know that the onus is on you to go further. The further you push yourself in this short time span, the more you'll notice an improvement in your coding skills--which leads to #2:

(2) You are independently driven. The EEs want you to succeed, but it's up to you to go the distance. I'm not saying that you won't struggle and feel like you're not up-to-par (you will get a talk about the imposter syndrome and how to notice it in yourself and your peers), but you need to push past that and put your nose to the grindstone. What you put in at this program directly affects the choices you will have in the job market. Not to mention, if you come here to coast, you not only hurt yourself: you also put strain on your peers. Your peers in this program not only become like family, but they also will be your link to networking in the future (*this is key*).

So, say you've decided Launch is for you. Here are the pros and cons of the program overall:

Pros

The pace, the people (peers and EEs), the Boston location, the networking opportunities... and career services!

We've covered the pace, but the EEs in this program are fantastic. They are knowledgeable and friendly; they don't put up that wall you sometimes feel between yourself and a professor. In addition to that, you're put in an environment where your peers are one of your greatest assets. I've met not only future coworkers, but also lifelong friends. You work with your peers day in and day out, collaborating and even just laughing. It provides a perfect balance to the every-day stressors.

Boston is a hive of activity, with plenty of meetup opportunities. And, I wouldn't have known about any of this if it wasn't for the amazing career services. The career services at Launch is unparalleled. You will not find anything better, I can guarantee you: they help with LinkedIn profiles, resumes, cover letters, interview prep, and negotiations...just to name a few things. (Basically, everything my college career services didn't provide.)

Also, the curriculum is just plain fun! It's set up in a way that has you reviewing and assessing material from the previous night's readings, then working on a challenge for a portion of the day, with that time interspersed with clinics on useful topics.

Cons

Very few of these, but here it goes...

The gender imbalance is real. Launch did a great job of inspiring women to do this program, but we still made up only 20% of the students. Because everyone in my cohort was incredibly nice, it was easy to overlook this gap, but reading some other reviews on this site clued me in to some problems that it might've caused in the past. My suggestion to everyone looking to join this program: please do read up on gender imbalance in tech (especially the recent manifesto from the former Google employee). Don't just assume the Launch staff is trying to be "politically correct" or promote "social justice"--they're trying to make a safe learning space for everyone.

Test-driven development is incredibly important, but a couple of interviewers have told me that the tests they saw in Launcher code was pretty basic. Less so for the Ruby curriculum and more for the React.js material. The React curriculum is rather new and has some kinks to be worked out. I was also asked a ton of questions about Node.js, which seems to be an important topic as a chunk of companies are starting to do a JavaScript backend as well.

Overall

If you're willing to put in the time and the effort, Launch is most definitely something you should consider! If the environment they cultivate on campus and the curriculum alone are not enough to convince you, then know that you will have amazing career support and a plethora of opportunities awaiting you upon graduation. Good luck!

Anonymous
Full Stack Web Developer | Graduated: 2017

9/13/2017

Course
18-Week On-Campus JavaScript Immersive Bootcamp

Overall

Curriculum

Job Support

"Great curriculum but too much social justice evangelizing"

The Good

The curriculum at Launch Academy is really spot on. To start, you will spend 8 weeks in your own time, online, learning the basics. They will cover things like the command line, loops, arrays, hashes, syntax, JavaScript, es6, Git and a little... Read More

As for the on-campus curriculum, it’s pretty solid – I only wish we had learned more but in order for that to have truly of happened the entire program would have to be maybe 2 weeks longer – which is something they should seriously consider. You have 6 weeks of learning, each week a new topic. In my cohort it was, IIRC – React, Advanced OOP, Databases, Rails, HTTP and General Front End. The front-end week was kind of useless since they just skimmed over a crap load of material about design and typography and the like. Those topics are so dense, to give them such a superficial treatment was pointless. The time that week would have been better served expanding on existing material.

This is followed by 2 weeks of group projects, which was an amazing eye-opening experience and then 2 more weeks of solo projects, which is very stressful but you will overcome. Again, the curriculum is on point and I learned WAY more than I thought I would. It moves fast and feels overwhelming for the majority of the program but that will soon feel natural and you will sink into a rhythm and get into the zone by the end of the first week.

The Bad

The entire staff is committed to evangelizing the gospel of social justice. Now, I’m all for equality and I’d like to think I’m very open minded and tolerant but I didn’t pay $15,500 to be lectured about how, because I am a man, I need to censor myself around women. I also did not pay $15,500 to be lectured about how awful Donald Trump is. I am not a political person, I do not care. Leave politics and social justice out of the classroom and teach me how to code. The staff we’re routinely injecting politics into the cohort for no reason. It came off as cringe worthy at times and always forced. Like I said, this is a coding bootcamp, not capitol hill.

On two separate occasions, they sat us all down and gave a lecture on ‘Mansplaining’, I actually didn’t even know what this was when they brought it up, I had never heard of it before. They said that someone made a rude and insensitive comment, but they would neither repeat what was said nor would they be speaking with the individual in question. They actually ended up saying that, if what we can’t tell you was said, is said again then you will be expelled. What? None of us even know what they were referring to, not even remotely. This caused a lot of self-censorship and bewilderment. They ended it by telling all the men in attendance to be cautious of how they talk, because, and I quote “Men have a tendency to talk down to women and assume they know more by virtue of being a man”. Nice. Where I come from, assuming bias based on external and immutable features of a human is what is commonly referred to as bigotry. Not to these people, it’s called social justice.

Secondly, while having a spirited debate on the Launch Academy Slack channel about the issue of women in the STEM field, D.T. – the Vice President of Engineering @ Launch Academy, decided to interject and remind everyone that everything they say is being monitored. Here are some excerpts of what he said, verbatim:

“Do you really want to say things that are open for mis-interpretation that could present a "public" perception that makes you sound callous to the gender/diversity hot button tech issue of the day?”

“It's a fact that there are more white men in this community than any other group, and as such i particularly appeal to those of us who fall into that category to try hard to keep our tone and conversation in line with the Launch Academy cultural norms and guidelines that all of us benefit from.”

Of course, indiscriminately lecturing all men is not something that is explicitly prohibited in the Launch Academy Code of Conduct paper we all signed – because, you know…diversity.

One more example – A fellow classmate of mine was accused of sexual harassment by a female classmate, and without actually investigating the accusation, Launch Academy took it at face value and actually threatened to expel him. They told him that he was sexually harassing another student but refused to give evidence of it ever happening, the date, time or place in question it occurred or the name of the accuser. They wouldn’t even state exactly what it was that he did, just a nebulous “You committed sexual harassment”. They never followed up with this female accuser to press her for details, they simply assumed that she was telling the truth.

This and many other countless examples really irritated me. They treat people like they are fragile, broken creatures’, incapable of accepting the fact that someone has a differing view from themselves. To remedy this, they preemptively tell people to not talk about certain topics and inject BS politics into a program that is designed to teach me and everyone else how-to CODE. One of the staff members actually gave a presentation on how to “cope” with the fact that Hillary Clinton did not win the election. This is absolute garbage. Nobody cares. I want to build websites, not listen to your nonsense. I am here to jumpstart a new career. I risked A LOT to make this move in my life and to have Launch Academy staff show such little regard for the sacrifices I made to be there is very disconcerting.

The disruption and distraction caused by their nonsensical moral high-ground showmanship really put a damper on the latter part of the cohort – a sentiment expressed by well over half of the cohort to myself, personally. It made it difficult to focus on the already difficult course material because everyone was chatting in hushed tones about what we all thought these veiled threats of expulsion were in response to. We never really found out…

The Ugly

They promote this event at the end of the cohort called Career Kickoff. It advertised as being the primary engine for you to get a job. You pay 15k, learn to code, build a project and show it off to prospective employers and then they all fight over who they want to hire! Yes! Except, the first day of Career Kickoff we had, get this...3 companies show up. The second day was better with maybe a dozen showing up.

As a result, of the roughly 30 remaining students who presented to hiring partners, only a handful of maybe 3 or 4 landed jobs as a direct result of that event. It was a MAJOR letdown that everyone was really pissed off about and is essentially worthless. Most people found jobs because they hustled hard after Launch by continuing to code and marketing themselves with various resources. Do not expect Launch to get you a job, they failed so many of us it's not even funny.

Conclusion

Here is the full gist of what I took from my experience. If you want to learn how to code, Launch Academy will in fact teach you to code – even if you are a complete novice. However, you should expect incessant lecturing about how horrible men are and how virtuous a litany of ‘protected’ classes are. Expect lots of political evangelism and expect to be told to conform to their way of thinking or shut up and leave. If given the opportunity to do it all over, I am fairly certain I would go the route of a Bootcamp, but I am not so sure, if I knew what I know now, I would choose Launch Academy.

Official Response from Launch Academy

Thank you for taking the time to review your experience at Launch Academy. We take all feedback very seriously and incorporate learnings from our students, staff, and hiring partners into each successive cohort. If you would be willing to speak with me... Read More

Anonymous
Software Engineer | Graduated: 2016

9/4/2017

Course
18-Week On-Campus JavaScript Immersive Bootcamp

Overall

Curriculum

Job Support

"A great student experience"

I guess let me start by saying that I owe my software engineering career to Launch Academy. Before I attended LA, I was stuck in a job where I knew I had no future, but I didn't know where to go next. Once I decided to learn to code, I was completely... Read More

Pros:
- The EEs (Experience Engineers) are awesome. Some of them have been programming for years, some are recent graduates of Launch Academy. This was a great mixture because you could get all different perspectives on problems you were having. They were also great at providing emotional/motivational support outside of technical questions.
- Career services are TOP. NOTCH. They guide you through getting your LinkedIn, GitHub, and LA profiles up to date and looking good for potential employers, organize Career Day with local hiring partners, coach you through presentations, interviews, and negotiations, and are basically there every step of the way. Dani is amazing, both at her job and at making sure that everyone is feeling prepared. She also gives a lot of great input and ideas for your app if you talk to her! I also got help from career services when I applied to my second job, which is amazing.
- The curriculum is constantly updated to keep up to date with the newest technologies and most hirable skills. This can lead to kinks in the material, but I would rather have the exposure.
- My cohort was awesome, fun, and super supportive. I found it intensely motivating to spend my coding hours surrounded by people working just as hard as I was, and learned a lot in that collaborative environment.

Cons:
- It sometimes seemed like they could use more people, especially during group project and breakable toy weeks, when staff seemed stressed and overwhelmed by the number of questions. I did appreciate how hard they tried and how much the EEs cared about our projects, though.
- The "look it up and figure it out" approach was frustrating at first, since I constantly felt overwhelmed. But in retrospect, I see that Google-fu is an important part of the job. One of the EEs was really good about telling us what to Google, since sometimes you could find the answer but didn't know the proper jargon to search for.

Mehs?
- Not a con, since this isn't Launch's fault, but the Junior Developer market is getting more full than it used to be. It's not like anyone can half-ass their way through Launch and immediately land a job. It's called a bootcamp for a reason, though, and they have great connections, so if you really put the work in, do what they tell you to do, and try to understand the concepts rather than just completing assignments, you stand a good chance in the job hunt.

If you are the kind of person who is diligent, hardworking, curious, and very interested in programming, I would absolutely recommend starting your career switch (or what have you) at Launch!

Anonymous
Software Developer | Graduated: 2017

9/1/2017

Course
18-Week On-Campus JavaScript Immersive Bootcamp

Overall

Curriculum

Job Support

"Fantastic preparation and guidance in an extremely positive environment"

No program is perfect,
and Launch is no exception to that. However,
I really think that it checks off all the essentials when it comes to the practicalities of getting a new job as developer. They prep you with the right tools and constantly push you... Read More

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