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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)

Anonymous
Software Architect | Graduated: 2017

8/2/2017

Course
18-Week On-Campus JavaScript Immersive Bootcamp

Overall

Curriculum

Job Support

"An Underwhelming Experience Delivered by Well-Intentioned Programming Enthusiasts"

An Underwhelming Experience

I entered Launch Academy as the ideal candidate for success: I was a young, Asian woman with a strong background in programming. I don’t doubt I was among the most capable in my cohort, and right after graduation, I got interviews... Read More

I was in a perfect position to take advantage of what Launch Academy had to offer, and even though I got what I needed, I want to draw attention to the fact that many of my peers are still struggling. Anyone who is interested in attending should strongly consider whether this decision will be worth their investment.

Launch Academy makes many promises and assertions on their website, such as --
** “world-class instruction, mentorship, and career support in an atmosphere that elevates everybody” and a “7:1 student to instructor ratio”. [https://www.launchacademy.com/faqs]
** graduation of 95% of students [https://www.launchacademy.com/blog/student-statistics]
** placement of 86% of graduating students who were job seekers, in full-time non-temporary positions [https://www.launchacademy.com/blog/student-statistics].
** (This number is also given as 92% on the same page.)

These statements do not align with my experience as part of the 16th Boston cohort, in which --
** The instructional materials were subject to disorganization and errors. The actual instruction was provided by teachers of varying quality, many of whom had graduated from Launch Academy within the last two years.
** The mentorship was haphazard and highly dependent on the individual mentors, who had limited experience in teaching, counseling, or conflict resolution.
** The career support was prone to giving outdated advice and to overpromising.
** The effective student to teacher ratio was 10:1.
** The graduation rate was 85%.
** After two and a half months, the placement rate of the entire cohort is 28%. This percentage includes people who did are not endorsed graduates and people who lost access to Career Services, which Launch Academy does NOT include in the number on their website.

More generally, my experience at Launch Academy failed to meet the expectations set by their website and their tuition of $15,500. For example, although Launch Academy maintains educational licensure in Boston, they do not grant certification upon graduation, and they do not employ teachers. In lieu of teachers, they employ “Experience Engineers (EEs)”, who serve as mentors for the students, writers for the curriculum, and developers for the website.

My cohort was 39 students. At the time, that was the largest cohort they had admitted so far, and they had failed to staff appropriately or modify their teaching model. The cohort was divided into four mentor groups of approximately 10 students each, each of which was assigned to an EE. Theoretically, these EEs were on hand to provide support; however, rather than proactively engaging with us, the EEs instructed us to pose questions about the curriculum, etc., to their online ticket system.

As previously mentioned, the instructional materials were not well curated. The assignments that were made available for a given week would change up until the day when a particular reading was due; in one case, the aforementioned update was missed entirely. Exercises were prone to have configuration issues. The afternoon review sessions, during which the EEs walked us through live coding exercises, were subject to fall apart and thereby lose their instructive value.

The primary selling point for Launch Academy is their Career Services program, but it is apparent that its inclusion is an afterthought. The program consisted of rote instructions for formatting our resumes, a couple of mock interviews with EEs, and a 20-page document summarizing generic advice and technical questions. To the specific end of showcasing ourselves during the career fair, we were directed to write and rehearse a two-minute speech advertising ourselves and our capstone project, and even that was down to an impersonal formula.

The career fair itself was disappointing. My understanding was that Launch Academy was to arrange the attendance of 15-20 partners over the course of two days. For my cohort, 4 out of 11 expected companies attended the first day, and 6 out of 9 companies attended the second day (with one of them leaving early). Each company was hiring only 1-2 people, and some companies were only interested in filling internship positions.

This has translated to a low hiring momentum for my cohort. 5 of us failed to meet Technical Requirements for graduation, and 1 deferred to a later cohort. Of the remaining 33 of us:
** 1 was hired by Launch Academy.
** 7 were hired by hiring partners that attended the career fair.
** 4 were hired by other employers in the weeks afterward.
** 6 were removed from Launch Academy’s cohort portfolio for failing to meet Post-Graduate Support Requirements.
** 15 are still unemployed.

It’s disheartening to have had such an underwhelming experience. It’s disheartening to see so many of my cohort disserved by a program they paid good money for. It’s disheartening to see the cost of tuition rising with nothing to show for it.

Launch Academy worked for me, but I cannot, in good conscience, recommend the program to others.

If you would like to have a deeper conversation about Launch Academy, feel free to reach out to me at former.launcher@gmail.com.

Official Response from Launch Academy

Thank you for your feedback and for taking time out of your day to discuss your experience with us in depth. Following up on our discussion, we’ve published a new blog post on our curriculum update process (https://launchacademy.com/blog/always-iterating-how-launch-academy-updates-its-coding-curriculum),... Read More

Anonymous
Graduated: 2017

7/22/2017

Course
18-Week On-Campus JavaScript Immersive Bootcamp

Overall

Curriculum

Job Support

"A bittersweet experience"

Having previously heard a lot about this bootcamp made it very exciting for me to have been accepted into Launch Academy. In fact this happiness and gratefulness extended throughout the first couple of weeks of the onsite portion of the course as I thought... Read More

Unfortunately I can’t say the same about some of the people he has trusted with to manage and run the program day to day, therefore the environment that was generated in my cohort after just a few weeks was indeed a bittersweet experience.

The EE’s (experienced engineers) are your teachers, and all of them are alumni of L.A. Some are very knowledgeable, nice and helpful. Others will reply to your questions during group mentor work with a “i dont know but let me Google that for you” showcasing their lack of knowledge and inexperience with the curriculum. The other 2 EE's were more concerned with each other rather than with helping out students who were stuck on a project or were any having sort of technical difficulties.

The EE’s were supervised by the founder’s right hand. An alum of Launch .. a complicated and self absorbed individual that (to put it mildy) wasn’t a fan favorite. Several incidents that took place during the cohort showed all of us students just how incompetent and unfit he is for the role he has been assigned to. Of course the biggest one was an incident that was mentioned in a previous review. In short, one student struggling with personal issues decided to take out her frustrations with a group of students who were minding their own business and just trying to succeed with the curriculum.

Well this staff member believed what she said word for word without corroborating her accusations, without actually investigating and asking other students if the accusation were true. He decided the best approach to this situation was to try to bully and scare the students, to bring them to a meeting with the head honchos without giving them any context and to have them meet with the founder in an intimidating setting. In here he carelessly tossed out inflammatory statements such as the very heavy and unfounded accusation of “sexual harassment”. This guy decided it was a good idea to accuse people without any proof or support. Has he ever heard of conflict resolution? We’re guessing not. His “solution” was to take away Launch Votes,
a fun activity that was held on Fridays after the exams and to try to intimidate a bunch of adults as if this was a high school and threatening them with expulsion if the issue was further discussed among the students.

But enough about this individual. The curriculum at L.A. is up to date, challenging and rewarding with a bit of everything from Ruby to React JS to SQL and you have access to its latest version even after graduation. You also get support from 2 very hard working and helpful ladies at Career Services. One helps you out with your resume and all your professional presentation materials and etiquette while the other one works very hard to create a bridge between you and the hiring partners.

I must say that Career Kickoff was a bit disappointing due to the low number of companies that showed up to recruit. This doesn't erase the fact that 2 out of 3 ladies in the Career Services department will work hard for you so that you can eventually land a tech job after graduation. It’s been a bit more than 2 months since graduation and 30% of the graduating cohort is now employed in roles such as Jr. Web Developers, QA engineers and Integration Engineers.

In summary, Launch Academy at its core is a great concept with flashes of brilliance but unfortunately this is at times blemished by the poor performance of some alumni who just don’t have your best interest at heart.

Anonymous
Graduated: 2017

5/23/2017

Course
18-Week On-Campus JavaScript Immersive Bootcamp

Overall

Curriculum

Job Support

"Terrible Experience"

Let me start off by telling you that the people in the program, the EE's are nice people. The company seems like a nice company, but there is a tremendous blind spot there.

#1 - They do not teach you how to code. There is a curriculum that they distribute... Read More

#2 - They will try to maintain a 'safe-space' for everyone, which is good in theory, but has unforeseen consequences. If someone has a problem with you in the cohort, they can just tattle on you to an authority and you will be penalized. There was no evidence for what I was accused of and the person could hide behind a wall of anonymity. I was brought into an ominous meeting with the president of the bootcamp and the 'second in command' and they proceeded to tell me that I was accused of indecent behavior, that of which they could not point to one single incident nor evidence. I was made to sign something that read if I was accused again, I would be kicked out of the program.

Now mind you that these are not experienced educators nor counselors, so the judgment that they carried out was unfounded and sloppily distributed. It was enforced by the personal 'feelings' of the EE's. The EE's wanted to create a 'safe space' as well. That's great, but personal bias cannot play a role into promoting or persecuting people that ALL paid the same amount to be there and learn. Many people in the cohort came together and found that a large group had been accused of the same thing. So it wasn't just me. But that's what made the whole thing more suspect. The people who were accused earlier in the program fared better in the technical curriculum, as the heavier knowledge came last.

#3 Although the EE's and staff are very 'understanding' that is also their biggest weakness. Because none of the EE's have an education background, they really cannot help people who aren't as savy as others. The requirements for passing the weekly tests were ridiculous. All of the tests had been posted online by previous students of previous cohorts, but since I decided not to cheat and to actually LEARN as they had recommended, there were people who passed the tests and had no idea what they had done! These people were praised and those that tried but failed were ignored. There wasn't extra help given except that which you made yourself. But here comes the real question: Why then did I pay you 15,000 bones?

The only feedback I received from EE's was that I was doing "fine" and "don't worry". There was no real critique of the work that was done of ANY student and therefore there was no way to actually gage your progression as you don't have all of the information to actually create an app until the end.

The EE's try to have a personal relationship with you. That is cool, but they aren't actually cool enough to maintain it. They don't know how to maintain a teacher pupil relationship while simultaneously remaining available. It was all or nothing. In the beginning of the cohort everyone was jovial and interacting. However, after an incident where our access to a fun friday past-time was taken away due to someone complaining that it was becoming "inappropriate", the EE's went "dark". They no longer interacted and became reclusive in either upstairs development projects or hid in the EE room on the 7th floor. As the cohort continued, the EE's became more sensitive to a gentle ribbing by the students, so that all came to an end.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised. We are talking about socially awkward nerds after all!! I'm a nerd, but not socially awkward by any means. We also probably had more people coming from 'blue collar' backgrounds than they had previously had. The fine print is: You have to 'fit in', if you don't or don't conform to the culture, you're out.

All in all this was a great experience, but to sum-up, if you don't do what they want you to do, but never actually openly tell you, you won't get help getting a job. And the fastest way to a career is NOT real skill, it is the word-of-mouth recommendations that they give to people they like and who passed the technical portion. I don't want to sound spiteful, but the technical portion was a joke. I didn't learn anything until we were actually doing 'hands on' work. Some people in my cohort were immensely talented and bright and deserve everything they get, but there are others who are rewarded for gaming the system and becoming 'liked' and riding other people's coattails to success. Beware of people doing no work while 'peer programming'. Peer programming is great, but there are those who simply copied other people's work and passed all of the tests that way and didn't learn anything and don't deserve $70k jobs.

Warren Fletcher
Graduated: 2016

3/30/2017

Overall

Curriculum

Job Support

"Great curriculum, awesome community"

I just recently graduated from Launch Academy so I've gotten to experience the curriculum itself as well as the post graduation career support. I have very few complaints about Launch. They really seem to care about our success and they work hard to give... Read More

All in all, I had a great experience at Launch Academy.

Anonymous
Graduated: 2016

3/29/2017

Overall

Curriculum

Job Support

"Great Experience, Amazing People"

The ten weeks of this program were amazing. You learn a lot, you bond with the rest of your cohort and the instructors are GREAT. The post-grad career support is well-organized, but doesn't seem to have a super efficient rate of return. The curriculum... Read More

PROS:
Whole staff is amazing, thoughtful and cares.
Curriculum is well-designed and passionately taught
Group projects mirror common industry workflow
Great community

CONS:
Individual projects could use a bit more guidance
Does not place that many students with its hiring partners

Anonymous
Graduated: 2017

3/28/2017

Overall

Curriculum

Job Support

"Geat!"

After teaching programming skills to elementary students and taking one programming course myself I took the leap into Web Development full time. Launch was the best decision I ever made. 

With the 8 weeks pre-learning and the 10 week on campus immersion,... Read More

Francis
Graduated: 2016

3/27/2017

Overall

Curriculum

Job Support

"A whirlwind that I kind of wish was still happening."

I loved my experience at Launch. It wasn't easy, but it was fulfilling. Learning how to code was always on my radar, but I never really dove in, (it was always kind of cute and fun until all of a sudden it becomes IMPOSSIBLE.) Launch provided me the knowledge... Read More

General thoughts:
- Launch is constantly adjusting its curriculum to what's current and applicable. This is great that it lets you learn what technology is current.
- Launch is constantly adjusting its curriculum. It can be tough after graduating, too, because in-demand languages change all the time. You'll learn one language, (in our case, Ruby,) but it's on you to keep learning from there to stay current and valid.
- The on-site program is a 10-week blast with a lot of positive energy at a breakneck pace. It's not for everyone, but it is amazing if coding is something you might enjoy.
- I've learned enough at Launch that taking a look at another OOP language isn't absolutely, soul-crushingly daunting. I know enough fundamentals to be able to navigate code and understand it.
- It's really well established in Boston. So far, everyone i've talked to in the tech scene knows of / heard of Launch.
- Provides a great network that you'll develop both with your cohort and the Boston scene in general.

Pro-tip:
- Coding isn't for everyone. Coding is also really hard. Before applying, take the time to learn some fundamentals, even an HTML/CSS chunk and something a little bit more substantial than Codecademy. It'll help TONS, especially if you're not a strong coder. Launch moves really fast, so it's on you to keep up.

Robert Petrowsky
Graduated: 2015

3/15/2017

Course
18-Week On-Campus JavaScript Immersive Bootcamp

Overall

Curriculum

Job Support

"Great program, just wait if you are young and not financially stable."

Hello,
I graduated two years ago from Launch Academy, Boston. First of all I loved my experience there. I learned fast and was easily one of the top performing students. I was also 19 and spent all of my inheritance on the program and paying for rent/food... Read More

Anonymous
Graduated: 2016

11/8/2016

Overall

Curriculum

Job Support

"A great learning experience!"

I loved my time at Launch Academy. The learning technique of trying to work through a problem yourself before getting taught the material worked very well with my personal learning style. The focus on practice and learning by doing was extremely effective,... Read More

Also, I cannot say enough nice things about the career services team. I have never had a better resume or cover letter, and they clearly all care a lot about making us the best candidates we can be and getting us all good jobs.

The staff works very hard to make sure you learn material that's relevant to exactly what the current job market is looking for, and they're constantly looking for feedback and ways to improve. That's what makes them stay great even as the tech industry changes. I'm so glad I went to Launch Academy, and I'm pleased to say I'll be starting my first tech job very soon!

Brady
Graduated: 2016

11/8/2016

Overall

Curriculum

Job Support

"Amazing experience"

I was in a rather dead end career path and a friend and former Launcher convinced me to go to Launch. This was the best choice I have made in a long time.
The course work was challenging and relevant to the current work market. Mentorship was amazing... Read More

I would highly recommend Launch Academy to anyone who is looking for a bootcamp.

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