Core Curriculum

Core Curriculum

Mastery of Fundamentals

Core curriculum block icon

Duration: 8 - 16+ months

~ 1200 - 1800+ hours

Mastery-based Learning

The Core Curriculum represents the "Study" phase of Our Pedagogy and is where we employ Mastery-based Learning 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.

Phases of Core Curriculum

The Core Curriculum is comprised of three phases: Preparatory Work, Programming and Back-end Development, and Front-end Development. Each phase must be completed in sequence, and each course must also be completed in sequence. Below are individual courses listed by phase. You can click through to each course and view its syllabus. Every course has an associated assessment that all students must pass to demonstrate mastery.

The Preparatory Work courses are free and not supported.

The Core Curriculum is fully supported and costs
$199 / month (standard) or $299 / month (deferred)

Preparatory Work

All courses in the Preparatory phase are completely free and regardless of your background, this is where you should start. In the first course, we'll cover what software development is, what the job market looks like for developers, and what learning at Launch School is about. The second preparatory course contains the pre-requisites for the paid courses. These preparatory courses will walk you through everything you need to get started. This includes using the command line, working with git and GitHub, an introduction to your first programming language, and a small taste of problem solving and debugging.

Course No. Name
LS95 Orientation
RB100 Programming & Back-end Prep

Programming and Back-end Development

The courses in this phase will provide you with a solid foundation in general programming and problem solving with a programming language, and teach you modern web application development from the ground up. After completing this phase, you should have a solid understanding of how to break down problems and express your solution and ideas in code. You'll also be exposed to server-side web application development and be comfortable working with stateless server-side code. Finally, you'll fully understand the protocol underlying web development, HTTP, and how to work with relational databases and SQL.

Course No. Name
RB101 Programming Foundations
RB109 Assessment Assessment: Ruby and General Programming
RB120 Object Oriented Programming
RB129 Assessment Assessment: Object Oriented Programming
RB130 Ruby Foundations: More Topics
RB139 Assessment Assessment: Ruby Foundations More Topics
LS170 Networking Foundations
LS171 Assessment Assessment: Networking Foundations
RB175 Networked Applications
LS180 Database Foundations
LS181 Assessment Assessment: Database Foundations
RB185 Database Applications

Front-end Development

This phase will focus on HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and the various tools and practices professional Front-end developers use. By the end of this phase, you'll have a good grasp of how HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, are used to create interactive web pages. Along the way, we’ll prepare you to learn any Front-end framework/library by mastering and using vanilla JavaScript for interacting with the DOM.

Course No. Name
LS202 HTML and CSS
JS210 Fundamentals of JavaScript for Programmers
JS211 Assessment Assessment: Fundamentals of JavaScript for Programmers
LS215 Computational Thinking and Problem Solving
LS216 Assessment Assessment: Computational Thinking and Problem Solving
JS225 Object Oriented JavaScript
JS229 Assessment Assessment: Object Oriented JavaScript
JS230 DOM and Asynchronous Programming with JavaScript
JS239 Assessment Assessment: DOM and Asynchronous Programming with JavaScript
RB299 Core Curriculum Diagnostic Test for Ruby

Preparatory Work

All courses in the Preparatory phase are completely free and regardless of your background, this is where you should start. In the first course, we'll cover what software development is, what the job market looks like for developers, and what learning at Launch School is about. The second preparatory course contains the pre-requisites for the paid courses. These preparatory courses will walk you through everything you need to get started. This includes using the command line, working with git and GitHub, an introduction to your first programming language, and a small taste of problem solving and debugging.

Course No. Name
LS95 Orientation
JS100 Programming & Back-end Prep with JavaScript

Programming and Back-end Development

The courses in this phase will provide you with a solid foundation in general programming and problem solving with a programming language, and teach you modern web application development from the ground up. After completing this phase, you should have a solid understanding of how to break down problems and express your solution and ideas in code. You'll also be exposed to server-side web application development and be comfortable working with stateless server-side code. Finally, you'll fully understand the protocol underlying web development, HTTP, and how to work with relational databases and SQL.

Course No. Name
JS101 Programming Foundations with JavaScript
JS109 Assessment Assessment: Programming Foundations with JavaScript
JS120 Object Oriented Programming with JavaScript
JS129 Assessment Assessment: Object Oriented Programming with JavaScript
JS130 More JavaScript Foundations
JS139 Assessment Assessment: More JavaScript Foundations
LS170 Networking Foundations
LS171 Assessment Assessment: Networking Foundations
JS175 Networked Applications with JavaScript
LS180 Database Foundations
LS181 Assessment Assessment: Database Foundations
JS185 Database Applications with JavaScript

Front-end Development

This phase will focus on HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and the various tools and practices professional Front-end developers use. By the end of this phase, you'll have a good grasp of how HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, are used to create interactive web pages. Along the way, we’ll prepare you to learn any Front-end framework/library by mastering and using vanilla JavaScript for interacting with the DOM.

Course No. Name
LS202 HTML and CSS
LS215 Computational Thinking and Problem Solving
LS216 Assessment Assessment: Computational Thinking and Problem Solving
JS230 DOM and Asynchronous Programming with JavaScript
JS239 Assessment Assessment: DOM and Asynchronous Programming with JavaScript

After the Core Curriculum

The Core Curriculum represents the fundamental topics required to start building towards a career in software development. After finishing Core Curriculum, there's a good chance that you're ready for a job, but that depends on a lot of factors like where you live, what your compensation requirements are, what types of companies are near you, etc.

Most people take one of the paths below.

  • Continue learning in our Advanced Electives. The Advanced Electives contain courses that focus on frameworks, like Rails and Backbone, and covers more advanced and integrated topics, like TDD and working with APIs. Because the surface area of these courses is so large and because we're no longer covering "things that don't change", we no longer employ a mastery-based learning system here and remove all assessments. To take the Advanced Electives courses, you must have completed the entire Core Curriculum and have an active subscription to Launch School. To see the courses in the Advanced Electives, register (for free) and log in and then click on the "Advanced Electives" tab in the course listing.
  • Continue learning elsewhere. Most books and courses online cover either very beginning material or advanced material. After completing the Core Curriculum, you are ready to consume the latter. There are many books that cover frameworks or advanced practices, and you're now ready to take advantage of those advanced resources or books.
  • Continue learning specializations that are related to software engineering, such as Artificial Intelligence, Data Science, Self-driving Vehicles, Virtual Reality, etc.
  • Pursue an advanced degree in Computer Science, Data Science, or another related field. Though not an extremely common path, many students have told us that the skills and knowledge they received in the Core Curriculum directly gave them the necessary pre-requisites to apply and be accepted into graduate school. Some graduate programs have hard requirements around undergraduate major, and no amount of training or self-learning will fulfill those requirements, so if this is a path you're interested in, make sure to look at your program's requirements first.
  • Apply for jobs. Outcomes depend heavily on your local market, your salary requirements, your interviewing ability, the types of companies near you, etc. For example, if you're in rural Argentina, that's a completely different market than urban Tokyo. In general, the Core Curriculum are the minimum requirements for a good job, but it may or may not be sufficient depending on your locale. Read the testimonials below to see how others have fared who completed the Core Curriculum but did not participate in Capstone.

Core Curriculum Testimonials

These stories are from students who did not participate in the Capstone Program, and either completed the Core Curriculum or stopped Launch School before completing the entire Core Curriculum. Despite not completing Capstone, many still landed great opportunities and there's a common theme of learning with patience. If you look carefully, you'll notice that many of these non-Capstone students also spent years at Launch School.

Though I was skeptical at first, trusting the process and basing my knowledge on problem-solving and fundamental skills has paid dividends. The problem-solving skills I picked up while attending Launch School have made me not only a more competent web developer but also a more competent person.

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Gino Bonanno

The thing with Launch School is once you are done, you will realize just how fundamentally necessary everything is. Suffice to say, I have finished the core curriculum and was promoted to a DevOps engineer at my current company.

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Josh Crane

I realized that Launch School sees learning software development as a lifelong journey of mastering a craft, not learning to code in three months in order to land a job. Launch School is honest and transparent with what they offer.

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Jeremy Stryer

If you cannot do Capstone for whatever reasons, let me assure you that the Core Curriculum is more than enough to prepare you for a successful entry into the software engineering world.

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Markus Unger

This could be the program for you if you're looking for something that's more on the hardcore end of the spectrum

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Ryan Gilbert

The biggest take away that I got from Launch School was confidence. I solve software engineering problems for a living and every day I reach back to the patterns that I learned here.

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Tommy Caruso

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.

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Alex Henegar

Aside from being a good resource for beginners, Launch School has proven transformational to me as a prior startup founder with a few years of programming experiences and a MS in Software Engineering

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Sonia Lin

Launch School has given me the belief that I can accomplish anything that I put my mind to; perhaps the most valuable lesson of all

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Adrian Carroll

I've gained the attitude of constantly looking for better ways to do things, understanding my tools more deeply and working to become a better developer

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Conrad Beach

It is clear that the Launch School team really cares about offering the best program they can

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Kristen Wilde

I even believe I've learned how to learn better, and I've become a better problem-solver in general throughout the coursework

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Patrick Brennan

I got a different role making significantly more than twice what I had been making as a 'web specialist', putting me firmly in six-figure

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Steve Kolock
New York

There was never a moment when I felt as though I was glossing over a key detail and that aspect of the program gave me the confidence to tackle increasingly difficult problems as the months went by

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Chris Theodoridis

It was the best investment of my time that I made. Even better than going to university!

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Cristian Rennella

Launch School has already given me not only the ability to create full stack web applications from scratch - it's also given me the confidence to get a new job writing code and solving problems

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Alex Dzwonchyk

Launch School gave me all of the core tools I needed to start building meaningful, useful software applications

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Charlie Reese

Launch School truly prepares you to be an asset on day one of a real job in the industry.

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Jevon Hayter

Launch School doesn’t just teach you the fundamentals of programming and web development, but it also gives you the tools and context to learn anything you want to learn on your own

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Hsuancheng Chen

I'd like to share my experience with new Launch Schoolers, don't doubt, trust Launch School, follow the syllabus, make your efforts, your decision is 100% correct

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Jamie Wen

I've been working as a Rails developer for almost 2 years now. It's quite likely that I wouldn't have made it if I hadn't chosen Launch School.

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Roy Huang

This programme opened possibilities for me that would have taken me years to reach

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Letladi Sebesho
Johannesburg, South Africa

Taking this program is one of the best decisions that I have ever made.

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Yufei Chen
Melbourne, Australia

I landed what I consider being the perfect junior ruby developer job before even finishing the program

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David Besserman
Paris, France

In the end I landed a great job after I completed my study at Launch School

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Peter Karth
Rocky Mount, NC, USA

In the end I truly believe that Launch School changed my life

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Daniel Schonfeld
Los Angeles, California, USA

Signing up for Launch School was a life-defining moment for me

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Liam Brady
Edinburgh, United Kingdom

I still can't believe that I went from a job that was basically shuffling papers to a job that lets me build an app for Olympic games

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Toni Cesarek
Ljubljana, Slovenia

Bottom line, complete this program and you will have all the skills you need to land a job or build your own products

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Jeffrey Knox
Edinburgh, United Kingdom

After only 3 weeks of finishing the program I was working full time as a Jr Developer in an amazing company in downtown Toronto

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Eduardo Poleo
Toronto, Canada

This is the course to go for to get a concrete foundation on programming

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Sheng Yeong
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

It's probably the best investment (time and money) I did for myself in a long time

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Arjun Rajkumar
Bengaluru, India

This program is by far the most advanced, cost effective way of learning how to be a real programmer and get paid like one

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Gus Pares
Miami Beach, FL, USA

I highly recommend Launch School's program for anyone who wants to learn how to code and land a job as a software engineer

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Robert Jewell
New York, New York, USA

The ones that I had on my short list were Bloc.io, Thinkful, General Assembly, and Launch School. I chose Launch School because it was the only one that was forcused on building students a robust foundation and because its model allowed me to work through the courses at my own pace

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Dito Hartoto
Melbourne, Australia

If you are considering doing a bootcamp or any sort of online course to become a web developer, you have found the one - Launch School

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Yvette Gonzalez
Chicago, Illinois, USA

The true value of this course is actually learning how to think like a developer, how to approach your problems, and how to seek out the answers

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Patrick Ng
Brooklyn, New York, USA

If you're really considering becoming a Web developer from scratch, this is the right place for you

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Roy Zinn
Tel Aviv, Israel

I highly recommend Launch School for beginners to web development or programming in general

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Anthony Licari
Queens, New York, USA

In just 2 months after completing the last course and submersing myself into the local Rails community, I got an offer as a Rails developer from a Fortune 100 company

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Robin Paul
Austin, Texas, USA