Specifics and Details

Before you read this document, please read the Is This For Me page, and especially watch the video on Mastery Based Learning. Doing that first will help set expectations and answer a lot of your questions. Go ahead and do that, we'll wait.

What makes Launch School different?

First, we're about depth. No one comes close to the depth of coverage in our program. If you start our program, your goal should be to take and complete the Advanced Phase -- it's the reason we're so highly rated and why our students love us. As an example, most other "intensive" programs will cover up to the first course in our Advanced Phase.

Second, we focus on the fundamentals with the goal of growing you into a strong programmer and problem solver. We've seen many students who come to us having dabbled with a framework or built a few "apps", but don't have a good grasp of fundamentals and problem solving skills. Rails, Ember, Angular are very easy to understand if you understand the fundamentals and web development basics. But people who go straight into a framework have a hard time understanding core concepts, and are trapped in a framework worldview. Our program is about learning to become a programmer, not just a Rails or Angular or React developer.

Third, we're an online program with some tradeoffs. There are many ways to learn programming and web development. For example, pairing with an experienced developer for 8 hours a day is the best way to learn, but it's also the most expensive. Learning on your own costs the least, but is also the least effective. We've developed a program that is in the middle of those two extremes with what we believe is the highest return for your investment in terms of depth of knowledge for the price. The pros are you get an incredibly deep program at a great pricepoint, a flexible pace to consume the curriculum, live anywhere and work on the course during evenings and weekends. The cons are related to being online: you must be self disciplined and extremely committed. We can't trap you in a classroom and can't monitor your progress. Some questions you should consider before joining our program: can you code 3-4 hours every day for 6-12 months? Will you be proactive in participating in the course? Can you code by yourself on your own time and pace?

Our program isn't a good fit for everyone, which is why we take great pain to explain what we do, how we teach, and offer free Preparatory courses to help you get started. If you're ok with the above tradeoffs, you'll have a transformative experience learning with us. See the success stories for what some of our graduates say. Make sure to also take a look at the Is This For Me page, where we go into even more detail about how we teach and what to expect.

What can I do after the program?

After the program, you can expect to have hands on experience with a wide range of practices and workflows related to building production quality web applications. Your profile will still be a junior level developer, but one who knows how to craft professional quality code. You will be far more confident in your ability to build applications, and have a much better grasp of the web development landscape. At this point, your knowledge will be farther along than your experience, so most of our students either pursue an entry level job or build products to gain real world experience. Most importantly, you'll have the skills to start a career as a software developer.

Do you do job placement?

Not at first. You have to work hard and go through the courses to learn fundamentals. Once you do that and pass the assessments, you'll be job ready. You can maximize your job search effort by leveraging our Capstone Mentoring program.

Do I get to work 1 on 1 with a mentor?

Not at first. We believe that true learning happens when you struggle on your own, but the key is to get you unstuck quickly.

Having a mentor is a great way to learn, but the reality of your day-to-day learning experience will be on your own, and a small fraction of your journey will be actual 1 on 1 with a mentor. Instead of assigning you a mentor that you meet a few times a week, you will have all the instructors and teaching assistants (TAs) available to answer questions any time. We staff TAs around the world so your questions are answered around the clock. With our well crafted curriculum, we believe it's more important to get you unstuck quickly and keep the momentum, rather than wait for an appointment a few days later to talk to someone for 30 minutes. For career or context related questions, our instructors are available to our students and if you can get through our program, we'll get to know you pretty well. Most our students are able to go through the program by themselves, with help and guidance from our TAs and instructors.

We incorporate 1 on 1 mentoring at the final stage, not the beginning, when mentorship can truly help you level up. Our Capstone Mentoring is where we employ mentors to help jumpstart your career.

We realize that some people do like mentoring early on, and that is definitely a viable, if expensive, learning option. We feel confident in our curriculum, and surround you with support. If you're smart and motivated, our program goes much deeper than any mentor can take you for a fraction of the cost. And we save the mentoring at the end, where we feel it's most impactful.

I'm located in Timbuktu, is that ok?

Yes. We've taught students from 6 continents (still looking for our first Antarctican student!). Just be sure to have high speed internet connection and a willingness to work consistently.

Can I be flexible in how fast I go through the courses?

Yes you can. One of the advantages of being an online program is that we can be flexible, and a mastery-based learning approach demands it. You can go at whatever pace as long as you ace the assessments. We do recommend that you spend at least 15 hours/week; anything less than that and knowledge starts to evaporate faster than you can accumulate.

How much time commitment does this program require?

We expect that you have at least 15-20 hours a week to go through this course.

Keep in mind that our program is mastery focused, so if you only have 10 hours a week, that may work as well, but you will consume the courses at a much slower pace than others. You'll have to decide if you can sustain that over a much longer period of time.

When can I enroll in your courses?

You can start right now! Our courses are all self pace, and you can start any time. Click here to sign up. Our preparatory courses are completely free, and you should start there. The first course is an orientation course that goes into even more detail about what we do and how we do it, so you should login and start after reading this document.

Are you going to help me work on my own project?

No. Just like music studios teach you how to play the guitar with a fixed curriculum and exercises, instead of letting you make your own music, we put a lot of thought into our curriculum to introduce concepts slowly, give plenty of exercises, and give you a smooth ramp up experience. We believe that learning with us following our curated curriculum is the best use of your time.

We've found that custom projects serve as a very poor learning tool for beginners. Usually, students under or over estimate their ability, chose a project that focuses on the wrong technical problems, or try to run before learning how to walk.

Our course projects are carefully chosen and refined from teaching hundreds of students to maximize learning on core concepts before moving on to more advanced topics.

What are some major complaints about the program?

We've taught enough students now where we have encountered some common complaints about our program. In some cases, students are able to overcome them, and in other cases, it prevents them from finishing the course. While we're working on improving, these are the most common complaints we've heard about our program.

  • Some of the lecture videos are too long. They range from 30 minutes to over 60 minutes, and it's hard to keep my attention for that long.
  • The production quality isn't the highest.
  • Coding by myself is very lonely, and can be demoralizing. It'll be nice if there were others who I could code with.
  • The chatroom is not very populated outside of normal US day time.
  • It's very hard to stay committed and motivated for such a long period of time.

How do you compare with the classroom based bootcamp programs like Dev Bootcamp?

Classroom based coding bootcamps are great. You'll be able to get a lot of personal attention from the instructors and collaborate with your peers. The fact that you will be in the classroom for 8 hours a day will give you a lot of focus. It'll also be very motivating to go through this experience in person with your fellow students. The energy and environment is very positive and conducive to work.

Our program is delivered entirely online. Because we don't see you physically, we have to rely on you to be more disciplined and manage your own time and progress. However, an online program does have several advantages too.

  • You don't have to quit your job, move across the country and stop your life. We give you much more flexibility and are much more affordable.

  • We offer the deepest full stack curriculum. We go deeper on professional level web development than the vast majority of all the training programs, both online and in person. Some programs scratch the surface of many technologies, whereas our philosophy is to take you deep in our selected topics. We feel this is the best way to level you up to advanced topics and grow as a developer, and also the best strategy to maximize your job prospects.

  • The top classroom-based bootcamp programs admit only a small percentage of the applicants. They filter and select people based on "hireability", which includes soft skills, college major, etc. We are solely focused on technical training, and will teach willing and motivated students.

If those attributes appeal to you, and you are aware of the tradeoffs of an online program, then you'll have a great time learning with us.

How do I choose between you and other programs?

The biggest difference is that we are 100% committed to a mastery-based approach (make sure to watch the video on the Is This For Me page). There are a lot of different ways to learn to program, and it's hard to figure out which path is right for each individual. Are we a better fit for you, or is one of our competitors -- who can know for certain? What we're trying to do is take the anxiety out of the equation by:

  • being as honest and transparent as possible and explain what we do, rather than fill our pages full of marketing messages
  • dividing our entire program into phases, so you can pay as you go, without committing thousands of dollars upfront
  • having a free Preparatory phase, so you can try us out without any obligation

The choice here shouldn't bring too much anxiety, and we want you to come into our program excited and eager to learn, not weary and suspicious. We aren't perfect for everyone, and unfortunately, no one can know for certain, even yourself, until you give it an honest try.

How do I start and how much is the program?

The cost of the program is $199/month.

To start, just create an account, and you can start our free Prep courses. The Prep courses will guide you through the prequisite knowledge necessary before starting our real courses. If you really disliked the Prep courses, then you probably won't enjoy the paid courses. If you enjoyed the Prep courses, then you may like the paid courses.

What's your refund or cancellation policy?

Your subscription is month to month. You may cancel at any time and you will retain access until the end of the current billing cycle. We don't issue refunds because we incur cost by answering questions and performing assessments.

What language is this program conducted in?