A Tough but Gratifying Experience

Thanks to Launch School's guidance, philosophy, curriculum and Capstone Program, I am now a Software Engineer working a job in NYC and earning well over the $100k/year

I started learning using Launch School in April 2016. At the time I had been dabbling with programming for a couple months and was left wondering about a lot things. One of them was "how does this all work under the hood?". That's how I found Launch School. I simply looked for a program that would do more than just scratch the surface.

Launch School teaches "fundamentals", if you want to learn more about what it means I'm sure you can find a ton of info on their website. All I have to say about it is that it helped me in becoming a software engineer and it made my learning experience much more satisfying. By learning the fundamentals, using a bottom up approach, I was able to pick up new concepts much easier. For example, if you want to learn jQuery and you've already mastered using the DOM and JavaScript, then jQuery will be very easy to pick up, to understand and to debug when running into problems. The whole Launch School curriculum is designed this way and it is by far the best resource I've found online in order to learn and master the fundamentals of programming.

After I completed most of the curriculum, as one of the top students, I was invited to participate in the "Capstone Program". During Capstone, I teamed up with two other top students in order to build a project which would showcase our abilities as software engineers. The experience was hard, tiring and very rewarding. We ended up building a project called Workerholic and I was able to give three 45-minute long technical talks about it at three meetups. If I had to quickly sum up my experience during Capstone I would bring up the following points:

  • refreshing

working amongst a team was great and made things much more real. You have to deal with your team members and be empathetic, and at the same time you can get a lot done much faster. The experience of working as part of a team was great and really prepared me to be a collaborative team member at my current job.

  • very challenging
    • a gigantic amount of work: building the project + studying algorithms + studying system design
    • I was pushed out of my comfort zone because I was encouraged to give technical talks, alone, about my project
  • very much in line with the Launch School philosophy
    • high level mentoring: nobody will do the work for you, it is your team's project and the mentors will not code anything up for you, they will be here to scope the project so it's doable within 4-6 weeks and help you if you're stuck by pointing you to resources or giving you advice
    • ultimately the project you end up with is your team's project alone, which is extremely satisfying and gratifying because you will be able to give talks about it and talk about it at a deeper technical level than the mentors
  • very rewarding
    • Ended up getting a great job as a Software Engineer

Overall, Launch School was a tough but gratifying experience for me. I questioned the process a bunch of times but in the end I stuck with Launch School and it paid off. Launch School is hard because there is not much hand holding and you have to do the work alone, from home, online. Personally, I had to force myself to work on the curriculum everyday for several hours. In the end it enabled me to dig into some more meta concerns, such as "how to learn", "how to develop habits", "how to fight against procrastination"... If you're going to join Launch School, you need to trust the process, whether it is during the curriculum phase, or the Capstone phase, it will be hard and it will seem daunting, but with the high level guidance that Launch School provides, if you trust their process, with a lot of hard work, you will come out a Software Engineer ready to join the workforce.

Thanks to Launch School's guidance, philosophy, curriculum and Capstone Program, I am now a Software Engineer working a job in NYC and earning well over the $100k/year that bootcamp graduates can barely reach. Without a doubt, I would definitely recommend Launch School (Core Curriculum + Capstone Program) to anyone interested in becoming a competent Software Engineer.