I unfortunately found the options for my specific field of study limited, so I’ve spent the past 15 years of my professional life in a series of stable but largely unfulfilling jobs. Because of Launch School, I am now in a field that truly interests me, and I’m on an income trajectory that will allow me to give back, provide a stable base for my family, and accomplish many of the things that make life enjoyable to me.
It’s hard to overstate the impact that Launch School has had on my life. I consider myself a studious person - I took high school and college seriously, got good grades, and made an effort to find a career that aligned with my degree and interests. I unfortunately found the options for my specific field of study limited, so I’ve spent the past 15 years of my professional life in a series of stable but largely unfulfilling jobs. Because of Launch School, I am now in a field that truly interests me, and I’m on an income trajectory that will allow me to give back, provide a stable base for my family, and accomplish many of the things that make life enjoyable to me.
There are a few facets of Launch School, and especially the Capstone program, that make them such an effective springboard to a career in software engineering. As someone who tried to learn a few programming languages and web development on my own, the structure that Launch School provides is important. Even for someone who is focused and motivated, it can be hard to sustain the energy and interest needed to learn on your own without any feedback, any community, and any sense of how close you are to your goal. Launch School provides all of these. Knowing exactly what to study may just be the most challenging aspect of trying to learn on your own, because the programming world is both wide and deep. While learning anything interesting is often time well-spent, it doesn’t necessarily get you closer to landing a paying job as a software engineer, which was my goal.
That is Capstone’s explicit goal as well, and it does a fantastic job of preparing you for both finding a job, nailing the interviews, and the daily work the job requires once you’ve landed it. It is important to note that the type of jobs the Capstone program prepares you for are not entry-level jobs. Official job titles of Capstone students often range from Jr. Engineer to Sr. Engineer, however they all effectively require multiple years of experience, have great starting pay, and often allow you to work on the kinds of interesting problems that entry-level roles often don’t have access to.
While the Capstone program prepares you incredibly well for your first job, that doesn’t mean that you’ll have all of the knowledge you’ll ever need from the start. Your first role may require a language you don’t know, or it may require advanced problem-domain expertise, or it may use frameworks and tools you’ve never worked with. And this is perhaps where the most lasting benefit of Launch School becomes apparent. Because Launch School focuses on the fundamentals of programming, you have a solid base from which you can learn new material quickly and efficiently. When you have to learn something new, and you most certainly will, that fundamental knowledge that was ingrained over years allows you to pick up concepts and identify patterns rapidly without getting bogged down by basic concepts.
All of this amounts to a Capstone program that truly does prepare you for a career in software engineering and helps you get past the first few hurdles that can be a barrier to so many. There will always be that little bit of imposter syndrome when you switch careers to an entirely new field, but after having spent the first few months in my new role as a software engineer, I can honestly say I do not feel out of place and I do feel like I have all of the tools required to do my job effectively now and in the future.