A Lot of Time And Effort, But Worth It

Launch School takes a lot of time and effort but absolutely prepares you to be a software engineer for a living, both in terms of programming knowledge and mindset.

I spent a little over 11 months doing the LS Core Curriculum. Probably could have taken less time- part of this whole learning experience for me was learning how to budget my time and focus effectively without any supervision. If you have no trouble with that it may take less time for you. Prior to LS, I had worked at an academic research lab where I coded in Matlab- most of my knowledge was gained through basically flailing at stuff until it worked, which is to say I had some practical experience but didn't have a ton of knowledge of what I was actually doing. LS gives you all the info you need, but in a way that's agnostic to language- you learn about the concept itself, and the concept is illustrated through code. This makes it way easier down the line to apply these concepts to different languages, and I have personal experience with this- I did the Javascript path but my first contract work I got while doing the program was TypeScript, and my job now is the ASP.NET framework, so primarily C#. I haven't written a single line of vanilla JS professionally, and that hasn't been an issue.

A big point of emphasis at LS is mentality and committing to the process- you will need to take this to heart if you want to do this program. It takes a long time to complete and it's pretty much entirely self-driven. The flipside of that is now that I have a software engineering job where I get paid twice as much as my previous work and I actually enjoy what I do (and I have a boss giving me assignments), I have no shortage of motivation to get up and go to work. One thing they emphasize is that you will spend your entire career learning, learning, learning- that definitely seems to be the consensus among professional software engineers that I've worked with thus far, and keeping the mentality of a forever learner has helped me a lot with picking up new info and staying humble. Software engineering is a field that is constantly evolving with new languages, new features, etc- get used to being humble (learner's mentality) and taking time to learn new stuff. You will never know everything. "The only thing I know is that I know nothing at all." (When you get a job after finishing the program, this is not the quote to give your boss if you cause a production outage.)

Additionally, the LS community is awesome- generally, everyone is humble and looking to get better. It's very easy to get help/get a study partner/practice interview questions/find someone to do a project with/whatever else. Instructors answer questions helpfully and quickly, and give useful feedback on assignments you complete throughout the course. You're not going to be spoonfed, but I would not hesitate to say I really enjoyed learning from LS instructors when I asked them questions.

I would definitely recommend this program to anyone looking to become a software engineer and willing to put in the time and effort. (Also, as of the writing of this review, it's $200/month- I spent $2400 to completely pivot careers. Compared to what I was making at my old job, I'll make that back in 2~ pay periods. Not bad)