The Best Investment I Ever Made

Launch School truly launched my software engineering career; it has been the best investment of time and money I have ever made.

Having caught a glimpse of my love for programming, I started seeking a way to learn. Of course, the option of learning by yourself through following tutorials and hacking away at projects was appealing. But having studied in university, I knew that I benefit from having a program laid out for me not to miss any fundamentals. Launch School was just that program, and having read about their fundamentals first mastery-based approach; I was instantly sold. I appreciated the flexibility with the subscription, being able to pause it at any time and have the remaining days of the month credited to you. In addition, the fully asynchronous nature of the program enabled me to tailor it to my days.

Launch School emphasizes learning the fundamentals, going as far as implementing a basic HTTP server in a shell. This approach created a very solid foundation for delving into any other aspect of the web stack. To this day, I am seriously impressed with how complete the topics covered by Launch School were. It gave me the perfect amount of background to tackle any niche within the web stack, just enough vocabulary and mental models to make any web documentation sufficiently readable. The thorough understanding of how the internet works and the accompanying mental models gave me a foundation to launch from. This focus on starting with the basic building blocks is essential. It is very easy to create a somewhat false mental model for yourself, and Launch School gives you the confidence that your mental model is rock solid.

Before Launch School, I was already a quick learner, but I did not understand how to apply it to learning software engineering. During Launch School, you are often told to read the documentation, and establishing that habit has been transformative for my ability to learn anything I desire. No more need to follow a tutorial; I can just do it!

The community around the program is excellent. Everyone is always very responsive and friendly. Due to being based in the Netherlands, desiring to work through the Curriculum as fast as possible, and my desire for independence, I only interacted a little with the community. But my interactions with the teaching staff have been extremely pleasant. The feedback received from them was always very actionable, and the interactions were very friendly. During my trip to NYC, I did have a chance to attend a meetup, and it was great to have a community to befriend. I recommend that if you are not in a time crunch, you spend more time interacting with the community.

After completing Core (I did skip half of the last front-end course as I wanted to specialize in back-end), I completed a personal project, built a portfolio website, and began applying for jobs. I was helped by the fact that I was about to complete a technical bachelor's degree in an unrelated field, with some exposure to programming. But, my ability to discuss technical topics by applying the mental models I developed during Core was the aspect that sealed the deal. I received an offer from an exciting legal-tech company based in Amsterdam exactly one month after beginning the job search process.

Launch School truly launched my software engineering career; it has been the best investment of time and money I have ever made.