Why Choose a Coding Bootcamp With a Built-in Software Consultancy?

Dan Pickett

By Dan Pickett

 

What’s the best way to become an expert in your field?

You could spend years doing research and studying how to succeed. Or you could learn the human way, as we like to call it: gaining hands-on experience alongside the best in the business.

In his 2016 book Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise, psychologist K. Anders Ericsson summarizes the acquisition of expertise. His 30 years of research revealed that people who have the opportunity to simulate their work in a lower-stakes environment learn quickly and gain invaluable experience.

Launch Academy is one of the few software engineering programs in the country that offers a thriving consultancy alongside our educational training. Our engineers and teachers share real project context to give students real world experience that other schools simply can’t match. 

Launch Academy is one of the few software engineering programs that offers a thriving consultancy alongside our educational training.

 

Using the Medical Residency Model to Teach Software Development

If you’re local to the Boston area, you may be familiar with its renowned teaching hospitals. Top medical centers like Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital practice apprentice-style learning, where interns work alongside resident doctors to learn to perform patient interviews and evaluations.

This teaching method allows for a complete feedback loop: dialogue, conversation, and immediate follow-up discussion. It’s a way of reducing risk for patients while allowing future physicians to bounce ideas and thoughts off of more experienced doctors. 

At Launch Academy, we took the teaching hospital approach and applied it to software development. Aspiring software engineers generally lack opportunities to grow and develop in real-world professional settings. But we use our consultancy to simulate a work environment that provides a safe space for novice software engineers to work through problems.

How Launch Academy’s Teaching Model Benefits New Software Engineers

In addition to simulating real working environments at Launch Academy, we actually put our engineers to work! 

You can learn about best practices in a classroom, but you can’t internalize what you’ve learned until you experience it firsthand. Our teaching model helps students with these fundamental skills:

Improving client communication

Successful software engineering all starts with client-facing bedside manner (pun intended). We set clear standards and expectations for communication so our engineers feel confident interacting with clients on their own. 

Avoiding assumptions about client needs

Sometimes, our novice engineers lack a clear understanding of what needs to be built and risk making assumptions about a client’s needs. Launch Academy helps prepare our students to initiate and design clear criteria before development begins. 

Thinking about scale

 A newer software engineer might not realize the enormous scale of some of the projects they work on. The project in front of them might be small, but if it has the potential to scale rapidly, they need to be developing to manage that capacity. A perfect example is writing a query assuming there are 100 records in a table, when in reality, the table eventually needs to manage 1 million records or more. 

Fine-tuning the user experience

Most product owners evaluate software according to the ease of its user experience. Sometimes engineers try to satisfy this need with code alone, without taking a user's experience and perspective into consideration. Through practice, our engineers learn to address the user experience from a number of different perspectives. 

Our process for immediate feedback allows all of these adjustments and refinements to be made in real time. In turn, students can quickly respond and adapt so they are better equipped to face these challenges in the future. 

Launch Academy’s Teaching Model Benefits Clients, Too!

Our apprenticeship model clearly benefits our newly graduated engineers, but what’s in it for our clients?

Just like in a teaching hospital, patients usually prefer the expertise of a senior doctor. But realistically, doctors can’t perform every task associated with patient care. Instead, a fleet of other medical professionals assist patients, allowing senior physicians to focus on their area of specialization and the work only they can do.

Our teaching model employs a comparable hierarchy of work. Some tasks can, and are, delegated to the experts, but many jobs are better suited for junior developers instead. Novice engineers are given work appropriate to their skill level, freeing up our senior team to focus on critical issues within the project.

This system works so well because we have the right oversight measures in place. All work is reviewed by the project’s senior engineer. Using a tool called pull requests, senior engineers evaluate every piece of code the novice engineer produces to ensure it’s done correctly. Our clients never have to compromise on quality. 

In fact, our clients actually benefit from this system! Ultimately, they walk away with:

  • High quality work at a low cost. Clients receive senior engineer knowledge at a discounted junior rate.
  • Placement potential. We provide placement opportunities for clients growing their engineering departments. Our junior engineers learn the client’s business and can then be outplaced into their permanent engineering teams. It’s a win-win situation: clients receive dependable, highly skilled employees, and new engineers get hired!

 

Want to make the most out of your software engineering education? Choose to learn from a team that will provide great training and give you the on-the-job skills you need to launch your new career. Download our syllabus to see what Launch Academy has to offer!

Are you an engineering manager looking to build development capacity? Learn more about what we can bring to your organization.