FAQ

What is Launch Academy Online?

Launch Academy Online was born from our On Campus program that we’ve been running for 3 years now, and we’ve helped to place over 350 students in their first job as web developers. From the very early days, we were always running into amazing people that, for whatever reason, could not relocate to Boston and quit their job or uproot their family. We really wanted to serve those folks, so we knew from very early on that we wanted to provide an Online version of what we’re teaching on campus.

We could have done what others have done: throw a camera in the room here in Boston and hire outside contractors to meet with students once per week. That didn’t sit well with us, so we went a different way; a human way.

Our program was designed around the idea that learning is better together. You’ll be working through the curriculum and collaborating with your peers, asking questions during daily office hours, and meeting with your mentor—a full-time Launch Academy instructor or an alum of the on-campus program—for live 1-on-1 video sessions. We’re creating an online learning experience that provides you with access to what makes the learning quick, while also taking into account that you have a life outside of your studies, and that it needs to fit your lifestyle.

What we’ve done is we’ve taken our entire curriculum and divided into a set of core phases. We start with the very basics. It is a zero prerequisite program, so we start at ground zero. We take you from command line basics and build your capabilities all of the way up to full stack developer with a firm understanding of Ruby, Rails, Databases, and JavaScript.

How is it different from other online programs?

We could have done what others have done: throw a camera in the room here in Boston and hire outside contractors to meet with students once per week. That didn’t sit well with us, so we went a different way; a human way.

Our program was designed around the idea that learning is better together. You’ll be working through the curriculum and collaborating with your peers, asking questions during daily office hours, and meeting with your mentor—a full-time Launch Academy instructor or an alum of the on-campus program—for live 1-on-1 video sessions. We’re creating an online learning experience that provides you with access to what makes the learning quick, while also taking into account that you have a life outside of your studies, and that it needs to fit your lifestyle.

How do I know if I’m ready for Launch Academy Online?

Launch Academy Online is a zero prerequisite program. We start you on day 1: we’ll help you get familiar with the command line, and with the very basics of programming. The real key is to ensure you can dedicate the time and energy to your studies. If you’ve been looking for a place to learn, and you have an interest in software development, this is the program for you.

When does the next program start?

We admit on a rolling basis, and there’s an opportunity to start in the program every two weeks. Because we don’t use third-party contractors, we can only enroll a limited set of students every two weeks. This ensures that every student gets the best possible experience. Enrolling now will secure your spot, and your card won’t be charged until the day before the start date.

How will I learn?

We want you to learn by doing, so the majority of the time you spend on each unit will be actually writing code. You’ll be supported by interactive tutorials, video solutions, and a little bit of reading. Through years of refining our on-campus curriculum, we’ve found that the most effective way to learn programming is through a delicate balance of directed teaching and designed struggle. Too much hand-holding and you won’t really internalize the concepts you’re learning; not enough guidance and it’s easy to get discouraged.

As you work through the curriculum, expect to be challenged. You’ll encounter problems that require you to ‘connect the dots’ between concepts where the answers might not be immediately obvious. But you’re never on your own for too long—help is at your fingertips when you need it.

What will I learn?

For the exhaustive answer to this question, check out our syllabus (you can request one here). The short version is that we’ve broken the curriculum down into 12 phases. Phase 1 starts with the basics, and orients you with the Launch Academy way of learning. We take a look at the command line, getting set up, and the basics of the Ruby programming language. As you work through the next 11 phases, you’ll learn arrays, hashes, compound data structures, objects, test driven development (TDD), HTML, CSS, object inheritance and composition, databases, relational modeling, SQL, ActiveRecord, Rails, JavaScript. Document Object Model (DOM) manipulation with jQuery, Ajax, algorithms and computer science fundamentals.

Then you’ll build your capstone project. This project represents the sum of everything you’ve learned in the program, and it’s a great opportunity to show hiring managers a little of your personality. Usually, students create capstone projects that tie to their personal interest or maybe address a painpoint they’ve ran into in their previous professional lives. At this point, you’re ready to start the job hunt!

The learning shouldn’t stop while you’re looking for a job. After 3 years running, we’ve learned from hiring managers that they are looking for voracious learners, so we provide material that allows you to broaden your skills and make you more marketable while pursuing that first job in web development. In our supplemental curriculum, we’ll teach you things like React, Angular, two popular JavaScript frameworks, NodeJS, NoSQL databases with technologies like Couch and Redis. We’ll also take a look at some advanced computer science topics and algorithms. We’ve designed this curriculum to really set you apart from any other coding school graduate out there.

How long will each unit take?

That’s really up to you and how much time you can devote to the program. Completing one unit every two weeks would be a reasonable goal for someone working full time with moderate responsibilities outside of work, but you’re free to work as much or as little as is convenient for you.

What hardware do I need?

We support Windows, Mac, and Ubuntu or Debian Linux. However, we highly recommend that you learn on a Mac or Linux machine. Most open-source web development tools are UNIX-based, so you’re far less likely to encounter any software issues if you’re running OSX or Linux, which are both UNIX-based operating systems. You’ll need a mic and a webcam for 1on1’s and Live Q&A’s. Other than that, we’ll get you set up with freely available software that complete your development environment.

How can I get the most out of the program?

Own it. Treat it as you would a formal learning program. We’re making it easy for you to access some awesome material and get help when you need it, but that doesn’t mean programming magically becomes a cakewalk.

We’d suggest forming a learning plan and sticking to it. Commit yourself to the work, and we promise you’ll get something rewarding from it. If you’re unsure how to structure your learning time, let us know. We’ll give you some suggestions to help you get on track.

Are you going to hook me up with a job when it’s all over?

When you begin your capstone project, you’ll also start meeting with Whitney, our career coach every other week. Together, you’ll review your resume, your LinkedIn profile, social media profiles, websites, as well as your code portfolio. You’ll also work to outline a strategy for your job search and identify key networking opportunities that are crucial to landing your first job as a developer.

You’ll still be meeting weekly with your mentor, and we encourage you to use this 1-on-1 time to practice for the technical portion of an interview with mock interviews.