My Experience with Launch School

After deciding that I wanted to dig into a modern programing language, I had to decide which one and with what online resource. I did a lot of research, and discovered that there are A LOT of options. In the end, I settled on Launch School.

While taking the CS50 course online (read more about that HERE) I really appreciated that it focused on creating a solid foundation. I knew that the world of coding moved fast when it came to languages and technologies, but I also came to understand that the fundamentals pretty much stay the same. So, it made the most sense to continue along the path of building a strong foundation of knowledge as I moved forward on my coding journey.

Enter Launch School

At the time that I found Launch School their tag line was "The Slow Path for the Serious Learner", and I found this fascinating since so many other resources claimed to be able to teach you enough to get hired in just a few months. I went through all of their information, and it just made sense to me.

Launch School logo

Their focus was, and still is, on mastery-based learning. With this in mind the course is self-paced, and the students must pass assessments along the way in order to open up the next section. So, if you have some experience you might make it through the beginning sections pretty quickly whereas if you are new to coding it will take a bit longer.

I was at a point where while I wanted to learn how to code and to become a developer, my kids still demanded a lot of my time so getting a job within a few months was not my path. Launch School met all the needs I had: it was self-paced so I didn't have to stress about 'due dates', it was focused on strong foundational knowledge which I felt would be of benefit, and the cost was within my budget.

Really the only downside, which was really not much of a downside, was that the core curriculum was presented in Ruby. Much of what I was reading indicated that Ruby might not be the best language to begin learning at that time as it was being used less. In the end, since it was only the vehicle by which the fundamentals were being presented it ended up not mattering that much.

I really enjoyed the coursework within Launch School and felt that it did a good job of solidifying the core concepts of coding. I will say that the assessments raised my anxiety, as any test will, so I tended to procrastinate a bit before starting them. This is where a timeline would have been beneficial as it would have forced me to be prepared by a set date instead of being able to 'practice just a bit more' which slowed me down some.

Beware bright, shiny objects

In the end, I did not set myself up for the success I hoped to get from this course. This is not at ALL the fault of the course, as they emphasize from day one that you need to be committed and CONSISTENT in order to get the most out of it. I let way too many things distract me and would often go days and even weeks between coding/learning sessions. This inconsistency made it harder to retain what I was learning and caused me to have to circle back a lot.

As time went on I began to doubt my ability to be successful at coding and slowed down even more as my confidence sank. It was at this time that a 'bright, shiny object' came into my view, and I decided to veer away from coding and pursue that path instead (more on that HERE).

My rational brain knew I was just giving in to my fears, but my emotional brain needed to take a break. In hindsight, I wish I had recognized that I was just on the 'plateau' and stuck it out because I would be SOOOO much closer to my goals right now if I had.

Launch School graph on the learning curve for coding.

Even though I regret veering off, there were positive things that came out of the time I took away from learning to code. I gained a better understanding of branding, marketing, and how people use both websites and social media. This knowledge was very useful when working with my first clients while putting together their websites. So, not all was lost...and I did find my way back with an even stronger conviction that coding is what I want to do.

Onward on the journey...next stop Skillcrush.

</> April 

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