The Value of “Practice Like You Play” Learning for Aspiring Software Engineers

Dan Pickett

By Dan Pickett


If you’re looking for a traditional software development program, you’ve come to the wrong place. In fact, when I built Launch Academy, my goal was to create a learning environment that was precisely the opposite of what I, myself, experienced during my undergraduate years.

While enrolled in a very traditional four-year university, I worked simultaneously as a consultant. Day after day, I observed the vast divide between what was taught in the classroom and what I actually needed to know to succeed as a working software engineer.

Today, Launch Academy exists not to bridge that gap but to eliminate it altogether. How? With a novel training style that we call “practice like you play.” 


Get Hands-on Software Engineering Experience with “Practice Like You Play” Learning

“Practice like you play” is more than a vague philosophy here at Launch Academy. It’s the value system behind everything we teach—and the way we teach it.

“Practice like you play” is more than a vague philosophy here at Launch Academy. It’s the value system behind everything we teach—and the way we teach it.


We didn’t establish our coding bootcamp to promote learning for the sake of learning. We want you to learn for the sake of your future: the career you’ll build, the home you’ll buy, the family you’ll grow, and the community you’ll belong to.

When I started thinking about creating my own educational program, I found myself mulling over questions like, “What aspects of my traditional education would I keep? What would I eliminate? What new components would I add?”


“Practice like you play” gets you where you want to go

Traditional university settings incorporate a ton of coursework that’s ultimately irrelevant to today’s software engineer. By building a nontraditional coding academy without the strict requirements of the university system, I knew I could eliminate the educational tropes that don’t offer any real-world value.

For example, during traditional classroom exams, students have to write code with a pencil and paper. Launch Academy’s coding bootcamp structure nixes the pencil-and-paper approach. Why? Because that’s not how real software engineers work. Software engineers work in front of computers. 

As a professional software engineer, I don’t write syntax on paper or a whiteboard. I write code in an editor—that’s the medium for my work. So why do traditional learning centers insist on using outdated modalities that won’t help you harness the power of the tools you’ll be using in the field?

A Launch Academy education simulates what it’s like to work as a professional in the software engineering space. We emphasize hands-on skills that make you valuable within the current market, training you to leverage the development tools that are commonly used today. 


“Practice Like You Play” Makes You Job-Ready from Day One

Employers are discovering that traditional education doesn't always prepare people to step into real-world work environments. The habits instilled by many conventional schools simply don’t translate into the workplace. You could graduate at the top of your class, but what good is that if the skills you’ve acquired aren’t what companies genuinely want from their employees?

Because Launch Academy students practice like they play, you’ll understand the practical applications of your newly acquired skill set and arrive at your new job ready to create great code, collaborate across divisions, and cultivate a lifelong career.


Agile environments don’t want waterfall architects

Most traditional classrooms teach a waterfall-style approach to problem-solving, with a linear progression meant to build on previous learning—even if that learning is incomplete or misinterpreted.

Launch Academy, on the other hand, applies Agile methodology to the educational experience so our students become adept at incremental advancements. Our coding bootcamp graduates haven’t merely learned “how to become a software developer;” they excel at requesting help, gathering feedback, and applying new learnings to build momentum.

These Agile-informed skills are enormously important to employers. Companies aren’t interested in embarking on a months-long feedback loop before knowing whether a new team member can meaningfully contribute. And when a business hires a Launch Academy grad, they know they’re getting someone who’s eager and equipped to make an immediate impact. 


We stay agile, so you stay relevant

Launch Academy’s Agile approach to education applies behind the scenes as well as in the classroom. 

Every quarter, our team closes the classroom doors for 2-3 weeks and hunkers down to fully evaluate our bootcamp curriculum. We examine what’s working for our students—and what isn’t. We also collect immediate feedback from our hiring partners about how the most recent Launch Academy grads compare to applicants from traditional universities and other coding bootcamps. 

These frequent retrospectives guide our curriculum changes and ensure that we continue to evolve and adapt alongside the industry at large. Launch Academy is committed to developing every student into a highly competitive player with the skills needed to establish a thriving career that will serve them for a lifetime.

Go from total newbie to professional software engineer in 18 weeks! Start here.