From Student to Master: Launch School’s approach to “self-taught” programming.

Kyle A Klein
3 min readJan 30, 2023

My journey has only just begun.

Being a professional, I already know what it takes to go from apprentice to journeyman. And I’ve decided to do it again, anyway. A career change is no easy feat, but with access to information the way it is and the paths beaten down just enough, one only needs a desire great enough to not give up.

I was accepted into the Launch School curriculum one year ago and through consistent part-time effort, I passed the first two assessments. According to other’s timelines this is pretty slow. Maybe it takes me a little longer or maybe I take it slow. I’d like to think it’s because I’m a perfectionist but in reality it’s probably because I’m a procrastinator.

The core of Launch School’s pedagogy is to only move on once you’ve mastered the current material.

In learning this new skill, I’ve noticed things aren’t how I think they should be, they are how they are and my job is to mold myself, and my thinking, into how it is.

For example: you can’t turn an array into an integer. If you want to turn an array of individual numbers into a single integer you must first join them together into a string, and then turn that string into an integer. To help myself remember what data types can and can not transform into one another I made a note for myself:

From-To

I just about have it memorized where I don’t need to look at it anymore but it’s good for quick reference. I hope it’s helpful to you as well.

The one thing I love about code is the rigidity of it. It’s like math. It may be unforgiving but it doesn’t change. Maybe this is why integers are immutable. (That was a little joke.)

So the challenge becomes to learn, through repetition, the right way to do things, because the wrong way for the most part, won’t work. And to help with this I’ve made reference sheets:

Strings
Integers
Arrays
Hashes

Everything on here is pretty basic and the source material is Launch School’s Introduction to Programming with Ruby. By putting them all in one place it allows me to save time on searching for how something works or the correct syntax.

Launch school has taken a difficult self-study subject and through curriculum and community made it approachable and learnable.

I’ve learned a lot through the blog posts of others and I wish to give back how I can. Thanks for your time.

Author’s Note: If you are not currently enrolled at Launch School and would like more information, check it out at LaunchSchool.com

--

--