The Starter League

Learn how to code, design, & ship web apps.

Web Development

Over 11 weeks, you'll take an idea from your head and make it real on the web. By building a web application from scratch, you'll learn:

In order to reach these goals, you'll learn how to use different languages, frameworks and tools:

You'll also be exposed to modern project management methodologies like Agile and Lean. Along the way, you'll pick-up practical computer science knowledge by building solutions to real problems.

The curriculum is completely beginner-focused. There are no prerequisites other than passion and persistence. Our mission is to demolish the artificial barriers that have been put up around programming and make it accessible to anyone that wants to learn.

Over years, we've put together what we believe is the best path for going from no coding experience to being able to build dynamic web applications. We strive to create the most beginner-friendly, non-intimidating educational environment that you've ever been in.

Who is this course for?

We've had students from all walks of life, including:

Anyone who wants to understand how the technology we use every day works, and how to apply it to their own lives, will benefit from this course.

What's the schedule?

The course starts on June 23rd and ends on September 5th, with holidays for Independence Day and Labor Day. Classes will be held on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings from 9:00am to 12:20pm.

In the afternoon, we'll have study halls where you can practice what you learned in class. And throughout the week, the instructor will hold office hours to discuss any questions you have.

What's a typical day like?

Generally, in class:

Following class, you'll have challenges to work on with your peers, office hours with your instructor, and time to work on your own ideas.

What can I expect to build?

Here are some projects previous students began during their Web Development course:


Scott Weisman

Formerly a lawyer, now a developer, Scott built an application for lawyers to better manage and track case information.

John Chan

John knew there was a better way for remote teams to communicate. Dayboard allows teams to run scrum meetings anytime, anywhere.

Claire Lew

Claire helps build happier, more productive companies. ClarityBox is her way to see how employees are doing.

Why don't you teach computer science first?

We believe that more people are interested in applications than in theory. Moreover, we've seen that beginners are more likely to want to practice if they are solving their own problems than if they are working on abstract puzzles.

However, we have had many students who, after learning to build a functional application, become very interested in the underlying computer science and go on to excel at it.

Why web applications instead of native apps?

For beginners, we believe web applications are the best place to start for a variety of reasons:

Why Ruby on Rails?

Ruby on Rails is the best way for beginners to learn how to build web applications. Ruby is a language designed for "developer happiness", unlike most languages that force humans to contort themselves to the needs of the computer. At the same time, Rails has all the power, agility, and robustness needed to power sites like The New York Times, GitHub, and Twitter.

Rails also has a wonderful, welcoming community; especially in Chicago, the hometown of Basecamp, our partners and the inventors of Rails. For most anything you want to do, you'll find a pre-written tool that will help you do it, and a legion of helpful experts answering questions.

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