Learn By Doing

Get practical skills in three intense phases over 9 months.

Each step of Starter School is designed to build on top of the preceding one. In phase one, you will get a solid foundation in web development and entrepreneurship. In phase two, you will learn how to effectively design user interfaces and continue to develop your programming skills. In the final phase, you will unite all of your abilities in order to ship a web application that you care about.


Build the prototype of your web application.

In the first phase of the program, you will learn how to build the prototype of a database-backed, dynamic web application. This involves intense training in back-end web development with Ruby on Rails, and an introduction to front-end web development with HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript. You'll learn how to recognize impactful problems to solve, identify sustainable business models, and get an introduction to user interface design to start refining the look and feel of your app.

Questions you will answer:
  1. What problems need to be solved in the world?
  2. What problem do I want to solve?
  3. What is a software solution to this problem?
  4. How do I build my prototype with Ruby on Rails?
  5. Do other people want my solution?
  6. Will someone pay me for my solution?
Concepts you will learn:


  • Computer Science Principles
  • Software Engineering
  • Agile Development
  • Back-end Development with Ruby on Rails
  • Versioning and Source Control with Git
  • Fundamentals of Front-End Development with HTML and CSS
  • Fundamentals of User Interface Design


  • Problem Definition
  • Building for Change and Social Impact
  • Civic Problem Solving with Technology and Public Data
  • Customer Discovery
  • Product/Market Fit
  • Sustainable Software Business Models
  • Smokescreen Tests, Landing Page Conversion Analysis


Design your app to be useful, intuitive, and beautiful.

In the second phase, you will discover who your users are and design the optimal interface for your product. You'll learn what it means to have taste in design (how to discern good from ugly), how to write clear and compelling copy, and develop a design style of your own to apply to your web application. You'll dive deeper into front-end development with HTML5, CSS3, and Javascript, and get additional entrepreneurship training in Business Strategy, Sales Channels, and Financial Modeling. You'll also build on what you learned in the fall by learning advanced web development techniques with DevOps and Test Driven Development.

Questions you will answer:
  1. What is design and why is it important for my app?
  2. How do people feel when they use my app?
  3. Is my solution intuitive and effective?
  4. Am I clearly stating what my value proposition is?
  5. How do I convert my static mockups to HTML and CSS?
  6. Is my app optimized for performance?
  7. How do I mitigate redundancy in my code?
  8. Can I sustainably make money with my software?
  9. What are the important metrics for my company's success?
Concepts you will learn:


  • User Interface Design
  • User Experience Design
  • Design Process
  • Copywriting for the Web
  • Advanced Front-end Development


  • DevOps
  • Test Driven Development


  • Business Strategy and Decision Making
  • Sales Channel Identification
  • Key Performance Indicators
  • Unit Economics
  • Financial Modeling


Fuse programming, design, and entrepreneurship to ship your product.

In the final phase, your knowledge from the Fall and Winter will converge around a complete sequence of product development training. This includes project management, concept design, code implementation, shipping your software to production, quality assurance, and customer support. A series of workshops will cover a range of topics such as how to hire the best people for your company, how to lead a product development team, how to launch and market your product, and how to make complex technology decisions as your product scales. Our instructors from the Fall and Winter quarters will also be present to support the successful execution of your product.

Questions you will answer:
  1. How do I acquire users for my product?
  2. Am I affording my users the capabilities they seek?
  3. Who should I work with to build my product?
  4. What's the best way to get feedback on my app?
  5. How do I test my app for bugs and inconsistencies?
  6. How should I launch my product to the public?
  7. Should I bootstrap my business or seek outside capital?
  8. How do I structure HR, legal, and finance activities?
  9. What should I do when something goes wrong?
Concepts you will learn:


  • UI Design, Implementation, and Polishing
  • Product Review Cycles
  • Quality Assurance
  • Customer Support
  • Managing Technology at Scale


  • Launch, Marketing, and Sales Strategies
  • Bootstrapping, Fundraising
  • Board Management
  • Recruiting, Interviewing, Hiring
  • Legal, Human Resources, Accounting
  • Operational Planning
  • Entrepreneurship Empathy


  • Front-end development master class
  • Back-end development master class


Start companies, ship products, get jobs.

Learning all of the necessary components to build software is challenging. You shouldn't expect to become an expert at programming, design, product development, and entrepreneurship in one fell swoop. Instead, you will have a holistic point of view and will be able to discover which of these topics you enjoy the most with the potential to pursue mastery through years of dedication and hard work doing what you love.

By the end of Starter School, you will ship a product and be armed with a skillset that will enable you to start your own company or get a great job. As one of just 52 people that completed one of the most intense and rigorous software schools in the world, the question won't be, "Can I get a job?" but instead, "Should I choose this job or make my own?"



Tuition for Starter School is $12,000 per quarter, excluding housing, materials, and personal expenses. A refundable deposit of $3,000 will be required in order to confirm your acceptance. One week before the start of each quarter a payment of $12,000 must be made. For example, the Winter quarter begins on January 6, so a payment of $12,000 would be due no later than December 30.

Cost Breakdown
Fall quarter -$12,000
Winter quarter $12,000
Spring quarter $12,000
Total $24,000

Do you offer loans and scholarships?

Currenty we don't offer loans or financial aid. However, we are actively working with loan providers and the government to make Starter School more affordable. In the meantime, please reach out to us at support@starterschool.com so we can learn more about your situation.

How have other students financed their tuition?

Our students have creatively raised funds for Starter School in numberous ways. They've sourced online donations, secured company sponsorship, created friends and family loans, and even sold their cars. The students who have given up the most tend to get the most out of the program. They treat it like a serious, life-changing investment— which is exactly what it is.

A New Way to Pay For Starter School

We are excited to announce a partnership with Upstart, a platform that allows individuals to get financial investment to pursue their dream careers. This partnership allows current students and future Starter School students to raise funding for Starter School tuition.

Here are the requirements to qualify for Upstart:

  1. You must be a U.S. citizen, or permanent resident currently living in the US
  2. Be at least 18 years old;
  3. Have a valid e-mail account;
  4. Have a verifiable name, date of birth, and social security number
  5. Have graduated from a 4-year (bachelor's degree) accredited college in 1995 or later or be accepted by and soon to enroll in a 4-year accredited (bachelor's degree) college;
  6. Have an account at a U.S. financial institution with a routing transit number; and
  7. Meet our minimum credit requirements.