Rocket Academy Review — Part 2: My Basics Course Experience

This is part 2 of a review of my journey with Rocket Academy. If you haven’t, check out Part 1 where I describe my Bootcamp selection process here. ‍P.S — none of my reviews are sponsored. I thought I do justice to what RA has done for me through an own honest review of my journey.

Rocket Academy Review — Part 2: My Basics Course Experience
Written by
Jit Corn
Last updated
Thursday, February 9, 2023

Background Context

I had actually done 8/12 weeks of CS50 on my own (think it was in 2015? I gave up when university got hectic) and most of the Javascript practices on freeCodeCamp in 2019 prior to joining the course.

For what it’s worth, my daily work in Finance involved using excel, which also had a bit of logic involved. Hence, I was not totally new to Javascript and basic programming.

I was also considering to enrol into RA’s full time 6 month Bootcamp, and the Basics course was a pre-requisite requirement.

What is the Basics course about?

The Basics (now known as Fundamentals) course intends to impart to students the foundations of basic logical thinking in programming, using Javascript.

Students can then apply their learnings through different post class exercises and mini projects. For me, the course culminated in a mini capstone project where we created a simple Blackjack game that was deployed on the web (github pages).

Lesson Schedule

At the time of attending, it spanned 4 weeks, with 2 hours lessons taking place on Tuesday and Friday nights (7pm — 9pm), as well as on Saturday afternoons (1–3pm).

Lessons are 100% virtual and held online via Zoom.


The Basics course taught various foundational programming concepts such as

  • Functions
  • Conditional Statements (If -Else)
  • Loops
  • Arrays

It also introduced version control using Git and Github, which is a very popular tool in the world of software development. Students can expect to integrate basic git workflows in their day to day projects.

For most (if not all) sections of the Basics course, there are videos that help illustrate the concepts involved. They can be really helpful if you are more a n audiovisual person when it comes to learning.

For me, I am more of a read-it-off the text kind of guy, so I mostly skimmed through the videos. You could also check out the transcripts on youtube, if you prefer to read through the videos like me as well.


The concepts learnt were applied on various exercises such as creating a Scissors Paper Stone Game, Dice Rolls, Chat Bot and others.

These exercises were classified into Base, Comfortable and More Comfortable sections. These categories helped me in assessing the amount of time and potential complexity needed to solve these challenges.

The expectation was to minimally complete the Base sections before the start of the next class, but to solidify your understanding, my opinion is that you should try to complete as many questions as possible, if time permits.

The pace of the curriculum can be slightly trying, as there are many new concepts that you will learn about, and you will have to dedicate significant amounts of time on after work and on the weekends to complete all of the assignments. Hence, try to pace yourself accordingly.

In Class Activities

RA adopts the flipped classroom environment, where students are giving pre-class readings and are expected to study the materials before attending the class.

When we logged on for classes, we usually started off with a simple review and recap of the pre-class readings. We would also take the chance to go through whatever concepts that we were unfamiliar with, and also showcase our code to the rest of the class for the homework assigned. This usually took about 30 minutes.

Following which, we will embark on a series of in-class exercises that build upon the same concepts until the end of the session. We would usually do this in pairs (i.e pair programming), where one would be the driver and the other the typer. This collaboration is meant for students to apply the theory in the problem sets and allowed for an inter-exchange of knowledge during the process.

I was initially apprehensive about pair programming, as I thought that if both the programmers involved are new to what they are doing, then could we even learn anything useful? I was also nervous about being a total n00b with my logic and syntax and showcasing that to my peers.

But after awhile, things turned out fine and I just needed some getting used to. It was even fun sometimes working on problems with your new friends! Turns out that if your classmates knew more than you, you could actually learn from them. If not, you got the awesome opportunity to explain to them your understanding of the matter, solidifying your knowledge in the process. I especially enjoyed drawing stuff on screen in Zoom as part of our discussions(wondering if there’s a Zoom drawing bootcamp hmm).

If both of you were stuck during an in-class activity, the instructors were always around to assist you.

Encountering Difficulties and Asking for Help

Anytime you face with any difficulty, the main mode of communication is via Slack. Simply describe the problem in a clear and logical manner and post it into your own batch’s channel. The instructors are highly responsive and are very willing to jump onto a Zoom call to help you if need be. They are also very calm and collected in assessing your issue, so you can expect your issue to be resolved quickly.

Posting your questions in your own batch’s channel instead of PM-ing the instructors is the SOP at RA. This serves the purpose of sharing your problem and learnings with the rest of your batch mates efficiently.

You should ask more questions

I say that everyone should be unabashed and just ask as often as you can, simply because the premium you pay between an online video course on Udemy and RA, is the opportunity to have live support and feedback. Furthermore, you asking questions may shed light on the same issues that your peers are struggling on as well.

The common pitfall that I witnessed was that some of my peers were too afraid to ask for help even though they were stuck on a problem for very long. Some were afraid of exposing their imagined inadequacies on the channel where all your peers could see their questions.

But to be honest, if you are here means you are new to programming. Since you are new to this, no one should judge you for not knowing anything. And if they do, they don’t matter.

Additional Thoughts and Commentary

Value Propositions of Rocket Academy’s Basics Course

1. Rigorous application of concepts learnt

The Basics course is not just about teaching you the syntax and logic, but really more about learning how to apply them in a rigorous manner through their problem sets. You don’t really get to apply this yourself through a lot of the online paid courses or places like Codecademy (at least during the point of writing).

FreeCodeCamp has some resemblance of this, but the code necessary to solve the problems tend to be more bite sized and contained, which I feel stagnated my learning.

The course at RA tackled this issue for me well. If not for the increasingly complex exercises and projects, I would not have had the chance to write increasingly complicated code, which in turn, taught me more about best practices in coding, such as adding salient comments in my code and structuring my code in a more logical manner.

2. Faster iterative learning cycles through quicker feedback

As mentioned earlier, the premium we pay for an immersive course like this is to receive feedback on how our performance. While there aren’t always standard answers in programming, the instructors are always keen to review your code and supply useful feedback that will enhance your understanding. Simpy ask and you shall receive.

They also supply some standard answers for reference as well, and increasingly more so with time.

Basics course is not easy, but definitely manageable

With all things considered, I felt that the Basics course was could be challenging for new learners who are starting from scratch. This was because the course tried to amalgamate both learning the syntax, logic and application quickly, and it can get tough if you don’t have a strong grasp when it comes to doing projects.

If not for my prior attempts of learning on my own, I think I would have struggled more like some of my peers who have totally no experience with code. Nonetheless, everyone I knew managed to get through the exercises and projects anyway, with or without additional help from the instructors.

My understanding of the subsequent Basics courses’ revamped schedule is now 2 days a week, over the course of 6 weeks (mine was 3 days a week over 4 weeks). I imagine this would give students more time for spaced repetition, making the learning curve less steep.

Regardless, I would also strongly recommend prospective students to work through the basics of Javascript on sites like FreeCodeCamp or any other free coding websites. This is just to get a taste of how it is like programming before you pay actual dollars and commit to this course.

You could even try out their course on your own for free (everything is available on before joining them as well! Of course, you can expect to receive really good feedback and clarify your doubts quickly only if you enrol.

Can I really learn well over Zoom over a real classroom setting?

Admittedly, the standard physical classroom environment is what I was really used to. I was slightly skeptical as I thought it might be difficult to explain my thoughts and issues over Zoom.

But the world is changing. The COVID saga has forced millions of people to embrace the WFH culture. Where I previously faced difficulties in explaining my troubles over Zoom, have now honed my communication skills to the next level. The online medium of learning and working simply forces you to communicate more effectively and efficiently. This is just another quality that any modern white collar worker should have in their toolbox.


It does feel slightly isolating as you don’t get to meet your classmates face to face. As you may have experienced from your own WFH experiences, all interactions online are usually measured and contained to work/coding related matters. Naturally, it is slightly harder to build camaraderie in such an online setting.

Nonetheless, it was still an interesting experience and it was not a deal breaker/game changer for me.

What could have been better: Do some prep before enrolling

Although the course is marketed to be for beginners, I do not recommend that you attend the course with zero coding skills. As mentioned, prior to enrolling, I have done a little bit of self studying, and that was instrumental in helping me make it through the course.

This is because the curriculum can be overwhelming, especially if you are working through the basic syntax, programming logic and problem sets all in a really short amount of of 1 to 1.5 months, on a part time basis.

I had classmates who struggled a lot because of an initial unfamiliarity with the geography of programming. In my opinion, they would have had a more fruitful time if they did some prep beforehand.

Ideally you should have at least have tried learning some Javascript syntax on your own, and maybe have some vague idea about loops and conditionals before enrolling. This will ease your learning curve significantly, and hopefully give you more capacity to ask more meaningful questions.

Basics Course is a pre-requisite in joining RA’s Flagship Bootcamp

For those who are interested in joining RA’s 6 months Bootcamp, students are required to complete this Basics course in order to be considered.

While generally there are no hard and fast rules on the criteria of acceptance, being able demonstrate the following qualities will warrant you a spot in the Bootcamp:

  • Able to communicate your ideas and problems that you face coherently
  • Show that you are willing to commit and do the work
  • Able to just use the computer and follow instructions well

You don’t need to have prior experience in coding to do this or insanely good math skills. The instructors don’t expect you to have these anyway. As long as you can show that you are teachable and earnest in learning, you should have no problem making it into the full time course.


Rocket Academy’s Basics course offers a comprehensive package to beginners who want to learn coding the right way. You can expect good instruction and clear feedback on your progress. While it is not necessarily easy, it is manageable if you plan your time well and seek help when you get stuck.

If you are thinking of joining the Bootcamp, this is also a great chance for you to evaluate whether this style of online learning is suited for you or not!

If you haven’t, check out Part 1 where I describe my Bootcamp selection process here.

Have any questions? Feel free to drop me a mail at or connect with me on LinkedIn.

Stay updated with our newsletter.

Keep up with us! Get all your Rocket Academy updates straight to your inbox. 

By subscribing you agree with our Privacy Policy, and we agree not to spam you!
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Keep up with us! Get all your Rocket Academy updates straight to your inbox.

By submitting this form, you consent to receive marketing emails from us and we promise never to spam you!
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Related posts

Glad you're enjoying our articles, keep going!