Springboard vs. Codecademy: Which Is a Better Online Learning Platform?
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Ready to kickstart a new career in tech but not sure which online learning platform is right for you? Learn more about the main differences between MOOCs and mentor-led online bootcamps in this guide.
As the cost of higher education continues to rise, online courses and bootcamps have in recent years become a viable alternative for those who want training in highly technical and well compensated fields—without the steep price tag or years-long time commitment.
Spurring the e-learning revolution is the growing demand across all industries for software engineers, UX designers, data scientists, and cybersecurity professionals, which has resulted in courses and bootcamps that promise to prepare students for those roles—often from the comfort of their home, at the student’s own pace, for a low cost.
The rise of online bootcamps has been a good thing, with The New York Times reporting that virtual learning has been a “great equalizer” for adults and has made training and upskilling more accessible. During the Covid-19 pandemic in particular, research found that e-learning has the potential to close a longstanding skills gap and democratize user engagement. Many courses, designed specifically with a bootcamp-to-workforce pipeline in mind, have also optimized their programs to focus on the skills students need in order to land the job they want, thus maximizing efficiency and giving graduates a competitive advantage.
What Is Springboard?
Springboard is a San Francisco-based edtech company that prepares students for some of today’s more competitive and coveted careers, all while offering a first-of-its kind job guarantee. Every student gets a six-month runway after graduating to secure a role in their industry—if they don’t, students receive a refund on 100% of their tuition.
Springboard offers bootcamps and short courses in UI/UX design, data science, data analytics, software engineering, machine learning, and cybersecurity. All Springboard bootcamps are 100% online, self-paced, and take six-nine months to complete. During each bootcamp, students are matched with an industry mentor who guides them throughout the program through regular one-on-one video calls. A Student Success Manager is also available to handle logistics queries, create study plans, and help students stay accountable to their learning goals.
Before and after graduation, Springboard’s career coaches support students in their job searches and networking, help prepare them for interviews, and facilitate their transition into the workforce.
What Is Codecademy?
Codecademy is a New York-based edtech platform that hosts dozens of massive open online courses (MOOCs) focused on skills and professions that involve coding. Its courses are arranged by programming language and subject, which means students can sign up to learn specific languages such as Python, Java, SQL, or C++, or enroll in subject-specific courses such as data science, web development, cybersecurity, or computer science. Within each course are hundreds of individual lessons that teach students the fundamentals of the topic.
All of Codecademy’s courses are 100% online and, like most MOOCs, take a hands-off approach to instruction, with courses consisting of video lectures and coding exercises. In lieu of personalized mentorship and career counseling, students have access to community discussion boards and group chats where they can communicate with their peers.
Springboard vs. Codecademy: What Are the Main Differences?
There are a few fundamental differences between Springboard and Codecademy.
- Codecademy offers MOOCs, which are optimized for the highest number of enrollments possible. This means that there’s no limit to the number of students who can enroll and most of the courses take a hands-off approach to instruction because it’s not possible for a single instructor to keep up with every person in the course. Students learn at their own pace, have minimal to no interaction with instructors, and on completion of a program are usually left on their own to determine next steps. The paid version of Codecademy’s courses include roadmaps that instruct students on the order in which they should take lessons so that they can reach their goals, but there is no dedicated careers support staff or one-on-one mentorship.
- Springboard follows a bootcamp model, which means all classes are capped to ensure a manageable instructor to student ratio and follow a structure that ensures that students understand the fundamentals of each profession before they advance to more challenging skills. Springboard’s bootcamps—which span the most in-demand tech professions such as software engineering, data science, machine learning engineering, cybersecurity, and UX design—also take a more holistic approach to education, combining a comprehensive curriculum with self-paced instruction, video lectures, readings, capstone projects, work sprints that mimic the real-world work experience of a profession, and one-on-one regular calls with an industry mentor.Springboard students are often looking to upskill or change careers, which is why every student is given access to a built-in support network of mentors and career coaches to keep them accountable during the course and to help them move into the workforce upon graduation.
Springboard vs. Codecademy: Learning Format
Both Springboard and Codecademy are 100% online and deliver most of their educational materials through video lectures and readings.
All Springboard students—regardless of course type or career track—are given regular one-on-one access to an industry mentor and receive the support of dedicated career counselors to help them get the most out of the course. This support network is also available to students upon graduation to assist them in making their next move. Codecademy courses do not come with additional support, although students get instant feedback on their code when they submit it through Codecademy’s system, and can access a community forum to collaborate with other paying students, share resources, and hold each other accountable.
Students go at their own pace in both Springboard and Codecademy courses, with the average Springboard bootcamp taking anywhere from six to nine months and requiring a time commitment of 15-25 hours a week to successfully complete the coursework, while the average Codecademy course ranges from three hours for a course on a hyper-specific topic, such as “Learn React Testing,” to six months for the full data science career track.
Springboard vs. Codecademy: How Much Does It Cost?
When it comes to online courses and bootcamps, the adage that you get what you pay for often rings true. Free or low-cost courses can be accessible, but often lack personalized support from instructors and mentors. Higher-cost courses can have a higher barrier to entry, but typically come with a comprehensive support system.
- Codecademy’s courses can be trialed for free for seven days, after which students are charged $39.99/month to access course materials. Those who pay for a full year upfront are given a discount.
- Springboard’s courses are around $10,000, with discounts and scholarships available if certain criteria are met. Springboard’s introductory courses, which give students a taste of a field at a fraction of the time commitment, start from $349.
Springboard vs. Codecademy: Job Outcomes
One of the indicators of an effective bootcamp or online course is whether students land an industry job upon graduation.
- Codecademy doesn’t publish data on how many of its graduates go on to secure jobs in a field related to their studies, and the platform explicitly does not provide students with career counseling or job placement assistance on graduation. However, the platform is popular among businesses who use it to help employees upskill, with clients such as DailyMotion, Reverb, and Lincoln Financial Group.
- Springboard offers a first-of-its-kind job guarantee for all graduates, with all-encompassing courses that prepare students for the workforce. If a student does not secure a job related to their field of study within six months of graduation, Springboard will offer a full refund on tuition.
Springboard vs. Codecademy: Pros and Cons
In the saturated e-learning market, both Springboard and Codecademy have emerged as significant players because their courses offer many benefits. But what works for one student may not work for another.
- Pros: Many of Codecademy’s courses are free to try and take on complete beginners, which means newcomers who are hesitant to commit to a comprehensive bootcamp can dip their toes into a low-stakes program to see if they like it. Codecademy also breaks out its course by programming language, subject, and skill, which allows students to pick and choose what they want to learn. This is particularly useful for those who already have a background in a certain field but are simply looking to fill a knowledge/skills gap.
- Cons: As with most MOOCs, Codecademy’s courses lack interactivity with an instructor and don’t include mentorship or career guidance, which means if you get stuck during the learning process or want individualized feedback on a project, it can be hard to get the help you need. MOOCs also have an attrition and accountability problem—in an online data science course run by Johns Hopkins University, 1.76 million people signed up but only 71,589 got far enough into the course to receive verified certifications, and 917 students completed all nine courses and signed up for the capstone course. Research has found that many people who start MOOCs often don’t finish them, and even those who do find it hard to be consistent with their studies.
- Pros: Springboard’s courses are created by industry experts and are designed to meet the end-to-end needs of students, from introducing newcomers to the basics of a profession to offering a project-driven, comprehensive curriculum that teaches the skills students need to land the job they want. Mentors and careers coaches also support students through capstone projects, industry networking, and job searches, ensuring that every graduate is equipped with both the hard and soft skills required to get on a recruiter’s radar and ace the job interview. This approach is applied to all of Springboard’s courses, which extend beyond data science and machine learning engineering to include software engineering, cybersecurity, and UI/UX design.
- Cons: Springboard’s courses aren’t a silver bullet to a career change. Even with a holistic and mentor-supported approach to online education, it ultimately falls on students to put in anywhere from 15-25 hours a week in study and practice in order to successfully complete a course and build a competitive portfolio that will help them stand out from the crowd.
Not ready to enroll just yet? Read more about the factors you should consider while picking a program in our bootcamp criteria guide.
Disclaimer: We’ve worked hard to ensure the information in this comparison guide is accurate and up-to-date. However, mistakes happen. If you spot an error, please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll correct it right away.
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