As the cost of higher education continues to rise, online courses and boot camps 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, 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 and at the student’s own pace.
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, the 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.
- Not ready to pick a bootcamp just yet? Head over to our bootcamp criteria guide.
- Want to find out how Springboard stacks up against other bootcamps? Check out our bootcamp comparison guide.
What Is Thinkful?
Thinkful is a Santa Clara-based learning platform owned by edtech company Chegg. It operates both offline communities and online bootcamps in most major US metropolitan areas that cover subjects such as software engineering, data science, data analytics, UI/UX design, marketing, and technical project management.
The platform offers full-time (3-5 months) and part-time (5-6 months) learning options, with its full-time classes taught synchronously online with a cohort, while its part-time courses are asynchronous and self-paced.
Thinkful’s main selling point is its variety of financing options. It offers upfront financing, month-to-month payments, deferred payments, and income share agreements (ISAs). The ISAs include a monthly stipend for students enrolled in a Thinkful bootcamp.
What Is CareerFoundry?
CareerFoundry is a Berlin-based ed-tech platform that offers three tiers of online bootcamps across data analytics, UI/UX design, and web development. Within each subject, students can choose from an introductory short course, which typically takes a month to complete; a comprehensive full course, which can take 5-10 months to complete depending on whether a student opts to study full-time or part-time; or an advanced course for those who already have a background in the subject area, which can be completed in two months.
CareerFoundry’s courses are 100% online and self-paced, with additional support in the form of mentorships, help from tutors, and career counseling. Similar to Springboard, CareerFoundry offers a job guarantee and assists graduates in their job search.
Thinkful vs. CareerFoundry: What Are the Main Differences?
There are a few fundamental differences between Thinkful and CareerFoundry.
|Average course takes 5 months to complete full-time with 50hr/week commitment||Average course takes 4 months to complete full-time with 30-40hr/week commitment|
|Courses are offered 100% online with in-person community events held in certain major cities across the country. Most full-time courses are synchronous, with part-time asynchronous options.||Courses are asynchronous, 100% online, and self-paced|
|Courses in software engineering, data science, data analytics, UI/UX design, digital marketing, and technical project management||Only offers courses in data analytics, UI/UX design, and web development|
|Payment options include upfront, deferred, month-to-month, and income share agreements||Payment options include upfront payment and deferred student loans|
If you’re interested in a bootcamp that comes with a job guarantee and individualized mentorship, but also want more course options, Springboard offers comprehensive, mentor-supported bootcamps in data science, UI/UX design, software engineering, cybersecurity, machine learning engineering, and tech sales.
Thinkful vs. CareerFoundry: Learning format
- Thinkful is 100% online with synchronous and asynchronous options. Students who choose to take a Thinkful course full-time are expected to do 50-60 hours of coursework each week and attend synchronous classes with their cohort Monday to Friday, 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Full-time courses can take 3-5 months to complete, depending on the course. Thinkful’s part-time options, which can take up to six months to complete, are asynchronous and deliver educational materials through video lectures, exercises, assignments, and readings. In both full- and part-time enrollment, students are matched with an industry mentor who offers project, coursework, and career guidance throughout the program. Dedicated career counselors also work with students to prepare them for the workforce.
- CareerFoundry is 100% online and asynchronous. There are no live tutorials or webinars—and delivers all of its educational materials through video lectures, exercises, assignments, and readings. Students go at their own pace, with the average CareerFoundry bootcamp taking five months to complete full-time, or ten months to complete part-time. It also offers shorter introductory courses and advanced courses that are designed to advance a specific skill within a discipline. Students are matched with an industry mentor who offers project, coursework, and career guidance throughout the program. Dedicated career counselors also work with students to prepare them for the workforce.
Thinkful vs. CareerFoundry: What’s on the Curriculum?
Thinkful and CareerFoundry offer courses that prepare students for tech industry careers, although both teach a limited range of subjects compared to other bootcamps and online schools.
|UI/UX design||UI/UX design|
|Data analytics||Data analytics|
|Data science||Web development|
|Technical project management|
Interested in a tech career that isn’t offered by Thinkful or CareerFoundry? In addition to data analytics, UI/UX design, and software engineering, Springboard’s comprehensive bootcamps include cybersecurity, machine learning engineering, data science, data engineering, and tech sales.
Thinkful vs. CareerFoundry: 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.
- Thinkful’s full-time courses cost around $9,000-16,000 upfront, with a higher cost for deferred tuition and ISAs.
- CareerFoundry’s full courses cost around $6,555, while its shorter introductory courses cost around $690.
Looking for a more affordable but still rigorous introductory course to dip your toes into a subject before committing to a bootcamp? Springboard’s introductory courses start from $349 and come with both mentor and career coach support. Most introductory courses can be completed in four weeks, and the cost of an introductory course can be applied toward a full bootcamp at a later time.
Thinkful vs.CareerFoundry: Job Outcomes
One of the indicators of an effective bootcamp or online course is whether students land an industry job upon graduation.
- Thinkful offers a job guarantee—if graduates do not land a job in a related field within six months of graduation, their tuition is refunded.
- CareerFoundry offers a similar job guarantee.
Thinkful vs. CareerFoundry: Pros and Cons
In the saturated e-learning market, both Thinkful and CareerFoundry have emerged as significant players because their courses offer many benefits. But what works for one student may not work for another.
- Pros: Thinkful’s range of financing options offers flexibility to students, allowing people to enroll in courses even if they can’t afford an upfront payment. Mentors, tutors, and careers coaches also support students through course projects, classwork, and job searches to best prepare graduates for job interviews and the workforce. Thinkful’s comprehensive programs and support network are similar to that of Springboard, although Springboard offers more courses and specializes in more career tracks. Springboard also offers scholarships to those facing financial hardships or from historically underrepresented groups.
- Cons: Thinkful’s full-time courses are synchronous with rigid start and end times and the expectation that students engage with coursework and classes 50-60 hours a week. In comparison, other mentor-led bootcamps such as Springboard help students meet similar outcomes (skills training, career support, job guarantee) while offering greater flexibility and programs optimized for self-paced learning.
- Pros: The online and asynchronous nature of CareerFoundry’s courses means students are able to go at their own pace on their own time. Mentors, tutors, and careers coaches also support students through course projects, classwork, and job searches to best prepare graduates for job interviews and the workforce. CareerFoundry’s comprehensive programs and support network are similar to that of Springboard, although Springboard offers more courses and specializes in more career tracks.
- Cons: CareerFoundry offers courses in only three fields: UI/UX design, web development, and data analytics. And despite the amount of mentor and career counselor support offered, CareerFoundry’s courses are not a silver bullet for preparing for a career change. As with other comprehensive bootcamps that come with a job guarantee, it ultimately falls on students to put in anywhere from 30-40 hours a week in study and practice to successfully complete a course and build a competitive portfolio that will help them stand out from the crowd.
Interested in a bootcamp that offers customized career counseling and weekly calls with industry mentors from day one? Every Springboard student is paired with an expert from its vast network of mentors to ensure that they get guidance and support for projects, job hunting, and career decision-making.
Ready to Learn More?
Browse the Springboard Career Tracks to find the perfect fit for you.
Not ready to enroll just yet? Read more about the factors you should consider while picking a program in our bootcamp criteria guide.
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