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, 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 Flatiron School?
Flatiron School is a New York-based private learning institution that offers in-person and online courses in software engineering, data science, cybersecurity, and product design.
Courses are offered on a full-time or “flex” basis—in the former, students attend nine hours of classes a day, Monday to Friday, for fifteen weeks and have the option of taking in-person classes at a Flatiron School campus or doing lessons online; in the latter, students go at their own pace using the same curriculum as the full-time program. Flex courses are typically completed in 20, 40, or 60 weeks and are asynchronous, which means students do not have to attend live virtual lectures or webinars.
The school has campuses in San Francisco, Seattle, New York, Austin, Chicago, Denver, Houston, and Washington D.C.
Thinkful vs. Flatiron School: What Are the Main Differences?
There are a few fundamental differences between Thinkful and Flatiron School.
|Offers students a job guarantee||No job guarantee|
|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 offered in-person and online for both full-time and “flex” enrollments. Full-time courses are synchronous and require nine hours a day of engagement, Monday-Friday. “Flex” enrollments are asynchronous and students can go at their own pace.|
|Courses in software engineering, data science, data analytics, UI/UX design, digital marketing, and technical project management||Courses in software engineering, data science, cybersecurity, and product design|
|Individualized mentorship, help from tutors, and career counseling||Optional study groups and 1-on-1 time with instructors|
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. Flatiron School: 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.
- Flatiron School offers in-person and online courses that can be taken full-time or part-time. Its full-time courses are synchronous and can be taken at one of its physical campuses or online—they require nine hours of engagement a day, Monday to Friday, for 15 weeks. It’s part-time courses, which it refers to as “flex,” are asynchronous courses in which students go at their own pace and can complete in 20, 40, or 60 weeks. Although flex students do not attend in-person classes, they still have access to Flatiron School’s physical campuses and can arrange to meet with peers or request one-on-one time with instructors.
Thinkful vs. Flatiron School: What’s on the Curriculum?
Thinkful and Flatiron School offer courses that prepare students for tech industry careers, although both teach a limited range of subjects compared to other bootcamps and online schools.
|Data analytics||Product design|
|Data science||Data science|
|Software engineering||Software engineering|
|Technical project management|
Interested in a tech career that isn’t offered by Thinkful or Flatiron School? 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. Flatiron School: 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.
- Flatiron School’s full-time courses cost around $16,900; those who use its financing options pay interest in addition to tuition.
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. Flatiron School: 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.
- Flatiron School reports that of the students who completed its courses in software engineering and data science courses, 86% landed a job after graduation.
Thinkful vs. Flatiron School: Pros and Cons
In the saturated e-learning market, both Thinkful and Flatiron School 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: Flatiron School’s different learning formats cater both to students who want the in-person learning experience and those who need the flexibility of online, asynchronous coursework. The synchronous nature of its full-time program, which is applicable to in-person and online enrollments, can also be helpful for students who need the additional accountability of live classes, lectures, discussions over Zoom, and group work.
- Cons: Flatiron School’s full-time program requires a significant time commitment, with classes Monday to Friday and the average school day going for nine hours. Its mentorship and career counseling support is also limited to the period leading up to graduation, which means students don’t receive as much industry guidance throughout the course and can miss out on professional development opportunities.
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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