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.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
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 free.
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.
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 weekly 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.
Coursera is a Mountain View-based edtech company that hosts thousands of massive open online courses (MOOCs) across subjects ranging from computer science to creative writing, brand management, art history, philosophy, and law. Its offerings include certifications, degrees, and free courses, many of which are created by universities and businesses and are open to everyone.
All of Coursera’s courses are 100% online, and some include office hours where students can ask questions of the instructor. However, like most MOOCs, the majority of Coursera courses take a hands-off approach to instruction and consist of video lectures, readings, and optional assignments.
Coursera’s offerings are diverse and students can choose from different courses on the same subject—for example, a search for the term “data science” turns up more than 2,900-course results. Many of its courses are highly specific and focus on a facet of a subject, such as introducing students to the fundamentals of data science or teaching the basics of Python or SQL.
There are a few fundamental differences between Springboard and Coursera.
Both Springboard and Coursera are 100% online and deliver most of their educational materials through video lectures and readings. Students go at their own pace, with the average Springboard bootcamp taking anywhere from six to nine months, while the average Coursera course can range from four weeks for a short course on a specific topic, to three years for the Masters of Computer Science program it administers via the University of Illinois.
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.
One of the indicators of an effective bootcamp or online course is whether students land an industry job upon graduation.
In the saturated e-learning market, both Springboard and Coursera have emerged as significant players because their courses offer many benefits. But what works for one student may not work for another.
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.
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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