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 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.
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.
Khan Academy is a Mountain View-based edtech nonprofit that offers dozens of courses geared toward K-12 students in subjects such as math, science, computing, arts and humanities, and life skills, as well as preparation courses for the SAT, LSAT, and Praxis Core exams. Unlike many online courses and bootcamps that teach skills related to computer science, data science, math, and engineering professions, Khan Academy’s courses do not prepare graduates for the workforce; rather, they prepare students for different levels of grade school and college entry exams. This is an important distinction because, where many bootcamps and MOOCs focus on equipping students with the skills necessary to perform a job (and measure their success by their graduates’ job outcomes), Khan Academy focuses on improving student performance at school. In other words, Khan academy is more akin to a grade school tuition service than an upskilling/retraining bootcamp.
All of Khan Academy’s courses are 100% online and, like most MOOCs, take a hands-off approach to instruction, with courses consisting of video lectures and practice exercises. The platform offers versions for both individual students and teachers—in the former, students can choose a course and go at their own pace; in the latter, school districts can sign students up for Khan Academy and give teachers access to dashboards that show student progress.
Khan Academy’s most junior courses teach early grade schoolers to count, add, and subtract, while its more advanced courses tackle AP college statistics, linear algebra, and differential equations.
There are a few fundamental differences between Springboard and Khan Academy.
Both Springboard and Khan Academy are 100% online and deliver most of their educational materials through video lectures, readings, and practice exercises.
Students go at their own pace, 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. It is harder to determine time commitment for Khan Academy’s courses because not all students enroll in every module—for example, a ninth grade student might choose to only take the geometry course within the broader math program, or an adult might selectively take courses to brush up on specific skills. Based on videos alone, Khan Academy’s Chemistry course contains more than 66 hours of video, while its Physics course contains more than 56 hours of video.
While there is some limited crossover in course content between Khan Academy’s more advanced offerings (such as data analysis, programming, and algorithms) and Springboard’s courses, the two platforms are intended for different audiences, with Khan Academy’s courses optimized for K-12 learners, and Springboard optimized for those looking to upskill or change careers. This is reflected in the cost of the courses.
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 Khan Academy 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.
Download our guide to data science jobs
Packed with insight from industry experts, this updated 60-page guide will teach you what you need to know to start your data science career.
Ready to learn more?
Browse our Career Tracks and find the perfect fit