Photo of a review of Thinkful as a tech education tool

A review of Thinkful as a tech educational tool

What does Thinkful do?

Thinkful is a bootcamp with courses meant to teach participants the skills they need to become a full stack engineer, data scientist, or product designer. They offer 2 types of programs for software engineering and data science – immersion, which is 50-60 hours a week, and flexible, which is 20-30 hours per week. For product design, there is only the flexible option.

Each course provides its participants with a written curriculum and then gives them the opportunity to meet with their program managers and mentor to discuss what they read and work through the problems. They do not have informational videos or live lectures.

Who is Thinkful for?

The audience for Thinkful is people who are interested in a career change into software engineering, data science, or product design and do not have a background in the subject. It has also been noted in reviews that visual and auditory learners might have trouble in the program because participants must learn by reading or they have to find videos on their own.

What does Thinkful cost? How much work is involved?

There are a lot of different payment options for Thinkful. The immersion programs offer an income share agreement of 15% of the participant’s income for 3 years. Participants can also choose to pay via loan, with the total coming out to $19,795, through monthly payments of $3,250 with the total coming out to $17,600, or $16,000 upfront. The data science immersion program is more expensive – $20,000 for month-to-month or $18,500 upfront.

The flexible program does not have an income share agreement option but the totals are less expensive. Participants in this program can pay $11,901 through the loan option, $12,000 through a deferred payment option where they pay $500 per month for 19 months, $10,000 total through payments of $1,667 a month, or $9,500 upfront. The data science flex program is similar for the loan and deferred options, but the upfront total is $7,990. Product design is in between, costing $8,500 upfront.

Ratings and reviews

The reviews of Thinkful are mixed, but there are more on the negative side. A few people have had really unfortunate experiences on the administrative side, where they were falling behind and not told until they realized that they needed to pay for another month of the program because they couldn’t graduate on time. There have also been comments made about mentors who were disrespectful to women in the program.

In terms of the curriculum, participants have definitely been frustrated by the lack of videos and a lot of people mention that, in order to successfully learn what they are paying Thinkful to teach, they have had to find the content themselves, on YouTube or Lynda. Finally, in a few reviews people have mentioned that the code they are given as part of the curriculum (both in the software engineering and data science tracks) have had errors, which made it more difficult to learn.

Alternatives to Thinkful

As an educational program, there are a fair number of alternatives to Thinkful. Udacity is probably the most well known – they offer a mix of free and paid resources that students can use to learn many different tech skills. Similarly, Springboard is a popular online education tool for people interested in learning or advancing their current tech skills. 

People who are more interested in software engineering can look to Codeacademy, which teaches courses in computer science and coding for free and also offers membership that are around $20-$40 per month. Similarly, there is Coursera, which provides free and low-cost college courses from $29 all the way to $25,000 and Udemy, which is an online learning platform with over 100,000 online video courses in a wide variety of topics. Udemy students can pick & choose classes, often paying around $10 per class.

How does Thinkful compare to Pathrise?

Thinkful is a bootcamp, with courses for people who are interested in learning a completely new skill, like full-stack development. At Pathrise, our fellows should already have a background in the field they are interested in so that they can participate in and fully benefit from our technical workshops, where we provide a more specific curriculum based on what they will see in their interviews.

All of our workshops and sessions at Pathrise are live, as well as recorded, so that our fellows can review them afterwards and continue learning. We also provide personalized, 1-on-1 technical and behavioral interview sessions as well as resume and LinkedIn optimization, portfolio building and strengthening, cold email and reverse recruiting lessons, and negotiation templates and guidance. Pathrise fellows never pay anything upfront and only after they begin working at a job they love do they pay their income share agreement, which is 9% of their first year’s salary.

Pathrise is a career accelerator that works with students and young professionals 1-on-1 so they can land their dream job in tech. With our tips and guidance, we’ve seen our fellows interview performance scores double.

If you want to work with any of our advisors 1-on-1 to get help with your technical and behavioral interviews or with any other aspect of the job search, become a Pathrise fellow. 

Apply today.

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