“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships,” Michael Jordan.
It’s safe to say Michael Jordan knows a thing or two about excellence in his profession. Even if you aren’t a sports fan; this quote illustrates an important concept in life, one Thinkful is aware of as well: everyone is stronger with support.
Thinkful has a professional team on hand to support you throughout your transition to a career in tech. This team is designed to make your experience the best learning experience and the strongest start to your new career.
We’ll walk you through the different components of your Thinkful support team in this article.
When you start your application, your primary support will be your admissions representative. They’ll have your application and speak with you about what course options would be a good fit. Thinkful offers two course styles, flex and immersion (or part-time and full-time). The staff at Thinkful is committed to enrolling diverse individuals with different long-term career goals and they work with students to create an experience that meets their needs.
Once you are admitted to the Thinkful program of your choice, you’ll be introduced to two critical people for your thinkful experience (hint: it’s not your instructor). The first person is your academic success manager (ASM) and the second is your Thinkful mentor. Later on, you’ll meet your career coach.
This is your core team at Thinkful. Of course, there are instructors and other students who will be part of your experience. However, your ASM, mentor, and career coach are there to focus on your experience.
We’ll dive into what these roles mean and how they can help you in the following paragraphs. Ultimately, you are the leader of your team. The effort, planning, and energy you bring to this group of supports will determine your success at Thinkful.
Academic Success Manager
The ASM role is your first line of support. Thinkful knew they wanted to attract a diverse student body and help people transition to new careers in tech. Knowing that was one of their goals, Thinkful designed the ASM role to help students who have no higher education or students who haven’t been in a classroom in years.
The title might sound intimidating at first but like all of these support roles, your ASM is there to help. Every student at Thinkful works with an ASM to manage their unique needs and learning experience. The ASMs recognize that every student could benefit from some extra attention and support. That’s what they provide.
Bootcamp style learning can be intense. If you’re a full-time student, you’ll be working at least 50 hours a week. And depending on how much coding knowledge or experience you have when you start your course, you will be learning a lot of concepts very quickly. It’s easy to get overwhelmed.
For every student, ASMs can help you reframe your approach. They are there to coach you through the tough spots and offer possible solutions. The ASMs have worked with a variety of students already, so they have tools and examples that have led students to success.
More concretely, ASMs can help with time management, study strategies, and developing confidence. Let’s imagine you’ve signed on to Thinkful part-time. After the first week, you really struggled to balance your job and doing classwork in the evenings. If you bring this concern to your ASM, they’ll work with you to develop strategies and a game plan for how to manage your time.
In addition to your ASM, you’ll meet your mentor early in your Thinkful experience. Mentors are professionals in your field of study, i.e. if you’re studying data analytics, you’ll be matched with someone in data analytics. They love their field and are passionate about helping qualified and interested people get started.
Mentors go through a vetting process with the Thinkful staff before they are hired to work with students. All mentors are required to have at least 3 years of professional experience in their given field. They apply and interview, just like any other job. What sets the mentors apart is their passion to help teach and guide new members in their field. Mentors come from a variety of industries from entertainment to finance.
But how do you make the most of this mentorship? It’s really up to you. When you start your Thinkful program, you’ll provide times you are available to meet with your mentor. Once you are matched with your mentor, you’ll meet weekly at a time that works for you.
It’s most important to ask your mentor questions. No question is too small or too silly. Mentors can help you figure out new solutions to challenging projects. They can help you understand the real world application of the codes and problems you’re working through. Most importantly, mentors will help you get a sense of what your future career could look like.
We often fear asking a question will make us appear uninformed or underqualified. However, mentors (and the team at Thinkful!) want you to ask questions. They are genuinely invested in your success and they like working with students.
And if you’re worried asking a question will hurt your reputation in the field down the line, don’t be. Mentors work part time at Thinkful. They are invested teachers who want to support your learning.
Like most things in life, the more you give to the relationship with your mentor, the more you will get out of it in the end.
As you approach the second half of your Thinkful program, you’ll meet your career coach. Your career coach provides more focused support on the job search process, in addition to support from your mentor.
Career coaches start with the basics. They’ll help you write a strong resume highlighting your recent accomplishments at Thinkful. You’ll also work on your elevator pitch and your basic cover letter with them.
As you’re interviewing, you will rely heavily on your portfolio. The portfolio consists of your completed projects from your time at Thinkful. Your career coach will assist you as you finalize your portfolio and prepare to share it with prospective employers.
Interviews in the tech field vary and have multiple components. Career coaches are knowledgeable about the variations and common practices within different areas of tech. They’ll have you complete practice skills assessments, problem sets, and white board activities.
Of course, there is still the standard interview to prepare for. You will have at least five mock interviews with your career coach before you finish your program. Coaches will help you hone your public speaking and get in the best mindset for interviews.
It’s important that you treat your job search just like you would a class. Thinkful recommends students apply to ten jobs a week once the search begins. Your coach will help you proofread and prep for these jobs as you go, but the initiative begins with you.
Bonus: 24/7 Chat
Thinkful recently added a new support feature to round out your 360 support: 24/7 chat support.
The 24/7 chat is accessed through a dedicated Slack channel. It’s designed to provide you with support as you work through homework and problem sets on your own. It can help troubleshoot basic issues or answer simple questions you might reach out to your ASM, mentor, or career coach about.
Student Centered Approach
Thinkful created this support team with their students in mind. Coding bootcamps are intense. It is easy to get discouraged and fall behind. Thinkful wants students from different career paths and backgrounds to have an equal chance to break into the tech field.
The support team was designed to keep the student at the center of the Thinkful experience. Your ASM works with your mentor and career coach to make sure you receive complimentary support from all the staff at Thinkful as you work to achieve your goals. This is an approach that’s proven to lead not just to job offers, but to long-term careers in tech.
If you know you want a new career, why wouldn’t you want all the help you can get? Thinkful is ready to help you.