Are you unsatisfied with where you’re at in life? Would you like to begin a new career in a promising technological field like data science, web development, software engineering, or UX/UI design? There are lots of ways you could approach such an endeavor, but by far one of the most effective is to attend a coding bootcamp.
Bootcamps have the advantage of lying somewhere in the middle of the spectrum between learning entirely on your own and attending a four-year university. They represent the best current solution to quickly learning a new skill set and transitioning into a new role.
- Speak to a career coach who is a student in a bootcamp
- Coaching sessions are free and always will be
For our intrepid Career Karma readership we’re going to cover two popular bootcamps today: Lambda School and Thinkful.
Lambda School vs. Thinkful: Curriculum and Course Offerings
Lambda School has programs for Android development, iOS development, full stack web development, user experience design, and data science. Obviously, what you learn will depend on which of these programs you attend, but they all follow the same basic structure. Lambda School curricula are well-known for being longer than average, at approximately 40 weeks. This gives you plenty of time to cover both theoretical and applied aspects of you field, through a mix of lectures, single assignments, paired assignments, and self-directed projects.
Looking at their data science program, they cover basic statistics, linear algebra, predictive modeling, working with databases, machine learning, data structures, and object-oriented programming. These are all the topics you’d want in a data science education.
Thinkful is a little unusual in this regard. Rather than put you in a class, Thinkful prioritizes one-on-one mentorship with each of their students. It’s generally understood that the program lasts six months, but there isn’t anything stopping you from finishing it much more quickly than that.
Their major course offerings are software engineering, data science, data analytics, and product design. Because of their structure, it’s hard to describe a typical day as a Thinkful student, but suffice it to say that if you’re studying with them full-time, you’ll be putting in a solid 40-50 hours a week. They cover the same mix of theoretical and applied material through a similar combination of lectures, individual and paired work, and self-determined projects.
Lambda vs. Thinkful: Cost and Tuition Model
Bootcamps tend to be fairly expensive, but luckily there exist a number of ways of bringing their tuition within reach.
Lambda School makes their program affordable with an Income Share Agreement. What this means is that you’ll be paying Lambda School 17% of your salary for two years, once you start making at least $50,000/year. You either pay for the full 24 months or you pay a maximum of $30,000, whichever comes first.
Thinkful offers a similar ISA, as well as a few other options: deferred monthly payments, immediate monthly payments, month-to-month payments, and scholarships for women and veterans.
Taking the data science program as our example, here’s how each of these payment schedules work. Month-to-month payments would mean paying $1495/month throughout the program, finishing debt free. Immediate monthly payments means forking over $289/month for 36 months, starting as soon as you graduate. Deferred monthly payments require $500/month for 17 months after graduation, and are only available for data science and data analytics.
As you can see, these are basically just ways of paying different amounts for different periods of time. This gives you some flexibility in terms of financing your education.
Lambda School vs. Thinkful: Student Outcomes
According to their respective websites, graduates have comparable starting salaries and job placement rates. Lambda School claims that 86% of their graduates have jobs within six months of completing the program and earn $50,000/annually. Thinkful’s figures are 90% and $63,000.
Both of these programs are well-regarded and will get you where you want to go if you’re willing to put in the work.
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