“In 15 years, if not much sooner, half of the roughly 4,500 colleges and universities now operating in the United States will have ceased to exist.”
In 2012, Nathaniel Harden charted a roadmap for education in an article titled “The End of University as We Know It.”
Reminiscent of the idea of ‘creative destruction,’ Harden identified technology as the main driver of disruption and innovation in the education sector.
Fast forward to today, students and institutions are finding themselves on the fast track to this roadmap. At the forefront of this movement are online learning schools and coding bootcamps whose unconventional teaching methods initially drew criticism from academics and employers alike.
Skeptics touted the bootcamp model as a flash in the pan—second-class to the traditional learning model and whose rigor and effectiveness in preparing students for future careers was not yet demonstrated.
In the last five years, the bootcamp model turned this uncertainty on its head, as more and more graduates entered the workforce. Demonstrating their competency, the bootcamp grads proved it was possible to gain new skills and switch careers without a university degree in hand.
An Indeed survey conducted in 2017 found that a solid majority of employers (72%) consider bootcamp grads as “just as prepared and likely to be high performers” as candidates with college degrees. Some 80% of these employers have gone on to hire bootcamp grads, with 99.8% saying they would willingly tap into the pool again.
With the growth in bootcamps came an increase in student enrollment. In 2019, nearly 35,000 students graduated from coding bootcamps, marking over a 4% rise from the previous year. The rise was attributed to convenient, affordable, and more career-aligned bootcamp offerings.
This has coincided with a loss of confidence in the traditional higher education model, which has been marred by a culture of exclusivity and has steered many students toward debt and underemployment in an increasingly overeducated job market.
With the bootcamp wars well and truly on, a small number of bootcamps have come out ahead, proving themselves winners with both students and employers alike. Among the industry leaders is Springboard, an online learning platform that prepares students for the tech industry’s most sought-after careers.
Springboard’s project-based programs in areas like software engineering, data science, machine learning, and UX design are designed for working professionals who are ready to level-up or make a major career shift. All Springboard courses are 100% online, remote, and self-paced throughout an average of six to nine months.
What Makes Springboard Stand Out?
Springboard was founded in 2013 by Parul Gupta and Gautam Tambay. Its creation was born out of the perceived need to double down on skills training in light of the pervasive disruptions in today’s economy.
Three things set Springboard apart from other bootcamps.
Remote-first Learning Culture
Springboard operates on a remote-first model. Right away, an important distinction should be made between “remote-first” and the widely-known “remote”. Remote-first learning deems online learning as the default mode of instruction. Through this, Springboard reaches beyond campus walls and meets students exactly where they are.
Springboard’s remote-first environment eliminates inefficient intermediaries. The increased accessibility to its resources and materials from halfway around the world lowers barriers to entry for prospective students. This, in turn, allows Springboard to attract a wider student body and thus create a diverse talent pool.
Its remote-first culture also understands that students can’t be on their computer 24/7. While Springboard provides clear objectives and expected outcomes, the programs are entirely self-paced. Student outputs are tracked—not the hours they log. This affords students more flexibility.
Mentor-Led Approach to Education
Learning in silos can be difficult to maintain given the absence of physical guidance that’s otherwise offered on campus. Enter Springboard’s second talking point. Recognizing that student interaction and engagement are central to learning, Springboard introduced first-of-its-kind mentor-led programs.
So, how does Springboard’s mentorship model work exactly?
The Springboard experience gives students access to a unique community of industry mentors, thought leaders, and alumni, who are on hand to offer insights, networking opportunities, and support throughout the programs—and well past graduation. Every Springboard student is matched with a personal student advisor and industry mentor who guides them throughout the program through weekly video calls.
Before graduation, Springboard’s career services team supports students in their job search, helping prepare them for interviews and networking, and facilitates their transition in the tech industry.
But this support doesn’t end when students graduate. All graduates benefit from an extensive support network encompassing career services, 1:1 career coaching, networking tips, resume assistance, interview prep, and salary negotiation. Springboard’s close-knit support system ensures students can make a seamless transition into the tech industry from the minute they start learning until they start earning.
And speaking of money: Springboard’s tuition-back guarantee allows students a six-month runway. This means students can take charge and invest in themselves, an approach that has seen considerable success. Since Springboard was founded, 94% of eligible graduates secured a job within one year, earning an average salary increase of $26,000.
Financing and Student Employability
Springboard gives students four avenues to pay for their tuition.
- Upfront payment. As the name implies, students can pay for any Springboard course upon enrollment. Depending on the program, paying up front will give students an 11-18% discount from the full cost of attendance.
- Deferred tuition plan. This method works on a “learn now, pay later” policy. With this plan, students will only need to make a $500 to $700 deposit upon enrollment to confirm their seat. After this, they will gain access to all features offered in their chosen program. Tuition payments begin after a student lands a job and will be paid through monthly installment plans. The payment window may be open up to 18 months with payments ranging from $625 to $950 relative to the program.
- Monthly plan. Students make month-to-month payments only for the months that they’re enrolled. Most students complete the programs within six to nine months. Completing it sooner means paying less.
- Climb Credit student loan. The student loan model is ubiquitous in the education sphere. However, it has carried a bad rap because of times where it’s been used as a debt trap. Given this, Springboard partnered with Climb Credit, a student lending platform that operates on a mechanism that aims to de-risk higher education.
It’s worth noting that Climb Credit only partners with institutions that have passed its proprietary diligence process. The process, in a nutshell, vets which schools are worth the investment by taking into account the financial and opportunity costs spent by the students and comparing it against the benefits they reap post-program.
Most Springboard courses come with a job guarantee. This is dependent on students meeting the eligibility requirements. If eligible, students get a six-month grace period post-program to secure a role in their chosen industry. If they don’t, they become eligible for a full tuition refund. This paints a stark contrast from the traditional learning model where students are left to sink or swim post-graduation.
What Courses Does Springboard Offer?
Springboard offers eight “career tracks” in coding, data, and design. If any student is interested in these fields but isn’t quite ready to engage in an intensive program, they can still learn through Springboard’s foundational courses.
Duration: Four weeks
This foundational course covers all the need-to-knows in the field of UI/UX design. The course is divided into seven modules, each of which discusses the tools, skills, and projects that professional designers work on. While it is an introductory course, it will provide students with a solid stepping stone for those interested in making a career out of the field. Case in point: students get the opportunity to work on the primary tools used by designers, Sketch, and Figma.
Duration: Nine months
This program hones in on the two core elements of design: user interface (UI) and user experience (UX). Topics include user research, ideating and designing, and design patterns and practices.
Throughout the program, students work on mini-projects that put theoretical design concepts into practice. Apart from this, students also complete four projects that will make up their personalized portfolio. One of these is a design sprint, during which students cover all five stages of the design process in one week. Sprints are designed as a means to display a mastery of the design spectrum.
The course’s defining feature is its externship program which will allow students to work with an industry client. The externship lasts four weeks during which students complete a design project that seeks to solve a business problem. The project serves as a unique addition to each student’s portfolio.
Duration: Six months
This course zeroes in on the skills and knowledge students need to be a great UX designer. It features a combination of lectures, videos, and articles that tackle the principles of UX design. As the UI/UX Design Career Track, students also work on a design sprint where they navigate the end-to-end process of UX design. Three projects are to be completed throughout the program, including an externship with a real company.
Duration: Four to six weeks
This is a preparatory course that tackles the foundational skills in Python programming and statistics. While no prior data science experience is required, students are recommended to be proficient in high-school level mathematics. Skills acquired during the program are designed to prepare students for Springboard’s Data Science Career Track, should they be interested in advancement.
Duration: Six months
The data science bootcamp boasts a Python-based curriculum which is split into 18 units. In this course, students move from learning Python’s standard libraries and data wrangling to writing code and learning the fundamentals of advanced machine learning. Its hands-on aspect includes two capstone projects focused on solving realistic data science scenarios.
Duration: Six months
Beyond teaching machine learning and deep learning concepts, this course also focuses on production engineering skills that most hiring managers look for. These skills include linear and logistical regression, anomaly detection, and cleaning and transforming data. By the end of the program, students will be expected to have produced a comprehensive and realistic machine learning application. This app should be accessible via an API, a web service, or a website.
Duration: Six months
The data engineering program involves over 400 hours of coursework that will mold student’s proficiency in using technologies used by data-driven companies. Among these is Apache Spark which is used to glean insights from massive datasets.
Other technologies taught are Docker and Apache Kafka. The latter is used by numerous Fortune 500 companies, including Netflix, LinkedIn, and Airbnb. Students produce two capstone projects that target real-world data engineering problems. These projects will be leveraged to prove their capacities as data engineers and attract employers.
Duration: Six months
The curriculum is split into five units, namely: framing structured thinking, analyzing business problems, connecting data using SQL, visualizing data with Python, and communicating analysis. Overall, these units are geared towards instilling the value of analytical thinking, as well as how to put it into practice.
The program requires the completion of two capstone projects with real-world data analytics scenarios in mind. Students will identify problems in the field and conduct an end-to-end analysis to filter datasets at scale, interpret them, and extract actionable insights.
Duration: Six months
In this fully online program, you’ll learn from the comfort of your home and at your own pace with 1:1 support from a skilled cybersecurity mentor and dedicated support from career coaches. You’ll get hands-on practice with 30+ labs and projects while getting everything you need to pass the Security+ certification test. By the end of the bootcamp, you’ll have all of the blue team technical and communication skills you need to start a cybersecurity analyst role. In fact, this Springboard track guarantees your first job or your tuition back.
Duration: Four to six weeks
Duration: Nine months
Comprising 800 hours of coursework, this program was created in partnership with Colt Steele, one of Udemy’s notable industry instructors. Graduates of Colt’s classes have successfully secured jobs in the giants of tech, including Google, Salesforce, and rapidly growing Square.
Springboard’s University Partnerships
In light of the pandemic-induced shift to virtual learning, Springboard has partnered with the University of New Hampshire to offer two online bootcamps. These are the UI/UX Design Bootcamp and the Machine Learning Engineering Bootcamp, priced at $12,500 and $10,278, respectively.
The move is premised on Springboard’s goal to bridge the gap between traditional and non-traditional learning platforms by bringing the bootcamp experience to the higher education sector. Upon completion of the program, students are issued a certificate of completion by the University of New Hampshire and Springboard.
People First: A Springboard Mantra
The data shows how well Springboard’s mentor-led approach to education works. To date, Springboard has produced over 5,000 graduates from its UX design and data science bootcamps, 75% of whom secured jobs while attending the program. Springboard alums have enjoyed an average salary increase of nearly $26,000 while working at flagship tech companies like Boeing, Microsoft, and Facebook.
With the speed at which digital disruption is happening, the college-for-all, one-size-fits-all mentality is losing ground. A recent report by Northeastern University’s Center for the Future of Higher Education and Talent Strategy revealed that 61% of employers perceive online credentials as being of equal quality to those earned in-person. What’s more, major tech companies like Apple, Google, and IBM have removed degree requirements for job candidates.
When it comes down to it, the lack of a traditional credential, financing, or proximity should not be barriers for aspiring candidates to get their foot in the door. Springboard is helping bridge this skills gap through an innovative, online learning model that puts students first.
Ready to Learn More?
Now that you know what makes Springboard distinct, experience the Springboard advantage by browsing Springboard bootcamps and courses. Are you ready to be part of the next generation of tech talent?
About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.