You’ve heard a lot of stories about how coding bootcamps help people go from sticky situations into the exploding tech industry. We brought you one of these stories when we interviewed a Thinkful graduate who went from stocking shelves at Walmart to launching a career in data analytics.
But even though many bootcamps track their outcomes up to six months after a cohort graduates, they often overlook how graduates perform a few years after graduation. This shifts the question. Instead of asking whether a bootcamp can help you land a job, some wonder: Can a bootcamp help you build a long-term career in tech?
To give you some insight on what’s possible, we spoke with a Thinkful graduate from the school’s Part-Time Online Software Engineering course: Mariana Gibaldi. Mariana was already working as a front-end developer when she decided to attend Thinkful. She sort of fell into her role and felt she needed to strengthen her skills with more formal education. Though her case is atypical in more ways than one, Mariana is a great example of the possibilities for even experienced tech professionals at this coding bootcamp.
Thinkful offers part-time and full-time courses in six different areas of tech to help learners and career changers launch a new job.Speak to the Thinkful Admissions team today.
A New Beginning in Tech
Mariana’s story as a tech professional has an unusual beginning. She started as an administrative assistant at a web development company, which organically grew her perception of the job. After earning a promotion that allowed her to work more closely with the developers, she started thinking about web development more and more.
“I was a project manager at that company for a little while,” Mariana said. “I just got more and more interested in what the actual projects were and started doing it on my own. Eventually, that led me to front-end development since there was an opening in my company.”
Many jobs don’t provide the immediate feedback that developers receive in their field. Your code either works or it doesn’t, and the same goes for the way that your site looks when users visit. This field allowed Mariana to enjoy that immediate feedback, along with the chance to use a skill she hadn’t really had the chance to harness professionally.
“I just really enjoyed the visual aspect of it all since I also have a background in studio art and art history,” Mariana said. “So that was the initial thing for me—just building something and seeing it appear on the screen. It’s really exciting.”
81% of participants stated they felt more confident about their tech job prospects after attending a bootcamp. Get matched to a bootcamp today.
The average bootcamp grad spent less than six months in career transition, from starting a bootcamp to finding their first job.
“I had only really had a front-end development experience before then, so I wanted to see technologies that were in use from a bit of a wider perspective as a developer,” Mariana said. “So that includes more backend stuff like making your own servers and learning Node and Express while building your own databases. That’s stuff I’d never learned before Thinkful. I wanted to see what was out there before I really decided on the front-end path personally.”
Upskilling in Tech with Thinkful
Mariana found Thinkful while she was researching the best coding bootcamp for her needs. Thinkful made enough of an impression on a fellow developer that it piqued her interest. She was intrigued by the idea that the program also gave each student a personal mentor.
“I actually first found out about Thinkful at a meetup in Boston,” Mariana said. “This was before I decided on any bootcamp, but I was kind of looking around at that time. I was really just impressed with the people and attracted to the mentorship aspect more than anything.”
Thinkful boasts a support team made up of industry mentors or experienced individuals who give Thinkful students an industry perspective on the tools and techniques they learn during the program. They also keep students motivated as they undergo intensive training and help them navigate any questions they may have about their futures in the field.
Thinkful’s part-time Software Engineering program also gave Mariana a chance to experience all that the school had to offer while working her regular job. Because of the pandemic, she also didn’t have to drastically change her routine to get through the course.
“I thought it was great,” Mariana said. “Especially because we were all quarantined at the time, I thought it would be the perfect time to just sit down for three hours a day to really focus on my studies.”
Mariana loved the structure and thinks that her sense of responsibility helped her navigate through the program successfully.
“It really worked out for me,” Mariana said. “I think it’s best suited for people that are a bit more self-disciplined…people who don’t need someone to tell them exactly which assignment to work on every day. I really enjoyed the course, especially the mentorship aspect of it. That was really helpful for me to get through the harder topics that I’ve never studied before. I’d definitely recommend the course.”
Building a Career After Thinkful
Thinkful’s Software Engineering program worked out well for Mariana, although she did have to work a little harder than you may expect. Despite being a front-end developer with project management skills and experience with essential tools and tech career experience, she still needed to commit plenty of effort to the program.
“I think having a bit of experience definitely helped me get through the first half relatively quickly,” Mariana said. “But I soon fell back into a normal pace as the back-end portion came in since I had no exposure to that whatsoever. So, I ended up completing the course in the recommended amount of time.”
Before she even fully completed the course, Mariana had already secured her first job. This isn’t typical, but with her previous experience, it makes sense that boosting her skills beyond her previous industry training would make her a fascinating candidate for recruiters.
To accommodate Mariana’s case, the Thinkful team moved around the curriculum to fit her needs. The course isn’t set in stone, and to further its mission of preparing students for future success, they will work with you individually for the best results.
“They fast-tracked me to the career portion of the curriculum when they knew I was interviewing, and they offered me all sorts of resources,” Mariana said. “[They provided] resources on things like how to handle negotiating your salary and how you can best interview. So they were really helpful, especially when I was interviewing. They also switched the course around a little to make sure that they were available for me at that time, which I thought was really cool.”
The interview went well for Mariana, and she believes that she has Thinkful to thank for that success.
Unfortunately, Mariana’s first job didn’t quite work out. But she had no trouble finding a second position with the lessons she picked up at Thinkful. Now, she works as a front-end software engineer at a financial services company.
Thinkful gave Mariana lifelong skills that helped her grow as a software engineer, and she’ll be able to use those skills to continue honing her craft for years to come.
“Before I had no formal training in web development, it was all just job-based,” Mariana said. “You definitely learn different things on a job versus at school, but through Thinkful I was able to really get the ideology behind what I was doing. I learned the bigger picture of why things worked, not just doing something and seeing that it works, but why it’s working. It helped me in a lot of ways, from becoming a more effective researcher and more.”
Though Mariana graduated before finding her second job, she was sure that the school would’ve helped her if she still needed to take advantage of their career services to navigate the current job market. Thinkful offers six months of career coaching after graduation, so even if your first position doesn’t work out, you’ll still be covered.
Can I Find Long-Term Success After Thinkful?
Though Mariana’s path to employment after Thinkful wasn’t typical, the results are. Thinkful graduates enjoy impressive outcomes, with 84 percent of part-time software engineering grads finding jobs within six months of graduation. These are high-quality jobs as well, with a median salary of around $56,532.
As Mariana suggested, the skills she learned at Thinkful helped her become a better software engineer, and she’s not alone. Approximately 94 percent of Thinkful students are still using skills they learned in the program over a year after graduation. These students believe that Thinkful has given them a strong career foundation, and they’re willing to tell everyone.
If you’d like to learn more about what you can get from Thinkful’s programs, set up a call with a Thinkful Admissions Rep today.
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.