Virtual work and study have been an option for some time now, but over the last year, it’s clear that the shift to online platforms has accelerated faster than we could have ever imagined. With this proliferation of distance learning, many of us have had to adapt quickly, and with that, we have become more familiar with what works, and what doesn’t.
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One thing that we know does help, is a strong sense of community. In these times of isolation, feeling connected to one another is more important than ever. This is why Springboard does all it can to ensure that its students are fully supported and able to interact with peers, instructors, mentors, and advisors who are familiar with the industry they’re looking to break into, whether that’s Cybersecurity, Data Science, UX/UI Design, or Software Engineering. This article will look at the ways in which Springboard supports its students through career coaching, mentorship, and networking. So let’s dive in.
Closing the Gap in Distance Learning
Springboard recognizes the importance of community when it comes to embarking on an online program. This is evident in the way Springboard provides for its students. Take their ‘weekly office hours online’ for example. These sessions are a fantastic opportunity to interact with mentors and fellow students and address any queries or doubts you might have. Alternatively, you might simply be curious to talk about new and upcoming trends in the industry or deepen your understanding of a certain aspect of the field. Whichever topic you want to talk about, the weekly office online hours are a great place to do just that.
In addition, as a Springboard student, you’ll have access to a wide network of people to collaborate with and learn from. By joining this online community, you’ll be able to post questions, contribute to discussions, and receive feedback on projects. The community manager, who is also a Springboard mentor, will oversee these discussions and jump in to share advice or help resolve any confusion. In other words, you’ll have access to a wide pool of knowledge at your fingertips.
Springboard also offers the chance to attend their annual Rise event. This conference incorporates all things Data Science & Design and is attended by students, alumni, mentors, and industry experts, giving everyone the chance to share their experiences, learn, and network with one another. The event spans over a few days, and you can organize your schedule to join specific sessions that interest you most, as well as attend employer spotlights. These sessions are all recorded and will remain available once the conference ends, meaning you can go back to any sessions you might have missed.
However, Springboard encourages live attendance in order to interact directly with speakers and ask questions. The Rise event is highly popular among Springboard students, alumni, and mentors. “I enjoyed the personal interactions between students, mentors, and the Springboard Team, [and] being able to share experiences and ideas freely between one another,” said Miles Craig who is studying the Data Science Career Track.
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In the Spotlight: Springboard Mentors
With 755 mentors currently, Springboard works with a range of talent who are there to share their expertise with students. “I enjoy seeing people succeed,” said mentor Ankit Jain. These professionals are highly competent in their field and go through a rigorous screening process before being accepted into Springboard as mentors. In fact, only around 10% of candidates who apply for the mentoring role are hired. The selection criteria include but are not limited to several years of experience, the passing of a self skills assessment on technical concepts in the curriculum, experience working full-time in the specific area of the career track they are looking to mentor in, and ensuring that they have enough time to dedicate to mentoring their students (1 hour per student per week).
Every new mentor goes through at least one orientation session and must become familiar with the necessary training materials. Springboard also offers quarterly events in which mentors are trained on a range of topics. Prior to being assigned a mentor, students fill out a questionnaire outlining the areas they wish to focus on. This information is then used to pair the student with a mentor who can help them achieve their goals. On average, each mentor will have around 3 or 4 mentees, but sessions will be on a 1:1 basis.
The role of the mentor is crucial when it comes to supporting students’ success, which is why Springboard strives to make online learning as personal as possible. In 2014, Springboard noticed that a large proportion of its students were signing up for courses but only partly completing them. As a result, they reached out to the students to find out why this was and came to the realization that the courses were missing a crucial element: human support. Many of the students said that they needed someone to speak to when they found themselves stuck, losing motivation, or needing more clarification. This was a turning point for Springboard, which decided to focus its effort on building a school rather than a content library.
After adding the mentorship component, Springboard saw that its programs yielded a 10x higher completion rate than most online courses at the time. Since then, mentorship, along with other aspects of the school, has played a key role in the learning process. “The mentorship is key to my success… the course is money well spent,” said Hunter Lightsey, who is now a Senior Engineer at ClassOne Technology.
What Do The Mentors Say?
Design mentor Rylan Clark, who has been working in UX Research for over 10 years, started mentoring at Springboard in August 2018. “I chose to work with Springboard because they are the best in their industry and practice what they preach with UX/CX,” he said.
“On mentoring days, I begin by reviewing student progress, recently submitted assignments, and our meeting agenda for the week. Then, in our calls, we’ll step through their assignments, review feedback, and talk about how those types of projects work “in the real world.” I like to spend a fair amount of time discussing how UX design and research are done in different types of roles, settings, and organizations too. In between calls, we stay in touch through instant messenger and occasionally bounce documents back and forth for iteration.”
Having mentored with Springboard since January 2020, tech entrepreneur Samir Nasser Eddine’s routine is not dissimilar: “I check the progress of my students, the units they worked on, the exercises they submitted. I prepare some materials depending on the agenda submitted to me. I answer emails from my students too as I encourage them to reach me if they have questions that can’t wait for the weekly call.”
For Samir, the highlight of working as a Springboard mentor has been “contributing to completely changing lives of people who are either going through difficult times or simply want to achieve their career goals and dreams.” Samir strives to be a pillar of support for his mentees, and someone they can count on throughout the curriculum.
Asked what makes a Springboard successful, both Rylan and Samir emphasized the paramount importance of motivation and work ethic. “The number one reason for student success AND failure is simple: follow-through,” said Rylan. His view is echoed by Samir: “Learning software engineering is not an easy task, it requires putting a considerable amount of time and effort into it.” However, it’s not just about working hard. Joining Springboard is also a wonderful opportunity “to meet exceptional people and to have fun!”
What makes Springboard mentors stand out is their passion for their role; they thrive off seeing their students grow and blossom into skilled and well-rounded professionals in their field. “I love helping others to succeed and achieve their career goals,” said Samir.
Throughout your chosen program you will be in contact with a career coach who, right from the start, will work with you to create an individualized job search strategy and keep you on track to finding your dream role.
Your coach will also help you to polish your resume and LinkedIn profile, and work with you to identify companies that are aligned with your goals. Moreover, you’ll work together to practice your interpersonal, behavioral, and technical skills via mock interviews, before receiving detailed and tailored feedback on what went well and areas for improvement. You’ll also receive extra advice such as how to approach confidently negotiating an above-market salary.
Student advisors work with students to help keep them on track to complete the course to the best of their ability and help enhance their experience at Springboard. With your student advisor, you will discuss goals, resources and receive tips and support on any aspect of the program. Whether you’re stuck on a particular topic, or just feel like you need a little extra motivation, your student advisor is there to help.
Student Advisor Sophie Weissbourd explains that their “job is to support our students in whatever way is going to best set them up for success. For some, that means weekly video calls to check in on progress, for others a quick email with a motivational resource or study tip. Bottom line: we’re not a one size fits all team. We cater our outreach thoughtfully and with one goal in mind: getting you to that finish line with your dream job in tow.”
Speaking of her experience as a Student Advisor, Sarah Behm commented: “I have the honor of standing alongside individuals driven to launch and elevate their career trajectory! I find the greatest joy when students take pride not only in their work, but within our thriving course communities built upon study groups, vibrant office hours, motivational slack channels and inspiring events! When students land a job, there is an entire team of advisors, mentors, coaches, and colleagues celebrating together – it is a collective and transformative experience for us all!”
Springboard offers a number of opportunities to connect with fellow students. These include monthly in-person meetups where you can expand your professional network and make connections. These meetups are usually currently hosted in San Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles; they are currently on pause due to the pandemic but are programmed to resume as soon as it is safe to do so. In the meantime, Springboard’s online meetings allow students to connect, network, and build relationships, by coming together and organizing study groups where they can pool their knowledge and skills to the benefit of all.
What’s more, this peer support doesn’t end when you graduate. After finishing your program with your new set of skills, you’ll gain exclusive access to an Alumni Linkedin group, where you’ll be able to network, provide one another with support and keep in the loop regarding any upcoming roles and opportunities in the industry throughout your career.
Deferred Tuition and Job Guarantee
Springboard is confident in its ability to equip students with the necessary skills to hit the ground running on the job market. For this reason, the school offers a job guarantee and deferred tuition, meaning that the course fees are only paid once you secure a job in the desired field. Thanks to this, you can invest in your career risk-free.
Many students favor deferred tuition over ISAs (Income Share Agreements), given that they allow you to pay a fixed price, rather than paying fees back as a proportion of your salary for a number of years which can often cost more in the long run. For example, software engineer salaries tend to start at around $74,000. With an average salary increase of $26,000 after graduation, and Springboard’s deferred tuition plans costing between $8,000 and $15,000, graduates are in a more comfortable position to pay their tuition after landing a job in their field.
Committed to making high-quality education more accessible, Springboard also offers a range of scholarships. If you’re a veteran, a woman, or a college student, you may be eligible. Please note, however, that you cannot apply for multiple scholarships.
It is evident that Springboard works hard to provide its students with as much help as possible via personal interactions, events, and networking opportunities. Highlighting the importance of a strong support system when it comes to virtual learning, alumni Jeffrey Surban, who is now a UX Designer at Citigroup, said: “All of these things made me feel like Springboard cared… I didn’t feel like I was just a statistic.”
For more information, visit Springboard’s website, or schedule a call with an advisor who can help steer you in the right direction. You can also browse some of their free courses to gain a deeper insight into their teaching style. Springboard measures its success by its students’ success. Will you be the next to join?
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