Thinkful bootcamp has helped thousands find jobs with its supportive atmosphere and intensive training programs around industry-standard tools across several disciplines. We’ve spoken with one alum about how Thinkful helped “change his life” by taking him from an overnight job at Walmart to a better-paying data analytics job.
If you want to know more about how Thinkful has helped other graduates change their lives for the better, you’re in for another story.
Thinkful offers part-time and full-time courses in six different areas of tech to help career seekers launch a new job.Speak to the Thinkful Admissions team today.
Meet the Thinkful Graduate
Ying Liu worked at IBM China for seven years before moving to Seattle at the end of 2014. Even though she didn’t work directly with code, she had a bachelor’s degree in computer science and a master’s in software engineering. She had the fundamental skills to succeed, but she decided to stay home and take care of her two young children after the move.
Nonetheless, Ying still had a desire to put her skills to use, so she found a remote job in 2019 after deciding to re-enter her field.
“I started from learning how to communicate and meet the recruiters, and then finally I got a contract job. I refused the offer because my younger son was really young at the time. And then in 2020, the pandemic came so I really wanted to stay at home.”
Ying felt discouraged after spending so long rebuilding her coding skills just to hit a dead end. But she didn’t let this false start ruin her dream. She decided that if she was going to restart her career, she needed to really focus on learning the latest techniques from a coding bootcamp.
“I didn’t want to give up, you know, because I had already spent a year practicing data structures and algorithms,” Ying said. “I already picked up the coding skills, but what I needed to make up was the gap. I had a seven-year gap, so I didn’t know the latest techniques, and I had no real projects in coding. At that time, I thought a bootcamp was a good thing for me to do.”
She decided to attend Thinkful for two reasons: Thinkful’s mentor system and the school’s pricing structure.
“The reason why I chose Thinkful was first, its affordable price,” Ying said. “And second, I preferred the one-on-one mentoring sessions. I didn’t want to be exposed to a group because I’m not a native speaker. So if you’re thrown off [among] so many native speakers, [you] may feel shy to ask if you have a question.”
Because the pandemic had everyone on lockdown, she felt that she could take a few months in Thinkful’s Part-Time Software Engineering program while still being able to look after her young children. Despite the convenience of the schedule, it still wasn’t easy. Ying credits her mentors for helping her adjust.
“It was hard, especially for a mom with two kids,” Ying said. “I really appreciated my first mentor, TJ. In the first session, he didn’t teach me anything about the techniques and skills, but he told me how he arranged all the things in his whole life. He encouraged me to wake up earlier because at that time it’d be quiet, and the time would only belong to me so I could focus on learning.”
Thinkful’s mentors give students more than just industry guidance and tips on coding problems they may encounter. They offer advice from the perspective of a person who was, at some point, also at square one. They know how hard it is to juggle your other responsibilities while adding more, and they can give you valuable advice on managing everything.
When Ying received that advice, she started waking up earlier and going to bed later. The adjustment was tough, but she managed.
“I woke up at 6:30am and until 9:30am, I would spend three hours focusing on the coursework,” Ying said. “At night, after all the kids went to bed, I would spend two, sometimes three hours catching up to the course. Yeah, it was really crazy. Actually, I was planning to quit in the middle of the bootcamp.”
But she decided to stick with it, as she felt like she couldn’t stay home forever.
“The kids grew up, they went to school,” Ying said. “And the younger one, today’s his first day and I just took him to school to meet with the teacher. He’s a kindergartener this year. So now, there’s not much I feel like I can do at home. When I started working at IBM, I did an excellent job and I was promoted quickly, so I knew I had value beyond just staying at home.”
After completing the course, Ying expected a long and arduous job search, like the one she undertook back in 2019. But her mentor believed her experience would be different after graduating from Thinkful.
“[In 2019], it took me three and a half months to find a role as a Redfin contractor,” Ying said. “And this time, I planned to take several months to find another contract job, and then I would be satisfied. But I’m excited to say that my next job hunt took just six weeks.”
“Actually, in the last session with my mentor, I told him that I may need several months to find a job. He told me he didn’t think so, I just needed some weeks. And after I found the job, I sent him an email telling him he was right.”
Ying’s Job Search Experience After Thinkful
Ying credits Thinkful’s career coaching with giving her the courage to keep pushing, even when her relatively short job hunt was taking its toll.
“I really appreciated Keiko, my career coach,” Ying said. “At the beginning, when I started searching for a job, I felt very frustrated and it looked like there was no hope. The seven-year resume gap was a big problem for me. And I also had no local experience. So each time when I talked with a recruiter, they would see that I worked at IBM, but it was IBM China.”
But Keiko kept pushing Ying to believe in herself, and the benefits began to show.
“It really made me feel like I couldn’t land a job, but Keiko kept encouraging me,” Ying said. “She let me know I was very good. She just told me to keep trying things out, and that it was only a matter of time. And meanwhile, I kept contacting my mentor. Although he didn’t give me any technical support because I didn’t need it anymore, he encouraged me and let me know that I was a really good student.“
One of the tactics she learned from her professional career coach really helped her secure lots of interviews. Even though she felt uncomfortable pursuing this networking advice at first, she quickly realized its value.
“One thing I learned from Thinkful that really changed my job hunting opinion was how important cold contacting is,” Ying said. “So at the beginning, I felt ashamed. I was very shy about cold contact with a stranger. But after I took some career courses, I learned cold contacting is very important. Ever since then, I was reaching out to people that worked at Costco, Starbucks, Redfin, and lots of other companies through LinkedIn. That led to lots of interviewing chances.”
Her strong background, newly polished technical and soft skills, and willingness to reach out to the recruiters made Ying a hit on the job market. She found the perfect fit for her as a mother of two young children, and she hasn’t looked back since.
Become the Next Thinkful Success Story
Ying’s story shows the value of Thinkful’s structure. An affordable price with helpful mentors and classes that fit your schedule make this coding bootcamp a valuable option. If you’re looking to upskill or change careers with a robust support team and an online schedule with professional guidance, then Thinkful could be right for you.
The affordable price also includes several financing options that can help you get the training you like even if your finances aren’t where you’d like. Plus, with Thinkful’s tuition refund guarantee for qualified students, you can join the active community of software developers with a financial safety net.
If you’d like to become the next Thinkful success story, set up a call with Thinkful’s Admissions Representative today to see what they can do for you.
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.