Thinkful has helped thousands of graduates access new careers in tech since it began and continues to make strides to help those from all backgrounds make a career change within a year. We’ve spoken to a graduate from Thinkful’s data analytics program who can give you an inside look at the impact the program has had on his life.
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Meet the Thinkful Graduate
Robby Ackerman had been working as a youth pastor at his local church while also stocking shelves overnight at Walmart to help pay the bills. Because of the church’s financial situation, he was let go from that job in late 2019, right before the COVID-19 pandemic. He felt he needed to make a change, but was worried that he wouldn’t have an opportunity.
That’s when he found Thinkful.
“It had good reviews, but I honestly think the biggest thing that made it a reality for me was the $1,500 loan, which helped me really focus on learning,” Robby said. “I actually stopped working at Walmart overnight so I could focus on just learning at Thinkful while my wife was working part-time. So it was perfect for those four months.”
Entering Tech with Thinkful’s Payment Options
Creating tuition plans with affordability in mind is a major focus for Thinkful. Robby may have never been able to enter the data analytics field while raising two young children if he couldn’t afford to pay his bills. This gesture was Robby’s first taste of the great support that Thinkful provides its students.
“I can’t say enough how much Thinkful has done for me,” Robby said. “They have a lot of people involved in the process to get you what you need. I think that’s the biggest thing I noticed. They seemed to really care about their students, and they’re always trying to change and make it better.”
The Thinkful Student Experience
Robby began his data analytics course with some coding knowledge. He’d built games with Game Maker Studio 2 and had limited experience with web development. But he felt like this path allowed him to marry his passions for game design and coding while paying his bills.
Career Karma entered my life when I needed it most and quickly helped me match with a bootcamp. Two months after graduating, I found my dream job that aligned with my values and goals in life!
Venus, Software Engineer at Rockbot
Venus, Software Engineer at Rockbot
“I did some game jams, and it was interesting. But I wanted to make it a hobby, and I liked the coding aspect of it,” Robby said. “I chose data analytics because I felt like it was a steady income, but I could create other things on the side for passive income just because I liked coding.”
Every day, Robby would start his course at 10am Eastern Time and go until 5pm.
“The mornings were a lecture-style talk with a teacher that changed based on the subject for the week,” Robby said. “And after that talk, which lasted from 45 minutes to an hour, we would go into a breakout room with four to five other students. We’d talk about what we did, make sure we had a good handle on the coursework for the day, and kind of follow up with each other.”
They’d usually follow the same pattern of attending a lecture, meeting with other students to help digest the material, and then having a short break for two more sessions each day. After the three sessions were completed around 3pm, the students would have the opportunity to work on that day’s material so that they could stay ahead of the course.
“I ended up being able to stay ahead, which was great,” Robby said. “I think it helped me out with the program a lot. I made sure that I made the most of the time I had and really scheduled my time and focused on it.”
Robby made a point to work ahead as often as possible, but he also enjoyed the staff that helped him through the program. We’ve discussed Thinkful’s amazing support staff before, but Robby believes they were a high point of his bootcamp experience.
“The teachers were really good. They cared and tried really hard,” Robby said. “Some students weren’t as responsive to the help but I took advantage of it, and the teachers were really willing to help.”
“I think having a mentor helped a lot. It seems like they have a lot of people that care and support you. Even after I graduated, they had career services, which helped me land a job within a month.”
Life After a Thinkful Bootcamp
Robby now works as an associate media planner for paid search and social at a media company. He had to find a job quickly after the program ended because of his financial situation, but he’s happy with where he landed.
“My friend who’s the godfather to my oldest daughter got me the connection for the job,” Robby said. “It’s like an entry point into data analytics, but I didn’t have time to wait for other opportunities because I had to get a job fast.”
“It’s a really good opportunity and I love the environment they have. So it was a good foot in the door kind of job, and the people seem really great. It seemed like a really good fit culturally and financially.”
He credits the data analytics program at Thinkful for giving him financial stability that he hadn’t experienced in a long time, especially in a turbulent job market. He’s also grateful for the payment option he chose, which makes him feel less burdened than he did after graduating college.
“I have a decent-sized college loan to pay back, so this feels different,” Robby said. “When I came out of college, I felt like I’d never pay it back no matter what. Thinkful’s Income Share Agreement model feels like they’re letting you pay it back the best you can.”
Thinkful allows people to change their career situation with a quicker turnaround and lower financial obligation than a four-year education. And Robby is so grateful for what it’s done for him that he’s happy to give other people the opportunity.
“I wanted to pay back this program because it’s changed my life in such a great way that I want it to succeed. I want it to do well because I want it to change other people’s lives the way it changed mine.”
Career Support and Stability Through Thinkful
Robby’s story is common among Thinkful graduates. The program has impressive outcomes for its students across several programs. Its payment options make its programs even more accessible. Its support staff help to make the program engaging and educational while lending a helping hand to students trying to find their footing in a new career.
If you’d like to be the next Thinkful success story, set up a call with the Thinkful admissions team 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.