Thinkful and Bloc are both online programming schools that use mentors to propel their students to success. Here, we've examined how Bloc and Thinkful compare to each other in terms of focus, curriculum, cost and more.
(updated March 2017)
The big difference between Bloc and Thinkful is the way that they structure their courses. Both schools offer full-time tracks for individuals seeking a career change. For Thinkful, that’s the Full Time Web Development Bootcamp. At Bloc, it’s the Software Developer Track, which students can choose to take full time or part time. Both schools also offer self-paced immersive courses. Thinkful offers the Flexible Web Development Bootcamp and the Flexible Data Science Bootcamp, and Bloc offers the Part Time Web Developer Track.
Both schools also offer short part-time courses. The part-time courses at Thinkful focus on one language or framework at a time, while Bloc’s courses tend to focus on a skill and the languages one needs to master in an area. Thinkful part-time courses include front and back end languages and frameworks such as Python, Rails, Swift, and Angular. Bloc’s part-time offerings also include front and back end languages and frameworks including iOS, Android, UX/UI, Front end and Rails. Both Thinkful and Bloc’s part-time courses are designed for developers hoping to build on and grow their skills.
If you want to study one language or framework at a time Thinkful is your school. If you want to dig into multiple technologies simultaneously, Bloc is a better bet.
Bloc’s Software Developer track is $19,500, Part-Time Web Developer Track is $8,800 and each part-time skills course costs $5000 upfront or $5,500 in installments. Bloc also has two $500 scholarships, the New Relic Diversity scholarship for students of underrepresented groups in tech (women, veterans, Latinos, African Americans, Native Americans and Pacific Islanders) and a scholarship for veterans. A Bloc scholarship is also available on Course Report.
At Thinkful, the Full Time Web Development Bootcamp course is $14,000, or $16,800 with deferred payment. The Flexible Web Development Bootcamp is $9000 for 6 months, or $1500 per month, or $10,500 with deferred payment. Part-time courses are $300-500 per month (1 month commitment if you study 15 hours per week). A Thinkful scholarship is available on Course Report. Compare Thinkful costs here.
If cost is your sole determining factor, and you want to study full-time, then Thinkful’s Full Time Web Development Bootcamp is the least expensive option. However, if you want to study part-time, Bloc’s Part-Time Web Developer Track is only slightly cheaper than Thinkful’s Flexible Web Development Bootcamp.
At Thinkful, students attending the Full Time Web Development Bootcamp must be prepared to study 50 hours per week for 4 months. For the Flexible Web Development Bootcamp, students should be prepared to dedicate 20 hours per week to graduate within 6 months. Students in the shorter, part-time courses (like iOS Programming in Swift) should expect to study 15 hours per week to finish in 1 month.
At Bloc, students have some flexibility and can choose the length of their course. Students can choose to learn over 27 or 54 weeks for the Part Time Web Developer Track, or 36, 54 or 108 weeks for the Software Developer track.
Both Thinkful and Bloc offer options to make their courses accessible to students with full-time jobs. We asked Darrell Silver, founder of Thinkful, how their time commitment compared to Bloc's, and he told us that "the biggest distinction is that we’re flexible in terms of time commitment, dollars, and skills required at the beginning. If you’re a student comparing a 25 hour/week vs a 7 to 10 hour/week class, then you probably know how much time you have available. If you don’t have a full-time job's worth of time to spend, then Thinkful can be a better choice."
If you can only dedicate 20 hours or less per week to your studies, then part-time courses from either school will suit you.
Bloc also has an online curriculum which requires students to complete assignments and tackle challenges on their own, consulting their mentors when they get stuck. Students can message mentors any time, and have weekly video call appointments. Mentors review students’ code, critique approach, and give feedback.
Both programs are project-based, with access to 1-on-1 mentors at least once a week. Students who like to have contact with their peers will enjoy Thinkful’s group mentorship sessions and pair programming, whereas those who learn best independently will prefer Bloc’s approach.
One of the biggest differences between Thinkful and Bloc is that Bloc allows students to choose their own mentors. Bloc has a dedicated mentor page, where students can scroll through potential mentors and view their social media, personal projects, locale and availability. Though Thinkful, doesn’t allow students to choose a mentor, they will change your mentor upon request, and you can read about their mentorship policies here.
If choosing your mentor is really important to you, go with Bloc.
Job-Placement Rate, Post Graduate Resources & Job Guarantees
Bloc does not publish their job placement rates. Their career support program is integrated into the mentor relationship. Students go over their cover letters and resumes with their interviewer and participate in mock phone screens. Mentors will also review their students’ online presence including personal portfolio’s, Github and LinkedIn.
Both Bloc’s Web Developer Track and Software Developer Track have a Tuition Reimbursement Guarantee if students do not get a paying job in the industry within 180 days of graduating. The Software Developer Track also has a minimum salary guarantee of $60,000. Complete job guarantee conditions are on Bloc’s FAQ page.
Thinkful does publish job placement rates and reports a 92% placement rate of job seeking graduates who completed the Web Development Bootcamp. Thinkful’s Career Prep team starts preparing students for jobs from the first week, by encouraging networking, conducting mock interviews, and critiquing resumes, then provides 6 months of 1-on-1 job support after graduation.
Students who graduate from Thinkful’s Flexible or Full Time Web Development Bootcamps are guaranteed to get a job or get their money back within 6 months of graduation.
Both programs have very strict conditions for getting a tuition refund, such as applying for a minimum number of jobs per week, not turning down job offers, and living in certain cities.
If you require a minimum salary guarantee, Bloc might be the right choice for you. If you need to know job placement rates up front, then choose Thinkful.
Upon being accepted into the programs, both Bloc and Thinkful students will receive prep work. At Bloc, students do not have access to pre-work prior to the application and acceptance process. It’s reserved exclusively for Bloc students and involves about 25-30 hours of work to be completed during the week before day one of the program.
Thinkful has a prep course open to everyone who might be interested in enrolling in one of the Web Developer Bootcamps. It is a 3-week course and costs $250, which is refunded in full if you successfully enroll in one of the Web Developer Bootcamps. There is a similar prep course for the Flexible Data Science Bootcamp.
Thinkful also offers some free prep work for the aspiring bootcamper which offers bite-sized tutorials in HTML, CSS, jQuery and Python. Simply click on a guide, and you will learn how to complete a project step-by-step.
For individuals who want to attend an in-person coding bootcamp, Thinkful has partnered with several bootcamps around the nation to offer bootcamp prep work courses. Students who sign up for the Thinkful Prepwork course and are accepted into a bootcamp will receive a tuition rebate.
Thinkful offers free and paid prepwork and materials to anyone interested in learning how to code, it’s a good idea to take advantage of their resources, regardless of what bootcamp you want to attend.
Both Thinkful and Bloc have similar application processes, and request that students set up a call to speak with an academic advisor to help them enroll in the right course.
Students wanting to enroll in Thinkful’s Full Time Web Development Bootcamp must start by scheduling a call with an education advisor to ensure their background, goals, and learning preferences suit the course. Then they have to successfully complete the prep course, before starting day one of the full-time program.
For Thinkful’s Flexible Web Development Bootcamp, students can enroll straight away and start the course. If students don’t enjoy their first three mentor sessions, they can get their money back. Joe Reed explains how he chatted with a course leader before enrolling in the Flexible program.
There is a more rigorous application process for Thinkful’s Flexible Data Science Bootcamp, as students require a background in programming, math, statistics, or scientific research. Students are assessed on their capabilities through the three-week prep course.
Bloc has a 100% acceptance rate for all courses, and students can enroll at their leisure, at least two weeks before their start date. Students can withdraw in their first week for a full refund.
Eager students can enroll immediately online for most of Bloc and Thinkful’s courses. The only courses with more screening are Thinkful’s Full Time Web Developer Bootcamp, and its Flexible Data Science Bootcamp.
After scouring reviews, we’ve noted the following points seem to repeat in school reviews.
- Bloc works well for people working full time, but is also intense and students like Courtney find they really need the mentors to help understand difficult concepts.
- Another Bloc student said he was happy with the curriculum, loved his mentor, plus found a job before graduating.
- Students like Daniel really appreciated the capstone projects which he could put in his portfolio to show to prospective employers.
- Edgar found that the “gold nugget” of his Thinkful course was having the personal mentor sessions.
- Thinkful Mentor Spotlight: Jason Humphrey
- Thinkful Alumni Spotlight: Joe Reed
- How to Get a Job After Online Bootcamp with Thinkful
- Q&A with Bloc Co-founder Roshan Choxi
- Bloc Alumni Spotlight: Ashton Levier