Thinkful and Bloc are both online programming schools that employ mentors to propel their students to success. Both schools offer full-time and part-time bootcamps that take students from beginner to job-ready, junior developers. And as of April 2018, Thinkful has actually acquired Bloc. So which online bootcamp should you choose: Thinkful vs Bloc? Here, we've examined how Bloc and Thinkful compare to each other in terms of focus, curriculum, cost, job guarantees, and more.
Table of Contents:
- Bootcamp Focus
- Tuition Cost
- Time Commitment
- Learning Style
- Job Placement Rate
- Job Guarantees
- Application Process
Note: While both schools also offer shorter, lower-cost courses, this article will focus on their online bootcamps. Thinkful part-time short courses include front and back end languages and frameworks such as Python, Rails, Swift, and Angular which cost $300-$500 per month for 1-3 months. Bloc’s part-time short courses include front and back end languages and frameworks including Rails, Front End, UX/UI Design, iOS, and Android, and cost $5000 for 4-8 months. Any of these courses would be perfect for developers wishing to build on and grow their skills.
The big difference between Bloc and Thinkful is the way that they structure their bootcamps. Both schools offer full-time tracks for individuals seeking a career change. Thinkful's Full Time Web Development Bootcamp is a synchronous course, meaning students need to be online during scheduled hours and will learn in an online classroom with a fixed cohort of other students. Bloc's Software Developer Track, is available as a full-time or part-time bootcamp, and is asynchronous, meaning students will learn on their own schedule, at their own pace.
Both schools also offer self-paced, part-time bootcamps that still pledge career support. Thinkful offers the Flexible Web Development Bootcamp and the Flexible Data Science Bootcamp, and Bloc offers the Part-Time Web Developer Track and the Designer Track.
Our takeaway: You know your own learning style best, so if you need to learn in a “classroom” setting, Thinkful’s Full-Time Web Development bootcamp best mimics this learning style. However, this requires that you quit your job and truly commit full-time. If you can’t quit your job, and need a flexible full-time commitment, then Bloc’s Software Developer Track is your best option.
If you can only make a part-time commitment, then it’s a toss up between Bloc and Thinkful. But note that if your goal is to become a data scientist, then Thinkful is the school for you. And if you want to become a Web Designer, then Bloc is your best bet.
Bloc’s Software Developer track is $19,500, the Part-Time Web Developer Track is $8800, and the Designer Track is $9800. Bloc 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), scholarship for veterans, and a $1000 Women Who Code scholarship. 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 all Thinkful costs here.
Both Bloc and Thinkful work with lending partners like SkillsFund, so you can finance your education if needed.
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 slightly ($200) 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.
At Bloc, students have some flexibility and can choose the length of their course. Students can choose to learn over 6.5 months or 12 months for the Part Time Web Developer Track. If you’re taking the Software Developer Track, then you can choose between 9 months, 12 months, and 18 months.
Both Thinkful and Bloc offer options to make their courses accessible to students with full-time jobs. 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’s courses offer slightly more flexibility in terms of time commitment.
Thinkful CEO Darrell Silver told us, "Thinkful is best for students who want the highest level of 1-on-1 support and more structured courses, to finish faster and start a new career, this is especially true in its communities in Atlanta, D.C., Los Angeles, Portland, Phoenix, and San Diego. Bloc is best for students who want more flexibility, with incredible amounts of group support, leaving more time for your other responsibilities as you transition into your new career."
Both Thinkful and Bloc have curriculum development teams which are committed to continually updating the teaching materials, according to market demand.
Bloc and Thinkful’s programs are all 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 one-on-one 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.
Bloc has not historically published their job placement rates, but since being acquired by Thinkful, will now join CIRR and publish placement rates. Their career support program is supported by their mentors and the Career Services team, and continues for 180 days (6 months) after students finish their program. Students receive guidance on cover letters and resumes, and participate in mock technical interviews. Mentors will also review their students’ online presence including personal portfolios, Github and LinkedIn.
Thinkful was one of the first online bootcamps to publish their own job placement rates, is a member of CIRR, and reports a 92% placement rate for 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.
Whether or not a school is part of a larger association like CIRR, at Course Report we think that transparency in student outcomes is important. If you want to see how many past graduates have gotten jobs, then Thinkful and Bloc will now share this data upfront. However, we still recommend that you ask a ton of questions about job outcomes!
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. This job is guaranteed to be either:
- a salaried employee
- a full-time contractor
- or a paid apprenticeship of defined duration (apprenticeships are generally 8 - 12 weeks long, paid hourly, and used to evaluate a candidate for a full-time salaried role).
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. This job is guaranteed to be
- A paying job in the web development industry
- This may include full-time, contract-to-hire, contractor, and internship positions
- The Software Developer Track also has a minimum salary guarantee of $60,000.
Both programs have very strict conditions for claiming a tuition refund, and we recommend that you scour the terms and conditions of any guarantee before committing. Here are the job guarantee conditions that stood out to us:
At Thinkful, you must:
- Live within reasonable commuting distance of a list of ~30 cities in the US/Canada (ie. Austin, New York, Atlanta, Toronto, Seattle, etc).
- Be at least 21 years old.
- Live in and be legally able to work in the U.S. or Canada
- Be proficient in spoken and written English
- Complete job guarantee conditions are on Thinkful’s website.
At Bloc, you must:
- Keep on pace with the program (if you fall 30% behind pace, you’re no longer eligible).
- Complete all career prep checkpoints
- Apply to at least 10 software development jobs per week and submit weekly job search logs to the Career Support team. 3 of the 10 weekly job applications must be sent through networking.
- You can’t decline a job offer (and still be eligible for reimbursement).
- Live in a top 23 major North American metro area (ie. Metro Atlanta, Greater Austin, Greater Boston, Chicago Metropolitan Area, etc)
- Complete job guarantee conditions are on Bloc’s FAQ page.
Bottom line: A job guarantee is awesome as “insurance,” but finding a job as a developer requires a serious commitment on your part. Bloc guarantees a minimum salary of $60,000, which is actually pretty impressive. But it takes a lot of hard work, communication, and documentation to qualify for their tuition reimbursement.
For students taking Bloc’s Part-Time Web Developer Track or Software Developer Track, there are no pre-work courses required and all materials will be included in the price and time stated per program. For students taking Bloc’s Designer Track, they will have access to pre-work after enrolling. 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 an optional $250 prep course open to anyone who might be interested in enrolling in one of the Web Developer Bootcamps. It is a 3-week course, and the $250 tuition is refunded in full if you successfully enroll in one of the Web Developer Bootcamps. There are required prep courses for the Full-Time Web Development bootcamp and the Flexible Data Science Bootcamp, but not for the Flexible Web Developer Bootcamp. Thinkful also offers some free optional prep work for the aspiring bootcamper in 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.
Thinkful offers free and paid prep courses and materials to anyone interested in learning how to code. Anyone can use these resources, regardless of what bootcamp you want to attend. If you choose Bloc’s Designer Track, you’ll get free prep work after enrolling.
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 believes anyone who wants to learn programming or design should be able to, and has a 100% acceptance rate for all courses. Students have the option of speaking to a Student Advisor, and can enroll at their leisure at least ten days before their start date. Students can withdraw in their first week for a full refund, or at any time for a pro-rated 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.
- The Thinkful + Bloc Acquisition: Everything You Need to Know
- 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
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