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.
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 Frontend Career Path. At Bloc, it’s the Full Stack Web Developer and Software Engineer tracks. Both schools also offer 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 this area.
Bloc’s part-time offerings also include front and back end languages and frameworks including iOS, Android, UX/UI, Frontend and Rails. 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 full-time Full Stack Web Developer track is $9,500 and the full-time Software Engineer track is $24,000. Each part-time course costs $4,999 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 Frontend Career Path course is $999 (estimated at 20 hours weekly for 6 months; $5,994). Part-time courses are $300-500 a month(estimated at 10 hours weekly for 3 months; $900-$1500). Thinkful Workshops are $49 per month for unlimited access to the Workshop library and daily courses. A Thinkful scholarship is available on Course Report.
If cost is your sole determining factor, Thinkful is clearly the least expensive option.
At Thinkful, students should be prepared to dedicate 10 hours to part-time courses and 20 hours for the full-time frontend course. All Thinkful Workshops are 1 hour and can be accessed at anytime.
At Bloc, students have some flexibility and can choose the length of their course. Students can choose to learn over 12, 18 or 36 weeks for part-time courses or 24, 36, or 72 weeks for the full-time Full Stack Web Developer track. The Software Engineer track, which prepares students for mid-level career options provides nearly a year of training, which students can complete in 48 weeks full-time or 72 weeks part-time. The time commitment ranges between 12-40 hours.
Both Thinkful and Bloc offer options to make their courses accessible to students with full-time jobs. We asked Darrel 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 7-10 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’t dedicate more than 10 hours per week to your studies, Thinkful is the option for you. If you have a bit more time to dedicate to your studies, both Thinkful and Bloc have options.
Thinkful provides structure and orders the lessons in a chronological format, but their courses are curated from CodeSchool, Codecademy and other instructional resources. Former students advise you should be prepared to spend a significant amount of time searching sites like Stack Overflow to learn new concepts, though autodidacts tend to enjoy this self-guided approach. Searching and finding solutions on the web simulates the real-life work of developers, who often spend a good amount of time searching for solutions and working through problems alone.
Bloc, on the other hand, has a team of developers dedicated to curriculum development and uses only original lessons in their curriculum. Bloc even shared their "roadmaps" for each course they offer- click through a few of these roadmaps to get a sense for each course.
Autodidacts who enjoy finding and solving problems on their own will enjoy Thinkful’s self-guided approach. Individuals who prefer to have a clear road map should go with Bloc.
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.
If choosing your mentor is really important to you, go with Bloc.
Job-Placement Rate + Post Graduate Resources
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. Though Bloc has an employer network, students in the Full Stack Web Developer Track and part time courses are not guaranteed jobs and placement with a partner company. Some graduates felt they needed more direction after graduating from Bloc.
As of November 2015, Bloc launched their Software Engineer Track (SET) to prepare aspiring software developers for a mid-level full position with guaranteed job placement. The first graduates will complete the course in late 2016.
In May 2015, Thinkful begin developing a more comprehensive program with career services and postgraduate opportunities for graduates. To date, the program is not yet one year old, but boasts a 100% job placement rate. Like Bloc, Thinkful’s career path course includes resume review and critique as well as mock interview practice with your mentor. In addition, Thinkful’s new Workshops offer continued education opportunities for bootcamp grads who want to learn new skills.
If you are looking for comprehensive career assistance and next steps following your program, Thinkful can’t be beat. The program is set-up to foster transition to employment and continued development for bootcamp graduates.
Upon being accepted into the program, both Bloc and Thinkful students will receive prepwork. At Bloc, students do not have access to prepwork prior to the application and acceptance process. It’s reserved exclusively for Bloc students.
Thinkful offers two forms of prepwork for the aspiring bootcamper. For individuals who are curious about coding, Thinkful offers a sort-of mini Codecademy complete with 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 their prepwork courses. Students who sign up for the Thinkful Prepwork course and are accepted into a bootcamp will receive a tuition rebate.
Thinkful offers free 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 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. Eager students can enroll immediately online at Bloc or Thinkful. It’s quite rare to see online stealth applicants, as many students note speaking with an advisor before enrolling in their course.
After scouring reviews, we’ve noted the following points seem to repeat in school reviews.
- Bloc is for self-driven people - curriculum starts easy but gets more difficult with less hand holding and more personal projects.
- That said, Bloc’s curriculum is exceptionally helpful. They have a dedicated team on site focused on making a great curriculum.
- Thinkful’s Frontend course is awesome and students are happy with it across the board.
- Whether frontend or back end, students who spent time learning on their own before joining Thinkful were more satisfied overall.