Curriculum Spotlight

The Revamped Part-Time Software Engineering Bootcamp at Chegg Skills

Jess Feldman

Written By Jess Feldman

Liz Eggleston

Edited By Liz Eggleston

Last updated on March 5, 2024

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Chegg Skills (formerly Thinkful) has revamped their part-time Software Engineering bootcamp to create an adaptable program for students needing flexibility. Over six months, students can learn on their own time and still commit to other life responsibilities and still pursue a software engineering career with no previous coding experience! Daphne Isom, Senior Instructional Designer at Chegg, shares what it takes to succeed in the Software Engineering Bootcamp, how Chegg Skills supports its asynchronous students, and how students can leverage their skills and interests to kick-start a successful coding career. 

Meet Our Expert: Daphne Isom

  • As the Senior Instructional Designer at Chegg Skills (formerly Thinkful), Daphne leads a team of subject matter experts to serve the various focal points of full stack engineering, from AI to data structures and algorithms that are important during the interview phase of becoming a developer. 
  • Daphne is a software engineer with a love for education, so she understands the student perspective while being able to have deeply technical discussions with subject matter experts to ensure the use of the right technology stack.

The Revamped Part-Time Software Engineering Bootcamp

So what’s new about the revamped part-time Software Engineering bootcamp?

In the part-time program, students can learn asynchronously, completing the course in their own time over the course of six months. What’s changed is the introduction of more expert-led videos that walk through complex concepts that we are asking students to work with in real time. By doing so, they can see if there's an error or additional context while the subject matter expert is working through the content. These videos will also include more real-time whiteboarding for data structure and algorithms, which is an abstract form of content that is so critical for job readiness!

We are adding more flexibility around our capstone projects to give students the ability to choose their own final capstone. In the past, we had one capstone that had students start with code that we gave them. By giving students more freedom with the project, our intention is to have students create something that’s more customized to what they are interested in.

Why is it important for Chegg Skills to offer this newly revamped part-time format to your students? 

There are a lot of people who are interested in having this type of flexible learning environment where they can work part-time or have a part-time asynchronous, more flexible environment.

As an instructional designer, getting the right learning experience is really important to me. The previous program didn't have the same kind of important learning supports in place, specifically around the instructional videos and the flexibility of the capstone.

Is there an ideal student for Chegg Skills in 2024? Do incoming students need to have a certain level of technical skill to enroll?

The ideal candidate would be comfortable with technology and a certain level of digital literacy, such as how to get on the internet, how to connect to Zoom, and how to flip between looking at something on YouTube and going to Microsoft Word to write a paper. There’s also a mindset aspect, like being okay with being challenged, problem-solving, and having grit to persevere.

The ideal student is someone who is highly motivated in launching a career in software engineering, but needs the type of flexibility that this program offers. We built the Software Engineering bootcamp for the student who has zero coding experience. You might like to tinker with things and have an interest in software engineering, but you don't know what it means to be a coder. 

The Time Commitment

Even though this is an asynchronous program, what kind of time commitment will students have to make?

Students will need to dedicate between 20-30 hours a week to the bootcamp for six months. If you take this course with no experience, you will probably land closer to 30 hours a week versus a student who has some coding experience and wants to formalize or enhance their skill will only need 20 hours per week. 

So, can this bootcamp be completed while working full-time?

Yes! We're building it for that type of student who has other life commitments. 

AI in the Curriculum

What can students expect to learn in the part-time Software Engineering bootcamp?

The program starts simply with HTML and CSS before we get into more complicated subjects. Students will learn JavaScript, Node.js, React, data structures, and algorithms.  

Will the revamped part-time bootcamp incorporate AI skills?

A lot of employers are expecting that students have a better, more robust understanding of AI and especially how to leverage AI for the purpose of coding. Our Software Engineering Bootcamp includes content to help students understand how to implement the use of AI from a day-to-day coding perspective. We teach tools specific to AI-powered assistance to support students when coding. Plus, we introduce additional coding interfaces, like TypeScript, which is part of the React framework. 

Student Support at Thinkful Part-Time

What kinds of learning support is built into the part-time program? 

We offer a web of curricular support services to meet students' varying needs, ranging from always available to highly personalized. Our Chegg Skills AI chatbot is available 24 hours a day to offer explanations of course material, develop additional practice questions on demand, and more. LiveChat is available for extended hours throughout the week, enabling students immediate access to a live tutor. Q&A sessions are similar to walk-in office hours, allowing students to connect with a working professional in their industry; while these are offered on a limited basis, the open format allows students to ask any questions in a small group, video-based environment. Lastly, students are encouraged to bring questions and curiosities to their weekly one-on-one video-based Mentorship appointment.

How are part-time students connected to the larger student and alumni community?

We have Discord channels available to create a sense of community for students and support students when they're stuck. Additionally, we connect current students and recent graduates with alumni through monthly/bi-monthly alumni AMA events. These events are hosted for students and graduates to hear success stories and ask questions to alumni about their job search and navigating the beginning of their new careers.

Career Services at Chegg Skills (formerly Thinkful)

What does career services look like for Software Engineering bootcamp students?

Software engineering is a vast field, so we teach full stack (front end, back end, and middleware) to help prepare students for many types of roles. Students can enroll with no experience and no clear idea of what they want to do, and we’ll help them discover what they like. 

Throughout the bootcamp, we introduce topics and show what they mean in terms of a technical career. Towards the end of the program, after they’ve worked on their coding skills with different tools, finished their capstone, and are preparing for interviews, we focus on careers, resume building, and LinkedIn. We bring back the topic of how these experiences with these various technologies transfer to different types of jobs so they can feel comfortable in the interview process. 

What is your advice to incoming students on making the most of this revamped Software Engineering bootcamp experience?

Establish your “why” early on in the bootcamp and remind yourself of it along the way. At Chegg Skills, we’ll actively work to always support our students through their challenges, but it’s the nature of software to have to figure things out. Understanding your “why” and knowing things will be difficult will take you a long way. 

It is 100% possible to learn software engineering even without a technical background. We have had students that started off stocking shelves and are now software engineers. One student was a dancer in Cirque du Soleil and is now a software engineer. The differentiator that I have seen is that the students who have committed to the challenge of becoming a software engineer do best. Becoming a software engineer requires dedication and perseverance. Enter the bootcamp knowing you're going to have to work hard in order to achieve the goal. 

Find out more and read Chegg Skills (formerly Thinkful) reviews on Course Report. This article was produced by the Course Report team in partnership with Chegg Skills.

About The Author

Jess Feldman

Jess Feldman

Jess Feldman is an accomplished writer and the Content Manager at Course Report, the leading platform for career changers who are exploring coding bootcamps. With a background in writing, teaching, and social media management, Jess plays a pivotal role in helping Course Report readers make informed decisions about their educational journey.

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