Several online, mentored coding bootcamps have gained recent popularity for their flexibility and support. In programs like Thinkful, Bloc and Tealeaf, students are matched with an experienced mentor to keep them engaged and learning throughout the course. While this model allows for excellent scalability, online bootcamps typically aren’t able to guarantee jobs or salaries as we see with in-person, immersive bootcamps. However, with online bootcamp Thinkful’s recent fundraising announcement, we may see this shift.
This week, Thinkful announced a $4.25M round of funding, led by Floodgate Fund. The team at Thinkful says that this new funding will allow them to focus on student outcomes, whether that be getting hired as a developer, freelancing, working towards a promotion, or even starting a new company. Each Thinkful course will now include a career services module to offer interview prep, resume and portfolio review, and job sourcing. Additionally, a new course called “Become a Freelancer” will help students find their first clients.
As opposed to MOOCs, which have average completion rates of less than 13%, Thinkful sees 70% completion across its courses. They claim that relationships with mentors is what drives success in their online learning platform: “We see a spike in learning the day before students have sessions with their mentors. Students want to achieve more because of their relationship, and that motivation translates to more efficient learning.”
It will be interesting to see if Thinkful is successful in placing students into jobs and promotions. Student outcomes at in-person coding bootcamps vary by school, but are mostly positive. According to Course Report’s research, the majority of coding bootcamp grads are finding full-time employment, and 75% of graduates surveyed report being employed in a full-time job requiring the skills learned at bootcamp, with an average salary increase of 44%. As Thinkful’s current community includes more than 3000 students, we can’t wait to see how many of those achieve the outcomes they wanted!
Several other coding bootcamp empires, both offline and online, raised funds in 2014. Flatiron School, General Assembly, Bloc, Gr8 Code, and gSchool all announced funding this year, showing confidence in bootcamps as a profitable industry.