Product Solutions Consultant
Jan 18, 2022
An introduction to the data science space that under delivers and leaves a lot to be desired. Would I do the program again knowing what I do now? Absolutely not. Most of this material can be found online for free and what you get from the program does not justify the cost at all. If you are the type of person who needs to be pushed to make it through course work or to learn new material, there may be some value here for you. But on that note, I'd suggest taking courses at a local communi...
An introduction to the data science space that under delivers and leaves a lot to be desired. Would I do the program again knowing what I do now? Absolutely not. Most of this material can be found online for free and what you get from the program does not justify the cost at all. If you are the type of person who needs to be pushed to make it through course work or to learn new material, there may be some value here for you. But on that note, I'd suggest taking courses at a local community college or through a larger FANG company's free/paid coursework. Google & Amazon in particular has some interesting courses cover data science and analytics that I think would be looked favorably upon by potential employers.
Thinkful's name holds weight to a very limited number of employers. All of my interviews required me to pitch the 6 month course I paid for just as much as myself. Honestly, during my job search I noticed entry level positions for data science and analytics were flooded by new boot camp graduates. Will you find a job leveraging what you put together in this boot camp and by searching? Probably yes - all my cohort members are currently working, though it took many of them over 6 months to find a job. Some even took unpaid internships to help boost their resume. For best results, expect to spend 40 hours a week applying and trying to actively network over LinkedIn. Would these people have gotten the same jobs even if they didn't do the boot camp? Speaking for myself and 2 others, absolutely. I checked on another cohort member's job today and he works in HR in a non-technical capacity.
My biggest issue here is the ongoing cost of this program is not worth it to me. Due to the program being full-time and me not having enough savings, I signed up for the ISA with a living stipend ($1k a month). Since the cost of the program is ~$6k up front, I figured I was in the hole about $12k. It's humiliating to admit I didn't read the contract carefully - I discovered after the fact it would be 15% of my gross income (which makes a HUGE difference vs net). Thinkful did not make what I was getting into abundantly clear. Now I'm saddled with a monthly debt where the total lifetime payment cap comes out to $40k, which I'll end up paying the entirety of. This eclipses how much student loans I currently have from my accredited bachelors degree by 4x.
The big kicker here? My current job was offered because of my experience prior to the Thinkful program. I've moved into product space because of my background in writing and real estate. I'm using none of the skills I picked up in the program, nor did they help me score this job. But I'm still paying 15% of my GROSS paycheck monthly to Thinkful. After taxes and deductions this turns into roughly 1/3 of my take home. I'll be paying this 15% for the next 3 years. It's honestly nightmarish and shameful. It gives me massive stress every night thinking about how am I going to pay this and afford a home / car / child. My other option is to make under the threshold ($40k GROSS annually) for another 15 months to have the contract dissolved (24 months total, I went 8 months after graduating without any job offers). Even though that decision would heavily impact my career growth, it's one I'm actively entertaining.
The administrative aspect of Thinkful was also very disappointing. It feels like course progression is just a checkbox for most of the academic outcomes team and they aren't interested in if you retained the material, only if you got through the graded portions completely in a fixed timeframe. This fed into the whole job assistance aspect which is covered in my bullet list of details below. Prior to writing this review, I reached out to Thinkful airing some of my grievances but received no response from their team.
Instructors - I was happy with both instructors provided to me during the course. They were knowledgeable and experienced in the industry, very intelligent, and generous with their time in terms of helping. I have good relationships with both and honestly this is the best thing that came out of this program for me.
Mentors - went from bad to good. Initially they set me up with someone located in India. The gentleman was very nice and responsive, however I could hardly understand anything he was saying. The language barrier was so severe (plus his schedule was 12 hours separated from me) that I had to request a mentor change. I was given a new mentor who was US based and I liked them quite a bit.
Job Placement - Terrible and disappointing. This is what I initially signed up for the most help with but I felt this process was rushed and I wasn't really provided with any real job opportunities that matched what I was aiming for. I signed up for the data science program to get help finding a job as a data scientist. This didn't happen. Most of the "help" provided was management of my time applying and filling out a job tracking spreadsheet. I came in expecting more industry partnerships - especially given how much this program cost. I honestly don't think the job placement aspect is carefully considered. It was "encouraged" that I list Thinkful as a place I worked at in my resume to help boost my qualifications, but this didn't seem to have much of an impact. After 8 months in the program they had helped schedule 3 interviews for data analyst / technical writer positions - none of which I got. Finally after 9 months, out of desperation and my own efforts, I got a $50k a year job as an analyst at a mortgage loan servicer. The program skills applied? A tiny amount of SQL I could have learned on my own.
Current Career Prospects - much better than when I started, however my current position has little to do with what I was "schooled" for. Due to my past real estate experience and my bachelors in English, a recruiter for my current company reached out and interviewed me. Luckily, this job paid substantially more than the previous analyst position and I have great job prospects going forward.
Cost of Course: I believe the refundable portion is $6k for the full time course. I am paying (all in all) $40,000 over the next four years on my GROSS salary. Why am I paying this much from a course I got so little from? I signed up (out of desperation) for the ISA living stipend program because I was literally starving while taking this course full time. The deep irony? One of my cohort members was able to get his initial payment fully refunded because they were unable to provide him with a job in 6 months. 2 months later he got a job (through his own hard work and network connections) paying over $100k a year. I'm saddled with an absurd amount of debt working a job that has nothing to do with what I learned from this immersion course. My salary will be docked 15% for the next 3 years, heavily impacting my day to day life. I'm paying roughly $1k a month to this ISA and it's really crippling. I'd have much less of a problem with it if Thinkful provided me with ongoing resources for better paying positions or remotely contributed to the acquisition of my current job. But alas, they didn't. Honestly after that 6month period they kind of dumped me off to a recruiter (who no longer works for them) and completely stopped checking in once I got the $50k a year job even though I expressed a strong desire to have more jobs sent my way.
Curriculum - Mediocre with some good and some alarming. In general, It's nice I can access the material online it at any time, and it seems they are making quality of life upgrades with a new inclusion of videos. I'm not sure if an actual educator put together the form and flow of the course, as I often felt overwhelmed and scrambling to find external resources that made more sense. I'd honestly say the majority of my learning came from external resources with some feedback from the professor / my mentor. The hosted jupyter notebooks are only the tip of the iceberg in terms of the material presented; the vast majority of the information and detail was provided directly by the professor with assistance from their slides. I do not have access to the instructors videos if they were even recorded. I do have the slides but they are fairly vague and do not hold up well stand alone. The alarming from the curriculum? Grading is a subjective experience depending on the grader - some were more lenient than others. Some made absolutely no sense in their feedback and it was clear English was not their first language. Even more alarming? I found some gradable material on the site that was completely plagiarized from another Data Scientist's blog. I made this clear to my instructor who was incensed about that occurring and worked to have it removed.