Looking into a new career path? Found a new online course but not sure whether you will be able to find a job afterward? Here comes (or not) Springboard, an e-learning company that ensures its students are guaranteed to find a new job in the IT field after the completion of one of the courses. Is it true and what are the pitfalls of this deal? Let’s uncover this question within the following Springboard review.
Springboard offers a job guarantee and 1-1 mentorship but can’t deliver it properly.
- 1-1 meeting once a week with an in-industry mentor
- There are a lot of good mentors
- Individually devised capstone projects in the Data Science bootcamp
- Content is often not structured properly
- Almost impossible to get your money back with its Job guarantee program
- Some course materials are taken from freely accessible sources and cheaper platforms like DataCamp
- For some programs, you need first to complete a prep course
Is Springboard worth it?
According to all the information gathered, this provider offers decent bootcamps to get into the new tech field. Also, probably the main Springboard benefits are job guarantee and mentorship. However, the company offers content which is mostly available online for free or on DataCamp. Moreover, the job guarantee almost never allows for students to get a refund and mentorship quality varies. Considering its price, you probably should find an alternative like DataCamp which, however, doesn’t have mentorship.
What is Springboard
Briefly, it is a bootcamp that enables you to gain new tech skills within 6 to 9 months. This requires your part-time involvement and having internet access as Springboard is an online company. Meanwhile, students can also study full-time as the programs are designed to be self-paced.
Right now, Springboard has five directions available:
- Software Engineering
- Data science
- Cyber Security
Also, the sixth one, Tech Sales, is planned to be launched soon.
One of their key features is a job guarantee which means the student can have a full fee refund if they don’t find a qualified job afterward.
All in all, the Springboard program is based on a flexible schedule and 1 to 1 learning with having a mentor who tracks your progress on a weekly basis. Also, the platform is built as a project-based learning tool. For example, every data science student works on an individually devised capstone, and design students work with businesses on a business critical project to gain real-world experience.
Additionally, you get a career coach who helps with building your CV and LinkedIn profile.
To start, you need to fill out a form with all the details about your background and expectations. Based on that, the platform will match you with the best mentor for your educational needs.
Data Science Bootcamp Review
This program is designed in partnership with Datacamp and many assignments and projects are taken from Datacamp directly. (Read more about Datacamp in this review.) While DataCamp is a much cheaper option and a well-rated platform, we recommend you to better check it out.
This course is, as Springboard claims, is built the way that you can easily find a new job in this field afterward. Each student gets a mentor who supports them throughout the learning path. This course includes 14 projects which are based on real cases so that you can better grasp the concepts and build your portfolio.
The curriculum includes such topics as Data Wrangling, The Data Story, and Statistics. Also, you will learn Python and generally the right approaches to Software Engineering for Data Science. This course also includes Machine Learning, from the Beginner level to Advanced concepts such as Deep Learning and NLP (Natural Language Processing).
The course duration is 6 months.
Meanwhile, this Springboard Data Science program has some prerequisites. They include some experience (from half of a year) of programming on Python, Java, C++, R, or other general-purpose. As well, you are required to be familiar with descriptive statistics and probability theory.
If you don’t have the required knowledge and background, there is also a Data Science Prep Course to build such. This program lasts for about 4-6 weeks depending on your commitment.
Data Analytics Bootcamp Review
This course takes six months to complete and promises that a customer will find a job as a data or business analyst after graduation. The program is designed in partnership with Microsoft.
This Data Analytics track by Springboard includes such topics as building structured thinking by knowing problem-solving frameworks and practicing on real cases. It also provides you with tools to analyze business problems like Excel and operating with business metrics. Moreover, the course will show you how to analyze and structure the data with Python and SQL. Finally, you will learn how to present your data with Tableau, PowerBi, and PowerPoint.
A student will also have a number of projects to complete within the course. Those projects are sourced from Harvard Business School and Khan Academy.
As for the prerequisites, you need to be fluent in written and spoken English and should have about 2 years of professional work experience with programming or design tools.
If you feel like having a need for better preparation, there’s a free Intro to Business Analytics course to help you with that.
Software Engineering Bootcamp Review
All in all, this Software Engineering Springboard program takes about 9 months to complete, includes 800 hours of learning and practicing materials and requires you to study about 20 hours per week.
This course is also job-guaranteed.
Springboard Cyber Security Bootcamp Review
Recently, the company launched this new course on Cybersecurity. The program covers three modules:
- Cybersecurity Fundamentals. It explains such topics as IT security threats, red-team (offensive security professionals) vs. blue-team (defensive security professionals), malware, and others.
- Identity and Access Management. It covers such topics as authentication models and components, Rights, permissions, and policies, etc.
- Security Assessment and Training. It shows how to conduct security assessments, audit test plans, and recommend remediation activities.
The program includes 10 practical labs (5 within the second module and 5 within the third one) and also includes a capstone project at the end of it.
The bootcamp takes 6 months to complete at an average speed of 15-20 hours a week.
UI/UX Design Bootcamp Review
This Springboard program takes 9 months to complete and the curriculum includes 35 units. It envisages 4 projects. To complete the course, you need to spend about 15-20 hours per week.
As for the topics covered in this program, we are building a design-thinking approach and conducting user research before working on the design itself. It also includes UI design theoretical principles and practical exercises. Furthermore, this Springboard UI/UX Design course teaches you what is sketching, wireframing, and prototyping as well as what are style guides and design elements. It also guides you to design sprints and the basics of working with developers and stakeholders.
No professional background or education is required to enroll in this program.
Springboard offers also a number of free short courses on software engineering, marketing, cybersecurity among others; they can be found here.
One aspect worth mentioning is that this company provides 1:1 mentorship for all the students which can be really helpful. Every student meets once a week with an in-industry mentor, who has at least 3 years of experience in their field. And, as the company claims, only 1 in 12 mentor applicants are accepted.
As we have found during our research, Springboard mentors’ qualification varies, there are both great experts and mediocre passive people who are not helpful. The good news is that you can switch your mentor if you’re not satisfied with your current one (and you should definitely do this!).
In a nutshell, a good mentor is what on its own can make Springboard worth it. As one Springboard student says, “The mentor can really set the tone: if you have a great mentor it will be a really good experience. If you have a crap mentor it will be a much worse experience. I was in ML Engineering track, and my mentors were very competent.”
“Honestly, the best thing about the program was having a practicing Data Science professional as a mentor. I was lucky that my mentor was very personable and knowledgeable. Some people in my cohort complained that their mentor had recently graduated from Springboard so they questioned why they were assigned such mentors.”
Springboard Job Guarantee
Job guarantee attracts many potential students. Springboard claims that they will “refund 100% of your paid tuition if you are not offered a Qualifying Position.” To apply for the Guarantee, you need to complete 100% of the core curriculum within 6 months of your cohort start date. The Guarantee period begins at enrollment and ends 6
months after receiving a Career Track certificate of completion.
Here is how a “Qualifying Position” is defined (or – or):
- An employee who works an average of at least 30 hours a week onsite or remote;
- A full-time (30 or more hours per week) contractor, intern or other compensated service provider relationship for 3 months or longer working onsite or remote;
- A paid onsite or remote contractor or intern that has the potential to be extended or converted to a full-time role.
Here are the most important requirements for a Data Science Job Guarantee:
- You must hold a Bachelor’s Degree from any accredited educational institution in any subject.
- You must be eligible to legally work in the United States, or in Canada if applying for positions in Canada, for at least 2 years following graduation from the Career Track.
- You must be proficient in spoken and written English.
Check the document here.
As from the real-world stats, a couple of students indeed got a refund but the majority weren’t able to do this. However, some do find a job within the field but you really need to put much effort into the process of learning and job searching. As one Springboard says (Data Science bootcamp), “People starting with no degree and very minimal Python will either have to work like Demon Slayer Hashira for 6 months to level up, or accept they will start at a lower level when they get out: Springboard aren’t miracle workers they can’t give you a BS in math and software dev in 6 months.”
“Data science bootcamps is that typically they have a high success rate for people who have Graduate degrees (I have a Master’s degree), but for students who are new and looking to move into the field, there is a risk to being shoehorned into taking a below market entry level role because of the job guarantee.”
After gathering different experiences we can recap that the best way to find a job after Springboard Data Science Bootcamp is to have a Bachelor’s subject-related degree (Master’s or PhD is even better). As for other Springboard bootcamps, you just need to work really hard and invest a lot of your time to get a result – and not just wait for the company to get you somewhere.
The pricing for courses on springboard.com varies from $5500 to $8500 per course. Here is more detailed information on how much Springboard costs.
- Coding (Software Engineering) – $1,290 / $9,900 upfront (~$1,650 per month) – 9-month course
- Data Science and AI – $2,190 / $10,900 upfront (~$1,820 per month) – 6-month course
- Data Analytics – $1,690 / $8,500 upfront (~$1,420 per month) – 6-month course
- UX Design – $1,590 / $7,900 upfront (~$1,320 per month) – 6-month course
- Ceber Security – $2,390 per month / $11,900 upfront (~1,980 per month) – 6-month course.
Prep courses (Data Science and Software Engineering) costs $490 a month (one-time payment). However, if a person takes a prep course before enrolling in a program, they will be reimbursed for the prep course after two weeks of enrollment. For instance, any student who enrolls in Software Engineering after taking Software Engineering Prep will only pay tuition for the Software Engineering course.
The company also offers scholarship opportunities for three groups of people. Particularly, it’s up to $300 off for college students and up to $750 for women or veterans.
There are both positive and negative reviews. As for negative, students complained about the curriculum that is not well-structured and fees that are very high considering that the content is available elsewhere. There is also an issue with the exercises and projects, many of each are taken from Datacamp or Harvard tutorials which are available online.
Also, graduates beware that the job guarantee is quite tricky but if you are self-disciplined and study hard, you will be able to find a decent trainee or even junior position.
Meanwhile, as for the positive, students say that mentors are really useful and it’s possible to find a job afterward.
Here are some examples of Springboard reviews (taken from Trustpilot and Reddit); let’s start with positive ones:
“My mentors were great, projects were fine. The career coaches are a mixed bag, but you can go find one that fits with your style. I would do it again, but I also think there are probably better programs out there.”
“I did springboard, (I have a PhD) didn’t finish the last project completely and got a job. Mostly it helped me structure my GitHub as a portfolio, reframe other projects in “data science jargon” and it was nice to have someone hold me accountable each week to do it.”
“I am currently in their Software track and I love it. Self paced, outstanding mentors and councilors, a completely difference experience from what I’ve heard about some other bootcamps.”
“I really like Springboard and recommend it to people. […] I was in ML Engineering track, and my mentors were very competent — like scary competent (one just was always traveling and missing meetings, so I got a different one). The material was somewhat hit-or-miss. I ended up teaching myself using other sources sometimes. I think their job search materials were really good.”
“Springboard is legit and good if you have the time and energy to devote to it, and if they assign you a good mentor. Their stuff on job search and networking is excellent, in particular. […] I did their machine learning engineer track, and left after 3 months because I got a job after 3 months. There are some things I would complain about with their program, but overall I found it very good. Caveat: I do have a PhD and a lot of experience with data science and machine learning so I was already a good candidate on paper. However, I found out about Springboard from someone without a PhD, who worked his butt off on their material, did a great capstone project, and got a decent job (he did their data science track).”
“I graduated from the Springboard Data Science Career Track ~3 years ago. I actually got a job offer with 3 months of graduating. Went from working in sales/finance to now the lead backend developer at an AI startup. I Work a lot with sentiment modeling/NLP, building out custom ETLs, and creating webservices using the AWS cloud stack. Also, I work a lot with unstructured data and MongoDB. My Background: worked in finance, had an economics degree, 4 years of Python as a hobby.”
“I did the data science career track starting in Nov 18 and finishing June 19. Got a job as a data analyst 5 months later doing some NLP. I came from a background in biology, so not a math heavy starting point.”
Here are some negative reviews about Springboard:
“The curriculum is essentially cookie-cutter projects they give you along with data camp courses, and 2 Capstone projects that you have to make up on your own. You also have a mentor that you meet up once a week to discuss topics, but majority (95%) or maybe 100% of the mentors appear to be incompetent and do not care about you as much. They are responsible for checking and evaluating your work and answering questions that you are supposed to post 24 hrs in advance, but they rarely look at your questions or pay attention to your work.”
“I enrolled in this program thinking it would be a great opportunity. I was in the Data Analytics program, and let me tell you, all they do is give you 10 minutes of introductory videos, then they send you off to websites like datacamp, youtube, and other free sites. Then they throw assignments you expecting you to finish them after watching your youtube videos. You get a weekly mentor that you can maybe have enough time to discuss 1 or 2 problems, other than that you’re pretty much on your own.”
[From Springboard mentor] “I’ve been mentoring for practically a year and haven’t seen any meaningful change to improve the conditions for students or mentors.”
Now that we know what Springboard has to offer, let’s see who the main competitors are.
Springboard vs Udacity
Both providers have long-term programs related to data science and analytics as well as software engineering. However, Udacity has a bigger number of programs to choose from (like cloud computing or marketing). Meanwhile, Udacity doesn’t offer a job guarantee.
Comparing the duration and the price, Springboard has a bit longer programs (6-9 months while Udacity’s programs last for about 3-4 months with 10-15 hours per week) and Springboard is a bit more pricey (more than $1000 per month while Udacity costs $400 per month).
Check out whether Udacity is worth it in its full review.
Springboard vs Thinkful
Both online bootcamps have a similar offer of courses – Data Science, Data Analytics, Software Engineering, and UX/UI Design. However, Thinkful has a wider list of courses on Marketing, Product, and Technical Project Management, while Springboard also offers the cybersecurity program. They both have a flexible schedule, a 1-1 mentor, and a career coach as part of the package. As for goods, they both have a job guarantee – so that you don’t pay if you cannot find a job within 6 months after graduation.
As for differences, Thinkful has two schedule options – part-time (‘Flex’ programs) and full-time (‘Immersion’) while Springboard doesn’t have such a strict division and offers more of self-paced learning. Thinkful programs are shorter, 4-5 months at full-time programs, and 6 at part-time.
Finally, Thinkful is a more pricey provider. For example, the Data Science full-time program by this provider costs $18,500 while a similar one by Springboard is $10900.
Springboard vs Lambda School
Lambda School is a more intense option that requires 6 months of full-time participation or 12 months of part-time studying. It is also more expensive with a fee of $30 000 USD.
The key feature of Lambda School is that they require a student to pay only after they find a job with an annual salary of at least $50 000.
This bootcamp is more complicated to finish than Springboard and requires more time and effort. However, many graduates say they have found a job in the field within about half of a year.
Read more in this Lambda School review.
Disclosure: Self-Starters team has not received any compensation from Springboard or anyone else associated with the company for this review. However, this review contains affiliate links, which means that, if you click & purchase from these links then, we will receive a small commission. This commission helps us to maintain this website. But you don’t pay anything extra.