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.
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 benefit is its 1-1 mentorship. However, the company offers content that 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.
Springboard offers a great feature of 1-1 mentorship and flexible pricing options but there are cheaper alternatives
- 1-1 meeting once a week with an in-industry mentor, and there are a lot of good mentors
- Flexible financing options
- Offering a number of scholarships
- Content is often not structured properly
- Very hard to get your money back with its Job guarantee program
- Some course materials are taken from freely accessible sources and cheaper platforms like DataCamp
- No peer-to-peer engagement
Best Springboard Alternatives
Cybersecurity, UX Design
What is Springboard
Springboard is an online-learning company that has a number of bootcamps that enables you to gain new tech skills within 6 to 9 months. All Springboard courses are fully online and self-paced and require part-time involvement. On average, you will have to study for about 20 hours per week.
Right now, Springboard has six directions available:
All in all, the Springboard program is based on a flexible schedule and 1-to-1 learning with a mentor who tracks your progress on a weekly basis. However, there is no peer-to-peer interaction where you can get feedback or advice from other students.
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.
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. 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.
In a nutshell, Springboard offers 9 courses:
- Data Analytics Bootcamp
- Data Science Bootcamp
- Data Engineering Bootcamp
- Machine Learning Bootcamp
- Software Engineering Bootcamp
- UI/UX Design Bootcamp
- UX Bootcamp
- Cyber Security Bootcamp
- Tech Sales Bootcamp
There are two programs on this list that are not offered by Springboard directly. These are Data Engineering Bootcamp provided in partnership with the Washington University, and Machine Learning Bootcamp offered in partnership with the University of California San Diego Extension.
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 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 Cybersecurity 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.
Here is the student’s review on the Springboard job guarantee (graduated from Data Science Bootcamp).
“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 $7,900 to $ 6,200 per course and it mainly depends on the complexity of Springboard’s BootCamp and on its duration. For instance, the most expensive course is UI/UX Design which is a 9-month program, while the cheapest it Tech Sales, a 3-month program that is also less technical.
For each course, you can pay upfront which allows saving 14% to 27%, depending on the program. You can also pay as you go: this option is more flexible as you pay each month but this is also a more expensive option.
Here is the breakdown of how much Springboard costs.
|Coding (Software Engineering)||$9,900||$13,500||$1,450 /mo||9 months|
|Data Science||$9,900||$13,900||$1,890 /mo||6 months|
|Machine Learning||$11,150||$13,050||$2,175/mo||6 months|
|Data Engineering||$9,900||$11,502||$1,917/mo||6 months|
|Data Analytics||$8,500||$11,300||$1,690/mo||6 months|
|UX Design||$7,900||$11,900||$1,590 /mo||6 months|
|UI/UX Design||$11,900||$16,200||$1,800 /mo||9 months|
|Machine Learning||$11,150||$13,050||$2,175/mo||6 months|
|Cyber Security||$9,900||$11,900||$1,890 /mo||6 months|
|Tech Sales||$5,000||$7,900||$2,000 /mo||3 months|
Springboard also has an option of paying the tuition after graduation with no payment during the course. In this case, you will need to pay after starting a job with the fee being divided over 36 months. The average monthly payment will be $350-500. For example, it’s 388 /mo for Cyber Security Bootcamp.
The company also offers scholarship opportunities for three groups of people. Particularly, it’s $500 for women and individuals from underrepresented groups (Black or African American; Hispanic or Latinx; Pacific Islander; Native American; Alaska Native; Middle Eastern; member of the LGBTQI+ community; gender nonconforming; veteran or member of US military; people with disabilities, refugees). Springboard also has a Needs-Based Scholarship for people with a current household annual income of less than $30,000.
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, for 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 a 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 of Springboard reviews, mostly taken from Reddit). Let’s start with positive ones.
“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.”
“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 looked into Springboard pretty deeply a few months ago. The reviews are not great and they recycle a lot of free or cheaper lessons from other companies. I just didn’t find it was worth the money for me.”
“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. 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.”
“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.”
“Springboard is great for the mentor and career coaching however no student involvement or engagement. I think springboard is great for those who like to learn at their own pace but if you like group projects, interacting with other follow students and deadlines I don’t recommend it.”
“I liked Software Engineering Bootcamp it but you need to have a strong self-drive since it’s 100% self-paced. The mentorship aspect was great. if you build something more interesting than a simple MERN/Django CRUD app, then you have a better chance of getting attention when applying to an internship. Obviously, no course of action has a job guarantee but I did have an overall positive experience at Springboard after being completely let down by General Assembly.”
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 the 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 what company is an alternative to Springboard.
Probably main Springboard’s competitor is Udacity. Both providers have long-term programs related to data science and analytics as well as software engineering. However, 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).
Here is what students say about Springboard in terms of its alternatives.
“I took the springboard certification. I recommend it! Especially if you know nothing. In my opinion the structure approach was very helpful. I do agree with the reviews here that you can learn the same stuff on Udemy, Coursera, and DataCamp.”
Check out whether Udacity is worth it in its full review.
The company is legit and has been operating since 2013 with its headquarters in San Francisco, California.
Springboard is not accredited as a college or university–is a private institution approved to operate by the California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education.
The price depends on the course but it ranges from $7,900 to $16,200 with an average cost of $12,500 for a program.
If you are willing to pay the high price and want to have a ready-made program and a mentor, Springboard is worth it.
The company helps to find you a job but it still mainly depends on your motivation and efforts in job seeking.
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.
I chose Springboard based on this review and the mentors. A word of warning: there’s no guarantee you’ll get a good mentor. My son is doing the course (2 months in) and is on his 3rd or 4th mentor after several no shows. This can be a very frustrating experience if you set aside an evening to go through a project and wait …. and wait…and nothing.
Thank you for your comment Peter.