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And though the company doesn’t do the traditional classroom experience of a General Assembly or Iron Yard, the company is nonetheless investing in a physical presence in the city. Jessica Vollman, who is leading the company’s expansion here, sat down with Technical.ly to talk about the move (this isn’t Vollman’s first time around the block — she was involved with General Assembly’s D.C. expansion in 2013).
At the core of Thinkful’s online curriculum, she said, is the issue of accessibility. Participating in a full time, in-person coding bootcamp requires that the student quit his or her full-time job. This is at best a scary and costly leap of faith, and at worst a barrier to entry for many. Thinkful, meanwhile, allows students to take a part-time online course over the course of six months, for a $9,000 price tag that’s significantly less than the in-person options too. Crucially, a driven student can hold down a job while also learning to code.
And how does the education compare? Thinkful boasts that 92 percent of “job-seeking graduates are hired as developers within 6 months.” That compares to General Assembly, which claims a 99 percent placement rate “in field of study.” Now there is, and probably should be, skepticism on these statistics. That said, there’s general agreement that, as Business Insider puts it, “most graduates end up much better than they started.” One imagines this applies to online as well as in-person learning experiences.
Despite Thinkful’s virtual education, though, the company will have real life employees in D.C. Vollman said there will be a staff of about three in the area, with the first hire coming around February (look out for that if you’re interested in a job with Thinkful!). The company is also hiring a remote bootcamp mentor.
“Building that offline community will be very beneficial,” Vollman told Technical.ly. It’s partially about establishing a company presence here for the sake of students, but also about connecting with companies that might be interested in hiring graduates, she said.
In the mean time, starting in early January, Thinkful will be holding a series of free classes aimed at spreading the word about the option. Find a full list of the classes, and RSVP, on the company’s D.C. Meetup page:-30-
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