Studying data science may have seemed an unlikely choice for Jenny Howard after spending a year rock climbing and whitewater raft guiding her way through northern Oregon, Australia and Tasmania.
“Not quite writing code, but certainly influential to my career in data,” she joked.
After returning to the states, Howard was ready to explore an interest she had discovered in her previous life as a math major.
“I found data analytics and data science to be the connecting bridge between math and storytelling,” she said. “When I moved back to the States, I was weighing a few choices while teaching at a local high school: several acceptances from graduate programs in the U.K., or Thinkful. “Ultimately, I went with Thinkful because I got to keep my job, and I got to learn on my own schedule.”
Thinkful is an online coding boot camp developed for students of all backgrounds who want to gain the skills needed to build careers in tech. The company launched in 2012, first expanding to Los Angeles, San Diego, Atlanta and Washington D.C. and today spans 22 cities, including Philadelphia.
With this growth, Thinkful is offering Technical.ly readers $600 off enrollment in any of its programs.
Thinkful students choose from full-time, after-work or flexible-pace courses in topics such as software development and data science, and receive one-on-one mentorship from an industry expert. Career services that extend six months beyond program completion help students land a job. In the rare case that students aren’t offered a qualifying position within this time period, Thinkful offers a a full tuition refund.
Thinkful CEO Darrell Silver said the program stands apart from much of today’s online and distance learning by teaching in-demand skills with a very high-touch, personal, apprenticeship-style approach.
“It’s for anybody who’s not happy with their job, has ambition, and wants to keep growing,” he said, noting that Thinkful offers courses for both career changers who are new to computer science and experienced programmers who want advanced training for career growth.
At about two-thirds of the way through a Thinkful program, students begin the career phase of the curriculum.
“Finding a job is a skill like anything else,” Silver said. “It just takes practice, so we do a lot of practice. There’s career coaching, mock interviews, tests — and then upon graduation, we work to connect you with the network of employers we have in your city.”
Uniquely, Thinkful recognizes that the needs of employers within each city are different and so they tailor the respective programming for that city to accommodate those employers.
“There are a lot of classic American brands in Philadelphia that we’re excited about,” Silver said. “Then you see companies that are hiring in technology that are not known as technology companies, in healthcare for example.”
In D.C., Thinkful is helping students position themselves for roles at cybersecurity firms and government contractors — two of the region’s fast-growing sectors.
Thinkful graduates have a special cachet for employers by offering a combination of their existing professional experiences along with their newly gained skills and expertise.
“If you’re a junior programmer who also knows how to write or be an editor, or understand what’s news and what isn’t, that Venn diagram is very small and you become very special when you come in with those skill sets,” Silver said.
Thinkful grad Howard is now a working as a data analyst for on-demand urban scooter adventuring company Bird in Los Angeles.
“I use the skills from Thinkful on a daily basis,” she said. “I am comfortable with SQL and Python and feel like I can keep up with my more experienced coworkers. I know I still have a ton to learn, and I am grateful that Thinkful has set a solid foundation for picking up skills in data science.”
Don’t miss the opportunity to grow your career by enhancing your know-how on your time. Remember: Technical.ly readers are being offered $600 off enrollment. Enroll today, and who knows where the adventure will take you?