If you’re seriously considering this online learning platform, then you’ve probably read more than one review of Springboard. Understandable—you want to get as much information as possible before you commit to potentially time-consuming and expensive online courses.
This Springboard review is different though. Not only is it comprehensive; it’s also completely transparent. We’ll give you all of the information you need about the Springboard programs (including the good, the bad, and the ugly!), so you can make the most educated decision possible about your future tech career.
What Is Springboard?
Springboard is a “bootcamp” program that offers online courses and programs in tech fields like data science, user experience and design, and web development. Despite its relatively brief history in distance learning, Springboard claims to have launched the careers of thousands of students from over 100 different countries.
Springboard is one of many online bootcamps available for students who wish to break into a tech field like coding, software engineering or data analytics, for example.
If you’re on the hunt for career-focused online learning platforms in the IT field, you’ll find dozens of options. Some of the most popular include General Assembly, Flatiron School, Fullstack Academy, CareerFoundry, and Lambda School, for example.
Springboard has partnered with reputable companies such as Google, Adobe, Affirm, Career Karma, and more. These partnerships help the online learning platform accomplish its mission of filling the skills gap for individuals with aspirations of working with technology.
Who Is Springboard For?
The Springboard program is primarily designed for individuals who desire a career change or want to advance in their current technical role by enhancing their digital skills.
While anyone can take individual online courses from Springboard, you’ll need certain qualifications if you want to take advantage of the platform’s full programs, which it refers to as “career tracks”. For example, some programs require that you have prior work experience in the industry or a credential such as a bachelor’s degree in a related field.
How Does Springboard Work?
To get started with Springboard, students must choose either a learning path or career track. Learning paths are free online courses designed by industry experts. No enrollment is necessary; simply click to access the curriculum, and you’re on your way. Learning is self-paced, and there is no grading. Students mark the material complete as they progress independently through the course.
Some examples of free online courses/ learning paths from Springboard include:
- Fundamentals of Digital Marketing
- Machine Learning in Python
- Beginner’s Guide to Front-End Programming
- Becoming a Software Security Analyst
- Foundations of Cyber Security
- Android Application Development
Career tracks are much more involved than learning paths. These are Springboard’s flagship programs, and they come with all the bells and whistles. As of this writing, the Springboard program offers the following career tracks for students to choose from:
- Data Science Career Track
- Machine Learning Engineering Career Track
- Data Engineering Career Track
- Data Analytics Career Track
- Cyber Security Career Track
- UI/UX Design Career Track
- UX Career Track
- Software Engineering Career Track
Unlike Springboard’s free online courses, career tracks aren’t just open to anyone. Instead, students must apply to the program as they would an online degree. However, there is no cost for the application, and it only takes about 5-20 minutes to complete, depending on the specific learning path.
Once the application is submitted, Springboard will schedule virtual interviews with qualified students on a first-come, first-serve basis. Students must also take a skills survey or challenge prior to being officially admitted to the program. This aspect of the application process can take an additional 1-3 hours, depending on the program.
Once admitted to a career track, students will fill out an online profile, which the Springboard program will use to match them with a personalized mentor. Based on their schedules and specific career goals, a student advisor will locate the best possible mentor from their extensive database of experienced industry professionals.
To complete a career track, students will participate in a series of online modules which will teach them the fundamental technical skills required for a job in the field. These modules are experiential in nature and include practice exercises, career-focused assignments, and project-based learning experiences.
In addition, students will build a professional portfolio over the duration of the program. This portfolio may prove essential in landing a job after completing the career track.
Most of the career tracks featured on Springboard’s online learning platform take just six months to complete with the exception of the UI/UX Design and Software Engineering career tracks, which require nine months. The Springboard team recommends that students devote between 15 and 20 hours per week on their online coursework for these programs.
Features and Functionality
Springboard students are matched with a personal mentor whose job it is to counsel them as they progress through each module of their chosen career track. These mentors are professionals in their respective industries and can offer students the most practical and relevant advice for landing a job in the field. Additionally, the program’s one-on-one instruction model enables the mentor to quickly ascertain the students’ individual learning styles and cater their guidance accordingly.
Springboard is extremely selective about their mentorship program, too—applicants must fulfill strict prerequisite requirements and participate in a video interview in order to qualify. Plus, only one in 12 applicants is hired on for a mentorship role.
One of the major advantages of the Springboard program is its dedicated one-on-one career coaching. Once enrolled in a career track, students are assigned mentors that help them with course material and provide career assistance such as job search advice, networking, interview help, and more.
Each career track comes with a certain number of scheduled calls with a mentor or career coach, and students have unlimited access to additional calls at their request. Even after the program is complete, students can continue career coaching for an additional six months while they actively seek a position in their chosen field.
Each of Springboard’s career tracks requires at least one capstone project. These assignments are specifically designed to build students’ professional portfolios so that they can demonstrate their technical skills to potential employers.
Many alumni report that the ability to showcase their skills through the capstone project was a breakthrough moment during the interview process and helped them to secure their new positions.
Career Assessment Test
Unsure of the exact career path you want to follow? Springboard can help with that too. Simply enter your name and email address, and you can begin taking the platform’s unique career assessment test.
The test takes just 15-20 minutes and feels a bit like taking a personality quiz. After you answer each of the questions, you’ll receive your personalized results instantly. These results will provide a recommendation for which learning paths or career tracks may be best suited for you as well as the career path that best complements your interests and talents.
Springboard Pricing Model
Some of Springboard’s online courses are completely free. These courses are quite basic though and feature a self-paced curriculum. Unlike the career track programs, the free classes from Springboard do not include any of the online learning platform’s signature resources such as mentor matching, career coaching, or job guarantee, for example.
For career track programs, the most economical tuition model is the upfront tuition option. Though the exact savings will vary depending on the program, students can save up to 18% off the full tuition price by selecting the upfront option.
Students who wish to pay their tuition monthly can do so, but they will forego the savings offered by the upfront tuition plan. Those who are unsure of whether they will complete the program in its entirety may benefit from this monthly plan, though, since they will only need to pay for the months in which they are enrolled.
An attractive option for low-income students, Springboard’s deferred tuition plan enables students to put off paying for their programs until after they have successfully secured a job in the field. One downside, though—there is a deposit required for this option, and with deferred tuition fees, the cost of the program will be more expensive in the long term.
Students looking for financial aid options to pay for their online education can opt for a student loan through Climb Credit. Because it comes with an interest rate, this payment plan is the most expensive in the long term, but it does enable students to make smaller monthly payments. Of course, students with better credit scores will pay a lower interest rate than those with negative credit ratings.
Perhaps the most attractive aspect of the Springboard program’s pricing model is its job guarantee. This promise ensures that students who do not receive a job offer within six months of completing their career track will receive a full refund on tuition.
In order to receive a full tuition refund under the job guarantee, though, students must meet certain eligibility requirements. Some of these requirements include:
- 18 Years Old or Up
- English Proficiency (Written and Verbal)
- Aptitude in Soft Skills Like Communication, Motivation, and Collaboration
- Legally Qualified to Work in the United States
- No Criminal Record
In addition to these basic eligibility requirements, students must also adhere to certain rules of conduct in order to benefit from the job guarantee. For example, graduates of the Springboard program must apply for a minimum of four jobs per week, communicate with a minimum of seven individuals in their industry network per week, and respond to all communications from the Springboard placement team within 72 hours of receipt.
One of the worries with any online education program is that students will be left to figure out problems and issues that arise on their own. That’s why it’s important to evaluate a platform’s customer support and technical help services prior to enrollment.
With Springboard, you’ll be happy to learn that support is completely individualized. Instead of calling a help desk, students can get in touch with their personal student advisor whenever they have questions or problems. This can make the process of getting technical support or help with an assignment much less of a hassle.
The Advantages (Pros) of Springboard
Springboard prides itself on offering curricula that is not only developed by industry experts, but that is also ever-changing as new industry advancements are forged. This is how the platform ensures that students receive the most relevant and up-to-date instruction possible.
Springboard’s online courses and career track programs are offered fully online, and students can work at their own pace. It’s entirely possible to keep your day job while completing a bootcamp since the programs require just 10-15 hours of study time each week.
Study after educational study has proven that individualized instruction yields the very best learning outcomes for students. Springboard capitalizes on this research-backed strategy by pairing their students with personal mentors who provide instruction and support as they progress through their online courses.
The Springboard program boasts additional financial aid opportunities for underserved populations. For example, if you’re a woman or a veteran, you may be eligible for a $750 scholarship towards your tuition from Springboard. This financial aid is deducted from the cost of attendance during the admissions process. Even if you don’t qualify for one of these scholarships, additional discounts may be available.
The Disadvantages (Cons) of Springboard
The Application Process
One downside of Springboard is its selective application process. Class seats are limited, so there’s no guarantee you’ll get into a bootcamp, especially if you have little or no relative experience to the chosen career track. Plus, enrollment isn’t continuous, meaning students may have to join a waiting list until classes become available.
Stringent/Subjective Job Guarantee Requirements
As mentioned previously, one of the main appeals of the Springboard program is its job guarantee. This is the feature of the online learning platform that gives students the assurance that they won’t be stuck with a hefty bill if they are unable to find a job after completing the program.
Some students have expressed dissatisfaction with this guarantee because of its stringent and sometimes subjective eligibility requirements. Because the terms of the guarantee state that the on-site admissions team at Springboard can decide whether or not a student is sufficiently motivated or has adequate communication and collaboration skills, Springboard can choose not to honor the job guarantee even if the candidate has successfully completed the program and put a good faith effort into looking for a job.
The mentor match feature of the Springboard program isn’t perfect, and some users have reported being paired with a mentor who wasn’t exactly a good fit. While it may be inevitable that a problem like this could arise a small percentage of the time, it is worth mentioning since it could have a significant impact on the overall student experience. Alumni have reported being re-matched after having a bad experience with a mentor, though, which shows an effort by the Springboard team to rectify these issues when they do arise.
Time Limits on Career Tracks
Despite marketing itself as a flexible, self-paced online learning platform, Springboard does place time limits on its career track programs. These time limits vary from six to nine months, depending on the chosen career track. Students who fail to complete the program within this predetermined time frame risk losing the job guarantee benefit, meaning they may have to pay the full tuition price even if they are unable to find a job after finishing all program requirements.
Students looking for careers in UI/UX Design, Data Analytics, and Web Development may consider CareerFoundry as an alternative to Springboard. Those looking for learning paths in Machine Learning, CyberSecurity, or Data Engineering will have to look elsewhere, however. In addition to having less course and program offerings compared to Springboard, CareerFoundry takes longer to complete on average. Both programs offer the tuition-back job guarantee.
Owned by the edtech pioneer Chegg, Thinkful is an online bootcamp offering similar learning paths and courses as Springboard. The major difference here is that Thinkful offers career tracks in Product Management and Technical Project Management whereas Springboard does not. Moreover, Springboard offers a couple of additional programs that Thinkful does not, including Machine Learning Engineering and Cybersecurity.
Both programs offer comparable learning resources and support services, including one-on-one mentorship. Thinkful can cost up to twice the amount in tuition, however, depending on the specific bootcamp program. Job guarantees are available to qualified students through both Thinkful and Springboard, meaning eligible students who cannot land a job within six months of completing the program will receive a full tuition refund.
Founded in 2011, General Assembly offers bootcamp programs from more than 30 different campuses worldwide, but students also have access to online courses and learning paths similar to Springboard’s. Though the online learning platforms have comparable consumer ratings, General Assembly has a more extensive track record of success, boasting over 70,000 alumni compared to Springboard’s 5,000+.
One advantage Springboard has over General Assembly, though, is its job guarantee. While eligible students who complete certain Springboard programs will receive a full refund if they are unable to secure employment within six months, General Assembly offers no such promise.
And voila—everything you need to know about Springboard’s online courses and learning paths in one Springboard review! If you’re still on the fence about whether or not to invest your time and/or money with this online learning platform, we suggest trying one of the many free online courses available. This will give you an idea of what the Springboard curriculum looks like, so you can decide for yourself whether it’s worth your while.
Are Springboard courses worth it?
The exact value of a bootcamp program like Springboard is difficult, if not impossible, to predict. Still, this online learning platform offers legitimate learning resources, expert instruction, and plenty of student support throughout the program (and beyond!). This, combined with Springboard’s job guarantee, makes it a fairly safe bet.
Are Springboard courses free?
Some of them are, yes. Springboard’s signature Career Tracks, however, can cost up to $9,000 when paid upfront. Students who opt for monthly payments, deferred tuition, or financing will pay more. Scholarships and discounts are available to eligible students, however.
How much does Springboard cost?
A: The cost of Springboard will vary by program. While some individual courses are free, Springboard’s career track programs will set students back anywhere from $6,900 to $10,000 in upfront tuition.
Who qualifies for Springboard courses?
A: Prerequisite skills and experience for Springboard programs will vary by industry and career track. An admissions team will evaluate your application and determine if you’re a good fit for the program. You may also have to complete a skills challenge and video interview to qualify. Prep courses are available for some career paths.
Is Springboard accredited?
A: No. Since it is not affiliated with a college or university, Springboard is not accredited by a U.S. Department of Education-approved accrediting body. This is the case for the vast majority of for-profit online bootcamps, however.
Can Springboard get you a job and help in your career?
A: Yes. If you play your cards right, the potential is certainly there to advance in your dream career with Springboard. Our advice? Give it your all, and pay particular attention to deadlines and requirements. A misstep could cost you your job guarantee benefits.