By: SlideRule Labs, Inc.
Some decades ago, it was a norm for an individual to complete his/her education, get a job, and retire with it. On the contrary, it is now easy to change career, and ditch the undesired professions. Previously, people considered learning a once in a lifetime process. You graduate, look for a job and stick to it till retirement. Contemporary thinking is that education is a lifelong process.
An individual can learn new skills or build on the existing ones at any age. Thus, they are free to choose or shift their career paths accordingly. Springboard is one of those online learning platforms that empower the 21st-century learners through their online courses and mentorship.
Every individual aims to complete their graduate-level education so that the door of opportunity can open for them.
We all seek diverse career paths so that we can opt for the ones that we love the most. Unfortunately, that may not be the case.
It is a distressing state to see thousands of graduates unemployed. We can deduct that they may be lacking the core skills, and that is why they are jobless.
Therefore, we cannot declare that we are facing unemployment, but it is more prudent to state that we lack skilled personnel.
Gartner, a global research and advisory firm, reveals that by 2020, 75% of organizations will experience evident business disturbances due to the existing and expanding skills gap.
Training is the only solution to bridge the proficiency requirement. Springboard has offered career preparations to more than ten thousand students across hundred-plus countries.
They have headquarters in San Francisco, California, and recently launched an office in Bengaluru, India. They are best known for their data science courses, but they have offerings under analytics, design, and marketing
Most of their subscription includes expertly developed curriculum, 1 on 1 mentor support with weekly calls, student community, lifelong content access, certificate of completion, and capstone projects.
Moreover, their career tracks claim to provide a 100% money-back guarantee in case of failure to secure a job within 6 months. That is the level of confidence they have with their courses.
We can divide their courses into skills track, career tracks, and free learning paths. Let us get into details and find out what they have to offer to the students of the ever-expanding community of information and technology.
Their account is free to sign up, but they offer paid as well as free courses. Fair enough, as an interested student, will be able to gauge their efficiency by trying out their unpaid services.
The homepage translates its core features by displaying their career paths. They attempt to reveal how their courses will work out with the end product being the job opportunity.
According to us, the interface is not as user-friendly, compared with its competitors such as Treehouse, or Pluralsight.
The main page has tabs for courses, how it works, mentors, students, blog, and the user profile.
The user can explore Springboard’s programs under career paths. These include data science and AI, design, and analytics.
The essential feature of this platform is mentorship, and they portray the role of the assigned mentors. These dedicated tutors take accountability, and also offer technical as well as career advice.
In case you are a confused fellow and have no idea about the exact career path in the IT field, then there are some tests for you to undertake.
They have in-built quizzes to determine the career option in data science and UI/UX design. They offer a boot camp for the web development section.
Let us see what entails under the data science test. It begins by requesting an email address, then asks about the student’s highest education qualification.
They inquire about the employment status, years of experience, and motivation to learn data science. Then we face a series of questions related to programming familiarity, knowledge of statistics, and time commitment (hours & months).
The user submits the answers, and the system generates the most appropriate course for the candidate. In the beginning, we thought the test would be technical, but it turns out it is generic and seeks to establish the user’s background.
The student can judge the advice and choose to accept or reject it. It depends on their career goals and requirements. We can now browse through the learning content of Springboard.
We are experiencing a rise in the demand for jobs in the IT sector. Therefore, the e-learning platforms are sweating it out to provide top-notch skills for the learners.
The students who enroll aim to become business intelligence analysts, cloud architects, database developers, security professionals, and other highly sought-after job profiles.
We have already mentioned that the courses are a part of their skills paths, career paths, and free resources. How can we differentiate between these offerings?
The names can reveal their intentions; skill paths aim to provide competence in a field via online courses that require no pre-requisites. They are typically self-paced but mentor guided.
Career paths are boot camps with a dedicated timeline, live mentorship, and are career-focused. They provide guaranteed jobs in the US and Canada for their graduates.
We can establish the specific courses under skills tracks which include Introduction to Data Science,
Intermediate Data Science with Python, UX Design, Business Analytics, Introduction to Cybersecurity, and Digital Marketing for Professionals
The career tracks include Data Science, Digital Marketing, Cybersecurity, UX, and AI/Machine Learning Career Track.
Their free resource has learning paths, and mini-courses lack mentorship and the online community, but the curriculum creators are equally qualified experts.
Hence, in summary, they offer free as well as paid courses. Interestingly, it doesn’t stop there. They also allow users to access external content.
The user profile hosts a section of my learning which displays all the courses undertaken by the student. It comes with parts of mentor-led workshops, free learning paths, and external courses.
The mentor-led workshops include the paid content of skill and career tracks. We can go through the course landing pages to identify what they have to offer.
Their career tracks are well established &recognized courses. Their most sought after is the Data Science Bootcamp.
The Data Science career track guarantees a job within 6 months after graduation, and if that doesn’t happen, they offer money-back policy.
Astoundingly, they happen not to return cash to even a single student. This declares its content quality and sets them apart from its competitors.
When it comes to boot camps, the main target is to achieve a lot in limited time by providing valuable and practical skills that are currently in demand by employers.
We need not state the nature of our transformative technology, which demands advanced skills and knowledge.
For example, we had GPS devices with limited use of providing estimated mileage and time calculations.
Now, large transportation companies such as Uber or Lyft utilize their advanced functionality, which delivers information related to traffic and weather conditions as well.
Let us now check out the landing page of Springboard’s career tracks courses.
We have mentioned the 5 tracks offered by Springboard. We may not be able to discuss all of them, so we choose to focus on their best content, the Data Science Bootcamp. It is a 6 months program requiring the student to commit around 15-20 hours a week.
The highlights of the course appear on the top, as we can notice from the above image. It includes six months, online, live 1:1 mentorship, and career-focused.
It is enough to drive the point home; however, we cannot ignore other vital features of deferred tuition and a job guarantee.
By deferred tuition, they facilitate monthly payment by the student after securing a job. The course is also eligible for scholarships. More so, if the candidate is a woman or a veteran.
It is necessary to avail multiple payment options as the career tracks have high-end pricing, which proves to be a considerable hindrance to the students.
However, through the landing page, the candidate can either request the syllabus or apply for the course.
We can notice that the page holds 6 vital sections, namely, curriculum, mentorship, career services, outcomes, schedule, and tuition.
A user can get in-depth information regarding the potential course so that they are in a better position by weighing their options before enrolling.
The curriculum highlights what the student will learn, in terms of the topics, it's content and the estimated time to dedicate to learning.
Their unique offering is mentorship, who are experts in their related field of work. The students get assigned to a personal mentor.
The chance to have personal contact with the mentor via calls, and Skype enables the student to create a nurturing relationship with them.
It translates into increased engagement and participation by the student, meaning they are in a better position to solve problems and achieve their learning goals.
Springboard also offers career coaching, provided via calls. With it, the student will be able to strategize a job search in his/her field of choice.
The career tracks aid the student in creating a network. It includes the mentors and other peer candidates, thus improves the chances of securing the right kind of job.
Springboard assists in establishing a successful resume and a LinkedIn profile, which helps in cracking the job.
The achievement of completing a career track empowers the candidate to negotiate the salary too. The graduates can secure jobs with high margins of salary increments. It depicts the value the course has in the industry.
The schedule part of the page shows the dates when the course will start as well as the application deadlines.
To get admission to the career track, the candidate has to follow a process that includes submitting the application, passing the challenge, and then joining the program.
The challenge tests conduct skill assessment to establish the knowledge level of the student. Thus, the candidates must meet some pre-requisites to secure a seat in the career tracks.
These courses also have a price attached to them, but they are not as prominent as the career tracks. They offer a number of them, but we can go through their Introduction to Data Science.
These programs are self-paced; thus, the students can commit to them depending on their schedule and convenience.
The costing is subscription-based and gets billed monthly. Therefore, it depends on the student when he/she will graduate depending on their time management.
The page has sections of overview, mentors, curriculum, pricing, and FAQ. It also provides the test we discussed earlier on to determine the course best suited for the student.
The candidates can get in touch with their mentors via once in a week 30 minutes video call. Through it, they can develop and achieve the learning agenda and targets.
The student has access to the weekly office hours, whereby the mentors can provide further guidance, feedback on projects, etc.
The curriculum outlines the course work along with the project, which, upon completion, earns the student the certificate of completion.
The courses under skill tracks usually do not require the student to meet pre-requisites. But they should have some familiarity with the subject; hence, beginners can also apply.
As these tracks are priced dearly, as a matter of fact, we can go through their free paths to determine the course and lesson content.
The paid courses get recognized by thousands of students as well as employers who hire the graduates. Its resource section offers the free learning paths, e-books/mini-courses & guides plus their blog.
Some people are highly interested in studying, but costing prevents them from getting into action. Such consequences cannot be created in Springboard, as they give free content for students willing to acquire IT skills.
The free learning paths are designed to guide the student in achieving proficiency in a particular topic. Springboard formulates the course work, but the resource originates from an external source.
It includes user experience design, machine learning in Python, data analysis with Python, SQL and R, search engine optimization, fundamentals of digital marketing, MBA essentials, and a few more.
What they have done is that they have opened the gates to the various MOOC platforms. As a learner, one may be unaware of the availability of free content.
Therefore, Springboard complied with a course layout that can meet the requirements of learning but includes external resources.
The learning path’s course landing page provides insight into the content, in terms of the number of resources used, dedication amount of time in hours, and learners enrolled.
It is open for anyone who intends to acquire a new skill, and the student views the curriculum to resume the lessons.
The view curriculum button takes the learner to the course page. It has the title of the learning path and the body, with the navigation panel on one side of the page.
The topics appear on the left panel along with their subtopics, obtained from external learning sites. What Springboard does is to offer the best resource available for the particular subject.
It may be articles, blogs, or free courses from other platforms. They offer enough references for the student to achieve competence in the topic. One has to go through the resource, mark it as complete and proceed in the path.
They also assign a capstone project for the candidates. It enables the student to get a hands-on experience whereby they can apply their theoretical knowledge into practical scenarios.
The students can share the paths on any social media accounts such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, WhatsApp, Pinterest, Reddit, or email.
There exist active comments sections for the participants using the Disqus community platform. It allows fellow students to communicate and create learning environment.
The other free offering is either the guides/e-books or the mini-courses. With the guides, the page displays the section where the user sign-ups for it using their email information.
The guide or the e-book gets delivered to the candidate via email. It comes in PDF format and is open for downloading.
The mini-course on the other side has a landing page that allows users to enroll for free. It has sections for the creator, curriculum, and FAQs.
Once the student enrolls, they are taken to a page with the course curriculum as its main body. The left panel has a loading icon, which reflects the percentage of course completion.
It has 2 parts, units that have multiple sub-units. We notice from the above image that the content is relatively limited as there are few sections.
A start button is attached to every sub-unit. With it, we can access the content. All the sections contain short written articles.
It is because the detailed resource is available via links to external websites such as Wikipedia, YouTube, blogs (of Oracle, Airbnb, HubSpot, etc.) and others.
The creator can also provide their content using Google Docs. The course may include tasks such as projects, case studies, and assignments to engage the student.
To proceed in the program, the student has to mark it as complete and continue with the next unit. We do not see any indication of time dedication.
It thus self-paced, and the students are solely responsible for their advancement in the course. They are short in length, as the name suggests, but they can be sufficient in providing essential knowledge.
We mentioned that MOOC platforms are becoming famous as they provide free of charge online courses to any individual who wishes to study.
Springboard has partners with whom they work to provide learning material. They intend to fill the skill gaps that exist in the current employment scene.
These include Affirm, Empowered tech, Upwardly Global, Google, the Nomad MBA, Angelhack, Bumble, and partner hero.
The external courses page displays all the available programs from various online providers or universities. It’s better to take note that not the content is for free; a few have prices.
The providers include Udemy, Lynda, MIT Open Courseware, Coursera, Skillshare, Khan Academy, edX, FutureLearn, Udacity, Busuu, Treehouse, etc. Many universities that offer their free content are also a part of the offering.
Since there are thousands of content available here from multiple platforms, Springboard allows one to use the filter to narrow down their search results.
The upper tabs of the subject, provider, university, and fees can be used to locate the most appropriate course.
Alternatively, there are sections of starting date, difficulty level, teaching methods, and credentials, which also assist in narrowing down the enormous list.
Every individual has a unique temperament when it comes to learning. Some are fast learners, while others take considerable time to grasp a concept.
The mode of delivering the course also affects student’s retaining power as visual stimulations render lasting impressions if compared with texts only content.
The other determining factor is motivation, as some people need to be pushed to achieve goals while very few are committed to their undertaking. With Springboard, the mentors can prove to be motivators and boosts the productivity level of students.
The usual online learning technique involves going through courses (the content of videos, audios, text, etc.). Then the assessment sections test the student's competency, which earns them recognition, such as badges/scores/certificates.
Hence, many platforms fail to provide personal interaction with the course instructor. The only human contact possible can be through the discussion forums or live tutors (but at an extra cost.)
However, Udacity offers mentors as well as career services similar to Springboard. Their content quality may determine the number of students willing to enroll in their programs.
The mentors at Springboard not only provide technical expertise and guidance, but they also take accountability. It means they are entirely responsible for the student’s progress and achievements.
The student gets one on one interaction with the mentors weekly, where they can resolve queries, get additional resources, and complete their tasks in improved ways.
They also assist in searching for the most appropriate jobs in the market through networking. They also give in-depth detail of the real-world situation as they have firsthand experience.
The mentorship feature enhances the quality of the course, as it makes the student more productive and successful.
Springboard is famous for its career tracks, which are its trademarks. They are attractive to many learners worldwide.
The students get assurance that at the end of the course, he/she will be in a position to secure a highly regarded and rewarding job.
The free courses also facilitate the student to utilize external resources and achieve proficiency in a particular topic.
The sourced material from other sites and platforms provide the students with an abundant way to gain knowledge.
Their website lacks knowledge base articles or a support section, but the customer service can be accessed via email or through telephone.
Springboard aims to reduce the evident skills gap in the existing technical workforce through its online courses and free resources.
It is, in fact, an online boot camp for tech-savvy working professionals or newbies who are targeting lucrative jobs in the tech business.
Thus, any individual planning either to change his/her career or advance in the existing IT-related field can undoubtedly enroll in the Springboard’s track courses.
They will take responsibility by assigning a mentor, who aids in successful course completion. Furthermore, within 6 months from graduation, they guarantee the student a reputable job.
Thus, we do agree that Springboard is for highly motivated students who aim to transform their professional lives.