Are you curious about what it’s like to successfully complete a Thinkful course? The experience is unique for everyone since our students bring a diverse set of skills and backgrounds. We chatted with four Thinkful students to learn about their experience and see what advice they have for prospective students. Meet Ellen, Sean, Alexa, and Ira.

Ellen

Previous education: Agricultural Engineering
Before Thinkful: Improv and Sales
Thinkful program: Engineering Flex
Post-graduation outcome: Technology Analyst at Accenture

Life as an actor isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be. Instead of movie sets and mansions, it’s often hard work and low pay. After Ellen earned her bachelor’s degree in agricultural engineering from the University of Arizona, she moved to Chicago and explored the world of acting. She eventually landed a job in sales because improv wasn’t a huge money-maker.

Once Ellen settled in Chicago, she started searching for a new career path. A friend who is a programmer suggested trying out a coding bootcamp. They recommended Thinkful because we provide a great foundation for hireable skills. Ellen enrolled in Thinkful’s Engineering Flex course and now she's a Technology Analyst at Accenture, a global management consulting and professional services firm.

What was your favorite aspect of Thinkful’s program?

"The curriculum was organized in a really efficient and effective way to build upon what you already know. Having capstones at the end of each section was incredibly intimidating, but being able to create real web pages and have a full portfolio to showcase at the end of it all was very rewarding."

What was your hardest challenge throughout the program?

"My hardest challenge throughout the program was simply admitting what I didn’t know and asking for help. I reached a breaking point – which I don’t recommend – where I had no clue what was really going on. I was too scared to sound dumb or ask for too much help, and admit to my mentor that I felt out of my league. He told me that I had to get used to the impostor syndrome, because everyone feels that way and it’s only going to keep me from actually learning. That was a real turning point for me, and it allowed me to have much more open conversations about topics I wasn’t understanding."

Ellen’s Advice:

"Don’t wait to ask for help! Seriously, don’t. There are no stupid questions, especially in the beginning, because everyone understands that you have to start somewhere, just like I did!"

Sean

Previous education: Business Administration
Before Thinkful: Insurance Analyst
Thinkful program: Engineering Flex
Post-graduation outcome: Front End Web Developer at Orvis

Sean’s first goals after college were to find a job, work hard, and move up in a company. He had a set plan...but, of course, we all know life doesn’t always work out the way we planned. After earning a degree in business and an MBA from Adelphi University, he managed insurance claims for six years. It was a stable career with good benefits and a decent salary, but minimal opportunity for professional growth. And on top of that, Sean simply wasn’t passionate about it.

He searched for a new career that he could enjoy and advance within. After choosing to study programming independently, he realized he needed more support to accelerate the learning process, so he enrolled in Thinkful’s Engineering Flex course. Sean is now a Front End Web Developer at Orvis, a retail company specializing in high-end fly fishing, hunting and sporting goods.

What was your favorite aspect of Thinkful’s program?

"The mentorship was my favorite aspect of the program. I deeply valued the support and guidance from effective mentors and I had a great relationship with them. I still message some of my mentors today for help and guidance."

What was your hardest challenge throughout the program?

"This greatest challenge was making and adhering to a strict schedule, especially after a long day at work when I just wanted to rest and spend time with my family."

Sean’s Advice:

"Go for it! Make a plan beforehand and make every effort not to deviate from it. You might have to miss some social events in order to study, especially if you’re in the Flex program, but don’t let your FOMO make you miss out on achieving your goals. Good luck!"

Alexa

Previous education: Actuarial Science and Math
Before Thinkful: Data Analyst
Thinkful program: Engineering Immersion
Post-graduation outcome: Web Developer at Rio SEO

Accustomed to the NYC tech startup life, Alexa worked as a data analyst. She knew what the tech world had to offer, and felt there was more to learn. Her degree in actuarial science and mathematics from the University at Albany gave her a good foundation, but it was time to expand her technical knowledge.

Alexa was attracted to the learning tools and professional connections Thinkful has to offer, so she enrolled in our Engineering Immersion course. Alexa is now a Junior Web Developer at Rio SEO, a company that simplifies complex local marketing through search engine optimization.

What was your favorite aspect about the Thinkful program?

"The connections I made were definitely one of my favorite things about Thinkful. Whether it be with students, TAs, or mentors, I am grateful for all of the new relationships. I highly encourage future students to engage in the Slack channels and put yourself out there. Don't be afraid to turn your camera on while paired programming and interacting with others!"

What was your hardest challenge throughout the program?

"My hardest challenge was being able to keep up with the pace while at the same time absorbing all of the material. I'm the type of person that doesn't like to move on when I don't quite understand something. I managed this by using my weekends to catch up on work and even redoing some of the projects."

Alexa’s Advice:

"Manage your time wisely. Don't sit behind a computer all day, definitely get out and enjoy any time you have off. Put yourself out there and make some friends. Always try to help others when they are struggling because you're all in it together. Lastly, push through and don't get discouraged for one second. Put in the work and you will be happy with the results!"

Ira

Previous education: Chemistry
Before Thinkful: Medical Operations Manager
Thinkful program: Data Analytics

The world revolves around data. That’s a lesson Ira learned while working in the healthcare industry in Chicago. After graduating with a chemistry degree from Northern Illinois University, Ira became a medical assistant at a successful private clinic in Chicago. She was later promoted to an operations manager, a role that helped her understand how leveraging data effectively could allow a business to reach its targets. However, she needed more data skills to make a valuable impact on the business so she is currently enrolled in Thinkful’s Data Analytics course.

What has been your favorite aspect about the Thinkful program?

"This question is easy. Hands down my favorite aspect is the once a month Thinkful community dinner. When I attended my first one and it was so worth it to meet other students and graduates from Thinkful programs. It’s a great opportunity to meet in person, share ideas and tips on studying, job hunting, and life!"

What has been your hardest challenge throughout the program?

"The DA curriculum is well designed in guiding you along and helping you stay on track with various checkpoints as well as graded assignments. But it doesn’t matter how much time you have available to study, if you don’t manage it well, there will never be enough time."

Ira’s advice:

"If you’ve been thinking about joining the program, take full advantage of the no cost trial period if possible. It’s a great way to see if the program is a good fit, as everyone learns differently and has different needs.

If you are not sure which program to choose – if you are torn between Data Science or Data Analytics – reach out to the program managers from Thinkful and ask for resources to help you decide.

Do your research, read reviews, ask others about their experience. In the end, it’s up to you to make the most of the resources it offers and the experience it provides. Ask questions and be receptive to feedback, it’s the only way to really improve."


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