thinkfulThinkful is a leader in online computer programming education. They offer a large variety of courses covering all of the most popular languages and frameworks.

While Thinkful courses are more expensive ($300-500 a month) than many of the other options out there, the price tag is worth it because you get personal mentorship from an experienced tutor.

This hands on approach is one of the biggest benefits that sets Thinkful apart from the rest of the platforms out there, and makes it a worthwhile investment.

Click here to browse a list of Thinkful courses, or keep reading for the full review.

Thinkful Reviews: The Good and Bad of Working with Thinkful

I want to say up front that all in all, I enjoyed my experience with Thinkful. It was both educational and fun, and I learned most of what I had hoped to learn through the course.

That said, there were a few really negative aspects that scarred my experience. I’ll start with those, and then go through the better points, and help you decide if Thinkful is right for you.

The Downside of Thinkful Courses

There were two main disadvantages to using Thinkful.

Fairly Expensive

The first was the pricing. Thinkful is significantly more expensive than other options out there, and it can be hard to justify a several hundred dollar investment if you’re completely new to programming.

That said, the pricing reflects the level of personal attention that you get as a student and the weekly mentoring sessions are what helped me justify the costs.

Not Unique Material

The other aspect I didn’t like about the program is that most of the material provided is available freely on other websites. The course is pulled together as a comprehensive, planned track to get you up and running with your new programming language, and is not billed as a particularly unique or innovative approach.

As a beginner, this is valuable because it can be exceedingly difficult just to figure out where and how you should start. If you’re in that camp, Thinkful takes care of all that planning for you, and gets you through the materials you need.

The Benefits of Using Thinkful

Weekly Skype Mentoring

In my mind, the #1 best thing about Thinkful is the mentor relationship.

The course includes weekly mentoring with an experienced programmer via Skype.

All of the mentors are professional coders, and most work part-time as tutors, taking only a few students at a time.

This means that you get access to individuals who are up to date with the day to day nuances of the language they’re teaching, and know how the concepts covered in  the course will be applied in a real life situation.

Clear Plan of Action

thinkful review, inside a thinkful courseEven though the material used is not original, the course as a whole is.

The interesting thing about their program is that they’ve figured out a way to package together commonly available information into a cohesive course.

The course might instruct you to read a few seemingly unrelated blog posts one day, then give a programming assignment that connects the dots between them. It’s a powerful method, and helps you get a holistic understanding of how individual concepts fit into the larger picture.

Self-Paced

Another aspect of the course I really enjoyed was that it was self-paced.

When I first came to Thinkful, I’d already been programming for several years, but I was mostly a backend developer and didn’t have much experience with CSS, the course I signed up for.

I was initially worried that the course would be too basic, but because of the mentor-based structure, I was able to move rapidly through the early concepts, and focus on more advanced material that covered the aspects I wanted.

Classroom Setting

Even though the course is self-paced, there is a strong classroom component to it, and you’re encouraged to participate in the community, providing and getting feedback not just from your mentor but from other students as well.

As you move through the course, you progress to different levels of the community, which ensures that you’re always placed with the right group of students to meet your need, regardless of how quickly (or slowly) you worked through the earlier materials.

Good Customer Support

Finally, I was very impressed with the customer support team. It’s very clear that the company is dedicated to helping you succeed, and there are clear lines of communication to work either with course directors, your mentor, or an account representative as needed.

Is It Right For You?

All in all, Thinkful is an excellent choice for a variety of programming languages.

Deciding if it’s right for you is a matter of deciding what level of commitment you’re willing to make in order to learn programming.

As a part-time hobbyist, the courses may be too rigorous and costly to justify the investment in your hobby. If you’re truly serious about learning to code, however, this is a straightforward and practical route to take.

Click here to browse a list of current Thinkful courses.