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By Shawn Drost, Hack Reactor Cofounder and Chief Innovation Officer
The Biggest Bootcamp Dilemma
In 2016, Coding House, a coding bootcamp advertising numbers typical for the industry--95% hiring rate at a $91,000 average starting salary--was shut down by regulators for false advertising. Reporting after the event revealed that Coding House was essentially scamming their students. The story underscores a deeper problem in the coding bootcamp industry: there was no way for Coding House students to know ahead of time that the school’s claims were illegitimate.
Transparency in Outcomes Reporting & Truth in Advertising
Today, a coalition of leading coding bootcamps are joining forces to solve the industry’s most pressing issue: outcomes reporting (story covered by Wall Street Journal and TechCrunch). Since the outset of coding bootcamps, student outcomes have often left more questions than answers. When a school advertises a 95% hiring rate and a $91,000 average starting salary, how did they arrive at those numbers? Do they count students in part-time roles? How about the ones that aren’t responding to their post-graduation calls and emails? Does that salary figure count everyone or just the graduates who readily disclose salary information? Before today, students were essentially in the dark on these questions, and had a hard time knowing who or what to trust.
That’s why we are joining forces with 14 other leading bootcamps (see below) on the Council on Integrity in Results Reporting (CIRR). CIRR is the industry gold standard for educational outcomes reporting. All students who are interested in attending a bootcamp can 1) trust the data presented by CIRR-member schools, and 2) question graduation and job placement data of those programs who do not abide by CIRR’s standards and methodologies.
Also joining this movement are Course Report, the leading media source focused on coding bootcamps, and SkillsFund, a lender that works extensively with coding bootcamp students. Every coding bootcamp in CIRR will use a unified outcomes methodology, allowing for apples-to-apples comparisons between schools. Instead of optimizing the image of the bootcamp, under CIRR our outcomes reporting will optimize for the interests of the student.
Initial 2016 outcomes data will be reported in accordance with CIRR methodologies on March 29th.
We are joining 14 other leading coding bootcamps to fix student outcomes reporting.
The Key Difference with CIRR
The key difference between CIRR and every other coding bootcamp’s reporting methods: no exceptions. If you enroll in a CIRR school, you count in their placement rate, regardless of graduation status or personal decisions. This means we can skip the fine print: under CIRR, placement rate is students who accept a full-time software engineering job within six months of graduating, divided by the number of graduates. The graduation rate is on the same report. This is simple, straightforward and telling.
How is this different from other schools? CIRR drops all exclusions used by other bootcamps, some of which are understandable and some of which are clearly there to game the stats.
How Does SSOM Compare to CIRR?
Our previous outcomes methodology, the Standard Student Outcomes Methodology (SSOM), is already aligned with CIRR’s basic framework. Where SSOM differed is an accounting for cases such as students who start businesses or have a medical or family emergency during the job search. We are now even stricter: CIRR makes the bold decision to standardize on zero exceptions for all enrolled students.
Can You Trust Your School's Claim of Student Success?
Many coding bootcamps haven't joined CIRR yet, but we hope to collaborate with them. Our goal is to end the opaque mix of reasonable and unreasonable exceptions, and work towards a future where applicants can trust the topline number. We hope you won’t stand for it any other way. Schools that are doing right by their students should not fear transparency. Under CIRR, the true stars of the industry will come out, and students won’t have to wonder if their claims are real.
Sign the "No Exceptions" Petition
Please join our call for integrity and consistency in results reporting by reading and signing our Open Letter to Bootcamps, Alumni, and Prospective Students. The more noise we make as collective members of the coding bootcamp world, the more accountability and trust will be required from ALL coding bootcamps.
Hack Reactor Cofounder and Chief Innovation Officer