The most impressive element and biggest appeal of many coding bootcamps is their outcomes data, specifically hiring rates and average starting salary. While the culture and reputation of our schools are very important factors, the ultimate reason many students attend is that our programs offer radical career acceleration in a short timeframe. That’s why outcomes data has been a fundamental metric of our success since we started.
With the proliferation of coding bootcamps, more schools are releasing similar statistics, but some are quick to point out that there are no industry standards. Nathan McAlone (@nmcalone) wrote a piece for Business Insider, addressing this specific issue, with help from Drew Sing of coding school Bloc:
“[T]he lack of clarity in placement statistics makes success metrics "easy to game,” Sing contends. Basically, his opinion is that any bootcamp that wants to spin data can achieve over 90% placement, though he is no doubt more willing to be critical of the practice since Bloc itself has chosen not to publish these kind of statistics.”
Bloc is not alone in not publishing its outcomes data--most coding schools do not. Our approach is to be as transparent as possible to show that we are not cooking the books. When we say that 99% of our students receive an offer within three months of graduating, we do not include those who go on to our three-month apprenticeship program until after they leave Hack Reactor and are out on the job market. We also do not count graduates who go back to their previous job (a fairly rare occurrence), and any others who are not seeking jobs on the open market. The same is true for our other key metric: a $105,000 average starting salary.
There are many ways to judge a coding school, and outcomes data provides a key objective metric.
Eventually, there will be greater transparency across the education tech industry, both as a likely requisite for student loans, which are starting to enter the coding bootcamp space, and through NESTA, the industry organization we cofounded. Soon, the coding school space will have standardized outcomes data unlike anything seen in the traditional university space.
When programs in any field claim they will have a direct impact on your earning potential, it’s important they back that claim up with hard data wherever possible. We will continue to hold ourselves to the highest standard when reporting how our students have benefitted from the program, and we will push the rest of the industry to do the same.