How Leading Coding Bootcamps Drive Job Placement Outcomes
Since 2012, coding bootcamps have become a valuable resource for individuals looking to transition to a career in tech. There are approximately 100 coding bootcamps operating in the US, which represent over 23,000 graduates (source: Code.org). Industry sites such as Course Report and SwitchUp have provided bootcamp rankings, but they have not taken into account objective measures of quality. In looking to provide a reliable ranking of coding bootcamps, it makes sense to turn to the most credible and transparent data source in the industry: CIRR, the Council on Integrity in Results Reporting.
A key indicator of outcomes is a bootcamp’s graduate job placement rate, which is defined as an accepted offer in a technology role within 180 days of graduation. Coding bootcamps are a major educational investment, and a high job placement rate shows a strong commitment to student ROI.
To maintain an excellent job placement rate, a bootcamp must excel in all components of the student experience. This includes building an admissions process that identifies students with strong natural aptitude, hiring experienced and empathetic instructors, building systems and processes to optimize the learning experience, supporting students from a career-readiness perspective, and developing strong relationships with hiring companies. “For $15,000, I doubled my earning potential in less than a year. That's one hell of a ROI.” David, graduate of Launch Academy’s immersive full-stack web development program (Course Report).
Coding bootcamps that are CIRR members commit to calculating placement outcomes based on a common reporting standard. Members demonstrate their accountability to students by publicly reporting their data every 6 months. All reported data is audited annually and is available at CIRR.org. Our editorial team has compiled the March 2019 reported results for the most recent 12 months of reporting (July 2017 through June 2018) to feature data for this article. You can access our reporting results here. “We’re proud of our outcomes as they are a measure of our ability to achieve Tech Elevator’s mission of elevating people, companies, and communities. Our mission can only be realized if our graduates are able to quickly gain in-field employment after their experience with us. We founded our coding bootcamp with this intent - not just to teach tech skills, but to transform lives through a meaningful career change. When we can succeed on an individual basis we have the power to impact a community through workforce transformation” Anthony Hughes, Tech Elevator’s co-founder, and CEO.
EXPERIENCED & ENGAGED INSTRUCTORS
In addition to being outcomes-focused, top-rated job placement coding bootcamps pride themselves on connecting students with exceptional instructors. On average, these bootcamp instructors have 15-25 years of practical development experience prior to teaching. Their job is not only to communicate content but also to guide career-changers through a professional transformation. In reviews on Course Report and SwitchUp, graduates frequently mention instructor quality as essential to their success. “Companies are seeking job-ready candidates in tech. Bootcamps offer an advantage in that we are teaching practical and up-to-date skills. Our graduates come out of the program with the ability to learn significant amounts of technology in a concentrated amount of time. That energy is worth investing in to grow engineers from entry-level positions to leaders in their field.” Dan Pickett, Co-Founder, Launch Academy.
Instructors with backgrounds in the industry are able to bridge the gap between Computer Science theory and practical application. An instructor's practical experience also enables them to teach the tools and methodologies that students will encounter in the workplace, setting them up for early success in their new role. Quality instructors continuously adjust the curriculum for industry relevance while also modeling the importance of lifelong learning for a successful career in technology.
As the CIRR results are demonstrating, full time, in-person education is a critical driver in achieving optimal student outcomes. In-person programs give students daily access to mentorship and feedback from instructors, as well as an environment of collaborative learning where they can focus, without distraction, on acquiring the skills necessary for career transformation.
CAREER PREP WITH CODING
Students chose the bootcamp path with a very clear goal in mind: to secure a job in technology. High-quality programs understand that acquiring tech skills is one part of the equation to securing a job and as a result, allocate additional resources to help their graduates succeed professionally. A significant majority of bootcamp students do not have a degree in computer programming, and as a result quality bootcamps work to prepare students to navigate the job search process as a non-traditional candidate.
“Lambda does not end when a student completes their course. Next is a program designed to keep graduates engaged while searching for their new job. There is a Career Development team that makes themselves readily available to any student who wishes to utilize the team's resources and help. The guidance provided during Next is just as important as learning the code.” Andrew, graduate of Lambda’s full-time, full-stack web development program (Course Report).
High-quality professional development programs believe in providing hands-on support, such as interview practice, career strategizing, resume building, and job search assistance. The best programs also provide connections with hiring partners, mentorship from alumni and industry insiders and continued career assistance well beyond graduation. "In addition to a rigorous technical curriculum, Turing’s students learn to effectively communicate, develop their personal brand, work in teams, write resumes, and add so many more important skills that are invaluable in any job search." Jeff Casimir, Executive Director, Turing School of Software and Design.
Applicants should be able to trust reported outcomes in order to choose the best school for their needs. As a result, transparency must be fundamental to any educational institution. When bootcamps communicate outcomes in a straightforward, public manner, students are positioned to make informed decisions about their training options.
“CIRR brings together bootcamps that are committed to quality and transparency so that students can make the best decisions for their investment in education. Members of CIRR are leaders in the bootcamp industry - as well as competitors - that choose to come together to share ideas and set best practices because they share the same ‘student-first’ values. CIRR not only provides a window into individual programs, but it also enables trends in the industry to be looked at from a global perspective.” Erin Frazier, Director of Operations, The Software Guild.
While many bootcamps have begun reporting with the intent of demonstrating transparency, often their headline numbers are the result of exemptions buried in the small-print of reports. That’s where CIRR stands out; it is the only active reporting standards organization where members agree to a common set of standards from which they can advertise results. CIRR’s detailed auditing process provides the most reliable data to rank bootcamps by quality and placement. Not only does this help prospective students understand their options, but it also guides hiring partners who are looking for quality technical talent.
“I have to tell you the course was hard, it will absolutely be harder than you think. Learning with motivated classmates who have the same goal as me was the most astonishing learning experience I have ever had. Tech Elevator not only teaches you how to code, it teaches you how to think like a developer. A lot of the time I felt like they were more serious about my success than I was, and I was serious! I got two job offers after I graduated and a whole new set of friends who are now in the same field as me. I am now working with a group of passionate and intelligent people at a great company with a huge increase in my salary and awesome perks. I couldn’t be more satisfied with my life now.” Jane, graduate of Tech Elevator’s Java 14-week program (Course Report).