Launch Academy is proud to announce we’ve joined the CIRR coalition.
Glad you asked! But first, some background...
Let's Look at the ROI on Traditional Education
Humans trust colleges—but nowadays, this trust comes more from tradition than job outcomes. Google “college job placement rates” and you’ll find nothing of consequential value to inform you of the job placement rates of higher education institutions.
That's by design.
According to a recent New York Fed study cited in MarketWatch, some 45 percent of college grads worked in a “non-college job” (e.g., a position in which fewer than 50 percent of qualified workers need a bachelor’s degree).
Doesn’t seem particularly trustworthy—nor a good return on investment.
So why do we still covet a college education when the ROI of a $200K degree doesn’t add up? It's a habitual cycle, further complicated by expectations and pressure from peers, friends, and family. Add in the unknown and unfamiliar—such as a new form of education, like a coding bootcamp—and resistance may grow even stronger. Trust has to be earned—starting with transparency in reporting.
The rise of immersive education models such as coding bootcamps came in response to the challenges of obtaining a college degree and a job post-graduation. The promise was simple: Attend XYZ coding bootcamp (there were about five of us in the beginning, back in 2013) and have a 95 percent chance (give or take) of getting a job. This worked for the first year or two of our industry. Then more bootcamps entered the scene. A lot more.
According to Course Report and SwitchUp, two coding bootcamp review sites, there are more than 100 coding bootcamps currently operating worldwide. Some have been here from the beginning, such as Flatiron School, Hack Reactor, and us (to name a few). Others arrived shortly thereafter, but most have opened over the last two years. In short, this was a new industry—and standards hadn’t been developed.
As such, the definitions of job placement and student outcome terms were different at nearly every coding bootcamp. Some programs considered a student who graduated and was placed at a job within six months to be within their placement rate. Others considered students who received an interview to be within their placement rate. It got messy and our industry was going the way of ambiguous higher ed placement rates.
But worst of all, not having standards was confusing for students, who held outcomes high in their decision-making process. We were becoming the exact institutions we were trying to expose.
Something had to change.
The Council on Integrity in Results Reporting (CIRR) is the most widely accepted standard in bootcamp reporting. The coalition of more than 30 participating coding bootcamps assembled to establish and implement best practices across the coding school industry nationwide.
With CIRR, participating coding bootcamps commit to publish standardized coding bootcamp graduation and job placement data—and thus provide a clear communication of outcomes to prospective students.
As we mentioned, Launch Academy is proud to be part of the CIRR coalition. Transparency, dedication in standards, and accuracy in reporting is vital to build trust. CIRR helps establish and maintain this trust, while also giving students a clear framework to compare their options across multiple participating bootcamps.
“What the bootcamp industry really needs to stand for is simplicity,” says Dan Pickett, co-founder of Launch Academy. “Someone looking for a bootcamp needs to be able to go in and, at a glance, have easy understanding of the results. As this develops, students are going to have a much clearer understanding of what their options are on both a local and national level.”
The CIRR reporting methodology shows students how job placement statistics are calculated via a simple table in which participating bootcamps must report multiple student outcome variables for all their enrolled students, including full-time, part-time, and contract employment, as well as those who go on to be entrepreneurs, and more. By breaking the placement data down in a granular fashion, the power moves from a bootcamp’s marketing team to the student. It also goes beyond a single average salary statistic, providing a format to report income brackets for graduates, as well as common job titles. The CIRR standard is different from most other reporting formats because it reports on every student who enrolled in a bootcamp’s classes, making it completely transparent.
Joining us in the coalition will be Course Report and Switch Up, as well as SkillsFund, a student financier in the bootcamp space. This gold standard in reporting will help aspiring bootcamp students make more clear, and truth-based, decisions.
How Launch Academy Will Report Placement Rates
Prior to CIRR, as a licensed school in the states which we operate, Launch Academy reported placement rates based on State’s Department of Education and Department of Professional Licensure requirements. In order to operate as a licensed school, we are required to comply with the unique reporting standards set by each state’s governing body. We will continue to report our outcomes on the basis of the State licensure requirements for regulatory reasons, in addition to CIRR’s requirements.
But in our dedication to full transparency, we’re taking things a step further. This fall, we’ll be publishing an independently verified jobs report. Overall you should expect a slight decrease in the percentage of in-field graduates among all CIRR schools. This won’t be a huge jump, but CIRR reporting standards are more stringent than most individual schools offered, so most bootcamps participating are reporting a decrease under the new standard.
How Bootcamp Students Can Shop Wisely
Our intentions today remain consistent with the values from Day One of very first cohort: to provide an inexpensive way for someone to learn a new, in-demand skill which will allow them to change their career to something they love. CIRR ensures this intention will be standardized—and sustainable— as our industry becomes increasingly mainstream.
Google coding bootcamp placement rates and you’ll see results from CIRR. Browse the site: You’ll be able to research clear student outcomes for the coding bootcamp industry.
And who knows—Perhaps someday you’ll also see this for higher education.
Best of luck on your coding journey. We hope to see you soon.
Evan Charles is the founder and COO of Launch Academy.