How to Compare Bootcamp Career Outcomes
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Between the cost and the workload, attending a coding bootcamp can be a big investment. You might be thinking, "Is a coding bootcamp worth it?" Well, we'll let you answer that! But the most important outcome for most career switchers is getting a job after a coding bootcamp.
Career outcomes are an important factor to consider when making your coding bootcamp decision. In this article, we'll dive into what factors determine job placement rates, how to compare coding bootcamps, and your chances of getting a job after completing a coding bootcamp.
Job Placement Rates
Getting a job after graduating from a coding bootcamp is a major concern for most prospective students. It makes sense to consider a bootcamp's job placement rates when trying to find the right bootcamp for you.
It makes sense to consider a bootcamp's job placement rates when trying to find the right bootcamp for you.
However, before you dive into the data, you need to understand that most bootcamps are not accredited, and outcomes reporting is not typically required or regulated by any government body. Job placement rates are sometimes used as a marketing tool that bootcamps share to attract students, but not all job placement reports are created equal.
Some coding bootcamps submit their student outcomes to an organization called the Council on Integrity in Results Reporting (CIRR). These reports are usually audited by an objective third party. However, most coding bootcamps do not belong to CIRR, and some bootcamps may manipulate the career outcomes they put on their website.
That being said, career outcomes are still important to consider when choosing a coding bootcamp as long as you read the outcomes report carefully and treat unaudited reports with caution.
How to Understand Bootcamp Career Outcomes
Before you start comparing coding bootcamp outcomes, you need to understand how bootcamps calculate these outcomes. Here are some factors to pay attention to:
How the bootcamp defines "job" can inflate their graduate employment rates. Any of these definitions may be acceptable but not advertised by the bootcamp:
- Jobs outside of the field the bootcamp covers
- Jobs that were offered, but not accepted
- Contract positions
- Freelance work
- Part-time roles
- Founding your own business
How a bootcamp defines "job-seeker" can also affect outcome results. Some bootcamps, especially programs with money-back guarantees or income share agreements, include requirements for job-seeking students. Students may need to:
- Follow specific career search advice
- Complete a job search course module
- Attend career coaching meetings
- Apply for a specific number of jobs per week
- Attend workshops and networking events, or present coding projects to potential employers at a demonstration day
If a student doesn't meet all of these requirements, they may not be included in the number of graduates conducting a job search, thus skewing the employment placement rate.
Program completion statistics also impact employment rates. A bootcamp may inflate its outcomes by:
- Expelling poor-performing students
- Omitting the number of students who failed, dropped out of, or withdrew from the program
While many bootcamps do not manipulate their career outcomes reports, it's important to know how data may be selectively chosen to make a bootcamp's outcomes seem better than they are.
Many of the best bootcamps explicitly define the terms they use in an outcomes report, and detail their reporting methodology. Pay close attention to definitions like "job" and "job-seeker," and whether the bootcamp includes graduation statistics in its report.
If you can't find this information on the bootcamp's report or website, you can try contacting the bootcamp directly and asking them about how they define some of their outcomes categories.
The Chances of Getting a Job After a Bootcamp
Coding bootcamp job reports can be tricky to understand. While a bootcamp may boast a 90% post-bootcamp employment rate, that doesn't necessarily mean that you have a 90% chance of getting a job.
To calculate a more accurate number, you can multiply the coding bootcamp's graduation rate by its job placement rate. This number better represents the likelihood that you will both graduate and get a job if you enroll in the program. Of course, whether you graduate and find a job depends on a variety of factors, including your location and work ethic.
Your Coding Bootcamp Goals
It's also helpful to understand your coding bootcamp goals before you compare career outcomes. You should consider the type of coding job you want after a bootcamp, as well as what skills, experiences, and credentials might help you land that job. You should also evaluate your own learning needs and how you want to be supported throughout your career change.
Other Factors to Compare When Choosing a Bootcamp
Compare bootcamps thoroughly with your own goals in mind before you make a decision about which program is best for you. The following list describes a few more variables to consider when picking a coding bootcamp:
Look up alumni on LinkedIn and assess their career track. Do these career paths match with your professional goals?
Does the curriculum align with your tech career goals? Will you gain experience with valuable tools, programming languages, and hands-on projects?
Will you be able to finish the program? Does the bootcamp's pace and delivery method fit your learning needs?
Does the program provide tutoring, mentorship, or other methods to support you while you're completing assignments? And what career services does the bootcamp offer?