Switching careers, especially to a technical field, is quite a challenge. For those who may need to keep their 9-to-5 or simply don’t have the time and resources to enroll in a full university program, a coding bootcamp can be a lifesaver — many offer night classes or work-at-your-own-pace options. But how do you know that you’re picking the right school?
One Atlanta-based coding school, Thinkful, is upping the game on its transparency by becoming the first southeastern member of a new organization that will create a single standard for reporting graduate data. The Council on Integrity in Results Reporting (CIRR) is a group of technical education programs from around the country that will provide — and enforce — specific standards for schools to report graduation rates and job placement data.
CIRR-accrediated schools will have to send graduation data twice a year. This will include graduation rates, time to graduate, placement rates, job types and titles, and salary information. This data will be validated each year by an independent third party.
Thinkful is an e-learning company that allows students to choose from and enroll in a medley of self-paced online classes such as web development, data science, design, and more.
Last year, Thinkful was the first online coding school to publish outcome stats of its graduates.
“Transparency is important to build trust with students, says Thinkful founder Darrell Silver. ‘We’re telling people they can achieve a huge life change, and that it won’t be cheap, and it will be a lot of work. When you do that, we believe it’s important to tell them our track record and explain it. It’s not the last step to building trust, but it’s an important one.”
The guidelines should also help would-be coders select schools that better match their needs.
“When everyone reports their own stats, using their own standards, it’s impossible to compare schools and understand their differences,” says Silver. “Our students choose based on location, community, mentors, price, outcomes, employers. It’s a complex decision and reliable data is crucial.”
CIRR comes out of a real need for this data to be standardized — coding bootcamps, online schools, and other “accelerated learning programs” are growing at lightning pace and seek a share of public education dollars.
“Our students are pioneers,” says Silver. “It’s crucial for pioneers leave the world easier for the next generation.”