Should tech bootcamps keep using job placement metrics in their advertising?

Should tech bootcamps keep using job placement metrics in their advertising?

Coding bootcamp Nucamp will no longer publish job placement metrics in its advertising materials, a move that CEO Ludovic Fourrage is making to rebuild student trust in the industry.

“Students have to be accountable for finding the right job in the industry, and too often placement is easily used as a justification of increasing the cost of education without necessarily looking at the quality of the kind of education,” he said.

“Now, that does not mean we don’t care about the placement; of course we care and we measure it, but we will never want the registration decision of the students based on that promise, because right now that promise is extremely disputed in the industry.”

The move is less about Nucamp declaring that it doesn’t market its placement rates, and more indicative of a broader issue: job placement is the most in-demand outcome, but also one of the hardest to deliver. Edtech has always been in pursuit of a magic metric, but measuring success for the sector remains elusive.

Fourrage launched his bootstrapped startup, a full-stack coding bootcamp with a focus on affordable education, in 2017 – a year before Lambda School raised its first millions from venture capitalists.

“What we found about [income-share agreements], which was very intriguing and surprising, is how much students are not able to understand the value of what they are buying,” Fourrage said. “[They were] very confused between the value of the education, with the value of the outcome, or the potential outcome.” He believed that consumers didn’t question Lambda’s high price tag because of the advertised and promised outcome of job placement.

Fourrage immediately saw Lambda, which recently rebranded to Bloom Institute of Technology, as a direct competitor, even though tuition at Lambda was nearly double that of what Nucamp charged. The flashy Lambda, led by Austen Allred, sported a Y Combinator stamp of approval and an enticing pitch in the income-share agreement: Graduates only pay tuition off a future income.

“The challenge with that is that promise very often doesn’t materialize, and so that’s the vicious cycle that we want to break,” he said.

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