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Introducing TRACE, Rithm’s New Outcomes Standard

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Rithm School

Dec 15, 2023

Rithm School is in the process of completing an official audit through accounting firm Elliot Davis for our H2 2022 and H1 2023 results. Ahead of this publication, we wanted to highlight a few important factors to add context to the results published on our website

Our report uses a newly created-by-us set of standards, called TRACE (Transparent Reporting for Accelerated Coding Education), which we will dive into shortly.

Some of our core values as a company are honesty, transparency and integrity. This has never wavered and given the rapidly shifting environment we are in, it’s more important than ever that we double down on this commitment to our values. 

State of the market

While the market was still doing relatively well in H1 2022 (January 1 – June 30, 2022), with the coming layoffs starting to appear toward the end of this timeframe, H2 2022 (July 1 – December 31, 2022) graduate outcomes are a significant marker for how the tech industry layoffs and changes have impacted bootcamps in 2023. We know that H1 2023 will also be very significant results that reflect the most recent picture of the market. Please stay tuned for those results, as we know this is a key data set in your decision-making process.

Data points

There are a few key metrics to consider as you evaluate outcomes. The first is the size of our data sets. We are very proud of our commitment to have small cohorts with a 5:1 student-to-instructor ratio, as we know students are more successful when they get the hands-on support that they need. That said, because of these small class sizes, each student strongly impacts our data. If one person becomes uncommunicative or takes longer to land a job, it significantly impacts our results. This is why it’s crucial to keep the size of the data set in mind as you review any bootcamp’s outcomes reports.

In addition to this, the market started to see some changes by the end of H1 2022, which impacted our graduates who became job seekers during this tumultuous time. Job seeking during H2 2022 (and throughout all of 2023 thus far) has posed large challenges as more companies conducted layoffs, hiring slowed or fully stopped, and the market has been flooded with unemployed, job-seeking talent. We aren’t shying away from this: All of this shows up in our report, because we know that it’s information you need in order to decide which bootcamp is right for you. 

Lastly, as you are evaluating bootcamp reports, we encourage you to calculate true program outcomes by considering both graduation and outcomes rates. True outcomes data requires evaluating the percentage of enrolled students who ultimately got jobs (not the percentage of the graduated students who got jobs). Additionally, if a bootcamp’s numbers don’t reflect the market, proceed with caution. While each program will be impacted differently, it is reasonable to expect a dramatic shift in current outcomes due to the change in the job market.

How do we collect data and evidence of placement?

Official auditors collect written documentation directly from each graduate via an email survey along with observing Linkedin profile data in order to accurately report outcomes. 

What are documentation requirements?

Eligible documentation will:

  • State the offer date or start date (The offer date will be used for placement data)
  • State that the position is paid (Unpaid offers and positions do not qualify as successful outcomes)
  • State a job title that falls under an in-field classification used by Bureau of Labor Statistics SOC codes or includes confirmation by the graduate that the job requires the software engineering skills learned at Rithm School
  • In the case of entrepreneurship, confirmation by the graduate that they chose to pursue entrepreneurship full time
  • In the case that the graduate is still seeking an in-field position after 180 days post-graduation, confirmation that the graduate is still seeking

About TRACE

As mentioned previously, we decided to create our own reporting standards. Why? Because we felt the BPPE (Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education, created to protect students and consumers through the oversight of California’s private postsecondary educational institutions) left room for gray area, and because no other existing reporting standards felt as transparent as we want to be in our reporting. 

Our goal was to create something that when boiled down meant: Did you enter our program with the intention to graduate and get a job as an engineer? Did this intention change while you attended bootcamp (each student is asked in their last week of the program)? If so, were you eligible to get a job? If the answer to both questions was yes, then you’re included in the six month marker of job placement success. While there are other reporting standard options available to bootcamps, like CIRR and GRAD, we do not feel they report as transparently as necessary for prospective students who use these data reports heavily in their decision-making process. Regardless of how this may affect how our outcomes are compared to other programs’, we created TRACE in alignment with our value of transparency. 

Here is a snapshot of TRACE reporting (with full outline linked here). 

We include in our placement statistics people who: 

  • Enrolled in our program AND
  • Successfully completed and graduated our program AND
  • Confirmed their intention to get a job in the field of software engineering AND
  • Have secured or not secured an in field position at the end of the job search period (180 days immediately following graduation)
  • Were selected to join the Rithm instructional and engineering team (if we hire a graduate, we report it as an internal hire, and they are hired for full time employment)*

* There is a known industry practice for bootcamps to hire graduates on a three month contract and count them toward a successfully placed graduate. We recommend digging into a bootcamp’s reporting if this seems like a practice they may have. 

We exclude from our placement statistics people who:

  • Enrolled in our program, and successfully completed and graduated our program BUT cannot look for a job in the field of software engineering: graduates who after graduating, die, become incarcerated, are called to active military duty, international students who leave the US or do not have work authorization in the US, or are continuing education; OR
  • Enrolled in our program BUT did not complete or graduate from our program
    • These are considered withdrawals and are counted towards our graduation rates
    • Students who leave within the first four weeks of the course are offered a full tuition refund (minus deposit).

What does this mean?

The outcomes of our program have always been central to what we do. While we can’t control the job market, we can control our response to it. Some of the changes we’ve made to our program in response to the market include: 

  • Continued commitment to ensuring that we don’t admit prospective students until we are confident that they will thrive not just in our program, but on the job search.
    1. We have added a behavioral interview to our final interview, which is weighed equally to the technical interview portion. We have also raised the bar on the technical side to ensure student skills align with market needs. 
  • Continued investment in career services resources and support to ensure all students are supported and met where they are at in the process.
    1. We have iterated on our career services curriculum to ensure students receive relevant advice based on current market and recruiting trends. We have added an extra week to our program, meaning that students now have two dedicated weeks to career preparation, as well as lectures interspersed through the program beginning in Week 10.
    2. We offer both group and individual coaching calls to ensure every type of learner is supported. While group coaching maintains the community and accountability that are so important to our program, individual coaching allows us to tailor our support to graduates from totally different professional and educational backgrounds.
    3. We continue to offer lifelong career support, and have successfully helped alumni impacted by layoffs secure new jobs in the field.
  • Created a partnership with Merit for mentorship by industry professionals to support graduates with interview prep and ongoing support and development. 
  • Pursuit of hiring partnerships to bring job opportunities to our students. 
  • Maintain constant dialogue as a team around how to improve our processes to ensure the best outcomes for our students. 

Our invitation

If you have any questions about our placement numbers, TRACE, or anything else, we welcome them. You can email us at info@rithmschool.com.

If you are a decision maker at a bootcamp and want to join us in simplifying reporting data by adopting TRACE standards, we welcome your partnership. Please reach out by emailing sophie@rithmschool.com

We appreciate you taking the time to read through our report and new reporting standards. We look to the future with realistic optimism and gratitude for the challenging and meaningful work we do as a larger bootcamp community. 

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