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Like this article? We recommend Code Schools Can Charge for Placement

Code Schools Can Charge for Placement

Some code schools see hiring managers and recruiters as a core component of their business model: By guiding graduates into open positions at partner companies, code schools can earn money both from students' tuition and from hirers' referral fees.

Alice Truong described one such set up in a Fast Company article: “Borrowing the model of recruiting firms, coding bootcamps charge partner companies a fee—upwards of 20% of candidates' first-year salaries—if their graduates accept an offer and end up working there. Programs try to incentivize students with tuition reimbursements, typically several thousand dollars. But for its first three classes, Hackbright Academy, an all-women bootcamp in San Francisco, fully refunded students who went to work for partner companies. The program has since reined in this policy, now offering a $3,000 reimbursement off the $15,000 tuition.”

As a result, many code schools are able to talk about great success stories, including finding jobs for every student in a class before they graduate, as evidenced by this Quora thread.

This sort of setup is a mixed blessing. It guarantees that code schools are making sure that at least a few local companies are aware of exactly what their curricula entail and what their graduates are capable of. But it also means that the schools are going to push students to take positions with a specific set of companies, shutting other recruiters out the running if they aren't prepared to pay.

Code schools also have an incentive to limit applicants to those students who are going to appeal to recruiters at the end of three months. That logic does mean that, long-term, hiring managers will think the best of code school graduates, but it also means that certain types of prospective students may be shut out of code schools.

Even the languages and tools that a student may learn during his or her time at a code school can be dictated by this sort of placement arrangement. If the companies recruiting from a code school need a certain skill set, that school's organizers will likely adjust the curriculum to address those needs—whether or not that change really improves a student's shot at a long-term career.

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