Feb 21, 2020

Uncovering the dark side of coding bootcamps

Lambda School

Last week, Lambda School—a popular and fast growing coding bootcamp—came under fire for its poor curriculum and haphazard administration. New revelations now highlight how the school may have also deceived students about job opportunities after graduation.

How it works: Students attend Lambda School for free, but agree to Income Sharing Agreements (ISAs). Upon graduation, any students that land a tech job that pays $50k or more will have to pay 17% of their income to Lambda for two years, or pay back $30k, whichever comes first.

For people hoping to change careers who are unable to finance their own education, ISAs open up new opportunities that otherwise would not be possible.

The success: Founded just three years ago, Lambda has raised $48M in venture funding from firms such as Y Combinator and Google Ventures. It claims that 86% of its graduates are hired within six months and now make over $50k a year.

The problem: That number is likely inflated. Leaked documents showed a mere 50% placement rate for cohorts that are six months graduated. Facing growing uproar from the development community, Lambda was forced to admit that some placement rates are far lower than what it advertised.

What’s next: Despite the backlash, Lambda intends to enroll 10,000 students in 2020. Internal documents revealed that it can be profitable if just 25% of its students find a tech job.

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