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Coding boot camps can provide an opportunity to get into a career in computer science without the hefty price tag of a college degree. It’ll still cost you a pretty penny, though. Paying for coding boot camp may involve a mix of scholarships, loans, employer benefits and more.
Before you enroll, here’s what you need to know about the benefits you can glean from coding boot camps, how much they cost and how to pay for one.
What are the benefits of coding boot camp?
If you’re interested in a career in computer science, there are many reasons to consider a coding boot camp over a college degree in the field:
- Gain necessary skills in less time: The standard length of a coding boot camp is 12 weeks, according to ComputerScience.org, but course lengths can vary. If you want to make a career switch but don’t want the hassle of going back to school for two or more years, a boot camp is an excellent alternative.
- Enjoy lower tuition costs: Coding boot camps aren’t cheap, but you’ll likely still save money compared to a college degree.
- Develop a network quickly: As you get to know your fellow attendees, you’ll get the chance to build your network of motivated and like-minded people quickly. Putting in the work to establish those relationships can benefit you for years to come.
- Get help with your job search: College students are often on their own when it comes to finding a job, but with coding boot camps, you can usually work with a career counselor to improve your chances of getting a job after you’ve completed the course. In fact, some boot camps even offer partial or full refunds if you don’t find a job within a set period — though there are some limitations with these promises.
How much does a coding boot camp cost?
On average, a full-time coding boot camp costs $13,584, according to Course Report. However, options range from $7,800 to $21,000.
As you compare different boot camps that are available, check to see what you’re getting for your tuition. Less expensive doesn’t necessarily mean better. Do your due diligence to maximize the amount of value you get for your money.
How to pay for coding boot camp
There are a lot of different ways you can pay your way to a career in computer science. While federal financial aid through the FAFSA typically doesn’t cover boot camps, there are still options for scholarships, loans and more.
Many coding boot camps offer scholarships to their students, typically based on need or background. As you compare different options, check to see what scholarship options are available and the requirements you’d need to meet to receive one.
You can also search for private scholarships, which are offered by nonprofits, local organizations and websites. A scholarship search engine is one tool you can use to search for scholarships relevant to your experience and interests.
Coding boot camps aren’t eligible for federal student loans, and even most private student loan companies don’t offer financing. However, there are a few exceptions. Ascent, for example, is a student loan lender that has a loan program specifically designed for coding boot camps.
A personal loan could be another option to consider. Personal loans have very few limitations for how you can use your loan funds. Paying for a coding boot camp is generally considered to be an eligible option.
Before applying, shop around and compare interest rates and repayment terms. You should also strive to borrow as little as possible.
Income-share agreement or deferred tuition
With some boot camps, you may be able to defer the cost of your tuition until you get a job. App Academy is one example of a boot camp that offers this option.
Alternatively, some programs, like General Assembly, offer income-share agreements (ISAs). These programs cover your tuition in exchange for a percentage of future earnings for a set period. The main drawback of an ISA is that if you land a high-paying job, you may end up paying far more than if you had used another option.
Some employers may offer to cover boot camp tuition as an investment in their workforce. That said, you’ll want to double-check to see if a coding boot camp is an eligible program or if you’d need to attend college to get assistance.
GI Bill funds
If you’re a veteran, there are many coding boot camps that can accept GI Bill money. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ GI Bill Comparison Tool can help you find eligible programs in your area.
Is a coding boot camp worth it?
To determine if paying for a coding boot camp is worth it, it’s important to think about what you want to do with your career and how a boot camp can help you get there. While the upfront cost can be high, your return on investment can be even greater if the program helps you land a lucrative job.
That said, a career in software engineering isn’t for everyone. If you know someone who has done a coding boot camp, ask about their experience and advice. You may also ask co-workers or use online forums like Reddit to gather more information.
Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide if coding boot camp is right for you. Take as much time as you need to learn about both the benefits and drawbacks and what it can do for you in the long run.