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If you’d like to begin a career in technology but haven’t worked in the field before, attending a coding boot camp can give you the skills you need to get hired and perform the job successfully – without the hefty price tag of a college degree.
According to Course Report, a boot camp review website, 79 percent of coding boot camp alums landed a job after completing their program. On top of that, graduates also saw a median 56 percent salary increase post-boot camp.
Enrolling in one of these programs can change your career trajectory – but these benefits come at a cost. The good news is that there are several ways to pay for coding boot camps, including scholarships, loans and employer benefits.
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 returning 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 to build your network of motivated and like-minded people quickly. Putting in the work to establish those relationships can benefit you for years.
- 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. 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 to these promises.
To determine if paying for a coding boot camp is worth it, it’s important to consider 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.
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, check to see what you’re getting for your tuition. Less expensive doesn’t necessarily mean better. Do your due diligence to maximize the value you get for your money.
How to pay for coding boot camp
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 programs, check to see what scholarship options are available and what requirements you 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 can help you find 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 with a loan program specifically designed for coding boot camps.
A personal loan could be another option to consider. Personal loans have few limitations on how you can use your loan funds. Paying for a coding boot camp is 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 can 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), which 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 pay 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, look into one of the 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 qualifying programs in your area.
The thought of paying for coding boot camp can be intimidating, but if you’re serious about pursuing a career in tech, the expense may be worth it in the long run. If you’re eligible, you can reduce the cost of your coding education by applying for scholarships or employee benefit programs. Otherwise, you can use a loan to borrow money and repay after you’ve landed a job in your new field.