Coding bootcamps are an extremely popular way to break into exciting and lucrative tech jobs, especially if you’re a complete code newbie. With their accelerated pace and focus on project-based learning, they quickly bring their graduates up to speed in the skills they need to succeed on the job. But they also come with a hefty price tag. The cost of coding bootcamps, even online ones, often ranges from $10,000 to $20,000. It’s safe to say that most of us can’t dig a sum like that out of the couch, so we’re left wondering what we’re going to do if we can’t afford to attend a coding bootcamp. Indeed, many people don’t even pursue their options because they’re certain they can’t pay for coding bootcamp.
Luckily, the same market forces that generated bootcamps in the first place have generated solutions to this problem.
A Simple Guide to Show You How to Pay for Coding Bootcamp
- Loans for Coding Bootcamp
Arguably the most obvious way to pay for coding bootcamp is a loan. There are two basic ways you can approach getting a loan to pay for your bootcamp.
A. You could go the traditional route and see if a bank or credit union will front you the money for your education. This works the same way it would for buying a house or a car; you’ll have a credit check, the institution will see if they want to take a risk on you, and you’ll negotiate terms the terms of your loan if you qualify.
B. Many coding bootcamps have partnered with a finance provider to provide special loans to their students. The interest on these loans can be a little high, but it’s usually possible to refinance them later to arrive at better rates.
- Income Share Agreements (ISAs) for Coding Bootcamp
With student loan debt reaching staggering proportions, many are understandably hesitant to take on more burdensome obligations they’ll be paying down for years. Luckily, there’s another common way of paying for coding bootcamp.
I’m talking about Income Share Agreements (ISAs). With an ISA, a bootcamp doesn’t require you to pay anything upfront (though you may be required to make a deposit to secure your spot). Instead, you agree to pay a certain fraction of your income after you graduate and get a job, up to a certain amount. Generally, you only have to pay this fraction if your earnings are above a certain threshold.
Many prominent bootcamp programs, like Flatiron School, Lambda School, and Thinkful are all utilizing this approach. It has been successful enough that even some traditional colleges, like Purdue University, allow students to borrow money in exchange for entering an ISA after graduation.
- G.I. Bill to Pay for Coding Bootcamp
The term ‘GI Bill’ refers to any education benefit earned by soldiers on active duty or in the Selected Reserve. The program is administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs for the purpose of helping soldiers transition into productive civilian roles after their military service.
GI Bills have usually been used to finance attending trade schools or colleges, but as bootcamps have become more popular, they’ve begun accepting GI Bills as well. So, one way you could potentially pay for coding bootcamp is to pursue a program that accepts the G.I. Bill.
Here’s a list of bootcamps that are currently GI Bill-approved. Note that this can change rapidly, so by the time you read this list, it could be outdated. Therefore, I encourage you to reach out to whatever programs you’re thinking of attending.
Coding Bootcamps that Accept G.I. Bill Funding:
Big Sky Code Academy
Cincy Code IT Bootcamps
Code Works Boise
Deep Dive Coding
Eleven Fifty Academy
Nashville Software School
New Horizons Computer Learning Centers
PDX Code Guild
San Diego Global Knowledge University
We Can Code IT
- Scholarships for Coding Bootcamp
Bootcamps know that the fees required for attending them can be well outside the range of what some students can afford. Because they’re interested in investing in promising individuals who may not have had the chance yet to achieve financial success, a variety of bootcamp scholarship options are available.
Career Karma has already produced the best list of bootcamp scholarships you’ll ever need, so I’m not going to duplicate it here. If you don’t see a scholarship for the program you want to attend, reach out to its facilitators. See if they are experimenting with any scholarships, or if they otherwise meet you halfway. Also, be sure to look for coding bootcamp scholarships for women or other underrepresented groups in tech.
- Employer Sponsorships to Pay for Coding Bootcamp
It’s true that the primary motivation of many bootcamp attendees is to re-tool for a new career. But this needn’t necessarily be the case. Many bootcamp attendees intend to stay at their current positions, but with an expanded programming or data science capacity.
If you work at the kind of place that likes to promote talent from within, it could be worth speaking with your supervisors about the possibility of your attending a coding bootcamp. In the conversation, you should focus on how your new skills will allow you to add value to the company and advance their bottom line.
Think of it this way: if someone approached you asking for $15,000 to learn to code and offered to make it worth your while, what would it take to convince you they were sincere?
Whatever the answer is, that’s what you should relate to your bosses.
- Crowdfund the Cost of Your Coding Bootcamp
Of all the amazing things that have been facilitated by the internet, one of the most exciting is the rise of crowdfunding. Harnessing the power of thousands of people, each making a small contribution, we have seen new games, new products, new forms of entertainment, and even surgeries and trips abroad financed on crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter.
Well, there’s no reason you can’t try to get your education crowdfunded too. Before you try this approach, there are a couple things you need to consider:
You’re definitely going to be competing with a lot of other people promoting ideas that range from awful to inspired. You’re going to need to do something to stand out, whether that is telling a compelling story or offering some novel perks to your backers.
People have successfully managed to get some truly crazy stuff crowdfunded, so your situation is not hopeless if you try to do the same.
- Get Help from Family to Cover the Cost of Coding Bootcamp
A classic hybrid of getting a loan + crowdfunding is passing a collection jar around to your immediate relatives. This seems like a silly suggestion for how to pay for coding bootcamp, but you’d be surprised how many family members would be happy to lend you a hand to so you can achieve your professional goals. Obviously, pretty much every detail of this process is going to depend on what you’re family is like.
Are your cousins going to charge you interest on a loan? If so, are their terms going to be competitive? I have no idea, I’ve never met your cousins.
But it never hurts to see if this channel is available to you.
Income Share Agreement Calculator
The Last Word on How to Pay for Coding Bootcamp
While bootcamps represent a significant investment of time, energy, and money, they are one of the single biggest steps you can take in quickly transitioning into a new role or a new career. With all their promise, many financing options have arisen to put them within reach for as many people as possible. So, even if you think you can’t afford coding bootcamp, be sure to assess all your options before you give up hope.
Best of luck!