With the abundance of online resources and learning platforms, it’s become easier to learn tech skills for free. The downside is that self-learning requires a lot of effort, time, and patience, as free courses usually lack the structure needed to learn efficiently. Not to mention, most of them only cover the fundamentals and don’t dive into more advanced topics.
So, enroll in a degree program then, you say. Well, while that’s certainly an option, taking the traditional route also comes with hefty tuition. This brings us to tech bootcamps, which are short-term yet immersive skills training courses designed to bridge the gap between online courses and degree programs.
But while a tech bootcamp is more affordable than a college degree, it can still be costly to some. To be precise, you can still expect to spend about $11,000 on average on a tech bootcamp.
So, what’s your next option?
We round up some of the most effective financing tips from tech bootcamp General Assembly alums to help you get the training you need and launch your dream tech career.
4 Ways to Pay for Your Tech Bootcamp
A career change does not only mean changing jobs; it could also mean changing your life for the better. This was what motivated General Assembly graduate Jermaine Ward to quit his job as a customer representative and transition into UX design. Jason Klundt, another graduate and a father to five children, was also in the same boat as he left his bus cleaning job to switch to tech with some of his savings.
Both hoping for a life-changing career switch, Ward and Klundt enrolled at General Assembly’s career change bootcamps, which have tuition fees of $15,950. So, how did they afford their bootcamp training? According to Ward and Klundt, it just takes a little creativity and financial savviness to afford your much-needed tech bootcamp training. Here are some tips they shared.
1. Have a Support System
If you’re in a full-time bootcamp, chances are you will spend at least 40 hours a week for three months attending classes and completing projects. It’s essentially similar to a full-time job. In other words, it would be nearly impossible to work to sustain yourself while in a tech bootcamp. While others have savings to fall back on, this is not the case for everyone.
With this in mind, Ward advises that you be honest with your limitations and seek help from people around you—your partner, family, or friends. In his case, he decided to move back into his parents’ house for the duration of the bootcamp.
“My financial situation back then was not good,” shares Ward, “and I knew transitioning to a tech career would be more difficult…I lived with my parents so as not to worry about rent and food.”
Ward also applied for a loan with the condition of paying it back before it started earning interest. That gave him six months after graduation to secure a job and earn enough to pay it back.
Klundt, on the other hand, had a little help from his wife to pay for the bootcamp. But that didn’t discount the fact that they still needed to tighten their belts as the economy took a hit from the pandemic. Luckily, he has a thrifty partner managing their expenditures.
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2. Be Conscious of Your Spending Habits and Talk to Finance Experts
This advice may seem like a no-brainer, but being aware of how you spend is one of the easiest and most effective ways to manage your finances. Simple things like eating at home, spending less on outings with friends, and using public transportation can save a lot of money. Mobile budget apps let you input your daily expenses and create weekly and monthly reports of where your money is going. This data can help you budget efficiently.
Ward adds, “Start allocating your money so you know where you’re at financially.” Knowing your financial status helps you plan better and ease your stress.
To further secure your finances, Klundt recommends seeking help from a financial expert. “I joined the Dave Ramsey Financial Group, and they helped us get right on track with our finances by simplifying our needs,” he shares.
Anyone can easily overspend their funds so it’s imperative to know your priorities and cut out what is unnecessary.
3. Find a Side Hustle
A full-time bootcamp is not for everyone. When push comes to shove, consider enrolling in a part-time bootcamp that allows you to have a day job. Find a job that pays your bills yet leaves you with enough energy to attend classes at night and complete your deliverables.
Aside from working blue-collar roles, many students take on freelance projects related to their existing skills. If you can string basic codes or create visual designs, you can take them into practice and earn extra money. You could also consider providing specialty skill tutoring gigs, which can earn you above $40 per hour.
4. Explore Your Tech Bootcamp’s Financing Options
General Assembly fully understands the financial hurdles that bootcamp students face. That’s why they offer several financing options to help ease your burden. You can opt for deferred payments or special discounts when applicable.
Deferred Payment Options
- Catalyst Income Share Agreement. Students who qualify for this deferred payment option can complete the bootcamp and pay the tuition fee when they secure a full-time job. A portion of their salary is allocated to the bootcamp, which affords them to live comfortably while learning.
- Installment Plans. Students need to deposit as little as $250. The remaining balance must be paid before they graduate from the bootcamp.
- 0% Interest Loan. Part-time students can avail of this loan, which lets them pay their tuition fee in monthly installments across a period of time after graduating from the bootcamp. A deposit of $250 is needed before starting the course.
- Deferred Loan. General Assembly partners with trusted private lending companies to offer loans to its students.
- Diversity Tuition Discount. Members who identify as women, transgender, nonbinary, and genderqueer can avail of a $1,500 discount. This discount applies only to General Assembly’s Immersives.
- Military Tuition Discount. Students on active duty, veterans, or partners of military personnel can receive a $1,595 tuition fee discount.
- Accessibility Tuition Discount. Students earning below $40,000 per year can apply for an accessibility discount. This discount allows them a $1,000 deduction.
- Merit Tuition Discount. Eligible students with coding, data science, data analytics, or UX design certifications receive up to a $1,000 tuition discount when they enroll in the bootcamp.
Invest in Yourself
A lot goes into transitioning into a new career. So it pays to give it your all and invest in yourself to get the maximum return. Klundt advises that you should know what to expect in terms of salary, roles, and career growth before your pursuit. These can become your motivators to succeed in the tech industry.
Your choice of bootcamp is vital to how you will fare in the real world. While bootcamps will not make you a master in your field, the training provided by General Assembly gives students enough training and career support to succeed.
Take it from Ward and Klundt. From being a customer service representative, Ward is now a UX Designer at TD Bank Group. Meanwhile, Klundt successfully moved up from cleaning buses to becoming a VP Software Engineer at Bank of America. Impressive, right?
Ready to move forward and follow their lead? Talk to General Assembly’s admissions team and see which financing option is right for you.
About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.