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The job outlook for software developers is expected to grow 25% by 2031, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics — far higher than the national average for all professions. This makes coding bootcamp a popular alternative to attending a four-year university.
The coding bootcamp market grew 1,047% between 2013 and 2020, according to Course Reports. And for 2020 coding bootcamp graduates, the average starting salary was $69,079.
Here’s what you need to know about coding bootcamp and how to pay for it:
- How do coding bootcamps work?
- What’s the average cost of coding bootcamp?
- How to pay for coding bootcamp
- Are coding bootcamps worth it?
How do coding bootcamps work?
Coding bootcamps are intensive programs you can complete in a few months rather than several years. In general, most bootcamps last for three to four months.
Different types of programs are available, depending on your needs:
- In-person programs: Some of the biggest coding bootcamps have in-person curriculums, with rigorous all-day schedules that include lectures, hands-on challenges, portfolio building, and collaboration with other students.
- Remote or part-time programs: If you prefer to study online or can’t attend classes in person, you can choose a remote program. Part-time options are also available if you want to continue working while you study. Just remember that while a part-time approach can help you finance your education, the program will take longer to complete than a full-time one.
Keep in mind that because of the time restrictions, coding bootcamps can’t be as comprehensive as a four-year bachelor’s degree. Rather than giving you a grounding in mathematics and science, bootcamps focus solely on software and programming.
By the time you finish the bootcamp, you’ll have:
- Developed a portfolio to show potential employers
- Worked on your interview skills
- Built an online presence
Most bootcamps will help you with job searching but don’t guarantee career placements.
Learn More: Where to Get a Personal Loan
What’s the average cost of coding bootcamp?
While coding bootcamps are less expensive than a four-year degree, they’re still a significant investment. In 2020, the average coding bootcamp tuition was $14,142, with courses ranging from $3,500 to $30,000, according to Course Report.
Here are some other costs to keep in mind:
- Preparatory courses: Depending on the program, you might need to complete preparatory courses before enrolling in the coding bootcamp. These courses give you foundational knowledge before you start the curriculum and can cost hundreds of dollars.
- Room and board, plus living expenses: Make sure you account for room and board, plus additional living costs when costing out bootcamps. For example, if you attend an in-person bootcamp in an area with a high cost of living (like Los Angeles or New York), you might end up paying thousands of dollars on top of tuition to rent an apartment and pay for basic living expenses. Alternatively, you may find a coding bootcamp with high tuition rates, often referred to as “residential” or “immersive” bootcamps, that provide room and board to participants.
- Equipment and supplies: You’ll need a computer and reliable internet connection to participate in most coding bootcamps, both of which you should set up prior to enrolling. Depending on the program’s requirements, you may also need to purchase additional software, textbooks, or other supplies.
- Opportunity costs: Attending a coding bootcamp might require you to take time off work or away from other commitments. This can result in lost wages or opportunities. Make sure you weigh the potential benefits of attending a bootcamp against the costs of taking time away from other pursuits.
Check that the school reports to the Council on Integrity in Results Reporting, a nonprofit organization that documents student outcomes for coding bootcamps.
The school should disclose its student graduation rates, how many students go on to find employment, and how much students earn after graduation on average.
Learn More: How Can I Get Personal Loans With No Credit Check?
How to pay for coding bootcamp
Coding bootcamps are for-profit institutions with short-duration programs. Because they’re not degree-granting schools, they’re not eligible for federal financial aid or private student loans. But you still have a few different financing options.
Many boot camps offer scholarships for low-income individuals, women, minorities, and those who have overcome adversity or are dedicated to using technology to better their communities.
For example, the Diversity Scholarship Fund offers a scholarship that pays 50% to 75% of the tuition bill for women, minorities, and veterans taking eligible courses at the boot camp that offers the scholarship.
And the Edie Windsor Coding Scholarship offers 50% funding for LGBTQ, technical women, and non-binary individuals learning to code at one of several coding bootcamps.
Use GI Bill benefits
If you’re a military veteran, you might qualify for GI Bill benefits that could cover some or all of your education costs. However, not all coding bootcamps qualify for GI bill benefits. Military veterans will need to contact the school they wish to attend directly to find out if their GI Bill benefits are eligible.
Apply for the EQUIP Pilot Program
The U.S. Department of Education launched the Educational Quality through Innovative Partnerships (EQUIP) Pilot Program to offer federal financial aid to attendees of select non-traditional training programs.
Three coding bootcamps are eligible for EQUIP: The Flatiron School, HackerRank, and MakerSquare. Visit each school’s website for more information on how to apply for aid.
Get a coding bootcamp loan
Though not all lenders offer specific loans for coding bootcamps, there are some options you can consider. The following lenders offer coding bootcamp loans to help cover the cost of tuition:
- Skills Fund: This lender is solely dedicated to the bootcamp space. They offer both tuition and living expense loans with flexible repayment options, including the ability to make no payments while you study and for three months after completing your program.
- Upstart: This lender offers loans for certain bootcamps that they support. If you’re accepted to one of the supported bootcamps, you’re eligible to apply for a loan.
- Ascent: This lender offers loans for tuition and living expenses and sends the tuition directly to your school. Ascent’s three-step process includes an application that can be completed in minutes.
- Sallie Mae: Although they don’t offer coding bootcamp loans specifically, Sallie Mae offers the Smart Option Student Loan® for Career Training. This loan helps borrowers pay for professional training and trade certificate courses, like coding bootcamp.
Consider an income-share agreement
With some coding bootcamps, such as The Flatiron School, you can finance your education with an income-share agreement (ISA).
With an ISA, you make a tuition deposit and pay nothing else until after you graduate, secure a job, and begin earning a predetermined minimum income. Once you meet that threshold, you’ll start making monthly payments equal to a percentage of your income.
An ISA could be a good idea if you don’t qualify for other financing options like personal loans. However, keep in mind that an ISA might cost you more in the long run compared to alternatives.
Take out a personal loan
Another option is to take out a personal loan to cover your tuition and living expenses. Personal loans are unsecured (meaning they don’t require collateral) and usually come with a fixed interest rate and fixed monthly payment.
You’ll also be able to choose between a short-term or long-term personal loan, depending on the lender.
What if I don’t have good credit? If you have poor or bad credit, you might be able to qualify for a personal loan with a cosigner, similar to private student loans. This could get you a lower interest rate or monthly payment.
Learn More: How to Get a $20,000 Personal Loan
It’s a good idea to use a personal loan calculator to see how much a personal loan will cost you first. Use our calculator below to estimate your monthly payments.
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If you decide to take out a personal loan, be sure to shop around and consider as many lenders as possible to find the right loan for you. Credible makes this easy — you can compare rates from all of our partner lenders in the table below in just a few minutes.
|Lender||Fixed rates||Loan amounts|
|7.99% - 35.99% APR||$7,500 to $50,000|
|9.95% - 35.99% APR||$2,000 to $35,000**|
|7.99% - 15.19% APR||$10,000 to $50,000|
|8.99% - 35.99% APR||$2,000 to $50,000|
|6.99% - 24.99% APR||$2,500 to $35,000|
|10.5% - 29.99% APR||$5,000 to $40,000|
|8.3% - 35.89% APR||$1,000 to $40,000|
|7.99% - 35.99% APR||$2,000 to $36,500|
|5.99% - 23.99% APR||$5,000 to $100,000|
|18.0% - 35.99% APR||$1,500 to $20,000|
|7.74% - 17.99% APR||$600 to $50,000
(depending on loan term)
|5.99% - 35.99% APR||$3,500 to $40,000|
|8.99% - 23.43% APR10||$5,000 to $100,000|
|11.69% - 35.93% APR7||$1,000 to $20,000|
|8.49% - 35.97% APR||$1,000 to $50,000|
|5.4% - 35.99% APR4||$1,000 to $50,0005|
Are coding bootcamps worth it?
Coding bootcamps offer a practical and efficient way to learn the necessary skills for a career in the tech industry, which makes them a great option if you’re looking for a career change that doesn’t require obtaining a traditional four-year degree first. Many boot camps even offer career services, which can help you land your first job in the industry.
Additionally, completing a coding bootcamp program can be a great way to gain experience and explore the field before deciding whether to pursue a four-year degree, like computer science, software development, or data science. If you do choose to go down this path, a coding bootcamp on your resume can help you stand out as a strong candidate for future jobs, while still preserving your eligibility for student loans.
Kat Tretina has contributed to the reporting of this article.