In our increasingly digital world, the demand for skilled computer programmers continues to rise. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of software developers will grow by 26% between 2016 and 2026.
As a result of this demand, we have seen about 100 coding bootcamps crop up around the world since 2012. The average bootcamp costs $11,400 and lasts about 14 weeks, according to Course Report. During that time, students get an intensive crash course on digital skills such as web development and UX/UI design.
By the end, graduates will be ready to start a new career in tech. While expensive, the investment can pay off quickly as graduates report an average starting salary of $78,000.
But what if you don’t have $11,000 lying around to pay for the program?
Not to worry, there are ways to make it happen, and below are nine ways to do so. Here’s what you need to know about coding bootcamp loans and financing.
How to pay for a coding bootcamp
Jonathan Lau, owner of SwitchUp, says, “Bootcamp students are not typically eligible for financial aid, so students who attended bootcamps when they emerged several years ago had to rely on savings, personal loans, or, in some instances, creative methods like crowdfunding.”
He adds, “Now that bootcamps are more mainstream, however, students have many more options to pay for their education.”
Here are nine financing options for coding bootcamps:
1) Bootcamp payment programs
First, check with the bootcamp(s) you are interested in to see if they have any programs to help with the cost.
“Bootcamps offer several options to help underrepresented groups to afford a tech education,” says Lau. For example, Ironhack, Bloc, and many others offer scholarships ranging from $500 to $1,000 to women and veterans. Additionally, Flatiron offers 25 $1,500 scholarships every month to applicants who show progress in free intro courses.
“The bootcamps themselves have also introduced new options to help students with cost. Some programs, like App Academy, do not require tuition upfront: instead, students pay back a percentage of their salary after they land a job,” explains Lau.
The way it works is App Academy has a deferred payment plan where you put down a $5,000 refundable deposit, and you don’t pay the remaining $23,000 until you get hired and earn over $50,000 per year. Another hybrid option enables you to pay $9,000 upfront and the remaining $14,000 after you land a job.
Lau adds, “Similarly, ‘Income Share Agreements’ have become more popular. This is where students pay a percentage of their salary after they land a job if their salary is above a certain threshold. In this approach, both the school and the student share the risk.”
Align is a good of example of a lender with an income share agreement model.
All of these can be very helpful and reduce the need for borrowing.
2) Bootcamp lenders
If you need more than what is available from the company running the program, many bootcamps partner with lenders that finance the costs for qualifying students. Here are a few of the top coding bootcamps and their lender partners:
- Epicodus: Skills Fund, Climb, WeFinance
- App Academy: Upstart, Pave, Affirm
- Ironhack: Climb Quotanda Spain
- Flatitron School: SkillsFund
- Bloc: SkillsFund
- Startup Institute: Climb and SkillsFund
Lau says, “Increasingly, bootcamp students are taking out private loans to finance their education. As the number of bootcamp students grows, private lenders have become adept at offering attractive terms.
For example, some lenders offer deferred payment plans, in which students pay interest only while they are in the program and for a short period after. This allows students to stave off any serious costs until they land a job.”
The lenders will each have their own underwriting guidelines which the bootcamp has no control over, so you must qualify to get the funding. If you can get approved, it’s a great route to take.
Typically, the loans come with repayment periods ranging from one to five years and an annual percentage rate based on your creditworthiness.
It’s a good idea to shop around and compare the total costs with each lender so you can pick the best one.
3) Personal loans
You can also apply for a personal loan from a private lender which you can use for whatever purpose you want, including a bootcamp. Similar to the loans from lenders that partner with bootcamps, you will have to apply and get approved.
Again, be sure to compare various lenders and their offerings to ensure you meet the eligibility requirements and get a good deal. Take note of each lender’s loan amount limits, repayment periods, interest rates, fees, and flexible payment options.
You may be able to find longer repayment terms than those that are available with loans specifically for bootcamps.
4) Credit cards
Good old credit cards may be able to cover the bill, as well. If you have a fair amount of credit established, you will likely be able to get a credit card limit high enough to cover the costs.
The problem is, credit cards often have higher interest rates than installment loans. That could end up costing you if you carry a large balance for too long.
However, one solution that can help is getting a credit card with a 0% interest introductory period. The no-interest period typically ranges from six months up to 21 (with the Citi Simplicity card). That may give you enough time to complete the 14-week course, get a job, and pay it back with absolutely no interest.
If you can’t pay it off in full by the time your interest rate jumps up, you could transfer the balance to another card with an introductory rate or pay it off with a personal loan.
If the above options don’t work for you, you can also start a campaign to raise the money from your family, friends, and strangers.
Crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and GoFundMe allow you to tell others why you need their help and how much you need. Then, you promote the campaign and “the crowd” can come together to contribute and help you reach your goal.
6) Employer sponsorship
Will the skillset you acquire from the coding bootcamp be of value to your current or future employer? If so, you can approach them and request a sponsorship.
Lau says, “Some students are able to make the case that the skills learned at a bootcamp will add value to their employer. While this situation accounts for a small percentage of immersive students, it is becoming more common for part-time bootcamp students who can continue to work while in the program.”
Are there any federal loans for coding bootcamps? Not as of yet. However, some assistance programs are in the works.
In August of 2016, the U.S. Department of Education announced the start of the Educational Quality through Innovation Partnerships (EQUIP) pilot program. It is designed to provide financial aid to students, primarily those with a low-income, who want to attend programs from non-traditional training providers.
Only eight institutions were invited to participate and four of them were coding bootcamps:
- The Flatiron School
- Zip Code Wilmington
Upon approval, they will be able to provide government-backed financial assistance to qualifying students.
8) Reboot Northwest
Reboot Northwest is a program funded by the federal government designed for people who:
- Have been underemployed for 27 weeks or more
- Are underemployed
- don’t have a job and are a veteran
- Are unemployed and the spouse of a veteran
If selected to participate, you’ll receive career coaching and will make a plan for your professional future. The program partners with leading IT employers, manufacturing employers, and even some coding bootcamps like Epicodus to help participants get the training they need.
9) The Workforce Services Division of the California Employment Development Department
The Workforce Services Division of the Employment Development Department will cover bootcamp costs for up to 15 students per year if the student’s job had been outsourced to another country.
A couple of students that have graduated from Origin Code Academy in San Diego have tapped into the California Employment Development Department to have their $12,000 tuition costs covered.
Government programs are still few and far between. However, they are emerging and will likely continue to do so as the workforce’s demand for developers continues to grow.
Find the right coding bootcamp financing for you
If you have your mind set on attending a coding bootcamp, don’t let the price tag put you off. There are many options to help you take the first step toward a lucrative career. Software development is on the upward swing, and it’s a good time to get in if you have the interest.
Ready to start shopping? SuperMoney’s loan offer engine can help you find the best rates available.