One of the most challenging, and least fun, aspects of going back to school to transition careers is figuring out just how you’re going to pay for it. For a bootcamp, like any school, you’ll of course have the option of borrowing money. However, if you’re wary of taking on debt, there are a few creative ways out there to finance your career transition.
Land a scholarship
Many coding bootcamps offer some kind of scholarship aimed at recruiting diverse tech candidates, AKA women, military veterans and minorities. Flatiron School, for example, says on their website that they fund these types of scholarships because a “more diverse tech workforce is more creative and effective,” and they back that claim up with scholarships for women. In addition, they recognize the part everyone plays in producing a better culture in the tech industry, offering a scholarship to students who are actively committed to being ‘good tech citizens’. Many bootcamps offer these types of school-specific scholarships, so it’s definitely worth it to take a look at some of the ones you’re interested in to see if they offer anything.
Ask your company to pay
Many companies have continuing education or professional development budgets. Even if your employer doesn’t have a specific program, talk to HR or your manager to see if they might be open to covering a portion of your schooling. Remember the old LinkedIn proverb: “What if we invest in our employees and they leave? What if we don’t and they stay?”
Advocate for yourself, and remember that the concept of a bootcamp is still relatively new and you might need to explain exactly what it is. If you work at a company with an engineering or data science department, start by asking questions and offering to help in addition to your current role. This could take some finessing, but if you show interest and work ethic, they may be more likely to invest in an upskill course that might result in a role change for you, since hiring from within is generally easier.
If you believe the knowledge of a data science or engineering course could help your current department, outline the reasons why, and include some numbers to that benefit if you can. Either way, you won’t get anything you don’t ask for, so if you’re on good terms with your company and manager, make your case.
Access a federal loan
The U.S. Department of Education’s pilot Educational Quality through Innovation Partnerships (EQUIP) program allows low-income students to qualify for federal financial aid to pay for non-traditional education programs, like bootcamps, which are paired with accredited universities. If you qualify for EQUIP, you might also be able to access federal grants.
Government loans generally have lower interest rates, benefits like income-driven repayment and even loan forgiveness programs.
For now, only eight university-bootcamp pairs are accessible through the EQUIP program. You can see the full list here.
This article is sponsored by Flatiron School, an outcomes-focused coding bootcamp offering transformative education in person and online. In as little as 15 weeks, Flatiron students learn to code and launch lifelong careers as developers. Learn more about their Atlanta campus offerings and start coding today.