If you’re struggling to make ends meet in your current line of work, you’ve probably considered switching to a tech career at some point.
One popular way to make the leap into a lucrative career in web or software development? A coding boot camp.
But coding boot camp tuition costs an average of $11,451; it’s not a cheap option for many of us. Fortunately, some boot camps have introduced a solution known as “deferred tuition.”
Here’s everything you need to know about this new policy, plus a list of short-, medium- and long-term deferred tuition boot camps.
What are deferred tuition coding boot camps?
Deferred tuition coding boot camps don’t require you to pay for your education until you find a job – after which they ask for a percentage of your salary. This concept is also called “income sharing.”
“Deferred tuition schools reduce the barrier to entry for students who can’t afford $15,000 to $20,000 up front in tuition, which means more diverse applicant pools – and that’s always a good thing!” said Liz Eggleston, co-founder of Course Report, an expansive hub of coding boot camp information and reviews.
Since schools don’t get paid unless you find a job, it gives them a strong incentive to offer a solid education.
“It aligns the incentives and risks of the boot camp with those of their students,” explained Eggleston.
Although it sounds like a win-win scenario, there are a few things to be aware of when it comes to deferred tuition coding boot camps:
- You must qualify for deferred tuition; requirements vary based on the school.
- You’ll still need to cover your living expenses.
- Some require an upfront deposit to ensure you won’t back out; at most schools, it will be applied to your deferred tuition once you land a job.
Eggleston also warned: “Because a school only gets paid when a student is placed in a job, students should expect to be held to a high standard in class. Think regular assessments you can’t fail without being asked to leave. So attrition is higher.”
If that won’t work for you, there are other ways to afford a coding boot camp: You can look into boot camp loans with companies such as Pave or Earnest, or into scholarships for underrepresented populations.
Whatever you do, be sure to research a boot camp before applying, as quality varies widely. Some boot camps offer low-quality instruction, while others inflate the numbers of graduates who’ve been hired after graduation.
Short-term deferred tuition coding boot camps
The three choices below are traditional coding boot camps: Short-term commitments where you give it your all (80 hours a week).
1. App Academy
Probably the most well-known of the deferred tuition boot camps, App Academy offers 12-week programs in New York and San Francisco.
Deferred tuition: 27 or 22 percent of your first year’s salary, depending on your deposit
Deposit: $2,000 or $5,000
2. Viking Code School
Viking Code School has a great reputation – it’s extraordinarily selective, only accepting three percent of applicants for its 12-week remote program.
Deferred tuition: 20 percent of first year’s salary, payable over six months
3. The Grace Hopper Program
With the goal of reducing tech’s gender gap, The Grace Hopper Program is a women-only subset of Fullstack Academy.
Deferred tuition: $19,610, paid in nine monthly installments after finding a developer job
Deposit: $3,000 (refunded if you don’t find a job within a year of graduating)
Medium-term deferred tuition coding boot camps
Longer than a boot camp, but much shorter than a traditional university, here are three innovative options for learning to code.
4. Ada Developers Academy
Created for women and non-binary people, Seattle’s Ada Developers Academy is technically not tuition-deferred; it’s tuition-free.
Its full-time classroom training focuses on Ruby on Rails for six months and is followed by a five-month paid internship. You can also apply for a low-interest loan to help with living expenses.
Deferred tuition: $0
C4Q wants to bring more diversity to the field of programming. Its Access Code program lasts 10 months and offers three tracks: full-stack web, iOS, or Android.
To apply and attend C4Q, you must be a resident of the New York metropolitan area and earn no more than $45,000 per year. Women, underrepresented minorities, and those without a college degree are encouraged to apply.
Deferred tuition: 18 percent of first year’s salary
6. Learners Guild
Learners Guild is a 10-month, tuition-deferred “learning collective” located in Oakland.
Not only is its approach unique, its practices are, too. For instance, you can opt to receive a $1,500 living stipend each month – and, if you don’t make at least $50,000 upon graduating, you won’t have to pay any tuition.
Deferred tuition: 12.5 percent of your gross salary for the first three years of employment, or up to 21.5 percent if you received a living stipend
Long-term coding schools
More like alternatives to universities, the coding schools below last for two years. Unlike with traditional universities, though, you’ll most likely graduate without any student loan debt.
7. Holberton School
The Holberton School is located in San Francisco. Its two-year curriculum consists of nine months of on-site training, a six-month paid internship, and lastly, six months of on-site or remote learning.
Deferred tuition: 17 percent of your salary during your internship and three years of paid work
8. Make School
At Make School’s two-year “Product College” in San Francisco, you can focus on either mobile or web development. You won’t need to pay anything until you land a paid internship, followed by a job.
Deferred tuition: 25 percent of gross salary during your internship and three years of paid work
9. CODE University
CODE is an alternative bachelor’s program in Berlin that offers three different tracks: software engineering, interaction design, and product management. You graduate when you’ve achieved proficiency (a minimum term of 1.5 years).
Although no deposit is required, non-EU residents will likely have to show a hefty savings account (€8,500) to obtain a visa.
Deferred tuition: 6.5-8.5 percent of relevant income over €21,000 for 10 years, or €747 for 36 months
This university made big waves when it opened last year in Silicon Valley. Funded by a French billionaire, 42 has no classes, no professors, and no grades.
Its coding curriculum takes three to five years to complete, including a mandatory internship. It charges no fees and no tuition, but you will have to cover your living expenses.
Deferred tuition: $0
Is a coding boot camp right for you?
It’s easy to see why coding boot camps are a booming business.
According to a Course Report survey, 73 percent of 1,143 self-selected boot camp graduates were employed in a full-time tech job – with an average salary increase of 64 percent, or $26,021.
That being said, boot camps aren’t for everybody. Before diving in, make sure you actually enjoy coding by taking free classes online.
Also, if you do decide to apply, research schools carefully – and don’t forget to check out deferred tuition coding boot camps like the ones above.
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