Convince Your Boss to Pay for Coding Bootcamp

Liz Eggleston

Written By Liz Eggleston

Last updated on May 13, 2015

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Calling all Promotion-Seekers... your boss is waiting to pay for your coding bootcamp!

In talking with hundreds of code school graduates, we’ve discovered three main types of bootcampers: Career Changers, Entrepreneurs, and Promotion-Seekers. A career changer is someone unemployed or underemployed who wants to land a new job, or someone unhappy in their current career who wants to make the leap to a new industry; entrepreneurs usually attend a bootcamp to build their own prototype. In this guide, we’re going to focus on the third category: promotion-seekers. The promotion seeker is motivated and driven; maybe he’s happy at his current company, but wants to move into a new technical role. Or perhaps she loves her team, but wants to take on more responsibility (and snag a raise while she’s at it).

Do You Want a Promotion at Work?

Consider these scenarios:

  • You work in print graphic design and want to work on a project that would require web design skills.
  • You’re a top performer on the Customer Care team, but you have tons of ideas to improve your company’s product. You’re ready to make the move into the product management team.
  • You’ve landed a new job (congrats!) and want to start with a killer technical skillset on Day 1.

Bosses should be thrilled to have a promotion seeker like you on their team! You’re motivated and committed to your company- all you need are those tech skills to move up. In fact, your employer probably already recognizes that technical chops are imperative to a thriving business these days. In this step-by-step guide, we’re going to help you convince your boss to actually pay for your coding bootcamp tuition.  


#1 Find the perfect class

Don’t tell your boss that you’re “thinking about learning to code.” Have a concrete plan: choose your dream school (and a couple safeties), know when the next cohort begins, where the class meets, and how many hours you’ll need to commit.

Choose a bootcamp or class that teaches the technologies that your company already uses! And study up on the curriculum. Chances are, the bootcamp isn’t just teaching “Ruby on Rails,” but rather a full-stack curriculum, covering everything from HTML/CSS to agile development. That’s much more impressive!

#2 List ways your company will benefit from your new coding skills

Once you graduate, your new tech skills won’t just benefit you! Point out that:

  • You can teach your team how to make simple changes. Offer to organize a monthly “Lunch & Learn,” taught by yours truly!
  • You’ll be able to communicate effectively with developers.
  • Your new bootcamp alumni network is basically a pool of hirable developers. Promise to keep an eye out for top talent in your class and refer them to your company’s HR team.

Most importantly, understand exactly how coding skills will contribute to your current role. Jason Cassidy was cognizant of this when he pitched his boss on paying for his Brainstation course: “My main angle was to invest in growing my marketing skill set. Most companies just don’t know the full possibilities of digital marketing. They still see it as a skill that you tack onto traditional marketing but they’re realizing there’s so much more there.”

#3 Make a commitment to your boss

An employer’s biggest fear? Forking up the cash for your coding education only to have you poached when you graduate! If your boss is making an investment in your education, you should promise (in writing or verbally) to stay at your company for a certain amount of time after graduation. 6 months? 1 year? Talk it over with your employer. 

#4 Calculate a Return on Investment (ROI)

Sure, bootcamp tuition is a non-trivial chunk of change. But what will your company save (or earn) as a result of your new skillset?

ROI is a pretty simple calculation: [gains - cost] / cost

Think about these potential gains when pitching your new skills to an employer:

  • Can you generate new revenue for the company?
  • Do your research on Indeed and find the salary of a comparable role with digital skills
  • Compare bootcamp tuition vs. the cost of hiring a new employee with coding skills
  • Get as detailed and intricate as you can! Spreadsheets, formulas, the works!

#5 Start Small & Anticipate Compromise

Ideally, you walk out of your boss’s office with your full-time coding bootcamp paid for, plus paid leave. And cupcakes. But think realistically, anticipate concerns, and have these backups in your back pocket:

  • Ask your boss if you can start a weekly coding study group (a la Hour of Code).
  • Some bootcamps are part-time, while others require you to take time off from work. You may need to offer to take a night/weekend class or an online, part-time class.
  • Will your employer continue to pay you a salary in addition to paying for the bootcamp? If not, you may need to take a sabbatical or a leave of absence to attend a bootcamp.

#6 Help Your Employer Find the Money

Budgets are tight. Bootcamps are expensive. Asking an employer to cover your tuition is not a small ask. Help your boss out!

  • Does your company have a pool of money dedicated to continuing education? Have they offered other employees tuition assistance or tuition reimbursement?
  • Are there subsidies for education in your city or state?
  • Can your company get tax breaks for footing the bill

#7 Know what you’re committing to

  • Do you have to stay at your company for a certain amount of time after you have your new coding skills?
  • Are you being guaranteed a promotion or raise once you can demonstrate your new tech skills?
  • What will happen if you drop out of the bootcamp?

Have you successfully convinced your boss to front the cash for your coding bootcamp tuition? Tell us what worked (and what didn't) in the comments below!

About The Author

Liz Eggleston

Liz Eggleston

Liz Eggleston is co-founder of Course Report, the most complete resource for students choosing a coding bootcamp. Liz has dedicated her career to empowering passionate career changers to break into tech, providing valuable insights and guidance in the rapidly evolving field of tech education.  At Course Report, Liz has built a trusted platform that helps thousands of students navigate the complex landscape of coding bootcamps.

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