Coding bootcamps are focused, intensive training programs that offer hands-on classes in a variety of areas from programming languages to app development, and a great deal in between.
Coding bootcamps can be a very attractive option for veterans and military retirees looking to change careers and move into the tech sector; coding bootcamps also appeal to those still serving looking to transition into a civilian career.
Are Coding Bootcamps Worth It?
Expectation management is an important part of attending any short-term, non-degree higher education institution. Will you become a coding expert in three months? No. Will you learn what you need to know to get an entry-level job in the coding career field of your choice? It’s entirely possible.
But when you read the literature from the coding schools and research coding bootcamps online, you’ll find the consensus is that the student gets as much out of the program as the student puts in; networking, continuing education outside the classroom, and being an aggressive learner of the material all have a lot to do with the success or failure of students who take these classes.
Finding the right program AND one that accepts your GI Bill® benefits could be tricky depending on your expectations. There ARE coding schools that accept GI Bill benefits at the time of this writing; however finding one with an online program instead of an “in-residence” or “residency required” program may be very difficult.
New schools may appear that offer online learning, and established schools may consider it, but you may find that the majority, if not all the coding schools accepting GI Bill benefits at the time of this writing require classroom attendance.
General GI Bill Benefits For Coding Bootcamps
How much will your GI Bill cover for an accepted coding school or bootcamp? Fortunately you don’t have to wonder, because the Department of Veterans Affairs offers a helpful Benefits Comparison Tool that allows you to look up these schools and see estimates of how much money is available for your tuition, housing, and books.
We looked up the GI Bill information for a coding school called Skill Distillery in Colorado. According to the search tool, at the time of this writing, applicants eligible for GI Bill benefits may be eligible for the following estimated compensation:
- Tuition (annually): $21,970
- Housing (monthly): $2,028
- Books (annually): $1,000
These numbers are estimates only, subject to change or revision. Housing stipends are based on the zip code of the school, not the applicant. Tuition reimbursement by the VA may be supplemented by school programs, but it’s also important to check your state/local resources to see if any veteran education programs apply to your attendance at a coding boot camp.
Some programs, such as the Illinois Veterans’ Grant (IVG), will pay the tuition for any qualified veteran who listed Illinois as the home of record upon entering the military service. The “catch” for the IVG is that it will only pay tuition for public universities. However, your home state may have other options available.
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Joe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter for Air Force Television News