Posted: October 1, 2020 / Last updated: September 17, 2023
Our sense of value is wild these days. Everyone says everything is free (then they sell your data and manipulate you).
The good stuff takes good people to make it! Those people need money to live and to keep making the good stuff.
You want to be paid for your work one day, right? So, instead of waiting for that government monthly stipend… let’s figure out how to get you in a good school. (good schools cost money)
The thing we hear most about in the forums like Career Karma and around the Discord servers and Quora is:
“I want to make more money + get more stable financially + coding sounds good + if only we could get enough money + the only way to attend school is if they offer an Income Share Agreement.”
We get it. The struggle is real.
We got classic college loans and some scholarships. Ivy and Derek both happened to go to the same art school / and it was really expensive. To go to that school now is about 60k a year, just for the tuition (not including high-cost living and supplies) (that’s 240k intuition!). Yikes!
But the helplessness is confusing.
Quality education costs money.
You can pay it now, or later – but later usually costs more.
What do you want?
Be specific. “Learn to code” isn’t specific enough. It makes you sound like you don’t know what you are talking about – and people aren’t going to help you if you sound confused.
What do you need to do?
School? Which school? Why? Explain exactly why. It can’t be just – because it’s the one that is cheapest. Really know what you need to do – and who can help you and how. Research will help you show your conviction – and conviction makes people feel good about giving you money.
How can you do it?
Does it fit your schedule? Do you work part-time? Is it going to fit in with your life? Is it realistic? Do you have some money already?
What will happen if you can go to this school?
What opportunities will it open up for you? How does that combine with your current skills? Seriously tie it into what you already know – and create a bigger story than “well… I’ll know code now.”
Write all this stuff down!
OK. Now – you have a handle on what you want – how to get it – and what you’ll get out of it.
People like to help you when they can help you succeed / and not just to get a cooler car.
↪️ this is all secretly “The Design Process” that we use for everything 😉
Make sure you are clear on your goal
You aren’t going to school just because. You want something to happen.
Here’s a good goal: Learn enough about web development to get into a role that pays you to continue learning on the job. Once you’re in, you can learn a ton – and decide what parts you like most, and pivot throughout your career.
But – whatever your goal is: get clear on it. Write it down.
Ask your parents or grandparents
Indeed, not everyone has parents – or parents who can afford to – or who will just give you money – but those things still make it on this list.
If you haven’t asked yet, do it. Just get the idea floating around.
They want to help you. Get that plan together first. Maybe you already when to college (maybe even dropped out) – and you are afraid to ask for more help now. Perhaps it feels embarrassing or uncomfortable… but – just do it. It’s not going to hurt. Go to them with the plan. Tell them that you are really excited about this new idea – and ask them if they have any ideas on how to pay for it.
Do you have a job? Ask your work!
You might be washing cars now… but – how would your boss, Jerry like it if in 6-months, you could also help him with the company website – or untangle his huge mess of business crap in excel – and set him up with a smooth Google docs setup. What if you work as a visual designer – but you want to pivot? 10k from your employer now – might make them 50k over the next year now that you have some new skills. Even if you have a corporate job… they might have funds to spend already set aside – but you’ll never know if you don’t ask them…
Ask your extended family!
Tell them you’ll make them a website when you complete school! Tell them you’ll use your new skills to teach your cousin.
Sometimes people will surprise you. What can your new skills do for them? Maybe your aunt Mary Jane wants to look good in front of the grandparents so she can get their money when they die. Maybe your Uncle wants to get rid of some money so that Mary Jane won’t buy that Mazda Miata she’s been talking about. Tell them you’ll take them on vacation when you’re rich.
Maybe you're the parent! Ask your kids
Sometimes you get a smarty-pants kid who goes to college or not and gets a great high-paying job and they’re responsible and stuff. Good parenting! Just because you’re the parent doesn’t mean you can’t ask for help. Tell them you want to change careers, and unless they want to take care of you when you’re old – they’d better help you out! Make it fun. They should be willing to bet on you. They kinda owe you. ; )
Sell your car - or that boat in your driveway
Cars are the worst. Most of the time – they just sit there. They are expensive. Buy a bike. Be healthier. You can buy another car later.
Some people think that this is outlandish. But maybe your partner has a car already. It’s just an idea. We didn’t suggest you sell your kidney.
Ask your parents / or grandparents / or kids AGAIN.
Seriously. Show them that you are serious – and keep doing research. Maybe you can find some partial scholarships. Ask your grandparents. You never know… they might have some inheritance for you – and well… it’s going to be a lot more useful now. That’s a tricky subject / but it’s worth exploring. There might be some stock somewhere… or some weird money stuff that everyone forgot about… or some old favor that someone owes someone from jail – or who knows… but – if you don’t ask… you won’t know.
Have the people who are on the fence about helping you - talk directly to the school/instructor
Sometimes they need to hear about it from an industry professional for it to click. I field calls at PE all the time from parents – and you’d be surprised how quickly they change their tune.
Team up with someone who can help explain it – and show that they believe in you.
Got any holidays where people like to give you gifts?
A birthday? Christmas? Hanukkah?
Sometimes people like to give you gift cards to ‘Digital City!’ and then we find them years later / after it’s gone out of business and they’re expired.
How about they all chip in – and help you get that down-payment in order and really change your whole life, instead.
Get your friend to take the class with you - and split it!
They’ll never know… (seriously / that’s 50% off) (your whole household can do it). The certificates are non-sense, so – the experience is all that matters.
Ask about scholarships
Most schools have scholarships of some sort. ASK THEM about it.
Get a loan!
Before 2020 – it was a pretty normal thing to do. I’m not sure how the shift happened so fast – but people seem to be confused if schools aren’t “Free.” Ivy and Derek’s school wasn’t free… Yikes: https://www.cca.edu/admissions/tuition
Combine scholarships, some money, and some loans
Loans aren’t a “never pay it back” type of situation… but you’ll probably end up paying less than the ISA (probably 1/3rd as much), right? Combine everything you can. Got a credit card? That’s like a loan (make sure it’s a low rate!) – and check out things like Stilt. Or / put your computer on credit with Affirm (Simply Mac) or Apple to keep your money fluid to pay for the class.
Some schools offer a tiered program
https://www.codefellows.org/learn-to-code/ (no favoritism here – but a good example). You could pay for things in phases.
Get a local business to sponsor you
Get 5k from two businesses – and promise to make them new websites afterward. They can show off and post on their social media how nice they are. Helping people is fun. No kids are playing baseball right now… so, get that pizza place to divert their funds to you! (you’ll still need to let them hang a photo of you on the wall)
Do a Go fund me - but go big!
Go for at least 12k. Offer “website audits” for $250, and small sites for 2k, and more significant sites for 5k, etc. People might want to help you more – if they see your value written out like that. “Oh – look what Jenny is going to be able to charge!” You can’t just ask for money – so, make sure you are giving them something back.
Ask other groups like a local women's group - or a group that helps people with learning difficulties or a church.
There are all sorts of groups out there with resources. Churches are super pro money wranglers.
What about an internship?
Maybe some schools offer some version of an internship – where you can do some work for them in exchange for a partial or full scholarship? We haven’t heard of that… but let’s just invent that. We’ll just make one up here.
Shoot. That's all we can think of right now...
we’ll be back to add more – for sure. Got any ideas for us to add? firstname.lastname@example.org
"Cost" is relative
Web development can require very little math. However, it’s nice to know what you are working with. Focus on the outcome and not the “cost.” It’s much more complicated than that. But it’s also simple. Pay a little now – to get A LOT later. But most people just want to eat the marshmallow now.
Ask for advice about your plan! Seriously!
A lot of us programmers are more than happy to help brainstorm with you – and help you figure out the best fit – and how to tell a compelling story based on the skills you already have. Gotta pay it forward!
Ask many people! Run your story by some people. Get feedback. Watch out for salespeople. If you want our help, we’re here.