I tend to think of myself as a frugal person; not extremely so, but spending a large amount of hard earned money is a long thought out decision, with rationalization and careful calculations to make sure I’m spending wisely. I’ve never been without a job, and often worked 30-40 hours a week in college to pay for food, rent, and gas. I’m fortunate that I was able to have enough of a savings cushion that I could pay for Hackbright outright and have living expenses for several months that I was doing the program. I’m also very fortunate that I have an incredibly supportive partner who was willing to cover our rent for the duration of Hackbright and until I found employment. I know that the cost of Hackbright, and similar web development bootcamps* can be a big factor in even the decision to apply. Since everyone I’ve talked to has brought it up, I’d like to make the case for why spending the money on Hackbright can be repaid in the not to distant future.
The biggest impact by far is increasing one’s salary. My starting salary is significantly more than what I was making before (some students salaries doubled or tripled, depending on what their previous salary was). Down the road, as I further develop my skills, or change jobs, I should be able to double my previous salary. I can now contribute more to my savings account, 401K, Social Security, and probably pay off my car loan if I’m not extravagant this year. Saving money on interest and growing my retirement funds? Yes please!
Taking ~5 months off to do decompress from my old job, do Hackbright, and look for a new job put me in a lower tax bracket for the year since I effectively made less money but was in a higher tax bracket. I was able to claim Hackbright tuition as an educational expense, and got a $1200 Lifetime Learning credit. All told, I will end up getting several thousand dollars back from state and federal taxes after deductions and credits. Since the IRS has a bit of a delay processing tax refunds, I’ll have to wait until March to get that money back, but it will be there in the near future.
Because I was hired by one of Hackbright’s partner companies, I’ll be getting some tuition back later down the road. Even if I didn’t get hired by a partner company, I’d still be able to pay back my tuition pretty quickly.
I’ll admit it that the time between the end of Hackbright and beginning employment was a bit anxiety ridden for me, as I slowly sipped away at my savings account. But for the above reasons, and the career change / personal enrichment, I feel it was worth every penny and more.
*I can’t offer any financial advice on other programs since I only have experience with Hackbright. Other bootcamp attendees have graduated as engineers; most bootcamps have hiring and salary data on their websites.