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Are Cybersecurity Bootcamps Worth the Investment?

Have you heard how the cybersecurity sector is hot for tech enthusiasts like you? Are you thinking about leaving your current position and getting in on the cybersecurity job action? It’s true that the growing need to fill cybersecurity jobs makes this technical field a great career path. The question is: How do you acquire the practical skills to get your foot in the door?

If you’ve been doing your research, you know the professional training market is flooded with a wide range of training models to develop cybersecurity professionals: online, in-person, hybrid, etc. And don’t forget the traditional four-year university degrees.

Despite the other models, the bootcamp format is a current favorite. Why? Because like the military bootcamps that inspire them, technology bootcamp programs bring you into alignment with today’s tech landscape in a short amount of time, usually 8 to 12 weeks, to quickly teach you how to overcome real-world problems. Impressive, right?

Before you jump on the cybersecurity bootcamp bandwagon, we want to make sure you know how to maximize your benefit from experience. Use the following information to help you find the best cybersecurity bootcamp program for your needs and goals.

According to Cybersecurity Ventures, globally 3.5 million cybersecurity jobs will remain unfilled in 2023

Cybersecurity Bootcamp: What it is and how it’s different.

Cybersecurity bootcamp programs are accelerated trainings that teach you the technical skills to be fully functional in the cybersecurity workforce. They’re several intensive weeks of fast-paced educational programs that cover trending web technologies and applications used in today’s cybersecurity ecosystem.

For example, a comprehensive Cybersecurity Bootcamp program includes:

These bootcamp programs typically include foundational skills and theory as well as hands-on projects.

The hands-on element is key in that it allows for application of that knowledge. Today’s employers are looking for people with real-world experience who can be effective right away. Being able to highlight hands-on skills in your portfolio distinguishes you from other job seekers, and the bootcamp model provides you with ample experience even before getting hired.

Cybersecurity jobs now account for 13% of all information technology jobs. Burning Glass

Quality Factors to Consider when Choosing a Cybersecurity Bootcamp​

Let’s get down to the nitty gritty. How do you choose a cyber security bootcamp program? Here are six quality factors we suggest considering to pinpoint your best option.

  1. Curriculum: It’s important that the program’s curriculum be up-to-date by providing you with hands-on practice with a host of popular tools and is in line with current industry standards. Take the time to confirm the included topics are relevant.
  2. Instructors: Obviously, you want to learn from qualified, skilled instructors, and current practitioners. Check bios, LinkedIn profiles, and websites (if applicable) to verify credentials and get a sense of teaching methods.
  3. Training provider: A lot of training providers are available in the marketplace. Verifying a company’s reputation and credibility ensures not only high-quality training, but also smooth onboarding and effective support. If the provider has an admissions representative, that person would be a source of valuable information and assistance.
  4. Scheduling: You won’t be successful if the bootcamp program doesn’t align with your lifestyle. Are you ready to step into a full-time, in-person program? Or do you need a remote part-time program? Self-directed? Hybrid? Find a program that fits your schedule and your learning style.
  5. Cost: Budget is a significant factor. You need a program that supports your financial parameters. Is a payment plan possible? Do they offer cyber security bootcamp financing? Find out!
  6. Career support: Many bootcamps offer comprehensive career services such as career search support and/or job search assistance. These are great bonuses that help make finding your first cybersecurity role much easier and faster. It’s definitely something to check for.

Additional Considerations

We also advise the following if you want to be extremely thorough:

  • Enroll in any pre-course tutorials
  • Read available case studies or client testimonials
  • Ask if any professional certifications are included
  • Research entry-level positions and list those that interest you
Bootcamp grads see a median salary increase of $22,000 over their pre-bootcamp jobs. Source: ZdNet

Cybersecurity Bootcamp vs. Learning on your own

“Do I really need a cybersecurity bootcamp program? Can’t I just teach myself?”

We get this question a lot.

The answer is yes, you can teach yourself cybersecurity. You have access to plenty of YouTube videos, TikTok influencers, and other readily available resources that facilitate self-learning. However, this method is usually time consuming and rarely up-to-date.

Live Course Main Benefit: Certification Integrity

Outside of a structured e-learning certification course, self-learning won’t earn a certificate or credential demonstrating your knowledge. Employers closely examine your certifications and other foundational credentials to help identify the most qualified candidates.
Here are some other benefits you miss by teaching yourself:

With that in mind, now look at expert instructor-led training. This style makes you aware of the fundamentals and the present scenarios dominating the cybersecurity industry. It also gives you a solid understanding of the competition prevailing in the market. In short, your learning experience becomes a lot easier with instructor-guided training.

Bootcamp alternatives​

Is an intense, fast-paced environment not your cup of tea? No problem. Plenty of cybersecurity courses and career roadmaps support a cybersecurity career, but at a slower pace.

Here are some of the top industry-standard cybersecurity certifications that provide you with the cyber knowledge employers recognize and look for. Each of the vendors providing the various fields of study that lead to certification are industry leaders with structured development paths you can use to build your cybersecurity career.

Vendor #1: CompTIA

  • A+ is an 80-hour course on computer fundamentals, including architecture, hardware components, and more. This course provides essential skills for new tech professionals.
  • Network+ is a 40-hour course covering computer networks and networking fundamentals, implementations, operations, and troubleshooting.
  • Security+ is a 40-hour certification course focused on core security functions including risk assessment, incidence response, forensics, network security fundamentals, and more.
  • Cybersecurity System Analyst+ is a 40-hour certification on core compliance principles, forensics, and incident response.

Vendor #2: (ISC)²

  • CC, Certified in Cybersecurity, is an 8-hour cybersecurity course to prepare people who complete the course for entry-level positions.
  • CISSP, Certified Information Systems Security Professional, is among cybersecurity’s top credentials for serious security professionals. This 40-hour course provides security leaders deep security knowledge to understand cybersecurity strategy and its implementation.
  • CAP, Certified Authorization Professional, is a professional course that provides technical knowledge in the world of networking. Professionals with this certification demonstrate expertise in security authorization. This 24-hour course teaches you Governance, Risk, and Compliance.
  • CCSP, Certified Cloud Security Professional, has expertise in identifying cloud security risks and implementing protections for data sharing. With this 40-hour course, you learn to design, manage, and secure applications and data on the cloud.

Vendor #3: ISACA

  • CISA, Certified Information Systems Auditor, is an advanced certification. This course focuses on techniques for controlling, auditing, and monitoring the organization’s business systems.
  • CISM, Certified Information Security Manager, is a certification course that focuses on the governance of modern information security, program development and management, incident management, and risk management.
  • CRISC, Certified Risk and Information Systems Control, is a professional certification for individuals seeking a career in IT risk management. CRISC is a 32- to 40-hour course.

Contact the vendor that offers the program most suitable to your interests to receive a full curriculum overview.

Entry-level cybersecurity roles (and average salaries*)

The cybersecurity field is wide and varied. You have a lot of options when it comes to choosing a position. Here are a few examples with their average entry-level salaries.

  • Cybersecurity Specialist: Responsible for protecting the integrity of data, ensuring the safety of end-users against cyber attacks, assisting senior management with establishing a privacy policy and onboarding new employees securely, and interfacing with leadership to form guidelines around company policy and network use. Average entry-level salary: $65,000 per year.
  • Cybersecurity Engineer: Builds enterprise-level information systems that meet robust security requirements, including security planning and testing, and designing and implementing new security protocols. Average entry-level salary: $70,000 per year.
  • Cybersecurity Analyst: Responsible for tracking suspicious patterns of user behavior[RF12] , the type of sharing being done, and other activities to identify and mitigate potential security threats to an organization’s virtual network and systems to create a safer space for everyone. Average entry-level salary: $82,000 per year.
  • Cryptographer: Uses specialized algorithms and ciphers to encrypt sensitive data to develop security systems and improve the organization’s security posture. Average entry-level salary: $87,000 per year.
  • Penetration Tester: Conducts vulnerability assessments to identify weaknesses in an organization’s systems and networks against malicious actors. Average entry-level salary: $90,000 per year.
  • Incident Responder: Uses digital forensics to investigate urgent cybersecurity breaches and other security events and determine the severity of the risks following breaches[RF13] . Average entry-level salary: $92,000 per year.
*These are researched salary estimates for US-based positions. The actual salary range depends on the location, company size, and your experience level.

Conclusion

The field of cybersecurity is hot. So hot that a labor shortage has been steadily increasing; employers are scrambling for professionals with the necessary skill sets. If you’re considering a career in this high-demand field, now’s a great time to make it happen. Cybersecurity bootcamp programs fast-track you into becoming an integral part of a company while establishing a strong foundational knowledge of best practices for your future career growth. They’re a solid starting point for a vibrant career.

Want more information about cybersecurity bootcamp programs? Need to know how to get started? Contact us. We have a comprehensive set of career services, including cybersecurity, that establish strong foundations for tech careers.

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