Are Cyber Security Bootcamps Worth It?

Cybersecurity has grown into a multifaceted industry that requires its own specialists, not computer science and IT generalists, but are cyber security bootcamps worth it?

Cyber security bootcamps are a great way to break into the cybersecurity industry, whether you’re a fresh graduate in a technical field or looking for a career path change.

Table of Contents:

What Is a Cyber Security Bootcamp, and How Does It Work?

How Much Does a Cyber Security Bootcamp Cost?

Cyber Security Bootcamps vs. College Degree

What Will You Learn in a Cyber Security Bootcamp

Do Cyber Security Bootcamps Help You Get a Job?

How Much Do Cybersecurity Jobs Pay?

What Should You Consider When Deciding on a Cyber Security Bootcamp?

Is It Worth It To Do a Cyber Security Bootcamp? The Verdict

What Is a Cyber Security Bootcamp, and How Does It Work?

Bootcamps are short, intensive courses that are anywhere from 12-24 weeks, designed to help people build up skills from scratch up to a point where they’re able to land employment in the field. Cyber security bootcamps focus on the technical skills—from computer science basics to programming languages and networking engineering—to work in cybersecurity.

Cyber security bootcamps can be set in-person, online, or in a hybrid model. They consist of group lessons, labs, assignments, and activities to help you build your technical and soft skills. However, simply going through the bootcamp isn’t enough. You’ll want to look for a program that will help you build a portfolio of real-world examples to show employers. Earning a certificate from a highly-regarded university can also add credibility to your bootcamp credential. 

How Much Does a Cyber Security Bootcamp Cost?

Cyber security bootcamps cost anywhere between $12,000 to $20,000. Tuition fees for cyber security bootcamps vary. For starters, the length of the course plays a primary role in its cost. Also, if it’s an option, taking an online bootcamp tends to be more affordable than in-person classes.

Some bootcamps are intended to prepare students for a particular certification exam, so you should take into account if there is an additional cost to sit for the exam. The USF Cyber Security Bootcamp prepares students for the CompTIA Security+ exam and includes a voucher for students to sit for the exam. 

It’s common for various payment options to be offered. You can learn more about the USF Cyber Security Bootcamp payment options here, ranging from discounted upfront tuition to financing through a Climb Credit loan. USF CTPE also provides scholarships for women in tech and veteran and active military students.

Cyber Security Bootcamps vs. College Degree

When it comes to starting a career in cybersecurity, you have two options to gain accreditation: college degree or bootcamp. While similar, the two options aren’t identical. It’s worth having a thorough understanding of the pros and cons of each method before committing your time and money.

Cost

Looking at college degrees, you can expect to pay anywhere from $30,000 to $110,000 for your four years of education. Bootcamps, on the other hand, tend to be well under $25,000.

Time

To earn a university degree, you need to attend eight semesters worth of classes—or compress them into fewer semesters. Alternatively, bootcamps range in duration from 12-24 weeks, depending on the offering. They also often have part-time and full-time options, allowing you to work while studying.

Variety of Subjects

Bootcamps tend to go in-depth in one area and focus on job-ready skills, while college degrees cover a wider range of cybersecurity-related topics and go in-depth into every one of them.

Accreditation

College degrees have a value that corresponds with the educational institution that awards them. They also have a long history of professionalism and trust.

Some bootcamps are offered on their own, but bootcamps like the USF Cyber Security Bootcamp are offered through a university and provide a certificate of completion. 

Higher Education

University degrees open the door for graduate and undergraduate studies in the field of cybersecurity. A certification gained through a bootcamp, however, usually can’t be used to further your education in the field. Your only option would be to take more advanced courses and earn senior-level cybersecurity certifications as you advance in your career.

Overall, the USF Cyber Security Bootcamp is the best of both worlds. The cyber security bootcamp is highly flexible and more affordable than traditional college degrees, but the credentials you earn by the end of it come from a highly-regarded and prestigious university in the State of Florida.

What Will You Learn in a Cyber Security Bootcamp?

Cyber security bootcamps targeted at beginners start with the basics. The bootcamp covers the fundamentals of computer science and cybersecurity. This includes the different types of attacks from hacking and DarkNet to social engineering and phishing. It’ll also cover programming in the programming languages used most often in cybersecurity, such as Java, JavaScript, Python, PHP, and PowerShell.

You can also expect to learn about Identity and Access Management (IAM), as well as how to conduct security assessments and audits for IT infrastructure and networks and how to recommend remediation.

Do Cyber Security Bootcamps Help You Get a Job?

The curriculum of most cyber security bootcamps is focused on helping you develop all the necessary skills to get a job in the cybersecurity industry. Still, the process of getting a job without a traditional certificate isn’t easy.

At USF, you’ll get one-on-one support from a career coach who will help you create a job search strategy and aid you in building your professional network. They’ll also advise you on setting your resume, negotiating your salary, and acing your job interview. The bootcamp curriculum also includes nine optional career preparation units.

How Much Do Cybersecurity Jobs Pay?

Working in cybersecurity is a highly-lucrative career path. The average salary of an information security analyst in the Tampa area is $85,082. According to Payscale:

  • The average salary of an entry-level cyber security analyst position with less than a year of experience is $64,786 a year. 

  • With a few years of experience, you can expect a median of $72,930 a year. 

  • Mid-career in cybersecurity, with 5-9 years of experience, the median income climbs up to $89,436 a year. 

  • Late career and senior professionals in cybersecurity can easily negotiate six-figure salaries.

What You Should Consider When Deciding on a Cyber Security Bootcamp

When it comes to seeking answers to the question “Are cyber security bootcamps worth it?”, it’s important to have a thorough understanding of what they can offer you. Before settling on a cyber security bootcamp, there are multiple factors you should take into consideration.

Flexibility

Are you planning to work full time while also studying? You’ll want to look for a bootcamp that allows you to study on your own time, and you may be interested in a fully online bootcamp. More flexible bootcamp modalities also give you more control over how fast you complete the bootcamp. 

Curriculum

In order to get the most out of your bootcamp experience, you’re going to want to look for a bootcamp where the curriculum was built specifically on what hiring managers are looking for. For example, all cyber security bootcamps should cover these essentials:

  • Host-based security

  • Network security

  • Identity and access management

  • Security assessment and testing

  • Security operations

  • Application security

You’ll also want a bootcamp that includes some hands-on components to ensure that when you graduate, you have a portfolio that demonstrates your skills to potential employers. 

The USF Cyber Security Bootcamp curriculum was curated by industry experts, and includes 30+ technical labs and 30+ projects, as well as a mentor-guided capstone project. 

Student Support

Especially if you are going to attend a bootcamp online, you’ll want to look for a program that offers strong student support with people who can help guide you along your bootcamp experience and towards your overall career goals. In the USF Cyber Security Bootcamp, students are supported by a student advisor, a 1-on-1 expert mentor, and an optional career coach. 

Cost

It’s important to invest in your future career, but you’ll want to look for a bootcamp that fits within your budget and delivers significant value for the cost. You can look for bootcamps that allow you to pay in installments or that offer some type of scholarship or financial aid.

Expertise

Not all cyber security bootcamps are beginner-friendly. Some programs request previous experience in the industry, while others require a bachelor’s degree or proof of some college attendance in a technical field.

Conclusion: Is It Worth It To Do a Cyber Security Bootcamp? The Verdict

So, are cyber security bootcamps worth it? Yes, bootcamps are more affordable, flexible, and oftentimes more job-ready focused than a traditional college degree. Especially in the tech industry, many organizations are dropping degree requirements, understanding there are new ways to gain knowledge and skills. 

Learn more about USF’s Cyber Security Bootcamp, a 6-month program that will take you from beginner to a cybersecurity pro. It prepares students for the CompTIA Security+ certificate that’s globally recognized by leading tech associates and potential employers.