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Data is incredibly valuable for many companies, so they need skilled computer information and security professionals to diligently protect it. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects jobs for these professionals to grow 12% between 2018-2028.
Professionals seeking lucrative jobs in the fast-growing cybersecurity field can start by attending bootcamps. These programs typically last about six months and cost much less than college degrees. Certificates from well-connected bootcamps can lead to high-earning jobs in engaging fields.
Cybersecurity bootcamps can open doors to exciting technical careers, many of which pay $75,000-$100,000 per year.
The rankings below can help aspiring professionals begin their search for the right bootcamp.
Explore programs of your interests with the high-quality standards and flexibility you need to take your career to the next level.
What Top-Ranked Cybersecurity Bootcamp Programs Have in Common
Bootcamps vary widely in curriculum, length, delivery, and quality, but many of the top cybersecurity bootcamps share several characteristics, such as the ones below:
They Have Cybersecurity-Specific Programs
General coding bootcamps are mushrooming across the country, but cybersecurity-specific programs offer targeted curricula in high-growth fields. Many programs listed below operate parallel to general coding camps, but some, such as Warner Pacific’s sourceU program, focus exclusively on cybersecurity.
They Are Affordable
In addition to tuition rates, prospective learners should consider whether prospective schools offer financial aid opportunities, accept funds from the GI Bill, and/or provide payment plans, like UCLA.
They Provide Job Placement Assistance for Graduates
Job placement assistance can include one-on-one support, portfolio assistance, and mock interviews to help students compete for jobs with top employers. Some institutions, like the Flatiron School, even offer money-back guarantees for graduates who do not land jobs within a year of graduation.
They Are CIRR Members or Attached to Accredited Universities
Universities typically demonstrate validity by holding accreditation through agencies overseen by the Department of Education or Council on Higher Education Accreditation. However, accreditation doesn’t apply to bootcamps. Instead, these programs turn to the Council on Integrity in Results Reporting (CIRR), which measures the integrity of student outcome reports.
Best Cybersecurity Bootcamps in 2020
Our Bootcamp Ranking Methodology
In compiling our list of the top 10 best cybersecurity bootcamps in 2020, we used the factors noted above. For instance, we considered costs in our ranking methodology. Since we value savings and financial benefits, programs with lower costs earned higher ranking scores. We weighed each program’s cost at 45% of its total score. Job placement assistance contributed another 35% to each bootcamp’s ranking, and CIRR membership counted for 20% of each program’s ranking.
1. UCLA Extension Coding Bootcamps
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Part of the University of California System, UCLA Extension offers weekend, evening, and intensive programs. In addition to its virtual offerings, the school provides an array of educational programs in 10 cities across Southern California.
UCLA Extension Coding Bootcamps
Students in the UCLA Extension cybersecurity bootcamp spend 24 weeks studying IT, networking, and modern information security. This online, part-time program comprises six modules, including security fundamentals, defensive security, and offensive security. It concludes with a final group project. Coursework provides students with experience using tools such as Metasploit, Nessus, Wireshark, and Kali Linux.
Upon completing the bootcamp, learners can take assessments for the CompTIA Security+ and certified ethical hacker designations.
The school offers a dedicated career services team, which provides one-on-one coaching, portfolio review, and mock interview sessions. This team can help students graduate from bootcamps with employer-ready resumes.
Home to more than 51,000 students and 3,000 teaching faculty, UT Austin offers top-ranked academic programs across an array of educational areas. The school is known for its competitive sports teams, and its alumni base includes upwards of 482,000 people, many of whom serve as leaders in their fields.
The Cybersecurity Boot Camp at UT Austin
Students can begin UT Austin’s part-time cybersecurity program on one of four annual start dates. The camp runs for 24 weeks, during which students take classes on two weeknights and Saturdays. Class topics include cryptography, cloud security, risk management, and secure network design and architecture. Students also take courses in scripting and ethical hacking. Upon the program’s conclusion, graduates may enter careers in digital forensics, pen testing, or security analytics.
The Cybersecurity Boot Camp at UT Austin Job Placement Assistance
The dedicated job placement team at UT Austin offers portfolio reviews, virtual tech panels, technical interview training, and one-on-one coaching to improve soft skills for the real world.
Founded in 1853, Washington University in St. Louis educates nearly 16,000 students from more than 100 countries and all 50 states. The school is a private, secular research institution and awards degrees at all levels. Washington University also offers nontraditional educational experiences.
Washington University Cybersecurity Boot Camp
Washington University’s 24-week, part-time cybersecurity bootcamp provides training in foundational cybersecurity skills, including networking, programming, and ethical hacking and penetration. Graduates can identify suspicious bots and malicious actors, investigate cloud security risks, write Bash scripts to automate security, and conduct vulnerability assessments. Classes meet for 10 hours each week: three hours each on two weeknights, plus four hours on Saturdays.
Washington University Cybersecurity Boot Camp Job Placement Assistance
Trilogy Education supports Washington University’s bootcamp with career directors and profile coaches. With help from these two professionals, students complete a series of career readiness milestones.
A public research university founded in 1868 in Berkeley, California, UC Berkeley is the oldest institution in the University of California system. The school educates more than 43,000 students annually through 300-plus graduate and undergraduate programs.
Berkeley Cybersecurity Boot Camp
A part-time, 24-week program, Berkeley’s cybersecurity bootcamp teaches students the ins and outs of IT, networking, and contemporary information security. If learners need additional cybersecurity experience before beginning the program, then they can complete a pre-camp experience. During the program, students build deep knowledge of cybersecurity and learn to use the tools and technologies of the trade.
Through hands-on experience under the guidance of seasoned instructors, students gain real-world skills and knowledge.
Berkeley provides students with a career services team. This team comprises a director, who helps students navigate the job search process, and a portfolio manager, who provides feedback on job search materials.
Created in 2017 by Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, for-profit enterprise Woz U provides three technical education models for students, higher education institutions, and companies. Located in Scottsdale, Arizona, Woz U partners with school districts, colleges, and companies around the country.
Cybersecurity Training Program Online
Woz U’s cybersecurity training program takes less than eight months to complete through a “Powered by Woz U Partner.” To begin the program, prospective students need a CompTIA Network+ or equivalent certification, or they must pass a readiness test. After gaining admission, learners take 10 courses, including security foundations, network defense, and cryptography and access management.
The program concludes with a collaborative group project on cybersecurity analysis. Upon finishing their training, students earn diplomas or certificates through partner institutions.
Cybersecurity Training Program Online Job Placement Assistance
Woz U offers a robust career services program, which includes a dedicated career coach and assistance building professional portfolios to showcase students’ real-world technical skills and experience.
A public university founded in 1876, UO sits along the Willamette River in Eugene, Oregon, where it serves about 23,000 students through 316 academic programs, five colleges, and seven professional schools.
The University of Oregon Cybersecurity Bootcamp
The school’s 24-week cybersecurity program requires students to meet three days a week during evenings and weekends. Applicants without a cybersecurity background may take pre-course tutorials to prepare for the bootcamp. Once enrolled, students gain fundamental knowledge and hands-on training in databases, systems, networking, web technologies, and defensive and offensive cybersecurity.
Students also participate in labs, traditional instruction, and online panels as part of their educational experience.
The University of Oregon Cybersecurity Bootcamp Job Placement Assistance
One-on-one career coaching with a career director provides students with opportunities to present their knowledge, skills, and accomplishments to future employers.
7. University of Utah Professional Education Coding Boot Camp
Location: Salt Lake City, UT
A public research university located in Salt Lake City, the University of Utah serves more than 32,000 students annually. The school participates in NCAA Division I athletics with a mascot known as “The Swoop.”
The part-time cybersecurity program takes six months to complete. During that time, students commit to 10 hours of work each week for a total of 240 lecture and lab hours, plus another 20 hours of project work. Courses meet on two weekday evenings and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Course topics include network theory, vulnerability assessment, Python programming, and penetration testing. Graduates can take exams for Security+, Network+, and CISSP certifications.
Cybersecurity Bootcamp Job Placement Assistance
The University of Utah offers career services including mentorship, career coaching, and assistance with building professional portfolios.
Founded in 2012 by Adam Enbar, a venture capitalist, and Avi Flombaum, a computer programmer, the Flatiron School offers an alternative education model for students wishing to accrue technical skills.
Flatiron School Cybersecurity Analytics
Students can complete Flatiron’s 480-hour program in cybersecurity analytics in either a full- or part-time format. A combination of synchronous lectures and independent learning makes the program convenient for working professionals. The curriculum includes eight foundational courses, such as hunt skills, threat intelligence, and strategy and analysis.
Graduates can compete for jobs as threat intel analysts, security consultants, tier 1+ SOC analysts, and compliance analysts.
Flatiron School Cybersecurity Analytics Job Placement Assistance
Flatiron’s career support offerings include individual career coaching, a large employer network, and a proven job-search framework, along with a money-back guarantee for graduates who don’t find employment.
Inventor and entrepreneur Scott A. Jones launched Eleven Fifty Academy in 2014 with a $2 million grant from his foundation. The name Eleven Fifty comes from the address of Jones’ former home. The academy holds recognition as a registered software development apprenticeship program, and it can accept funds from the GI Bill for transitioning veterans.
Eleven Fifty Academy offers full-time and part-time cybersecurity bootcamps. The full-time camp lasts 14 weeks, while the part-time program requires 24 weeks of study. Applicants to either program are not required to hold coding experience, but they may find it helpful once courses begin. Learners study industry terms, common threat behaviors, and the enterprise SOC environment. Graduates receive CompTIA Network+ and CompTIA Security+ certifications.
Eleven Fifty Academy Cybersecurity Bootcamp Job Placement Assistance
Within 60 days of graduation, 80% of students receive job offers with an average starting salary of $55,000. The career support team matches graduates with companies in the Eleven Fifty network.
A Christian, private liberal arts college located in Oregon, Warner Pacific University partnered with Portland’s leading technology educators to create sourceU. Under this program, students complete degrees from regionally accredited colleges in an accelerated format. Learners generally study from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for five days each week in a workday-style environment.
sourceU offers a one-year certificate, a 16-month associate degree, and a 32-month bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity. In these programs, students learn to analyze, react, and adapt to security concerns. Applicants do not need previous knowledge or skills in technology to achieve success in these programs. sourceU offers competitive tuition, supported by robust financial aid packages.
Cybersecurity bootcamp students complete an intensive training program. Students typically use this experience to launch themselves into new careers in cybercrime prevention and investigation. Cybersecurity bootcamps typically last 10-30 weeks, and both online and in-person bootcamps draw large numbers of participants. Generally, online programs run longer than in-person programs, since most online students also work completing their studies. The curriculum, however, covers the same content.
Each cybersecurity bootcamp determines its own curriculum, but all of them fall under the larger auspices of coding bootcamps. These programs differ from associate and bachelor’s degrees in that they require far less time, focus exclusively on coding, and only rarely provide academic credit.
The first coding bootcamps began in 2012, and 2,000 people graduated that year. According to research from Course Report, that number reached 23,000 graduates in 2019. Course Report also indicates that in 2016, cybersecurity bootcamp graduates made up just 1% of the total number of bootcamp graduates, but as cybersecurity assumes a more central role in the larger field of technology, those figures should increase.
The sheer availability of bootcamps, coupled with the cost-effectiveness and abbreviated timeframe required to complete them, draws increasing interest from prospective students.
How Much Will a Cybersecurity Bootcamp Cost?
The cost of attending a cybersecurity bootcamp varies by factors like program location, reputation, length, and delivery method.
In general, prospective students should budget $12,000-$20,000 for tuition costs.
Learners may also need to pay registration fees or take prep courses before enrolling.
In addition, many bootcamps charge for equipment and course materials. Students generally need a high-powered laptop and a fast internet connection, along with books and other required technology. Students who live in different cities from their bootcamps must also consider housing, transportation, and meal expenses. Fortunately, scholarships and corporate grants can help defray the cost of bootcamps.
Skills and Topics Covered in a Cybersecurity Bootcamp
Cybersecurity bootcamps teach a wide breadth of skills and topics, including coding languages and programs. Each camp establishes its own curriculum, and some camps emphasize content that others do not. The list below, however, covers some of the topics and skills common to most cybersecurity bootcamps.
Students learn the ins and outs of Python, one of the world’s most common programming languages. Specifically, learners study how to use Python to build security analysis tools. Typically, students do not need prior knowledge of Python to enter cybersecurity bootcamps, and they can use any platform they choose.
Cryptography builds secure systems by shuffling the bits that represent data in a way that protects its integrity, confidentiality, and immutability. Cryptographic algorithms ensure that unauthorized users cannot reshuffle the data into something meaningful without the key. The three main types of cryptography include the secret key, the public key, and the hash functions.
Risk management involves identifying risks and vulnerabilities and taking appropriate action to prevent or reduce those risks and solve potential problems. Within cybersecurity, risk management can include a variety of technology infrastructures that protect valuable assets such as corporate or customer data.
Sometimes called ethical hacking, penetration testing refers to the work of paid hackers who attempt to discover systems’ vulnerabilities by imitating the methods of cyber criminals. Pen tests aim to identify the cracks in a system that a hacker could exploit. This works to fortify those cracks to prevent attacks.
In the cybersecurity landscape, investigators use forensics to search for, detect, recover, and preserve digital evidence, usually as part of civil or criminal investigations. Digital forensic specialists may look for evidence that applies to physical crimes, or they may seek to discover portals through which cyber criminals enter company databases.
What Can I Do After Completing a Cybersecurity Bootcamp?
Cybersecurity bootcamps require a significant investment of time, energy, and money. Most people want to know: Do cybersecurity bootcamps pay off?
They often do. Cybersecurity bootcamps offer many professional and personal benefits, including opportunities to pursue a lucrative, fast-growing career. After graduation, students can either continue their education at the graduate or undergraduate level or enter the workforce as security assessors, testers, or specialists.
Popular Cybersecurity Careers
Cybersecurity bootcamps can open doors to exciting technical careers, many of which pay $75,000-$100,000 per year. Graduates may work in areas such as security assessment, software development, analysis, and forensics. The link below gives more information on careers in the cybersecurity field.
Vulnerability assessors conduct security audits to identify flaws, weaknesses, and vulnerabilities in companies’ cybersecurity firewalls during system setups. After conducting audits, vulnerability assessors prepare and present reports detailing their findings, and they make recommendations for improving operating system security.
Sometimes called ethical hackers, penetration testers look for flaws in cybersecurity systems. Unlike vulnerability assessors, however, these cybersecurity specialists focus on established systems instead of new ones. Bootcamps and certification programs can help professionals gain skills for this job, and bachelor’s degrees can prepare pen testers for higher-level responsibilities.
Security specialists help companies protect their data. These professionals run regular checks on the security system and keep abreast of needed improvements. Since most of these jobs require knowledge of programming languages, they may require a degree. But a bootcamp can provide the necessary kickstart for these careers.
Incident responder roles vary greatly by experience and organization. Typically, however, these professionals identify risks, detect intrusions, and perform forensic activities. They may also develop security protocols and policies and train organizational leaders and staff in effective incident response. In addition to attending a bootcamp, incident responders may need a graduate education in cybersecurity.
Security managers often oversee teams of cybersecurity analysts and other technology personnel. Their roles require more management than technical skills, and they may spend more time hiring, training, supervising, and coaching employees than addressing potential security concerns. This career requires both management skills and technical knowledge.
Cybersecurity professionals may benefit from any level of higher education in the field. Bootcamps offer current skills and knowledge, but degrees still boast distinctive credibility for professionals. Formal education can lead to increased salaries, more career opportunities, and new certification options.
Typically, cybersecurity programs challenge students more than humanities programs. Like other STEM fields, cybersecurity requires dedication, discipline, and hard work to master, but nearly any motivated student can learn cybersecurity.
Do you need programming for cybersecurity?
What certifications should I get for cybersecurity?
When changing jobs or transitioning to new roles, cybersecurity specialists need more than degrees. They also need up-to-date security certifications from reputable, third-party organizations accredited by CompTIA, EC Council, GIAC, ISACA, or (ISC)2.
Does cybersecurity pay well?
According to PayScale, the average cybersecurity analyst earns more than $75,000 per year. The highest-paying jobs in cybersecurity pay well over $100,000 annually.