Are Cybersecurity Bootcamps Worth the Money?

An aspiring cybersecurity professional, considering his training options, recently asked if cybersecurity bootcamps are worth it? That’s a common question, especially considering the variety of cybersecurity training options available. The short answer is: Yes, if the bootcamp gets you the desired result—a cybersecurity job—for an acceptable cost.

Admittedly, not the most exciting answer, so let's explore the implied question. “How does a hiring manager view job candidates, who are cybersecurity bootcamp graduates?”

As a hiring manager I respect someone, who stops what they’re doing and commits months of their life to learn new skills to break into a new career field. I’ve hired a few graduates from the NPower bootcamps and have been very happy with the results. In addition to structured learning, bootcamps also provide coaching and mentoring, camaraderie with students pursuing similar goals, and potentially hiring pipelines into partner companies.

There is certainly a benefit to having the support network that comes along with bootcamps.

Pivoting into a cybersecurity career can be a lonely process. There is certainly a benefit to having the support network that comes along with bootcamps. As well, the structured format of bootcamps can ensure you’re exposed to various cybersecurity disciplines, that you weren’t aware existed. All in all, bootcamps can be a great opportunity, if you have the resources and opportunity to attend. They are shorter (and generally less expensive) than a Masters in Cybersecurity, but more structured with more available resources than self-study options.

When considering a bootcamp, compare the curriculum with other similar programs. Look at the sort of cybersecurity roles the bootcamps alumni work in now (and the companies which they work for). Check what corporate sponsors the program has. These companies likely recruit from the bootcamp as well. Review what cybersecurity certifications are part of the bootcamp’s curriculum.

Professional certifications are a key reason for the democratization of cybersecurity education.

This last point is important. Professional certifications are a key reason for the democratization of cybersecurity education. As a hiring manager it’s not necessary that I be familiar with your cybersecurity bootcamp, if you’re well credentialed upon graduation. Having completed a cybersecurity bootcamp speaks to your commitment to learning this new field. Passing industry-recognized certifications speaks to the relevant knowledge you’ve gained and supports an apples-to-apples comparison with other job applicants.

When educating yourself to pivot into a cybersecurity career, there are many good options. Bootcamps have become a mainstay of the tech industry in recent years and are growing in the cybersecurity industry. If the bootcamp route sounds right for you, shop around and find the specific bootcamp that is right for you. Don’t feel rushed by impending deadlines (i.e., “I just learned about this bootcamp today, but the application deadline for the next class is tomorrow”). You can always self-educate while you shop around to find the right bootcamp for you.

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