Cybersecurity is a field with an increasing talent gap. One of the reasons this is happening is that some companies look for entry-level candidates with a technical degree, experience, and certifications. In reality, any candidate with a certain degree of studies could earn experience and certifications while doing the job.
You are probably convinced you need a bachelor’s to succeed in the field. Honestly, it is not necessary. Anyone with the proper skill set, training, and experience can achieve a top-level management role in cybersecurity.
In this blog post, we want to help you understand the main differences between a Cybersecurity Bootcamp and a bachelor’s degree, so you can make an informed decision of which way you would like to take as the starting point of your career.
Cybersecurity Bachelor’s Degree vs. Cybersecurity Bootcamp
The main difference between a bachelor’s degree and a Bootcamp is that while the first one is focused mainly on providing theoretical knowledge, the Bootcamp offers both the conceptual and practical learning experience that can benefit you when looking for a job in the field and experience is a must-have.
Analyzing deeper the differences between both study programs we can point out three main items that can help you decide what path you want to choose. Keep in mind that if you decide to start with a bachelor’s degree you can strengthen your knowledge later in your career with a Bootcamp specialized in the area of cybersecurity you are most interested in. This also works the other way around, you can begin with a Bootcamp and later on get a degree that demonstrates your level of commitment to the field.
1- Time to be Invested
A bachelor’s degree will take longer to be completed than a Bootcamp. The average time needed to finish a degree is 4 years, in that time you are probably not earning any money rather than just investing in your education, while on average a Cybersecurity Bootcamp can last from 4 to 6 months, granting you hands-on experience that will open the doors to new job opportunities.
2- Education Funding
Not only does a bachelor’s degree take longer to be achieved than a Bootcamp, but it also requires a higher money investment. The ultimate cost of a degree may exceed $400,000 yet it does not provide enough on the field expertise to make it easier to get hired for an entry-level role. We don’t want to lie, a degree does look good in your resume, but it takes more than just that to make your profile catch the attention of a recruiter.
On average a Cybersecurity Bootcamp costs $16,000. Its pricing will vary depending on who is promoting it (a private organization, community colleges, etc.) and what it includes: which cybersecurity certifications you can get after finishing classes if it includes or not the voucher to take the certifications tests, hours to be invested in the class and in lab experience.
3- The Return of Investment
As we mentioned before a bachelor’s degree will grant you mainly the theoretical knowledge to understand what cybersecurity is all about. It will also introduce you to emerging technologies and guide you through management best practices. But this is not enough. Recruiters are looking for candidates with experience that understand how the theory is applied in the real world, that is why every day they are being more and more specific about the certifications a candidate must have to be able to handle the work.
A cybersecurity Bootcamp not only will need an investment of less time and money than a bachelor’s degree, but also should grant you the knowledge necessary to achieve certifications needed for any entry-level position in the field.
With this we are not saying a degree is not valid, it is. But we strongly suggest you consider getting started with a Bootcamp and once you start working in the field then you could start your degree, that way you will complement your experience with more in-depth knowledge, and you will understand all the theories you are getting at classes with your work experience. It is a win-win situation.