What is a Cyber Security Bootcamp?

What is a Cyber Security Bootcamp – Lets first look at what a bootcamp is :

The term boot camp originated in a military context, and was about a physical exercise program that was intense, hard and fairly relentless.

The idea was to break people in who were physically unfit with what was essentially a short sharp shock in a number of weeks to bring them up to a level of fitness required for the military.

This appealed to a number of people in quite a strange way, and as such the word boot camp is used in a sort of tough love approach in a number of areas of life. It is meant to convey a sense of speed and intensity of learning and application to people who have no previous knowledge or experience of the subject.

A cyber security boot camp can be a slightly misleading term, in that what is normally referred to as a boot camp is in fact quite simply a course, quite often an expensive one. The content of the course can vary, as can any course, but the term boot camp implies a sense of intensity and focus which is not necessarily the case.

Any cyber security course should be assessed on its merits, including the content, the quality of the presenter, the cost, the certifications at the end of the course and how long the course lasts for.

Below are listed a number of advertised cyber security boot camp courses with an overview of some of these features. This is intended to give some indication of how bootcamp courses operate, and whether they are appropriate for a persons individual circumstances.

The important thing to remember is that these are courses, run by universities, and should be compared to other courses available online to see how they match up in terms of quality and cost.

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NC State Cyber Security Bootcamp

(Info as of Dec 2022)

NC State University it’s one of the best known universities to offer a cyber security course and in addition to an extensive program offers university benefits by way of virtual classrooms and labs, qualified cyber security professionals as instructors, learner support, career coaching, a professional network of events and job search assistance.

The course breaks down into the following areas :

Part One – Fundamentals

  • Microsoft security
  • Computer networking
  • Linux security
  • Cloud security

Part Two – Cyber Security Infrastructure

  • Network security
  • Cyber infrastructure and technology
  • Introduction to Python for security

Part Three –  Advanced Cyber Security

  • Offensive security – ethical hacking
  • DFIR and threat hunting

Course details

The course is intended to be taken over approximately 10 months, which is particularly useful for people who work as it can be accessed in the evenings and at weekends, and can be taken completely online.

The cost is approximately US$18000, which is obviously a significant amount of money –  this boot camp should be thought of more as a university course as opposed to a training course which might be available at a much lower cost online.

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Free Cyber Security Bootcamp

There are a huge range of free cyber security courses online, some of them referring to themselves as boot camp courses, but it makes it much simpler to think of all bootcamp courses simply as courses.

Some will vary in terms of length of time and intensity, but as with all courses they should be evaluated for a variety of factors.

A good place to start is the cyber security career pathway guide, which can be accessed here. A large number of free cyber security boot camp courses will provide the content free, but ask for a payment for certifications that proved the course has been taken and passed.

These certifications can be important, but an employer is more likely to value someones experience which can be gained as a result of simply doing the course anyway.

NJIT Cyber Security Bootcamp

The New Jersey Institute of Technology offers a cyber security boot camp that is identical to the one offered by the NC State University. In fact it’s website is completely identical to that of NC State University apart from the name change.

This should probably raise a flag as to why two different organisations are using essentialy the same website to offer supposedly different programs that are in fact the same. The course details are as above.

SDSU Cyber Security Bootcamp

The San Diego State university boot camp program have a different website to that of the NJIT and NC State University, but it’s program content and breakdown of course is exactly the same as the other two.

The cost is slightly lower at US$ 16000,  but still a significant amount of money.

Uni of Minnesota Cyber Security Bootcamp

This boot camp program can be taken either part time over 24 weeks or full time over 12 weeks, meaning it does have different enrollment dates – unlike the other courses above it can be accessed pretty much anytime.

The part time course has a number of learning modules as detailed below :

  • Security fundamentals
  • Systems administration
  • Networks and network security
  • Defensive security
  • Offensive security

The tuition cost is currently shown as US$11245 for the part time course, and US$ 12245 for the full time course, subject to change! (Dec 2022)

As with all good university courses the University of Minnesota offers extensive student support, careers services, networking events and other programms that may be useful as well.