4 Best Cybersecurity Bootcamps in California
Cybersecurity professionals are an organization's best defense for safeguarding sensitive information and network security. And because of this, qualified cybersecurity professionals are in high demand. especially in California. Not only does the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics predict a 35% growth in cybersecurity jobs by 2031, but California leads the nation in unfilled cybersecurity positions, according to Cyber Seek data.
Cybersecurity bootcamps are intensive programs that help you break into the field quickly, and dozens are based in California. Whether you're a professional looking to enhance your skills or a beginner looking to become a cybersecurity specialist, let's look at the four best cybersecurity bootcamps in California and how to narrow down your choice.
Best Cybersecurity Bootcamps In California
Here are the four best cybersecurity bootcamps in California:
The UMass Global Online Cybersecurity Bootcamp is a nationally recognized program based in Irvine, CA. This 100% online program is designed to get you job-ready in six months and can be done on your own time. The market-driven curriculum includes 30+ technical labs and 30+ projects focusing on preparation for certification exams like the CompTIA Security+. Students will learn skills applicable to host-based security, security assessment and testing, and Identity and Access Management (IAM).
Free voucher for the CompTIA Security+ exam included in tuition
One-on-one career coaching, resume building, and interview preparation
Instructors are industry leaders working for top companies
Unlimited access and 1:1 mentorship with cybersecurity experts
6 months (or possibly even less) when done at 15-20 hours per week
$9,900 when paid upfront, or $13,052 when paid over the course of four months
0% APR loan financing options
UC Irvine Continuing Education
The UCI Continuing Education Cybersecurity Bootcamp is a part-time program that takes 24 weeks to complete. Prospective students can expect hands-on training in networking, systems, databases, and defensive and offensive cybersecurity. You’ll learn from instructors with industry experience, and have the chance to collaborate with both peers and former students. The curriculum includes cybersecurity technical skills and specializations like ethical hacking and digital forensics.
No prerequisites or formal education required
Learn to write Bash scripts to automate security and OS tasks
Gain cybersecurity experience in popular tools like Wireshark, Metasploit, and more
Access to comprehensive career services and coaching
Financial aid is available, including interest-free plans and loan options
University of San Diego
The University of San Diego Cyber Bootcamp (powered by Fullstack Academy) prepares students for real-life work scenarios while they apply technical skills to career simulations. There are full-time and part-time programs to fit any schedule, helping you be job-ready in 12 to 26 intensive weeks. You’ll learn offensive and defensive security practices, asset, and inventory management, and have access to a range of career services.
Flexible full and part-time options to fit any schedule
Career services like resume writing, salary negotiation, and career coaching
Flexible payment options and scholarships
AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner Certification exam preparation
Students can choose from two options based on their schedule and flexibility: a 12-week part-time program, and a 26-week full-time program.
Scholarships are available, as are financial options like employer pay, personal loans, and government assistance
The Caltech Cyber Bootcamp can fast-track your cybersecurity training in six months. In this online bootcamp, students will become experts in network security, digital forensics, and data privacy and security. Cybersecurity courses are led by industry professionals and offer an integrated lab environment and hands-on projects. This bootcamp experience delivers immersive instruction through virtual live classes.
Receive a Caltech CTME Circle Membership upon completion
Experiential learning in a virtual classroom environment
Must be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma or equivalent
Receive a program transcript and 26 CEUs from Caltech CTME
Completion in six months.
$10,560 or $880 per month for 12 months
How Do You Choose a Cybersecurity Bootcamp in California?
From cost to curriculum, you want to invest your time and money in a cybersecurity bootcamp that fits your needs and sets you up for success. Here's a checklist of essential factors for the best cybersecurity bootcamp in California.
Curriculum and Experienced Instructors
Success in the cybersecurity industry means mastering foundational, technical, and soft skills, so make sure that your bootcamp provides this. Research the curriculum and look for a multidisciplinary, hands-on approach that prepares you for certification exams. Who you learn from is also a game-changer. Many bootcamps, like UMass Global's Cybersecurity Bootcamp, have skilled instructors and mentors that work at top companies. This provides a unique look into your future as a cybersecurity professional.
Defining your career goals helps you choose bootcamp training that gives you the cybersecurity experience you need to succeed in your desired role. In addition to learning a wide range of skills and specializations, consider cybersecurity bootcamps that offer access to industry experts, job placement, or one-on career coaching.
Price and Payment Options
Cybersecurity bootcamps cost thousands less than a traditional two or four-year degree program, but they’re not free. Consider the curriculum, projects, specialization courses, and career services. If you're on a limited budget, check with admissions to see about financial options.
Practical Projects and Training
Being job-ready means that you can execute cybersecurity principles on day one. Cybersecurity bootcamps are immersive, but not all offer multiple projects with real-world scenarios or focus on offensive cybersecurity and defensive security tactics. Choose a bootcamp with prep materials that include technical and practical units, hands-on experience, assessment and testing exercises, and expert data management.
Even though there are more than 755,000 unfilled cybersecurity jobs nationwide, you still need the right skills and certifications to get one. Bootcamps offering a range of career services such as resume building, interview prep, and even job placement assistance should be on your list. Online programs with instructors that work in the industry provide networking opportunities and resources for transitioning into a cybersecurity career.
Schedule and Flexible Learning Options
Unlike a college schedule, cybersecurity bootcamp programs offer flexible learning options like full-time or part-time programs, or in-person versus online learning. This helps students who must balance school with commitments, jobs, or personal obligations. It also helps those who need more time to master concepts or want to accelerate their coursework to finish early.
Reputation and Ratings
Researching a cybersecurity bootcamps reputation helps ensure you’re getting a good return on your investment. Reviews from former and current students and ratings from websites like Career Karma and Course Report provide clues into the quality of the curriculum, the instructors, the strengths and weaknesses of the program, and post-graduate success.
Location and Proximity
If you prefer in-person learning, location and proximity may become deciding factors in your choice of bootcamps. Other reasons to consider location or proximity include future jobs, networking opportunities with other students or potential employers, and provide access to local job placement services or mentoring programs—all of which can help you succeed as a cybersecurity professional.
Talk to Alumni
The insights you gain from talking to alumni can help you compare the strength of the curriculum, the relevance of projects and hands-on training, and whether or not you are job-ready upon completion. You can connect with alumni through events hosted by the bootcamp, student support services within the program, or by reaching out directly on professional social media platforms.
Making the Most of Your Cybersecurity Bootcamp in California
Here are the questions you should be asking yourself to make the most of your cybersecurity bootcamp.
How Do Cybersecurity Bootcamps Work?
Cybersecurity bootcamps are affordable, intensive programs designed to provide you with the right cybersecurity experience to qualify for an entry-level job. These full-time or part-time programs can be completed in person or online. You'll work through a specialized cybersecurity curriculum that includes project-based learning, mentorship, capstone projects, and preparation for job-required certifications.
What Should You Expect to Learn in a Cybersecurity Bootcamp?
Cybersecurity bootcamps offer a comprehensive and dynamic curriculum that teaches foundational skills, technical skills, and soft skills through hands-on training, practical experience, and certification tests. This includes being competent in programming languages, network and cloud security, threat analysis, incident response, and penetration testing.
What Are the Next Steps After a Cybersecurity Bootcamp?
Once you complete your cybersecurity bootcamp, your next step is obtaining the right cybersecurity certifications. CompTIA Security+, Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), or Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) are the top three certifications potential employers require. Some bootcamps will help prepare you for these certifications. The UMass Global Cybersecurity Bootcamp, for example, not only trains you for the CompTIA Security+, but you can take the test for free thanks to a voucher that's included in your tuition.
Cybersecurity Job Market and Future Outlook in California
The cybersecurity job market in California is strong and continues to grow. Private sector jobs make up the bulk of the available cybersecurity job openings in California, according to CyberSeek, with more than 81,000 open current positions in cybersecurity in California. The state also maintains a Cybersecurity Task Force as part of the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services to help Californians stay informed, head off new cyber threats, and develop ways for dealing with digital crime.
Cybersecurity Salaries in California
A career in tech pays well in California. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for information security analysts in California is $137,600. Actual cybersecurity industry salaries vary depending on various factors, including years of experience, education level, and location.
Resources to Find Cybersecurity Jobs in California
Connecting with the right people can get your resume to the top of the pile. Here are some resources you can tap into after completing a cybersecurity bootcamp.
When you think of job boards, websites like Indeed or ZipRecruiter come to mind, and these are great for finding jobs. But did you know there are job boards solely for cybersecurity? Info-Sec Jobs, CyberSN, and Cybersecurity Jobs are a few job boards that provide direct links to cybersecurity jobs, cutting down on search time. Or check the career section on a company's website for job postings.
Network and LinkedIn
Considering people are 15 times more likely to be hired if someone refers them for a job, training in networking should be a lesson everyone learns. You can build your network by attending events with potential employers, staying in contact with peers, students, and instructors, and joining alumni groups. You can also expand your network using a professional social media site like LinkedIn. You can interact with companies and employees, join professional groups, and sign up for job alerts.
Online and Slack Communities
There is a strong security community where tech enthusiasts trade ideas, work on open-source projects, provide training for upskilling, or seek mentorship opportunities for growth. Many cybersecurity bootcamps have student forums where you can connect with current and former students long after graduation. Slack has become the latest job-searching tool, and professionals often branch out within Slack, creating communities and groups. Identifying these private forums may take a minute, but when done correctly, you can create a network primed for referral opportunities.
FAQs about Cybersecurity Bootcamps
We’ve got the answers to your most frequently asked questions.
Are cybersecurity bootcamps worth it to get a job?
Cybersecurity bootcamps can help you get a job in cybersecurity. They offer self-paced study and a hands-on approach to training that helps you develop the real-world experience you need to succeed in the field. They also provide training for the completion of key certifications required by employers.
How much does a cybersecurity bootcamp cost In California?
You may make six figures as a cybersecurity professional, but funding your education upfront is a different story. Students can expect to pay between $9,000 and $20,000 for most cybersecurity bootcamps in California, which is thousands less than two or four-year college programs, but it isn’t free either. Shorter class time and the immersive learning structure help keep tuition low, and some cybersecurity bootcamps even offer financial aid options, scholarships, and loan payments.
Are there any prerequisites for a cybersecurity bootcamp?
Cybersecurity bootcamps have less stringent prerequisites than college program requirements, like high school diplomas or prep courses in math. Before starting the core curriculum, you may need to demonstrate previous experience or pass a skills test. Luckily, some bootcamp programs will offer pre-course online programs or units for students who lack certain foundational skills. If you are a complete beginner, check with the admissions advisor.
What is the difference between a degree and a bootcamp in cybersecurity?
The choice between a degree and a cybersecurity bootcamp often depends on individual goals, time constraints, and your preferred learning style. While bootcamps focus on hands-on skills that get you job-ready, degrees cover a wider range of subjects, including the theory that forms the basis of different cybersecurity practices.