What is a Coding Bootcamp? Beyond the Basics

Sometimes, you don’t need a long-winded academic introduction to something you love.

Other times, you just need to dive in head first.

Coding bootcamps are the latter. In short, coding bootcamps allow you to learn the skills necessary for coding. At Per Scholas, we believe deeply in unlocking your potential. We also believe everyone should have the chance to succeed in coding and access world-class educational resources that will allow them to change the face of tech. Let’s start by addressing a key question: What is a coding bootcamp?

What is a Coding Bootcamp?

Coding bootcamps can quickly teach the skills you need to begin a coding career. A few characteristics set coding bootcamps apart from similar educational opportunities:

  • Immersive environments: Once you start, you’ll launch into the content, immersing yourself in multimedia learning materials to ensure you can quickly and efficiently learn the code necessary to succeed.
  • Intensive learning: A coding bootcamp aims to give you the skills you need quickly. That means you’ll learn an intensive amount of code over a very short period.
  • Short duration: Changing the face of tech may take time, but that doesn’t mean that learning should. Our bootcamps are short, often enabling completion in as little as fifteen weeks.
  • Skill acquisition: Coding bootcamps are focused on enabling you to acquire the necessary skills. This can include codingÏ language acquisition, system support, and more.

Course content in these bootcamps can vary but usually includes knowledge of programming languages, software development, software design, and more.

Expectations vs. Reality in Coding Bootcamps

Myth: I need experience before doing a coding bootcamp.

Fact: Coding bootcamps are intensive courses that are specifically designed with beginners in mind.

Myth: Bootcamps are fine if I’m unsure about my career.

Fact: You certainly don’t need to be “certain” about what you want to do. However, bootcamps are serious commitments. You should enter a bootcamp to get into coding and software development.

Myth: A coding bootcamp will guarantee me a job!

Fact: There is no question that a coding bootcamp can help advance your career prospects. However, just like anything else, you only get out of your coding bootcamp what you put into it. Your ability to get a job depends on your performance and dedication.

How Much Do Coding Bootcamps Cost?

Tuition at coding bootcamps averages around $13,000. This cost just captures tuition and doesn’t include additional costs, such as supplies, transportation, registration fees, and more.

Per Scholas offers tuition-free programs by investing 80% of our revenue and donations into our programming. This allows us to concentrate on developing world-class educational resources that will enable you to succeed.

Investment vs. Return in Coding Education

One of the many benefits of investing in a coding education is that it opens the doors to many career options. A coding bootcamp can give you the experience you need to get started in the coding industry. Starting salaries depend on various factors but are as high as $58,000, higher than the median salary in the United States.

A coding bootcamp gives you the chance to grow in your career. Potential career opportunities include working as a web developer, software developer, database administrator, networking administrator, and more. These jobs are in high demand: Millions of coding jobs are going unfulfilled, meaning that entering this career trajectory may give you a chance to enter a high-demand field.

The potential for salary growth is massive. The best-paid coders in the United States earn more than $167,000 a year, a salary allowing you to live comfortably anywhere in the country.

Per Scholas: A Unique Approach to Tech Training

You have many options for a coding education, including learning more about just what a tech bootcamp is and how it can help you. At Per Scholas, our approach to these bootcamps is different.

First, we offer a deeply comprehensive curriculum, giving you access to an array of courses that ensure access to a range of coding fields. We also pride ourselves on teaching longer bootcamps: While many bootcamps are just a few weeks, ours usually last multiple months, ensuring you are prepared to enter the job market and succeed.

At Per Scholas, we are committed to the community and believe deeply in accessibility and inclusivity. We work with businesses to build a diverse-by-design talent pipeline embedded in our communities. As a result, our members are learners who are far more diverse than the average bootcamp. Furthermore, our learners have immediate access to workforce opportunities because we work with businesses to build pipelines directly.

The Per Scholas Advantage

Per Scholas is about more than just educating you and sending you into a career: We help you bridge the gap between education and the real world.

First, we provide extensive career support. In addition to our tuition-free programs, we also provide professional skills development, upskill existing talents, and provide ongoing support for alumni for up to two years after you graduate.

Next, we provide you with industry connections. Our program partners with some of the biggest names in tech, government, and the nonprofit world. This gives you access to future jobs and careers.

At Per Scholas, we emphasize sustainable careers by helping alumni get jobs in fields that are growing and thriving. As a result, our alumni are not just getting a job but building a long-term career.

Career Outcomes of Coding Bootcamp Alumni

Job Market Prospects Post-Bootcamp

85% of our learners graduate, and 80% of them have full-time employment within a year of graduating.

This means that our alumni can start a long-term career in coding. Coders can start as junior developers, learning the skills necessary to continue to succeed. In the long run, success in this field opens the door to more jobs, including senior development, lead architect, management, and more.

Per Scholas’ Track Record in Career Success

If you understand what a coding bootcamp is, you may also want more information on our success? If that’s the case, meet our alumni.

Our alumni have plenty of stories of success as a result of our employer partnerships with businesses like Google, BlackRock, Amazon, and more.

For example, Andres Yates learned coding in college but found a gap between what he needed to know and what college taught him. Per Scholas closed that gap and enabled him to get the job he needed. Jarred Gaines was planning on opening a gym until COVID hit. Following the advice of a friend, Jarred found Per Scholas, participated in virtual training, and pivoted his entire career into a successful IT position that gives him job security, financial support, and the flexibility he needs to raise his 9-year old son/

Choosing the Right Path in Tech Education

The only way that a career in technical education will work for you is if it meets your personal goals. You can determine that by taking career aptitude tests, engaging in visualization about what a successful career looks like, and spending time evaluating what worked for you during your educational career.

Furthermore, you need to make sure that any educational commitment matches your learning style in terms of what you need during your education and expect afterward. Do you have the time commitment to complete a boot camp program? Does the learning environment, including teaching and online support, match your needs? Does your educational program help introduce you to employers and find the post-graduate support you need?

Success Stories: From Training to Tech Careers

As noted on our alumni page, Per Scholas has helped thousands achieve post-graduate success. By learning just what a coding bootcamp is, these alumni began successful careers.

Hajji Peace started as a security guard and a barber before realizing he wanted more. Thanks to Per Scholas, Hajji doubled his salary after losing his job during the pandemic and is now well on his way to a successful career.

Christopher Rivera worked in a call center but wanted more, and Per Scholas’ 2021 Boston bootcamp helped him get there. Christopher is now working a stable job in the tech field and looking forward to developing a satisfying career.

Shante Austin is a single Mom who didn’t have the time to go to college. Per Scholas’ bootcamp gave her the tools she needed to get a full-time job in coding for the automobile industry, giving her the skills and opportunities she needed to provide for herself and her daughter.

All of our alumni asked ourselves some important questions: How can I succeed? What is a tech bootcamp? and how can I use it to advance my life? Per Scholas had the answers, and we helped these alumni – and more – achieve a better life.

Conclusion: Your Journey in Tech Education

Now that you understand what a coding bootcamp is, you get that they come with a slew of advantages: They allow alumni to increase their skills quickly, they can often lead to the start of a successful career, they can allow alumni to find employment immediately, and they can help future software developers build a robust network of fellow coders.

We go one step further. Our tuition-free approach means no one goes into debt while starting their career. We develop a diverse talent pipeline that will change tech and are committed to the long-term success of our learners and dedicated to their futures, and we back up that commitment by ensuring that our learners have access to the coaching and mentoring resources they need.

Is Per Scholas right for you? It just might be. You need to consider your career aspirations and educational needs.

At Per Scholas, we’re here to help. We strive to build a sustainable and diverse tech pipeline designed to advance the dynamic needs of advancing technology and the people who fulfill those needs. That’s why we’re about much more than just a teacher: We are also committed to providing our course participants with ongoing learner and alumni support, helping anyone who takes our courses succeed as they advance their career.

Ready to learn more? Sign up for Per Scholas Courses and start down a path that will unlock your full potential.

IT Certifications for Beginners: Your Path to Tech Success

Tech layoffs in 2023 can make the industry seem risky for beginners seeking rewarding careers. However, a closer look at the data reveals a surprisingly positive 2024 IT job market. Eight of the top 10 jobs in the U.S. are in the tech sector. 

Additionally, surveys suggest that tech skills will become essential in all job sectors by 2033. Learning those skills now prepares you for how job roles will evolve over the next decade. 

Per Scholas provides skills training that prepares you for success and demonstrates core competencies to potential employers. 

IT certifications for beginners can put you on the path to a rewarding career. Per Scholas courses give you a head start to reach your goals. In some cases, you can even find free IT certifications for beginners to jumpstart your career. 

Understanding IT Certifications 

The best IT certifications for beginners demonstrate that you have the technical skills to excel in your chosen career path. To earn a certificate, you will need to pass an exam that tests for specific skill sets. 

Many of today’s employers prioritize skills over formal education. With the right IT certifications for beginners, you could get into IT with no degree, saving you years of effort and thousands of dollars in tuition. 

Are IT Certifications for Beginners Worth It? 

IT certifications for beginners offer several advantages for people interested in entering the industry or moving their careers forward. By earning a certificate, you could: 

  • Show that you have the skills to fill an entry-level IT position 
  • Build a solid foundation for your career in IT 
  • Stand out as an excellent candidate among hiring managers 
  • Demonstrate your commitment to a career path which could lead to promotions 
  • Discover any gaps in knowledge so you can prepare for more advanced positions 

Popular IT Certifications for Beginners 

There are a lot of programs that promise to prepare you for tech careers. Choosing the best IT certifications for beginners helps ensure you have qualifications reputable employers look for when hiring new employees. 

To get started, consider the following entry-level IT certifications. Then, you can build on them to grow your career. 

Entry-Level IT Certifications 

The best IT certifications for beginners demonstrate that you have core competencies that will make you successful in entry-level positions. As you gain more experience, you can take tests for more advanced certifications. This process helps many IT professionals advance their careers without ever earning traditional degrees. 

Some IT certifications for beginners you should consider include: 

CompTIA IT Fundamentals (ITF+) 

Earning a CompTIA IT Fundamentals certificate shows that you understand the basic concepts necessary for working in IT. Those concepts include: 

  • Establishing computer networks 
  • Identifying security risks 
  • Preventing basic security risks 
  • Managing databases 
  • Installing software 
  • Developing and maintaining software 

CompTIA A+ 

CompTIA A+ certification establishes that you have critical skills to fill roles in IT support and endpoint management. While preparing for the test, you should learn how the basics of: 

  • Establishing office and home networks 
  • Installing and troubleshooting popular peripherals 
  • Installing, configuring, and upgrading popular operating systems 

Google IT Support Professional 

Many organizations rely on Google’s business services. Getting certified as a Google IT Support Professional prepares you to help those organizations by: 

  • Providing troubleshooting and customer care services 
  • Improving security to protect clients 
  • Administering systems for clients 

Pathways to Advanced Certifications 

Once you complete IT certifications for beginners, you can move on to more advanced certifications to qualify for jobs with more responsibilities. 

CompTIA Network+ 

CompTIA Network+ builds on basic networking knowledge to serve organizations with more advanced needs. Earning this certificate shows that you can: 

  • Ensure business continuity by monitoring and optimizing networks 
  • Troubleshoot networking issues 
  • Enhance network security to defend against attacks 
  • Physically install network hardware 

CompTIA Security+ 

Some consider this one of the IT security certifications for beginners, but it does require some background knowledge. Holding the certificate demonstrates to employers that you can: 

  • Monitor diverse network models, including those with hybrid workers, Internet of Things (IoT), and cloud assets 
  • Establish governance policies that make networks less vulnerable to attack 
  • Follow security regulations applicable to your industry 
  • Assess IT environments to find opportunities for enhanced security 

Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) 

Cisco has some of the most trusted certificates. CCNA tells employers that you understand: 

  • How to manage and troubleshoot networks 
  • Improve network security and spot potential vulnerabilities 
  • Configure routing to include redundancies that help ensure business continuity 
  • Use automation tools to manage and monitor networks as efficiently as possible 

Per Scholas’ Role in IT Certification Training 

Per Scholas offers diverse IT training programs to prepare you for certification tests. 

The IT Support course prepares you for CompTIA A+ and Google IT Support Professional Certification. The 13-week, live, instructor-led course has classes Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

The New York course is offered in collaboration with: 

  • Commonpoint Queens 
  • Cypress Hills  Local Development Corporation 
  • Isaacs Center 
  • Joan & Alan Berkinkow Jewish Community Center 

Through a partnership with TEKsystems, Per Scholas’ End User Desktop Support course provides the essential skills needed to pass the CompTIA A+ exam. The thirteen-week course includes live, instructor-led classes Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

Other great course options for beginners include: 

  • IT Support: A 13-week course that further prepares learners for the CompTIA A+ and Google IT Support Professional Certificate exams 
  • Salesforce Administrator: A 15-week course that prepares learners to pass the Salesforce Administrator Certification exam 
  • Future Powered by TEKsystems: A 12-week course that prepares learners for the CompTIA A+ and CompTIA CySA+ exams 

Browse more Per Scholas courses to find the right fit for your career plans. 

Support and Resources Provided 

Per Scholas wants to ensure you’re prepared for certification tests. When you succeed, we succeed! 

Because of our commitment to that goal, we provide diverse support and resources, including: 

  • In-person and remote classes 
  • Mentoring with an IT professional who has extensive real-world experience 
  • Hands-on training 
  • Study materials to help you prepare for certification exams 
  • Exam preparation assistance to identify and fill any gaps in knowledge 

Success Stories: Transforming Careers With IT Certifications 

Per Scholas has helped learners from all backgrounds reach their career goals. Our graduates have plenty of inspiring stories to tell. 

Christopher Rivera Becomes a Helpdesk Associate

Christopher Rivera is a Boston native who struggled to find direction in life. He dabbled in several industries before he took Per Scholas’ IT Support. The course provided a broad overview of the possibilities a tech career offers. 

After graduating, he got a job as a Helpdesk Associate at Vinfen Corp. Now, he says he leaves work each day “feeling fulfilled, having learned something new and knowing that I’m going to learn a lot more.” 

Learn more about Christopher’s story 

Angel Hursey Becomes a Web Developer 

Angel Hursey already had a career in healthcare, but she wanted to find a passion that left her fulfilled after a day’s work. She had some college experience, but she also knew it wasn’t the right fit for her. She wanted to take a more hands-on approach that would prepare her for the real world. 

She says that her Per Scholas courses were vigorous and challenging and that “If I didn’t have the support from the Per Scholas team and fellow learners, I would have probably given up.” 

Angel stuck with her coursework, graduated, and found a job as a web developer. Not only does she love the job, but her income increased from $30,000 to $70,000. 

Learn more about Angel’s story.

Embark on Your IT Journey With Per Scholas 

Per Scholas is always excited to hear about our graduates’ successes, and we want to make sure you have similar opportunities. It all starts with earning IT certifications for beginners. From there, you can decide where your career takes you! 

Are you eligible to become a Per Scholas student? Visit our eligibility page to make sure. Most adults, even those without any technical experience, can join. 

Now, it’s time to take that first step! Apply now to jumpstart your IT career! 

Per Scholas EVP of Talent Solutions, Brittany Murrey, Interviewed by Forbes to Discuss How Per Scholas is Revolutionizing the Tech Industry

EVP of Talent Solutions, Brittany Murrey, was interviewed by Forbes to discuss the way Per Scholas is revolutionizing the tech industry by fostering economic equity through tech training and the promotion of skills-based hiring.

Murrey highlights the importance of skills-based hiring by focusing on candidates’ capabilities rather than traditional educational backgrounds. This approach not only broadens the talent pool but also enhances diversity within the tech industry. Per Scholas’ rigorous training programs, designed in collaboration with industry experts, ensure technologists are prepared to meet the specific needs of today’s tech landscape.

Companies prioritizing inclusive and proficient teams turn to Per Scholas for their expertise for developing top tech talent. As Murrey notes, “We are designing these programs in collaboration with industry experts to ensure our technologists are equipped with the skills that employers are looking for.”

Read the full article.

Expanded Insights from the SIM Women Leadership Summit 2024: Shaping a Diverse Future in Leadership

The SIM Women Leadership Summit offered profound insights into the essential shifts required to cultivate a diverse and inclusive leadership landscape within the technology sector, and I had the privilege to present at this year’s event. This year’s discussions centered around the summit theme, “New Intersections Ahead!” and delved into the importance of adaptability, the non-linear nature of IT careers, philanthropic impacts on STEM, and the pivotal role of women in entrepreneurship. Here are my expanded takeaways incorporating these themes and how Per Scholas will actively continue to play a part in diversifying tech leadership:

Adaptability and Resilience in an AI-Enabled Workforce

One of the standout discussions was presented by Infotech, highlighting that adaptability and resilience are crucial skills in today’s AI-driven workforce. As AI technologies continue to reshape industries, the ability to adapt and pivot becomes vital for career longevity and effectiveness. This reality opens significant opportunities for organizations like Per Scholas, which prepares learners from diverse backgrounds for tech careers. These programs are not just about imparting technical skills but also fostering a mindset equipped to handle continuous technological disruptions and thrive in leadership positions. This approach is particularly beneficial for marginalized communities who are often underrepresented in tech, empowering them with the tools to succeed in a dynamic work environment. Additionally, there is a lack of ethics and rules when using AI – and they will come with time (especially given the ever-changing tech world). Technologists and leaders need to figure out the best ways AI can be utilized for their organizations and train their teams on how to use it correctly.

Embracing the Non-linear Career Paths of IT Leaders

It was acknowledged at the summit that few IT leaders have linear career paths; instead, their professional journeys are filled with twists and turns. This reality is even more pronounced for women, people of color, and those from various sexual orientations or appearances, who often face additional barriers and biases. Recognizing and valuing these diverse career trajectories can enrich leadership within tech organizations. Companies can better support and develop talents from all backgrounds when they recognize the non-linear paths in the tech industry, fostering a more inclusive and robust leadership pipeline.

A Call for Systemic Change in STEM

A powerful message from Lyda Hill Philanthropy emphasized that solving the world’s biggest problems requires every great mind at the table. This vision underscores the need for systemic changes to encourage more girls to see themselves as future STEM professionals. The summit discussed initiatives and educational programs designed to inspire young women and girls by exposing them to role models and career paths in STEM fields. Such efforts are crucial in shifting the cultural and social narratives that often deter women from pursuing science and technology careers.

The Role of Women in Entrepreneurship and Investment

A significant theme at the summit was the underrepresentation of women in entrepreneurship, particularly in venture-backed companies. Despite women founding less than 2% of these companies, there is a growing network of women-led venture capital and angel investors dedicated to changing this landscape. Additionally, with wealth increasingly shifting into women’s hands, their investment decisions are poised to have a profound impact on developing services and products tailored for women and girls. This shift not only represents a market opportunity but also a chance to influence societal norms and economic frameworks through female-led innovation. I was joined by Per Scholas Dallas Alumna Tara McDaniel to discuss the importance of women leadership in technology and entrepreneurship as a real-life example of what fostering an environment of inclusivity for women looks like and share her experience as a woman in tech. Tara highlighted the importance of women supporting women – a theme heard loud and clear throughout the summit. The community is ready to support through mentorship programs and deepening connections, a notion we can bring to Per Scholas with mentorship opportunities for our diverse cohorts. 

Conclusion

The SIM Women Leadership Summit brought to light the multifaceted challenges and opportunities in advancing diversity within tech leadership. From enhancing adaptability in an AI-infused market to supporting non-linear career paths, and from pushing for systemic changes in STEM education to empowering female entrepreneurs and investors, the discussions underscored a collective drive towards a more inclusive and equitable future. Each of these areas not only contributes to individual growth and organizational success but also plays a critical role in societal advancement as we are at an intersection of technology and women leadership, underscoring the profound impact of diversity and inclusion in shaping the future of technology and leadership.

Per Scholas and Barclays Partnership Advancing Tech Careers

Since 2012, Per Scholas has partnered with Barclays, empowering our learners and alumni to unlock their potential. Recently, Barclays hosted a volunteer event at their Times Square location for our learners and alumni, which included mock interviews and networking opportunities with Barclays employees. In addition to the event, Per Scholas alumni currently working at Barclays were featured on Barclays’ large screens in Times Square, showing that our collaboration is about more than just jobs—it’s about mentorship and empowerment.

“Per Scholas technologists are incredibly determined to be successful,” Eliza Tam, Managing Director at Barclays, reflected following the mock interview volunteer event. “Their commitment and determination set them apart from the rest.” Such sentiments echo the notion that Barclays’ support runs deep and that they have an engaging role as partners and as managers.

Eliza met Jeff Ates at a Per Scholas mock interview event years ago while he was still a learner, and it was at that event that she knew Jeff had what it took to become a leader in the industry. 

Per Scholas was a perfect fit for Jeff, as it would provide him with the specific skills and job-readiness training needed to directly launch his career. Jeff was accepted into Per Scholas New York’s 2018 Cybersecurity cohort. Shortly thereafter, he was hired at Barclays for an accelerated apprenticeship opportunity, which quickly grew into his current role as a Unix System Administrator, which was a direct result of the networking portion of the mock interview event with Barclays. “I’ve got my dream job,” Jeff reflected. “My life has changed completely…financially, I’m doing way better than I ever projected. The work/life balance is also great, which is good for my work style.” Jeff continues to excel in his role and is eager to continue his career in technology. 

Our partnership with Barclays has enabled us to expand Per Scholas’ capacity to create stronger connections with a broad range of employers, establishing a sustainable tech talent pipeline across the nation and contributing to the development and implementation of our cybersecurity curriculum, which has trained more than 2,300 technologists. 

We are grateful for our partnership with Barclays, and look forward to more volunteer events including the recent mock interview event, which showcase the multiple facets of our innovative partnership. 

 

Do You Need a Degree to Work in Cybersecurity? 

Cybersecurity is one of the hottest career fields around. As more of the world moves online, the demand for trained information security professionals rises. But many who would like to get into the field wonder: do you need a degree for cybersecurity? 

You might believe a formal degree is necessary for a successful cybersecurity career, but there are numerous options you can take. Some may even be more attractive to employers than traditional degrees. Here’s what you should know about cybersecurity—and how you could start your career in this exciting field. 

Understanding Cybersecurity Careers 

Demand for cybersecurity professionals remains high. Before entering the field, it helps to understand why there are many options for careers in cybersecurity. 

The Role and Importance of Cybersecurity in Today’s Digital World 

In today’s interconnected world, our lives revolve around technology. We bank, shop, work, and connect with friends and family online. This reliance on digital systems has brought immense convenience and opportunities, making us increasingly vulnerable to cyber threats. From individual users to multinational corporations, no one is immune to cyberattack risks. 

Cybersecurity professionals are the unsung heroes who work tirelessly to protect our digital assets. They are the guardians of our data, ensuring that sensitive information remains confidential and secure. The best cybersecurity professionals defend critical infrastructure like power grids, transportation systems, and healthcare networks from malicious actors who seek to disrupt or exploit them. 

The importance of cybersecurity has never been greater. A single cyberattack can have devastating consequences, leading to financial losses, identity theft, essential services disruption, and even national security threats. 

Ransomware attacks, where hackers encrypt data and demand payment for its release, highlight the need for more cybersecurity pros. A single ransomware attack can stop a business from operating—or the ransom may bankrupt the company. 

Cybersecurity professionals safeguard organizations from ransomware and other cyber attacks. They develop and implement security protocols, monitor networks for suspicious activity, investigate and respond to security incidents, and educate users about best practices for staying safe online. They also work to anticipate and mitigate emerging threats, staying one step ahead of cybercriminals who constantly devise new ways to exploit vulnerabilities. 

As our reliance on technology grows, so does the demand for skilled cybersecurity professionals. Their expertise is essential for ensuring the continued functioning of our digital society and protecting us from the ever-present threat of cyberattacks.   

Various Career Paths Within Cybersecurity 

Part of the reason cybersecurity pros are in such strong demand is the variation in the tasks they perform. It’s definitely not a one-track career field. 

There are a range of information security specializations, each with its distinctive responsibilities and challenges. Whether you’re interested in ethical hacking, penetration testing, security analysis, or incident response, there’s a niche for you. Some popular cybersecurity roles include: 

  • Security Analyst: Monitors and analyzes security systems for vulnerabilities and threats. 
  • Penetration Tester: Simulates cyberattacks to identify weaknesses in security systems. 
  • Security Architect: Designs and implements security systems to protect networks and data. 
  • Security Engineer: Builds and maintains security systems, including firewalls and intrusion detection systems. 
  • Incident Responder: Investigates and responds to security breaches and cyberattacks. 

The variety of roles in cybersecurity means there are paths for everyone with different backgrounds and interests. Regardless of whether you are a technical genius or a problem-solving fan, you can work in this dynamic field. 

Educational Requirements for Cybersecurity 

So, what kind of education do you need to enter the world of cybersecurity? While the traditional degree path is one avenue, it’s certainly not the only way. 

The Traditional Degree Path: Pros and Cons 

Traditionally, a formal degree in cybersecurity or a related field like computer science has been the most common route into this profession. Some of the pros of a traditional cybersecurity degree include: 

  • Comprehensive knowledge: A degree offers a well-rounded education in cybersecurity fundamentals. 
  • Credibility: A degree from a reputable institution can enhance your credibility in the job market. 
  • Networking opportunities: Degree programs often provide opportunities to connect with industry professionals and potential employers. 

And here are some of the cons: 

  • Heavy time investment: Degree programs typically take four years to complete. 
  • Cost: Tuition fees can be substantial. 
  • Lack of updates: Once you complete a four-year degree, your training is essentially over. This can be a problem with a rapidly evolving field like cybersecurity. 

How to Get Into Cybersecurity Without a Degree 

While a traditional degree can be a valuable asset, it’s not the only way to break into cybersecurity. Many successful professionals in the field don’t have formal degrees, and there are alternative paths that can equip you with the necessary skills and knowledge. 

Bootcamps and accelerated learning programs offer a fast-tracked, intensive approach to learning cybersecurity skills. Typically lasting a few months to a year, these programs cover a wide range of topics, from network security to ethical hacking. They often emphasize hands-on learning and practical projects, allowing you to gain real-world experience that employers highly value. 

Boot camps’ shorter duration enables you to enter the workforce sooner, and their industry-relevant curriculum ensures you learn skills that are in high demand. Many boot camps also offer career services such as resume building, job interview preparation, and networking opportunities. However, they can be expensive, although some do offer scholarships or financing options. The fast pace and rigorous curriculum can be challenging, and the shorter duration may not cover specific topics as comprehensively as a degree program. 

Online platforms offer courses, tutorials, and certifications that cover a wide range of topics. You can learn at your own pace and choose the areas that interest you most. This offers flexibility, allowing you to learn anytime and anywhere, and is often very affordable, with many resources being free or low-cost. There are many courses and certifications available to tailor your learning to your career goals. 

To come back to the question of “Do you need a degree for cybersecurity?” for a moment, the answer is, “No.” There are multiple ways to break into the field, and a degree shouldn’t necessarily be your end goal. Boot camps and online certification programs can help you get started just as well as a traditional, four-year degree. But before considering your path, take a step back and check to see if you have the skills needed for cybersecurity. 

Skills Needed for a Successful Cybersecurity Career 

Do you have what it takes for a successful cybersecurity career? You might, if you have some of these skills: 

Technical Skills 

The technical skills required for cybersecurity vary depending on your specific role, but some core competencies are essential across the board: 

  • Networking: Cybersecurity roles require an interest in network protocols, topologies, and security. 
  • Operating Systems: It is helpful to be familiar with different operating systems (Windows, Linux, MacOS) and their security functions. 
  • Programming/Scripting: Knowledge of programming languages like Python or Bash could help automate tasks and create security software programs. 
  • Security Protocols/Technologies: Protection protocols such as firewalls, intrusion detection systems (IDS), and encryption are a plus. 
  • Risk Assessment: Recognizing, mitigating, and assessing security threats are crucial skills for cybersecurity professionals. 
  • Incident Response: Reacting to and investigating security incidents is critical to limiting harm and preventing future attacks. 

Soft Skills 

Technical abilities are fundamental, but they’re not the sole ingredient for success in cybersecurity. These often-overlooked soft skills are also essential to helping you work with colleagues, communicate clearly, and solve problems. 

  • Problem-Solving: Cybersecurity professionals often face complex challenges that require creative problem-solving skills. 
  • Critical Thinking: Thinking critically and analyzing information is essential for identifying vulnerabilities and assessing threats. 
  • Communication: Effective communication skills are crucial for explaining technical concepts to non-technical stakeholders and collaborating with team members. 
  • Attention to Detail: A meticulous approach is essential for identifying subtle vulnerabilities and potential threats. 
  • Adaptability: The cybersecurity landscape is constantly evolving, so it’s important to be able to adapt to new technologies and threats. 

How Per Scholas Prepares You for a Cybersecurity Career 

Per Scholas is committed to making tech careers accessible to all. Its cybersecurity course is designed to prepare individuals with the skills and knowledge needed to thrive in this field. 

Overview of Per Scholas’ Cybersecurity Course 

The Cybersecurity Analyst (CySA+) course at Per Scholas offers a comprehensive curriculum that covers essential topics like: 

  • Linux and Network Administration: Gain a strong foundation in Linux operating systems and network infrastructure. 
  • Behavioral Analytics and Security Monitoring: Learn how to detect and respond to cybersecurity threats using behavioral analytics and security monitoring tools. 
  • Tools and Strategies for Workplace Success: Develop the professional skills necessary to succeed in the cybersecurity industry. 

The course culminates in learners earning the Cybersecurity Analyst (CySA+) certification, a valuable credential demonstrating their competence to potential employers. For more information on this and other cybersecurity courses, visit the Per Scholas Cybersecurity courses page. 

Success Stories and Alumni Testimonials 

Per Scholas has a proven track record of helping individuals launch successful careers in cybersecurity. Many alums have gone on to work for leading companies in the field. Just take a look at what Simon Ayim, a veteran of Per Scholas’ cybersecurity courses, had to say: 

“Per Scholas is helping people from underserved neighborhoods and giving us this training for free! They never asked for anything back—only asked for us to put in the work.” 

Another of our alums, Fabianna Rodríguez-Mercado, is now the Chief of Staff of Cybersecurity at Citi. Here’s what she had to say about how a newcomer to the field of cybersecurity as they enter a Per Scholas program: 

“Instead of being afraid of the tech world…there’s a lot to learn, but I think there’s a community of students, professors, and administration. And we all know why we are there.” 

And Elena Bilko, yet another Per Scholas cybersecurity alumnus, speaks to how the program gave her the confidence needed for a career in the field: 

“We did a lot of hands-on training and cybersecurity cases. By the time I graduated, I felt very confident and knew a lot of information to start in the industry. I feel confident speaking to someone that’s been in tech and explaining my work.” 

Each of these alumni started by wondering, “Do you need a degree for cybersecurity?” While working through the Per Scholas program, each one found that certifications offer a viable entry into the field. 

Certification vs. Degree in Cybersecurity 

While a traditional degree can be a valuable asset, certifications offer a more focused and often faster path to demonstrating your cybersecurity expertise. 

The Value of Certifications in the Cybersecurity Industry 

Certifications are industry-recognized credentials that prove your knowledge and skills in specific cybersecurity areas. Employers view them highly as a sign of your dedication to professional development and following industry trends. You can find a list of some of the most popular cybersecurity certifications on our types of CS certifications page. 

How Certifications Can Complement or Substitute for a Degree 

While a degree gives you an extensive background in cybersecurity, certifications let you specialize in areas of interest. Some roles may even require certifications more than a degree. In a rapidly growing field like cybersecurity, certifications can show you have the latest knowledge and skills. 

Getting Started in Cybersecurity with Per Scholas 

Per Scholas offers a streamlined application process for its cybersecurity course. There are no specific prerequisites, but prior experience with technology or a passion for problem-solving can help. With Per Scholas, cybersecurity without a degree is possible. Here’s how to get started. 

Application Process and Prerequisites 

The application process typically involves submitting an online application, completing a simple assessment, and answering a few questions. Specific requirements may vary by course and location. 

Tips for Applicants Without a Traditional Background in Tech 

Don’t be discouraged if you don’t have a traditional tech background. Many successful cybersecurity professionals come from diverse backgrounds. Highlight your transferable skills in problem-solving, critical thinking, and communication. Show interest in cybersecurity and a willingness to learn, and you’ll be off to a great start. 

Next Steps: Launching Your Cybersecurity Career 

So, do you need a degree for cybersecurity? While that has worked for some, it’s not a necessity. If you have an interest in tech, the right soft skills, and a willingness to learn, certifications can be a great way to launch your own cybersecurity career. 

If you’re ready to take the first step towards a rewarding career in cybersecurity, Per Scholas can help you get there. Visit the Per Scholas eligibility page today to learn more. 

Per Scholas Selected for Grant Renewal with NFL’s Inspire Change Social Justice Initiative

Per Scholas is thrilled to have been selected for a grant renewal with the NFL as part of their Inspire Change social justice initiative. Per Scholas was one of 10 nonprofit partners selected for the measurable positive change they are enacting across the country. 

“We’re thrilled to continue unlocking potential across the country in partnership with the NFL Foundation and Inspire Change’s support,” said Per Scholas President and CEO Plinio Ayala. “With this extended commitment, Per Scholas will continue to provide no-cost tech training to future technologists, unlocking their potential and advancing economic equity for communities across the nation, including the launch of our newest campus in Kansas City.” 

Read more here. 

Per Scholas Los Angeles Managing Director Patrice Madu Featured in Shoutout LA

Per Scholas Los Angeles Managing Director Patrice Madu was featured in Shoutout LA, in which she described Per Scholas’ mission, and our organization’s impact, both on the individual and societal level. She highlighted the Per Scholas Los Angeles campus, which launched its inaugural cohort in February, 2023, and currently offers courses in AWS re/Start, Cybersecurity, End User Desktop Support, IT Support, and Software Engineering.

“Per Scholas fuels economic and social progress in communities across the country through technology education, access, training, and employer connections for individuals in these communities,” Patrice said. “Our training connects people with jobs that can help them launch careers with personal meaning, opportunities for advancement, and the wages needed to invest in their futures.”

Read Patrice’s full interview here.

Governor Hochul Announces $1 Million Grant to Per Scholas for New Tech Training Campus in Buffalo

Per Scholas is thrilled to announce that New York Governor Kathy Hochul has awarded our organization a $1 million grant through the New York State Office of Strategic Workforce Development. This funding will support the launch of a new tech training campus in Buffalo, aimed at providing high-demand technical skills and robust support services to local residents.

The grant is part of a broader initiative in which $8.7 million was awarded to 11 employer-driven, high-skilled workforce training programs across New York State, promoting innovative approaches and best practices that reduce the barriers to participation for high-need communities.These efforts aim to support nearly 1,700 trainees through collaborations between training providers and over 60 business partners in sectors such as construction, industrial manufacturing, renewable energy, and software engineering.

“New York is making sure that the State is well prepared with the talent and workforce of the future,” Governor Hochul said. “This latest round of strategic workforce development grants will continue our mission to ensure that all New Yorkers have the opportunity to gain skills needed by top employers, especially those who have been traditionally left behind.”

Read more about the announcement here.

Per Scholas Deputy Chief Training Officer Noah Mitchell to Join GrantMakers for Education’s National Panel Discussion

On June 18th, Per Scholas’s Deputy Chief Training Officer, Noah Mitchell, will be joining national panel of experts in a webinar hosted by Grantmakers for Education. Attendees will discuss the growth and impact of skills-based training programs like Per Scholas, and what this growth means for “traditional” higher education.

Web panelists in attendance included:

  • Noah Mitchell, Per Scholas
  • Carolyn Lee, Ascendium Education Group
  • Frieda Molina, MDRC
  • Rebecca Taber Staehelin, Merit America
  • Garrett Warfield, Year Up

Read more about the panel and register here.

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