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    Cybersecurity Bootcamps in Chicago Guide

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    Cybersecurity Bootcamps in Chicago Guide

    Cybersecurity is a specialized field that focuses on protecting networks from online attacks—ensuring the integrity of data, technology, and systems for businesses and individuals. However, as the world becomes increasingly digital, cybercriminals are finding new ways to evade cybersecurity measures, creating risks and vulnerabilities.

    Along with these challenges comes a path of opportunity for those pursuing a cybersecurity career. For example, as of October 2023, Cyberseek reported over 19,800 open cyber jobs in the Chicago metro area alone. Various cybersecurity programs in Chicago can help individuals break into or advance in the field and fill one of these critical roles.

    A career in cybersecurity can mean different things to different people, and daily responsibilities vary depending on the job title and organization. At its core, however, the profession is pivotal in building trust and security amidst technological innovation.

    Individuals who want to join the global fight against cybercrime can begin their career journey by enrolling in a cybersecurity bootcamp. Continue reading this guide to cybersecurity bootcamps in Chicago to learn about tech bootcamps, potential salaries, cybersecurity programs in Chicago, top tech employers, and local events.

    Guide to Cybersecurity Bootcamps in Chicago

    Cybercriminals evolve along with technology to find new ways to exploit weak points in systems or security processes. To fight back, organizations continue to invest in new security solutions. In fact, McKinsey & Company projects that annual damages from cybercrime will reach $10.5 trillion by 2025.

    In order to implement effective cybersecurity solutions, organizations must hire top talent with up-to-date cybersecurity skills and knowledge. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the volume of cybersecurity roles is projected to increase by 35% from 2021 to 2031, which is more than eight times the average growth rate for all occupations.

    Skill Requirements for Cybersecurity Jobs

    It’s understandable to think that a technology degree or prior IT experience is required for a career in cybersecurity, but that’s not always the case. Many employers want to hire individuals from diverse backgrounds who possess a wide range of transferable skills and knowledge—along with technical capabilities.

    This means that an individual can build a successful career in cybersecurity if they are equipped with the necessary skill set. Cyber professionals should have knowledge of various security concepts as well as foundational skills in areas including:

    • Data encoding and encryption

    • Networking

    • System administration

    • Asset and inventory management

    • Programming

    • Threat modeling and web vulnerabilities

    • Penetration testing

    • Incident response

    • Security information and event management (SIEMs)

    Attending a cybersecurity bootcamp in Chicago can help individuals acquire these core competencies and more for the growing number of cyber roles in the Chicago area, remotely, and nationwide.

    What is a Cybersecurity Bootcamp?

    A cybersecurity bootcamp is an alternative to a traditional college degree or other higher education programs. Tech bootcamps are a flexible option for students in Chicago looking to acquire new cybersecurity skills and advance their careers. The immersive bootcamp education format allows individuals to learn critical skills in much less time from nearly anywhere with Internet access.

    A cybersecurity bootcamp in Chicago offers individuals the opportunity to learn how to secure networks, protect data, and respond to cyberattacks. The curriculum taught in cybersecurity bootcamps can vary from basic cybersecurity and networking to more advanced topics such as ethical hacking, incident response, threat modeling, and penetration testing.

    Completing one of the cybersecurity programs in Chicago can take anywhere from several weeks to several months. Some bootcamps follow a strict schedule with live classes, while others may offer a self-paced option. Individuals pursuing a cybersecurity education should consider their professional goals, personal learning style, and the duration of a program to ensure it aligns with their other commitments.

    Financial Assistance for Cybersecurity Bootcamps

    While cybersecurity bootcamps require a financial commitment, most will allow students to explore various potential payment options before enrolling, such as:

    • Scholarships, which may reduce the cost of tuition

    • Employer-paid bootcamp tuition reimbursement

    • Local or regional government assistance programs

    • For some cybersecurity bootcamps in Chicago, including those offered by Fullstack Academy, military veterans can get aid from the Veteran Employment Through Technology Education Courses (VET TEC) program

    • Personal loans may also be available at the student’s discretion

    Why Choose a Cybersecurity Bootcamp?

    Cybersecurity bootcamps provide an excellent opportunity to break into the industry and gain hands-on experience with the latest tools and techniques. These programs also allow students to learn directly from industry-experienced instructors at an accelerated pace. Plus, many bootcamps, including the Fullstack Academy Cybersecurity Bootcamp, offer career success services and job search assistance to help students get hired.

    These key benefits of a cybersecurity bootcamp are attractive to many seeking to enter the field. However, others may choose a cybersecurity bootcamp in Chicago for additional reasons, including:


    All coursework is industry-specific, skills-based, and directly job-related.


    Structured learning provides accountability throughout the education process.

    Flexibility & Accessibility

    With online learning, students can study at their own pace and from nearly any location.


    Bootcamps can open doors to meeting professionals who can help launch careers.

    Portfolio Building

    Bootcamp projects can help create a portfolio to show potential employers.

    Skill Validation

    Specialized training and study can help students earn industry certifications that validate their new skills and knowledge.

    While cybersecurity bootcamps can help individuals quickly acquire the skills and knowledge needed to succeed, they do require a large commitment. It’s critical to do research first to see if a program fits with your professional goals, budget, and lifestyle. It can also be informative to connect with a program’s alumni to hear firsthand about their bootcamp experiences, support, and job outcomes.

    Typical Cybersecurity Salaries in Chicago

    With over 19,800 cyber-related job openings in the Chicago metro area (Cyberseek), opportunities for professionals looking to enter the field are plentiful. Top cybersecurity employers in Chicago, like United Airlines, Accenture, The Home Depot, and Transunion, are offering competitive salaries to attract qualified talent.

    Compensation for cybersecurity professionals can vary based on several factors, including experience, certifications, skills, and location. However, the current demand makes cybersecurity an attractive industry to join and offers a potentially high return on a bootcamp education investment.

    For example, an entry-level position some Fullstack Academy Cybersecurity Bootcamp graduates achieve is cybersecurity analyst. In the past year, there were 5,915 new job postings for cybersecurity analysts in Chicago (LightcastTM; February 2023).

    Entry-level cybersecurity analysts average an annual salary of $81,496 in the Chicago area (Glassdoor; May 2023). In contrast, the average entry-level salary for all roles in Chicago is $32,899 (ZipRecruiter; May 2023).

    The title of a job is another determining factor for compensation. You may be wondering what typical cybersecurity salaries in Chicago are for various roles. Here are a few examples of average annual salaries for cybersecurity positions, according to ZipRecruiter:

    • Computer Support Specialist: $53,907

    • Systems Specialist: $61,257

    • IT Support Specialist: $63,256

    • Network Specialist: $77,761

    • Network Administrator: $82,462

    • Systems Administrator: $87,162

    • Information Security Analyst: $90,092

    • Cybersecurity Analyst: $96,010

    • Network Engineer: $110,647

    • Solutions Architect: $151,696

    For those looking to earn a competitive salary, a cybersecurity bootcamp in Chicago can provide a pathway to a rewarding career with strong earning potential.

    Types of Cybersecurity Bootcamps in Chicago

    When pursuing a cybersecurity bootcamp in Chicago, there are a few things to consider:

    • Duration: Determine if a full-time or part-time program is best for your schedule and goals. If you are committed to a full-time job, consider enrolling in a part-time program.

    • Career Support: Explore how a bootcamp aids its students in their job search through career success services such as coaching, resume and cover letter optimization, interview prep, employer partnerships, and more.

    • Subject Matter: Check if the program teaches curriculum, skills, and programming languages that align with your specific career goals.

    While researching a list of cybersecurity bootcamps in Chicago, students should also consider the alumni network. Bootcamps with a high rate of graduates securing jobs in the field may have alumni who can help other students get their foot in the door.

    Fullstack Academy provides two cybersecurity bootcamps that can help individuals reach their professional goals.

    Fullstack Academy Cybersecurity Bootcamps

    The Fullstack Cybersecurity Bootcamp offers two options for students: a full-time and a part-time program.

    • The Full-Time Fullstack Cybersecurity Analytics Bootcamp is a 12-week course with live online classes held Monday through Friday. This rigorous career accelerator empowers students of all starting skill levels to rapidly gain cyber skills. With this schedule, students should forgo working a full-time job during the bootcamp.

    • The Part-Time Fullstack Academy Cybersecurity Analytics Bootcamp lasts 26 weeks with multiple scheduling options for live online classes. This program allows individuals to pursue the same high-quality education while maintaining other responsibilities, such as full-time employment.

    With either bootcamp option, students gain exposure to real-world simulations and practice labs as well as a final project. Students also have the opportunity to prepare for and earn some of the top industry-recognized cybersecurity certifications.

    University Cybersecurity Bootcamps Powered by Fullstack Academy

    Fullstack Academy partners with leading institutions nationwide to prepare students for fulfilling careers in tech. These programs provide career changers and upskillers with an accelerated pathway to enter the industry.

    The University of Illinois Chicago Cybersecurity Bootcamp, powered by Fullstack Academy, was designed to help develop skilled cybersecurity professionals in Chicago. Students in the UIC Cybersecurity Bootcamp gain the skills and knowledge to land a job in one of the world’s fastest-growing industries in as few as 12 weeks full-time or 26 weeks part-time.

    Top Employers Hiring in Chicago

    As the largest metro area in the Midwest and the third most populous city in the nation, Chicago offers a wealth of career opportunities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the Chicago job market experienced significant year-over-year growth in 2023, with over 81,900 net-new jobs across all industries.

    More than 30 Fortune 500 companies are headquartered in Chicago, including Accenture, City Garden Waldorf School, ArcelorMittal, Hyatt Hotels, Abbott, United Airlines, and Mondelez International. Chicago is also home to top-ranking universities, including the University of Illinois Chicago.

    Information technology is a key market for the city, and the need for qualified cybersecurity professionals has skyrocketed across all industries. Employers hiring in Chicago range in size, but across the board, these companies are seeking the brightest minds to protect their data and networks from cybercrime.

    Some of the top employers hiring in Chicago for cybersecurity professionals include:

    • The Home Depot: A leading chain home improvement retailer for tools, appliances, and other household products.

    • Transunion: An American consumer credit reporting agency that serves over 65,000 businesses.

    • United Airlines: The world’s third-largest airline, operating a large domestic and international route network.

    • Accenture: A major professional services firm specializing in IT services and consulting for some of the world’s largest companies.

    More specifically, these companies are hiring for roles including cybersecurity analysts, computer support specialists, network/systems support specialists, and systems administrators. Cybersecurity programs in Chicago can help aspiring tech professionals prepare for these roles and more.

    Cybersecurity Events in Chicago

    Networking is a key component to maximizing career success in any industry. Cybersecurity events in Chicago—including conferences, meetup groups, and industry competitions—offer opportunities for students of cybersecurity programs in Chicago to meet and collaborate with like-minded individuals and industry professionals.

    Here are a few of the many cybersecurity events and meetups in Chicago to consider attending:

    Events and Groups

    • Fullstack Academy Events: Free intros to Fullstack Academy bootcamps, along with career-focused workshops offering interview preparation advice and job-hunting tips.

    • Chicago Cybersecurity (CCS): This local chapter of Data Connectors hosts events including hackathons, workshops, panels, and networking for individuals of all skill levels.

    • Center for Cyber Security and Forensics Education (C²SAFE): Offered through Illinois Tech University, C2SAFE is a collaborative space for anyone interested in the field to conduct research, educate, and train to advance cybersecurity.

    • ChiWitCon: A gathering for industry professionals centered around empowering women technologists in Chicago and beyond.

    • BSides Chicago: A conference for hacking and infosec enthusiasts to learn and connect, and for new and emerging speakers to present their work in a welcoming environment.

    • ManuSec USA Cyber Security Conference: The premier conference for cybersecurity in the manufacturing sector.

    • ChiCyberCon: An annual conference for academics, professionals, and students interested in the latest techniques, laws, and initiatives for secure computing.

    • Chicago Innovate Hackathon: A competition for students and young professionals interested in the architecture-engineering-construction-operations (AECO) industry to collaborate and innovate with others in the field.


    • EvolveSEC MeetUp Group: A cybersecurity community hub for networking, learning, and sharing with over 5,000 members—both industry veterans and newcomers.

    • Chicago Cybersecurity Meetup: Comprised of over 1,600 industry enthusiasts, this group hosts regular meetups for discussions, hands-on demos, and peer-to-peer networking opportunities.

    • Chicago Cyber Circle: An interactive cybersecurity meetup for experts, entrepreneurs, and enthusiasts with the goal of helping build a safer digital future.

    • Chi Hack Night: A hub for Chicago’s tech community with weekly hack nights.

    Cybersecurity Bootcamp FAQs

    • Cybersecurity bootcamps offer an excellent opportunity to break into the industry or advance an existing tech career. Students can expect to:

      • Gain hands-on experience with the latest cybersecurity tools and software

      • Learn fundamental knowledge from industry-experienced instructors

      • Acquire critical skills to earn in-demand industry certifications

      • Receive career support and job search assistance

    • The typical salary for cybersecurity roles in Chicago can fluctuate depending on various factors, including experience, certifications, location, and job title. Below are average salaries for common entry-level cyber positions in the U.S., according to ZipRecruiter:

      • Computer Support Specialist: $53,907

      • Systems Specialist: $61,257

      • IT Support Specialist: $63,256

      • Network Specialist: $77,761

      • Information Security Analyst: $90,092

      • Cybersecurity Analyst: $96,010

    • Cybersecurity bootcamps typically last several weeks to a few months. Some bootcamps follow a strict schedule with live classes, while others may offer a self-paced option.

      The Fullstack Academy Cybersecurity Bootcamp offers two program durations: 12 weeks full-time or 26 weeks part-time. All classes are held live online to facilitate an immersive, active learning approach.

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