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online student with his laptopHave you ever tuned into the news or scrolled through social media and learned about a company experiencing a data breach? Hackers often try to exploit a weakness to access sensitive information. Examples like this are why cyber security has become increasingly important. Recently, many students have shown interest in the field and are struggling to decide whether to pursue a degree or if a boot camp certificate (or microcredential) is sufficient to start a career in cyber security. If you’re interested in cyber security, you may be wondering –  Cyber Security Degree vs. Boot Camp: Which One is Right for Me? We’re going to explore the differences to help you choose which one is best for you in this article.

At UTSA, you have options! You can choose our Cyber Security Boot Camp, a great gateway into the foundational skills needed in the field, or elect our 100% online Bachelor of Business Administration in Cyber Security, which offers a comprehensive academic approach to the field.

Let’s explore the differences between the UTSA Cyber Security Boot Camp and a full Cyber Security degree program, as well as which might be the better choice for your career path.

What Can I Expect from the Online Cyber Security Degree Program?

If you’re interested in a full degree program, our 100% online Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Cyber Security may be a great fit, regardless of whether you have a background in the field.

World-Renowned Faculty 

At UTSA Online, you can know you’re getting a quality education because you’ll be learning from top-tier faculty who are experts in the field. Whether you’re studying digital forensics, secure design, or detection, you’ll gain the skills you need to excel in the industry so you can advance your career.

National Recognition

Did you know our program is endorsed by prominent national organizations focused on cyber security? UTSA is designated a Center for Academic Excellence (CAE) by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security in the areas of CAE-Education, CAE-Operations, and CAE-Research for its degree-granting programs. We’re one of just 10 institutions in the U.S. to receive all three of these designations.

UTSA is also considered one of the best online programs in the nation. We are currently ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the #1 Best Online Degree Program in the UT System and are in the top 20% of online degree programs in the country.

Comprehensive Skills

At UTSA Online, you’ll learn from the same faculty and experience the same rigorous courses as all UTSA Cyber Security

Woman on a tablet at work

students, so you can rest knowing you’re getting a high-quality education. You’ll learn a comprehensive set of skills that will prepare you for your career. Our courses cover a wide range of topics and skills, including:

  • Scripting and Programming (Bash, Python, Java)
  • Telecommunications and Networking
  • Intrusion Detection and Incident Response
  • Digital Forensic Analysis
  • Cyber Law and Legal System
  • And more!

Not only does our program provide you with essential skills, it also serves as a pipeline into jobs in cyber security. UTSA’s 100% online Cyber Security degree program has seen graduates find careers with organizations like Ernst & Young, Valero, the Department of Homeland Security, USAA, and more.

Flexibility

With a full Cyber Security degree, you’ll get well-rounded and in-depth coverage of the industry, and you’ll learn all the essential skills needed to succeed in the field.

Since our program is 100% online with asynchronous classes, you’ll be able to earn your degree around your current lifestyle. This means you’ll have due dates each week, but you can complete your work around your own schedule so you can balance school with your other daily responsibilities. 

If you’re looking for flexibility and balance between earning a degree and keeping up with the other areas of your life, UTSA Online’s Cyber Security program is an excellent option.

What Jobs Can I Apply for After a Cyber Security Degree?

Once you have your Cyber Security degree in hand, you have a world of opportunity in front of you. Skilled cyber security professionals are in high demand, and many entry-level, mid-level, and advanced-level positions require a bachelor’s degree in the field, so a degree means you’ll have more options when you start your job search.

Some of the jobs you can apply for with a Cyber Security degree include:

  • SOC analyst
  • Penetration Tester
  • Information Security Engineer
  • Digital Forensics Analyst
  • And more!

These jobs commonly involve maintaining and improving security networks and systems, assessing system vulnerabilities, developing security protocols and best practices, and responding to security threats and breaches.

Is a Cyber Security Degree Right For Me?

Our Cyber Security degree program provides in-depth coverage of the field and the unique areas within it, but whether a Cyber Security degree is the right path for you depends on your experience and professional goals. 

It’s worth it if you are:

  • You are working in the field and need a degree credential for promotion
  • Looking to receive knowledge and training in a niche area of the field
  • Aspiring to reach a higher-level or executive role in the field at some point in your career

Man and woman looking at computer.What Can I  Expect from the Cyber Security Boot Camp?

In the UTSA Cyber Security Boot Camp, you’ll experience an intensive, immersive training program that’s centered around IT security. It’s designed to give you the practical skills and knowledge you need to succeed in the industry.

You’ll focus on hands-on learning with an emphasis on real-world scenarios and industry-relevant tools and techniques.

Boot camps are typically shorter than traditional degree programs. These courses are not for college credit, but you’ll have a great opportunity to obtain the needed certifications and skills with a shorter time commitment.  UTSA’s program includes 9 hours per week of live online courses and runs for 24 weeks. 

A Convenient Format

In our boot camp, you’ll participate in strategically designed courses focused on specific subject areas, which offer: 

  • Live Online Instruction – Through live online instruction, you’ll receive high-quality instruction and the chance to integrate all the tools and resources needed to engage.
  • Excellent Instructors – Instructors are vetted by the university, ensuring you connect with engaged educators, teaching assistants, and peers for comprehensive academic support.
  • Innovative Curriculum – You’ll stay engaged because our courses use interactive learning strategies and activities, making the concepts easier to comprehend.

If you’re a professional looking to advance your career and add to your skill set, this is an excellent option. 

Curriculum

During the Boot Camp, you’ll go through six modules, ending with the “test prep and final projects” module. As a participant, you’ll receive a valuable certification* in less time than a bachelor’s degree program.

*Note: Keep in mind that boot camps are non-credit bearing programs, which means earning a certification through a boot camp will not count towards a degree program.

What Jobs Can I Apply for After a Cyber Security Boot Camp?

After finishing UTSA’s Cyber Security Boot Camp, you’ll have the opportunity to explore diverse entry- and mid-level positions within the field, such as:

  • Cyber Security Analyst
  • Penetration Tester
  • Network Security Engineer
  • Security Consultant
  • And more!

In these roles, you may monitor network activity for threats, perform vulnerability assessments, deploy security protocols, or address security breaches. 

Is a Cyber Security Boot Camp Right For Me?

A boot camp may offer a convenient introduction to cyber security so you can get a respectable position in the field, but it may not provide the in-depth coverage to reach the advanced level of position you’re looking for. 

It’s worth it if you are:

  • Someone who is a beginner in the cyber security field and looking for a detailed overview of the subject
  • Interested in more trade-associated positions than management positions
  • Looking for a more affordable educational route with a more flexible time commitment.
  • Interested in a specific certification or training for a position.

Deciding Which One Is Best

There is no right answer for which program is better for you. Both programs offer valuable skills and resources to individuals growing a fruitful career in cyber security. Ultimately, the better option for you depends on your specific interests, needs, and professional goals.

Before deciding whether you would gain more from a degree or boot camp, consider where you are in your career path and what you’re looking to accomplish within the cyber security field. Whichever path you choose, UTSA has something for you.

Contact Us

Explore our Online B.B.A. in Cyber Security page and our Cyber Security Boot Camp page for more details on each of your options. 

If you’re ready to propel your path to a cyber security career with a bachelor’s degree, contact UTSA Online’s Enrollment Team at 210-458-4000 or onlineenrollment@utsa.edu.

Contact UTSA PaCE at pace@utsa.edu or (210) 458-PaCE (7223) to learn more about UTSA Cyber Security Boot Camp.

Explore UTSA Online's Cyber Security Program