Attending a free cyber security bootcamp is a cost-free way to break into a lucrative industry. The cyber security industry is one of the fastest-growing sectors today, and the number of cyber security jobs is expected to grow at a rate of 35 percent through 2031, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. If you are looking to start a rewarding and well-paid career in a field with great job security, you might want to enroll in a free cyber security bootcamp.
In this article, we’ll cover the best online bootcamps to learn cyber security for free and the best free cyber security courses. With these resources, you can learn the fundamental concepts and skills needed to become a cyber security professional. Let’s dive into the best places to learn cyber security for free.
Table of Contents
- What Is a Cyber Security Bootcamp?
- Top Free Online Coding Bootcamps
- Pros and Cons of Free Cyber Security Bootcamps
- How to Choose a Free Cyber Security Bootcamp
- Best Free Cyber Security Courses
- Free Cyber Security Resources
- Paid Affordable Cyber Security Bootcamps
- Free online cyber security bootcamps provide a cost-effective way to enter a lucrative industry with high job growth.
- These bootcamps offer intensive training programs, catering to beginners and career changers that want to learn cyber security without spending any money.
- Free bootcamps allow you to acquire job-ready cyber security skills without the burden of student loans.
- Several reputable bootcamps, such as Cyber Risk Academy, Cybrary, and Eleven Fifty Academy offer free cyber security programs.
- Consider factors such as duration, curriculum, format, instructors, and available resources when choosing a free bootcamp.
- Alternative options for free cyber security education include online courses and resources from platforms like Coursera, Udemy, and MIT, as well as online communities like r/cybersecurity on Reddit and news outlets like CSO Online and The Hacker News.
What Is a Cyber Security Bootcamp?
A cyber security bootcamp is a short, intensive training program that helps students gain the skills they need to work as cyber security professionals. These programs teach in-demand skills and also offer students a variety of career services to help them launch their careers. According to Career Karma’s 2023 Bootcamp Market Report, cyber security is the fourth most popular subject for a tech bootcamp program, trailing only coding, data science, and UX/UI design.
Even if you don’t have coding skills, you can still enroll in a cyber security bootcamp, as many of these programs are designed for beginners and career changers. You can expect to learn skills like penetration testing and networking, as well as a variety of cyber security protocols. A cyber security bootcamp can last anywhere from three to six months, on average.
Why Consider a Free Cyber Security Bootcamp?
Learning cyber security online for free is an exceptional opportunity to gain job-ready cyber security skills. Though traditional bootcamps and college degree programs often come with a hefty price tag, free cyber security bootcamps erase the financial barriers that often hold students back from developing new skills.
If you want to break into the tech industry, and want to avoid student loans and burdensome payment plans, then choosing to learn cyber security online for free is the perfect opportunity. These free programs offer all of the essential skills you need to become a cyber security professional, allowing you to start your career without student loans or an income share agreement hanging over your head.
Top Free Online Cyber Security Bootcamps
|Free Cyber Security Program
|Cal State East Bay
|Cyber Risk Academy
|Cyber Security Bootcamp for Women
|Information Security Fundamentals
|Eleven Fifty Academy
|Free Intro to Cybersecurity
|New York City, New York
|Cyber Security for Beginners
|San Antonio, Texas
|North Bethesda, Maryland
Best Free Online Coding Bootcamps to Learn Cyber Security
The best coding bootcamps to learn cyber security for free come in a wide variety of teaching formats and cover different topics. In the next section, we’ll provide a summary of each free cyber security bootcamp, so you can decide which program best fits your goals and schedule.
Cybersecurity 101 | Cal State East Bay
In about six hours of video tutorials, the student will gain a solid understanding of the cyber security world. This course also goes over potential career paths in the industry, associated salaries, and lifestyles. Although the class is not as comprehensive as other bootcamps on this list, it serves as an excellent introduction to the field for those who are still on the fence. Also, it is powered by Fullstack Academy, which we discuss below.
Cyber Security Bootcamp for Women | Cyber Risk Academy
This free bootcamp is an initiative of the International Cyber Threat Task Force with the goal of introducing more women to the field of cyber security. New modules are released every Monday for one month, and each module takes three to five hours to complete. It is one of the best places to learn cyber security, and students earn a certificate of completion at the end of the program.
Information Security Fundamentals | Cybrary
This career path bootcamp pre-course discusses technical topics such as malware, risk management, security protocols, and cyber security architecture. By the end of the course, you’ll understand the importance of data protection and be prepared for a cyber security bootcamp. Most of the content is available for free, but you’ll need to pay a monthly membership to access some courses and assessments on the site.
Free Intro to Cybersecurity | Eleven Fifty Academy
Eleven Fifty Academy’s free cyber security bootcamp prep course teaches beginners what it takes to start a career and thrive in the cyber security industry. You’ll learn from industry experts and get a chance to tackle a malicious attack case study. Your trainers will also discuss job prospects for cyber security professionals.
Cybersecurity Fundamentals | Evolve Academy
Cybersecurity Fundamentals by Evolve Academy is a great pre-course that prepares you for the rigorous Evolve Security Academy 20-week bootcamp. It starts with a discussion of cyber security industry trends and then dives into working with command-line coding in Linux, network security, hacking tools, and home lab setup for hobbyists. If you want to learn cyber security for free, this course will introduce you to all of the basic concepts.
Cyber OnRamp | Fullstack Academy
Fullstack Academy is one of the best places to learn cyber security for free. In fact, Cyber OnRamp from Fullstack Academy covers the first 25 hours of their paid cyber security bootcamp curriculum for free, giving individuals the opportunity to experience the learning environment before committing to the full program.
This material focuses on command-line coding in Linux, one of the key technical skills for cyber security professionals. This program will give you a strong foundation to take the full 13 or 26-week Cybersecurity Analytics bootcamp with Fullstack Academy.
Cyber Security for Beginners | Heimdal Security
Heimdal Security is a cyber security solutions provider with a five-week online cyber security course designed for the average computer user. The course covers fundamental topics such as security vulnerabilities, industry jargon, and security management tools. This course doesn’t prepare you for a cyber security job, but it’s a great course to take to prepare for a job-oriented bootcamp.
Cybersecurity Fundamentals | Kable Academy
Kable Academy hosts a free, one-week Cybersecurity Fundamentals course to introduce cyber security beginners to computer software and hardware, databases, security, networking, and software development. To learn more about cyber crimes and intrusion detection, you’ll have to sign up for the full Cybersecurity Bootcamp. Most students qualify for free tuition until they find their first cyber security job.
Cybersecurity Foundations | Level Effect
This 12-hour crash course from Level Effect helps students develop a solid foundation in cyber security topics. You’ll learn about managing and evaluating risk, as well as how to conduct your own risk assessment of an organization’s security system. At the end of the self-paced course, you can test your knowledge with a 50-question assessment.
Cyber Aces | SANS Institute
SANS Institute’s Cyber Aces course teaches the core concepts needed to secure systems for business operations. Students will cover three modules in operating systems, networking, and system administration. This isn’t just a lecture series. Students will get hands-on experience in VMware using virtual machines, ensuring they truly master in-demand skills. This focus on in-depth learning makes SANS Institute one of the best places to learn cyber security for free.
Pros and Cons of Free Online Cyber Security Bootcamps
Many cyber security bootcamps cost upwards of $10,000, and many students who are just starting their careers cannot afford such high tuition fees. Thankfully, free online cyber security bootcamps are a great option for saving money and avoiding debt. With one of these programs, you can learn the fundamentals of cyber security for free and, oftentimes, at your own pace.
|Pros of Free Cyber Security Bootcamps
|Cons of Free Cyber Security Bootcamps
Though avoiding the high cost of cyber security bootcamps is a large perk of free programs, there are also some downsides. One drawback is that free cyber security bootcamps do not offer the same robust curriculum that paid bootcamps do. In addition, students who attend a free bootcamp program won’t receive the career services and mentorship that often lead to bootcamp students’ success.
How to Choose a Free Cyber Security Bootcamp
Now that you know how to learn cyber security for free, you will need to select a program to follow. However, as you have likely researched how to learn cyber security online, you know that the number of courses can be overwhelming. That is why, in this section, we will break down the main factors you should consider when choosing a free cyber security bootcamp.
Before you begin a program, you should look into its duration. Whether you want to follow a program for a couple of hours or a couple of weeks, you need to make sure that you choose a free cyber security bootcamp that aligns with your availability and commitment level.
It is important to check each program’s curriculum in order to make sure you will learn what you want to know. You don’t want to get to the end of your program only to realize that you still know nothing about firewalls, especially if that is what you are interested in. Take a look at what the bootcamp will cover and whether or not it matches your educational goals.
Do you enjoy watching lectures, or would you prefer to have hands-on exercises? Looking into the format of the free cyber security bootcamp you want to attend is important, as you want to make sure that it matches your preferred learning style. Before you join it, check whether the course is online, in-person, self-paced, or instructed live.
As part of the tech industry, cyber security changes fast, and some topics become outdated just as quickly as students can learn them. With this, you should make sure that you are learning from experts that stay current in the field.
Someone who hasn’t had real cyber security experience within the last 15 years will not be able to teach you the principles relevant to today’s security climate. Even if you are learning cyber security for free, it should still be updated information.
Though free cyber security bootcamps typically won’t offer the comprehensive career resources paid programs offer, some still provide helpful resources. Check and see if the program you are interested in includes tech support or the opportunity to connect with a community of learners.
Other Ways to Learn Cyber Security for Free
Even if you do not want to attend a bootcamp, you can still earn a free cyber security certificate online. In fact, there are many different providers that offer free cyber security classes at beginner and intermediate levels. So, if you want to get a cyber security certificate for free, check out the top options below.
Best Free Cyber Security Courses
- Cybersecurity Specialization | Coursera. This is one of the best free cyber security courses for intermediate learners. It covers software and hardware security, the human-computer interface, and applications of cryptography. You can complete the course in eight months if you spend two hours per week on coursework. Once you’re done, you can pay for a verified certificate of completion.
- Cyber Security Course for Beginners | FourthWall Technologies on Udemy. If you need cyber security education to help you stay safe online, this course created by FourthWall Technologies will equip you with the necessary skills. If you want to learn the basics of cyber security and how to protect your own computer, this is one of the best free cyber security courses you can take.
- Cyber Security: Safety at Home, Online, in Life | Newcastle University on Future Learn. Newcastle University’s School of Computing Science offers this three-week, free online course on topics in home security, online privacy, and online payment safety. The course is self-guided, and learners can join forums for class discussions and share their ideas.
- Computer Systems Security | Massachusetts Institute of Technology. As one of the most prestigious institutions in the world, MIT offers one of the best free cyber security courses. This college-level course covers threat models, language security, network protocols, and much more. Though the course is now offered in a self-paced format, it was initially instructed over the course of a semester.
- Introduction to Cybersecurity | University of Washington on edX. This six-week course covers a wide range of cyber security concepts. You’ll learn how to identify threat actors and choose appropriate security measures. You’ll also learn about international cyber security agencies and legal challenges in the cyber security industry.
Learn Cyber Security Free: Other Resources
- CSO Online. CSO delivers content on a wide range of security and risk control issues. It is geared toward high-level cyber security professionals like chief security officers and cyber security officers.
- Dark Reading. The Dark Reading blog is one of the most popular online resources in cyber security, dealing with topics like application, cloud, and mobile security. This is where cyber security professionals go to learn about new trends and vulnerabilities in the threat landscape. For beginners, it is one of the best places to learn about cyber security for free.
- r/cybersecurity on Reddit. Reddit is an open platform where cyber security beginners and experienced professionals can interact. You can browse a vast archive of cyber security discussions and pose new questions to the online forum.
- The Hacker News. This news outlet focuses on the latest cyber security news, with deep coverage of current trends in the information security industry. Some of the main topics it covers include data breaches, cyber attacks, malware, and vulnerabilities. Many cyber security professionals depend on this trusted source for the latest news in cyber security.
- WIRED. One of the best technology news outlets in the country, WIRED, has a section dedicated to cyber security content. It covers all things cyber, including stories about national security, international cyber crime, security networking events, and white papers on innovative products.
Next Steps: What Are the Cheapest Cyber Security Bootcamps?
Once you complete your free cyber security bootcamp, you may be interested in furthering your education with a paid program. If money is still a concern, you may be looking into affordable bootcamps to learn cyber security. Below, we have compiled a list of the best cyber security bootcamps that, while not free, are cheaper than similar options on the market.
- Ops 101 by Code Fellows ($99): Code Fellows offers a series of affordable courses within its cyber security career track. Students can test the waters with Ops 101 for just $99 and continue with the more advanced classes if they choose to. 101 courses cost $99 while 102 classes will set you back $1,000. The most advanced courses, 401, cost $12,000, which is still cheaper than the average bootcamp.
- SEC504: Hacker Tools, Techniques, and Incident Handling by SANS Institute ($8,275): With a pricetag well below the average coding bootcamp, this course by the prestigious SANS Institute will help you develop the skills needed to conduct incident response investigations.
- Cybersecurity Bootcamp by Evolve Academy ($13,950). Evolve Academy’s cyber security bootcamp is designed to help participants launch a career in cyber security by focusing on practical skills in areas like vulnerability management, threat intelligence, and more. The cost is around $14,000 which is still considered affordable for a cyber security bootcamp.
Is a Free Online Cyber Security Bootcamp Worth It?
A free cyber security bootcamp is worth it because it provides the opportunity to gain real cyber security knowledge at no cost. Unlike a traditional degree or paid bootcamp program, anyone can enroll in a free cyber security bootcamp without the worry of making large payments.
Especially if you are a beginner in the field, opting for a free program is a great way to gain foundational knowledge. Attending a free cyber security bootcamp will allow you to explore the basic concepts of cyber security and decide if you want to further your education in the field.
Free Cyber Security Bootcamps FAQ
No, there aren’t any free cyber security certifications. There are free courses that provide certificates, but professional certifications are different. A certificate shows you completed an educational program, while industry certifications show that you passed an exam testing your professional skills.
The most efficient way to learn cyber security at zero cost is to attend a free cyber security bootcamp, such as the ones offered by Eleven Fifty Academy or Fullstack Academy. There are also some platforms, like Coursera and Udemy, that have free cyber security courses, although you usually have to pay for the certificate.
Most cyber security bootcamps cost between $10,000 and $20,000, which aligns with the average cost of a coding bootcamp. According to Career Karma’s State of the Bootcamp Market report, the average coding bootcamp costs $12,953. Cyber security bootcamps tend to be a little more expensive than bootcamps on other subjects, though this is not always the case.
The median annual pay for information security analysts is $102,600, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Each specific role in cyber security has a different salary depending on your level of experience, expertise, employer, and location of the business. The high demand for cyber security experts also signals a promising job market for aspiring professionals.
About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.