Columbia University is an Ivy League college that offers coding bootcamps through its engineering school. These bootcamps, offered through a partnership with Trilogy Education Services, include full stack web development, data analytics, cybersecurity, and FinTech (financial technology). Programs offered are full-time (12 weeks) or part-time (24 weeks). Students in part-time programs attend classes two days per week from 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM, and Saturdays from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM. Full-time students attend class from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM Monday through Friday. Each course costs $12,995 upfront, and an interest-free payment plan is available.
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I just got accepted to this program (2 interviews and 1 exam) and just a couple of days with them I already feel that they are providing me the support that I need while I’m transitioning to a new career. A couple of facts that I think makes a difference in this program way better than other coding schools in the city.
1. Series of pre-coding classes. (It will start as soon as you get the confirmation)
2. Super-friendly and knowledgeable staff
3. Full-classroom setting: 10 hours per week for 24 weeks in the university.
4. Positioning yourself with the right network of people.
February 11, 2018
I recently came out of a six-month part time bootcamp run by Trilogy Education Services at Columbia University for cybersecurity.
Longstory short is it is a completely overpriced ($13,000) course managed by an inefficient and corrupt company that takes zero interest in student welfare or actually preparing you for a job. They claim Columbia designs curriculum and approves the teachers but this cannot be possible as the curriculum is so disorganized there is no way such an institution could sponsor that.
-One teacher was very thoughtful and kind and did his best to work with a broken system.
-Classmates were great.
-There is some limited experience you can gain in a few areas like Python and Kali, but it is very short and not nearly enough to get a job.
-A nice looking certificate at the end.
-This course is geared towards beginners but is not really for them.
-Even for advanced students the course does not teach enough to get a job.
-One teacher was extremely verbally abusive to some students including immigrants and some people with learning disabilities
-Curriculum was terribly designed. So much time wasted on useless projects that taught no practical skills.
-Bad management from Trilogy. The student services team is practically non existent. They visit sometimes and pretend they care about feedback but no changes are made. It is even difficult to process payments with them which really calls into question their credibility.
-Broken labs, poor recording equipment made remote sessions undoable, and other resources that were non functioning.
Please do not waste your money hear. You would be throwing it away.
March 11, 2019
I can only speak for Columbia’s cybersecurity bootcamp but the TLDR is: do not attend this course. It is extremely overpriced, terrible quality curriculum, nonexistent support from Trilogy, and you will not be employable in cybersecurity after this unless you had years of previous experience.
-Teachers we had were dedicated. Some were better equipped to teach than others and we had some personal issues, but they kept the class fun and tried to make the content engaging.
-Classmates were fun.
-Very limited amount of practical and hands-on experience with penetration testing, networking, and learning Linux systems.
-This is NOT a Columbia course. It is entirely run by Trilogy Education Services, a bootcamp company with a dubious reputation. They just rent space at Columbia to put the name on it. You are not a Columbia student and have no student benefits.
-To put it simply, the curriculum is poorly designed and is not nearly enough or designed properly to prepare a graduate for a job in the cybersecurity field. Cybersecurity is an extremely broad term and is not as simple as being a web developer. Most jobs often require experience beyond the level of what any part-time bootcamp can provide. Despite this, a properly designed curriculum could at least get someone started on the right path. This is not that curriculum.
-Many of the in-class activities and homeworks were either non-functional, experienced bugs, or were found to provide no practical benefit to the student.
-Non-responsive behavior from Trilogy. There will be points of contact but they do not care at all about student complaints.
-Complete disconnect between Trilogy and the curriculum designers and students and teachers. Even our teachers often struggled to explain some of the content which in many cases was simply wrong. I respect them for taking the initiative to divert and create their own exercises for us at times which was extremely benefitial.
-Facilities not properly set up for remote attendance. Recording equipment often made certain sessions impossible to attend remotely or, if you missed it, there’s no chance of making it up.
-Expectation that you will spend 20+ hours outside of class on work except you arent even provided the resources or guidance for doing that.
Conclusion: This course is so bad that unless you are extremely motivated, have a lot of time on your hands, and don’t know what else to do, this is not for you. I would recommend for those trying to get into cybersecurity to find a completely different bootcamp, even a remote one, and avoid Trilogy Education Services at all costs. You are throwing your money away at a pipe dream. It is extremely demoralizing to see people being duped into these courses.
April 15, 2019
A little bit of a background of myself and my start into the IT world. I have done a Bootcamp in IT support prior to joining this CyberSecurity Bootcamp. I have a non-technical degree and a CompTIA A+ certification with 2 years of IT work under my belt. This program is an awesome program that was lead by an awesome team of instructors and TA who are knowledgable professionals. They were always willing to give their time to students after class hours (Even days when we did not meet officially) to share their knowledge and to continue to help us grow in this new and challenging field. As someone who just successfully completed his second BootCamp in IT I will tell you this. IT IS HARD and it will demand a lot from you. This included personal sacrifices, not being able to hang out late at night in the bars/clubs, putting time and effort in your studies, commuting to and from work. Everyone has different situations but you get what you put in. Columbia and Trilogy have a partnership and yes there are some things that need work, but all in all this was a great class run by an amazing team of instructors who cared a lot, taught us very important tools of the trade, and allowed me to network with amazing people that I plan to always keep in touch with.
Plenty of Hands-on Labs.
*Class Room size is not too big which always instructors and TAs to assist.
*Classes are Recorded and can be re-watched over at your pace.
*You are taught tools of the trade and industry standards.
*Programs like Kali Linux, IDS (Snort, Splunk) and IPS, Cyber Forensics, Computer Networking (Wireshark), Penetration testing (Metasploit, NMAP, HYDRA, WFuzz, WPscan, Pivoting)
A lot of Linux (Know how Terminal Works) OS architecture, Python programing (creating Dictionaries, Loops, If/Else statements)
Worked with Capture the Flag Boxes, understanding Website hacking (DVWA, Cross site scripting, XSS, Burp Suite) and much more.
*At times the Curriculum can be somewhat off-balance. For example, Python coding is very challenging especially for those with a non-coding background. Highly suggest you play with this before enrolling. Class Homeworks on this subject is often very difficult to accomplish. Suggest you take an online course and learn a few things or buy a great Python intro book to get you used to the language.
*Not enough emphasis on Networking: I wish that Trilogy and Columbia would review this section-Networking is an essential part of how Hackers can enter into a target and begin recon stage of scanning, not just ports, but to see what devices are on a network. (Computers, Firewalls, DMZ, Honey-pot) I would recommend Trilogy teach students how to at least build a network architecture. (CISCO LABS!/NetAcademy)
*Highly encourage Trilogy to invest in having an On-Site Career counselor at class. By that, I mean someone full time that meets students on campus. One of the reasons why I was able to get a job in IT, in general, was because my first Bootcamp had classes dedicated to Career development and it was required NOT optional. This is the most important aspect of a Bootcamp. Sadly Trilogy needs to make up for this, I won’t complain too much here because I have a security team at my current firm and will be joining their ranks soon.
Class Rooms-Columbia is a beautiful campus, but I wish CU would do a better job in assigning rooms that are adequate for laptop usage. They placed us in rooms with these small size table chairs (The ones you sit in when you take a small booklet exam for college) this is not ideal for a 3 + hour class. Also, why not give Students temporary access to quite places of gathering like the library or the instructors a temporary small office to meet with students. This can make meeting after class hours difficult and not in an always ideal learning situation. I hope CU really gets this.
In the end if I had to do this all over again, I would. This course has been extremely beneficial to me. professionally, It has given me a desire to continue expanding my new learned skills and knowledge. To look at technology with a sharper more focused critical analysis that can help my clients and their business navigate the dangers that are becoming more present every day. Personally I have met and networked with some amazing people these past 6 months many of whom I call my friends and colleagues. They came from different industries, bringing to the table their own wealth of experiences, backgrounds both technical and non-technical which provides a great insight into Technology but also what CyberSecurity really is, a world that touches on all facets of society and our lives.
I hope this review can inspire you and help you get past some of the less important things. The only real thing that matters is the knowledge you gain and the people that you meet that can help you grow professionally and personally.
May 18, 2019
If you’re contemplating taking the Cyber Security bootcamp at Columbia University, then don’t. The entire program is a scam from beginning to end. If you are a beginner, then you will be giving away $13,000 plus any additional costs of travel, laptop purchases you might have to make to meed the specs needed for the class, etc. What I witnessed during the six month bootcamp was not only egregious, but it also downright criminal.
Firstly, the bootcamp is advertised by Columbia, using Columbia’s name and advertising, yet Columbia has nothing to do with the class at all. This is a classic marketing tool that fooled many students into signing up, believing that they were signing up for a high quality course with academic integrity. The instructors are not Columbia instructors and there and none of the curriculum is based on or produced by Columbia standards.
Secondly, Trilogy claims the bootcamp is for beginners. We had several beginner students in the class and all of them not only struggled, but were neglected and barely grasped the material, if any at all. The course is clearly designed for advanced-intermediate IT professionals who already have a solid background in the field. As a beginner, you will not be able to keep up, and ultimately, will walk away with very little. Students made sure they inquired with Trilogy’s marketing and enrollment advisers about the class being for beginners and were given assurance that the course caters to them, but after attending a several sessions, it was evident that this was not the case.
Third, Trilogy promised 2 Teaching Assistants. One TA left at the very beginning and was never replaced. The other TA was absent or late half of the other time. This was a clear breach in Trilogy’s agreement and it proved to be one of the harmful aspects of the class. The lack of TAs became crucial especially when students faced technical issues and as a result, such students automatically fell behind, unable to catch up.
Fourth, there was constant bullying by the lead instructor. Students were yelled at, humiliated, cursed at, etc throughout the course. One student was repeatedly told how “he should know all of this by now,” meanwhile, the student was completely brand new to the cyber security and tech space (of which he was assured would not be a problem at all). This level of bullying persisted with at least 5 students in the class, all of whom struggled to keep up.
Fifth, Trilogy required no more than two missed homework assignments, yet made homework assignments completely different to content delivered in the class. As a result, many students were unable to achieve completion or even attempt the homework assignments. It got so bad that the instructors told students to upload anything and that they would give accept it. The instructors themselves knew that the homework assignments were completely misaligned to what was being done in class.
Sixth, Trilogy offers a pitiful “career services” that offered little to no guidance throughout the bootcamp and couldn’t offer anything beyond what they deemed to be ‘resume’ help. The career services is one of the biggest selling points for Trilogy and ironically, one of the biggest scams of the bootcamp.
Seventh, nearly 1 month of class time was dedicated to nonsensical projects/presentations which had nothing to do with much of the core content. Nearly 40 hours were dedicated to these presentations where the students could have been learning the basics of python, Linux, Network basics, cryptography, and all of the other topics that the bootcamp was supposed to cover.
Eighth, Trilogy conveniently left out that students were expected to do 20 hours of study outside of the bootcamp (despite the bootcamp already being 13 hours between in class and office hours) after students had paid. This deception by Trilogy was advertised as a “part time” bootcamp and forced the students to put in full time hours. They drop this information on you on the day of orientation, when you’ve already committed to paying. It’s a classic method used by fake educational institutions to remove the responsibility of high quality instruction and place it solely on the shoulders of students. So in the case you didn’t learn anything due to their poor curriculum and instruction, it would be your fault because you didn’t put in enough hours.
There is so much more but you literally need a five page article to speak about how badly this course is designed and how unprepared students were upon graduating. At the end of it of it all, nearly half of the class began to ask for refunds. The lack of academic integrity, consistent bullying, poorly designed curriculum, and the lack of concern for student issues should result in an investigation by New York State. It’s a shame that Columbia University has partnered with such an organization that lied to and deceived hard working students out of their hard earned money. Needless to say, I will never attend another program run by Trilogy/Columbia and will never recommend it to anyone. Hopefully, the authorities will intervene.
October 24, 2019
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