Evolve Security Academy is one of the best cyber security bootcamps in Chicago. It is an extension of Evolve Security, a world-class cyber security company. The 20-week cyber security academy offers in-person and online classes, depending on your preference.
However, due to COVID-19, Evolve Security Academy has temporarily converted all in-person classes to virtual classes. However, the quality of education and job services remain above par. Do check the academy’s website for updates.
Evolve Security doesn’t just offer technical training to students. It also encourages you to participate in the apprenticeship program that comes afterward as it further strengthens your portfolio.
Evolve Security Academy was founded in 2016 to bridge the talent gap in the rapidly changing cyber security space. Each program is divided into 12 comprehensive modules, and each one covers a unique aspect of cyber security and computer science. Students are required to complete all modules before they can graduate.
As stated above, the bootcamp programs at Evolve Security Academy are primarily cyber security and related fields. Students are encouraged to take the prep course first to understand basic concepts and frameworks before proceeding to the main courses.
Whether you have prior knowledge of cyber security or not, you can kick-start your Evolve Security Academy journey with this prep course. Think of it as an advanced introduction to cyber security covering all the critical aspects of the field.
You will learn about ethical hacking, computer networking, and Linux. There is also a class that teaches you how to use the bootcamp’s CyberLab for real-world simulations.
Tuition: Free (attached to regular tuition)
This 20-week program starts right after the Cybersecurity Fundamentals Course for those who register for the in-person classes. The first four weeks are held online with instructor-led live classes. In usual times, the remaining 16 weeks take place in the Chicago campus.
During the intensive course, you will learn about threat modeling, python fundamentals in cyber security, security operations architecture, penetration testing, and scripting. You will also take a deep dive into everything you learned in the prep course.
Location: Formerly in-person, temporarily remote
The remote bootcamp offers everything the in-person bootcamp offers. However, you will be taught through pre-recorded lectures and live sessions. You will be expected to devote at least 20 hours a week to your studies.
You will also take a verbal competency test at the end of each module. This is to make sure you have fully understood the concepts that have been shared. Both bootcamp programs are wrapped up with apprenticeship offers.
Location: Online (remote)
While the other programs are designed to give you a holistic understanding of cyber security, the OSCP Bootcamp takes you on a more specific route. The academy is Offensive Security’s Authorized Training partner and will prepare you for the OSCP exam. If you pass, you will be a certified offensive security professional.
Classes include ethical hacking, network security, and a professional perspective of Linux and penetration testing. It runs for 18 weeks and is less expensive than the other programs.
Evolve Security Academy offers only 20 spots per cohort. So, you will need to pull out all the stops during the admissions process to make the right impression. You can fill in the application form online to start the process. Then, a representative will contact you for an interview.
The interview usually includes questions about your background, work experience, and knowledge of cyber security. Most importantly, the interviewer will want to know your level of commitment to completing the program successfully.
If you qualify for admission, you will receive an email a few days after the interview. This allows you to start the enrollment process and to sign up for the Cyber Security Fundamentals Course.
The tuition cost is $7,250, $12,500 or $14,500, depending on program choice. You can either pay upfront, apply for loan financing through Ascent Funding, or pay in installments.
Veterans can use the GI Bill for part or full tuition. Also, students with solid educational backgrounds can apply for merit-based scholarships.
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I was part of the PRO cohort (in-person) and it has changed my perception of the security industry. From someone with limited to no experience in the field before the bootcamp, it was fast paced and challenging, but even more rewarding when you finally understood the concepts introduced. The instructors and TAs demonstrate exceptional knowledge of IT and security as well as provide further instructions when needed, but without spoiling the lab or experience. I personally enjoyed the real-life experience the most as we had the opportunity to work with a not-for-profit organization and had to deliver a real security assessment. The job support was a large part of the final weeks and really pays off for the most ambitious students as they will most likely all land jobs within the next few months after completing the cohort, at least that was my and my classmates’ experience as we all have jobs as analysts or consultants. I will finish this review by saying that students that are willing to learn and put in the effort will definitely have a rewarding experience, and grow both personally and professionally.
January 18, 2020
Evolve Security Academy is the #1 cyber security bootcamp in the world for a reason. The instructors are top-notch and often the ones who create the curriculum. Through the program, I was able to drink from the source, literally, and meet and learn from the pros in the industry in a casual, face to face setting. The Evolve experience helped me significantly in taking my CompTia certification, but went way beyond just that. I also greatly appreciated the game-changing tool set of skills and languages and the real-life, hands on training, which gave me an edge on my job interviews. Overall, I must say that this is the best investment in my future that I’ve ever made.
March 20, 2020
I highly recommend Evolve to enhance cyber security expertise at any stage of your career. Personally, attending Evolve was pivotal for my sector switch into more hands-on work in cyber and incident response. In fact, Evolve instructors helped me identify IR as a potential professional path. Students from both technical and non-technical backgrounds will benefit and as with any program, the more time you put in the more you will get out of it. The instructors and staff are 200% dedicated to your success and are genuinely open and supportive. My only recommendation would be to carve out enough time and energy to focus on the coursework and take advantage of the tremendous resources they offer.
April 12, 2020
Learned so much! Course curriculum and all other covered topics were relevant and very applicable to mainstream trends and issues.
April 23, 2020
Evolve Security Academy remote boot camp. A zero regret experience.
I graduated from the 2018 remote cohort and also took the Practical Penetration Testing Course early in 2019. The latter? Excellent. In this review, I focus on the former.
The boot camp had many strong points, including the jocularity, the banter, the fun with the other students. But I will emphasize the two most important.
1) The two lead instructors.
The first gave us a gold mine of information security theory and real life stories, many which had an “insider” flavor. A glimpse at the real industry, the shocking facts, the breaches, the enemy moves, the truths the news buries. He inspired and invigorated. The second gave us the clarity, detail and guidance to get our newly gained information off the ground and put it to practical use in real world scenarios, including our final project for a real company. He launched and equipped. The complementary strengths of the two instructors made the camp balanced, thorough, and exciting. I came for a challenge. Check. The icing on the cake? Boot camp became the highlight of each day.
2) The course materials.
The academy covers everything from A to Z. Physical security. Network security. Policy. Cryptography. Social engineering. To name a few. Lectures, labs, common and unusual tools, real-world experience, and best of all, access to the minds of industry leaders who walk the walk.
On the “con” side, I pour cold water, not on Evolve Academy, but on a mindset I had. If you share my former mindset, this warning is for you. Again, to be perfectly clear, it’s no negative reflection on Evolve, but a chill to the naive mental flames looking, without the right background, to boot camp as a magic key to success.
Coming into boot camp, I had tech knowledge but lacked real world experience. I knew I had an uphill battle. Therefore, I worked diligently at boot camp. Very diligently. I finished with good grades, an inside lead from an instructor, encouragement, help from the academy, references, etc. And I’ve continued to study, refine my resume and apply to countless jobs. I even relocated from a rural area to a metro one for better job exposure. All to no avail. (I hope to report a change to this eventually, but as the unsuccessful job applications mount, I’ve lost my early optimism.) Boot camp just didn’t kick the career door open. As much as I enjoyed the boot camp, all the effort I spent has ended up being a waste (to date). The warning? Expect to need something more than boot camp to break into cyber security. Background in a different tech area. A four year tech degree.
These sour grapes being set out as a disclaimer, I urge those with the right background — ninjas, experienced, etc. — not to wait. Enroll in Evolve today. You’ll have ZERO regrets.
May 24, 2020
I started this cybersecurity Bootcamp not having much knowledge what so ever (I must admit I was pretty intimated at first). After just a few weeks into the Bootcamp, I was able to confidently and fluently converse with others using IT Jargon commonly found in the industry. I can’t say enough about the great instructors that made this experience fun, enjoyable and most importantly brought a surplus of knowledge from the public and private sector of the ever-growing IT corporate world. The instructor and his teaching assistants were highly attentive when students ran into a problem in the homework or labs. This Bootcamp also offers office hours before and after class, which was helpful when needing to prepare your VM for labs and assignments covered in the lectures.
I highly recommend this Bootcamp for anyone that is looking to truly improve themselves and further their career into a high growth industry. Lastly, I want to note that I took this course while working a full-time 9-5 job. It may seem like a daunting task to juggle both (and at times it could be), but our great instructor and an incredibly supportive cast of students made it much easier and manageable. The one thing that attracted me to the Bootcamp was the high rate of job placement. Many students were landing jobs mid-way through the cohort and everyone felt like the interviews were quite easy compared to the vast knowledge they had gained through the Bootcamp. The instructors also make it a priority to continuously ask interview questions throughout the Bootcamp to further prepare you for interviews.
I took time to look at a few cybersecurity Bootcamps, but ultimately chose Evolve Security (and very glad I did) !!!!
June 11, 2020
Want to get in cyber security career? Evolve Academy is the right place. Had and extensive training that covers most of cyber security industry topics. Trainers are experts in this domain so all my questions were answered at the highest leveI. Even if you don’t understand something this guys will make sure you do. Highly recommend this place, specially PRO boot camp if you want to get more in-depth training.
Job hunting module that is part of curriculum was super helpful and landed me in a job just after graduation so I am enormously grateful for that to Evolve Cyber Security Academy.
Keep it up!
July 24, 2020
The staff has an incredible way of taking complex concepts and breaking them down into digestible bits. Coming into the course without any experience in the field, I can attest to the initial difficulty of what is going to be learned. However, the staff is willing to put forth the time and effort to ensure you grasp a solid understanding of the material.
August 29, 2020
As a person who really thrives in a learning environment with instruction and support, I knew that it would be important for me to find a program that would offer me what I need. Initially, I was worried about the online learning environment and felt that it might be alienating. In fact, I think our class ended up being more social and connected than an IRL one because of the way the Zoom classroom is setup – we all face each other, literally. I made friends and possibly future colleagues. So, the social support component of this program is not to be underestimated. I really think the coursework is well designed. There are some hiccups here and there but honestly those difficulties seemed like a natural part of the learning process. I was super grateful to have plentiful career prep conversations, both with instructors as well as other classmates. I’ve met some really great people through Evolve’s network and I honestly feel I have earned a solid foundation for my entry into infosec.
October 6, 2020
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