What to Expect from a Cyber Security Bootcamp Cyber security needs are increasing rapidly around the world. Canada alone needs 10% more cyber security professionals to fill the gaps and keep threats at bay. If you're interested in a cyber security career, you're in for a high-stakes, exciting, ever-changing, collaborative, and truly fulfilling career.

The fastest way into the industry is to take a cyber security bootcamp. So, what exactly is a bootcamp, and what can you expect to get out of it other than a new career? Let's dive in.

Jump to a section:

What is a cyber security bootcamp?

A cyber security bootcamp is an intensive, short-term training program designed to provide students with foundational knowledge and practical skills in cyber security. These programs often serve as a fast track for individuals looking to transition into cyber security roles or augment their existing skill set.

Why are cyber security bootcamps growing in popularity?

The popularity of bootcamps is increasing alongside the demand for cyber security professionals. Every industry has sensitive data they need to keep safe, so every industry is looking for those with cyber security training, from finance and government to the transportation and energy sectors.

In Canada, cyber crime is the number one cyber threat. In 2020, an estimated $796 million was paid out to cyber criminals. With the ever-growing need for cyber professionals, companies desperately seek those with the right knowledge. Bootcamps offer the quickest path into the field, teaching future cyber security employees the technical and relational ins and outs of the job in just a few months. So what exactly will you learn during a cyber security bootcamp?

Curriculum and skill development

Most bootcamps will teach more or less the same technical skills as they continually adapt to the evolving needs of the industry, though exact curriculums and timelines vary. You can generally expect to encounter the following learning modules during bootcamp:

1. Foundations of Cyber security

  • Introduction to Cyber security: Understanding the importance of cyber security in today's digital age, including real-world applications and case studies.
  • Networking Basics: Learning about TCP/IP, subnetting, OSI model, common protocols, and network topologies.

2. System Security

  • Operating Systems: Differences in security measures for Windows, Linux, and MacOS.
  • Endpoint Protection: Tools and techniques to protect individual devices.
  • Malware Analysis: Identifying and understanding different types of malicious software.

3. Network Security

  • Firewalls & IDS/IPS: How to set up, configure, and monitor firewalls and intrusion detection/prevention systems.
  • VPN and Tunneling: Setting up secure communication channels over potentially insecure networks.
  • Wireless Network Security: Addressing the unique challenges wireless networks pose.

4. Threat Intelligence

  • Ethical Hacking: Simulating cyberattacks on systems to find vulnerabilities. This includes penetration testing techniques, tools like Metasploit, and understanding the mindset of malicious hackers.
  • Digital Forensics: Tools and methodologies to investigate cybercrimes, recover data, and trace malicious activities.

5. Secure Development

  • Secure Coding Practices: Writing code resistant to common vulnerabilities like SQL injection, cross-site scripting, and buffer overflows.
  • Application Security: Methods to ensure software applications resist attacks.

6. Cyber security Management

  • Risk Management: Identifying, assessing, and prioritizing threats. This includes performing vulnerability assessments and understanding the risk-reward balance.
  • Incident Response: Creating protocols for when a cyber-incident occurs, including steps for mitigation, communication, and recovery.
  • Security Policies and Procedures: Establishing best practices and guidelines for organizations to maintain a secure environment.

7. Data Protection and Privacy

  • Cryptography: Understanding encryption algorithms, public key infrastructure (PKI), and secure hashing.
  • Data Loss Prevention: Techniques and tools to prevent unauthorized data access or leaks.

8. Legal & Compliance

  • Cyber security Laws: Overview of regulations like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) or the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).
  • Industry-specific Regulations: Such as those in healthcare (HIPAA) or finance (PCI-DSS).

9. Soft Skills & Career Development

  • Communication: Presenting findings, threats, or suggestions to technical and non-technical stakeholders.
  • Ethics: Ensuring all skills are applied with integrity and within legal boundaries.

10. Labs & Real-World Simulations

  • Throughout the bootcamp, students participate in practical exercises, often in controlled environments, where they can apply their learnings, test vulnerabilities, and develop mitigation strategies.

One of the bootcamp's hallmarks is its emphasis on practical experience. You'll get to work on projects and lab exercises that mimic cyber-attack scenarios and real-world challenges. You can then add these projects to your online portfolio and job profiles to show off your capabilities to employers.

Woman holding a laptop and smiling.

Become a Cyber Security Professional in as little as 12 weeks!

Classes start soon and there's room for you.

Sign up Now

How long does a cyber security bootcamp take?

Most cyber security bootcamps are intensive, meaning they pack a lot in a shorter amount of time. While it varies from bootcamp to bootcamp, most will have you job-ready in a few months. At Lighthouse Labs, we offer a full-time intensive Cyber Security Bootcamp that lasts 12 weeks and a Cyber Security Flex Program that follows the same curriculum but takes place over 30 weeks.

Why take a bootcamp?

Bootcamp isn't for everyone, but it's an excellent choice for those looking to pivot into the cyber security field as soon as possible. The intensive nature of bootcamp (including our Flex Program) imitates the sometimes time-crunched nature of the job. Smaller class sizes make it easier for the academic success and career services teams to meet each student's needs.

The bootcamp learning environment

The daily life of a cyber security bootcamp student is intense, structured, and immersive. While each bootcamp might have variations in its schedule and teaching methodologies, here's a general depiction of what a typical day might look like:


  • Set a morning routine: When immersing yourself in any form of study, it's a good idea to set up a healthy and balanced morning routine to get yourself in the right headspace for the day ahead. Eat a good breakfast, walk, read, spend time with family, whatever relaxes you before you start.
  • Review: Go over your notes from the previous day or do some light reading on the upcoming topics.
  • Morning Lecture: The day often begins with a lecture from an instructor, introducing new concepts, tools, or methodologies. This can be supplemented with slide presentations, videos, or guest lectures.
  • Hands-on Learning: After theoretical learning, you'll most likely dive into practical exercises, setting up tools or running simulations in controlled environments.


  • Lunch: Break for lunch and discuss morning sessions, collaborate on projects, or network with peers.
  • Afternoon Lecture: Post-lunch might bring another lecture, perhaps diving deeper into the morning's topics or introducing a new subject.
  • Group Activities or Projects: This might be when you work in teams on larger projects, mock penetration tests, or problem-solving scenarios. Collaboration helps you learn from each other's experiences and backgrounds.


  • Self-study and Homework: This time can be for completing assignments, researching topics, or practising new skills in labs.
  • EAT: Remember to fuel up throughout the day and keep that brainpower on, as you'll need it right on through until nightfall.
  • Evening Review and Preparation: Evening hours can be for group study sessions, revisiting complex topics, or preparing for the next day's sessions.
  • Networking or Relaxation: Some bootcamps may host evening guest lectures, networking events, or webinars. If not, feel free to use this time to wind down and get ready for tomorrow.

Throughout bootcamp, students are encouraged to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Regular breaks, physical activities, and relaxation are crucial to digest the vast amount of information you receive and to prevent burnout.

Collaboration and networking

Bootcamps foster a collaborative environment where you'll frequently work with your peers to complete labs and real world projects. This is beneficial as once you land a job, you'll jump into collaborative work right away. Bootcamps also offer ample networking opportunities via their extensive employer networks, networking events (usually online), and mentors who act as first industry contacts for students.


After completing a cyber security bootcamp, graduates often aim to validate their knowledge and skills through recognized certifications. Depending on what you want to do and your career goals, acquiring specific certifications is necessary. Here are some popular cyber security certifications that bootcamp graduates frequently pursue:

1. CompTIA Security+

  • A foundational certification covering a wide range of introductory cyber security topics.
  • Ideal for those new to cyber security.

2. Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)

  • Offered by the EC-Council, this certification focuses on penetration testing and ethical hacking.
  • Suitable for those interested in roles like penetration tester or security analyst.

3. Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)

  • A globally recognized certification offered by (ISC).
  • Designed for experienced security practitioners, managers, and executives.

4. Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)

  • Offered by ISACA, it focuses on management more than the technical aspects of cyber security.
  • Best for those eyeing managerial positions in information security.

5. Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)

  • Another certification from ISACA focusing on auditing, control, and assurance.

6. CompTIA Cyber security Analyst (CySA+)

  • This is about behavioural analytics to networks and devices to prevent, detect, and combat cyber security threats.

7. CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP+)

  • An advanced certification for those with considerable experience, focusing on critical thinking and judgement across a broad spectrum of security disciplines.

8. Offensive Security Certified Professional (OSCP)

  • Offered by Offensive Security, this hands-on and challenging certification is for those wanting to work in penetration testing roles.

9. Cisco Certified CyberOps Associate

  • From Cisco, this certification prepares candidates for cyber security operations roles at SOC (Security Operations Centers).

10. GIAC Security Essentials (GSEC)

  • Offered by the Global Information Assurance Certification (GIAC), it is a more advanced certification focusing on more technical, hands-on skills.

Not all these certifications are required for every cyber security professional, so it's important to research which ones you need to advance in your chosen career path. Of course, you don't have to take them all at once, but rather, as you move up in the cyber security sphere. Another good reason to gain the right certifications is they usually lead to higher salaries as you're more specialized in a particular area. They also make you more attractive to employers looking for the most qualified candidates.

Cyber security jobs and salaries

Entry-Level Roles

1. Security Technician

Provides support in setting up and maintaining security measures, devices, and systems.

Average yearly salary: $56,815

2. Security Analyst

Monitors networks and systems for security breaches, investigates incidents, and recommends protective measures.

Average yearly salary: $78,640 with an average additional compensation of $5,119

See more about Cyber Security Analyst salaries in 2023.

3. SOC (Security Operations Center) Analyst

Works in a specialized environment to monitor, detect, and respond to real-time security incidents.

Average yearly salary: $77,339 with an average additional compensation of $4,868

4. IT Auditor (with a focus on security)

Conducts assessments to ensure that security protocols are adhered to and recommends improvements.

Average yearly salary: $84,404 with an average additional compensation of $4,958

Security Administrator

Manages and oversees an organization's IT security infrastructure, including user accounts, permissions, and firewalls.

Average yearly salary: $68,155

Mid-Level Roles

1. Penetration Tester (or Ethical Hacker)

Performs authorized cyberattacks on organizations to identify vulnerabilities that malicious actors might exploit.

Average yearly salary: $94,206 with an average additional compensation of $5,852

2. Incident Responder

Specializes in managing and mitigating security incidents, analyzing their origins, and ensuring recovery.

Average yearly salary: $77,157 with an average additional compensation of $6,218

3. Security Consultant

Offers specialized advice on cyber security strategies to organizations, potentially encompassing technical and policy-oriented solutions.

Average yearly salary: $96,27 with an average additional compensation of $7,197

4. Security Engineer

Designs and implements robust security systems, components, and architectures to protect organizational assets.

Average yearly salary: $105,121 with an average additional compensation of $12,466

5. Vulnerability Assessor

Systematically examines systems and applications for security weaknesses.

Average yearly salary: $74,218 with an average additional compensation of $7,531

Senior Roles

1. Security Architect

Designs comprehensive security structures to protect an organization's assets from internal and external threats.

Average yearly salary: $134,984 with an average additional compensation of $10,688

2. Security Manager or Director

Oversees the entire security posture of an organization, typically managing teams and directing overall security strategy.

Average yearly salary: $129,255

3. Chief Information Security Officer (CISO)

A C-suite executive responsible for an organization's overall security strategy, policies, teams, and budget.

Average yearly salary: $128,919 with an average additional compensation of $14,285

4. Lead or Senior Penetration Tester

In addition to performing penetration tests, they might oversee a team of testers, design complex testing scenarios, or specialize in specific types of tests.

Average yearly salary: Up to $122,000 with an average additional compensation of $16,899

5. Information Assurance Manager

Ensures data integrity, confidentiality, and availability are maintained across the organization.

Average yearly salary: $121,422 with an average additional compensation of $10,230

Choosing the right bootcamp

Among the many cyber security bootcamps out there, it's important to keep a few things in mind while searching for your best fit.


Many bootcamps come with a significant price tag. Although they're designed to get you into the market quickly so you can earn that money back in no time, the upfront cost can be a lot. Research what payment methods the bootcamps offer and if you're eligible for scholarships and bursaries. For example, depending on where you live, the Lighthouse Labs' Cyber Security Flex Program qualifies you for provincial and federal funding. You can also pay monthly instalments for both the Bootcamp and Flex options.

Time commitment

Though bootcamps are much shorter than returning to school to complete a four-year program, they require substantial time commitment during the program. For example, our Cyber Security Bootcamp is every weekday with around 50 additional hours you need to dedicate to study per week. The Flex version is stretched out over 30 weeks. While a more "part-time" option, the Flex Program still requires 25 hours per week of outside work in addition to lectures.

Career and other services

Beyond ensuring you graduate with the proper technical skills to succeed in the workforce, most bootcamps provide additional services that help you build interpersonal and communication skills. They also connect you with potential employers and offer résumé revisions and interview prep help. At Lighthouse Labs, students have lifelong access to Career Services, meaning they can come back for relevant advice at any point in their careers.

Student successes

Meenu came over to Canada from India, where she was an engineer. She knew finding a job in her field would pose a challenge, so she set her sights on the tech industry. She was accepted into Lighthouse Labs' Cyber Security Bootcamp via the ICT Boost Initiative, an impact initiative funded partly by the Government of Canada's Sectoral Workforce Solutions Program. After completing the bootcamp, Meenu says, "It's never too late. I'm 35 years old today and receiving my cyber security diploma, looking for a career change."

Tracy Copeland worked in fast food, retail, customer service, education, as a help desk technician, and even as a cleaner before finally settling for a career in cyber security. A local agency offered Tracy a scholarship with a job offer upon completing the bootcamp. She's now working in New Brunswick's up-and-coming cyber security hub and still using the skills she picked up during her time at Lighthouse Labs.

Want to learn more about starting your own cyber security career? Download the curriculum pack or check out our program page for more information and apply in just a few clicks.