Hi Paul and Andrew! What motivated you to start a bootcamp?
Paul’s company has struggled to hire qualified cyber security professionals over the past several years. In order to meet their labor and talent demand, he turned to training new hires himself, and has been doing so for over six years. This has been hugely successful and he has been able to turn someone with a modest IT or development background into a highly qualified cyber security professional. Paul and Andrew quickly realized the lack of security talent is a common theme for ALL companies.
The two of us decided to start Evolve Security Academy to give other companies and professionals access to the same high-quality training.
We are in the midst of an information and cyber security crisis. The ever growing and continuous cyber attacks coming from all corners of the world threatens our privacy, data, businesses, economy and critical infrastructure every single day. We have a passion for the protection and privacy of people’s personal information. Every business and each individual has the right to privacy, and the protection of their personal data.
What challenges have you faced so far with starting your coding bootcamp?
Everyone knows what a hacker is and what they do, but not everyone understands what cyber security is and how to defend against the hackers. We have been working hard to explain exactly what the many different cyber security roles are, and just how important they are within a company.
With the emergence of Big Data, 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created every day – we are responsible for ensuring all of this data is kept safe and secure. You see it in the news every day – cyber attacks from hackers around the globe, trying to capture our data and personal information. We’re training the team that will stop the bad guys from winning.
The cyber security industry cannot hire fast enough – there are over 200,000 unfilled cyber security jobs in the U.S and the number of jobs in this field is growing rapidly. There are vast career opportunities that exist in the information security industry. The 12-week course is challenging and will take a lot of hard work, but earning a higher salary and entering a fast growing industry with negative unemployment will make it all worth it.
What successes have you had with your first few cohorts?
Our experience training people with a modest IT or development background proves that we have a successful bootcamp. In addition, we’re partnering with major companies in Chicago and throughout the US so that students interview for a job before graduating from the bootcamp. We’re looking forward to giving our participants both the hard and soft skills and connections to be successful in their careers in this fast-growing industry.
What plans/dreams do you have for your bootcamp over the next 5 years?
Evolve Security Academy’s mission is to change the current cyber security education model by delivering affordable, relevant training and an outstanding educational experience.
Our current curriculum is focused on creating cyber security analysts. Over the next five years we will be broadening our offerings to include penetration testing (white hat hacking), security architecture, and forensics, to name a few. We will also be offering various formats of our course in different locations, allowing students to access this great educational opportunity where and when they need it.
Ultimately, Evolve Security Academy is going to be synonymous with high-quality professional development in information security.
Any advice for students looking to join a bootcamp?
Follow your passions, and don’t let the degree you got from college, or even lack of degree, define what your career is going to be. With the right attitude and work ethic, we can teach you what you need to know in order to have the career you desire.
Any advice for people who want to start a bootcamp and/or start teaching code?
Understand that no one is going to do anything for you – it’s all up to you. Only start down an entrepreneurial path if you are truly passionate about what you are doing and what you are trying to accomplish. It’s a true roller coaster experience, so you really need to believe in your mission if you’re going to make it through all the ups and downs of starting something new.
Do you see bootcamps replacing college for parts of the population?
Absolutely. We have an education problem in this country. Traditional schools are expensive and aren’t giving their graduates the concrete, practical skills they need to secure jobs in the new digital workplace.
We also see bootcamps as being a great supplement for those with college degrees. Colleges have evolved into institutions that teach students how to think, yet don’t teach students how to actually perform the tasks they need to succeed in a job.
Especially within IT, colleges are not equipped to be nimble enough to keep up with the constant developments and updates, nor do they have the resources to provide their students with real-life projects that are taught by real-world professionals. Bootcamps are a way for students to close the gap between education and career, and the best ones provide their students with real-life projects that make sure they are prepared for their next job.
What is the job market like where your bootcamp is based?
Over the past five years, cyber security job postings increased by 74% and the demand for security professionals grew 3.5x faster than other IT jobs and 12x faster than all other jobs. Research shows this isn’t stopping any time soon – the number of cyber security jobs is expected to grow by 53% through 2018. No matter where you are in the country, there are opportunities in this field and we’re going to prepare you to get a job in whatever location you desire, or even remote.
As for the Chicago cyber security market specifically, there are 33 Fortune 500 companies that are in Illinois, and every single one of them is hiring. We’re especially focused on developing strong relationships with some of the major companies in Chicago including Boeing, ADM, Walgreens, United Airlines, Allstate Insurance, Sears, McDonald's, Exelon, Pepsi, and Kraft.