Choosing between an online and in-person bootcamp is a challenging decision because each bootcamp has pros and cons, including cost, learning styles, and environment. In this interview, Chantel Sims, a current REMOTE Bootcamp student at Evolve Security Academy, shares why she decided to pursue cybersecurity and how Evolve Security Academy's online REMOTE Bootcamp proved to be the best decision for her.
Evolve Security Academy offers online, live instructor led, cybersecurity training. Take the next step in your career by enrolling in the upcoming Remote/02 cohort by April 15, 2018 and receive a SwitchUp exclusive 10% early enrollment discount.
What made you decide to pursue a career in cybersecurity?
I began taking free online courses and attending hackathons which led me to ethical hacking. I decided to enter a field where I am constantly challenged, where I have to be in a constant state of learning, and more importantly where [I get to] have fun. With my love of programming and ethical hacking, cyber security made sense for me.
Why did you decide to enroll at Evolve Security Academy? Why was the remote program the right choice for you?
I came across Evolve Security Academy and was instantly intrigued by the curriculum. At first, I thought it was just going to be too expensive but, after applying I was informed that Evolve Security Academy was starting a remote program. It was a good fit for me since the remote program was affordable.
How have you benefited from the structure of the course and the curriculum?
I am amazed by how much I've learned in such a short amount of time. It was communicated clearly at the start of the program how fast paced everything would be and how we were expected to complete the modules and quizzes prior to the weekly discussions. I made sure my modules and quizzes were complete the day before discussion so that I could be present and participate in weekly discussions. The accountability from my instructors helped with that. Its led me to have more experience with security tools and I've also learned to be proactive when approaching new technologies.
What cybersecurity topics have you enjoyed learning about?
There are so many! I can't think of a week where I wasn't geeking out over the topics we discussed. One topic that stands out is social engineering. We tested our social engineering skills during lab time. I called a company to get them to divulge information and I ended up being pretty successful! I was able to make the connection between what I was learning during discussions and the actual application of it. There are many connections being made with previous topics we've gone over and it’s amazing to know that I truly understand those connections. It’s given me a lot of confidence!
How have you been able to foster a classroom community in an online space?
To be honest I was skeptical about how a classroom community was going to be fostered online. Despite my skepticism, it has felt no different than being in a physical classroom. I get to see people's faces and talk with them in real time. I've been able to joke with my peers and ask them for help during lab, which has made me feel like I'm a part of a community. We're building friendships and going through this really challenging program together. My instructor and TA's are incredibly supportive and give me confidence to approach challenges that frustrate me. They make it easy to talk with them and ask for help. They're also receptive to feedback which has fostered a community of transparency, honesty, and just all-around supportiveness. I'm excited every day to jump into class!
Thus far, how has the bootcamp helped prepare you for a job in cybersecurity?
Evolve has prepared me for a job in cybersecurity by the amount of application I've been able to do through weekly labs. Additionally, when I read cybersecurity job descriptions I see a lot of the tools that we use in class in those descriptions, I have confidence in my ability to get the job done. More than anything I've had the confidence to simply apply for the job.
What advice do you have for individuals who are interested in pursuing an online cybersecurity bootcamp?
My advice would be to approach it with an open mind and open heart. It’s important that you remember that this is a fast paced bootcamp, you have to work really hard and do a lot of studying. Evolve Security Acadmey will lead you to the topics and teach all that they can in a short amount of time giving you the foundation you need, but it is ultimately up to you to take it even further. I left the field I was in and committed myself to cybersecurity full-time. I spend every minute I can reviewing what I've learned, going deeper into topics, and applying what I’ve learned to real work experience. On top of that I've been studying for my Security+ certification exam. Evolve Security Academy is the best choice I've made, and I can assure you that it will be for you if you put in the work and passion.