How You Can Invest in Yourself Despite Rising Education Costs

Living through inflation hasn’t been easy for anyone. In fact, according to Time Magazine, everyday costs are continuing to rise and current levels of inflation are at a 40-year high.

Sounds scary, right? It doesn’t need to be.

Prices are increasing, but so are the number of career opportunities in tech that offer financial growth and job security. Many of these opportunities are available in a work-from-home setting allowing you greater freedom and flexibility in your schedule. All you have to do is invest in yourself and make a change for the better. 

We know that sounds intimidating; making a sudden change into a new industry comes with a lot of variables and unknowns. In addition, education costs have also increased, and taking on a four-year degree in the face of the student debt crisis doesn’t just mean a hefty time commitment but another cost to bear as well. These fears are completely understandable and shared by many.     

Fortunately, there is a cost-effective alternative to traditional degrees that can get you thriving in a fulfilling career in tech in just 10 months: the Cybersecurity Professional Certificate Program offered by the College of Professional and Continuing Education at California State University, Long Beach.

These days we’re all trying our best to manage and be frugal which is why we’re here to explain how participating in a professional certificate program means investing in yourself and your future. 

Why? Because you’re worth it.

Current Trends in Digital Skills Careers

Group of diverse individuals working in an office

So, why should you start a career in tech? Let’s talk about that.

Careers in tech have always been the way of the future however, the COVID-19 pandemic has expedited that timeline. During the pandemic, several companies switched to the digital landscape to ensure their work could still be completed which resulted in a much higher need for skilled tech workers. 

In fact, according to LinkedIn’s data, we will likely see about 150 million more tech-related careers across many industries on a global scale. The growth in this sector will only continue to increase. 

Both the demand for skilled tech workers, as well as their salaries are increasing at a notable rate. According to the Dice Tech Salary Report, the average salary for individuals employed in tech saw a salary increase of about 7%. For comparison’s sake, most other sectors and hourly workers saw an increase of only 4% in the face of a 7% increase in inflation as of December 2021.  

As it stands, the current salary of most careers is unable to do much in the face of such steep cost hikes; however, tech workers are in-demand and staying competitive. 

Rising Educational Costs

Switching to a career in tech may seem challenging; however, there are many viable pathways toward breaking into the industry. Here are a few:

The traditional route of a four-year degree can be a great way to network and learn the fundamentals. However, many might find this difficult due to the rising cost of college tuition–which has risen, on average, by about 5% in the last few years. Along with the hefty financial commitment, a four-year degree can be difficult to balance due to the considerable time constraints as well.

Self-training can also be an excellent way to expose yourself to an array of concepts and techniques at a fraction of the cost. If you put in the time and energy to find free resources, online classes, and networking opportunities you could potentially gain globally recognized certifications and other opportunities; however, the learning curve can be quite steep if you’re a beginner with no previous exposure.    

Accelerated career-prep programs are a great option if you’re looking for flexibility and a program that delivers hands-on training based on your level of experience. This route of training is usually favored by many thanks to its flexibility, price tag, and fast pace.

So which is right for you? While a four-year degree is certainly a viable option, more top companies such as Google, Apple, and IBM no longer list a college degree as a requirement on their job postings. They now ask for equivalent experience in the field. You can certainly gain that experience through self-training; however, an accelerated career-prep program such as those offered by the College of Professional and Continuing Education at California State University, Long Beach will provide both training and networking opportunities in an industry that is growing exponentially with no signs of slowing.

Sometimes you do have to spend money to make money. This is why we view our cyber certificate program as an investment! You are spending in the short-term to maximize your financial, professional, and personal growth in the long run. Plus, with the Cybersecurity Professional Certificate Program you can be ready to start a new career in less than a year, which means you’ll start seeing the returns on that investment very quickly.

learning cybersecurity online through a certificate program

Are Professional Certificate Programs Worth It?

Professional certificate programs are considered to be a “fast-track” to a new career for good reason! As we previously discussed the majority of tech careers don’t require a four-year degree, they just require that you have relevant experience. This is due to the high demand for qualified workers to fill the sizable tech skills gap. 

The Cybersecurity Professional Certificate Program at CSULB allows you to learn through hands-on project-based learning from current industry professionals, ensuring that you are honing the cutting-edge skills employers are hiring for. 

To put this in perspective, if you did pursue a four-year degree you would have to spend more time and money on the prerequisite courses alone just to eventually take the lessons you’d need. This could cost you upwards of $1,000 per prerequisite class.

Benefits of the Cybersecurity Professional Certificate Program at CSULB

Our accelerated career-prep program offers a variety of benefits, all with the intent of filling the tech skills gap with qualified workers looking for fulfilling careers. Here are a few of the many benefits:

  • No Experience – No Problem 

Contrary to popular belief, a career in cybersecurity isn’t just for the computer or math obsessed. Our professional program is designed so that participants of all skill levels and backgrounds can successfully complete the course with current industry skills and experience.

  • Career Services

We also provide personalized career assistance up to 6 months after program completion such as networking opportunities, job placement assistance, career coaching, resume and LinkedIn optimization, and more. Breaking into a new industry and job hunting is stressful, but with our program, you won’t have to do it alone.

If you were to receive career coaching elsewhere the cost averages around $125 per session and hiring a professional resume writer can cost anywhere from $100-$400. With our professional program these services are included in the cost and are available to you longer than just a single session or resume commission.

  • Online Courses for Busy Schedules

We understand that you may have familial or occupational commitments, that’s why our professional program can be taken online with live, online courses in the evenings and on weekends.

The ability to take our classes remotely not only provides greater flexibility but also removes the need for potential childcare costs. This could result in savings from $700-800 a month.

These are only a few of the benefits and savings you have to gain with our cybersecurity program.

Return on Investment from our Professional Program

Many individuals are hesitant to invest money because there is usually an inherent risk or gamble associated with spending money to make money. 

Let’s talk about Return on Investment (ROI).

The ROI is a financial metric used to measure the potential gain or benefit made on an investment. By participating in our Cybersecurity Professional Certificate Program you could potentially have a significant ROI. 

Here are a couple of the average entry-level salaries for cybersecurity positions you would have the opportunity to train for in our accelerated career-prep program:

  • Associate Data Scientist
    • This role expects you to be proficient in business intelligence analysis and data mining. You will conduct hands-on research, build predictive models, and create dashboards.

Average salary: $89k a year.

  • Cyber Defense Analyst
    • In this position, you would help protect an organization’s data by collecting information on past events to help prevent or mitigate potential threats in the future.

Average salary: $86k a year.

  • Software Engineer
    • This professional’s responsibilities include utilizing skills in coding to build and maintain company websites or software as well as solving problems within digital infrastructure and ensuring systems are running as efficiently as possible.

Average salary: $72k a year.

  • Junior Digital Marketing Specialist
    • In this role, you would create and manage a company’s marketing campaigns ensuring that the company’s brand and vision are maintained, driving web traffic to the stores, and securing sales and revenue goals.

Average salary: $78k a year

the return on investment of a cybersecurity training program

This is what we mean when we say it’s an investment; you’ll invest upfront but you’ll start seeing returns as soon as you start your first job in your new industry. 

Remember, the salaries above are entry-level. They each stand to see tremendous financial growth with experience spent in the field. The Cybersecurity Professional Certificate Program is a smart, cost-effective investment that will pay dividends for years to come.

2 Steps to Finance Your Education

You have a variety of options to choose from when deciding how to finance your education.

  • Step one: Test-drive a 30-hour Introductory Course for a taste of what you will experience as a learner in our program.
  • Step two: When you’re ready to commit to the full program you can choose from three payment options:
how to finance your cybersecurity education

Need more information on your payment options?

If you have any questions about payment or the bootcamp, our admissions advisors are ready to help.

Break into Tech with a Fulfilling New Career

You are worth a career that is both rewarding and satisfying! Invest in yourself with a cyber education and know that you are capable of breaking into tech in less than one year.

At the Cybersecurity Professional Certificate Program our team of industry professionals will provide invaluable hands-on training in cutting-edge skills in a live and online environment. 

Our dedicated career services team is ready to provide personalized support with job placement assistance, career coaching, and LinkedIn and resume optimization for up to 6 months after program completion. All of these services and more are included and exclusive to our program.

We hope you’re excited about investing in yourself because we’re excited to be with you every step of the way. 

Have any questions? Feel free to check our FAQ or get in touch with our admissions advisors by calling 562-359-4787 or filling out the form below.


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