How Investing in Your Education Is an Investment in Yourself


Image of money and a calculator used to balance a personal budget for inflation.

Inflation is on the rise and isn’t showing signs of slowing down. The cost of childcare has risen by 41% throughout the pandemic, accounting for up to 20% of family salaries. Nationally, the cost of rent rose a record 11.3% last year. Moving away from renting is proving challenging for many, as housing prices are set to spike 22% this year alone.

So if you’re feeling worried about how your future is determined by your income, you aren’t alone.

It should come as no surprise that 44% of workers are looking for a new job. Many aren’t just hopping within their own industry: more than half of Americans who quit their jobs last year made a career change. This switch is often motivated by work-from-home policies, flexible hours, and of course, a better salary. Many people are landing new jobs that afford them a better quality of life, and you can too.

It might sound intimidating, especially when you don’t feel equipped with the skills and experience needed to succeed in a different field. Rising education costs mean you can’t make a change lightly. Fortunately, there is a cost-effective solution to prepare you for a meaningful career in tech in just 10 months: The University of Central Florida Cyber Defense Professional Certificate.

Whether you’re looking to reskill or upskill, our professional program is designed to set up learners of all skill levels for a successful career in cybersecurity.

Why Cybersecurity is a Promising Career Choice

It’s no secret there’s been a hiring frenzy during the Great Resignation. But a career change isn’t just about getting a foot in the door of a new industry, it’s about job security and growth opportunities

One field that has both, as well as incredible demand for new talent, is cybersecurity. This past year alone saw a 650% increase in software supply chain attacks. Now more than ever, there is a need for trained professionals to defend against cyber threats.

Positions in cybersecurity have a 0% unemployment rate, and the global security workforce needs to grow 145% in order to meet current demand. According to ISC, the world’s largest nonprofit membership association of certified cybersecurity professionals, the current workforce needs to grow by 62% in the U.S. alone to meet cybersecurity demands.

Once you’re in the field, you can expect a competitive salary the more experience you gain. Salaries for experienced cybersecurity analysts saw an average growth of 16.3% in 2020. Compare that to the average salary increase of 2.3% for other major industries in the same year.

Average salaries in other fields aren’t able to keep up with the rising costs associated with inflation. However, positions in cybersecurity are in high demand and competitively compensated year after year.

Exploring Options for a Career Change

Cropped image of a person using a laptop to research a new career.

Switching to a career in cybersecurity may seem challenging, especially if you have no previous experience in the field. Luckily, there are many ways to equip yourself with the skills needed to succeed in tech. But are all of them a viable investment for you?

Traditionally, the route to a successful career started with a four-year degree. This is still an option today. However, the enrollment process and traditional school year schedule alone can be a barrier for many individuals looking to work in tech while demand is at an all-time high.

One alternative to a four-year degree is self-training. If you want to do a self-paced exploration of tech at a fraction of the cost, this could be a good option. However, this solitary approach lacks the structure and support of a professional program. Networking without the benefit of a shared experience with classmates or peers can become an uphill battle. You also need to spend time and energy locating free resources, and hope they’re reliable.

At the end of all that hard work, learning new skills does not guarantee success. If you want to land a job with the support of a career coach, that could cost you up to $150 per session. A professional resume writer can help you market these new skills, but be prepared to budget up to $400 to get a professional resume in return.

If self-training isn’t for you, there are always accelerated career-prep programs like ours. Our all-inclusive professional program has the features self-training lacks, maintaining flexibility and competitive pricing, all while equipping you with real-world experience that companies want.

Is a Professional Program Worth It?

Once upon a time, a four-year degree was the only way into a technical position. Now we’re seeing employer expectations changing: Google, Apple, and other top companies are no longer requiring college degrees on job postings. Instead, they are seeking candidates with equivalent experience, which can be earned through the UCF Cyber Defense Professional Certificate.

Our professional program provides cost-effective training with real cybersecurity professionals, networking opportunities in a booming industry, and personalized career assistance – even after you complete the program.

Comprehensive Support and Benefits

Our professional program is more than just a training course with industry pros. It includes benefits and holistic support every step of the way, regardless of your educational background or prior experience. Here are just a few of the benefits unique to our program:

All Skill Levels Welcome

Our program is designed to accommodate all learners, whether you’re looking to update your expertise or seeking a beginner-friendly environment. Accumulate cutting-edge skills in tech no matter where your knowledge starts.

Personalized Career Services

Remember the average cost of a career coach and professional resume writer we mentioned earlier? That’s included in our professional program, along with networking opportunities, job placement assistance, LinkedIn profile optimization, and more. You can receive personalized career assistance for up to 6 months after program completion.

In-Person and Online for Busy Schedules

We understand that you have time commitments to work and family. That’s why our program can be taken in-person or live and online, giving you the flexibility you need to learn cutting-edge skills and take care of what’s important at the same time.

The rising cost of education can make choosing the right path difficult. Investing in the UCF Cyber Defense Professional Certificate is an investment in high-quality training, career support, and yourself that will pay dividends for years after program completion.

Your ROI When You Invest in Yourself

Image of a plant sprouting from money, showing a new start and growth.

Return on investment (ROI) is a performance measure used to directly measure the amount of return on a particular investment, relative to the investment’s cost. Basically, you sometimes have to spend money to make money, and the ROI shows just how smart that investment is.

It’s natural to be hesitant to invest, especially when the returns aren’t immediate or clear. That’s why investing in yourself is an excellent first step. With our Cyber Defense Professional Certificate, you’ll be seeing returns on your investment in less than a year.

For example, say you’re making $50k in your current role. You choose to invest $16k in yourself with the UCF Cyber Defense Professional Certificate, and within a year land a job as a Cyber Defense Analyst. The average salary for that position is $86k. In just your first year, your ROI would be $20k, with greater returns for years after as you progress in the industry.*

Cyber Defense Analyst isn’t the only entry-level role with a great starting salary. Below are a variety of positions in cybersecurity that could be attainable after you invest in yourself.

  • Information Security Specialist
    • This role involves designing, implementing, and monitoring IT security systems in order to protect the organization’s computer networks. You would also help to develop best practices for IT security within the organization.
    • Average salary: $85k a year
  • IT Auditor
    • In this role, you would help to safeguard the organization’s information by identifying weaknesses and creating strategies to prevent breaches. This includes planning, performing, and presenting audits.
    • Average salary: $75k a year
  • Security Analyst
    • This professional’s responsibilities include installing software to protect the organization, as well as documenting all security issues or breaches that security software might identify to mitigate future cyber threats.
    • Average salary: $75k a year

These are just a sampling of entry-level positions in cybersecurity. Regardless of the route you take, the average salaries in cybersecurity could offset your investment within the first year

The UCF Cyber Defense Professional Certificate is a smart, cost-effective investment that will pay dividends for years to come.

*This scenario is hypothetical. Salaries vary based on a number of factors, including position, location, experience level, skills, as well as work and personal history.

2 Steps to Finance Your Education

Finance your start with the UCF Cyber Defense Professional Certificate in just two easy steps.

  1. Step one: Test-drive the 30-hour Introductory Course for a taste of what you will experience as a learner. 
  2. Step two: When you’re ready to commit to the full program you can choose from three payment options:
Pay in Full0% InterestPersonal Financing

After completing the Introductory Course, pay tuition in full prior to starting your first class.
Monthly installments with no interest. Available to all learners.Learners may qualify for personal or private education loans from lenders.

Need more information on your payment options?

An admissions advisor will be able to walk you through your options so you can make the best decision for your future. 

Start a Meaningful Career in Cybersecurity

Image of two people shaking hands after an interview.

Your goals are achievable with the right preparation! Whether it’s working remotely, a better salary, or a fresh start, you can take the first step to a rewarding career by investing in yourself.

Rest assured that your investment includes comprehensive support: you aren’t alone on the journey to a fulfilling career. At the University of Central Florida Cyber Defense Professional Certificate, our career services team is with you every step of the way with personalized assistance for up to 6 months after program completion.

Don’t let rising education costs discourage you. Our professional program provides invaluable hands-on training that sets you up for meaningful returns on your investment within a year.

Have any questions? Contact our admissions team at 407-605-0575 to learn more about how you can finance your education today. You can also fill out the form below to get started!

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