Published on September 22nd, 2022 📆 | 3641 Views ⚑0
Prep For Certification With Free Cybersecurity Training – Forbes Advisor
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Finding a high-quality, free cybersecurity training or certification prep course can be challenging.
Between online universities, bootcamps and certification prep courses, it can be tough to settle on just one option—especially when certification is often so critical to getting hired. A certificate lets employers know you have the knowledge and skills to keep their organizations safe.
In this article, we review some of the most valued cybersecurity certifications, plus free certification preparation courses and additional resources for those entering the field.
How Much Do Cybersecurity Certifications Cost?
As with many other fields, cybersecurity has many professional certifications to choose from. And there’s no way around it: Globally recognized and accredited cybersecurity certifications will cost you money.
These certification programs are different from prep courses, which may or may not be free and could result in certificates of completion. While a certificate indicates that you successfully completed a course or training, a certification verifies your skills in a specific professional area. Generally speaking, certifications are more valuable than certificates when it comes to finding cybersecurity jobs.
The following certifications are among the most popular for cybersecurity professionals.
Certification Overview: The CISSP credential is the gold standard for cybersecurity professionals, globally recognized by employers in this industry. CISSP-certified professionals have years of experience, along with strong education, ethics and expertise in eight different information security domains.
Cost: $749 (exam registration fee)
Certification Overview: The Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA) offers the CISA certification, ideal for entry- to mid-level security professionals. CISA certification showcases the holder’s expertise in using risk-based approaches to audit engagements.
Cost: $575 for ISACA members, $760 for nonmembers
Certification Overview: Also offered by ISACA, the CISM certification serves those who want to move into managerial roles. Individuals must demonstrate expertise in four domains: information security governance, risk management, program development and management and incident management.
Cost: $575 for ISACA members, $760 for nonmembers
Certification Overview: The CompTIA Security+ certification is for those early in their cybersecurity careers. This certification verifies a security professional’s abilities through practical security problem-solving, including assessing and monitoring the enterprise environment, following the principles of governance, risk and compliance and responding to security incidents.
Certification Overview: Being a CEH shows that you understand how to look for and ethically penetrate the vulnerabilities in a security system to implement countermeasures before an attack actually occurs.
Cost: $1,199 through Pearson Vue or $950 through the ECC exam; $100 nonrefundable application fee
Free Certification Preparation Courses
Certification prep courses can help certification-seekers prepare for the topics and questions found on official certification exams. Depending on the provider, preparation courses can be entirely free, free under a trial basis or partially free. Most require a paid membership for full access.
The following preparation courses are just a sample of the many available. Please note that these prep courses do not result in certification; they simply prepare you for a certification exam.
Course Overview: The SkillUp CISSP course goes over the same eight domains covered on the CISSP exam. These domains include security and risk management, asset security, security architecture and engineering, communication and network security, identity and access management, security assessment and testing, security operations and software development security.
The course has no final exam and only requires learners to watch 85% of the video lessons. Each lesson features multiple videos that provide clear visuals and examples of the specific content. Knowledge checks in the form of multiple-choice questions are scattered throughout the course.
This course is free.
Course Length: 12 hours of self-paced video lessons
Relevant Certification: CISSP
Course Overview: Offered by IT Masters through the Australian-based Charles Sturt University, this four-module information security manager course includes pre-recorded webinars on information security governance, risk management and compliance, program development and management. Students have access to each module’s neat and organized slide decks. Learners are expected to complete and pass a quiz in each module.
This course is a free sample of IT Masters’ larger cybersecurity masters qualifications course.
Course Length: Access to four weeks of prerecorded webinars
Relevant Certification: CISM
Course Overview: This free course includes sample lectures from Master of Project Academy’s more comprehensive and paid training courses. The lectures include a review of the process of an information technology (IT) audit, an IT report sample, information system strategy and IT investment practices. The course does not include any quizzes or offer a certificate of completion.
Course Length: Four video lectures totaling approximately 30 minutes
Relevant Certification: CISA
Course Overview: This course is offered by CISSP-certified Kelly Handerhan and reviews the eight domains that (ISC)² includes on its CISSP certification test. As this course is considered advanced, some suggested prerequisites include CompTIA Network+ and Security+ certifications and network or risk management experience.
Most of this course is locked behind the Cybrary Inside Pro subscription, which costs $59 per month.
Course Length: 15 hours 43 minutes
Relevant Certification: CISSP
Course Overview: This course is geared toward those who are new to network security. It has no prerequisites. This course covers fundamental information security topics like types of attackers and attack vectors and basic cryptography. Void of supplementary materials, the course requires students to take notes and study them diligently before attempting the official exam.
The majority of this course is available behind a subscription paywall.
Course Length: 7 hours 50 minutes
Relevant Certification: CompTIA Security+
Course Overview: Across 13 modules, aspiring penetration testers receive video instruction on ethical hacking. By the end of the course, students should be able to understand the phases of hacking, different types of security control and applicable laws and regulation. They are also introduced to web attacks, the Internet of things and operational technology hacking. Students receive over 200 pages of thorough instructor notes as well.
Course Length: 7 hours 6 minutes
Relevant Certification: CEH
Other Free Cybersecurity Training
Not all courses focus on specific certifications. There are also free courses for those who are just entering the cybersecurity field or gauging their interest in the industry. Even if you are starting from zero knowledge in cybersecurity, the three resources below offer an excellent start for learning the field’s basics.
Eleven Fifty Academy offers a free, three-hour introductory cybersecurity course. Students learn the basics of cybersecurity by exploring the work that goes into preventing cyberattacks. Ultimately, this free course aims to help you decide if a career in cybersecurity is for you.
Eleven Fifty Academy also offers paid courses. Its cybersecurity pathway program teaches IT foundations and secure networking, preparing students to earn the CompTIA Network+ and Security+ certifications. They also have six-week “skill-up” courses to help working professionals obtain the CompTIA SySA+ and PenTest+ certifications.
The Flatiron School is an online cybersecurity bootcamp provider that offers engineering and cryptography prep courses. The school’s introductory cybersecurity engineering prep course offers the same preparatory coursework that all students enrolled in the paid bootcamp must complete.
Before any content is accessible, students must complete a pre-test. Flatiron School requires students to complete the course linearly, reviewing systems, then networks, and then learning Python programming. To conclude, students complete a post-test that may count toward a grade for the paid course.
In addition to a paid bootcamp for cybersecurity, Flatiron School offers paid bootcamps for software engineering, data science and product design. Full-time bootcamps require students to commit 60 intensive hours per week for 15 weeks. The flexible option allows for completion in 20, 40 or 60 weeks.
If you can commit two to five hours a week for six weeks, UW’s introduction to cybersecurity course may be for you. This class reviews the cybersecurity landscape from international and national perspectives, along with the legal consequences of cyberattacks and threat actors.
For a limited time, students may access course materials for free. Afterward, they must pay $199 per course to maintain access and receive a course certificate. This course is the first of four on cybersecurity. The others include building a cybersecurity toolkit, finding your cybersecurity career path and cybersecurity: the CISO’s view.
Frequently Asked Questions About Free Cybersecurity Training
How can I get cybersecurity training for free?
If you’re pursuing a certification, there are multiple free course providers online. If you’re seeking general knowledge about cybersecurity, check out Eleven Fifty Academy, the Flatiron School or the University of Washington via edX.
Are there any free cybersecurity certifications?
No, though there are free cybersecurity courses that offer certificates of completion. These do not match the high-quality, accredited certifications administered by organizations such as (ISC)², CompTIA and ISACA.
Can I learn cybersecurity on my own?
Learning cybersecurity on your own is possible through a multitude of online resources, courses and books, both free and paid. You can begin by checking out some of the resources in this article.