4 Top Cyber Security Courses to Learn for Absolute Beginners

The Internet is no longer just about searching for information or sending an email. Almost everyone turns to it to handle a variety of tasks, from purchasing goods and services to keeping critical infrastructure operational. Although there is no doubt that the availability of the Internet is beneficial, our reliance on it to run much of our day-to-day activities also comes with enormous risks. The biggest ones of which are data breach and cyber-attacks that can lead to adverse consequences like loss of wealth, reputation, health, or even lives.

As fears over cyber threats give us a strong sense of vulnerability, it is no wonder a lot of people and businesses are wanting to protect themselves as they continue to use the Internet. This, in turn, has fuelled the booming business of cyber security, which is now one of the fastest growing tech disciplines in the world. Of course, with business growing, the need for cyber security professionals increases as well. It has been projected that the rate of growth for cyber security jobs is at 31 percent through 2029.

With plenty of jobs available, and the need to fill them becomes critical, now is a great time to pursue a cyber security career. If you are already interested in this field, you can increase your chances of securing a role with a solid foundation knowledge and hands-on technical skills and experience in the discipline.

Online cyber security courses are probably the most cost-effective way to achieve all that. The great thing about these online courses is that majority of them can be undertaken at the comfort of your home and can be completed at your own pace. Also, a handful of them are offered for free, affording you to receive quality education without the additional expense.

To help build your understanding, skills and experience in cyber security, here are some top cyber security courses to learn that you will find beneficial, especially as an absolute beginner in the field.

  1. The Complete Cyber Security Course: Hackers Exposed (Paid course – Udemy)

Nathan House is a seasoned cyber security expert with 25 years of experience in Internet security under his belt. He is the CEO of cyber security company, Station X, and was previously involved in multi-million cyber security projects.

House offers his expertise to would-be cyber security practitioners through “The Complete Cyber Security Course: Hackers Exposed!”  The course, which is offered at Udemy, comes with a 12-hour on-demand video, an article, and a downloadable resource, all with lifetime access.

The first of a 4-volume course, this covers the basics of operating systems, networks and Internet.  It also explores the threat landscape, offering insights into the most common approaches and tools that hackers, crackers, and cyber criminals use. Additionally, it teaches basic and advanced practical skillset to effectively stop online threats on their tracks.

This is an ideal course to build foundation knowledge in cyber security. If you truly want to reach expert-level in the discipline, however, it is a good idea to complete all four volumes of the course. You will not be disappointed, as this is definitely one of the best cyber security courses out there. The proof is in the number of students (210,495) who have already taken the course as well as the positive ratings and reviews it has received (average of 4.6 stars).

You know a cyber security course is good if it supported by the UK Government’s National Security Programme. That is the case with “Introduction to Cyber Security” that is being offered by Future Learn. Aside from having the approval of a government agency, the course is GCHQ Certified Training and IISP accredited. This means that completing it demonstrates your awareness of key cyber security issues.

Guided by Canadian-British author, journalist, and activist, Cory Doctorow, the course introduces a number of security concepts network security, cryptography, identity theft, malware, trojan virus, and risk management. It also provides comprehensive coverage of intrusion detection and prevention technologies, authentication mechanisms, as well as the legal and regulatory issues relating cyber security, and the approaches that can be used to recover from security failures.

The course is highly rated by previous students. This is not only because of its high quality, structured content and flexibility, but also its availability to anyone without prior knowledge of computer security and has an interest to keep their digital information secure.

  • Introduction to Cybersecurity (Free course – Code Academy)

If you find paid cyber security courses expensive as a beginner, then Code Academy’s “Introduction to Cyber Security” is a course worth your consideration. Although the course is free, it is packed with a lot of fundamental information about cyber security that makes it a great starting point, especially if you are not sure where to get started.

One of the key take-aways from the course is learning the basics concepts of identifying and protecting yourself against some of the most common cyber threats and attacks. It also covers the principles and policies of cyber security, common techniques for authentication and authorization, and network security basics.

What makes this free course all the more interesting is that it comes with a project that will put your knowledge to test. You will be decrypting and encrypting data using a command line, and you can add your output in your portfolio of work, which you can then use to support your future job applications.

  • Cyber Security Specialist Training (Pay nothing until you get a job – NextGent)

Focused on helping students launch their cyber security career, NextGent’s course approaches education in both practical and technical ways, allowing for foundation knowledge development and hands-on experience building.

Created by two US Air Force veterans who are highly experienced in network engineering and cyber security, there are two courses on offer: The Basic Training, which gives emphasis on the subject fundamentals and the Cyber Security Specialization, which is more about development and application of advanced cyber security skills.

As someone new to the field, you can benefit from the basic training as it will give your two industry certifications: Full-Stack Network Associate (FSNA) and Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA). It guarantees military-grade instruction as well as in-depth exposure to every aspect of networking, although it does not require previous IT experience or degree.

Once you have completed the Basic Training, it is highly recommended that you move to the Cyber Security Specialist Training to maintain your momentum. The training runs for 22 weeks and thoroughly covers everything to help you learn how to keep a business protected from cyber threats and how you can launch your career in the field. These include foundations of networking for cyber security, cyber range, and CompTIA Security+, among others. There are also a number of labs and projects to work on that simulate full-scale, real networks and cyber attack situations, which will help build your skills and preparedness to respond to incidents.

Now here is what makes the Cyber Security Specialist Training unique. Although the base tuition is costly at $12,500, NextGent offers an income share agreement scheme, allowing you to take the course without paying anything upfront. The only time you have to pay is when you get a job with $40,000 salary, from which NextGent will take a 10% cut just once.

After seven years, any remaining debt you may have from the course will be forgiven, even if you have not paid a cent. This demonstrates NextGent’s confidence that their course will help you land job with high pay. There is merit to this confidence as 50,000 students have already enrolled in the course, 460,000 classes were facilitated, and plenty of previous students have shared their success stories after completing the course.