The nine best cyber security courses

These courses can help you to launch a cyber security career or improve your skills

Cyber security is vital for any business, and the increasing dependence on dispersed networks and remote working has only served to underline just how important it is. As such, job opportunities in this area are more tempting than ever before, and you might want to get in on the action or boost your skills in an existing job.

There are numerous courses out there that can help you shore up your skills or make you more employable in a cyber security job, as well as earning you new qualifications to enhance your desirability for employers.

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Before you dive straight into a cyber security course, you are advised to have a background or education in computer science. From this foundation, you can choose courses in the networking and security topics specific to your particular career goals.

To help you identify the cyber security course best suited to you, we researched a selection of online courses and programs, identifying those we consider to be the best.

LinkedIn Learning

LinkedIn Learning offers an impressive selection of more than 100 online cyber security courses. It offers Cybersecurity Foundations, Transitioning to a Career in Cybersecurity, The Cybersecurity Threat Landscape and Cybersecurity Awareness: Building Your Cybersecurity Vocabulary to name but a few. 

Lectures cover a wide range of topics, such as the Internet of Things, cloud computing, penetration testing, major security issues and concepts, and more. Initial lectures provide overviews of the topics covered in the videos. 

Students can use the techniques they learn to apply security solutions in different situations. Some courses will also guide students into transitioning into relevant job profiles.

Students can take courses at their pace. Class content is free for the first 30 days after signing up; they can then sign up for a $29.99-per-month or a $299.88-per-year annual subscription. The website provides guides on installing and using the courses, and materials are accessible offline. 

The Complete Cyber Security Course for Beginners: Hackers Exposed

Udemy designed this course for beginners, as it covers fundamental building blocks. It covers threat modeling and risk assessment, moving from the basics into more advanced concepts. Students will learn about the darknet, cyber criminals’ mindset, global tracking and hacking infrastructures, bypassing encryption and mitigating the risks, and defending against phishing, identity theft, and other social engineering threats. The course also covers using physical and virtual isolation and compartmentalization to enhance security. 

The course costs $119.99, though it’s been on sale for $14.99 in the past, and includes 123 lectures, one article, one downloadable resource, and lifetime access. Students will have assignments and quizzes to test their understanding of the topics, but Udemy doesn’t offer accreditation for this course. 

Most graduates say the course covers many topics, is simple enough for beginners, and has a knowledgeable instructor. One common complaint is the focus on theory over practical, real-world examples.

The Complete CS Course: Network Security!

Udemy created this course for people who want to become cyber security specialists. Students will learn how to use hacking techniques and vulnerability scanning to find network vulnerabilities, use different authentication methods, and configure firewalls for various platforms and scenarios. The course also covers wireless security, network monitoring, privacy issues related to search engines, and how corporations track people online.  

The course costs $199.99 but has been on sale for $14.99 in the past and includes 105 lectures, one article, two downloadable resources, and lifetime access. It offers live examples, assignments, and slides to help students better understand topics. The instructor provides detailed guidance on setting up the environment, installing software, and using the required tools. 

Udemy doesn’t offer accreditation with this course, and some students noted its links and information were a few months out of date.

The Complete CS Course: End Point Protection! 

This Udemy course covers endpoint protection methods on all operating systems. It describes the implementation of disk encryption technology, next-generation antivirus solutions, and using deception and detection techniques to find threats. 

Students will learn application control, execution prevention, machine learning, and AI. They will also use anti-forensics concepts to securely and permanently delete data, and perform operating system hardening to make devices safer. The course also covers email and messenger security, and how to address their weaknesses. 

The course costs $139.99, but Udemy has offered it for $14.99. With this fee, users get 176 lectures, one article, and lifetime access. 

The course can get a little advanced, so less-experienced users may want to take the preceding courses to prepare. The instructor provides continuous and regular support. 

Udemy provides a completion certificate, but some students found the links and information were out of date.

Cyber security for Business Specialization by University of Colorado

This Coursera course targets senior business leaders, middle management, and systems administrators. The course aims to help them to protect their businesses from cyber security threats. It also explains the practical aspects of computer security, identifies potential threats to your business, and describes how to defend the company’s data and systems. 

The program includes four courses: Introduction to Cyber security for Business, Cyber Threats and Attack Vectors, Detecting and Mitigating Cyber Threats and Attacks, and Proactive Computer Security.

It takes four to five weeks to complete the program and requires about three to four hours of studying per week. The program concludes with a project to demonstrate what students have learned, and paid subscribers get a completion certificate. 

Students can access and audit the course for free seven days before deciding to subscribe. The course runs $49 per month. Users can also opt for Coursera Plus and get unlimited access to over 3,000 courses for $399 per year — financial aid is available.

Coursera supports peer-to-peer learning so students can learn from each other’s experiences.

Introduction to Cyber Security Specialization from NYU

This Coursera program provides students with a deeper understanding of modern information and system protection technology. It instructs them on properly assessing cyber risk in real computing, networking, and software systems. It also uses real scenarios based on practical enterprise and infrastructure deployments. 

The program includes four courses: Introduction to Cyber Attacks, Cyber Attack Countermeasures, Real-Time Cyber Threat Detection and Mitigation, and Enterprise and Infrastructure Security.

This program is ideal for beginners interested in IT security certifications and requires no prior experience. It takes about four months to complete at four hours of studying per week. It includes a certificate from NYU Tandon School of Engineering. 

Students can access and audit the course for free via a seven-day trial before deciding to subscribe. After the free trial, the course runs $39 per month. Users can also opt for Coursera Plus and get unlimited access to over 3,000 courses for $399 per year — financial aid is available.

Coursera supports peer-to-peer learning so students can learn from each other’s experiences.

Cyber Security for Managers

MIT Management for Education offers this course for people who hold a managerial position. It discusses key concepts about how managers can help to maintain their company’s cyber security. The course describes types of threats and how to prioritize them, improving the company’s defenses, cultivating an ethical culture, and workplace cyber security. 

The course provides examples from manufacturing, telecommunications, insurance, and other industries to explain concepts. It also uses case studies to examine different companies’ security frameworks.

Classes involve hands-on simulations that provide students with a better understanding of real-life scenarios, and the instructor explains technical jargon to improve communications. Graduates should be able to develop an action plan to protect their organization against cyber security threats. 

The course costs $2,800, but users can break this up into two or three payments. It’ll take six weeks to graduates, and students can expect to spend five to six hours per week studying. 

Post-Graduate Program in Cyber Security 

MIT Schwarzman College of Computing provides cyber security instruction using multiple approaches, including risk analysis and mitigation, cloud-based security, and compliance. The best-suited people for this program want to upgrade their technical and programming skills to deal with cyber security challenges. 

Students will learn to configure and install systems for securing applications, networks, and devices. They will also learn to build, design, and maintain a safe business organization using globally approved information security standards.

Courses include live master classes with MIT members who guide students on core cyber security concepts, and graduates receive certificates from Simplilearn and EC-Council. Students work on real-world, industry-aligned problems, and complete the course with a project.

Lessons include video lectures, case studies, an EC-Council learning kit, and more than 25 hands-on projects. 

The program lasts six months with five to 10 hours of weekly instruction. It costs $3,500 and requires a Bachelor’s degree to apply.

MicroBachelors Program in Cyber Security Fundamentals by NYU

This program from edX focuses on cyber security fundamentals, such as information security, network security, and penetration testing. It covers applying a security mindset while remaining ethical, implementing security design principles, and applying reference monitors. Students will also learn how to use various tools to identify vulnerabilities in systems, networks, applications, websites, protocols, and configurations. 

Other lessons include how to produce reports to recreate security exploits, explain their impact, and prioritize what they found. The course concludes by analyzing the cryptography required for secure communications and authorization.

This MicroBachlor’s program is self-paced, but users can expect to finish in about a year if they spend eight to 10 hours per week on their studies. New York University instructors designed the program and remain in contact with students throughout the course. 

Tuition is $1,494 and provides a program certificate upon completion.

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